Fiber Lovers Invited to the International Tent at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

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Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

The New York Sheep and Wool Festival will host the only all-fiber event in the United States in honor of the United Nations International Year of International Fibres (IYNF).

We have been working non-stop for the past year to bring nine speakers from around the world to share their unique fiber stories with the American market.

Throughout the festival they will host their own booths at the International Tent, give lectures, show documentaries, and be available to answer questions from the public. In addition, there is a WILD raffle with items from around the world, hundreds of knitters working feverishly to knit more than 2000 rows towards the World’s Longest Scarf, a working Belfast Mini-Mill that will attract thousand of spectators and too many other things to list here.

Keep the Fleece, a 501c3 started in honor of the IYNF, is responsible for all expenses involved with the International Tent including airfares, lodging, meals, equipment, etc. and still needs lots of support. This endeavor needs your help.

keep the fleece

We are looking for:

Donations: We are grateful for any and all donations that can easily be made directly through the website at www.keepthefleece.org. Please specify “International Tent” in the notes field.

Sponsors: Donations of $250 or more will be listed on the sponsorship sign outside the International Tent (fabulous exposure!) Deadline for sponsors – Friday, October 2nd.

Volunteers: We are asking for volunteers both days for one (or more) hours. Please contact me at [email protected] if you would be willing to help.

Raffle Items: Any item(s) that would be appropriate for our gift baskets. Please send us an email of what you would like to donate. If you will be at the festival we need the donations in-hand no later than 5:00pm on Friday, October 16th. If not, please send to the Fairgrounds by October 13th at the latest to Keep the Fleece, c/o Dutchess County Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 389, 6550 Spring Brook Avenue. Rhinebeck, NY 12572

My great thanks to everyone who has already been so kind and generous in their support of this global effort.

Speaker Schedule for the Rhinebeck International Tent

Saturday

11:00-12:30

“When Nomads Are In Charge”

Presented by Dr. Tsering Phuntsog:

Learn about the only cashmere mill owned and operated by nomads in India’s High Himalayas and how Dr. Phutsog is responsible for the care and feeding of millions of cashmere goats during the harsh winter months. This is Dr. Phuntsog’s first visit to the United States and his story is fascinating and inspirational to anyone concerned about fair trade in the fiber industry.

“It’s Not An Alpaca”

Presented by Ray Lerwill

Along the western coastline of Wales, the largest herd of guanacos are being raised on an organically certified farm by Ray Lerwill and his wife Jemma. Considered one of the leading authorities on guanaco outside of South America, Lerwill will discuss what makes this engaging camelid so extraordinary, and how he maintains a herd of more than 300 corralled inside ten foot high fences.

“Goat Safari – A Farmer’s Tale from South Africa”

Presented by Andries Olefose

South Africa is the world’s largest producer of mohair but in order to make ends meet Andries Olefose manages a safari park along with his flock of 2000 angora goats. Discover how the increase in demand for synthetic fibers and the abolishment of apartheid have changed the mohair industry.

2:30-4:00

“It’s All About You”

Presented by Linda Ligon

Founder of Interweave Press and one of America’s leading authorities on the evolution of the domestic fiber industry, Linda Ligon will share some rare insights about the nature of fiber passion, globalization within the yarn world, along with some her personal adventures as well. This lecture is presented only once at the festival

“Cashmere at 16,000 feet”

Presented by Konchok Stobgais

Literally born in the wilderness amidst thousands of cashmere goats, Konchok Stobgais is a Changtang nomad from India’s High Himalayas. Stobgais’ story of life as a nomad will amaze and intrigue you as he talks about “losing his yaks” across the border to Tibet along with other tales. Coming to America is a dream Stobgais never could have imagined, you don’t want to miss this amazing tale.

“Luxury from the Arctic”

Presented by Fernando Alvarez

Not many people can or perhaps want to travel to the Canadian Arctic but it is home to the largest population of muskox, which produce qiviut -the ultimate luxury fiber. Alvarez will not only speak about the nature of qiviut, but his relationship with the native people who raise them. Sorry, no free samples but there will be a gift basket to raffle!

Speaker Schedule – Sunday

11:00-12:30

“Cashmere at 16,000 feet”

Presented by Konchok Stobgais

Literally born in the wilderness amidst thousands of cashmere goats, Konchok Stobgais is a Changtang nomad from India’s High Himalayas. Stobgais’ story of life as a nomad will amaze and intrigue you as he talks about “losing his yaks” across the border to Tibet along with other tales. Coming to America is a dream Stobgais never could have imagined, you don’t want to miss this amazing tale.

“Goat Safari – A Farmer’s Tale from South Africa”

Presented by Andries Olefose

South Africa is the world’s largest producer of mohair but in order to make ends meet Andries Olefose manages a safari park along with his flock of 2000 angora goats. Discover how the increase in demand for synthetic fibers and the abolishment of apartheid have changed the mohair industry.

“Small is Beautiful and Profitable”

Presented by Jeff Birtwistle

Belfast Mini-Mills have revolutionized fiber processing enabling small quantities of fiber, even a single fleece at a time, to be spun into yarn. Birtwistle now spends most of his time installing mills in remote areas around the world to help indigenous communities create value-added for their products. Mini-Mills are at the forefront of reducing fiber’s carbon footprint.

2:30-4:00

“When Nomads Are In Charge”

Presented by Dr. Tsering Phuntsog:

Learn about the only cashmere mill owned and operated by nomads in India’s High Himalayas and how Dr. Phutsog is responsible for the care and feeding of millions of cashmere goats during the harsh winter months. This is Dr. Phuntsog’s first visit to the United States and his story is fascinating and inspirational to anyone concerned about fair trade in the fiber industry.

“Luxury from the Arctic”

Presented by Fernando Alvarez

Not many people can or perhaps want to travel to the Canadian Arctic but it is home to the largest population of muskox which produce qiviut -the ultimate luxury fiber. Alvarez will not only speak about the nature of qiviut, but his relationship with the native people who raise them. Sorry, no free samples but there will be gift basket to raffle!

“It’s Not An Alpaca”

Presented by Ray Lerwill

Along the western coastline of Wales, the largest herd of guanacos are being raised on an organically certified farm by Ray Lerwill and his wife Jemma. Considered one of the leading authorities on guanaco outside of South America, Lerwill will discuss what makes this engaging camelid so extraordinary, and how he maintains a herd of more than 300 corralled inside ten foot high fences.

Note that limited seating is available for all sessions in the international tent at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.

Linda Cortright is the editor-in-chief of Wild Fibers Magazine.

By Linda Cortright