PERRY — When it comes to wool, there are a lot of different ways to use it.
Beginning April 17, a dozen people will start going out and visiting farms in Wyoming County to learn about sheep and the types of fleece they have for sale as part of the Arts Council for Wyoming County’s “Wooly Wonders” project.
The project is founded by a grant from the Wyoming Foundation, a division of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grant allows the arts council to engage participants in taking a local wool fleece from sheep to a finished project.
Participants will meet monthly from April to November to learn how to choose the best fleece for their project, how to clean and process it, spin the fleece and ply it into yard, dye it if desired, choose a project pattern and adapt it if necessary.
Then, they will knit or crochet the yarn into finished items that will be displayed at the ACWC gallery.
Linda Franke, coordinator of Fiber Flurry Festival & Artisan Fair & Sales for the Arts Council of Wyoming County, said “some fleeces and wools are better for sweaters and some are better for rugs and some are better for socks.”
Each participant will be provided fleece for their project and be able to participate in all the Wooly Wonders workshops throughout the year, including tours of two Wyoming County farms and conversations with shepherds there.
With “Wooly Wonders,” participants will see the material “through the whole process of cleaning the wool and either combing or carding it, and spinning it. Finding patterns for the designs we want to make and adapting those,” Franke said.
At the end of the year there will be a show at the Arts Council for Wyoming County gallery in Perry that will display all the things which have been made.
Franke said there is a predominant fiber community in Wyoming County. It plays off the Sheep to Shawl activities which can be found at some fiber fairs where participants are given a sheep in the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day there has to be a completed shawl.
The ACWC program will be led by Marcia Weinert of Undeniably Loopy and Franke. All of the spaces have been filled up for this year, but Franke said she hopes they’ll be able to do it again.
The Wyoming Foundation, established in 1974, actively supports a variety of cultural, educational and human services organizations in Wyoming County.