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The art of spinning yarn is not dead in Montana

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Posted at 8:28 AM, Sep 19, 2022

BIGFORK - With colder weather approaching you may be starting to pull out your winter sweaters.

Have you ever wondered how the yarn to make the first sweaters was created?

“It's one of those kinds of arts that we have to keep revitalizing and passing it down through generations in order to keep it alive," said Fiber LLC owner Cindy Ruprecht.

Every year on the third Saturday in September people across the world sit outside and spin fiber into yarn.

“Because it's Worldwide Spin in Public Day!!” said Sylvia Smith with the Alpine Weavers and Spinners Guild.

This ancient form of creating yarn has been around for at least 20,000 years.

Although we now have manufactured clothing, people still spin yarn, create textiles from it and use Worldwide Spin in Public day to bring awareness to the craft.

“Make people realize that these kinds of crafts are still alive and well in our modern culture and they're still valid," said Smith.

Some may wonder, why spin yarn when you can just buy it?

“Why does anyone make anything instead of just buying it? For me personally, the act of spinning is meditative, and I like having the freedom to control the quality and the color and the materials that I put into a product,” said Smith.

Natural plant and animal fibers are twisted together using a spinning wheel or drop spindle to create yarn.

The process is not easy, but the spinners take on the daunting task of preserving this piece of history.

“It's a lot about preserving tradition, maintaining ancient arts and keeping them alive in this world of technology, we kind of get more and more separated from where things come from and how they're made. And how to make things with our own two hands,” said Ruprecht.