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Beverly Martin watches over Daley Valentine has he practices weaving at last year's fiber fair and sale. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild)1 / 4
In April, Debbie Cooter taught a rag rug workshop for the guild. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild)2 / 4
Dave Kortier shows off a 1-pound skein of Icelandic yarn he spun at a guild meeting. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild)3 / 4
Gretchen Nelson talks about her hand-knit socks at a show-and-tell meeting of the Duluth Fiber Handcrafter's Guild in April. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild)4 / 4

Knitting, spinning, weaving, inkle weaving, knotted bracelet making, and felting -- these are just some of about 12 different demonstrations happening in the Great Hall of the Depot at the Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild annual sale and fair on December 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The demonstrations are mostly hands-on and family-friendly.

The guild was formed in 1973 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

"[... the fair] is really an opportunity for members to show off what we can do," said guild member Katie Chmielewski. "We encourage everyone to get involved and try them out."

In Chmielewski's case, handweaving is her main fiber passion. She taught herself how to weave in the late 1970s, but ended up taking a 15-year hiatus from it. But she was grateful that she had held onto her looms when she returned to the art six years ago.

"It's fun to become reacquainted with it and to play with the fibers and designs again," said Chmielewski.

She also works with felting and dyeing fleece, but says that weaving is her first love.

"I think my story is true for many weavers. We find a love for weaving, but then life gets in the way. So later in life we come back to it," said Chmielewski.

This is true for fellow guild member Beverly Martin, who got her start in weaving by making pot holders on a little loom as a child.

"I played with it until I ran out of possibilities," said Martin. "I didn't have anyone to introduce me to weaving at the time."

Martin began learning to knit and sew instead, but rejoined the weaving world when she wanted to make a set of curtains. At first, Martin said, she wanted to knit or crochet the curtains, but a friend offered to teach her how to weave them.

Although both Martin and Chmielewski are weavers, the guild is open to any type of fiber art.

The guild meets about once a month at the Depot. Chmielewski says it's a good chance to meet other fiber artists and ask questions because "usually someone has an answer."

The guild works with the Duluth Art Institute to provide classes, maintain its extensive library and provide studio space for the looms and other equipment.

"It's lovely for classes because if you don't have a loom, you can discover if you enjoy weaving before investing in one," said Chmielewski.

The sale on Saturday is one of the ways the guild raises money to add to its library, pay for class instructors and for community projects such as the butterfly program. This project sends volunteers out to early childhood and preschool programs to teach the children how to make a simple felted

butterfly.

Twenty percent of the sales will go to the guild and its various projects. The items up for sale will include woven scarves, knit hats, beaded jewelry, felted slippers, handspun yarn, woven rugs, hand-stitched quilts, holiday decorations, and felted birdhouses.

More information about the

Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild can be found on its website: www.duluthfiberhandcrafters.org.

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