Written by Linda Cortright   

Natural Disasters Strike Natural Fibers

In what can only be described as an odd twist of events, the two areas that Keep the Fleece is focused on have both been hit with natural disasters. In 2010 our goal was to support nomads raising yaks in the Tibetan Plateau along with our continuing efforts with the cashmere growers in India's high Himalayas.


On April 14th, 2010, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the town of Yushu and destroyed 90% of the buildings. It also changed the largest (and only) mill in the area that processes yak fiber. With an uncertain future about the how the mill will continue, Keep the Fleece is keeping a close-eye on new developments.


Not too far as the crow flies, terrible flash-flooding hit northern India where we have ongoing efforts with the Changtang nomads. The damage not only disrupted lives but severely impacted the tourist season, which in a small town is vital to the local economy.


We continue to be grateful for the ongoing support provided to Keep the Fleece and hope Mother Nature will shine a bit brighter in the future.



Knitters for Good

If you haven’t gotten involved in the United Nations International Year of Natural Fibres there’s still time. You can create your own scarf team, or donate directly to our efforts here on our website. I am truly grateful for everyone who has contributed to this global initiative. I can not imagine a world without natural fibers – can you? 

Annmarie Aquino’s story
For the past two years, I was the third and fourth grade classroom teacher for a wonderful group of children at an elementary school where I live in New York City. 

Every year I try to teach my students as many of the fiber arts as I can, and this group took to knitting in a very big way.  When I told them about the Keep the Fleece project, they wanted to be a part of it.   

It’s very common at my school for classes to hold bake sales to raise money for a field trip, but not so common to do a fundraiser for charity. The majority of my students are from low income families whose discretionary spending is limited.  Still, these children recognize that they are far better off than many other people around the world and wanted to do something to make a difference in other people’s lives.  

They did their research on Heifer International and the Keep the Fleece project so they could have all the information they needed to answer questions about the ‘World’s Longest Scarf’ project and then drafted a letter in English and Spanish to use in soliciting donations. 

For our team’s name, the kids chose ‘Knitters for Good’  because, they said,

 “We’re knitting for a good cause and we’re going to be knitters forever now.”

Your browser may not support display of this image.I started our team off with a $60 contribution and knit the first 60 rows of the scarf.  On May 1st, the kids started their fundraising.  By the end of May, on their own, they had raised $360 by asking family members and friends to contribute.  

Each one of my students participated, knitting the number of rows to match the amount of money he or she had raised.  By late June, just before the end of the school year, they had completed knitting the 420 row scarf. When I got my summer 2009 issue of Wild Fibers, we were really excited to see that our team name was mentioned in the partial listing of teams on page two of the magazine.   

It was hard to say good-bye to these children in June and to know that my time with them as their teacher is over, but it’s also great to know that they are, indeed, knitters for good.