ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For over 50 years, the Las Arañas Spinners and Weavers Guild along with the New Mexico Wool Growers have been showcasing wool’s progression at the New Mexico State Fair.

Through the Sheep to Shawl exhibit, fairgoers get to see the steps of wool processing, from shearing a sheep to carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving wool into fabric. The items created are then sold at the exhibit shop inside the Dairy Barn at Expo New Mexico.

“I think the importance of this exhibit is that it shows our culture in New Mexico. It shows our history from the sheep to shawl,” said Lorraine Blakely, member of Las Arañas Spinners and Weavers Guild.

During the exhibit on Friday, Blakely was operating a four-harness loom while a woman next to her used an electric spinning wheel. Outside the barn, two women fed wool into traditional wooden spinning wheels. “It shows that it’s not just something that’s done from the past, but we’re carrying it with us into the future,” said Blakely.

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In the next booth inside the barn, two women demonstrated how wool is dyed in a large silver pot. Inside the pot, which sat on a burner, was a red dye made of Quebracho. The dye came from a tree native to South America. Several other dye materials were also on display including osage orange sawdust, Brazil wood, cutch, and indigo.

In the last booth, a woman was carding wool that was shaved from a sheep outside the barn. The wool was laid on a machine composed of rotating rollers covered in pins. When the wool was run through the machine, it was detangled and straightened allowing for an easier spinning process.

The Sheep to Shawl demonstration will take place every day for the remainder of the 2023 fair. Click here for the full schedule.