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January 9, 2014

Farmers' market needs help for rug project

The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market wants your old T-shirts, jeans, blankets, towels, sweatshirts, sweatpants and — most importantly — your willingness to participate.

Beginning Jan. 4, the community is invited to donate to and participate in a community up-cycle weaving project at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The goal of the project is to create ten three-foot-by-four-foot “rag rugs” for the 2nd Annual Local Foods, Local Spirits Cocktail Party’s silent auction on Aug. 7. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit Otsego 2000’s agricultural endeavors. Otsego 2000, according to its website, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981, “to protect the environmental, agricultural, scenic, cultural and historic resources of the Otsego Lake region and northern Otsego County.”

Cooperstown Farmers’ Market Manager Lyn Weir said the idea for the community rugs came after Dutchayr Farm, which raises sheep for wool fiber to create yarn, finished knitwear and felted items, became one of the first fiber farmers at the farmers’ market. Weir said this sparked the idea to highlight other local fiber farmers and weaving, in general.

“There are a lot of great weavers in our area,” Weir said, “but sometimes people don’t know they are there. We want to raise awareness.”

Anyone interested in helping make the rugs can try cutting and stitching strips of fabric or weaving on a 1923 Union Custom Loom, loaned to the farmers’ market by local fiber farmer, weaver and teacher Dawn Helstrom. Weir said participants are welcome to get involved in any or all aspects of the rug-making.

According to Weir, any clean pieces of cotton, fleece or denim can be used to make the rag rugs. Rags can be stained or have holes, as long as they are clean.

Weir said making a rag rug is a great way to recycle a waste item into a new up-cycled product. It allows old, useless fabric to be put to good use, she said.

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