Senior Nimisha Kumar is a competitive weaver

15min

How did you get interested in weaving?

I volunteered at Conner Prairie when I was eleven. Conner Prairie’s about life in the eighteen hundreds and the textile industry was a big part of that life there. So we have a youth spinning team at Conner Prairie where we have six youth who get together and compete at the state fair.

What do you do to practice before a competition?

We run at least one or two practice scarves before the competition and we make sure our team is ready. Basically as captain, (I) have to make sure everyone knows what’s going to happen.

What do you do to make a scarf?

You start off with the wool of a sheep and then you have to wash it and then you have to card it, which is essentially brushing through it so the fibers go one way. It makes it easier to spin, which is the next step. You spin the wool into thread and then you ply it . . . and then you take that thread and you weave it.

CONNER GORDON / PHOTO

Do you have a favorite scarf that you’ve made in the past?

My favorite scarf would have to be the one I made (this year). I just think it was really pretty; there were sunset colors, there were varying degrees of purple and pink, and I just think the design was really pretty.

What have you learned from weaving?

It’s really made me appreciate technology and how when you don’t have it, everything takes so much longer. Just making a scarf takes us four hours and that’s when we have six people. I can’t imagine what it would be like if it were just one weaver and he would have to do the entire process for the entire village.

Do you ever make scarves for friends or yourself?

When I make practice scarves, I usually keep them, but the scarves we make at the state fair, we usually sell them and we get about anywhere from $200 to $400 each, and the money just goes to making sure we have good equipment and wool for next year.

 

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