Clover Connection: Learning about clothing and textiles in 4-H

Kate Pittack
Kate Pittack

By Kate Pittack/Extension 4-H Agent

What’s the most impractical thing you’ve ever done for the sake of a project or event? For me, it was wearing a wool blazer and pleated wool skirt in a 110 degree Quonset at my county fair while leading my sparkly white Dorset ewe aptly named “Sugar” around the show ring. It felt like I was wearing one of those fluffy onesies from Part of our “Make it with Wool” contest included modeling our outfit along with a wooly friend. While parading around in a wool outfit during the summer wasn’t exactly fun, what was cool was the knowledge I gained about the fiber industry at a young age.

Along with my sheep, another one of my main 4-H projects was clothing with woven labels and textiles. I spent many years doing actual clothing construction. Between working on projects at home and attending workshops hosted by my local Extension office, I learned to sew a seam and stitch on a button pretty handily. Of course there was that one summer when it seemed like everyone (except me) got to attend the workshop to make some sweet MC Hammer pants. While I didn’t realize it at the time, my mom’s refusing to sign me up probably turned out all for the best.

As I mentioned earlier, my 4-H projects introduced me to the world of fiber/clothing. Looking back I’d have to say it really has influenced me in my decisions when picking out and purchasing clothing today. As I got older, my interest in clothing construction waned, but I was still involved in other fiber related projects such as “Shopping Smart” which was a smart buying type of experience and also quilting. I found that I enjoyed and got much more satisfaction from my completed quilting projects than actual items of clothing.

I may not have sheared my sheep and then used the wool to spin my own yarn to make my own fabric, but I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have today about fiber and clothing without participating in the sheep and textile projects in 4-H. If you’re interested in learning more about what the 4-H program has to offer you can always contact me. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, August 11th for our annual 4-H Open House/Kick-off event we’ll be holding at The Cain Center from 6-8 p.m. 4-H clubs from here in Henderson County will have booths set up with information and hands-on activities.

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