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Minnesota West offers textile trip

WORTHINGTON -- Field trips aren't just for grade-school students. Lifelong learners of all ages can benefit from an educational excursion.

Just such an opportunity is being offered by Minnesota West Community and Technical College. A bus tour to the Textile Center in Minneapolis is scheduled for Jan. 19.

"We are trying to reach out to the senior community at Minnesota West," explained Roxanne Hayenga, who heads up the college's community development and customized training programs, but has an interest in textiles herself, having previously owned a local fabric store. "Given my prior background, we were trying to come up with a bus trip kind of thing that would be a learning experience, but something maybe a little bit out of the box. I talked to some people at the Textile Center, which is fairly close to the University of Minnesota, and they were willing to work with us, custom-make some classes, give us a tour and do it all on a specific day."

Because so many older people work with textiles through knitting, crocheting, quilting and other endeavors, the trip is a good fit for that segment of the population, but the trip is open to adults of all ages.

"The classes will be beginning level, so somebody doesn't need expertise and it doesn't take a lot of dexterity or fine motor skills," Hayenga said. "It's also something you could do with the time constraints, since we wanted to make it a one-day thing, being able to rotate through the classes, plus take a tour of the Textile Center."

The excursion was scheduled for January, when the Textile Center features Common Threads 2012, an exhibit showcasing the most recent work of its membership.

"It's mostly Minnesota artists," Hayenga noted. "I think it will be really interesting to see, and there's the whole idea of inspiration, seeing what people who aren't in San Francisco, aren't in New York are doing. We have so much talent out here. Maybe if some students go, it could determine a whole new career path, seeing that you can do things like that and not have to live in the big city."

Participants will be asked to choose one class from the following offerings at the Textile Center:

FIBER RENEGADES: Lutrador, a non-woven fabric similar to interfacing, can be painted, manipulated, melted, and sewn while maintaining super strength. Sample a little of all of these techniques to create organic, three-dimensional fiber art and explore renegade uses for this everyday material.

FRACTURED LIGHT: Learn a low-immersion dye technique that allows the spontaneous crinkles and folds in your fabric to form an organic crystalline or fractured pattern. Subtle ripples to bold patterns like stained glass can emerge, based on the colors you choose. Create fat quarters of fabric that you can use in all of your sewing projects.

SPINNING YARNS: Learn to make cozy handspun yarns. With a drop spindle and a variety of hand-dyed wool samples, the class will cover the basics of drafting fiber and adding twist to create stable, beautiful and one of a kind yarns.

WILD & WOOLY: Explore two major felting techniques, wet and dry. During class, participants will create wet felted beads to construct a necklace. Then, using a barbed felting needle they will move on to dry felting, making decorative coasters by adding needle felted embellishments to recycled wool fabric.

In addition to the tour, participants will have the option of eating lunch at the Textile Center, although an extra fee will be charged for the catered meal; otherwise they can bring their own lunch.

"I think it's a good girls' day out," said Hayenga, "a good outing for a couple of women to do together. It's also a good idea for a Christmas present if there's a husband out there who's struggling for an idea, or maybe for kids to buy for their mom."

The bus will depart from Minnesota West on the morning of Jan. 19; stops can be made along the route to pick up participants, Hayenga added.

"I know for sure we will be stopping in Windom," she said. "But anywhere up Highway 60 we could potentially make a stop."

Registrations are due by Jan. 10, and a minimum of 30 participants are needed to make the trip a reality. Registration forms and more information are available at

For more information, phone 372-3468; email

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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