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'From Flock to Fabric' to Raise NDSU Scholarship Funds
North Dakota Ag Connection - 09/11/2020

Nurth Dakota State University will soon unveil a product that is a must for all Bison fans. The new NDSU Tartan blankets are warm, soft and uniquely NDSU through and through.

Available exclusively at the NDSU Bookstore, the wool blankets are the finished product of the "From Flock to Fabric: Weaving Scholarship Into The Fabric of Student Success" project organized by NDSU's College of Human Sciences and Education and College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources.

Proceeds will support student scholarships in NDSU's Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Interior Design and Hospitality Management.

"The profits from the sale of these blankets will go directly to students," said Sara Sunderlin, senior lecturer of apparel, merchandising, interior design and hospitality management. "NDSU has created this project using NDSU employees as the product managers, and it allows the maximum amount of money from the sale of each blanket to be used for student scholarships."

The story of the blankets began two years ago, when Hettinger Research Extension Center personnel first suggested a project using NDSU wool with the NDSU Tartan pattern.

The project got rolling earlier this year when approximately 175 head of Rambouillet sheep at the center were shorn to provide about 1,800 pounds of wool.

"The wool was tested to be 22.5 microns," said Christopher Schauer, center director. "Wool of this quality provides a blanket that is both strong and warm -- a perfect combination for outdoor use at football games or as a blanket for a picnic."

According to Schauer, the center was founded in 1909 and staff have been running sheep since 1944.

"The wool in these blankets is the result of 76 years of breeding and selection for sheep that provide meat and wool while serving the research needs of agriculture producers in North Dakota," Schauer said.

On June 10, the wool was shipped to the Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in Buffalo, Wyoming, to be spun into yarn. From there, the next step was the Faribault Woolen Mill in Faribault, Minn., where the yarn was woven.

The blankets will be 50 inches wide by 72 inches in length, with a 2-inch fringe. They also will have a distinctive tag that marks them as first-run, "Premiere Edition" blankets.

The yarn was dyed by hand, which gives an artisan look to the colorations. Each blanket will have its own individual shading, but all will be woven with the same NDSU Tartan pattern, which was created by an NDSU student in 2011. The Tartan pattern is used extensively as a product development project in courses in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Interior Design and Hospitality Management.

"I'm extremely proud of this particular product because it is the result of all things NDSU. It is created by a team of NDSU people, and all aspects are 100 percent American made. It is a special product that will be loved for many years by NDSU alumni and fans," Sunderlin said.

"NDSU alumni and friends can display Bison pride in their homes and pass this heirloom quality blanket on to future generations of NDSU alumni," she said. "The people who purchase these blankets also will know that they are directly supporting NDSU students."

An upcoming launch event is being coordinated with the NDSU Bookstore; check with bookstore social media for details. The blankets are expected to be available in early October.


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