Home » Features » Weaving alpaca yarn: a productive and beautiful hobby


Weaving alpaca yarn: a productive and beautiful hobby

Sister Jean Fuqua works at her loom weaving a scarf in Providence Hall.

Precise, mathematical, purposeful. All words that describe Sister Jean Fuqua, SP — and her art.

Sister Jean has been weaving with alpaca fiber since 2003. She likes connecting back with White Violet Center for Eco-Justice (WVC), where she ministered for 12 years as one of the ministry’s founders.

Weaving is relaxing, Sister Jean says. At the same time, if the pattern is complicated it requires real concentration.

Several sisters first learned fiber arts in 2000 to use the alpaca fiber that was piling up from the Sisters of Providence then-new alpacas. Sister Jean started out knitting. But in time, as she better mastered weaving, she enjoyed it more. Today she still knits, but only to use up smaller bits of yarn too small to use in weaving.

At one point the former math and science teacher took a three-year hiatus from weaving. But she became smitten by the beautifully dyed yarn that WVC staff member Candace Minster had created and it brought her back in.

A good challenge

These days Sister Jean tries to weave at least a little each day.

“I like a challenge, and weaving is a challenge. If you make a mistake in setting up the loom you have to start all over. And I’m a perfectionist, so I like to see the perfect product.”

And she is definitely capable of a perfect product, having won a first-place ribbon and judge’s choice at a national alpaca show for one of her woven pieces.

A display of some of the woven scarves that Sister Jean has made

Sister Jean’s scarves and hats can be purchased in the White Violet Farm Store and, when there are enough, at Linden Leaf Gifts, both at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Truly unique

“I think people who come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods enjoy being able to buy something that was made here.” And her items truly have been made here. From the alpacas who provided the fiber, to the volunteers who sort the fiber, to the natural dyes often grown here and the staff who dye it. To those who spin the fleece into yarn. And finally to Sister Jean, who weaves the yarn into a work of art.

What unexpected gifts does Sister Jean receive from her weaving?

“The realization that I can do something that is unique to me. I just like being able to make something that comes out beautiful.”

Originally published in the summer 2023 issue of HOPE magazine.

Share this:

Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Advancement Services office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

Stay connected

Our enewsletters and publications will keep you up to date with the best content from the Sisters of Providence.

Plan for your future!

Leave the things you value to the people and purposes you value most.

Updated Estate Planning Info. here

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.