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Red Deer Advocate - Business
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Scarves commemorate Sochi Olympics and Canada

A Rocky Mountain House company is offering Canadians a stylish way to display their Olympic spirit.

Cloth of Kin Inc. is producing hand-woven red-and-white scarves as a tribute to Canada’s athletes in Sochi. Each contains 13 white stripes — one for each province and territory — and a dark red band on each end to simulate the Canadian flag.

Jesslyn Miller, a weaver with Cloth of Kin, said the idea was inspired by a dream she had in early January. Miller envisioned her uncle, former world champion figure skater and CBC Olympic analyst Kurt Browning, sporting a handmade scarf at the Games.

Cloth of Kin owner Anna Thomsen pledged her support and designed the special scarf.

“It went on the loom on Jan. 15 and came off on the 25th,” said Miller of the production process, adding that Browning, who grew up in Caroline, promised to take one to Sochi and try to wear it on camera.

“I just wanted him to have something that I had made with love and with my own hands.”

Another scarf went to Eckville’s Mellisa Hollingsworth, who was competing at her third Olympics in skeleton racing. She can be seen sporting her’s on Twitter.

Slopestyle national team coach Chris Witwicki, who grew up in Rocky, received a scarf via his mother.

Non-Olympians can also wrap themselves in the scarf flag, which can be purchased online. Prices range from $105 for a basic design made with cotton and bamboo threads, to $176 for cotton and bamboo or cotton and alpaca scarves with knotted fringes. Each measures 76 cm by two metres, with production time five to six hours.

“It’s labour-intensive,” said Miller of the process, which involves a manually operated loom.

“The thing with weaving and being a weaver is it takes a special kind of personality type. There’s a lot of delayed gratification, patience and repetitive motion.”

Thomsen has been weaving for about 15 years, but Cloth of Kin really came into existence last June, said Miller. The business’s focus is to create unique fabrics for families by getting each member to choose a thread colour and then combine these.

“In this day and age, making fabric from scratch with a loom that’s not plugged in is extremely rare.”

But the process has broad appeal, with Cloth of Kin sitting on a waiting list of orders. The growing interest in hand-woven baby wraps has contributed to this demand, said Miller.

Cloth of Kin’s website can be found at Its products are also sold at

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