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"The HUB" Vol. XXIV, No. 4
Bimonthly newsletter of July - August 2002


Saturday, August 3, 2002 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sue Spencer's Cabin in the Woods

Next Meeting Saturday, August 3, 2002

The next meeting of the Northwest Spinners and Weavers Guild will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2002 at Sue and Larry Spencer's home in Bradleytown. The main order of business will be election of new officers. Bring a dish to share, a project to work on and a bathing suit and towel, if you like, while we enjoy an afternoon in the woods. If you need directions, call Sue or email her at

Minutes of the June Meeting

Minutes of June 1, 2002. Guild meeting held at Sawmill, Cook Forest.

Treasurer's Report: $3,989.67

Edinboro Highland Games. Weather was cold, but Amy wove a beautiful shawl, guild was paid $100, last year's shawl was sold for $75.

Ann Sheffield needs grant application information. Members are asked to pass any old grant files to her. The date of the 2003 workshop (May 31-June 1) may conflict with Fiber Fest 2003. Discussion followed whether or not to have the workshop at Sawmill.

Officers nomninated for the next term:
Co Presidents: Sue Spencer, Ann Sheffield
Co Vice Pres: Donna Wellman, Kate Arkwright
Treasurer: Bonnie Crytzer
Co Secretaries: Barb Lodge, Maggie Fry-Manross

Donna Wellman presented the event schedule for the rest of the summer:
July 20 Waterford Heritage Days Fleece to Shawl (Amy)
July 21 Steam and Gas Show Spin Demonstration (Elaine)
Aug 3 Picnic in the woods at Sue Spencer's (Sue)
Aug 21 Crawford Co Fair Spin Demo (Elaine)
Sept 9 Kennerdale Fair Demo (Ilene)

The Erie Adult Care Center has requested a spinning demonstration .

Sigrid expects her new book to be available in November, The Magic of Handweaving, Basics and Beyond.

Barb reported that the three lace shawls had been delivered to Ron McCartney, and that he was pleased to receive them.

Fiberfest 2002

A big thank you to Bonnie Crytzer and Donna Wellman for all of their hard work in organizing our annual festival. The weather was beautiful and a good time was had by one and all, as they say. Contest results will be in the next Hub.

Tuesday Spinners will Explore Natural Dyes

Our annual dye day will be held on Tuesday, August 20, 2002, at Donna Wellman's house. We will be using logwood, brazilwood, alkanet root, blood root, cochineal and indigo. To allow everyone to dye some fiber, we are limiting ourselves to one pound each.

So that we can finish without staying all day and into the night, you'll need to pre-mordant your yarn or fiber. The directions below apply to wool, but other animal fibers (alpaca, etc.) should also work fine. I recommend NOT attempting to dye plant fibers like cotton or linen unless you are already experienced with these fibers and with the complex mordanting procedures they require. The table below gives the quantities needed to mordant 4 ounces of wool. The exact weights are based on J.N. Liles' The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing (my own home dyeing experience supports his recommendations for alum, which is the mordant I generally use). The "kitchen" measurements come from Rita Buchanan's A Dyer's Garden. However, do NOT use your cooking spoons to measure mordants, especially tin! Have separate equipment that is reserved for dyeing ONLY.

Mordant Scientific Name Amount Needed
Alum Potassium aluminum sulfate 3/4 oz. (= approx. 1 Tbsp) alum
AND 1/4 oz. (= approx. 1 tsp) cream of tartar
Copper Cupric sulfate or
Copper(II) sulfate
3/16 oz. (=approx. 1_ tsp)
Iron Ferrous sulfate or
Iron(II) sulfate
1/8 oz. (= approx. 1_ tsp)
Tin Stannous chloride or
Tin(II) chloride
3/32 oz. (=approx. _ tsp)

General mordanting procedure and notes:

- When you measure out your mordant, more is not better - it is better to be a little bit under the specified amount than to go over.
- Dissolve the mordant in the pot of water (you can apply mild heat to speed this up) before entering the fiber. Use a generous amount of water - the fiber should be able to move freely once it's in the pot.
- The yarn or fiber should be well-wetted before it enters the pot.
- Once the fiber is in the mordant bath, slowly heat it to a bare simmer. Keep the pot at this temperature for 1-2 hours. The pot does not need to boil - vigorous boiling can felt and/or discolor your fiber.
- Too much stirring will give you felt. I turn the yarn over in the mordant bath every 15 minutes or so and leave it alone otherwise.
- Once the heating is done, leave the fiber to cool in the pot. If you need to store it for a couple of days, just put the (cooled) damp fiber in a plastic bag in the fridge.

-Ann Sheffield and Maggie Fry-Manross

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