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"The HUB" Vol. XX, No. 4
Bimonthly newsletter of July - August 1999


August 7, 1999, 10:30 a.m. to whenever, The Woods, Bradleytown, PA

**** NOT in Edinboro! ****

The August meeting will be at Sue Spencer's home in Bradleytown, which is north of Franklin/Oil City, west of Titusville, east of Meadville, and south of Erie. We will have a business meeting at 10:30 a.m., but after that this is a social event. Wear your play clothes, and bring your spinning wheel or projects, your family, a dish to share for a potluck picnic lunch, and your bathing suit and towel. Sue has dishes, silverware, and cups and will make lots of iced tea and lemonade. She will provide lawn chairs and a few straight-back chairs for spinning. There is a hot tub and also a pond with inner tubes and boats (and life vests). Sue adds, "Remember, this is not a real house, it's a cabin in The Woods."

After lunch (around 1:00), Judy Hanninen will lead us in a felting workshop. Everyone will make a pair of bunny booties. You will need: 1 ½ oz. of wool roving; a large baking potato to use as a bootie form. The wool should be well-carded, and finer wool produces a tighter felt (Judy's favorite is Merino). If you don't have any roving, come anyway; if you have extra roving, please bring some to share. Please also bring the following optional items if you have them: a crock pot; knee-high hose to put over the potato+roving; dish soap (we won't need much).

DIRECTIONS: See your print copy of The Hub.


PPA Grant $500.00
Tuition + materials fee $1960.00
Total income: $2460.00
Rita's airfare* $155.25
Rita's parking at airport $15.00
Rita's lodging $143.10
Rita's meals $36.43
Tuition $1000.00
Speaker's fee $150.00
Materials fee $240.00
Hall rental $90.00
Refreshments $65.66
Copying $14.34
Postage $59.06
Envelopes $1.05
Total expenses: $1969.89
*The amount listed is half of Rita's total airfare; the other half was paid by the Butler guild.

-Submitted by Ann Sheffield


Treasurer's report:

Checking balance: $1436.63
Savings balance: $1480.94


Sue Spencer discussed plans for the Forest Fiber Festival in September and called for volunteers to help with various activities. Friday will be a social affair at the Farmhouse featuring a pot-luck dinner. Anyone can stay at the farmhouse or camp overnight for $10; call Sue Spencer to reserve a spot. (People are welcome to come for dinner even if they aren't staying the night). Joanna McDermot agreed to teach sock-knitting on Friday afternoon starting at 3:00. A question about the availability of food on Saturday was raised. Commercial food vendors will be on-site, but Barb Lodge also agreed to run a table that would provide coffee and cookies (cookie donations from members are requested!).

Bonnie Crtyzer reported on the fleece-to-shawl demonstration at the Edinboro Highland Games (details elsewhere in the Hub). She displayed the finished shawl, which came out beautifully despite the rash decision of the spinners not to ply the weft.

Ann Sheffield gave a financial report on the Rita Buchanan workshop (published above). She also noted that the deadline to apply again for the grant that supported the workshop was fast approaching. We agreed to seek funding for a Bobbie Irwin weaving workshop (and her "Ode to Woad" lecture), and Barb Lodge volunteered to prepare and submit the application. We also agreed that, in light of the financial cushion provided by the profit from Rita's workshop, we would go ahead with the Bobbie Irwin workshop even if we do not receive outside funding. Ann also discussed the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship and Apprenticeship programs, which provide support for individual artists. Sue Spencer has the forms if anyone is interested in applying to these programs.

Sue Spencer confirmed that the Tuesday Spin will meet throughout the summer, and she again raised the possibility of getting the Saturday group going again (anyone interested, please contact Sue). The question of whether we are having a dye day this year was raised, and people seemed to think this was a good idea. Sue then discussed the August meeting, which will be held at her house. There will be a pot-luck picnic lunch followed by a felting workshop with Judy Hanninen.

In light of the fact that at least five members have gone or will go abroad this year, it was suggested that our annual holiday party at the December meeting have an "international" theme this year. People could bring foods from the places they've visited, and the travelers could talk about textiles in the lands they toured.

Karen Fry asked if the Guild wants to do a fleece-to-shawl demonstration for the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad, which has requested a demo. At the Titusville Station. After some discussion, we decided that July 25 was the only possible date out of those suggested. Karen will weave, and Barb, Sue, and Bonnie agreed to spin. More spinners would be most appreciated - please call Karen to volunteer.

Various people described items for sale. Bonnie had photographs and information from a Murraysville woman selling antique (and functional) wheels and fiber tools. Sharon Reiland has a friend selling a Leclerc-Nilus four-harness loom. Ruth Walker-Daniels is selling roving for $3.25 per half-pound. Karen suggested that the Guild buy a shuttle and bobbins for the Guild loom; Ruth offered to donate a boat shuttle with bobbins. Sue offered to donate a warping board.

A new member, Sandy Volpe, was introduced. She raises alpacas, and she brought some fiber samples for us to fondle.

Barb Lodge asked if someone going to MAFA would represent the Guild at a buffet dinner at the conference. Joyce Rose volunteered. Joyce noted that the first week in October in National Spinning and Weaving Week and that we should do something to mark the event. Various ideas for displays in area libraries and other public spaces were suggested.

Dorothy Maynard reported on her trip to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, which she described as "a good experience". She and Nancy Washok saw a host of sheep, llamas, and alpacas as well as a herding demonstration. On behalf of Nancy's mother, Dorothy also expressed appreciation for the cards and good wishes received from Guild members on the recent passing of Nancy's father.

Show-and-Tell: Sue Spencer showed a purple-and-black batik vest she bought at the Highland Games and a "yak back" that was a Christmas gift from Joanna; Joanna's son bought it in India. Blanche Hall showed a scarf that she wove from tussah silk and quiviut. Helen McCartney gave Blanche the quiviut shortly before her death, and Blanche spun it up and used it as the weft in the soft and beautiful scarf. Blanche also showed the fruits of a class she took in name-drafting with Sigrid Piroch: a sample of the draft based on the name "Butler Weavers Guild" woven in pink and white. Laura Fry showed her first-ever completed quilt. Karen Fry showed a nine-patch sample quilt with a border design of cabins and trees; Karen insists the quilt "designed itself."


Once again this year, our Guild presented a fleece-to-shawl demonstration at the annual Highland Games in on Saturday, May 22. Karen Fry wove, and Bonnie Crytzer, Cheryl Geist-Brozell, Ann Sheffield, and Sue-Spencer were the spinners. The woven shawl was delivered to Barb Lodge afterwards for washing and finishing. Ilene Elliston and her husband ran the Guild sale booth, which brought in $14.90. We also raffled off the shawl we made at last year's Games, and the pot amounted to $56.00. Finally, the event organizers paid us $50.00 for demonstrating. So, the Guild made a total of $120.90 and had a good time doing it (it was nice and dry under our tent, even if it did pour at times...)


As my July trip to the UK will include a sojourn in the Orkneys, I thought I would cover their native sheep this month.

From Rare Breeds: Endangered Farm Animals in Photographs: "About 150 years ago, a tall wall was built on the island of North Ronaldsey, the northernmost island of the Orkney archipelago, to separate the shore from the cultivated fields. The native sheep were thus excluded from the fields by the wall, and in the intervening period have become totally adapted to an exclusive diet of seaweed. This has caused significant physiological changes in the sheep. Otherwise, the North Ronaldsey is a typical primitive breed of the north-western fringes of Europe. The wool may be a variety of colours, ranging though white, grey and black to brown, and the rams carry impressive spiral horns which are distinctively ridged and often grow in alternate bands of pale and dark colour.

"Because the total population of this breed was located on one island, it was very vulnerable, both to disease and to oil slick pollution from the oilfields in the North Sea. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has purchased another island, Linga Holm, and a group of breeding sheep to create a reserve population."

From In Sheep's Clothing: "This tough, hardy breed… is considered to be characteristic of Iron Age domestic sheep and to represent the ancestral stock from which the modern Shetland breed evolved… Although sometimes contaminated with sand if the sheep have been grazing at the seashore, the fleece is good quality and used for specialty knitted garments." This book also reports a fiber diameter of 26-31 microns and a staple length of 1 ½ - 3 inches for the breed.


This year's Forest Fiber Festival is planned for Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11, at Two Mile Run Park in Venango County. Friday will be a low-key, fun day. By popular demand, Joanna McDermot will teach sock-knitting beginning at 3:00. Dinner will be pot luck, and everyone is invited. We have a farmhouse on the site reserved; beds, floor space, and camping area are available for anyone who would like to stay overnight on Friday. The cost is $10 per person for lodging of all kinds; first-come, first-served on the beds! To reserve a spot, call Sue Spencer at work at Christ Episcopal Church; while Sue is on vacation, Joanna McDermot will able to take your reservation.

On Saturday, the site will be open to the public, a wide range of classes and demonstrations are planned, and a number of vendors will be selling their wares. From 10 a.m. to noon, Marilyn Merbach will teach a class on spinning cashmere, and Winni LaBraque will teach a class on pocket card weaving. Demonstrations of sheep-shearing, spindle spinning, natural dyeing, lacemaking, and woolcombing will be featured. There will be handspinner's fleece competition judged by Joanna McDermot and a "popular choice" award in which the public will vote for their favorite handspun items.

To find out more about the festival, sign up for a class, or volunteer to help (we still need someone to staff the Guild sale table), please contact Bonnie Crytzer (email or Sue Spencer.


In August, Sigrid Piroch will present some exciting classes at the Sawmill Center for the Arts. On Friday, August 27th, she will present an evening slide show on "Slovak Textiles". She writes that the presentation will focus on "East & Central European *gorgeous* folk dress, blue printing, embellished textiles; handspinning & equipment/methods; weaving & equipment/methods. I will have a large display of authentic textiles and will wear an authentic folk dress from Cicmany, Slovakia (a little mountain village)." The presentation is $5 (free to those taking Sig's workshop on the following days) - a great price for a talk that has been given at Convergence and also on three continents.

On August 28th and 29th, Sigrid will teach a class on "Creating Worsted Handspun Yarns" based on her travels in Slovakia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The class includes: "various folk methods of preparing and spinning worsted and semi-worsted yarns with hackles, paddle combs, English wool combs, hybrid combs, hand combs, and more… There is a reason that this was the method used most often by folk people to produce most of the thread for the many functional textiles, among them durability and beauty." No equipment is required, though participants who own wheels, spindles, and/pr combs are encouraged to bring them. For more information, contact Sig.


The Tuesday Spinning group continues to meet the third Tuesday of the month at Christ Episcopal Church on Diamond Park in Meadville, 10 am - 2 pm. The next meetings will be on July 20 and August 17. As always, all are welcome to attend, with beginners especially encouraged. Bring a project, a wheel or handspindle, and a bag lunch. Beverages are provided; bring a treat to share if you wish.

Is anyone interested in getting the Saturday spin or knit groups going again? In the past, these met once month. The knit group was actually a study group, and we worked our way through a gansey sampler and a study of knitting techniques. If you're interested in a Saturday fiber group, please contact Sue Spencer.


Leclerc-Nilus 4-harness loom and bench. Contact Sharon Reiland (it's actually Sharon's friend who is selling).

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