Northwest PA Spinners and Weavers Home About NPSWG News Members Area
Contact US

Past Issues

"The HUB" Vol. XXVIII, No.6
Bimonthly newsletter of November - December 2007


Saturday, December 1, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Christ Episcopal Church, Diamond Park, Meadville, PA

November Program

Day three of the Challenge

The program for November will be EMBELLISHMENTS for the Challenge. Several of our members are kind enough to share there information on different ways to decorate your felted bags.

During our Oct. meeting I noticed a lot of our members have done felting and I would love it if they do have patterns, ideas, any information they could share with our group or show some of the felted articles they have made. Anita will demonstrate needle felting and how to embroider felted fabric onto the felted bags. Elaine will teach us some of the embroidery she has done, using ribbon and embroidery floss. She is kind enough to make up kits for this demo. Judy will demonstrate how she makes wavelet flowers. If you have a wavelet bring to meeting along with yarn. Janet Smouse brought in flowers she made by crocheting. She was kind enough to share this pattern at the Oct meeting.

Hostesses for November are Karen Fry and Anita Hotchkiss.

December Program

Day four of the Challenge

It's time to get ready for the holidays, and our Guild will follow our usual custom for our celebration meeting. After a brief business meeting, we will share the good dishes we make for a pot-luck lunch. So brush up your favorite recipes to cook and to share. Make a few recipe copies for folks who want them, too. People always ask, don't they?

After lunch we will continue to share. Bring along a special Christmas ornament to include in a grab bag. Wrap the ornament so that it will be disguised, and include your name so that others will know who to thank. Everyone who brings an ornament will take part in the exchange.

The afternoon program will be a mini-workshop with Joanna McDermot on using the lucet to make elegant cording. Lucet cording will be another choice for decorating our Challenge bags, and the details of the program will follow.

“The Mysterious Lucet Demystified”

The lucet is one of the oldest and simplest fiber instruments we know about. It is a simple, horn shaped, hand held form, which is used to wind - or knot - a lovely square shaped cord. The lucet cord can be as simple as a hurry-up emergency shoelace, or it can be a lovely, creative surface embellishment for our challenge bags. And don't forget those draw strings and things. The lucet cord is a great alternative for those folk who want cord but don't knit. You don't need I-cord if you have a lucet.

You will need no special materials except your lucet. Lucets are available from Janet Smouse at the regular meetings, and we will also have them at the December meeting. Janet's husband has made us a generous supply in both oak and walnut, and will provide them at a very low cost. I think $2.00 if I remember rightly - or maybe it was $3.00.

I will have plenty of perle cotton for you to practice on, or you can bring your own yarn. It should be fairly smooth and not too thick or too thin. Fuzzy doesn't work well at all. I have gotten a good cord from our worsted weight challenge yarn, but thicker yarn might be a problem.

We will have a great time together, and I hope we will come up with all kinds of new and creative ideas for our cord.

We'll all look forward to our own special celebration. See you all in December.

Happy lucet-ing for the coming holidays.

Cheers from Joanna

January Program

We will have a weaving lesson at Mathilda Murphy's home. “Weaving with plastic bags” It’s not what it seems and it’s really a neat way to use up these bags. START SAVING YOUR PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS.

Calendar of Events

November 3rd - NPSWG Program Meeting at Christ Church 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.

November 20th - NPSWG Tuesday Spinning at Christ Church 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.

December 1st - NPSWG Business/Program Meeting/Christmas Party at Christ Church 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m

December 18th - NPSWG Tuesday Spinning at Christ Church 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.

Minutes of the October 2007 NPSWG Meeting

Program. The meeting began with a presentation by Vice-Presidents Vicki Ferster and Anita Hotchkiss about the Guild Challenge. The project is to make a felted or fulled purse/bag, at least 10” x 10”, by the August, 2008 meeting. Both unspun fiber (fleece or roving) and yarn are available—the fee for unspun fiber is $6 (payable to the Guild), for yarn, $15 (payable to Anita). Three colors will be supplied—all must be used, but additional colors/fibers/materials may be added. Members can adjust the relative amounts of the three colors by trading, but the finished project must contain some of each color. (A “swap time” will occur at the December meeting.) Extra amounts of any color may also be purchased. The Cushing dyes used to create the three colors are also available from Anita. Any construction technique—knitting, weaving, crochet, wet-felting, etc.—is acceptable as long as the bag is felted or fulled at some point.

Many Guild meetings over the next year will involve techniques that can be used in creating the bags. The November meeting will focus on embellishment. In December, Joanna McDermot will teach cord-making with a lucet. One meeting in 2008 will involve leather-working.

Several suggestions for working on the bags were presented. Yarn should be spun to a bulky thickness and does not need to be even. Swatches should be felted to determine shrinkage, especially when combining different fibers. Knitting/crochet needles should be bigger, and gauge (or weaving sett) looser, than called for in patterns not designed for fulling—the finished fabric will shrink down and firm up. The book Felted Knits has patterns specifically designed for fulling—the Guild voted to purchase a copy for the Guild library. (Contact Vicki for other patterns and handouts on techniques.) Handles can be purchased from Joann Fabrics or craft stores or can be made by the crafter to match the bag. Fabric can be fulled in a washing machine: sew up seams (including any handles made of yarn), put in washer with a little Dawn dish soap, and wash in hot water. Once the bag begins to felt, switch to a cold-water rinse. Alternate hot wash/cold rinse until the desired fabric is achieved. Check often – a project can always be fulled more but cannot be un-felted. A mesh bag or zippered pillowcase can be used to hold the project in the machine and reduce fiber in the plumbing.

Old Business. President Joanna McDermot discussed upcoming meetings. The November meeting will focus on embellishment techniques. In December, Joanna will teach us how to make cord with a lucet. We will have a pot-luck lunch and an ornament exchange—bring a wrapped (or at least disguised) ornament with your name inside the wrapping so the recipient will know who made/brought it. Ann Sheffield and Barb Lodge volunteered to set up for the party, and another noble volunteer, whose name this reporter failed to record, agreed to clean up afterwards.

The minutes of the last meeting were approved. In Bonnie’s absence, Joanna gave the Treasurer’s Report: operating funds, $1438.90; Helen McCartney Scholarship Fund, $2496.29. Dues are due for 2008; dues are currently set at $20 per family. Those able and willing to do so are encouraged to add a donation to their dues to help fund the Guild. Our membership in MAFA has been renewed for 2008. The Waterford Field Day netted $62.50.

New members and visitors were introduced—welcome to Cathy Beck, Cindy Bailey, and Jen Phillips.

New Business. Lucets are available for $2 from Janet Smouse (learn to use it at the December meeting!). Karen Fry discussed problems she has had getting access to the Guild loom for demonstrations. The Guild voted to make Karen the Keeper of the Loom, and it will now reside at her house.

Barb Lodge announced a workshop at the Erie Art Museum on connecting Erie’s large immigrant population with the arts community. The Guild voted to use money from the Helen McCartney Scholarship Fund to sponsor Karen Fry and Mary Catherine Stack to attend the workshop; they will give a presentation on what they learn as their scholarship program.

Joanna raised a concern that informal decisions taken at the Tuesday spin are not always communicated to people who can’t go. Please keep Joanna in the loop! so we can make sure everyone can learn what’s going on.

Billie Bookamer is taking a multiday spinning workshop with Anne Fields in October. The Helen McCartney Fund is sponsoring her.

Fleeces at the Albion Fair are simply thrown away—should we do something? Their condition is unknown, and we decided not to act at this time.

Anita transmitted from Bonnie an announcement that Donna Wellman bequeathed all of her dyeing equipment to the Guild; it is currently at Anita’s. Joanna suggested that we have a Donna Wellman Memorial Dye Day next summer.

Mathilda Murphy announced that she had yarn available.

Show and Tell. Janet showed “tamari balls” made by Barb, who will teach us to make them next year. Bob Stine had needle-felted a unique interpretation of the Tooth Fairy. Taryn Barnett had felted a dragon. At this point, your reporter got distracted by the wonderful projects and lost track of who made what, but we saw a warp-faced piece in shadow weave, a knitted hat, a twined basket made with baling twine, and a needle-felted “voodoo fairy” (because she had been stuck full of pins…).

Respectfully, if a little dazedly, submitted,
Ann Sheffield, Secretary

Classified Section

WANTED: I am looking for an old Union floor loom or other for blankets and rugs. I am willing to trade my new Ashford Rigid Heddle loom and towards the purchase.
Chris McCornick,

WANTED: I am looking for a 4or 8 harness table loom. I also would like copies of Handwoven Magazine for 1989 to 2002. Andy Cooley,

This is what I’m talkin’ about: a Web site that does all the work for you! Simply enter your yarn gauge, the length you want your sock to be, and a few foot measurements (calf and ankle circumference and foot length) and the dazzling “Arachne Sock Calculator” will abracadabra it into a sock pattern just for you. This fun and extremely helpful tool makes sock knitting so undaunting, you may soon find yourself measuring the calf circumference of strangers at the local Denny’s.

I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded of the need for “knitter’s graph paper,” not just plain old graph paper, when sketching a picture of your next project. But why go out into the big bad world to search for some when you can generate reams of your own knitter’s graph paper with this handy Web site? All you have to do is enter some gauge info and you’re good to go. What’s more, this site generates your paper as a saveable, printable pdf file that you can keep forever, send to friends, or use to paper your walls!

Dye Day 2007. Wool for the Challenge

Home | About NPSWG | News | Members Area
Contact Us | Search NPSWG