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

Past Issues

"The HUB" Vol. XIX, No. 6
Bimonthly newsletter of November - December 1998


December 5, 1998, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Edinboro Borough Building, Edinboro, PA


Karen Fry is the organizer for our December party this year. It will feature a pot-luck lunch - please remember what you signed up to bring! (Or check with Karen.) We will have a mini-workshop and a gift exchange - please bring an ornament or small gift (under $5) and receive a surprise in return!

This is always a fun meeting, so come and kick off the holiday season with food, friendship, and a little craftwork.

Board Meeting, all welcome 9:00
Coffee, conversation 9:30
General Meeting 10:00
Program 11:00



The Guild has been awarded a grant of $500 from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to offset the cost of the Rita Buchanan workshop next spring. This will allow us to charge less for tuition and hopefully make it possible for people to attend who otherwise could not afford it.

Registration information for the workshop will be available SOON. I apologize for the delay in getting it out.

-Ann Sheffield


According to our records, several library items are (past) due. The strayed items and, where known, the guilty parties (including yours truly) are:

Card Weaving by Crockett Checked out by: Elaine Fertig
Knitting Ganseys by Brown-Reinsel Checked out by: Maggie Fry
The New Clay by Roche Checked out by: Maggie Fry
Bodywork for Weavers and Fiber Artists (video) Checked out by: Maggie Fry
Handspinning, Art and Technique by Fannin Checked out by: Sandra Grimm
The Weaving Book by Bress Checked out by: Susan Helm
The Maker's Hand by Collingwood Checked out by: Susan Helm
Rag Rug Handbook by Meany & Pfaff Checked out by: Barb Lodge
Hands On Dyeing by Blumenthal & Kreider Checked out by: Barb Lodge
Color in Spinning by Menz Checked out by: Barb Lodge
Handwoven's Design Collection #8 Checked out by: Donna Long
Knitting in America Checked out by: Ann Sheffield
Color and Weave by Sutton Checked out by: Ruth Walker-Daniels
The Essentials of Handspinning by Ross Checked out by: Nancy Washok
Merino by Stove Checked out by: Nancy Washok
Knots and Netting by Waller Checked out by: Nancy Washok
The Weaver's Book, by Tidball Checked out by: ???*
The Trials of Jurying by Eckenwalder Checked out by: ???
Drafts and Designs: Guide for 5-12 Harness Weaves Checked out by: ???
Warping All By Yourself by Garret Checked out by: ???

*But you know who you are!


Treasurer's report:

Checking balance: $912.80
Savings balance: $1091.36

It was announced that Ann Sheffield will have a mailing out within the following week on the particulars of the Rita Buchanan workshop. We will have exclusive rights to sign up until Nov.1, after which it will be open to members of other guilds. Sign-up deadline is Feb. 1. [Editor's note: obviously, this has not happened. The mailing will be out shortly, and members of our Guild will still be able to sign up first.] The drawing for the Guild scholarship for the Rita Buchanan workshop was won by Bonnie Crytzer. It was reported that Ann Sheffield wrote a proposal for a grant to offset costs for the Buchanan workshop.

Barb Lodge read a report from Elaine Fertig regarding progress on next year's program schedule. It was also decided that our regular April Guild meeting will be Friday evening, Aoril 8, next year. After a brief business meeting, Rita Buchanan will give a talk on "Making Time for Fiber." It was hoped that members who prefer not to drive at night will be able to ride with those who do not mind night-driving.

Ruth Walker-Daniels reported that, in addition to the many changes that have already taken place at the Sawmill Center for the Arts, more changes are expected. Many things are in limbo and it is hard to make plans. We discussed this year's Fiber Fest and its addition of other fiber arts. Barb Lodge showed the shawl from the Fiber Fest fleece-to-shawl - finished! She said it is about 15" longer than required, which would account for at least one hour of our overtime. It has not yet been decided how to dispose of the shawl.


Ruth Walker-Daniels passed on this information from a woman in Warren who is selling most of her weaving supplies and also a friend's loom. The equipment and materials include:

45", 4H Nilius Leclerc counter-balanced floor loom $700 Included: raddle, 12-dent reed, lease stickes, heddles, sectional warp beam

Bench for 45" loom $100

24", double-harness Nilius Leclerc counter-balanced floor loom $500 Included: raddle, several reeds, lease sticks, heddles, bobbins, bobbin winder, shuttles

Nilius Leclerc table model warping reel, 28" high x 72" around $100 Inkle loom, 12" x 8" x 6"79 [sic] $30

Also, cones and balls of yarn in many fibers along with a wide selection of books and back issues of Handwoven are available. To ask about any of these items, contact Ruth.


I heard about dyeing cotton T-shirts with Kool-Aid several years ago. I remember the stuff staining my clothes when I was little, and figured, if it stains, it dyes. I called Pat, our Guild's dye guru, and asked about it. She said it didn't work very well. I took that as gospel, and promptly forgot about it. Several months ago, I was perusing our local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, and lo and behold, on the kid's page, there were detailed instructions for tie-dyeing cotton T-shirts with Kool-Aid! I decided to give it a try. The following are the instructions and my comments on the project.

"Here's how to make a nifty-swell-neato tie-dye shirt." Cool! Now let me find a plain white T-shirtƒ

"Soak shirt overnight in salt water, mix 1/3 cup of salt to 1 quart of water." OK, this is good. Salt is used to brighten colors when using Rit dye, so it should work for this.

"Fold the shirt using a tight accordion fold. Fold forward then back across the shirt until the shirt is a single strip." This narrow folding stuff isn't as easy as it looks. Darn! Lost it again!

"Roll up the shirt and tie with rubber bands." This looks like a big white sticky bun!

"Mix three containers using a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid (red, yellow, blue) and no more than a quart of water." "Honey, are you going to the grocery store? Oh, good. Can you get some Kool-Aid? The unsweetened kind. Flavors? Oh, some red kind, some purple kind,, and maybe a blue and orangeƒ right, I'll go with you." Much later: Now then. Do you suppose that means a quart of water per three packages, or a quart of water for each package?

"Dip one-third of the roll in each color. Overlapping colors will create new colors." Duh. Gee, this lemonade flavor isn't very yellow. It isn't coloring the shirt at all. And the grape, yuck. I've never seen such an ugly purple. Now this orange, that's better. This "Pink Swimmingo" is really pink! I'm going to be dipping this all day. Maybe if I use the turkey baster as a syringe to squirt the Kool-Aid onto the shirtƒ there, that's better. What pretty soft colors! Smells like candy, too.

"Let roll dry on a piece of wax paper." OK, this should dry overnight. The next day: This doesn't feel the least bit dry. The second day: This might be a little bit drier than yesterdayƒ The third day: Geez! I'm putting this in the sun.

"When dry, take off rubberbands, turn shirt inside out and dry in a dryer set on high for about 15 minutes." Boy, this shirt is stiff. I'll set the dryer for 25 minutes just to be safe.

"Shirt is ready to wear. Wash in cold water by itself for first time cleaning." Ready to wear? Only if you like sticky, stiff, candy-smelling T-shirts. I'm going to wash this. Let's seeƒ delicate cycle, cold water, Tide.. When I opened the washing machine, I had such a surprise. Pasted to the drum was a brilliant white T-shirt.

I have this to say about Kool-Aid on cotton: it only dyes when you don't want it to. Sigh.

[Written by Dawn Lanman-Ludwig; published in Thrums, the newsletter of the Central Ohio Weaver's Guild. Their Editor notes that Kool-Aid does work well on animal fibers like wool, silk and mohair. -Ed.]


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 meeting is on November 17. The group will NOT meet in December due to the general Yuletide chaos. 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.


Look at it long enough - the cloud banks, the bright mists veiling the uplands, the lovable green squiggle of hills - and you can begin to lose yourself in the landscape.

Which is remarkable: it's not every evening bag you can get lost in. But Marla Krasnegor, who made the one described of handmade felt, says she likes her work to have "a sense of the land", and it does. Krasnegor started out as a weaver, and after a while began to resent how long it took to see results. So she took a felting workshop and found her medium.

To make felt by hand, you layer carded but unspun wool crosswise for your background, then arrange drifts or wafts or nubbins or squiggles of wool or yarn on top where you want them. Already you can see what the finished piece will look like. "You lay it out and, if you don't like it, you change it." Krasgenor says, "It's like painting with fibers." Then you roll it up in a piece of fabric, add soap, water and friction - kneading or rubbing or rolling - and, almost presto, it's felt. The scales on the surface of the wool fibers catch onto each other and lock and curl up and shrink, and it all ends up connected.

The technology goes back practically forever, probably further back than weaving, to the time when Central Asian nomads started wearing animal skins. One legend says Noah discovered felt on the floor of the ark, where sheep had shed their wool and trod it into felt, but Patricia Spark says felt was being made well before then. Spark, editor of the North American Felters' Network newsletter out of Albany, OR, says it's largely because of felt that half of this country is here, since the trappers who first explored and eventually began settling the West were after beaver pelts to be turned into tall beaver-felt hats by English hatters. Industrial feltmaking came to the United States shortly after the Revolution,, she says, but making felt by hand at home came much later, with the waves of Scandinavian and Eastern European immigrants who arrived toward the end of the 19th century.

A few of them passed their ways of making felt boots and mittens down to their children, but not many. Most of the handmade felt being produced in America today can trace its roots only back to the 1970s when, after Marshall McLuhan observed that the medium was the message, arts-and-crafts types began exploring all sorts of media to test their expressive potential. Little had been published about felting technique, so early 70's feltmaking was hit or miss: "these funky, stringy, lumpy things," Spark says.

But she had seen picture of exquisite felt artifacts recovered from Siberian tombs so she "didn't want this lumpy stuff." She started studying the techniques of traditional feltmaking - often by scrutinizing photographs in ethnographic journals with a magnifying glass.

As more fiber artists experimented with felt, books were published, exhibitions mounted, workshops offered and international confabs of felters held. (Spark attended one with felters from Hungary and Mongolia where they lived in yurts, the felt teepees used by Asian nomads.) Now, she says, after 25 years of feltmaking, American felters have more control of their technique - to the point that some produce photorealist images in felt, mainly to show that they can. Felters tend to divide into those who do functional objects - from rugs to cloaks to hats to eyeglass cases. A rug of any size by an established artisan can cost upwards of $1,000 - one reason Marla Krasnegor likes doing shoulder bags, eyeglass cases, tree ornaments and cat toys. They're "things normal people can afford," she says. Which is almost as nice having them be things that, if you look long enough, you can get lost in.

[Written by Patricia McLaughlin. Gleaned from the North American Felters' Network newsletter by way of Fleece Facts, newletter of the Canton Weavers and Spinners Guild. -Ed.]


There is a woman who weaves the night sky;
See how she spins,
See how her fingers fly.
She is with us from beginning to end,
Our grandmothers,
Sister and friend.
She is the needle
And we are the thread
She is the weaver
And we are the web.
She changes everything she touches
And everything she touches changes.
She changes everything she touches
And everything she touches changes.

[Navajo poem found in the Butler County Spinners & Weavers Guild newsletter. -Ed.]

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