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

Past Issues

"The HUB" Vol. XXI, No. 1
Bimonthly newsletter of January-February 2000


February 5, 2000, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Edinboro Borough Building, Edinboro, PA


At the February meeting, four of our members will be offering mini-workshops to help you learn a new skill, hone an old one, or learn about fiber equipment. The classes are set up so that you can attend two different classes and also so that the instructors each get to take a class.

From 10:30 to 11:15, the following two classes will be available:

Ilene Elliston: Inkle Loom. If you have an inkle loom, please bring it so that you or others can practice warping it. To participate in this class, you will need warping thread.

Bonnie Crtytzer: Wool Combs. Bonnie will let you try using her combs. If you have a set of wool combs, please bring them if you don't mind others' using them. Bring fleece or fiber to comb if you're doing this class.

From 11:15 to 12:00, the two classes will be:

Ann Sheffield: Spinning. Ann will try to help solve equipment problems or suggest techniques for spinning different fibers. If there are many wheels and spindles, we can also try out each others' equipment. Bring a spinning wheel or drop spindle and some fiber to spin (combed fiber from Bonnie's workshop will work wonderfully).

Joanna McDermot: Knitting. Joanna will teach basic knitting for beginners and sock knitting for more advanced knitters. Bring a set of four double-pointed needles and some compatible practice yarn (smooth yarn works better than novelty yarn when you're learning).


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



Dues are due! If you haven't paid yet for 2000, please send your check (still only $10 per family) to our Treasurer. Bonnie Crytzer, at R.D. 2, Box 162B, Oil City, PA 16301. Bonnie asks that you be sure to include your current address and phone number, plus your email address if you have one.

Also, if you haven't yet completed the Fiber Festival survey in the last Hub, please dig it out of the pile and send it in - we need your input! Lost your survey? Then at least write down your thoughts and ideas for the Festival. Surveys and comments should also go to Bonnie Crytzer.

If you notice any announcements or articles about the upcoming Bobbie Irwin workshop in your local newspaper, please clip them and send them to Barb Lodge or to Elaine Fertig. They will use them in compiling the final report to the funding agency (PPA) supporting the workshop.


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 two meetings will be on January 18 and February 15. 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.


Treasurer's report:

Checking balance: $922.64
Savings balance: $1503.46


Bonnie Crytzer reported that Ilene Ellison edited the Guild's books for the last four years; all is well. Dues are due. Checks should be sent to Bonnie; please give her your current address, phone number, and email address. Bonnie also urged people to return their surveys about the Fiber Festival; we will decide about next year's Festival at the February meeting.

Ann Sheffield asked who had actually submitted pieces to Spin-Off's "Save the Sheep" contest. Of the members present, Ann (sheep breed = Shetland), Ruth Ruggerio (Karakul), and Cheryl Geist-Brozell (Jacob) had all honored their (very public) commitments and contributed work; Ruth was proudly wearing her "Save the Sheep" T-shirt at the meeting!

Barb Lodge reported on the status of the Bobbie Irwin workshop. Elain Fertig will be taking registrations while Barb is away. Registration is now open to NW Guild members; it will be opened to non-members on February. A drawing was held for the Guild scholarship to the workshop; it was awarded to Dorothy Maynard.

Barb recommended that the Guild purchase The Ultimate Weaver's and Prairie Wool Companion Index, a complete listing of errata from both magazines. Ann suggested buying Meg Swansen's Knitting. Both purchases were approved.

Sue Spencer noted that we need a Nominating Committee to identify candidates for Guild offices in the upcoming elections. She added that the Guild Service Award is being revived. This award is presented to a Guild member in appreciation for time and talent spent in furthering the Guild and its objectives. The recipient will be selected by a secret ballot involving all members present at the April meeting, and the Award will be presented at the June meeting.

Sandy Volpe reported on the possibility of a Guild display at the new public library in Erie. Items would be inside a locked glass cabinet. There is also a small room that could be used for demonstrations. Kate Arkwright is doing a program on fiber arts for her professional women's group on January 20th; she would like to borrow display items and small handmade items to show.

Elaine Fertig reported on the Guild programs for the upcoming year and distributed a survey to decide what mini-workshops we will have in February.

Sigrid Piroch reminded us that next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Guild and suggested we do something to celebrate - a luncheon or dinner? A fashion show? The anniversary falls in October, so we have time to plan. Sig also urged everyone to consider attending Convergence. The Butler and Rochester Guilds are both discussing hiring a bus for the trip, so there is a possibility of getting rides. The Rochester Guild has already calculated that, if they fill a bus of 50, the round-trip cost will be $75 per person.

Susan Fenton announced that she was interviewed by Shuttle, Spindle, & Dyepot about the Guild Webpage - look for the article in the "Guildview" column in an upcoming issue. Susan has also added a search feature to the Website. Remember that Susan can post information on the Web, so send her any fiber news, especially if it can't wait for the Hub.

Show and Tell began with a "Tell": Karen Fry was going to graduate in two weeks, summa cum laude! Laura Fry had completed a gorgeous Log Cabin quilt in blue and white. We saw Sigrid's baby blanket (published in Handwoven), Susan Fenton's wrist distaffs made from skeins of handspun, Barb Lodge's finished vest from a Chautauqua workshop, Ruth Walker-Daniels' hat, and Sue Spencer's sweater-in-progress.

February hostesses: Ilene Elliston and Karen Fry
April hostesses: Sue Spencer, Nancy Washok, and Dorothy Maynard

[Thanks to Barb Lodge for her notes on the meeting. Ed.


Elizabeth Zimmerman, who revolutionized modern knitting, died last November 30th at a hospital in her hometown of Marshfield, Wisconsin. She was 89.

Mrs. Zimmerman is best known for her creation of a mathematical system for figuring the proportions of sweaters and clothing based on how many stitches per inch the knitter uses. The "Percentage System" has been a boon to knitters, as it leaves them free to concentrate on the creative part of their hobby. She wrote such books as Knitting Around, Knitting Without Tears, Knitter's Almanac, and Knitting Workshop. Her books are fun to read even if one doesn't knit - her comments are sometimes hilarious. She hosted a number of television programs on knitting for PBS and began a "knitting camp" through the University of Wisconsin. She also led workshops throughout the U.S. and New Zealand.

Her daughter Meg Swansen, also a top knitting teacher and designer, will carry on the family business. Mrs. Zimmerman is survived by her husband, another daughter, a son, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

[Adapted from Loco News, the newsletter of the Lorain County Spinners & Weavers. Ed.]


The Bobbie Irwin workshop is set for April 15-17 (Saturday through Monday), 2000. This three-day workshop on rug-twining is suitable for all members; no prior weaving experience is necessary, and all needed equipment will be provided. Using simple frame looms, we will learn an almost-forgotten technique for making extremely durable and beautiful rag rugs. We will explore several warping and patterning techniques while working on potholder-sized samplers. Making these small samplers will give us the expertise to make full-sized rugs later. Each participant will work at his/her own pace to complete 2-5 samplers. The sampler frames and first warp will be provided by Bobbie at a cost of $5.00 per person. A "hit-or-miss" version of a twined rug can be seen in the Sept.-Oct., 1995 issue of Piecework on p. 65. We will be learning how to go beyond this style and design and weave patterns using graphed designs.

Class size is limited to 20. Registration is currently open to members of the NW Guild only. On February 1, registration will be opened to non-members. The tuition cost is $60 for NW Guild members and $70 for non-members (this includes a one-year Guild membership). A deposit of $20 is required at the time of sign-up, and the balance is due by April 1. To secure a place in the workshop, send your deposit (made out to NWPSWG) to Elaine Fertig.

In addition to the workshop, Bobbie will present a talk, "An Ode to Woad", at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. This talk is open to all, not just workshop participants, at no charge. Our Guild meeting will be held the same evening (not on the regular date of April 1), and Bobbie's talk will be the program for the meeting.

The workshop and talk are made possible by a grant from Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), a local decision-making program of the PA Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Venango Center for Creative Development.


Goodness, where do I begin? How about with this: Convergence is the largest fiber conference in America, and it hasn't been this close to us since 1976 (it's being held in Cincinnati). Or this: There are over 150 (!) instructors and presenters attending, including some of the great names in fiber: Anita Luvera-Mayer, Rita Buchanan, Jason Collingwood, Deb Menz, Beth Brown-Reinsel… so many great teachers. There will be classes that run three days, one day, or half a day; 1-1/2 hour lectures; and one-hour "Make-It/Take It" mini-workshops, so your conference experience can be as focussed or as varied as you choose. There will be a "spectacular" runway fashion show as well as two informal fashion shows, special interest gatherings, about 20 different exhibits, and a "multimedia performance" by designer Nick Cave called "The Dance of the Sound Suits". Reading the conference brochure is almost overwhelming - all I can do is advise you to check it out for yourself!

The actual conference runs from Thursday, June 22, through Sunday, June 25, but pre-conference workshops begin on Monday, June 19. Registration for the actual conference is $325 for HGA members, $375 for non-members. Special events (e.g., the runway fashion show) cost extra. Three-day pre-conference workshops cost $225 (plus any materials fee). To learn more, you can call HGA at 770-495-7702, or write to Convergence 2000 Cincinnati, P.O. Box 930148, Atlanta, GA 31193-0148, or send email to, or view the Convergence Web page at


Our Program Chair, Elain Fertig, has provided this schedule for our meeting programs this year:

February 5: mini-workshops on inkle looms, wool combs, spinning, and knitting

April 15, evening (note change in meeting date and time to coordinate with Bobbie Irwin's workshop): "An Ode to Woad", a presentation by Bobbie Irwin. Her talk will be an introduction to the history and techniques of using one of the world's oldest dyeplants and the first commercial source of indigo. She will show samples of the many shades of blue, plus a virtual spectrum of other colors obtainable from this versatile plant using only alum as a mordant.

June 3: Janet Smouse will teach us how to make small purses with linen thread

August 5: Meet at Sue Spencer's to learn to judge fleeces and to picnic in the woods

October 7: TBA; Guild 20th anniversary celebration??

December 2: annual Holiday Party


Phyllis Grosch would like to sell her mid-gauge Studio Knitting Machine, including the main bed, ribber, stand, EC-1 Electronic Design Controller, Video for the EC-1, an extra antenna, mylar sheets, a cleaning brush, extra claw weights, extra transfer set tools, a ribber shield, a garter bar set, Electronic Pattern Book IV, and sundry yarns. She can also supply a list of shops in the area that carry supplies and provide service for Studio Knitting Machines. The total cost is $1500.00 Contact Phyllis Grosch.

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