Elaine Fertig, our Program Chair, has put together a great selection of programs
for our meetings this year:
||Ann Sheffield - How Mordants Work: A Chemist's View of
Natural Dyeing. (See description above.)
||Rita Buchanan - Making Time for Fiber. Please remember
that this meeting will be held on Friday evening on April 9
at Christ Episcopal Church, Meadville. This is both to avoid meeting
on Easter weekend and to accommodate the workshop being taught during
the days of April 9-11. Directions and the exact time of the meeting will
be in the next Hub.
||Mathilda Murphy - History of Looms "More than you
ever wanted to know about Weaving."
||Picnic at Sue Spencer's. The program will be Felting
with Judy Hannanin.
||Barb Lodge - Handcrafted Buttons for Handcrafted Garments.
Make a button for your handknit or handwoven garments We may do Frogs
& knots too.
||Holiday Party. A volunteer is needed to plan this
event. One idea is to make small bags with waxed linen thread.
It is with great sadness that I report that long-time Guild member Helen
McCartney died on January 6 at her home. We will miss her warm and energetic
Condolences may be sent to her husband, Ronald L. McCartney. The family asks
that memorials be made to the music department of First Presbyterian Church
of the Covenant, 250 W. Seventh St., Erie, PA 16501.
MINUTES OF THE DECEMBER MEETING
Sue Spencer announced that Joanna McDermot will be ordained a Deacon of the
Episcopal Church in January, and everyone is invited! [Details
appear elsewhere in the Hub]. Sue also announced that Amy Albrecht's church,
St. Peter's in Waterford, was having their annual bazaar to benefit SERVE,
and she encouraged members to visit the sale. Finally, Sue recommended that
members check out the "Threads" exhibit currently showing at the
Meadville Market House.
Barb Lodge identified books in the Guild library that nobody had checked
out in the last twelve years, and she suggested getting rid of them. Sigrid
Piroch volunteered to take them for the ARTS library. Barb also noted that
we need a coffee person for February's meeting; Elaine Fertig and Sue Spencer
volunteered. Elaine described the line-up for Guild programs next year [see
list elsewhere in the Hub]. Susan Fenton described
recent changes to the Guild Web page and encouraged members to visit the site.
Bonnie Crytzer discussed possibilities for the 1999 Spin-In. The Sawmill
has decided to host only three weekend shows per year that use the outside
spaces, so the Spin-In would be limited to the main building and the potting
shed if we return to the Sawmill. The Guild agreed that this would not work
well and voted to find another site. Bonnie agreed to research possible sites
in Venango County, Elaine will check out sites in Crawford County, and Sue
will investigate Mercer County venues.
Ann Sheffield reported that the Rita Buchanan workshop scheduled for next
April was filling fast with eight paid deposits so far. She added that the
Guild had received a $500 grant towards the cost of the workshop and encouraged
members to think of possible grant applications for next year. A lecture by
Kathryn Alexander and a felting workshop with Karen Page were suggested.
Ruth Walker-Daniels talked about various Guild members who have been having
troubles and would appreciate a friendly card or call. Helen McCartney has
been suffering from serious health problems. [Sadly, Helen passed away on
January 6. I'm sure her family would appreciate your condolences. -Ed.] Dorothy
Lick's daughter lost her husband this past year and has decided to take a
trip to work some things out, so Dorothy will be alone on Christmas this year.
Finally, Twila Armitage is now living in an assisted-living facility; Ruth
has her address.
Barb mentioned that the Guild currently owns the shawl we made at the Spin-In
as well as the Guild coverlet. Dicussion of what to do with these items ensued.
The general sentiment was to keep the coverlet as part of our history. We
agreed to try raffling the shawl at the Edinboro Highland Games this year
and to donate some of the proceeds to Christ Episcopal Church, which hosts
our Tuesday spinning meetings.
Some of the items advertised for sale in the last Hub by Rachel Robertson
are still available. Rachel is anxious to sell them and willing to negotiate.
Ilene Elliston noted that Phyllis Grolsch has a Brother knitting machine that
she is offering for sale for $800.
Cheryl Geist-Brozell has organized a mother-daughter knitting group at Villa
Maria as part of a "reviving Ophelia" project to involve adult women
in the lives of adolescent girls. Though none of the participants had knit
before, all eight women and ten girls are knitting now, and Cheryl has turned
them into "natural fiber junkies". She says spinning is next
Cheryl also asked for fibers to use at a demo at the school, and Bonnie described
Sharon Reiland's hands-on fiber exhibits that she would probably lend.
Show-and-Tell: Barb Lodge showed the (finished!) shawl from the Spin-In as
well as some photos of the work in progress taken by one of the judges. Barb
also showed two notebooks of samples on loan from the Rochester weaver's guild.
Joanna McDermot showed some gorgeous rugs made by Tibetan refugees and bought
by her son Dennis on a trip to India. The rugs are apparently used for sitting
on and are thick, lush, and very tightly woven. Sigrid Piroch showed a recent
issue of Weavers magazine featuring a dog coat she made using "ribbed
weaving". She assured us that the coat really fit the dog it was made
for - the photographers used a smaller dog as a model! Ann Sheffield showed
some spindles with hand-carved soapstone whorls made by her friend Bob Stine.
Laura Fry announced that she got a used Baby Wolf loom for her birthday. She
has now warped on her own for the first time and is weaving placemats. Matilda
Murphy told an astonishing story of some friends who smuggled a Baby Wolf
loom through customs in the Dutch Antilles by taking it completely apart.
Apparently, they did succeed in getting it back together.
We then adjourned for the holiday party, featuring a "guess-the-carol"
game and gift exchange, felt ornament making, and (of course) lots and lots
of food. Many thanks to Karen Fry and her family for a fun and successful
DUES ARE DUE
Once again it's time to pay annual dues, still a bargain at $10.00 per family.
Remember that you must have paid to be listed on the annual membership list.
The list is published only once each year, and it is to your advantage to
be on it.
Dues are now handled by our membership coordinator, Susan Fenton, who will
make sure that your address, etc., are up to date. If there are any
changes to your address, phone number, or email address, let Susan know
when you send her your dues check (payable to the Northwest Pennsylvania
Spinners and Weavers Guild; send it to Susan Fenton). Also, if you are
on email, please let Susan know whether it's OK to list
your email address on the Guild's Web page. If you already paid our
Treasurer, Bonnie Crytzer, please make sure that Susan has your current
"God willing and the people consenting" Guild member Joanna McDermot
will be ordained a Deacon of the Episcopal Church on Saturday, Jan. 23, at
11:00 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Diamond Park, Meadville; a reception
will follow. Joanna invites all members of the Guild to join her for this
sacred event. Joanna has worked long and hard towards this day - congratulations
and blessings to her!
RITA BUCHANAN UPDATE: OUR WORKSHOP, AND ONE IN BUTLER
The Rita Buchanan workshop, "Spinning from Start to Finish," is
full! In fact, it filled even before we opened up the registration to other
guilds, and some of our own members are on the waiting list. It's unfortunate
that we couldn't accommodate everyone, but it's also exciting to know that
there is a real demand for this kind of class in our community. Registrants
can expect to receive directions and further information by early February.
Also, the Butler guild is taking advantage of Rita's coming to our area and
has arranged for her to teach a one-day class for them on Thursday, April
8. The Butler class will be on "Spinning Cotton". Here's Rita's
description: "Everyone loves the comfort and easy care of cotton fabrics.
Cotton cloth is even nicer if you start with handspun yarn. Spinning cotton
isn't difficult, but it feels very different from spinning longer fibers or
wool. It calls for a very gentle touch and relaxed movement. This is a useful
skill to master, because the techniques for spinning cotton also work well
for cashmere, camel down, and other short, fine fibers. Learn how to adjust
your wheel, how to shop for cotton, how to hold and draft the fiber, and how
to make cotton yarns suitable for knitting or for weaving." The cost
will $23-29 per person (includes materials). For more information, contact
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 are on January 19 and February 16. 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.
SAVE THE SHEEP - GUIDELINES, AND A CHALLENGE
The guidelines for the Spin-Off "Save the Sheep" contest are now
available. There are two categories, a contest for finished articles and a
swatch collection. For the contest, a "significant portion" of the
item "must be made from the handspun yarn of an endangered breed."
There is an entry fee of $15, which covers the return of the article to you.
You also get a "Save the Sheep" T-shirt. The deadline for the contest
is November 15, 1999. Swatches for the second category must be made from the
fiber of an endangered sheep breed. There is no fee, though contributors may
purchase a T-shirt for $15. Swatches will not be returned, but will become
part of a permanent collection. The deadline for swatches is also November
15, 1999. To get a list of qualifying breeds and a copy of the entry form,
call 1-800-645-3675. Rare breeds not on the official list can also be used,
but the spinner must document their endangered status.
Now for the challenge - I, Ann Sheffield, am hereby committing myself publicly
to get something done for this contest. If anyone would like to join me in
making a similar commitment, send me your name, and I'll publish it in the
next Hub. Then, when we triumph or fail, the whole world (OK, theGuild) will
know it. If you're interested but don't know where to begin, I can fill you
in on the fiber characteristics of many rare breeds and also suggest sources
of fiber. I hope this challenge will motivate me, and others, to follow through
and really do this! (Joanna, are you with me?)
Le Clerc 4-harness counter balance loom, weaves 48" wide, with 5 reeds
and bench. $600. Contact Ilene Elliston.
10' LeClerc counterbalance 4-harness loom, sectional backbeam with sliding
bench, three reeds, two beaters (one a flyshuttle) and extras. Asking $2500.00
plus shipping. Rug wools, $1.75 per 1/4 pound (color families only). Contact
Laurie dill-Kocher firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOK REVIEW: TUDOR ROSES
Over the years, fans (including yours truly) of Alice Starmore's knitting
books have developed very high expectations of her - masterful use of color,
ingenious patterning, subtle and effective shaping, all adding up to designs
that are both gorgeous and wearable. These can be taken as given in an Alice
Starmore collection. Tudor Roses still took my breath away.
The book presents patterns for twelve sweaters inspired by members of the
royal Tudor family of England. (Four of the designs are actually contributed
by Alice's daughter and apprentice, Jade.) Each design is accompanied by a
fascinating account of who its namesake was and what s/he was like. Because
the people who inspired these sweaters ranged from demure to dignified to
coquettish to bombastic, the designs have a similar range of styles. The book
includes monochromatic, textural patterns (e.g., "Elizabeth of York"
, my personal favorite in the collection), patterns that make subtle use of
color to accent the design ("Catherine Parr"), and patterns whose
colors clamor for attention ("Katherine Howard").
In short, Tudor Roses is a sumptuous, satisfying book, and I highly recommend
THE CYBERGUILD ADVANCES
Susan Fenton, our Guild Webmistress and official computer whiz, writes:
If you haven't visited the Guild Website in the last few months, you haven't
seen the total redesign that occurred over the summer. Be sure to stop by
soon to check it out. (And, if you ever forget the address, just pick up a
recent copy of the Hub - the Website address appears on the first page, under
the Guild name.)
In addition to design changes, a column of news has been added to the homepage.
This is the place to watch for news and announcements that may come
too late for the newsletter. An email directory
of Guild members also went online recently.
We'd also like to add a monthly feature article - maybe a profile or a note
about a project in progress or just completed. Photos would be welcome, too!
Any Guild member who would like to suggest a feature, or better yet, write
one, please contact Susan Fenton (email@example.com).
With everyone's help, we can make our Website a vibrant gathering place for
One final note: Want an easy way to remember to visit the Guild site? Just
set the homepage of your Web browser to be the Guild's homepage. You don't
really want to go to Microsoft or Netscape every time you get on the Web,
do you? I didn't think so
Making your browser always open the Guild
Website is easy, and it only takes a minute. To do this in Netscape 4.0 or
higher or in Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, follow the instructions below.
If you're using a different browser, email Susan
and she'll try to help you figure it out.
Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher:
- Open Netscape Navigator, connect to the internet, and go to the Guild
- On the Netscape Navigator menu, click Edit > Preferences.
- If necessary, click on Navigator in the left pane of the Preferences
- Make sure "Navigator Starts with Home Page" is selected.
- Click the button "Use Current Page" in the Home Page area of
- Click "OK".
Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher:
- Open Internet Explorer, connect to the internet, and go to the Guild Website.
- On the Internet Explorer menu, click View > Internet Options.
- If necessary, click on the General tab of the Internet Options window.
- In the Home Page area of the window, click "Use Current".
- Click "OK"
NEW SPINNING AND WEAVING MUSEUM PLANNED
Bill Ralph, an expert on antique spinning and weaving equipment, is planning
to open "The Home Textile Tool Museum" in Orwell, PA. Bill supplied
some further information to the Black Sheep Handspinners Guild, and his comments
below are quoted from their newsletter:
Our emphasis will be on domestic and home use textile equipment, such as
spinning wheels and looms prior to the Industrial Revolution. This is in contrast
to the textile museum in Lowell, MA, which we [Bill and his partner, Dr. Michael
Holcomb of Rutgers University] recently visited and in which I was disappointed.
Between us we already have almost 100 wheels and a dozen looms and have already
benefited from several donations.
[The museum] is still very much in the planning stages. At this time we are
looking into incorporation and filing with the IRS as a non-profit enterprise.
Once we have the obligatory bureaucratic paperwork established, we will commence
with the renovations and the displays. In the meantime, I welcome any interested
persons to come visit us and see what is being planned. Just call first and
if I can manage the time I will be glad to give you all a peek at our potential.
Will visitors be able to get close to the equipment? You bet! No glass partitions,
not even a rope barrier. With certain exceptions, any spinner or weaver will
be invited to try any display if it is in working order, which most will be.
The displays will probably be rotating, since the hall is relatively small,
and our present resources already comprise [the looms and wheels mentioned
above] plus other artifacts such as yarn winders, flax processing equipment,
patent wheels, lace-making bobbins, whatever is pertinent.
We plan to invite school children tours, with hands-on participation (certain
wheels and looms will be set aside for their use). We also plan to sponsor
seminars and workshops, keep an extensive reference library, offer consulting
services for the identification of old wheels and looms, perhaps even have
a "garage sale" of related equipment once a year as a fund-raiser.
The possibilities are endless, limited only by our time and monetary resources.
So come see what we have in mind. You won't see much at the present time
except just wheels and looms, but if you exercise your imagination, you will
see a place where the history of home spinning and weaving and its wheels
and looms are preserved and perpetuated.
FIBER HAPPENINGS IN '99
The Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association Conference (MAFA '99). As usual,
MAFA will be held on the campus on Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. The
dates this year are July 5-11. This conference covers a wide range of fiber
arts and always attracts first-rate instructors; this year's line-up includes
Sharon Alderman, Alden Amos, Ingrid Boesel, Archie Brennan, Rita Buchanan,
Nancy Bush, Jason and Peter Collingwood, Madelyn van der Hoogt, Deb Menz,
Ginny Dewey Volle, Patsy Zawistoski., and many, many more. The conference
offers extended workshops, weekend classes, a fiber Kids Camp, "Shop
'till you Drop" night with 40 vendors, a Fashion Show, a Sample Exchange,
and a range of exhibits.
For more information and a registration form, write to: MAFA '99 Registrar.
PO Box 144, Lewisburg, PA 17837-0144. Or, call their toll-free number (1-888-966-4612),
send email to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visit the conference Web site, http://www.mafafiber.org/mafa1999.htm
Midwest Weavers Association Conference. The theme of this year's Midwest
conference is "Reflections & Projections". It will be held in
Bloomington, IN on July 13-18. Featured speakers are Philis Alvic, who will
discuss "the contributions of the pioneer weavers of the southern Appalachian
Mountains," and Sheila O'Hara, who will talk about "high-tech weaving."
Betsy Blumenthal, Jason Collingwood, Jan Crook, Jan Doyle, Anita Luvera Mayer,
Sheila O'Hara, Sigrid Piroch, Frances Potter, Vicki Tardy, Madelyn van der
Hoogt, Liz Williamson, and Patsy Zawistoski will all teach major workshops
at the conference, and many more teachers will also offer classes. There will
be juried and non-juried shows as well as a Members' Exhibit and Guild Exhibits.
Other activities include a Swatch Swap, tours of the area, additional exhibits,
and special interest group meetings. [Note: this conference is not just for
weavers! It always offers exciting classes for spinners, knitters, dyers,
and other fiber artists.]
To receive a registration booklet for the Midwest conference, send your name,
address, phone no., and email address to: Reflections and Projections, MWA
Conference '99, 2214 Old Mill Court, Bloomington, IN 47401-4588.
Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, PA, is again offering
a number of classes of interest to fiber artists this summer. Classes include
Beginning Weaving; Glad Rags - Rug Weaving; Dye-Painting Your Weaving; Color
and Weave Effects; Tapestry Weaving; Fabrics that Go Bump (with Madelyn van
der Hoogt); Space-Dyed Warps; and Navajo Style Loom Workshop. If your family
is unhappy about your going off to weave for a week, maybe you can tempt them
to join you - Touchstone offers a wide range of classes in ceramics, metalwork,
painting, glass making
even Scottish bagpiping! You can reach Touchstone
at: Touchstone Center for Crafts, RD 1, Box 60, Farmington, PA 15437; phone
1-800-721-0177; email email@example.com.
Fiberart International '99 is a juried show organized by the Fiberarts
Guild of Pittsburgh. Slides of work to be considered must be submitted by
February 12. The following types of work are eligible: "Individual or
collaborative entries are invited. Two and three dimensional innovative fiber
art is encouraged. Work most not exceed 8'6" in height or width. Each
entry must be original work completed after February, 1997. The jurors will
not consider work that replicates the design, imagery, or compositional content
that is identified with another artist's personal style nor work that was
completed as part of a course or workshop." The works accepted will be
displayed at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts from September 9 - October
30, 1999. Several prizes - the Best of Show Award is $1000 cash! - will be
awarded. To learn more about the exhibit or how to enter, contact Millie Barnes
or Sally Yunis.
IF (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
If you can wind a warp and never miss the cross;
If you can thread the heddles one by one and never suffer loss;
If you can reed the thread and never miss a dent,
And smilingly repeat your pattern and never once resent
An interruption or a muttered curse from workers at your side;
If you can start to weave and find the threads you thought were tied
Are loose; if you can cheerfully retrace your steps and do it all again-
Then call yourself a weaver, friend - your patience has no end.
[Gleaned from the Gamp, newsletter of the Weaver's Guild of Buffalo, which
gave the original source as South Landing Craft Center, Queenston, Ontario
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
A young girl was presented to James I as a prodigy. Impressed by her proficiency
in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, the king was not without reservation. "These
are rare attainments for a damsel," he remarked, "but pray tell
me, can she spin?"
-The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, 1985.
The mountain sheep are sweeter,
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter.
-My grandfather recites this poem in ringing tones whenever the subject
of sheep comes up; original source unknown.