Please add the following members to your 1999 membership list:
GUILD WORKSHOP 2000
We are planning a workshop with Bobbie Irwin for April 15-17 (Sat-Sun-Mon),
2000. This workshop is suitable for all members: new/old, spinner/weaver.
Using a simple frame loom, we will learn a technique for making extremely
durable and beautiful rag rugs. We'll explore several warping and patterning
techniques while we work on potholder 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 each. We have again
been awarded a grant (for $400) from PPA*, and are therefore able to offer
this workshop at a cost of only $60 to participants.
The sign up deadline is Feb 1 for members of the Northwest PA SWG; after
Feb. 1, registration will be opened to non-members. The final sign up deadline
will be March 1. The class is limited to 20 participants.
*This project was made possible through Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts
(PPA), a local decision-making program of the Pennsylvania Council on the
Arts, a state agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Venango Center
for Creative Development. Barb Lodge submitted the grant application on behalf
of the Guild.
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 September 21 and October 19. 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.
MINUTES OF THE AUGUST MEETING
Bonnie Crytzer discussed plans for the upcoming Forest Fiber Festival. She
had posters available and asked people to take and post them. Flyers about
the Festival will be distributed at the Crawford and Venango County Fairs.
So far, seven vendors have signed up for the Festival. Sue Spencer added that
she has maps of NW PA and brochures on Two Mile Run park and its facilities;
members are welcome to take them.
Bonnie added that we have rented one pavilion; we don't really need the second
one, which would cost an additional $75/day. Two vendors will set up in the
Pavilion, and the Mercer Guild will hold an all-day dye workshop there. We
will need to start setting up the buildings and rearrange the furniture early
on Saturday - we do not have access Friday night, and the vendors begin arriving
at 7 a.m.! Sue commented that people staying at the Farmhouse will be on-site
and can help. She mentioned that 5 of the 10 available beds had been reserved
(by the end of the meeting, all 10 had been claimed).
The schedule for Friday preceding the Festival was reviewed. Joanna McDermot's
workshop on knitting socks will begin at 3:00 on Friday. Joanna added that
participants should bring "practice yarn" and a set of double-pointed
knitting needles of appropriate size to the yarn. Any yarn can be used, but
you will have an easier time of it if the yarn is smooth rather than highly
textured. Joanna will talk about the best yarns for socks and how to choose
appropriate fiber and needles, then help people with socks; she explained
that all levels are welcome and she "will start wherever you are".
After Joanna's class, the potluck dinner will begin at 6:00 on Friday evening.
After dinner, Larry Spencer's dulcimer group will provide live entertainment.
Anyone staying overnight at the Farmhouse should bring food for breakfast
The various activities scheduled for the Festival itself were discussed.
Joanna raised the question of why we seemed to be doing so much - which activities
are most important to us, and why? Which ones do we really want to be doing?
An animated discussion ensued. Further questions were raised: what is our
purpose, our "mission statement", for the Festival? Are there better
ways to accomplish our goals in some cases? People agreed that two goals of
the Festival were to have fun and to educate people, though we anticipate
that we would have fewer members of the public "passing through"
at Two Mile Run than we used to get at Cook Forest. Activities everyone seemed
to support were: mini-workshops; door prizes; a Guild cookie/coffee table;
a display of handmade items; fiber animals and displays. In some cases, alternative
approaches were suggested; for example, rather than have a fleece contest,
we might learn more if we had a Guild program on evaluating and preparing
fleeces. We recognized that we were getting embroiled in this discussion rather
late in the game, but it might be a good idea to step back after this year's
Festival and assess what we want to do next year and why.
Bonnie explained that she has been approached by Drake's Well Museum. They
are interested in having the Guild do a program on dyes related to the history
of the petroleum industry; she needs to get back to them and get more information.
She also said that the Venango County Fair has offered us building space to
put up displays and demonstrate. The Venango Fair is "strictly 4-H"
(no rides, etc.) and will be held Aug. 15-21. Bonnie asked for volunteers
to demonstrate and provide materials for the display.
Elaine Fertig described the Guild programs scheduled for the rest of the
year. In October, Barb Lodge will teach a workshop on making buttons. In December,
our annual holiday party will have an "international" theme. Members
who have traveled abroad are invited to bring their textile souvenirs to the
December meeting. Perhaps the dishes at the potluck could have an international
Joyce Rose announced that Bobbie Irwin will do a weaving workshop for the
Guild next April. Ruth Walker-Daniels said that she and Sandy Volpe have talked
to people at the Erie library about doing a Guild display there - the library
staff will get back to Sandy. Finally, the only Show-and-Tell was Ann Sheffield's
indigo dyeing experiments on colored fleece. Multiple dips of dark yarn in
indigo give black, but moorit yarn gives a deep teal color.
Then, we had a picnic, followed by adventures in felting! Many thanks to
Sue Spencer and her husband Larry for again opening their home to us, and
to Judy Hanninen for teaching the fun and informative felting class.
SONG OF THE SKY LOOM
Oh our Mother, the Earth, oh our Father, the Sky,
Your children are we, and with tired backs
We bring you the gifts that you love.
Then weave for us a garment of brightness;
May the warp be the bright light of morning,
May the fringes be the falling rain,
May the border be the standing rainbow.
Thus weave for us a garment of brightness
That we may walk fittingly where birds sings,
That we may walk fittingly where grass is green,
Oh our Mother the Earth, oh our Father the Sky!
[This Tewa song on nature and weaving was found in the Native American
Exhibit in Colorado Springs Museum and published in the Gamp, newsletter of
the Weaver's Guild of Buffalo. -Ed.]
CELIA QUINN WORKSHOP IN BUTLER
The Butler Guild is hosting a workshop on Color Blending with Celia Quinn,
November 9-10, 1999, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.:
"Create a beautiful, heathery spectrum of colored yarns by carding together
woold that have been dyed primary colors. Exercises include making a color
wheel; tints, tones, and shades of a color by adding a range of neutrals to
a given color; complementary gradation; color dominance; and translating inspiring
colors from objects or pictures into yarns that reflect those images. Class
time is spent primarily hand carding and spinning."
Registration is $50 plus $15 supply fee for Butler Guild members, $65 plus
$15 supply fee for non-members. The class balance must be paid in full by
November 3, 1999. If you are interested, send a $20 deposit payable to Butler
County Spinners and Weavers Guild to Amy Guggenheimer.
[Editor's note: I took this class with Celia a few years ago when she taught
it for our Guild, and I highly recommend it! I'll bring my samples from the
workshop to the October meeting so people can see what they'd be doing. -AES]
FINGER LAKES FESTIVAL
The 5th Annual Finger Lakes Fiber Arts & Crafts Festival will be held
the weekend of September 18-19, 1999, at the Hemlock Fairgrounds in Hemlock,
NY. The festival features many workshops, events, and vendors; people are
also invited to just come and "spin, chat, listen, relax, or just be
around those who do." (Knitters, crocheters, and other fiber workers
are welcome to join the spinners!)
Two eminent teachers will be Special Guests at the Festival. On Saturday,
"Mary Badcock, esteemed fiber arts judge, lecturer, and instructor will
be here to share her expertise through demonstration and a workshop on felting
3D appliqué. On Sunday, "Rita Buchanan, admired and respected
author, lecturer, and instructor will also add her experience and expertise
to the festival"; Rita will demonstrate Mastering Plying and teach a
class on How to Improve Your Spinning.
Many other events and demonstrations will occur at the Festival, including:
competitions for fleeces, handspun skeins, and garments; a community indigo
dyepot (bring 1 oz. of washed wool to be dyed in the pot!); and herding dog
and sheep-shearing demonstrations. Kids will especially enjoy the many fiber
animals and the "Kids Korner", where area guilds will provide hands-on
activities just for kinds. There will be a "Fiber-to-Finish" demonstration
- each team will pick a fiber ("anything they want"), prepare it,
spin it, and turn it into
something! [Teams are invited to sign up for
the Fiber-to Finish event; permissible finished items include "baby booties",
so maybe even our Guild could finish on time! -Ed.] The Festival also offers
the following classes (among others): Beginning & Advanced Spinning Techniques;
Learn to Make Soap; Embroider with Ribbon a Sachet Out of Velvet; and Learn
to Spin Angora.
The admission fee for Festival is $2.00; children under 16 are admitted free.
For directions or more information email firstname.lastname@example.org,
surf the Internet to www.mindex.com/users/sharon/festival/fest99.htm,
or write to: Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, 3 Valley Brook Drive, Fairport,
RARE BREED PROFILE: NORTH RONALDSEYS - THE SEQUEL
This past summer, I spent a week of my vacation in the Orkney Isles of Scotland.
I did not get to the island of North Ronaldsey itself, but I did pay a visit
to the "The Woolshed" farm on the island of Mainland, where they
keep a small flock of North Ronaldsey sheep. My husband and I descended on
the farm out of the blue, but the crofter cheerfully showed us around and
seemed pleased to show off her flock.
The first thing you notice about North Ronaldseys is how active they are.
Most of us have seen young lambs on fine spring days gambolling through the
fields as if they had springs in their legs. North Ronaldseys - all of them
- are like that all the time. The whole (well, mostly - see "herding
instint", below) flock charges from one end of the pasture to the other
if they spot something interesting. Actually, "flock" probably isn't
the best term for a gang of Ronaldseys. I observed, cautiously, to my hostess,
"They don't seem to have much herding instinct." She replied, emphatically,
"Their herding instinct is nil! If you put two of them in a field, they
will run in opposite directions." I added, tactfully, "Shearing
them must be a challenge." She responded, cheerfully, "Shearing
them is absolute hell." She went on to explain that Ronaldseys are smart.
She has devised various stratagems for catching them when it's time to be
sheared or have their feet trimmed (at feeding time, they come thundering
right up to her, but they're smart enough to know what a pair of shears or
foot-clippers portends). Each clever plan works once - after that, the sheep
are onto her, and she needs to come up with a new scheme. Another unusual
feature of these sheep is their diet. On North Ronaldsey itself, the sheep
are confined to the coast and have evolved the ability to live on seaweed.
Now, when they are kept on grass, their diet must actually be supplemented
with seaweed to keep them healthy, perhaps because they need more iodine than
But what about the wool? Nobody in Orkney had a fleece to sell me (and I
admit I didn't look very hard after hearing that fleeces from North Ronaldsey
itself are full of sand and seaweed and salt and "smell interesting").
However, I did find some mill-spun yarn, and I was surprised by how lovely
and soft it was. Like many primitive breeds, North Ronaldseys come in a range
of colors, and I ended up with enough white yarn from The Woolshed to make
myself some socks, plus an additional kilo of fingering-weight yarn in a lovely
chocolate brown color that I found in a shop in Orkney's capitol town of Kirkwall.
Some of the brown is going into my "Save the Sheep" project - I
hope the judges will be willing to overlook that the project isn't 100% handspun,
but I couldn't pass up the chance to include some wool from this amazing breed.
I'll bring samples to the Guild's "international" holiday party