November 15, 2017

NEXT MEETING: NOV. 29, 2017, 7 PM


Stephany Wilkes (info about Stephany at

Sheep Shearing Stories

This topic focuses on sheep themselves, the shearing (wool removal) process, and what happens immediately after a shearing (how the wool is handled and where it goes next). Major points include differences in sheep breeds, appropriate climate, and the fibers they produce; sheep health, basic sheep care and well being; a walk through of a humane shearing process and why it’s designed the way it is; basic sheep handling and anatomy; presentation of shearing tools and proper attire; and funny stories from the farm (including sheep escapes and more). Raw wool samples from a variety of breeds are included.


  • Nov. 29. Treadles meeting "Stephany Wilkes, Sheep Shearing Stories"
  • Various Fibershed events and classes this fall
  • Dec. 9 Treadles' Annual Holiday Luncheon. 11 am. Vilija's house. Hand made lamb ornament exchange. Bring a dish to share for lunch.
  • Jan. 27. Treadles meeting at the Library

CNCHnet Winter 2017 had the history of Treadles printed. Since I wrote it, I feel free to include it here in our blog for anyone who never goes to the CNCH website!


A chance meeting in 1990 between a spinner, Patrick McGinnis, and a member of Diablo Weavers, Naomi Holt, began the legacy of what became our guild — Treadles to Threads. Just a few spinners at first, meeting at each others homes occasionally, to share spinning knowledge, wool, and trying out each others’ wheels, was soon organized into monthly meetings to have “Show & Tell”, continued shared expertise, invited guests and speakers and teaching others their craft.

By February of 1991, we published our first newsletter and began to make plans to join CNCH. This very casual group then needed to develop By-Laws and to actually have “officers”. We came up with the following officers list: Shepherd [president], Sheep Dog [Vice President], Shearer [Treasurer], Little Bo Peep [Hostess], Rumplestilskin [Programs and Special Events Chair].

Dues were only enough to pay for the newsletter, and if a paid speaker was invited, those who attended that particular meeting shared the cost. Officers were to hold their position till they no longer wanted it. Ah, those were the days!

Today, a bit more organized, the Guild is still a very inclusive and casual group. Treadles is still primarily a group of spinners with spinning related programs. One by one, however, many of our members have also been drawn over to the “Dark Side” by becoming weavers with actual looms. All the better to use up all that hand spun.

Through the years the Guild has often been invited to participate at public fiber arts demonstrations, to local schools to teach the children about spinning, and to various local museums. The Contra Costa County Fair was always a great place to put up a yearly booth and sit and demonstrate our craft to visitors. 

Special projects over time have included;
Web Slingers West Sheep to Shawl team, 2002
  • Spinning at the Winery at Retzlaff Winery in Livermore. 2017 was the 20th anniversary of this popular event.
  • Seminars and workshops on Hemp even before it became popular
  • Wool studies of many breeds of sheep with the latest being a year long study of “Rare and Endangered Breeds of Sheep”
  • Annual Dye Days held in SPRING after we finally realized that no matter what summer day we picked it always turned out to be the hottest day of summer.
  • Sheep to Shawl competitions with our team “Web Slingers West”
  • Handmade sheep ornament exchange every December
  • Hand-spun Flax to Linen Towel, a project we’ve now done twice. The first time one weaver wove all the participants linen into towels [14 of them} The second time each spinner wove their own on a loom set up at Walnut Creek’s Civic Arts Weaving Studio.
  • Monday Spinning. Anyone who can, comes every Monday to spin, talk, drink tea and teach newbies to spin.
  • The Will & Kate Project. Almost every member donated hand spun to weave a thank-you afghan for Will and Kate Taylor for being our “Shepherds” for many years.

The most vast and rewarding project was the Guild’s participation in the “Knitting Project for Victims of War in Former Yugoslavia” in 1995. All yarn collected on a National basis throughout the U.S.A. was distributed by the International Rescue Committee to women’s groups in refugee camps and collective centers. 

It was hoped the knitting could help ease the frustration of the long, idle hours many were enduring during the war. Withe a shortage of yarn, it was said women would un-ravel what they had knit the day before just to have something to do.

Treadles collected over 600 pounds of donated yarn. Only full, new skeins could be sent, so members spent many hours skeining good yarns and adding new labels so that it looked brand new. 

150 pounds of that yarn was shipped by the Croatian Catholic Church of San Jose to the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women located in Massachusetts. The rest was the responsibility of Treadles’ treasury. Glimakra Looms/Unicorn Books graciously offered to ship through their shipping agent which would save us 45%. The Guild did make a plea for donations and the local community responded.
600 pounds of yarn set to go. 1995.
JoAnn Bronzan, second from left, 
organised the project.
The donated yarn could be used by the women for personal use or for knitted goods to sell. During a visit by a volunteer from the Women’s Commission to a refugee site, one of the women there said she had knitted 30 pair of socks in the past week, from some of the donated yarn, to sell. When asked how she could knit so many, she replied matter-of-factly, “My daughter needs new shoes.”
CNCH Conference  Monterey1995.
Conference isn't just for seminars and workshops!

Several of our charter members and early members are still active in the Guild which speaks to the casual and helpful nature of the people in this group. We really like what we do, and we really like each other as people.

Diablo Weavers has an exhibit on display at the Orinda Library in Orinda for the month of November. There are several members of Treadles who belong to both our spinner's guild and to the weaver's guild. If you're in the area, stop in and take a look at the weavings on display.


This tea cozy would be nice made in the natural colors of some of the samples of our handspun wool from the Endangered Sheep project from last year. Or actually any small bits of yarn you have laying around. It would make a terrific Christmas Gift for someone, or even for yourself. The pattern is a free download from Lion Brand Yarns.


 20 sts + 26 rows = about 4 in. (10 cm) over Garter Rib.
Match your yarns to whatever needle size you need. 


kfb (knit into front and then back)

An increase worked as follows:
1. Knit the next st through the front loop, but do not remove the st from your left hand needle.
2. Knit the same st once more, this time inserting your needle through the back loop of the st. You will have created 2 loops (sts) on your right hand needle.
3. Drop the st from your left hand needle – you have increased 1 st.

M1 (make 1) An increase worked by lifting horizontal thread lying between needles and placing it onto left needle. Knit this new stitch through the back loop – 1 st increased.

sk2p (slip­k2tog­pass slipped st over) 

A double decrease worked as follows:
1. Insert right needle as if to knit, and slip the next st from the left needle to the right needle.
2. Knit the next 2 sts together.
3. With tip of left needle, lift the slipped st (the 2nd st on right needle) up and over the k2tog (first st on right needle) and off the needle – you have decreased 2 sts.

French Knot Thread needle and bring from back to front through knitted piece. Wrap yarn around needle 3 times, insert needle back into knitted piece close to where it emerged. Tighten knot.


Garter Rib (worked over a multiple of 4 sts + 2 additional sts) Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2: *P2, k2; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Rep Rows 1 and 2 for Garter Rib.

K2, p2 Rib (worked over a multiple of 4 sts + 2 additional sts) Row 1: K2, *p2, k2; rep from * to end of row.
Row 2: K the knit sts and p the purl sts.
Rep Row 2 for K2, p2 Rib.

1. Two pieces are worked in simple stitches to create a stretchy Cozy. 
2. Pieces are seamed, leaving openings for tea spout and handle.
3. Flowers and Leaves are made separately, then sewed to top of Cozy.

COZY (make 2)
Cast on 38 sts.
Work in K2, p2 Rib for 6 rows.
Change to Garter Rib and work until piece measures about 5 in. (13 cm) from beg, end with a WS row as the last row you work.
Work in K2, p2 Rib for 2 rows.
Shape Top
Next Row Decrease (RS): *K2, p2tog; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2 – at the end of this row you will have 29 sts.
Next 3 Rows: K the knit sts and p the purl sts.
Next Row Decrease (RS): *K2tog, p1; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2tog ­ 19 sts.
Next Row: K the knit sts and p the purl sts.
Rep last row until piece measures about 7 in. (18 cm) from beg.
Cut yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
Thread tail through remaining sts and pull to gather.
Knot securely.

LEAVES (make 6 )
Cast on 9 sts.
Rows 1, 3 and 5 (RS): K3, sk2p, k3 – you will have 7 sts at the end of this row. Rows 2 and 4: K1, M1, k2, p1, k2, M1, k1 – 9 sts.
Row 6: K3, p1, k3.
Row 7: K2, sk2p, k2 – 5 sts.
Row 8: K2, p1, k2.
Row 9: K1, sk2p, k1 – 3 sts.
Row 10: K1, p1, k1.
Row 11: Sk2p.
Fasten off rem st.

FLOWERS (make 7,  
Cast on 6 sts.
Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 and all WS Rows: Purl.
Rows 3, 5 and 7: Kfb across – at the end of Row 7, you will have 48 sts.
Bind off and cut yarn, leaving a long tail.
Twist piece to form a spiral flower shape. Thread yarn tail into blunt needle, then sew a few sts to secure the spiral, knot securely.

Sew the 2 Cozy pieces together at one side, beginning at lower edge and sewing for about 1 1/2 in. (4 cm). Leave next 3 1/2 in. (9 cm) unsewn, then sew remainder of side closed. 
Rep on opposite side.

Sew Flowers to top of Cozy by embroidering 3 French knots with contrast color yarn on each Flower, working through center of Flower and through top of Cozy.
Sew Leaves as desired around Flowers.
Weave in ends.

k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
p = purl
p2tog = purl 2 together
rep = repeat(s)(ing)
st(s) = stitch(es)

October 15, 2017



Angelina Deantonis, founder and owner of Ocelot Clothing and Interiors, will share with us information on using dye plants and the "Itagime" Japanese dye technique.

Her studio/showroom is located at 6027 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. They do not have regular hours but one can call 415-821-7288 to inquire about a visit. Right now they are gearing up for their participation in the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open House, and will have several dates and times they will be open. Check for all the open studio dates. Ocelot's website is: ocelot


  • Oct. 25 Treadles meeting "Itagime Dye Technique"
  • Oct. 28, Hug A Sheep at Meridian Jacobs,
  • Oct. 28, Redwood Guild Sale. check last month's blog for info
  • Nov. 17, 18, 19, Above the Fray: Traditional Hill Tribe Art. Textiles of hand woven and hand dyed cotton and silk. Shepard Garden and Art Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd. Sacramento. Check last month's blog for more info
  • Nov. 29. Treadles meeting "Stephany Wilkes, Sheep Shearing Stories"
  • Various Fibershed events and classes this fall
  • Dec. 9 Treadles' Annual Holiday Luncheon. 11 am. Vilija's house. Hand made lamb ornament exchange

Robin "dancing" with her yearling 
Jacob ram, Buster

Always a great event for all us sheep people. Not only those who raise sheep, but all who love to spin with the sheep's great wool. Showing her Jacob sheep was Robin Lynde of Meridian Jacobs. The following photos are from her blog about the event.

He finally calmed down!
Those boys can be a handful
Robin being helped by T2T member Doris with the ladies
Robin, Farm Club member Vicki, and Doris with some of the Meridian Jacobs ribbons

T2T member Lisa taking the train around the grounds

September 19, 2017



A very special Video program:  “Coton Jaune: Acadian Brown Cotton, A Cajun Love Story

A documentary film by Sharon Gordon Donnan and Suzanne Chaillot Breaux, documenting the history, tradition and artistry of handspun and handwoven acadian brown cotton blankets and the Cajun women who made them. 

They tell the story from hand selected seed to cherished family heirloom.

Bring your wheel along to spin while watching. Also the usual Show & Tell. So much inspiration from our members.


  • Sept. 26. Treadles meeting Date change, this is a Tuesday Documentary: "Coton Jaune:  Acadian Brown Cotton, A Cajun Love Story"
  • Oct. 25. Treadles meeting
  • Nov. 29. Treadles meeting 

Lambtown, Oct 6-7-8  -- lots of classes this year

Spinzilla, Oct 2-8 -- at least 3 local teams - Carolina Homespun, Clemes & Clemes, Meridian Jacobs

Hug A Sheep at Meridian Jacobs, Oct 28

Various Fibershed events and classes this fall

Empowering Threads -- Textiles of Jolom Mayaetik
at the International Terminal of S.F. Airport, pre-security

Team Carolina Homespun is looking for members for 

Spinzilla 2017 October 2 – 8

The team is almost full but we have room for a few more spinners…

Join us for a relaxing year of spinning and having fun!

We are going to be very-super-extra-low key this year… 

Join us if you are feeling like doing a bit of spinning during the week and getting together at 

Round Table Pizza in Pleasant Hill on October 5 from 6 – 8

We will also do some casual spinning at Lambtown October 7 -8

We invite you to join the Carolina Homespun Team!

Sign up by visiting 

Select “Registration” and be sure to select the Carolina Homespun Team as your team!

If you are already signed up for the team – Congrats! Please invite a friend!

More info to come!
Team members so far are:
Joan, Doris, Carolyn, Amy , Stephanie, Jeannette, Vilija, Laura, Roxayn, Wendy, Pam, Beverly, Linda, Jeanne, Reba, Cat, Morgaine

Above the Fray: Traditional Hilltribe Art,
·      We are very excited to announce that we have copies in hand of our book: Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos: Textiles, Tradition and Well-Being (Thrums Books, 2017). It came out so well!  We encourage you to treat yourself to this spirited, engaging read.
The book tells stories of our travel, takes you on a visit around a weaving village introducing you to weavers (and personalities) ages 10 to 90, and explores how weaving and textile creation has nurtured this community for over 100 generations.  We cover the regional art of silkworm raising, silk reeling, natural-dyeing and silk and cotton weaving, and explore the vital role of textile creation within the culture.  We also cover a bit of history and ethnography, so you feel like you’ve really know it, seen it and been there with us. Renowned photographer Joe Coca, who traveled with us in 2016, enriches it all with 235 color pictures (some of our own photos are sprinkled in, too).  More description is attached.
You may order an autographed copy from us at:  (It’s also available at Amazon or your favorite bookstore - but it ain’t autographed!). This 2.2 pound (!) quality soft-back book is $34.95 (+ $3/shipping). 

·      Our Upcoming Events:
Arcata CA: Natural Fiber Fair, September 9, 10
Eugene, OR: Eugene Weavers Guild, September 25
Florence OR: Florence Festival of Books, September 30
Monroe WA: Fiber Fusion NW, October 21, 22
Portland OR: Fine Silks and Tribal Art, November 10, 11, 12
Sacramento, CA: Fine Silks and Tribal Art, November 17, 18, 19
Eugene, OR: Fine Silks and Tribal Art, December TBA
·      Of course we encourage people to visit us at our home-studio in Eugene anytime – we even have a full-sized Lao floor loom to show off courtesy of the recent visit from the Lao weavers (pictures are in the blog!

August 15, 2017



If your "collection" is getting out of hand, why not share it with the rest of us. Maybe some of us still don't have a big enough "collection"? 

At the August meeting we will have a major Share/Sell/ Get Rid Of. Bring your excess to the meeting in hopes of replacing some of it with different "collection" items, or actually selling or giving away some of it. Monies will need to be exchanged outside the door because the Library does not allow sales in the room. Trading and bartering is always good.

Bring what you've been working on this summer for Show & Tell, and your wheel to put in a bit more spinning time while we listen and talk. 

Bring also, ideas you may have for programs for the year. Ones you would like developed or ones you would like to share with the Guild yourself. 

Any ideas for a workshop or two? We will have our favorite, Judith MacKenzie once again, sometime this year for a program and workshop. 

How about ideas for Dye Day. Loved what happened at the last Dye Day. [Check the previous blog]


  • Aug 30. Treadles meeting
  • Sept. 26. Treadles meeting Date change, this is a Tuesday
  • Oct. 25. Treadles meeting
  • Nov. 29. Treadles meeting 
There must be lots of spinning related doings this Fall. Let me know and I'll add them to the Calendar


My neighbor and friend, who is a corrosions engineer, was recently in Arizona on a project with the Pima Native Americans on their Reservation. He came back and asked if I knew what Pima Cotton was. “ What? Of course I know, I’m a spinner” 

Then he asked if I knew where Pima cotton originated. “I think in South America”, I answered. Turns out “nope”. It was developed as a joint project between the U.S. Government and the Pima Native Americans of Arizona in the early 1900’s. Who Knew?

Unfortunately, only less than 5% of the world production of Pima is in the U.S. now. It is grown in parts of California, West Texas, and of course, Arizona. Most of Pima cotton now does come from South America from plants developed in the U.S.  However, it is partially true that Pima originated in South America. 

Early domesticated cotton was grown in Ecuador [4400 BCE], and coastal Peru [2500 BCE]. It is from these ancient varieties, which were a medium staple cotton, that Pima cotton was developed. It was given the name Pima to honor the Native Americans who helped experiment with it in Arizona. 

“King Cotton” grown in the South and South West is a short staple cotton more easily grown than the longer staples, and is 95% of all U.S. production. 

So what are some of the better known cottons?
  • Gossypium hirsutum, short staple cotton. King Cotton. The basic cotton we all know and love to wear.
  • Pima. A medium to long staple. Fabric made from this will be softer, denser, and more durable than basic short staple cotton, with less pilling
  • Egyptian cotton.  A truly long staple cotton that makes luxurious cotton products. 
  • Sea Island cotton. Another truly long staple cotton, even more desirable than Egyptian, but  now in very limited production. James Bond only wore shirts made of Sea Island Cotton.
  • Supima Cotton. A relatively newly developed type of cotton: [“Superior” and “Pima” words combined together] Supima is now fighting its way into the U.S. market with its obvious luxurious long stapled quality. Supima is grown only in the U.S. and primarily in the southwest. A purchase of clothing or linens labeled “Supima Cotton” supports the national economy because it is only domestically produced. 

What about naturally colored cotton

My friend said the Pima's are growing a blue cotton they hope to market. We all know about Sally Fox and her green and brown cottons. But few of us are aware that the colored cottons are very old plants. The slaves of the South grew many colors of cotton before King Cotton became prominent. They, and Native Americans grew many tones of brown, dark green, black, red and blue. Production of colored cotton was eventually prohibited in many parts of the U.S. so that white cotton would not be contaminated. 

Why should we support development of naturally colored cotton? 

The environment. The white cotton in massive production is a variety that requires more pesticides than other varieties of cotton. Also, the dyeing of cotton is a massive cause of land and water pollution. According to the ECO360 Trust, nearly 20% of all industrial pollution results from textile dyeing and production methods. There are 72 toxic chemicals that are present in our water system due to textile dyeing. The tannins that create the color in cotton makes it highly pest and mildew resistant. 


DYE DAY 2002 at Linnie's back yard. Natural Dyes