November 9, 2020

NEXT MEETING: WEDNESDAY, NOV 18, 6 PM, ONLINE

UPCOMING 2020/2021 MEETING DATES

Online meetings start at 6 p.m.  Zoom link is open around 5:30 p.m.  The link will be sent to guild members within a few days of the meeting.  If you don't receive the link, please contact Wendy L.

November 18 - Jillian Moreno, "Why I Knit With Handspun"












November 21-22:  4 hour Zoom workshop with Jillian Moreno (Saturday 2 hrs, Sunday 2 hrs), "How to Work With Painted Braids", $80

















December 16:  Zoom Party / Mini workshop?

January 27:  Deb Robson

February:  Maggie Casey?

MEETING MINUTES (Linda B.)

TREADLES TO THREADS GUILD

WALNUT CREEK, CA

 OCTOBER 28, 2020

President Wendy L. opened our Zoom meeting at 6:00 p.m. and welcomed our speaker for the evening, Janine Bajus, who joined us from Berkeley, CA.  In keeping with our guild theme this year, “By the Book”, Janine shared her recent book, “The Joy of Color, Fair Isle Knitting Your Way”, mentioning that the book has a special lie-flat binding that won’t crack.

Janine spoke about reclaiming creativity by learning to say “Yes”, and by living a life guided more by curiosity than fear. She recounted her fiber history, beginning with simple weaving in Girl Scouts, proceeding through spinning in college. Her Schacht loom lived with her for 8 years before it was sold. In 1998, she found Meg Swanson as a self-improvement guide as a knitter. After attending knit camp in Wisconsin in 1999, Janine found she loved Fair Isle knitting and her Ikigai (reason to get up in the morning in Japanese).  Fair Isle is a form of stranded knitting that uses color as a value sequence that moves from dark to light (or vice versa), similar to looking across a landscape vista.

 After joining the Feral Knitters in Seattle, WA, Janine grew in her color work. She found that swatching in diagonal stripes helped her visualize the color progression.  A great tool she also found was Joen Wolfrom’s “Color Tool” with 24 color cards that helped with color placements. After attending Madrona (now Red Alder) with Suzanne Pedersen’s Fair Isle knitting, her love of Fair Isle increased. Janine is a trained technical writer and with much support and encouragement to say “Yes”, she began teaching Fair Isle knitting. Her three favorite ‘rules’ are (1) You get to do what you want (2) There’s no one right way to do it (3) You won’t know if it will work until you swatch.

 In 2004, Janine moved to California and began a blog, an online store and writing books. By overcoming fear and learning to say “Yes’, she teaches at Friday Harbor retreats, and hosts tours to the Shetland Isles, Peru and Iceland. She has begun online teaching with Stitches and Instagram. Contact her at Janine@feralknitters.com to join her for a tour of Iceland in September, 2022. Janine closed by saying that Fair Isle is not as hard as it looks and if you make something, you have the Thing and the Story of the Thing.

 Upcoming Zoom meetings will be early in the month, November 18 with Jillian Moreno speaking on why she likes knitting with handspun.  Nov. 21, Saturday and Nov. 22, Sunday, Jillian will hold a Zoom workshop on spinning a planned yarn from dyed braids. These will be from 1-3 p.m. each day. There will be an $80 fee with a deposit required. Amy will set up a PayPal account to receive money for this (editor addition:  Amy has emailed the guild with the information.  Contact her if you didn’t receive it). Two braids are required to have on hand for the workshop.

 Our December meeting will be a holiday event. Wendy, Amy and Carolyn are working on what form it will take. Not sure if it will include our traditional exchange of sheep ornaments. More to follow on this meeting as Wendy is about tapped out right now.

CNCH liaison, Joan, says the May 19-22, 2022, meeting will be at the San Mateo Marriott. She volunteered T2T for on-site registration. Spinning teacher recommendations are welcome.

Show and Tell had lovely sweaters, hats, skeins and gnomes on display from members.

Linda B.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Who is that scary person in the black cape with the poison apple?!












INTERESTING ARTICLES/LINKS


Philadelphia has certainly been in the news a lot lately, including this interesting tidbit.

Ply magazine has a new vlog.

Distressing news about the wool market.

Favorite sheep, 2020, from the Campaign For Wool.
  

UPCOMING FIBER EVENTS & NEWSLETTERS


Handspinning News - Shiela Dixon's monthly blog, includes events

Mielke's Fiber Arts Newsletter - news for fiber artists

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events

Botanical Colors Feedback Friday - video archive and information on upcoming presentations.

ITEMS FOR SALE

Megan C. has processed fleeces for sale, including Shetland, BFL, Alpaca, Polworth, etc. Contact Megan directly for more information.

ONGOING FIBER-RELATED CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Contact the business to find out their current situation due to COVID-19.

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)

October 23, 2020

NEXT MEETING: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28th, 6 p.m., ONLINE

UPCOMING 2020/2021 MEETING DATES

Online meetings start at 6 p.m.  Zoom link is open around 5:30 p.m.  The link will be sent to guild members within a few days of the meeting.  If you don't receive the link, please contact Wendy L.

October 28 - Janine Bajus - Berkeley local who does Fair Isle knitting and leads fiber tours of Italy and the Shetland Islands.


November 18 - Jillian Moreno, "Why I Knit With Handspun"

November 21-22 - 4 hour Zoom workshop with Jillian Moreno (Saturday 2 hrs, Sunday 2 hrs), "How to Work With Painted Braids", $80

December 16 - Zoom Party / Mini workshop?

January 27 - Deb Robson

February - Maggie Casey?

YEARLY DUES

If you haven't already, send a check to treasurer Pam M. today. Individual membership, $25. Family membership, $30. Pam's address can be found in the roster that was sent to guild members for the 2019-2020 year. 
 
Starting next month, the mailing list will be matched to the new roster so unless you've paid your dues, you will be removed from the mailing list and will not receive the Zoom call information.

MEETING MINUTES (Linda B.)

TREADLES TO THREADS GUILD

ZOOM MEETING

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

6:00 p.m. 

President Wendy L. started the meeting by introducing our speaker for the evening, Carolyn Greenwood, checking in from Utah. Greenwood Fiberworks is her business, focusing on their own hand-dyed products. Carolyn discussed the best way to use color to produce your best product. With hand dyed products, she refers to “solid” colors as semi-solid, to make sure people understand there may be tonal shades of the same color in the skein. She also offers a “variegated” yarn. These can have splotches of color all through, or stripes of color which will pool in a project. Ask to see the skein or braid opened to see how the dye variegation might affect your project. “Speckled” yarns will have flecks of brighter colors through a carrier color.

Carolyn then showed examples in both crochet and knit, of how the structures of a desired fabric can dictate the type of yarn color used. The more structure desired in the fabric, the less color variation is needed to show off the fabric. Simple fabric patterns show off the yarns used.

Carolyn also shared the new normal of her business and the latest color called “Northern Lights”.Follow her on Instagram and Facebook. 

The guild meeting started at 7:15 p.m. Treasurer Pam reported from Sea Ranch that we have about 40 members and sufficient funds to have our Zoom speakers this year; however, please remember to mail your year’s dues to Pam.

Lambtown coming up has Zoom speakers, Zoom Sheep to Shawl demos and judging, vendor presentations and Q and A with the speakers. Please participate if possible.

Please check the blog posts from Lisa for information between meetings.

CNCH liaison Joan A. says the area 3 meeting in 2022 does not have a venue yet. She welcomes names of potential spinning teachers. Carol C. reports that all contracts for the 2021 July meeting on the campus at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will have cancellation clauses.

Future Meetings: October 28, 2020 Janine Bajus with Fair Isle knitting.

November 18, date change for Thanksgiving, is Janine Moreno

December may be a mini workshop in lieu of our in person holiday exchange.

Please send Wendy a picture of your Show and Tell up to 24 hours ahead of the meeting, but we can still hold things up to our camera.

Reba volunteered to co-host the Zoom meetings to give Wendy a hand running Zoom. The meeting closed at 7:45 p.m.

Linda B.

FROM THE EDITOR

After the summer hiatus, I was surprised to login last month to find a totally new interface for editing the blog. I think I've figured most of it out but please let me know if you notice anything amiss other than the occasional extra divider line here and there.

I plan to step down as newsletter editor by June 2021 at the latest, and now would be a great time for someone else to take over, learn the new interface or select a new software interface or web site template, and make the newsletter their own. If you're interested, let me know.

Special thanks to Vilija for checking all the long-term links to make sure they still work!

Lisa W.

SHAGGY BEAR FARM

Wendy at Shaggy Bear Farm has a new online shop! Click here to visit the shop.  If you're participating in Livestock Conservancy's Shave 'Em to Save 'Em program, Shaggy Bear is a great resource.

To read more about the farm, including all the various breeds, click here.

Wendy at a show - her booth is always so much fun to visit!

Donna S. (that would be our Donna S. with 2 Ns, not our Dona S. with 1 N!) recently received an order and shared the photo of some beautiful yarn and braids from Shaggy Bear:



ICELANDIC AND ICELANDIC/FINN X FLEECES CLEARANCE SALE

I met shepherdess Susan Chappell at a natural dye workshop up at Warner Mountain Weavers in Cedarville many years ago, and we've stayed in touch.  The fleeces from her family farm near Susanville are lovely, and she is currently downsizing and having a 'clearance' sale of Icelandic fleeces and Icelandic/Finn X fleeces..  I can personally attest to the beauty of the fleeces from Sunnyside Farm, and to the yarn made from them.  Sunnyside Farm is a Fibershed producer.

She will discount even more for multiple fleece purchases and for unskirted.  That being said, Susan is known for her skirting skills - the fleeces are very clean!  Options are available for mailing or for pickup at an agreed-to location.

Icelandic wool is lustrous and dual-coated, with a fine inner coat and medium outer coat. The two coats can be separated into two very different fiber types, or incorporated together with lightweight, warm and weather-resistant features. Natural colors range in various shades of whites, tans, browns, blacks, and grays.

Finnish Landrace wool is single-coated, with a medium-fine crimpy, elastic fiber that has a very soft hand and a luster unique to medium-fine wool types. Natural colors range in various shades of whites, browns, and blacks.

Happy sheep at the farm













The many colors of sheep at Sunnyside Farm

Sunnyside Farm Icelandic-Finn Cross fleeces













Here is specific information from Susan:



Sunnyside barn where everything Sheep happens!  Providing refuge for the flock from high desert weather extremes; shelter during lambing, shearing, and other sheep health care activities; and storage for equipment, feed, and all those lovely fleeces that come off the sheep each year.

I have 25 nice Icelandic lamb raw fleeces, averaging 3 lbs unskirted (usually 2 lbs heavily skirted):
 
8 black/black mouflon (some may have a few bits of gray/white included)
4 moorit (brown)/moorit mouflon (some may have a few bits of beige/white included)
1 gray
1 badgerface/mouflon (mostly oatmeal/champagne in color)
6 badgerface (multi-colored:  mostly oatmeal/champagne but may include white, black, gray and/or brown)
5 white/mostly white (some may include bits of brown or black)
 
I also have 13 nice Icelandic adult raw fleeces, averaging 3-4 lbs unskirted (usually 2.5-3 lbs heavily skirted):
 
4 black mouflon
3 moorit (brown) mouflon
3 black badgerface
3 mostly white (may have a few bits of black/brown)

Contact me for information on Icelandic/Finn crossbred yearling (hoggett) fleeces, which haven't been inventoried yet.
 
Great value pricing, with discounts on unskirted and/or multiple fleece purchases.  For more information please contact Susan via email at chappell@frontiernet.net

Lisa W.

INTERESTING ARTICLES/LINKS

Article by guild member Robin Lynde - Clasped Warp Weaving On A Rigid Heddle Loom

From Vilija  - A Portrait of a Market in India Run Solely By Women - not specifically related to spinning or weaving, but an interesting article.  Apologies that you may need a New York Times subscription to access the link.  Another NYT article from Vilija:  Shearing Sheep, and Hewing to Tradition, on an Island in Maine


From Vickie M. - Wool-derfully sheep art sent from my NY guild. Check the heads out.














LongThread Media Podcast (this link directs to their latest podcast, which is 'Norman Kennedy Spins Tales of Waulking')

From Mary B. -

















Weave a Breadbag - doesn't have to be on a rigid heddle loom!  Great holiday gift idea, especially if it contains a loaf of freshly baked bread.

A $7 Spinning Wheel (and instructions to build your own)

Pleasants Valley Agriculture Association - information, donate to fire victims, and volunteer to help.

Botanical Colors Feedback Friday - video archive and information on upcoming presentations.
  

UPCOMING FIBER EVENTS & NEWSLETTERS

Handspinning News - Shiela Dixon's monthly blog, includes events

Mielke's Fiber Arts Newsletter - news for fiber artists

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events


ITEMS FOR SALE

Megan C. has processed fleeces for sale, including Shetland, BFL, Alpaca, Polworth, etc. Contact Megan directly for more information.

ONGOING FIBER-RELATED CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Contact the business to find out their current situation due to COVID-19.

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)

August 31, 2020

NEXT MEETING (ONLINE): WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th, 6 p.m.

 UPCOMING 2020/2021 MEETING DATES

Online meetings start at 6 p.m.  Zoom link is open around 5:30 p.m.  The link will be sent to guild members within a few days of the meeting.

September 30 - Carolyn Greenwood of Greenwood Fibers.  Coincidentally, a package happened to arrive at my house a couple of days ago ... so beautiful!  I'm planning to spend many happy hours perusing patterns on Ravelry.




















October 29 - Janine Bajus - Berkeley local who does Fair Isle knitting and leads fiber tours of Italy and the Shetland Islands

November 18 - Jillian Moreno, "Why I Knit With Handspun"

November 21-22 - 4 hour Zoom workshop with Jillian Moreno (Saturday 2 hrs, Sunday 2 hrs), "How to Work With Painted Braids", $80

December 16 - Zoom Party / Mini workshop?

January 27 - Deb Robson

February - Maggie Casey?

YEARLY DUES

Send a check to treasurer Pam M. before October 15 so we can publish a new roster and so Pam doesn't have to follow up on all of us!  Individual membership, $25.  Family membership, $30.  Pam's address can be found in the roster that was sent to guild members for the 2019-2020 year.

MEETING MINUTES (Linda B.)

TREADLES TO THREADS GUILD MEETING

Via Zoom

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 

President Wendy welcomed all to the meeting room. There were 24 in attendance. Wendy thanked those who responded to her e-mail survey about using Zoom.

Board members for the T2T guild this up coming year include: (R) indicates returning)

President R Wendy L.

Treasurer R Pam M.

CNCH liaison R Joan A.

CNCH Advisory Council R Reba S.

Blog/newsletter R Lisa W.

Program committee R Wendy L., Amy B., Carolyn B.; 

Guild equipment managers R Carol C., Pam M; 

Video library: Tina; 

Secretary R Linda B.

Member Name-tags R Reba S.

Monday Spinning Zoom Contact:  Pam M.

Shows/Festivals A variety of virtual shows and festivals were discussed, from Lambtown, October 2-4 here locally, to Rhinebeck, NY October 17-18.  Reba S., Brenda S. and Robin L. are on the Meridian Jacobs team as part of Lambtown’s virtual Sheep to Shawl.

Member News Robin L. shared that Mary S., Jackie P., Dona S. are all OK after the Vacaville fire. (editor's note - Dona is located south of Sacramento). Please check the Pleasants Valley Vacaville Ag Association website for more info (link below in the Articles/Links section). Megan C. has multiple processed fleeces for sale. Contact her for information.

CNCH liaison Joan A. is on the 2022 Conference program committee. She is looking for new/different teachers in spinning and fiber. She has tentatively volunteered T2T to do on-site registration if the site is local. If the site is not local, she may withdraw the offer.  Reba S. is on the CNCH Advisory Council.

Programs: Wendy is following the theme “By the Book”. She has contacted nationally known speakers who are Zoom compatible. Usually, the topics follow books that the person has authored and have available for purchase. Our guild meetings will open at 5:30 pm if anyone needs help on Zoom rooms. The speaker will be first on the agenda at 6:00 pm. Sheila P. will act as monitor/IT help. Wendy will send out the meeting information which will not be made public. When the recurring meeting is ready, she will let all members know how to access.

See Upcoming Meeting Dates section above for scheduled speakers, workshops, and dates.  Linda Cortright from Maine is being contacted also.

Dues; Send dues of $25/pp or $30/family by mail to Pam M. She will send out an updated list of members.

Show and Tell; Nine people shared their “shelter” projects. Please send pictures to Wendy L. who will put them in the presentation deck so we can all see the wonderful details while you narrate. She can accept pictures up to 24 hours ahead. We never turn down a great project, though.

The meeting ended at 8:18 pm.

Linda B.


LAMBTOWN VIRTUAL SHEEP TO SHAWL

Members of our guild are participating in what is likely the first ever virtual Sheep To Shawl competition.  There are 9 teams registered to date.  All hours are tracked by using spreadsheets and by having all of the work documented live on Zoom for all to watch.  Read about it and access the calendar and weekend live broadcasts on the Lambtown web site.

I took a screenshot from the Zoom coverage on Aug 30 - if there is more than one team working, they all show up on the same screen, and Roy Clemes joins in every 15 minutes or so to pass along questions and check in with team progress.

Spinning, carding, fiber prep:

Here's a screenshot I took of the Meridian Jacobs team a few weeks ago:

Lisa

LAMBTOWN VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS

Check out online workshop opportunities and register at the Lambtown web site.

BAFF - Bay Area Fiber Fair

It's not too late to join the Bay Area Fiber Fair Challenge.  Find all the information on the Bay Area Fiber Fair web site.  



INTERESTING ARTICLES / LINKS

Pleasants Valley Agriculture Association - information, donate to fire victims, and volunteer to help.

Botanical Colors Feedback Friday - video archive and information on upcoming presentations.  The recent John Marshall and A Verb For Keeping Warm presentations were excellent if you're interested in textiles, indigo, and other natural dyes - link from Lisa W.

CLOTH#20 - Scotland - link from Vickie M.

The Invention of Trousers - link from Rosemary B.

A New Way to Dye Fabric - link from Rosemary B.

Spindle Types in Different Countries - link from Rosemary B.

A Story About Silk - link from Mary B.

Article from Vickie M.:



UPCOMING FIBER EVENTS & NEWSLETTERS



Twist Virtual Party

Perth Festival Of Yarn (Perth, Scotland - not Perth, Australia!)





Handspinning News - Shiela Dixon's monthly blog, includes events

Mielke's Fiber Arts Newsletter - news for fiber artists

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events

ITEMS FOR SALE

Megan C. has processed fleeces for sale, including Shetland, BFL, Alpaca, Polworth, etc.  Contact Megan directly for more information. 

ONGOING FIBER-RELATED CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Contact the business to find out their current situation due to COVID-19.

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)

June 23, 2020

JUNE, 2020 - Summer Newsletter

UPCOMING 2020 MEETING DATES

Ongoing - Monday Spinning via Zoom. Contact Pam M. for information.


NEWSLETTER

This will be the last newsletter until ?  Hold onto articles and links for the future, or you can send them directly to the guild using the guild membership list that Pam M. distributed last fall.

Lisa W.

GUILD MEMBER NEWS


From Carol C.: 
 
My grandmother Claire needlepointed this bench top and I have had it for years; the bench itself existed but is broken. The dog Weasel gnawed the corner some years ago and I have often wondered how it could be fixed. You can learn anything on YouTube...almost. Could not find actual directions but enough info that I think I can do it with the right size of needlepoint canvas and matching yarn. I have a bag of random needlepoint yarn...some I bought, some I have no idea of its history, .... and a card of leftover yarn from this project....probably 100 years later. Still in the same household as the bench. Not used for something random or tossed. I didn’t even know it existed, but that’s what it is!  

Never throw anything out!

Carol

From Doris B., writing about the fleeces she bought at Meridian Jacobs shearing day in February:

I finished washing up my fleece from shearing day. Half of Peyton‘s and Ears' (did her fleece in March).



I especially love the BFL and 3/4. They are bigger and eat more, but they do make beautiful fiber ... just sayin’ I’m so glad I bought Peyton's fleece, I’ll be fighting for it next year! I was out of Power Scour so I used Mane and Tail shampoo I use on Mia and it worked well. Very soft and bright.

I hope everyone stays well. See you in cyber space for now.

Doris

From Sheila P.:

I was inspired to do something with the yarn we dyed at our most recent lichen dye day. Here is a knitted zippered bag, the pattern inspired by Paint Pan Socks on Ravelry.  I used 14 of the colors, with a black background.




 Sheila P.


Mary B’s Sewing Slog

First of all, there’s something everyone needs to understand.

I do NOT like to sew!

Not sure exactly why and I used to sew quite a bit but nothing seemed to turn out the way my limited ability to visualize said it would. So, I quit sewing on a regular basis quite a few years ago. One reason is that I pretty much lose the use of my office/yarn/fiber room when I set up the machine on its table and get the ironing board in place.


As a result, anything that needed sewing but wasn’t urgent landed in a pile on the counter in my office/yarn/fiber room.
In March I finally acknowledged that I needed to make masks. Pam was great in helping me find patterns she liked and hints and sites that would help me get through. I knew I had some fabric I had purchased three or four years ago to make a summer robe and pulled it out to see if I had anything else to use for masks. I did and had everything I needed to make nine masks (three of which didn’t work).


After staring at the pile of accumulated items that needed sewing in one form or another, I decided to just follow Nike’s advice and “just do it.”

I had made rice bags to use as ice packs before my surgery last winter and they needed to be made smaller. Done.

My at home preference for summer clothing is light weight cotton pajama bottoms and a tee shirt. Pajama bottoms don’t have pockets and I finally found “lounge pants” on Amazon. Evidently the difference between pajama bottoms and lounge pants is the pockets. I bought several pairs but they needed hemming. Done.

Then came the tee shirts. This was the big project that had been languishing for years and the pile kept getting bigger. It all started with a tee shirt that my sister bought for me at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool. She had called to ask what size and I told her extra-large thinking I would remake it with Pamela’s Pattern. As you can see, this is a wonderful tee shirt and I didn’t want to mess it up.



I wasn’t about to follow Nike’s advice in this case as I wanted to practice on something but, at the time I received it, I didn’t have a shirt to practice with. Fast forward to a couple of years ago when we did ice dying for Dye Day. I dyed three extra-large shirts. They joined the pile for when I got around to sewing. Joining them were the shirt from Ann, a shirt for the Timber Rattlers baseball team and my A’s shirt.

Ice dye shirt number one was too big in the shoulders but ok in the body but maybe a bit large.

I decided to try small shoulders and body for shirt number two but messed up the sleeve size so it came out too small overall.

Now I was heading into the Three Bears scenario. Shirt number three was good in the shoulders and ok in the body so that was what I was going with. Didn’t really reach the “just right” stage but close enough. May retry effort number two again if the opportunity presents itself.

Did the two baseball related shirts.


And then went for the shirt from Ann. Now, the first thing you do is cut of the sleeves. Scissors in hand I stopped. Maybe I should lay the pattern on the shirt to be sure it’s going to work. Just because it did with the others that doesn’t mean it will again. Glad I did. The sleeves on the shirt are too short to give me what I need to fit into the armhole (yes, I know there’s a real word for armhole. Something like armseye but I didn’t want to broadcast my spelling ignorance.)

If one of you has a fix for the problem, I’d love to hear it! Set it aside to start a new sewing pile.

Okay, it’s time to tackle the bathrobe. I had everything I needed.

But wait, there’s more. I remembered that I had bought a package of large size men’s’ cotton tee shirts last year to wear around the house (see lounge pants above) and to the gym. Various colors. I was pretty sure the fit was ok considering their purpose but tried one on. Too long. I then put the knits’ needle back in the machine and hemmed them.

Now, here’s another reason sewing isn’t my favorite activity. To cut anything out that is more than relatively small I have to pull the dining room table out and extend both leaves. The bird has no idea what it going on but that doesn’t stop him from chewing his food while flying around. Clean the food off the fabric.

Fortunately, the robe went together well. I had wanted to longer than the pattern and actually managed to add the same amount to the front, back, and piece. And, wonder of wonders, I actually matched the pockets to the fronts!



The only thing left is a piece of 40x60 cotton that would make a nice simple blouse. It’s an odd size and I have no idea where I got it. Since I haven’t found an easy pattern for it, I put it on the new pile started by the tee shirt.

When all was done the machine had a spa visit at the Sewing Machine Shop and is, once again, safely on the floor of a closet.

I sincerely hope that’s the last of the sewing for months because this lasted month. If I mention to anyone that I’m thinking about sewing something (other than rice bags or hemming) please roll your eyes and say, “Really?”

Mary B.

INTERESTING ARTICLES & VIDEOS

Runic Spindle Whorl Recently Found in Orkney - shared by Rosemary B.

In Search of Forgotten Colors - shared by Rosemary B.

FIBER-RELATED ITEMS FOR SALE

Contact the seller directly.  No exchange of $$ at the library is allowed.

Nothing for sale at this time

SOME UPCOMING FIBER EVENTS

Remember to contact vendors, organizers, and venues due to closures and cancellations.

Spinning At The Winery, Retzlaff Winery, Livermore, May 23, 2020 - Cancelled

Black Sheep Gathering, Albany, OR, June 26-28, 2020.  - Cancelled

HGA Convergence 2020, Knoxville, TN, July 23 - 30, 2020 - HGA Convergence has postponed until 2022:  The HGA Board has determined the safest course of action is to postpone the Convergence® conference we had planned for July 2020 until July 15-21, 2022. It is HGA’s intent to offer the same program in 2022 as we had scheduled for 2020. This includes sessions, tours, special events and more. We will also have twice as many exhibits. Artists who were juried into the 2020 exhibits will be invited to show their work alongside the 2022 exhibiting artists. We hope you will make plans to join HGA for Convergence® in 2022.

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events

ONGOING FIBER-RELATED CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Remember to contact vendors, organizers, and venues due to closures and cancellations.

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)

May 16, 2020

MAY, 2020

UPCOMING 2020 MEETING DATES

May 23 (Saturday) - Spinning at the Winery - cancelled.

Ongoing - Monday Spinning via Zoom.  Contact Pam M. for information.

SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

With the cancellations of shows and classes, don't forget to support our small fiber businesses and farms.  Email info to me for any businesses you'd like to highlight here, and look for shopping opportunities in previous blog entries, in the links in the "Ongoing Fiber-Related Classes & Workshops' section & columns to the right in the newsletter.

Lisa W.

GUILD MEMBER NEWS

From Donna S.:

This is my grandmother who was a nurse during the flu epidemic in Philadelphia about 100 years ago. The other photo is of her Red Cross knitting bag she carried at the time. She met her husband while nursing his grandchildren thru the Spanish flu. A few years later - my mother Anne was born . Some good things come from an epidemic. And now, just as then, we have knitting to feed our soul.





From Dawn J.:

Here's a picture of what happens when you buy flax seeds from Chico Flax at a guild meeting. The flax was planted on November 17, and harvested on May 1. It's currently drying under cover on my upstairs porch.



From Amy B.: 

5000+ yards in the first 35 of #the100dayproject. Have another 8oz bobbin almost filled. That's what I have been doing in the evenings.



A TALE OF IKAT AND MASKS - Doris B.


Hello everyone. Vilija, it was nice getting an update on life in the heartland and to see the process of getting settled. 

So I last left you with me starting a re-weave challenge on a piece of cotton ikat cloth with a flaw in the warp. In hindsight it seems so long ago, and so much has happened in the world, it feels tiny, but it’s a bit of focus that kept -keeps my interest. Zen, perhaps? I wondered if I could do what my grandmother used to do repairing fine suit cloth. Knowing my grandpa (aka Gramps) she probably had no shortage of work. They fixed and repaired things in their generation. I think there was no fast fashion and no debate about it.

I clipped, pulled and sorted out all the threads that involved the flaw, and I did managed to weave a few threads. 










Then the call to action was made across the nation for people to sew face masks for medical first responders. 

I answered.

I rummaged my small fabric stash and sacrificed my fun Monaluna cottons and large scraps of cotton to start. By chance I shared with my employer and clients what I was doing with my time stuck at home and out of work. A few days later my boss asked for masks for his nuclear family. With one child returning home from the Peace Corp in Europe and another being sent home from college closures (and with an asymptomatic case of Covid-19), they were in medical quarantine. A day later a text asking if I was interested in work sewing for the bread company his brother owns, helping make mask for their employees. I figured it was a win-win since the food chain was important to help protect too. They wanted reusable/sustainable mask to free up relying on the single-use ones needed for the pandemic response, and it would provide me with some much needed income. I accepted and began after I finished my current batch. Fortunately, Steve‘s wife had the foresight to order and provide for me the elastic that was in scarce supply everywhere. 

About 160 masks later,  I was back making colorful mask for friends, family, and medical donation. John Muir medical was requesting mask be made of fabric with 700 thread count. Hmm, am I supposed to go to Restoration Hardware to buy and cut up a set of sheets? Kaiser took awhile to reply to my email and was meh over what I had already sewn stating they’d take mine this time, but referred their own design with ties and please go here  for download (No link, just me illustrating). I sent masks to my brother, sister, niece and her spouse that are all in the medical field. Others went to NorthBay Medical center staff in the north Bay Area, and to some vulnerable friends I know with autoimmune issues. My son specifically requested a splashy rainbow unicorn for a little fun irony. After sewing items in production line quantities, strung together like little Tibetan prayer flags,  I’ve come away in lockdown with a great respect for garment workers around the world. Oh, and pay attention to the width when buying a bolt of fabric. I have all the cotton muslin I’ll ever need in the foreseeable future.




















Finished pressing pre-pinned pleats!  (try saying that really fast 3 times)

Ready for more pleating.


































I figured out a few hacks on my last batch of masks. I used Hanes girls leggings (L,M)cut in 1” cross sections when I ran out of elastic. Stretch then cut the rings and they roll up into a perfect length strip. To make the mask ear strap design adjustable, instead of sewing the ends of the elastic into the corners of the mask, I sew in the top end as normal and sew in a loop on the bottom corners to feed the strap through. The wearer can pull the strap and knot to desired fit.  

As for the reweave? I had Stonemountain and that ikat fabric item saved on my browser just in case. I’m still picking along, but bought a few replacement yards anyway. And Grandma, you are legend!

I hope you are all well.  Cheers.

Doris B.

FORBIDDEN INDIGO - Linda B.

We often travel to Coos Bay, OR, where good friends have a vacation home and invite the whole card group to a week of cards and food there. Several of us travel and stay in RV’s and the rest fill the vacation house and spill over into VRBO spaces. Most of our days are spent exploring the South Oregon coast. One day we were out looking for blueberry bushes to plant at the vacation home. We looked at several box stores and found a couple small local nurseries. One nursery looked like a “hobby” business, filled with small pots of numerous varieties. There was no particular rhyme to the placement, so we looked through each pot to see what was growing there for sale. Near the front gate was a 6 inch pot with a small green plant, labeled Indigofera tinctoria. I picked it up and asked the proprietor if indeed this was a correct label. By now, she know our group was from California. She said it was correct, but she didn’t think it was allowed in California, maybe a noxious weed? Hmmm. Do I leave it there, unappreciated for what it could become? Do I risk losing it at the California border and have it destroyed? Decisions, decisions! I decided that, if needed, I would fabricate a tale for the California border patrol. We usually came home down I-5 and have yet to be searched after asking if we have contraband. Knock on wood, we squeaked through.

The plant found a home in my front yard. It is planted in it’s pot with the sides of the pot split. The weather in the north side of my yard near the eaves of the house is nothing like the south Asia continent where Indigofera lives, so my little plant has limped along for a number of years. Each year, it bravely puts out some spindly stems and drapes them with lovely oval leaves and light magenta clusters of flowers that look like pea flowers. One year, I tried harvesting a few leaves and putting them to “ferment” in a glass jar. There was just a smudge in the bottom after months, so I just let my plant be a non-productive decoration. A couple of years ago, it sent out a runner, probably looking for the sun. I cautiously turned a blind eye, hoping for more leaves to harvest. The runner has been the only one so far, but the plant must have felt safe, as it has lots more leaves this year. I carefully plucked leaves from most stems, starting near the bottom to let the new leaves mature and multiply.

I had looked through my books on natural dying that covered techniques and recipes. None had any more information or instruction that the monograph from Handeye Magazine.com, written by Michele Wipplinger of Earthues. She says to pick mature leaves and pound them, then let them”ferment” covered in alkaline water. My little plant offered a quart of leaves! Putting them in a flat bottomed plastic disposable bowl, I found a heavy, flat bottomed liquor jug and squashed away. When most leaves looked bruised, I filled a quart canning jar half full of water and put two tablespoons of lye crystals in to dissolve. When the liquid cooled a bit, I carefully spooned the bruised leaves into the jar and filled it to the neck with more water. Covering the mouth with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band, the jar is relegated to the back patio table. It has been there for two weeks so far and the liquid is quite dark, appearing to be a dark green. I have been very careful handling the jar without gloves. The hot weather surely has helped the fermentation process, but I have no idea when to stop it! The next step is to vigorously paddle the colored water to incorporate lots of air. I have seen YouTube scenes of men in India standing knee deep in the blue water, sloshing the mix to a froth, surely they are not in lye water! What pH do I adjust the water to aerate? There are some major holes in the technique’s description. For now, I am just letting the leaves ferment and hope I can find some info on the pH. Let me know if any of you have such information.

After aeration, the water is carefully siphoned off and the sediment on the bottom is the dye pigment to scoop up and dry. I would be thrilled if my forbidden plant could give me a teaspoon of indigo! I will settle for a few seeds.


Linda B.

BOOK REVIEW - Sheila P.


In March 2020, the last Saturday that the Contra Costa Libraries were open (it happened that the libraries unexpectedly closed before the shelter in place was declared), I was standing in front of the New Books section at the Martinez Library with a friend who is the best person to run into at the library. She reads everything. She also liberally recommends books. She reached up to the shelf and said “You will probably like this one.”

I checked it out, and several days later, the libraries closed, and all due dates were pushed forward to June 1st. For the record, I had eleven other books checked out at the time.

The book I write about today is The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History, by Kassia St. Clair. It was copyrighted in 2018, but first American publication was just last year, 2019. As an aside, the author also wrote one of my favorite books, The Secret Lives of Colors. Check that book out if you are interested in the origin of common pigments.

St. Clair writes about fabric from prehistory through the present and discusses in detail the production and historical context for various fabrics and fibers. She also notes that our history tends to be the history of men’s activities, so the eras that are called the Age of Iron, or the Age of Bronze, from the point of view of women might be called the Age of Spindle or the Age of Loom.

Much of women’s work is fiber-related, and fiber is notoriously short-lived, therefore there are few examples of fiber or fabric more than a few hundred years old, and fabrics five hundred years old or a thousand years old are nonexistent. However, with more modern technology, archeologists and researchers can find wisps of fibers and impressions of fabrics that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Example: fine beads found in the Indus Valley dating back to the 6th millennium BC, when examined under microscopes, were found to have shreds of the cotton thread that they were strung on.

The author covers linen, wool, silk, cotton, and modern threads and textiles. Almost all of the earliest known manmade fibers were made using flax. Wild flax originated in the Mediterranean, Iran and Iraq, and presumably, prior to the domestication of sheep, was easier to gather and process than wool.

Let me tell you a few things that caught my interest, culled from various chapters in the book.

In England, in 1750, the most common paid employment for women was spinning. An unmarried woman could spin six pounds of wool a week. A married woman (who apparently was kept busy in other ways) could spin two pounds of wool a week.

King Tut’s shroud was made of 100 to 200 count linen. When the pharoah’s tomb was discovered, absolutely no care was taken in removing the linen wrappings from the mummy. Interest was in gold, of course, and not in the fabric. Later excavations took some measurements of the linen shrouds. Queen Hatnofer’s shroud was 1.7 yards wide, 5.5 yards long, but weighed only 5 ozs. Now THAT is fine fabric!! Also, paintings on tomb walls circa 2649-2150 BC show the blue flax fields of Egypt.

From paintings and pottery, it seems that distaffs did not appear until Roman times. Egyptian Middle Kingdom representations show women spinning with flax roves wound into balls, and placed in pots. The spinners would draw the thread from the pots, and spin with spindles in both hands. Another interesting note: Egyptians consistently spun an S-twist, presumably in both hands. [Perhaps we could try double handed spindle spinning in a future guild meeting. ]

Egyptians used horizontal ground looms until around 1500BC. In later years there is evidence of upright looms using warp weights, which were apparently in use until sometime in the European Middle Ages.

Then there are the chapters about the Vikings. Did you know (and forgive me if I was the last to learn) that the Viking sails were made from wool? A Norse spinner could spin 30 to 50 meters of wool per hour using spindle and distaff. A single sail was 90 square meters, which would take 2 ½ modern working years (assuming 40 hours per week?) to weave! Entire villages would work spinning and weaving to provide sails. Wool thread production would have been vastly increased through the use of spinning wheels, which seem to have arrived in Europe sometime between 1000 and 1200.

The author suggests that the Vikings began exploring (and pillaging) Europe and England, to find more sheep, since they needed so much wool to run the ships.

There were multiple chapters about silk and cotton, the medieval wool trade, and lacemaking., emphasizing the work of women and the impact fabrics had on economies.

I highly recommend for those of us interested in the fiber arts.

The Golden Thread How Fabric Changed History, by Kassia St. Clair

292 pages, with glossary, bibliography, notes and index.

Sheila P. 

INTERESTING ARTICLES & VIDEOS

Hidden Powers of a Sheep - shared by Rosemary B.

Colour Your Own Sheep

FIBER-RELATED ITEMS FOR SALE

Contact the seller directly.  No exchange of $$ at the library is allowed.

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SOLD - 25" Schacht Tapestry Loom and A-Frame Stand, $125 for both.  Still in original packages.  Total retail $197 + tax.  


Selling together for $125.  No-contact pick up from my porch in San Ramon.  Payment by cash, check or Venmo.  Contact Lisa W.

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SOME UPCOMING FIBER EVENTS

For any events that aren't listed as 'Cancelled', please check with the organizer or venue.

Spinning At The Winery, Retzlaff Winery, Livermore, May 23, 2020 - Cancelled

Black Sheep Gathering, Albany, OR, June 26-28, 2020.  - Cancelled

HGA Convergence 2020, Knoxville, TN, July 23 - 30, 2020 - HGA Convergence has postponed until 2022:  The HGA Board has determined the safest course of action is to postpone the Convergence® conference we had planned for July 2020 until July 15-21, 2022. It is HGA’s intent to offer the same program in 2022 as we had scheduled for 2020. This includes sessions, tours, special events and more. We will also have twice as many exhibits. Artists who were juried into the 2020 exhibits will be invited to show their work alongside the 2022 exhibiting artists. We hope you will make plans to join HGA for Convergence® in 2022.

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events


ONGOING FIBER-RELATED CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)