Sunday, January 13, 2019

June 20-22, 2019 MWA Conference 2019: UNCOMMON THREADS

Our guild is hosting the Midwest Weavers Conference 2019: UNCOMMON THREADS at Ginnell College. Amy Norris and John Mullarkey will be the keynote speakers. Two accomplisherd weavers, two different styles, but complementary personalities. Each loves the challenges of structure, and each is eager to try something new. Such an exciting duo to share their love and talent with us. 

Registration opens February 2, 2019.
Go to the conference website., click on conference, click on Dowload for the conference booklet containing everything you wanted to know to make your conference decisions 

Here are some of the categories of the numerous seminars offered over the three day conference. 

There will be preconference workshops (6/17-19), guild and members exhibits, a non-juried fashion show, vendors; there will be so many opportunities to learn new things, meet new friends and visit with other weavers, spinners and artists. There will also be a "Fiber Artists of Iowa" exhibit in the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College from June 14-July 20, 2019,  with its Opening Reception on June 20.

So much to see, so much to do, so many people to meet...Don't forget...Registration opens February 2, 2019. Go to the conference website., click on conference, click on Dowload for the conference booklet containing everything you wanted to know to make your conference decisions 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Laura Lila Nelson's Weaving Life

What an incredible way to begin our program year, Laurianne Gilberson, chief curator at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa presented a program about Lila Nelson. She introduced us to her textile work, her vitality and thoughtful process of developing her weaving. She produced traditional weaving to please the soul, to stimulate thought and to examine the world from various perspectives. Finishing rugs, towels, wallhanging was not her primary focus. She did a great deal of what I call functional weavings, but encourage her students to see color, to used their environments, to use their senses, even simply the written word.
Laurianne Gilbert

Lila Nelson with a tapestry 
Lila's small tapestries, each with message

Laurianne brought many of the Nelson textiles from the Vesterheim collection and shared the structure, fiber and story behind each one. All the weaving shown here gives us just a glimmer of just how much talent was packed into this little lady, this giant of a weaver.
Three Holy Kings
The Foolish Virgin

Tapestry with pick up lettering.

Standard Double Weave/Pigs in a pen

Use of square as pattern or motif

Saturday, August 25, 2018

An Interesting Quilting Summer.

Quilters meet this week with some interesting summer work. Although this first piece wasn't created by our members but by a sister-in-law's grandmother and her great aunties who made this for her mother's birth. Her mother recently died at 104.  It's probably 100 or more years old. It is a little on the thin side but overall in excellent condition. 
Hand pieced and quilted for the babe. 
Each square hand embroidered.

 We often make quilts to fund-raising auctions. Check out Linda's contribution for the Aviation Club.

Dynamic color scheme.

Colorful and Interesting Back

As a group we are always talking about using our stash, not wasting the leftovers and other ideas. The next three photos are excellent examples of scrap quilting and reconstructing cloth using those scraps. 
scraps jelly roll 

These stars are made from reconstructed fabric. 

Another scrap quilt 
I must say it's been an interesting summer. These last three were made by one of our quilters who had had shoulder surgery and was bored. Oh, please let me be this good when I'm bored.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

CGIC rocks the Iowa State Fair of 2018

Each August, Deb strongly encourages the rest of us at the Craft Guild to participate in the Fibers and Threads exhibit at the Iowa State Fair. We do this for several reasons, it's fun, others get to see and appreciate our handiwork. Folk see examples of what we do on a day to day basis reminding everyone that the fiber crafts have not gone the way of the dinosaur.

Handwoven Rugs

Our guild was clearly well represented in the Fiber and Threads Division. Vicki Tardy won Best of Show honors in the weaving division of Fabric and Threads. Deb Zeitler claimed the Sweepstakes honor in weaving. Ribbons for weaving Rugs went to Cathy Willoughby, Deb Zeitler, and Lucy Hansen. Ribbons for weaving with handspun were awarded Vicki Tardy and Deb Zeitler. Deb Zeitler also recieved a blue ribbon for her woven Afghan.

In Weaving -Towels category, Lois Lembke, Vicki Tardy, Bev Pennell and Linda Bergquist received ribbons. While the household linens category ribbons were awarded Vicki Tardy, Deb Zeitler, Bev Pennell, and Lucy Hansen. Wall Hangings category ribbons went to Deb Zeitler, Cathy Willoughby, and Lucy Hansen. Vicky Tardy and Deb Zeitler were awarded ribbons for their handwoven apparel. And Terry Jones, Lois Lembke, Rebecca Roush, Vicky Tardy, and Deb Zeitler received ribbons for their shawls/scarfs.
Handwoven Dishtowels, Throw &, baby blanket

Knitted cowl
In Knitting, Terry Jones won 7 ribbons and Rebecca Roush won 5 ribbons in various knitting categories.
Skeins of handspun yarn. 
Rebecca Roush won best of show honors in spinning and a blue in lace weight spinning. Terry Jones won 7 ribbons and Vicki Tardy won 4 ribbons in other spinning categories.
Handspun knitted cowl
In addition to all the fiber entries, Deb Zeitler received a ribbon for her ply-split piece seen in the Fine Arts Division. As another year of the Fair has come to a close, the incredible work of our CGIC lives on in its splendor. Come to our open house September 9, from 1-4pm for another opportunity to see their work.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Name Draft Challenge Results

In December,  I shared the challenge made to our weavers to design and weave a name draft item and a promise to share those that rose to the task. The first photo shows several weavings, each commerating a special time or event. Anniversarys, Wedding, first Grandson, A mother-in-law, an ancestral family name.
Commerating a special moment or person
Terry's home of many year.
They are spectacular orginal designs.  Come see them on display in the rotunda at the Coralville Library until August 31, 2018.
Deb's first grandson

Monday, June 4, 2018

Joan Ruane on Spinning Cotton

Joan Ruane 
The spinners had one day workshop on cotton blends with cotton spinning and weaving expert Joan Ruane. Joan has been teaching spinning for almost 30 years. As a graduate of Springfield College, she taught in the Tucson public schools before going to New Zealand in 1971. In New Zealand where there are 3 million people and 30 million sheep, she learned to spin from Ruth Reid. Returning to the U.S.a year later, she brought with her two fleeces, a pippy wheel and a flick carder. And so began the love of fiber.

Joan was the featured speaker at the Iowa Federation of Handweavers and Handspinners meeting, hosted by our Guild, at the Johnson County fairgrounds, Building C, on Saturday, April 14th.  Joan is an engaging and very knowledgeable speaker...whether you're a spinner or weaver, she was enjoyed by all. She spoke about cotton from boll to cloth in the morning and in the afternoon about the state of hemp in the United States.

The spinner had a one day workshop on cotton blends with cotton spinning and weaving expert Joan Ruane on April 15th.  
Examples of Hemp yarns that are used for spinning cotton
Cotton lint with two pieces of cloth that Joan spun, dyed and used as weft with commercial cotton warp
Woven cottons using Joans handspun natural and dyed cottons
In the little open box is cotton fibers, with a Takii spindle and bowl for it.

So much to learn, so little time, so such fun. It was a fantastic weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Making Dorset Buttons

Have you ever made a garment and not been able to find the right button or embellishment...the answer: DORSET Buttons. Dorset button is a style of craft-made button originating in the English county of Dorset ( The most popular Dorset button today is called the Dorset Cartwheel. Buttons are available readymade online at;; even Amazon has gotten into the picture. Instructions are available on youtube, and there is an excellent tutorial at

At a recent meeting, the weavers were introduced to this technique. The equipment is minimal, a frame, a needle and thread of some kind. The basic steps are: Casting on or covering the frame by blanket stitching around the frame; Slicking or pushing the ridge of the stitch to the inside, Laying or making the spokes and Rounding or filling in the gaps.  Although the learning curve is short and simple, it does take practice to produce a very special button.  

These buttons can be used on almost anything as an embellishment. 

White pearl vs olive Dorset buttons
The original plan for this olive sweater was white pearl, but lo and behold how Dorset buttons set it off. And this blue vest and cap...definitely special.
Note the adorable pink and blue.

We did have an opportunity to make our first button. While it did take me almost thirty minutes, I believe like most craft skills, it becomes quicker and easier with practice.  And definitely worth it.

Have fun.