Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tree Huggers

Iowa City is home to a real group of tree huggers or perhaps the trees are just cold and needed a sweater.
Maybe, but this is a wonderful piece of living art on display downtown. Local knitters designed, knitted and installed these tree huggers throughout the area. I am excited to say that three of the knitters are Craft Guild members, Jill, Sara, and Sheri.
Jill is installing her argyle hugger.
Sara's tree hugger is on the left.
Sheri's tree hugger is on the right. As the deary months arrive, these colorful wonders will make us smile. Thanks to all the knitters who took the time, energy and expense to brighten the day.

Deflection, Differnential Shrinkage, Doubleweave

This picture and this description...It does make you think...what's going on here? Ruby Leslie lead a dozen or so weavers through her Deflection, Differential Shrinkage and Doubleweave workshop. Each weaver brought in a loom ready to weave one of Ruby's patterns.
The samples were woven in classic round robin style. Her lectures discussed the interlacements of doubleweave, choices of fibers and the changes to expect. She explained that fibers shrink differently, and in doing so, move other fibers around. Here are two examples of the patterns chosen for the workshop.
The color dynamics and interweaving made this workshop unique. And yet, there was more...
After weaving, the samples were to be xeroxed, washed and dried. Now this is where the miracles occurred. It was mind-boggling to see the results, ruffles, crinkles, puffs, felting...Each of these changes dramatically altered the fabric size, design or texture. What can you do with crinkles or ruffles? This picture is a camisole that Ruby designed from yards and yards and yards of ruffle, and further embellished it to make it even more festive.
Now I know y'all are just dying to know what really was happening in that first picture...No, I wasn't praying I could weave, nor trying to sneak away. It really was timer on my camera decided I wanted 10 shots and not one...oh, well, technology wins again, amidst copious laughter. We laughed a lot and learned a lot...great workshop.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Clickety, Clack, Swoosh, Hmm.

What an intro...clickety-clack, swoosh, hmmm, oooohh. Those are the sounds you hear as knitters gather. These two groups (evening and day) of knitters meet to share their love of the craft. They love the feel of the fiber, the colors and what it does in their hands. For me, it's a love/hate relationship. It's like committing to "going to the gym". It has a noble purpose, a specific results expectation and a frustration level at the amount of time it takes. However, knowing that this time is dedicated to an activity I enjoy and I might be creatively productive contributes to its appeal. We have some very talented people in these groups. Knitting has many faces...Whether its Terry making unique mittens
or Anna Finally completing that sweater, started last fall. It can be knitting bracelets or necklaces from beads and wires. Not exactly what you'd imagine when someone asks "what are you knitting these days?". The tools for this kind of knitting are little different but they have the same properties of connecting the "yarn" or wire in this case to another in some pattern, adding beads to complete the pattern. Just as Linda did in this bracelet.
Or as Lucy did using this tool to "knit" these necklaces. Knitting, it's all about the vision, the hands, and that fiber place in your heart.

Tomorrow Comes

I don't know where the times goes, but I cannot believe its November. And yet, as I write this, my New Jersey/New York family reminds me what really is important. Time is relative and life as you know it can change in a moment...or in "Sandy's" case-a 24 hour moment. My family, still are without power, laughing and joking about camping out in the rumble, using "somebody's" wifi signal to say we're OK, and sharing whatever they have with whomever they can for that all important meal, shelter or shower. Yes, they lost a lot, but its just stuff. That which is most precious, each other, is sitting next to them, safe, reasonably dry, holding hands, reaching for that last Pringle. They are tenacious; they will come back; they have each other.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Every September the Craft Guild holds an open house to share with the community and our membership just what we do here.
Individuals bring in their creative pieces which certainly brightens up the room. There is quilting, weaving, spinning, knitting, beading,pottery, a real sampling of the talent represented by this group. We use this time to pay our dues, learn the new combination to the house and simply to catch up with those we haven't seen in a while. We also have demonstrations...such as this quilting. Bob didn't realize he was going to be a quilt frame, but he does seem pleased to help.
Deb demonstrated her latest abstract piece which she designs and creates herself. She told me the piece dictates what it wants to be and she just follows along.
I must admit I am always just a little humbled by the skill, creativity, and genuine love of the art these crafters/artists demonstrate and yet each is willing to help that novice become enthused. Welcome to the Craft Guild of Iowa City...a place to grow your muse.

Walnuts & Wool

The trees are beginning to change colors and lose their leaves. The walnuts are waiting to be gathered. Fall is in the air.
Knitters love this time of year; its cool enough to have all that wool in their laps. With needles humming, they gathered to share their latest projects.
Terry and Grace worked on baby surprise jackets. Terry's is almost done, in blue. Grace is just beginning one, with sock yarn.
Wendy is making Multnomah from Hello Knitty out of Paca-Peds H-T sock yarn (
Molly is working on 2 socks from a dyed sock blank, toe up. Grace gave a mini-demonstration of Tunisian crochet that she used to make a bag that is a store model at Crazy Girl (see Molly also showed us her completed scarf made out of that novelty ribbon yarn that makes a kind of ruffle when you knit it. Sounds have been a really prolific afternoon and yet, the outdoors seems to beckon...Lucy and Grace picked up walnuts and twigs. Certainly helped sprune up the place. If you're a knitter, join us for an afternoon or a evening. Each knitter simply enriches the others.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weavers Potluck

The weavers gathered at Betty's for the semi-annual potluck. It was amazing, the food, the show and tell, the state fair winners. We have such incredible weavers in this group.
Check out Pat's summer project. I haven't figured out how some folks find the time and the talent to do such wonderful pieces.
Jeanette's finally off all crutches, casts and other unsundry apparatus, produced this wonderful rug...basically out of her "stash". Wow, do I need a bigger stash!
My thanks to Dorothy and Vicki, who produced many yards of fabric for the Breast Cancer Pillow Project. Believe or not, there were no color requests, just brilliant minds working together, or perhaps these ladies share a stash. With the beginning of the craft guild year, we are reminded of where creativity meets the mind, the abstract, or simply the wonder of it all. Remember Weavers, we don't meet on out traditional Tuesday night in October, but on Saturday during the Ruby Leslie Workshop at Solon Library. Whether your project is large or small, enjoy the simple act of creating...weaving...
Open House Sunday September 9, 1-4 pm at the guild house

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Aloha greeted the quilters for their first meeting of the new year.
The program presented was on Hawaiian quilting, its history, and a demonstration of typical needle turned quilting and the Two for One Hula pattern. We were introduced to stapler basting, quick fusing, folding and carefully cutting, all to produce these unique blocks in a very short time.
Summertime was not idle time for these quilters who shared their latest endeavors. Terry used the blocks from one of last seasons program to produce this wall hanging/table square.
Let me preface this with I hate t-shirt quilts, especially using shirts from size 2 to large adult. And yet, when my precious girl flops down beside me, batting those beautiful brown eyes, "Nana, could you make me a quilt from my tee shirts...for college." "Of course," I say, "love ya". ..AAGGHH,I must be crazy races across my brain, that's 2 months, AAGGHH. And yes, a t-shirt quilt for a granddaughter going off to college is shipping tomorrow.
And Nancy has been busy with all those charity quilts she makes from scraps of this and scraps of that. Here are two examples of those quilts.
Marilyn brought a hawaiian style needle turned project to show; Linda was quilting a runner from a slash and stack block class last season. Everyone, I think, was just glad to be back together to talk "quilting". Next month, there will be another exciting class, making "spinning art fabric" at Nancy's.
Mahalo Nui Loa
(Thank you very much)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ribbons Galore

The Iowa State Fair has the "Butter Cow" and anything fried on a stick as its claim to fame, BUT, folks from the Craft Guild of Iowa City's claim to fame is our whomping 62% of the ribbons awarded in Fabric and Threads.
The fair website which proclaims
Zeitler Sweeps the Talent in State Fair Weaving Competition
...yes, our own Deb Zeitler won the Sweepstakes award for her weaving talents, as he has for the last four years. She also collected the Best of Show for this handwoven alfgan. When asked how does she find the time, "...I just do, it goes quickly once I have a idea." (Not so true for this weaver)
Vicki Tardy won the Best of Show for her Handspun vest. The vest, a blend of fibers hand spun, handdyed and embellished. Now I don't know if this fiber was from her own critters, but it wouldn't surprise me. Remarkably, simply remarkable. There were a total of 8 blue ribbons (out of 9 categories, one of which didn't issue a blue ribbon), all the reds.
We received the top 3 ribbons in 6 classes of entries, and all 5 ribbons in the scarf category. All total, 53 of the 84 ribbons were awarded to the CGIC. It never ceases to amaze me the depth of talent in our guild.
Terry, Vicki, Betty S, Betty H, Jill, Linda, Bev, Cathy, and Deb entered items this year in towels, household linens, apparel, scarves for a total of 29 weaving, 11 knitting, and 2 basketry entries.
The excitement of the fair is evident on this first time participant. As you can see, the fair is not just for the seasoned and more experienced weavers, spinners, or knitters. Its a time and a place to share, to see and to be proud of your own and others talents. Congratulations one and all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wonderful Fiber Arts program, Frame, PATV18

"There is a revival going on. Almost on the tipping point of a revolution. The populous is questioning the place and importance of mass consumerism by relearning ancient arts or consciously purchasing those hand-crafted gems from artisans. In this episode of frame, we learn about the ancient art of spinning and weaving and the tools used to create hand-crafted wares. Learn what modern day equipment is based upon the design and operation of a Jacquard Loom. You will also discover how quilts are actually made plus examples of contemporary and historical quilts. Learn about the role that quilts have played and continue to play in our communities and families. Oh yeah, we have a surprise celebrity special guest. Tune in." This is quoted from the online version of Frame, a production of PATV18. Great job, Kudos to Jeanette, and your assistant Jill. I didn't succeed when I first tried to learn to spin...UNTIL a friend suggested Janette Ryan-Busch. She is a soft-spoken, knowledgable and incredibly patient teacher who brought me full circle, from hating my wheel to loving it. It is the most relaxing thing I do. Anyone with an interest in fiber arts should check out this link.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fenner's Workshop:

MarySue Fenner conducted am incredible workshop over the weekend with members of the weaving group. It began with handwoven fabric each weaver had produced, in some case, "commercial", and finished into a jacket. < It began with the typical..."oh my, how do I want to lay this out..." Next is the pinning the fabric appropriately and cutting it out. Handwovens act differently than commercial fabric because they are usually lessly closed sett. Careful attention must be paid to grainline, plan for finishing and any curves within the pattern. After the cutting and the sewing, the most crucial step...THE FITTING. Anyone who sews, knows this is also the hardest part. This is what differentiates homemade from coutier crafted. Diane used commercial silk, after completing her jacket took it home to dye it. This is the results! Rather remarkable, I'd said. Here are some of the other almost finished products...(l to r) Margaret, Betty; Bev, Linda; Deb, Stephanie; Well Done, Ladies. Our thanks to Mary Sue Fenner for the excellent program.