Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mystery Quilting…becoming a Quilt Chef

And so it begins. The Quilters have decided to "do" a Mystery Quilt over the next year. The first block was distributed at our meeting, with much "oh, my",  "what's it gonna look like",  "will this work", Can I do this". To which Anna's frequently replied,  "Trust me, it will be okay." "It's an adventure", and "Step out of your comfort zone".  How exciting so many quilters are participating and excited about the adventure, taking on this new challenge. Quilting is like cooking, note,  I did NOT say baking. Baking is an exact science.  Cooking recipes are usually suggestions for what works together, the chef tweaks the product as she goes to incorporate her own style, taste, or simply pantry. Quilters, too, have a style and stash. We all know Marilyn will have yellow and Nancy will have red somewhere in their quilts. Pat's are solids and Anna are batiks. Yet, a challenge often brings out the best in folks. Something was lacking in their quilts, so Vicki decided she wanted mice around her cats quilt, incorporating a embroidered long tail. Kathy adds heirloom embroidery and embellishments, while Anna adds the Korean name and blessing to baby quilts. We become quilting chefs…we take a chance, tweak it, sample it, and the final project reflects who we individual quilter!

Linda began this piece as a Redwork Santa. Simply stitching along, she was never sure what she wanted to do with it once done. She framed it with 1/2 square triangles, turning corners smoothly and set off the the stitchery with 20 or so shades of red. This is a quilting chef at work…gorgeous.

AND ITS READY TO HANG for Christmas!

Weavings on A Winter Night

Thanksgiving was just around the corner, the turkey in the refrigerator thawing, the family already beginning to arrive, and yet...the weavers found time to gather and share another moment of their weaving experience...MidWest Weavers Conference. With tips learned during those classes, much of show and tell was gifts for Christmas/Hanukkah yet to be.

Towels to be Hemmed
A Mother's Scarf 

 A Blanket against the Chill

The weavers do not meet in December…I think that's just so we get all our projects completed.  But I know there is always weaving afoot, just like the mouse runs up the clock,  with a hickory dickory dock…so too, the weaver treadles the loom going clickety,  clackery,  clock.  Happiest of Days to one and all.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

UFOs, Shibori and Gluten Free

Daycrafters is a group of folks, any guild member, that meets once a month to finish UFOs(unfinished objects), to motivate each other, to problem-solve or simply to visit with friends. This group originally was a spin-off (no pun intended) from the evening spinners group, and slowly matriculated into the daycrafters of today.  
Last Thursday, Molly's living room overflowed with women knitting, ply-split braiding, hemming handwoven placements, and quilting. As always, questions were asked and input given, whether it was how to choose quilting fabric, to using the joint warp woven for Mammo Pillows, to what should our next Midwest Exhibit be.

Lucy shared her recent journey to Japan including their silk and cotton spinning techniques, weaving rooms, shibori dying and fabric designs. This is an example of shiobiri dying, very unique and dramatic, looks more like a Sea Urchin than flat cloth. If you think that wasn't enough activity for a morning, Molly had prepared wonderful treats, along with gluten-free scones. It is amazing what you can learn at Daycrafters.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Time Flies...

You always hear people say that time flies, and that it's even faster as you age. Well, I must be 100. I cannot believe it's almost November. It seems like only yesterday, it was June and I was at the spinning wheel singing around my campfire. Today, I look around our guild house and the fall muse seems to have hit all the groups. The spinners are working on spinning flax and cotton, all planning to spin that skien and design something special for its use.
Jeanne using her drop spindle to spin flax

We had two displays at the Coralville Library, one in August and another in September-a little peak at who we are and what we do.
Coralville Library Display
David's Mom, Marion  taught this basket weaving class.
The weavers had a basket workshop, and  have been excited by variated yarns at their latest meeting. Their study group has taken on the challenge of  Bateman's Chevron, Boulevard and combination weaves.  There is not one but four group warps on looms at the guild house.  The frequent sound of a shuttle shot and the beat against feld is only interrupted by the sound of the potter's wheel and the warmth from their kiln as it permeates the upstairs weaving room.

Bateman Chevron in Variegated Fiber

Quilting a Family Heirloom
Color Comes Together
The knitters have been studying different ways to cast on, and the quilters have begun their mystery quilt.

The falling leaves and plummeting temperatures seems to have stimulated the crafters'/artisans' passions.  It is so exciting to be part of this level of creativity and talent.

Thursday, August 29, 2013



 Every year, one member of the Craft Guild encourages, motivates, cajoles,  and okay...downright NAGS us to participate in the Iowa State Fair Exhibits. It really is the best way to allow the public to see our work and to demonstrate these crafts are not gone, just a part of the historical landmark...but ever present in our day to day life. This year, we contributed 71 different items in various categories, taking home many, many ribbons, Best of Show in Spinning, as well as Best of Show in Weaving and The Sweepstakes Award.
In Weaving, Household Linens category, the blue ribbon went to Vicki Tardy, the white to Linda Bergquist, and fourth was Stepahanie Van Housen. In the Scarf or shawl category, Betty Huttner, Vicki, Bev Pennell took the second, third and fourth place respectively. In Towels, Vicki, Cathy Willoughby and Mary Boulet earned second, third and fourth ribbons. Honorable mentions went to Terry Jones, and Bev. Betty took home the blue for her handwoven Jacket, with Terry and Diane Fleshin collecting the red and white ribbons for their jackets.
In knitting, Juliana Waechler earned blue ribbons in the shawl(one color/yard) and accessory categories. Jill Fishbaugh earned a blue ribbon for her multiple yarns/color scarf. Grace Tulle received an honorable mention for her infant sweater. Stephanie received an Honorable Mention for the Doll she knitted.

In Spinning,  Vicki Tardy received Best of Show in Handspun Yarns, earning blue ribbons in lace weight,  spinner's own flock and 2 oz skein (60% animal fiber), as well as an Honorable Mention for her garment. Juliana earned white ribbons in the garment, laceweight wool and 2 oz skein (60% animal fiber) categories. Diane earned a red ribbon for her own flock and white for bulky weight. Stephanie earned a second place for her Bulky weight, and a fourth for worsted weight.  Terry earned fourth in lace weight  and Mary earned a blue for her worsted weight. 
In Fine Arts, Betty Huttner earned a white ribbon for her ply-split basket.

And lastly, we have Deb Zeigler, who made headlines with her weaving to repeat Top Honors in Weaving at Iowa State Fair Competition-Best of Show and Sweepstakes Award.  This is the second time she earned both honors and her fifth year for the Sweepstakes honor. In addition, she took blue ribbons in Afghan, Baby Afghan, Towels, Wall Hanging, Shawl or Scarf categories as well as a red ribbon in Household linens, a  fourth place in Apparel.  A job well done seems like an understatement.   This scarf is her Best of Show entry. 

I know I say this over and over again, but I am in awe of the talent of our guild members. I find it exciting that three of the guild's blue ribbons were won by first time entrants.  Perhaps, next year, we should all send at least one item...yes, I know, that means me. I better get crackin'.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Craft Guild of Iowa City
Annual Open House
Sunday, September 8, 2013

815 Oakland Avenue, Iowa City

Come, see the work and learn about the opportunities for all levels of potters, weavers, spinners, knitters, quilters, beaders, and ply-split braiders. Membership is open to adults over 18 years old. Beginners are welcome. Classes are offered. Refreshments will be served. 
For more information, cal 319-594-4771

Check out our WEBSITE

I alway love technology, but it doesn't always love me. Our website has been both a joy and a curse, but I do think it gives you a significant picture of just what the Craft Guild is...and why we do what we do. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MidWest Weavers Conference

Last month, quite a few of our weavers attended the biannual MidWest Weavers conference in Emporia Kansas. It is a chance to take classes and learn something, to meet up with old friends and reminisce and to share our creative skills and enter exhibits. Needless to say, we have a very talented bunch of weavers and spinners. Betty Huttner, Vicki Tardy, Stephanie Van Housen and  Mary Boulet took home ribbons. Below is Stephanie's homespun entry. 
As I have said many times in this blog....WOW. I am impressed.  Priceless!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weavers' Challenge...Rosepath

Towels, Towels and more towels...that was the show and tell for the last weaver's meeting, all part of the annual challenge.

Each year, a challenge is thrown down to motivate weavers to try something new and exciitng. This year, it was a rosepath towel. Rosepath is an interesting structure in that it can appear to be many things from overshot to simple plain weave and depending on the fiber used, tabby or no tabby, each is quite unique from the other. 
I am always amazed at the obvious talent exhibited in this annual event. This was no exception, each towel unique in its color, fiber and design reinforces the depth of talent and the joy of weaving possessed by our members.  Challenge met...don'tcha think!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Playing Poker...Spinner Style

Last fall, the spinners were given the challenge: To Play Fiber Poker.  Hmmm, doesn't  sound much like a spinner's activity, but perhaps times were desperate. It was a really long winter.

Fiber Polka is played with cards, but these are not ordinary cards. There are five categories, fiber, color, texture, add-in and use. Each spinner draws one card from each category, this becomes her\his poker hand. Thus, the challenge is: "Just what do you do with your hand". For example, Julianna drew cotton, red, knitted, tassel, jewelry.  How do you think she did...

Julianna...cotton, red, knitted, tassel, jewelry

 Check out some of the others.

Melissa...Angora, blue, bumpy, ribbon, mittens

Stephanie...Angora, green, soft, beads, needlework

Linda...Angora, white, knitted, Angora, Scarf

Jeanne...fine wool, gray, fuzzy, mohair, rug
Wendy...Llama, purple, firm, beads, doily
Lucy...cotton, green, crochet, beads,  socks
Betty...Silk, white, woven, tassel, socks
Terry's Hand...Silk, white, crochet, ribbon, vest

Grace...fine wool, purple, smooth, beads, shawl

And there were a couple that although unique, my camera choose not to save them.  The missing hands were Wanda's mohair, purple, woven, tassel and doily/rug; Anna's mohair, red, firm, buttons, bag/purse (an I-pad sleeve).  It never ceases to amaze me...the depth of the creativity and insight when given a challenge...Well done, challenge met.
Jill's Hand...Coarse wool, green, knitted, angora, Mittens
Jackie's hand...mohair, yellow, soft, mohair,  mittens

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Faux Piping Binding

Last week the quilters met to share their sense of fabric. Sounds so corny, but did you ever meet a quilter who didn't want to "touch", to "feel", to "view" any quilt we see. Maybe we just get a cotton dust high, but it is so rewarding.  I think that's why we appreciate "show and tell."
Pam's paper piecing

Pam's applique runner

Nancy's mystery quilt

After show and tell, Mary taught a class in faux piping binding. It's an easy way to bind a quilt that just needs a little extra something without the extra work. Piping when applied to a quilt can be the splash of color that turns a ho-hum quilt into an striking wonder. In the past, piping was a two or three step process that was rather time-consuming. This quick technique allows you to bind and add piping to a queen size quilt in about three hours...yeap, I did say 3 hours.

Amazing what we learn from each other. And Thanks to Inspirations Quilt Shop in Hills who again allowed us to use their incredible classroom.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quilter's Show and Tell

Nancy's charity quilt
Spring seems to be dilly-dallying and winter just keeps hanging on, and yet...
To get through the doldrums, we quilt. To ignite our passions, we quilt. Because we breathe, we quilt.

Last month, we journeyed out into the coutnry to share a morning, to share out passion with out know, those folks who are just as excited as you are about fabric.

Marilyn's applique

This was show and tell

As one of our quilters was going through the boxes of a deceased family member,  this partially completed yo-yo quilt was discovered. How exciting, trying to recoup the time, energy and beauty of a quilt begun many, many years ago.

And another ran across this really fun pattern to
produce blocks of vegetables...Can you just imagine the interesting quilt this will make-- Vegetable Soup.

As I post this, we have had our first real taste of Spring,  and now these vegies will grow in our gardens,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weaving with Fabric Strips

In historical times, folks took old clothes, curtains, sheets and cut them into strips to make rugs with what they had. Over time, the practice of salvaging fabric has changed a little. Today, a weaver decides the structure and the design before looking for their fabric strips. Sometimes, they don't have enough of any one color for the design they have in mind.  There are several ways to remedy that problem. 1. Have a great quilter friend with a stash who's willing to share. 2. Go to Good Will or Crowded Closet. 3. Check all those boxes you inherited from your Mother, your Auntie, your Grandma, there might be fabric or old stuff to cut up. 4. Dye anything you have. We have been known to dye a half a dozen of Auntie's old sheets. Lastly, only after you exhausted all salvaging methods... off you go to the fabric store.

Now you have the fabric and the idea...just how do you cut, join, weave, bind, or hem these strips into this new masterpiece. At the last weavers' meeting, Cathy and Linda presented a program explaining the tools needed for cutting/tearing the fabric strips for weaving with fabric strips, the techniques for weaving with fabric and the resources available from the guild library.  I must admit I was blown away by the examples provided.
Runners and Placemats
There was such a vast array of items, all woven with fabric strips as your weft.

The complicated patterns that are produced were spectacular.

Upper Left...Runner, Lower Right...Rug

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spinning Crazy Yarn with Flair...from Iowa City to Bishop HIll

When I write this blog, I am always humbled by the creative talents of the guild members. Here are a few pictures from the spinners meeting this month.  Julianna demonstrated and talked about her wild and award winning, crazy yarn. The bottom picture show the "Best in Show" ribbon Julianna received at the Bishop Hill Spin'in, 2013. She called it singles and stuff.  

Best In Show...Bishop Hill Spin-in
Congratulations Julianna, and to all those spinners who participate at Bishop Hill and other spin-ins. A wonderful way to meet friends and spin the afternoon away. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pattern and Weave Workshop

Weavers have been super busy in March, there was a pattern and weave workshop for two weeks...Incredible colors, fibers, and structures. During our February meeting, the committee that developed the workshop walked us through the process.

While it does seem like a lot of work, it is also a lot of fun and soooo much can be learned. When do you get the opportunity to pick out 26 different projects...color, pattern, structure. fiber,, and have someone else warp their loom so you can share this fun of weaving without the work. Some see the workshops as a challenge, a learning experience, to me, it's motivation. I am amazed at how many of the pieces I weave began as a sample in one of our winter workshops.
2 of the weavers participating in the workshop
paper spot sample

wool "corduroy jacket"

workshop samples
everyone's favorite challenge...