Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Colors of our Guild's Dyepots

On a warm and sunny fall weekend, the spinners got together at the guild house to dye fiber.  I wasn't able to participate, however, these are several of the photos taken that afternoon.
We begin with the Dye

Cauldrons bubble, seeking the Ravishinmg Red
Color was added to the wet fiber, the product stirred to distribute the dye properly and to intensify the depth of the color. What a Gorgeous red...
Or Perfect Purple
Or Tantalizing  Teal

I can't wait to see some of the yarn spung from this batch, or the final products.
Or this Bodashious Blend
It looks like everyone had a wonderful afternoon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Thrill of a Twill!

Robyn Spady, an incredible weaver, teacher, and person was in town as the keynote speaker for the Iowa Federation Meeting hosted by yours truly-The Craft Guild of Iowa City. After which, she presented a 2 day workshop, The Thrill of a Twill for CGIC members, as well as others from Omaha, Waterloo, Norwalk. And a thrill it was.
Robyn Spady sharing a laugh with her host Jeanne

We meet in a gym in Shueyville; Robyn laughed that it was the first time she shared space with a basketball hoop. Each person chose his/her own fiber, warping her/his looms to weave each of the samples discussed by Robyn. In this photo, 30 folks are diligently working. After lunch the adventure continued, Robyn showed us how could we develop the twill into something magnificent on only 4 shafts. She demonstrated computer softwear use in designing twills. Over the next two days, we wove, experienced, socialized, shared meals, and thoroughly enjoyed learning the thrill of a twill and spending time with other weavers.

We spent a lot of time just looking at how others' samples were coming out.  Asking all those intelligent questions like...

How did that squiggle  happen?

What fiber is that?...Bumps? Texture?
Where was I?  Is this how it's supposed to look?
Wow, that sparkly stuff really pops...what did you use?
Laughter, Food, Fiber...A couple of days with other likeminded folks...it doesn't get any better than this. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

75 YEARS and Still Going Strong

Guild display at the Coralville Library celebrating our 75 years.
In September, 1939, war was imminent, and a group of women got together to enjoy their friendships, their crafts and to recycle materials into usable items. It was during this first year, the guild direction was founded, a social network with a mission, the goal of repurposing whatever could be found as was needed at the time and educating women in "home arts". Some early example of their thrift were using copper from wiring for art and for jewelry, pewter for candle holders, wax for candles.

Fast forward 75 years 

We continue the tradition and recently had an open house to welcome back from our summer hiatus returning and new members. It was such a treat to see all the items folks had been working on.  Guess it really wasn't  a hiatus.  We are no longer a group of just women, but men and women who are weavers, spinners, potters, quilters, beaders, ply-split braiders, and knitters. And yet, our mission has remained the same to encourage each other to pursue our creativity in whatever fashion moves us. All the while, provide educational opportunities, participate in service projects, and genuinely reach beyond our comfort zone. The Craft Guild of Iowa City is still going strong.

The Weavers Challenge

The weavers group challenged its members to design and weave something that would represent 75 years of weaving. The weaver group was one of the three original arts when the craft guild began.

Each of the items displayed represent the member's response to that challenge 

75th Anniversary/CGIC barcode
Nancy wove a green towel the color of our logo and the bathroom she painted when the group moved into the house...and its still green. In the spirit of the founding members who repurposed everything they could in their works, Terry wove a towel in manifold twill using cotton recovered from recycled cotton, unraveled from materials from the Crowded Closet. The pillow was woven using a "barcode" that horizontally spells CGIC and vertically seventy-five. We also had a runner using a diamond twill because 75th anniversary is the diamond anniversary, a silk sari sparkling rug/runner, a bamboo double mat having 75 spots and red tencel scarf in a diamond pattern.

And Deb produced this double faced 75th  diamond anniversary mat.

Mary used the structure 8 point broken diamond omitting the 7 and 5 to produce the background for the moorman inlay linen and bamboo napkin.

 I know I have forgotten someone and for that I apologize. I was so impressed by everyone who took up the challenge and not only ran with it, but who embraced it.

This is clearly an example of why this group is still going strong after 75 years.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Times Flies...When You're Having Fun!

Mary and Jeanne share a smile
Indian Summer is on its last legs and I realized I haven't shared any of the exciting moments.  In early summer, Nancy provided the quilters a hands-on workshop on the "vanishing 16 patch". We learned how to use those scraps we seem to accumulate.
The quilters group hard at work
Nancy demonstrated how to cut the blocks
The Vanishing 16 patch

 June daytimers assembled and stitched 65 pillows for breast cancer patients at UIHC. This has been an ongoing project. Over the last 5 years, we have woven, cut, assembled and stitched all most 400 pillows. We received this note of thanks that reminds me why we do this.   "Thanks for this beautiful pillow. In an otherwise horrible day, it was a beacon of light, a thing that made me smile." 

Mary and Jeanne, our resident pranksters, joined Terry, Molly, and Linda at  "Children's Day, Arts Fest" for the Iowa City Public Library

They helped introduce children to spinning and weaving. They were able to weave on a loom and spin fiber into yarn. They took their spun yarn and made a bracelet from it. They also had the opportunity to make a handwoven book mark. Amazing volunteers spent a rainy day makings a child's day bright. 
Molly, Mary, Terry and Linda

As our summer continued, we had a dedicated group who submitted their creations 
To the Iowa State Fair 2014

    Participants outdid themselves;  each item carefully designed and crafted. Weavers, spinners, knitters, tailors produced, hats, socks, gloves, jackets, sweaters, rugs, towels, shawls, wall hangings, vessels...so many it is hard to describe. Wow, what a talented bunch.

All in all, summer flew by. Another Season has begun!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Historic Coverlet Given to Plum Grove

This historically designed coverlet originally belonging to Marie Buck, was given to Plum Grove for display.   Plum Grove was the home of Iowa's first territorial governor, Robert Lucas and his wife, Friendly. It is a seven room Greek Revival house constructed of local red brick and furnished with authentic period pieces from 1844-1853. The State Historical Society of Iowa owns and preserves the Plum Grove Site which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bed covering is unique in that it is handwoven in 17th and 18th century patterns through a "block exchange" with 16 weavers from the Craft Guild of Iowa City. Each weaver choose a pattern/structure, wove 20 of the blocks in colors designated by the final owners. At the exchange, the each weaver received their blocks in their color and added a few additional ones to balance the coverlet. Marie's coverlet was unfinished at the time of her death and a close friend, Lue Puhrman put the blocks together. She said, "it was like a community coverlet."

Nancy Granner, Vicki Tardy,
Lue Puhrman, Jeanne Cadoret
It is very fitting that this coverlet is to be open to the community, to see, to enjoy, to experience. Marie Buck was just that kind of weaver, one who gave of herself and of her craft. As a very novice weaver, she coddled me, nurtured me, encouraged me to persevere with difficult and complex projects. She once said "those are the ones you'll remember most."  Marie's coverlet, as you can see, is an exquisite red and cream blend of different patterns and textures.  It is one that will be remember.

Study Group Does Bateman

Experimenting with bamboo sticks in Extended Divided Twill Weave 
As a program for the weaving group, the study group shared their experience over the  past two years. They focused on a weaving system defined by Dr. William Bateman.  This gentleman was a retired chemist who decided to explore the loom much like one would perform a scientific experience. He progressed through the known variations, i.e. overshot, summer and winter, crackle, twill, and other variations until he must have asked the question WHAT IF? That what if became a whole new weave system. He was very meticulous in his work; he wove samples for each of his drafts and documented in detail how he achieved that sample, including fibers used, sett and treadlings. His daughter realizes just how much information he had gleaned and sought an expert weaver to bring his work to publication. His six monographs, Multiple Tabby Weaves, Bateman Blend Weaves, Park Weaves,  Extended Divided Twill Weaves, Extended Manifold Twill weaves, and Boulevard, Chevron and Combination weaves are reasonably short, only 90-100 pages, but they speak volumes and are incredibly rich with design, color, and texture potential.

Extended Divided Twill Gamp

Note the color blending across the warp on this gamp.
Towels, runners and shawls using various Bateman weaves
Towels using Various Bateman Weaves

The most remarkable skill/insight I personally developed/discovered as we worked our way through the monographs was sample, sample, sample, and NEVER be afraid to experiment. What a gift Dr. Bateman and his daughter did for weaving generations today and in the future.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Cat's Away...the Quilters Did Play

Fascinating photo quilt
It has been quite a busy few months and I have been a little lax. My sister and I celebrate we're alive by going quilting to some exotic shore. This time it was on a ship through the Panama Canal.  Amazing where you can set up a machine, forget the world and sew away.
My sister and friends sewing as we sail
However, while the cat was away, the quilters did play.  The Quilters continue on their journey with the ?mystery quilt?. They have blocks 1,2,3, and 4 completed and will be putting it together soon.
There were two wonderful programs on scrap quilting.  Katherine really excited us all with her "organizing your scraps" program. Made me want to organize my sewing world...right now it is overwhelming, but she made it feel possible.   In essence, fabric organizing has 3 steps. 1. Sort your quilt scraps by size; 2. Keep scraps orderly with boxes, bins, baskets, or tins; 3. Iron every scrap you save. This saves time and energy, makes it feel like you have a precut kit. One of the most common resources is Gayle Bong's book S is for Scraps.

A few scrap quilts from that meeting.
Nancy's scrappy stars
Gretchen's "under the table fabrics" quilt

Nancy continued this theme in May with "Now, what do you do with those scraps".  She lead the group through how to deconstruct a 16 patch into 2 new blocks. Truly was amazing to see the unlikely combinations just pop. 

May Meeting: "How to deconstruct"
The group as we sew the "deconstructed 16 patch"

Nancy showing Linda the cutting
Nancy had her own mimi quilt show of quilts strictly from scraps. Linda brought several of her mother's and grandmother's quilt to show. One double wedding ring had been partially hand pieced.  Each of the quilts were pieces of art...albeit functional pieces of art. Okay, folks, let's get scrapping.