Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rush, Rush, Handcrafted Holiday Gifts... Joy, Joy

We have been busy at the Craft Guild with many of the groups working on holiday gifts, for Hanukukah and Christmas.  Primarily I am a quilter, but I dabble across the fiber arts. I spin therefore I must knit or weave. I have fabric, therefore I must make quilts, or weave rugs. It is a vicious cycle, albeit, an exciting journey. I know sometimes we struggle for new ideas or simply translating someone's instructions into a treasure from the heart.  Ideas such as quilted and embellished ornaments, table mats, coasters, towels. or the even bigger items, quilts and rugs, sweaters, mittens and hats. Another favorite gift is socks...while they take time, you can take them anywhere as you work on them, adjust size, color, style for whomever. Wherever I am at this time of year, my hands are working on something.  Rushing to finish just one more stitch. 

Weaving on a pin loom

Weaving scraps become coasters.

Quilted table mat
Each year I say I will start earlier, and each year I say never again will I decide to make EVERYONE something from my fiber world. And then I receive THE CALL. 

You see my grandchildren all live long distance and often aren't here for holidays. This year the call came from Glasgow, Scotland.  My granddaughters bubbled, excited not about the purchased gift, but the things Nana made, like the christmas' ornament specific to each of them and their personality or the mittens in just the right color. Why do we do it??? Joy, Joy, Joy,  it brings to everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Weaving with Cotton

At our Weavers Meeting last month, our program was about cotton. We are incredibly lucky that we have an expert couple who spin and weave with the handspun cotton.  Glenn spends many a morning using a Charkha to spin cotton
Spinning Charkh

while his wife, Pat weaves the homespun cotton into towels, blankets, shawls.

They have several resources for their cotton roving.  Although they have handdyed their rovings, they have found a source they prefer to the uncertainties of color "dyelot" issues. 
Take a scan at some of  finished items.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

What to DO? What to DO?

On this cool, crisp October morning, I think... "what should I do?" Clean house,  nah!

Spin?  I do have that nasty fleece that I bought 'cause I just have to "do" a fleece from start to finish, sorta sheep to shawl.
 But maybe I should wait until spring because the spinners have the most exciting year planned. Beth Smith, author of The spinners' Book of Fleece, will present workshops over a spring weekend. On Saturday, she will walk us through the worsted/woolen jungle, talking about preparation methods and spinning styles for each.  And our monthly programs will focus on the book of British and American breeds of sheep; hopefully we will be have washed samples of each breed for us to play with.  Make sure Greg is aware you want to participate before he orders the materials. Hmmm.

Weave? I do have that towel warp on my loom from this month's challenge,  the rug warp wound ready to beam on, and the study group has motivated my need for doubleweave.  The weavers began this year with a towel exchange and a sharing of the information from the midwest weavers Conference last summer. It's all so stimulating. What to do, what to do?
Bev's towels, one for exchange?
Jackie's towel
At Mid West...Bev's rug

Jackie's Rug
Please note the laptop.  We at the craft guild practice the ancient arts all the while embracing technology. Our secretary takes minutes sans pencil and paper.  Deb is mastering her computer driven "Dobby" Loom to produce some very complex weaves.
Deb's complex weave

And of course, I could quilt. I do have 4 babies to be born. Ut oh, that means 4 baby quilts. OMG, by when? So where do I go for inspiration, the quilt group. At our meeting, we talked about quilting designs, shared great resources, and of course,  show and tell.
Lucy's german quilt
The backside of Lucy's quilt. 

Lucy shared this quilt produced in Germany to show some of the patterns or designs we could use in quilting. This is completely hand quilted and note that the back looks as good as the front. Scary thought, please don't turn my quilts over.

Marilyn's color wash study. 
Marilyn showed her color wash study quilt made mostly from that scrap stash we all seem to accumulate. Stunning, isn't it?

In order to practice her machine quilting, Linda has been making small pieces. This whimsical christmas tree is just waiting for some echoing? swirls? pebbles? Who knows at this point. Each example gave the group more quilting ideas for their next project.

Okay, that crisp morning is creeping into afternoon, so I better get this show on the road. Too many ideas, too little time, what to do, what to do.

I think that nasty fleece really needs washing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Oh, My, what a Summer.

Summer's come and gone. I know as we age time flies, but at this rate, I must be 100. It has been a remarkable summer for the Craft Guild. We celebrated our 75th year of creativity in May.

Bev, Mary, Cathy, Linda, Stephanie and Anna provided Children's activities for the Summer Arts Festival in early June for more than 250 children. Nothing like the excitement in a child's eyes to know why we do what we do.

Stephanie and several other spinners demonstrated spinning at Kalona's summer fest.

Later in the month, our members attended the Midwest Weavers and Spinners Conference in Minneapolis, attending classes and exhibiting their creative talents.
Vicki Tardy won the Complex Weavers Award at Midwest.

At MidWest, Vicki won Best of Show; and Members' Choice
and At the State Fair, it was awarded Best of Show as well as a blue ribbon for garments, handwoven. 

In August, the Spinners and the Weavers showcased their work at the Coralville Library.
 Spinner's Kiosk

 Weaver's Exhibit

And of course, there was the Sate Fair. There were 39 entries from our guild; many blue, red, and white ribbons were earned.  (See the State Fair)

Our Guild has creative members who share those talents by providing classes in Ply-split Braiding, Spinning, Weaving. At many of the groups' meetings, there are also programs geared toward learning new techniques and exciting its members toward new experiences. Come check us out.

And now as the colors change, we begin to think about all those winter projects. Hmmm, do I hear my loom calling RUG, RUG, RUG.


Weavers and Knitters
Each fall, the Craft Guild has an open house to welcome returning members and to excite the surrounding community with the creative jewel we have in our guild. It gives us a chance to see each others work and to catch up with our friends. Most groups go on hiatus for the summer months, but still the individuals continue to produce.  Below are just some of the examples of our work.
Handspun, knitted items, woven towels
Deb's Handwoven Jacket 

Deb demonstrating Ply-split Braiding

We also take the opportunity to demonstrate some of these creative arts.
Wendy, Mary and Juliana carding 

What an incredible color blend in this batt. 
75 years and still going strong. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015 Iowa State Fair Results

Vicki's Award Winning Jacket
Our Guild members are a very creative group as exhibited by their various awards and honors received at this year's Iowa Sate Fair.  Vicki Tardy won Best of Show honors and Sweepstakes honors in the Weaving division of the Fabric and Threads contest that was held prior to the start of the 2015 Iowa State Fair.
Ribbons in each category that were awarded to the guild members are: 

1) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City
2) Beverly Pennell, Iowa City
3) Jeanette Bauer, Iowa City
Household Linens
1) Terry Jones, Iowa City
2) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City
3) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
4) Cathy Willoughby, Iowa City

Wall Hanging
2) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City
3) Stephanie Van Housen, Coralville
Just a few of the entries

1) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
2) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City

Shawl or Scarf
1) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
2) Beverly Pennell, Iowa City
3) Cathy Willoughby, Iowa City
4) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City

3) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City
4) Elizabeth Huttner, Iowa City
Honorable Mention) Beverly Pennell, Iowa City

Handspun Item
1) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
2) Juliana Waechter, Iowa City
4) Deborah Zeitler, Iowa City

1) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
2) Beverly Pennell, Iowa City
3) Linda Bergquist, Iowa City
4) Terry Jones, Iowa City
Honorable Mention) Lois Lembke, Iowa City

Wool, Worsted Weight

4) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City

Wool, From Spinner's Own Flock, Any Weight

1) Stephanie Van Housen, Coralville

Other Animal Fibers, From Spinner's Own Flock, Any Weight
1) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City
2) Karen Agee, Cedar Falls

Two-ounce Skein - at least 60% wool or other animal fibers
2) Vicki Tardy, Iowa City

Basketry, coiled Raffia
2. Bev Pennell

Knitted Socks with Multiple years/colors
4. Terry Jones

Cap with multiple yarns/colors
Honorable mention.  Terry Jones

Scarf (lace stitch, finer than worsted)
2. Jill Fishbaugh

Shawl/Wrap/Shrug (lace Stitch, worsted or heavier)
2. Julian Waechter

Honorable Mention.  Bev Pennell

Fashion Accessory
4. Juliana Waechter

Felted Knit Item
3. Juliana Waechter

I hope I didn't omit anyone. Participating in the State Fair is a way to remind our communities that the hand crafts of "yesterday" are not gone, but alive and well TODAY. Congratulations one and all. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

75 years and Counting

Members of the Craft Guild of Iowa City
75 years young and still enjoying the tactile sense through fiber, clay and glass 
In May, 30 members of the Craft Guild of Iowa City came together for the annual meeting and to celebrate 75 years of existence. Dinner was at the Salt Fork Restaurant in Solon. After  a wonderful meal and sips of wine, Greg told the stories he found while combing our archives.  During wartime, the ladies collected copper from street lights, rolled bandages for the Red Cross, knitted socks and mittens for the military. They were a scavenging group who used every crumb to make items for sale, gifts or for the war effort. The times have changed from just women meeting at the university tearoom wearing their better dress and hat to both men and women meeting in our own building wearing teeshirts and flip-flops. Our building houses our equipment, work and meeting spaces, and supplies for many of the creative journeys we enjoy.
A Toast to 75 years
One thing that hasn't changed is our sense of camaraderie and our desire to express own creative ideas. Though the medium differs, the enthusiasm to share our craft does not. To that end, we meet regularly to share our experiences, to mentor each other and to provide both beginner education as well as continuing education opportunities within each of the member groups.

The Craft Guild began with 6 members who had a dream. Initially there were four interest groups, weaving, candle making, metalwork and needlework. Today, we have more than eight groups and 80 members.  Quilting, Weaving, Spinning, Knitting, Beading, Glasswork, Pottery/Ceramics, PlySplit Braiding are currently focus groups within the guild.   Metal work and Needlework are as active as demand requires.

Greg shares some the Historical Moments of CGIC
75 years as a Craft Guild has been made possible by all those women and men who had a vision and who share their craft, their time and their energies to keep our Guild alive and thriving. THANKS!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Yikes, Stripes, Weaving Stripes

The weavers program was all about stripes, and in nature, we see color interplay much as we do in our manufactured stripe. Anytime, you need inspiration, look out the window. Jeanette, Nancy and Vicki shared how colors in nature use stripes to achieve the maximum punch, and its impact to our weavings.  
Jeanette, Vicki, and Nancy discussing stripes

 Jeanette illustrated using fibonacci or various color relationship theories to help design your interplay of color through stripes. Rugs, towels, table linens were all fine examples.
Note: the shifted ikat or navaho looking stripes

Nancy helped visualize ikat color design technique through her magnificent samples of pattern and color.
Vicki continued that Stripes does not always mean using different colors, but that patterns and backgrounds of the same color is another way to use stripes in fabrics, towels, linens or any handwovens.  The use of a pattern such as summer and winter or huck is frequently woven white on white as a stripe with plain weave 

A striped warp is not necessarily only for a stripe. As you can see below in these show and tell items. Many looks from the same warp. Oops, that sounds like another program. 

From this striped warp, we have plaids, stripes. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fractal Spinning...What is it?

Fractal spinning sounds mysterious and seems hard to tell if its a dance, exercise or design technique.  Simply put, it's a design technique.  Often, after we have taken the time to carefully dye our fibers in what can be considered space dying, we try to spin it into a product reflective of those color elements...and yet, we get barber poles or muddy uninteresting wool. Not so, if you use fractal spinning. 
The program last month for the spinners was entitled "Fractal Spinning" and was based on Janel Laidman's article, The Fractal Stripe" (Spin-off, summer, 2007, pp 80-84.)

Fractal spinning is a method of spinning which capitalizes on the very colors we so meticulously have dyed by spinning a fractal stripe.   She explains that  "A fractal is a mathematical definition of a pattern in which the element is repeated on a smaller and smaller scale.  For spinners this is called a fractal stripe.  The fractal stripe takes advantage of differential scales to control the effective striping in your finished piece.  To achieve the simplest fractal stripe, divide your roving in half.  Spin one-half of it as it came.  Spin the other half by stripping it lengthwise into smaller widths.

 Keep the sequence of each strip in the same order as the first half, and spin them sequentially.  Now ply each of these halves into a two-ply yarn.  You have one ply's stripe repeating over a large scale and giving a background to your second ply, which is striping much more frequently and in thinner stripes." 

Vicki lead the group to produce as you can see vibrant and complex yarns.  Thanks, Vicki,  for another way to keep our colors exciting as we spin.  

As our color study year comes to a close, Jillian Moreno will be leading a spining workshop this weekend on Colorplay. What an exciting finish that will be, check back to see the details. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Recycle: The Urban Fiber Harvest

Terry presented a program describing the epiphany she had when she read the article, "Recycle: The Urban Fiber Harvest" (MacKenzie, J., Spin-off, Spring, 2012, vol XXXVI, (1), p. 58-69). This article released the Genie from the proverbial consumption bottle.  Weavers, spinners, knitters, quilters, we all love fiber, but alas, these are expensive hobbies. The fibers used are becoming increasingly more expensive and yet can be acquired simply by deconstructing someone else's cast-off.  Many cast-offs are in excellent condition, just no longer desired by the former owner and are relegated to resale sites, i.e., goodwill, the crowded closet, or other consignment shops.  Terry largely savages for yarn based items, cotton, wool, silk, rayon, angora, mohair, linen or blends.  Once the item is identified, she begins the process of deconstruction. Basically, taking it apart. 

Just a little of the fiber in all phases of deconstructio
She finds a starting location and begins to pull in out while winding and measuring it using devices she designed from two by fours and dowels.  I think she was an engineer in another life. The fiber is washed and dried according to its fiber content.  She also saves, the buttons or any other embellishment for future use.  In order to make efficient use of all her treasures, she maintains meticulous records describing the fiber content, the yardage or poundage, the date stored, and attaches any labels (washing instructions, fiber) along with a sample of the yarn. 
Two devices designed to wind the fiber. 

Each time she uses some of her stash, she records the item manufactured and the remaining yardage. Whenever she begins a new project, she checks her files for potential yarns. She truly shops her own studio/storage. Terry brought just some of the  many items she has deconstructed and repurposed into baby blankets, socks, caps, runners, mats. Here are two examples.

In the forefront is a skein deconstructed from a sweater and used in weaving this runner.

Again from just one sweater, Terry has handwoven this towel and four others with enough left for a runner or two. The cost for new fiber varies somewhat, but to purchase a "kit" for 5 towels costs between $50-$75. Terry's 5 towels cost a quarter. Yes, that's $0.25. Recycling not only saves the environment but also the pocketbook.  And Terry gets the joy of weaving her repurposed item.

Personally, I started looking at several pullover wool sweaters from the Shetlands, Scotland that no one likes nor wears with a whole new eye. Just think how exquisite that fiber will be. Hmmm, what to do, what to make. Let the fun begin.

Thanks, Terry.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Spinning Color Blending: Lasagna or Salad

Before:  Colorful Fibers from the Fall Depot
After: Blended, Carded Batts Await Spinning
Throughout the guild, our fiber groups have been studying color. Incorporating theories of color, the interactions, design, and its application to their specific art form. In the fall the spinners held a dye session, learning the process of kettle-dyeing and its application to several fleece.

Jeanette selecting her fiber
This month the group brought in those fibers to learn color blending through carding. Jeanette Ryan Busch of Fae Ridge Farms shared a technique she calls "lasagna layering"
Jeanette creating her lasagna
Jeanette removing her batt from the drum card
"Spinners chose from tables of many colored fleece from their earlier dyeing session and used their personal color palette to blend the layers of fluff" into batts for future spinning. The evening was best described by the spinner's chair as "a flurry of activity with tables full of kettle dyed fleece and drum carders rolling."

Using Jeanette's technique, the spinner begins with the selection of fibers and toss them around, hence a salad
Lucy making her salad

Wendy's Salad

When the spinner likes the color combinations, the spinner begins to layer the fibers, hence the lasagna, building to integrate color and texture prior to the carding. The group used several drum carders to produce their batts. 
Wendy's finished lasagna

Wendy's lasagna in progress
Wendy's finished batt

Collen's Salad

Collen laying out


Collen's Batt
Drum Carding

Resulting Batt 

Kenda carding

Kenda's spun yarn

It was exciting to to look around and see a spinner's own color vision play out in the yarn. Obviously a good time was had by all. I know there will be many hours of fun spinning ahead.