Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guild Newsletter, August 2014

President’s Column


Hello Fiber Friends!

I hope this finds everyone enjoying their summer! What a delightful one it's been! The polar vortex can visit anytime in my book!

I have been in a de-stash mood this summer! I usually have no trouble pitching things but yarn and fiber are's almost like admitting failure or defeat since THAT project never came to pass! It is also like a trip down memory lane seeing the souvenir yarn that I had purchased various places! Books are also difficult for me to get rid of but honestly if I need a pattern anymore I just go to Ravelry and wander around! I'm gratefull Nancy is doing a program on Ravelry this meeting since I know I don't use it to its fullest!

I have promised myself to visit my stash again in 2 weeks to see if anything else can be let go. I hope to have a big pile to share at the September meeting. This will be good if I can keep from taking from someone else's pile!

Remember your articles for the Homewood Show!

See you at the meeting!

Karen Ford


August Meeting - 'Why I Love Ravelry'
Nancy Clemmons

Saturday, August 9, 10:00 am
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church
2061 Patton Chapel Rd
Birmingham, AL  (205) 822-4480


This month, at our meeting on Saturday, August 9, Nancy Clemmons will help us to navigate the mysterious and wonderful world of Ravelry.  This website for knitters, spinners, crocheters and weavers boasts over a million users and is being called the Facebook of fiber arts.  Sometimes, however, using its vast resources can seem challenging, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up with smart phones, so Nancy had graciously volunteered to guide us through.

She will show us basic search techniques for finding patterns, yarns, and groups with similar interests.  She will also show us how to use the site to keep trace of projects, yarn, books, needles and favorite ideas.  She’ll show us how we can follow friends and their projects, and how to send and receive messages within the site.   And finally, she’ll show us where on the site to find help when we get stuck.

Nancy is asking each member to bring a tip learned in his or
her experience with Ravelry, or a question on how to use the site most effectively.  We hope to have an internet connection, so we can project the site and have real-time demonstrations.

Hope to see you there!


Mary Kaiser




Saturday, September 13th


Fiber Frenzy
will be held September 13th, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Hoover, AL, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Try to arrive when the workshop begins at 10:00.   We have decided that lunch will be catered, offering you one less thing to worry about.  The guild will provide coffee and bottled water. 

So, what the heck is
Fiber Frenzy
?  This is an opportunity for all guild members to come and learn about a fiber activity they know very little about or want to learn.  This is a hands-on workshop for you to be a part of. We will also have 2 tables set-up where there will be free fiber items for you to take and a trade/sell table for those interested in possibly trading or selling a fiber related item.  


The following stations will be available for you to come and learn:






All leaders for each station will be wearing Name Tags with the following saying: 'Ask me about...'

You may go to any or all stations.   If you have a drop spindle and want to ask questions about it, bring it.  We ask anyone who wants to bring fiber to card with the drum carder to bring washed and clean fiber only.


We ask that if you plan on attending to let us know no later than September 1st.
Please send an email to Debbie Scott, - letting her know if you plan to attend.

Interesting Fiber Item to Read and Check Out...

From Nancy Clemmons...
This is the link to the page for the wood turner who made my little supported spindle.  Beautiful work! Look at the galleries and other sections of her page.  I think she would give a fabulous program or workshop in the future.  Right now her day job at the hospital is requiring more time than usual, but she said life should settle down before too long. She is cute as a button and a great teacher -

From Pat Donald...
This summer I had an opportunity to visit the retail portion of a silk cooperative in Stellenbosch, South Africa. I was prepared for literature and demonstration on rearing Bombyx mori but was not expecting to meet a woman sitting on the sidewalk spinning Mopani worm (Gonimbrasea belina) silk. This silk is from the native African silk worm and yet to be cultivated. The store had items produced by both types of silk worms and specialized in duvets. I did not have enough room in the suitcase to bring something like that back. Interestingly to me, they indicated that they make as much or more money from the sericin byproduct of boiling the cocoons as they did from the scarves and other garments.  I bought yarn and two scarves. One scarf was woven on a loom similar to the one sitting beside the spinner on the sidewalk. They told me that they had to bind the silk with cotton to better manage the fiber. I wish I would have kept the recently processed silk the spinner handed me but I gave it back. It felt and looked similar to recently ginned brown cotton. I wore the scarf once and it was so warm that I had to take it off even in an overly air conditioned building. Read more about this silk cooperative at



Georgia Alpaca FiberFest
Columbus, GA Convention & Trade Center
Classes, Shopping and a Fiber Fashion Show September 12–14

Fall into fiber this September as the Georgia FiberFest comes to its new venue at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center with classes, shopping and special events. This year’s event will be held Friday, September 12 through Sunday, September 14.

Now in its third year, the Georgia Alpaca FiberFest’s mission is to introduce fiber lovers to the wonders of alpaca and other natural fibers with a weekend of classes, demonstrations and a vendor market. Alpaca is a truly sustainable fiber offering something for every fiber lover.

Choose from 50 different classes in the areas of knitting, crocheting, felting, dyeing, carding, spinning, and weaving. Registration for classes is open now. Visitors can also shop the free vendor market area for all things fiber- and gift-related, such as coffee, tea, purses, jewelry, handcrafted soap, and ready-made garments and accessories, etc., to get a start on holiday shopping and enjoy free demonstrations.

The Festival hours are Friday, 2:00-6:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The market vendor area is free to the public.

Highlights during this fiber-filled weekend include:

Friday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. -   Alpaca Fiber Fashion Show

Come see what luscious fibers can do! The FiberFest is bringing its own version of Fashion Week to Columbus! See our vendors’ and teachers' runway fashions made from alpaca fleece and other wonderful natural fibers. See some eco-friendly ways to use materials that otherwise would have been discarded. The Fashion Show is free to the public.

Saturday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.  - Guest Speaker Matt Tommey and Dinner
Matt Tommey, a native of Columbus, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author, creator of sculptural art baskets and encourager to creative people of every artistic medium. His engaging style, contagious energy and practical approach leaves audiences with the practical tools and motivation to succeed at whatever they have a vision to pursue in their creative life. Join us for a dinner and special talk by this talented artisan. Reservations for dinner are required and can be made on website.

The Columbus Convention & Trade Center is located at 801 Front Avenue, Columbus, Georgia 31901.

For information or to sign up for classes or the dinner, please visit, or visit Ravelry - and Facebook - for more information and updates.

Homewood Library Guild Show

September, 2014


For more than fifteen years, the Homewood Library has hosted our annual Guild exhibit.  This is a great opportunity to have our best work on display in a well-attended, museum-quality setting for an entire month.

The Homewood Show provides our guild with multiple opportunities. It allows professional fiber artists to show their work, but even more importantly, it’s a chance for those of us who don’t sell our work to display the beautiful things we make where they can inspire the public and attract new guild members.

This year’s theme is the use of natural fibers, including wool, cotton and other plant fibers, silk, rayon, and tencel.  Pieces can be knitted, handwoven,
handspun, felted, tatted, embroidered, crocheted, or in bobbin lace.

Please bring your finished piece or pieces (no limit), with an exhibit form (see link below), to the August guild meeting.   Forms will be available for you to identify your work, and  will prepare a museum-quality label for each piece, based on the information on your form.  That information will also allow us to track and protect your work, and get it back safely to you at the October guild meeting.

Form link:

We will be setting up the show on Friday, August 29, and taking the show down on Tuesday, September 30.  If you would like to help with either day, we’d welcome you.

Photos from places near and far...


From the Dover Market, NYC: What a great way to decorate with scrap fabrics and yarns!


Knitting With Class, Sitka, AS: Anyone have a pattern to knit this ottoman?


     (Thanks Janice for sending me the pattern, see what happens when you ask for what you want??!!!) -

From NYC (Susie's cousin's apartment) - felted balls hot pad


Study Groups Meet Monthly

  • Spinning Study Group:  4th Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m to 2 pm at St. Peter’s Church in Hoover.  Please check out the GBFG Blog  for cancellations or schedule changes.
  • Nancy Clemmons is interested in sharing her love of tatting with others by teaching one or more in her home. Please contact her if you are interested.
  • More groups may meet in the future.  Watch the newsletter for more information and let a board member know if you are interested in a study group.

Newsletter News...
Each month, I am planning to have items coming from YOU, our Guild members. These will include short book reviews related to any fiber art; a tip you have discovered and used that make your fiber art a little bit easier to execute; any fiber related articles; and a fiber question you would love answers or suggestions from other guild members. Please send your ideas, suggestions, book recommendations, questions to me (Susie Strauss) by the 20th of the month to go into the following month's newsletter.
Email me at and put GBFG Newsletter in the subject line.

Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild
The Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild is comprised of individuals dedicated to the dissemination and preservation of fiber arts.  Meetings are the second Saturday of the month, 10:00-12:00 (no meeting in July). Visitors are welcome.  The Guild offers programs almost monthly, focused workshops several times a year, and equipment rental (see below). 
 2014 Officers and Board 
Karen Ford – President
Mary Kaiser – Program
Debbie Scott – Workshops
Emily Levitan - Membership
Nancy Lavender – Treasurer
Janice Weinstein - Secretary
Mary Spanos – Website
Susie Strauss - Newsletter
Janelle Zorko Schultz - Past President


Rental of Guild Equipment & Materials

The Guild has available, for rental to members, the following:
  • Looms of various types (floor, table, rigid heddle, tapestry), spinning wheels, drum carder, and more. Rental fee is $10 dollars per month with a deposit of $100 per item. Deposits will be returned when equipment is returned in good condition. 
  • Lucy Neatby's DVD knitting collection. Deposit of $30 per DVD. This is the current replacement cost. One-month checkout. See for description of DVD contents.
  • See inventory list and photos of Guild equipment in the Yahoo group folders section (you must be a paid member to access the Yahoo Group files and photos)

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