Well, it’s definitely winter out there, the brief period in the Deep South when knitters, spinners and weavers feel like the ant in the fable who has carefully stock-piled necessities, rather than the grasshopper who has been jumping around buying yarn and knitting lace like a crazy person all year.
This is the time when our loved ones pull out the mittens and scarves, caps and socks and thank us for keeping them warm, putting aside any issues they may have had with that particular shade of orange or an aversion to pom-poms.
And it feels just right to settle in front of the fire or the football game with a ball of wool, a basket of rolags, or a box-weaving project. It’s time for binge-watching some epic tale filmed in Iceland while sipping hot tea and trawling Ravelry for the perfect cardigan pattern.
We’ll be meeting this month on Saturday, February 13 in Room 234 of Jefferson State Community College’s Health Sciences Building. This red-brick building with big, fat pillars, is just off Valleydale Road. Turn into the road with the Spain Park High School sign, and the building will be to your left.
We’re continuing our discussion of how to use the internet to enhance our crafts. Please bring suggestions of your favorite websites and digital resources. And don’t forget the heart and soul of our monthly meetings—Show and Tell. Bring your newest success, your latest discovery, and that pesky shawl you’re stuck on, the set-in sleeve that just won’t set, the magic loop that’s lost its mojo. See you soon!
February Program February 13 10 a.m. Jeff State Room 234
We will again be meeting on the Jeff State Campus on Valleydale. We will be continuing our discussion on how to use the internet to enhance our crafts. Please being your "Show and Tell".
Book Review by Mary Kaiser
Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch. Batsford: 2015. Available on Kindle.
I had been following Claire Wellesley-Smith on Pinterest and on her blog this past fall when I noticed that she had a book coming out. Claire W-S is a British textile artist who raises her own dyestuffs and organized community sewing projects. She does stitching and quilting with naturally dyed, vintage fabrics and threads, and she’s a genius at photographing her work. Her spectacular, glowing images of stitches really caught my eye, and I was hoping for more in the book. I was not disappointed, and I also discovered a whole movement I hadn’t know about.
The “slow” movement, of which this book is a part, began in Europe about twenty years ago with “slow food,” a reaction to the growing popularity of fast food, arguing for using traditional recipes, using local ingredients, and raising plants and animals in a slower, more sustainable way. That wave has spread around the world, and all you have to do is go to Pepper Place on a spring Saturday to see how popular slow food has become.
Slow stitching has a similar direction—using natural dyestuffs and recycled fabrics and fibers. One fiber artist featured in the book, Celia Pym, takes moth-eaten sweaters and embroiders over the holes to create entirely new garments. In fact, the process of raising mending to the level of an art form is an age-old tradition in Japan and India, where Boro stitching and Kantha quilts have become cultural treasures.
Filled with rich close-ups of a wide variety of stitched pieces, the book is organized into an opening section that explores the slow stitch movement and introduces some simple natural dyeing projects and some basic embroidery stitches. That’s followed by a section showcasing the work of a number of slow-stitch artists, including Alice Fox, Lotte Helleberg, and Mandy Pattullo, with more beautiful photographs.
I recommend this book for inspiration for any fiber crafter who is looking for a wider perspective on how contemporary fiber craft is developing. We who spin, dye, and process our own wool, silk, and cotton know all about slow craft, so it’s nice to get affirmation for our passion for slowing down and going back to the beginning.
Carrying on the theme of containers from the holiday gift exchange into the new year, the first guild project for 2016 on Ravelry will be to "weave a bag on a box" using Sarah Swett's booklet of the same title.
Several things appealed to me about this project: we all have cardboard boxes around, or can get one easily enough (moderately sized, with flaps). Most of us have leftover yarns at hand: any strong yarn can be warp, anything can be weft (yarn of any size, roving, fabric strips…) We can play with color and texture! Stripes! Tapestry techniques! Our imaginations can roam freely; run rampant even!
Sarah sent us some photos of her bags for inspiration.
Go ahead and order your booklet from Sarah Swett's Etsy shop for $10. We will "officially" start the project at the February guild meeting. If you get a head start, bring your bag-in-progress to the meeting to show off!
Elizabeth Young and Mary Spanos are the workshop/event chair people this year and are excited about the possibilities that are available for us to pursue. They’d really like to hear from everyone in the guild so they can organize the best events and teachers so you can do more and learn more about the things that interest you most!
To read more about this and to share your thoughts, see the "GBFG Workshops and Events!" discussion thread on the guild's Ravelry forum
The Southern Voices Festival at Hoover Public Library February 23-27 is featuring the Heart of Dixie Rug Bees, a Birmingham-area rug hooking group. If you can't make the opening February 23, their work will be on display at the library through March. The festival also includes southern writers and musicians. More info on the Hoover Public Library's website: http://www.hooverlibrary.org/sv
Common Threads II: Alabama Quilting Traditions
March 4-5 Department of Archives and History Montgomery, Al
The Montgomery session of Common Threads II will explore Alabama's rich quilting traditions through the textile collections at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. This 2-day event features expert speakers, tours, and a quilting workshop. Admission is FREE but registration is required. A box lunch can be purchased in for Friday for $15. More info call (334) 242-4364
Message from Emily
GBFG members (and any other readers), I'd like to post news on the blog about shows you are participating in or other events you think would be of interest to fiber artists and crafters in the Birmingham area. Please send me information through blog comments, Facebook, Ravelry (emmybess) or email. Photos of your work would also be great. Thank you! Emily
If you don't want to miss new posts to the guild blog, you can choose to receive new posts by email. Go to the blog and look for "Follow by Email" on the right hand side of the page. Type your email address in the window and click "Submit." If you want to have something posted on the blog, send it email@example.com. You can post to the guild's Facebook page yourself! Emily shares information and posts that she receives on the guild's Facebook group page and keep Facebook users up to date on what is going on in the guild. Ravelry isn't just for knitters anymore. Crocheters, weavers, and spinners all upload photos, project information, and patterns. Kathryn is managing the GBFG group and has posted helpful information on participating in the Ravelry guild group on the blog, find it at http://greaterbirminghamfiberguild.blogspot.com/2015/04/gbfg-on-ravelry.html
Because our membership has grown so much, it was decided by the Board that having a membership form would be a good idea. This is so we can keep track of all our members to make sure you receive the newsletter and other communications. It will also give us an idea of what fiber arts the members are interested in so we can plan workshops and programs accordingly . Please submit the form with your check when you renew your membership for 2016. These need to be mailed to the GBFG address or give to Nancy Lavender at the meetings. The new membership year starts in January 2016 but you may submit this before then if you wish. Beginning in March the newsletter will only be sent to current members.
Are there any programs or workshops you would like to give?
Are there any programs or workshops you would like take?
Study Groups Meet Monthly
Spinning Study Group: 4th Wednesday of the month from 10 am 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.
Join us for First Friday Spinning Study at Jen Lackey's house. We meet around 6pm. Feel free to email Jennifer for directions and parking information.
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 (Deborah Kattus ) by the 20th of the month to go into the following month's newsletter.
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).
2016 Officers and Board
Mary Kaiser – President Jennifer Lackey – Program Elizabeth Young/ Mary Spanos – Workshops Jana Ford - Membership Nancy Lavender – Treasurer Jan McMahon - Secretary Emily Levitan – Website Deborah Kattus - Newsletter Karen Ford - Past President
Rental of Guild Equipment & Materials
The Guild has available, for rental to members, the following:
There will be a $30 deposit per DVD (Lucy Neatby) and $100 deposit for the drum carder. Deposit for Laura Fry's materials still to be determined. The rental fee for all items is $5 per month rented.
Equipment can only be checked out at Fiber Guild monthly meetings and a check-out list will be posted inside the door of the cabinet. Deposit checks will be held by Nancy Lavender, treasurer, until returned in original condition.