Sunday, March 27, 2016

Buttons to match any sweater

Can't find a button that matches? Why not make your own? There are a number of techniques to make buttons out of yarn. Dorest cartwheel buttons are a good place to start. At the guild meeting in April, we'll weave Dorest cartwheels from plastic rings and embroidery floss.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Getting out of the comfort zone

We all have some techniques or patterns that are more comfortable than others. While walking a familiar path can be relaxing and satisfying, sometimes we find ourselves in a rut when we really want to be more creative. The program on knitting creativity (experimenting with knitting for beginners and knitting textures and materials for more advanced knitting) led by Jennifer Lackey was certainly a rut-buster. Our new meeting spot in the Hoover Church of Christ was fantastic--lots of space and tables for fiber activities (and lunch!).

Jennifer in her tulle tiara

The super-spicy table (experimenting with non-standard materials)

Swatches knit with denim and crepe paper

Thanks to Nancy C for photos!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fingerless Mitts and Wristwarmers for UAB Chemo Patients

Chemo treatment rooms are very cold even in summer, and patients might appreciate a pair of stylish, handmade mitts to protect cold fingers while they’re receiving treatments. Guild member Rosalynn is making and collecting several pairs of mitts for UAB chemo patients. 
If you want to contribute, guidelines are below.
Any weight of yarn 
Machine-washable: superwash wool, acrylic, cotton, etc. 
Primarily adult sizes, both men and women 
Any color or style (breast cancer pink is lovely, but consider neutrals and other appealing colors too)
Knitters and crocheters can use whatever pattern they want. Wristwarmers are a great way to learn to knit small circumferences in the round or just to use up leftover yarn. They can be short, patterned tubes with some ribbing or a little fancier according to the maker’s taste.The mitts can have thumbs, no thumbs/thumbholes, long or short, etc.
All mitts should be submitted with the fiber type or yarn name, size, and first name of the maker. Rosalynn will make some Fiber Guild tags with care instructions and gender/size/age suggestions for each pair. 
Rosalynn says "I happen to be using April Klich’s KIS Mitts, (free), to practice some simple colorwork, but they can be made plain as well."

April's KIS mitts

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pen Women Art Exhibition March 10-30

The National League of American Pen Women, Birmingham Branch will open their Annual Art Exhibition at the Soon-bok lee Sellers Gallery at Artists on the Bluff.  This is in Bluff Park, 571 Park Avenue, Hoover, AL 35226.  Everyone is invited to the opening reception and awards, Thurs. March 10  4:30-6:30.  Show is open March 10 - 30 2016.  The guild's own Ruth Truett will have a quilted wall hanging, a woven wall hanging and placemats in the show.

Please comment below if you will also have work in the show!

March newsletter

Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild
P.O. Box 660723, Birmingham, AL 35266-0723

Newsletter of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 


                      President’s Column   

It’s almost Spring, and new projects beckon!  We’ve had amazing guild meetings lately, where show-and-tell is a program in itself, full of stories, suggestions, inspiration, and so many beautiful fiber works to look at, touch, and remember.  I’ve returned this month to repeat a knitting project from 24 years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter Anna who is now a media maven in Brooklyn.  At that time, I was new to Birmingham, and hadn’t joined the guild or even found a yarn shop.  I was an avid Threads reader, and I found a pattern for a traditional Shetland shawl.  Sending away for some white baby yarn and the pattern brochure, I set forth on the shawl and I was proud, a year later, to wrap it around my new baby on her christening.  Later, inevitably, I felted the shawl in the wash, but I kept the pattern and its memories.  This past Christmas, my niece announced she’s expecting her first baby in late July, so I found some beautiful superwash lace-weight yarn and started on the Shetland shawl.  Do I have the same knitting chops at 62 that I had at 37?  Only time will tell, but it’s been wonderful to re-visit those peaceful months when I was knitting in expectation, and it’s lovely to feel that same hope again.

I hope to see all of you at our new location at the Hoover Church of Christ on Saturday, March 12.  We are extending the meeting time so that we can do show and tell and have a program.  Bring a lunch—you can use the refrigerator, we’ll have plenty of coffee, and we can spread out and get to know each other!

Mary Kaiser


March Program
Knitting "Outside the Box"
March 12
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Hoover Church of Christ

The March Guild meeting will be “Knitting OUTSIDE the Box: creativity
exercises for fiberistas”. The basic idea is to explore new materials and
stitches as a way to get our creativity flowing. We will divide up into tables
for exercises and discussions. For anyone who doesn’t knit but would like
to learn, we will also have a table for beginners. EVERYONE welcome,
knitter or not!!

Remember we will be at our new location at the Hoover Church of Christ.
Address is 3248 Lorna Rd, B’ham, 35216.
 Please park in the large parking
lot behind the building. There is a set of double doors under a drive thru
carport. Enter through these back doors. Someone should be there to
direct you.
We are also going to extend our meeting time frame to accommodate our
fantastic growth! We will spend 10am to 12pm on announcements and
Show and Tell, so bring your most recent FO or WIP to show off!! Then
there will be a lunch break from 12-12:45. Feel free to bring a lunch; there
is a refrigerator/microwave for our use. You are also welcome to go out to
eat or to bring a lunch back. Lunch will be followed by our program from
12:45 to 2pm!


Container Project

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.
Booklet cover
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!
Questions, comments, photos of your progress and finished bag are encouraged in the "Weave a bag...on a box!" thread in Ravelry.

Workshops and Events

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

We really want to hear from you!

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 

Interesting Fiber Items to Read and Check Out...

The Frayed Knot in Savannah, GA, will host an event featuring all sorts of fiber arts in silk. Check it out at  Click on events and Silk Soiree.

The Guild on the Web

Between newsletters and meetings, keep up with the guild on the web at:
    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
   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

Membership Renewal

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. After March, the newsletter will only be sent to current members.

Member information form 2016


Email address:                                    

Ravelry name:                                     

Phone number:                                    



Fiber crafts you do:      Spinning         Knitting         Weaving         Crochet         Sewing         Tatting        Quilting     Embroidery      Other (please describe):

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.  

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 (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
Janna 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.
Copyright © 2016 Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild, All rights reserved.