Monday, January 29, 2018

GBFG February 2018 Newsletter

President's Column

by Jennifer Lackey
There exists in our culture a pervasive and judgmental dichotomy regarding high art and low art. The “high” arts, such as painting, sculpture, music and theater, are the arts you find in academia, the ones deemed worthy for our colleges and universities. While “low art,” such as the culinary arts, jewelry or comic books, belong either in no academic department or only in trade schools.

Criteria for one category over the other often have to do with whether the art has mass appeal - the more popular, the lower on the scale. Cultural critic Christian Metz  - at least, I think it was Metz; I’m too lazy to go look it up for sure. :-) - postulated a different criterion. He said that we set apart the “high" arts from the “low” because they exist apart from our own selves; they can’t be consumed and are not meant to be touched. This distinction is problematic to many because it carries assumptions about value and importance. Metz wasn’t necessarily in favor of the judgmental aspect, but was suggesting that our culture privileges the “fine arts” because, since they can’t be held or consumed, they are continually absent, and so can be continually desired. I’ve always found this a compelling idea and I agree to a certain extent, but I just can’t see the fiber arts as less than other arts because they are functional. They do get held and used up and touched. That role in our lives is very beautiful to me and to any of us who are drawn to these crafts (another loaded word :-)). It is something we desire and, because we continually seek to pass these traditions on, continually seek to reinvent them, they are in some ways always beyond our grasp, continually absent, needing us to create them.

Next Monthly Meeting
Saturday, February 10, 2018
10 a.m.
Hoover Church of Christ

Program: Yarn Rosettes
Ruth Truett will be passing on some hands-on textile history at our February meeting. Many years ago, Ruth was taught to make a lovely little rosette out of worsted wool yarn and she is going to pass that knowledge to us.
Bunches of these rosettes make a lovely adornment. Come and learn to make them and become a repository, a steward, of this old technique.
*** We will have all of the supplies you need for this program, but please bring your own scissors (to cut both cardboard and yarn) and a pencil.***
--contributed by Rekha Drwiega

Backstrap Weaving Workshops in April

Laverne Waddington is returning in April to teach two workshops on backstrap weaving! This year she will be teaching her beginning workshop, Complementary-warp Pick-up, followed by a workshop for experienced backstrap weavers, Double Weave. More information will be up on the guild's online sites soon, but, for now, if you want to take one of these workshops, you might want to schedule your vacation days from work.

Complementary-warp Pick-up will be April 2 and 3 (the Monday and Tuesday after Easter). Double Weave will be April 4 and 5 (Wednesday and Thursday).

Watch online and in upcoming newsletters for more information like how to register, costs, and all other details! We had a great time with Laverne last year; she is a terrific teacher. The workshops are small, just eight people, so you get plenty of time with Laverne!

Special Event
2018 Ravellenics: GBFG is getting on board
(that’s NOT snowboarding)
Do you like to knit or craft while you watch TV? Do you know the difference between a flying camel spin and a flying sit spin? Have you ever tried to count your stitches during the Olympics and had to wait until a commercial break because the announcers kept rattling off scores, distances, speeds, times, ages, and other numbers? Come join fellow guild members on Ravelry and celebrate the Ravellenics during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games!

“The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more projects during the 2018 Winter Olympics.” What constitutes a challenge for you? You decide! Maybe you've been wanting to learn a new technique, try a pattern you bought ages ago, or use a special yarn. Maybe you'd even like to finish or frog some old WIPs. You choose your challenge, you strive to craft your project during the Games as the athletes strive to complete their goals, and your guild teammates will cheer you on. In the welcoming spirit of our guild, we are expanding the main Ravellenics crafts from spinning-weaving-crochet-knitting to include any fiber or fabric craft for our team submissions.

The mass cast-on begins with the Opening Ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea, at 5:00 a.m. Central Time on February 9 (it's okay if you start later) and ends on the day of Closing Ceremonies at 8:59 a.m. Central time on February 25. Earn "medals" and "laurels" for your Ravelry project pages, and there might even be a few yarny prizes among team members.

To join the team, find out more, or get help selecting projects and setting up project pages, please visit our guild's Ravellenics team thread here: Ravelry - a knit and crochet community
--contributed by Rosalynn Fairless

Membership Dues & Renewal

The new membership year starts in January. Annual dues are $25. Please pay your 2018 dues by February 28. Thank you! You may pay by cash/check at the meeting, or mail your check to Jennifer Lackey, 1907 Saulter Road, Birmingham, AL 35209, or send it to the PO BOX still in use: GBFG, PO Box 660723, Birmingham, AL 35266. 

Dues also can be paid using PayPal. Mark it  “friends/family” and NOT “goods/services”. Use this link: or use our gmail account

We want to know about you! If you haven't completed a new Membership Form this year, please do so. Your answers to a few simple questions help the Board keep track of all our members to make sure you receive the newsletter and other communications. This form of information sharing also gives us an idea of what fiber arts you're interested in, so we can plan workshops and programs accordingly. Please submit the form with your check to Nancy Lavender when you renew your membership for 2018. You can also copy, paste and email the form to

Member information form 2018


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?

Guild Goings-on

Knit Night in the Forest
First Monday of the month, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Vestavia Hills Public Library, Treehouse Room
We are thrilled to announce a new night time knitting group has been created in conjunction with the Vestavia Hills Public Library! This is a pilot program that will run from February 2018 to May 2018 (with the option to extend depending on turn out). Knit Night in the Forest will be held the first Monday of the month from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in the Treehouse of the Vestavia Library (this room is downstairs and has the best view of the forest behind the library). While it is listed as a knit night, any and all fiber arts are welcome! Find our Ravelry thread for Knit Night here.

This Knit Night is posted on the Vestavia Library events calendar:
The Vestavia Hills Public Library is located at:
1221 Montgomery Highway
Vestavia Hills AL 35216

Upcoming (insert fiber art here)-a-longs:
We have a full schedule of CAL/KAL/TAL/WAL/etc. planned for 2018! We’d love for you to join us for any and all of them! Often, more details and group discussion can be found on the GBFG discussion page on Ravelry located at

(And here's a little reminder of what the acronyms mean:
KAL - knit along
TAL - tat along
CAL - crochet along
WAL - weave along
SAL - spin along
FAL - finish along)
KAL - Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits (or any Boo Knits pattern)
Start Date: Janurary 1, 2018
Pattern can be bought on Ravelry at
The new Knit Night in the Forest group will be working on this beaded lace shawl starting in January 2018. We’d love for you to join us for the KAL or just come hang out at Knit Night!

TAL – Rosaleen by Tatting by the Bay
Start Date: January 2018
Free pattern can be found at
The Crochet and Tatting Study Group will be hosting a tat-a-long. We have selected a free pattern that has a couple variations to allow for easy customization by size and thread weight.
Attendance at the Tuesday Crochet and Tatting gatherings is not required.
CAL – Sophie’s Garden by Dedri Uys
Start Date: Spring 2018
Free pattern can be found at
You’re invited to a garden party!
The Crochet and Tatting Study Group  will be hosting a crochet-a-long. The CAL will be taking a stroll through Sophie’s Garden
. If you want to continue past Sophie’s Garden, you can expand into Sophie’s Universe!
Attendance at the Tuesday Crochet and Tatting gatherings is not required.
Expected start date is Spring 2018. We’d love for any and all to join us!

Start Date: undetermined
Weavers, often (due to the combersome nature of their equipment) independent in their work, find a WAL awkward. We hope that sharing progress and questions, photos and milestones on Ravelry will improve the experience. At the moment, we are finishing up a fall WAL using overshot. Watch for news of at least one new WAL for 2018!

Start Date: January 3, 2018
With all of life's distractions, not to mention the siren call of new projects, sometimes we forget about the put-aside-just-for-a-minute projects. Our Ravelry group will host a FAL (Finish-along) or two this year, giving those who want it a period of time to focus on clearing out at least a few unfinished pieces. One starts immediately, to last 6 weeks.  The other will be showing up in June.

Tour de Fleece
Dates: July 7 - July 29, 2018
The Guild forms a wildcard team for the Tour de Fleece called Team Vulcan Spinners. The goal is to challenge yourself and spin every day the Tour de France rides, if possible. We share our progress and encourage each other along the way! More details can be found on the Guild's Ravelry page closer to July.

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 to

You can post to the guild's Facebook page yourself! The page manager shares information and posts that she receives on the guild's Facebook group page and keeps 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. Find helpful information on participating in the Ravelry guild group on the blog,

Study Groups Meet Monthly

  • First Thursday Spinning and Weaving Group:  Spin & Weave Night, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Hoover (on Patton Chapel Rd, across from Hoover Church of Christ). Park behind the church, come in the large glass doors, walk toward the happy, loud voices. Everyone is welcome! Contact Kathryn Pitt at for details.
  • Spinning Study Group:  4th Wednesday of the month, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church in Hoover. Please check out the GBFG Blog for cancellations or schedule changes.
  • Knit Night in the Forest:  1st Monday of the month, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Vestavia Hills Public Library. Please see Ravelry for more details.
  • Trish Raczynski is hosting a tatting and crochet group. Please check the group discussion thread on Ravelry for more information. 

Newsletter News
Hi! This is Betsy Lowery, new for 2018 on the task of newsletter editing and sending. Thanks for welcoming me to this responsibility and for working with me on it.

If there's something you'd like to share in the monthly newsletter, let me know. Suggestions:
  • book reviews
  • fiber-related articles or web pages we can attach or link (within copyright allowances)
  • your fiber questions to which you would love answers or suggestions from other guild members
  • tips you've discovered and used that make your fiber art a little bit easier
For example, just this week I discovered it was simple to knit into the front and the back of a picked-up stitch for better spacing right off the bat when I was adding the final ribbing to the leg openings of a baby diaper cover or "soaker." (Pattern was a freebie and appears to be designed much like this one.)

Please send your newsletter submissions -- and corrections, please!! -- to me. Content should be submitted by the 15th of the month to go into the following month's newsletter. Email me at and put GBFG Newsletter in the subject line. Thanks!

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 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (no meeting in July). Visitors are welcome. The Guild offers programs almost monthly, focused workshops several times a year, and equipment rental (see below). 

 2018 Officers and Board 

Jennifer Lackey, President
Rekha Drwiega, Programs
Mary Spanos & Mary Margaret Gray, Workshops
Chloe Hope, Membership
Nancy Lavender, Treasurer
Shira Robinowich-Miller, Secretary
Barbara Gower with Kathryn Pitt & Janna Ford, Social Media/Blog
Betsy Lowery, Newsletter


Rental of Guild Equipment & Materials
The Guild has available, for rental to members, the following:
  • Lucy Neatby's DVD knitting collection (more info on this resource)
  • Drum Carder
  • Laura Fry's Magic in the Water book and DVD
  • 4-harness table loom (Jennifer Lackey)
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 be checked out at Fiber Guild monthly meetings; please check with Jennifer Lackey. Deposit checks will be held by Nancy Lavender, treasurer, until checked-out items are returned in original condition.

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