Monday, February 24, 2014

Community Arts Conversations, Tuscaloosa

(Sorry for the short notice, I just received this.)

The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa is hosting an event to introduce local cultural organizations to the public, Tuesday, February 25, 5:00 to 7:00, at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, 620 Greensboro Avenue, on the same block as the Bama Theatre in Downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information see, or call 205 758-5195.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Knitting study group dyeing for lace

Our knitting study group chooses a study topic and a study leader for each calender year. For 2014 Terry Martin is leading a study in lace knitting. Our first project, which will be to knit a scarf that Janice Weinstein designed for us, included painting the fingering weight wool that we will use to knit the scarves. You can see some of the dyed skeins above. It is going to be interesting to see how different painting choices affect the look of the finished scarf. If you would like to knit along with us, you can download Janice's free pattern from Ravelry at

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fall 2014 Color Report

As soon as Pantone announces a new color of the year (it's Radiant Orchid this year) or sends out a new color report, their colors start showing up in stores and magazines. So if you make garments or accessories to sell or are thinking about making something fashionable for yourself this year, here is Pantone's Fall 2014 color report,

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Newsletter, February 2014

President’s Column

Hello Fiber Friends!
As I sit here watching the snow come down, my hands are itching to knit! What wonderful knitting weather we have had lately! Our meeting last month was energizing and excuses for feet not to be nice and warm now!  This month I expect the colors and fabrics of Peru to inspire us! I can't wait to hear of Susie's many and varied experiences! We will also have a door prize provided by Susie  this month!

Personally, I have been trying to finish up some projects...most notably my knitted jacket...I have to admit I am a process knitter and love to plan, look at yarn and plot...then once I see it take form I tend to get distracted and try something else! So, I periodically have to play Let's Make a Deal with myself....this year it's finish 3 and I can start something new.......

Stay Warm and Happy Knitting!


            Karen Ford


February Meeting - Visit Peru and its Fiber Arts and Artists!

Saturday, February 8th, 10:00 am
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church
2061 Patton Chapel Rd
Birmingham, AL  (205) 822-4480


A Visit to Peru to Learn about its Fiber Arts and Artists

Come join Susie Strauss on a trip to visit Peru and its fiber artists!  Susie will bring photos and video clips of the 2013 Tinkuy (Gathering of international weavers and fiber arts in Cusco) and the five villages she visited during her two-week trip in November. She will introduce you to the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco and its mission to bring traditional textiles back to rural Peruvian villages. Learn about how its founder, Nilda Callanupa Alvarez, has created a market for handmade products, while building village fiber art centers and conducting workshops. Susie’s unique video clips show knitting on five double-pointed needles (some made from bicycle spokes), natural dyeing, winding warps while visiting friends, weaving, and spinning. Along with the visual show, Susie will bring samples of Peruvian knitting and weaving. The meeting’s door prize will be a handmade item from her trip.




Note new time and location!  When you arrive at the church, park and then look for an awning at the front left of the church.  Enter through the door under the awning


Photos from January's Sockapalooza
(and the holiday party with everyone wearing their new cowls!)




It's February and time for payment of your GBFG dues! Membership dues are $25 per year and need to be paid by March. Dues are used for our meeting supplies, rental costs for our meeting space, supplementing workshop fees when possible for Guild members,  and for administrative expenses. They may be paid to Nancy Lavender at January's meeting or mailed to: GBFG, P.O. Box 660723, Birmingham, AL 35266-0723. Please make your check out to 'GBFG' or Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild, thanks!

We always encourage guests to attend our meetings but if you come more than a few times in the year, we kindly ask that you join.
Remember that as a GBFG Member, you have access to our Yahoo Group in which we discuss current fiber news and events, priority registration and possible reduced fees for GBFG workshops, and equipment rental.

The New Guild Blog


We're trying something new for sharing information online about guild activities. Please check out the new guild blog at:

We want to post links to pictures from guild events, so if you take photos at meetings and upload them to a photo sharing site, please send the blog person a link (the current blog support person is Mary Spanos, you can reach her at You can see the photos from the Christmas party now (scroll down to see that entry). Newsletters will also be posted there, so if you think you've missed a newsletter check out the blog!. Since the blog archives everything, you will even be able to look back through old newsletters.

We want to support our members, professionals and enthusiastic amateurs, and would love to show your work on the blog. If you have completed a project that you are proud of, send Mary a photo and a description. You can also provide a link to your web site, your Ravelry page, your own blog, or any fiber-related site.
If you know of upcoming fiber-related activities or events, please send that information to Mary ( so we can share it with everyone.
You can even sign up to receive an email notification when the blog is updated. And if you need to get in touch with anyone on the guild board, links to their email addresses can be found by scrolling down and looking for the list of officers on the right side of the page.
So, visit the new guild blog soon and send in your pictures and information!


Interesting things to read and look at...
From Janice - A Woman Spent 11 Years Knitting a Coat and Hat out of Her Own Hair!
From Emily Color photos from Russia in the 1909-1912

Send more interesting fiber links and stories to Susie!



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 Yahoo Group (you must be a GBFG member) 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.

from Victoria Moore

While I love to buy beautiful handcrafted fiber tools sometimes the cost is prohibitive or the item is needed right away.  That is when I have to improvise.  One of the materials I use is PVC pipe that I buy at the local hardware store in the plumbing department.

My favorite PVC pipe tools are my large and small  niddy noddy.  A niddy noddy consists of a central bar and a crossbar at each end.  This tool is used by spinners and dyers to wrap single or plied yarn into skeins.

There are many tutorials online for making a large size niddy noddy from 1/2 inch PVC pipe, two t-connectors and  four end caps. By using different lengths for the center bar you can make one yard, two yard or larger size skeins.  I also make a smaller version using water pipe.  Some advantages to using PVC pipe to make  the niddy noddy include cheap cost, light weight, easy to  take apart and reassemble, and can be cut to size with hacksaw or pipe cutter.  Another advantage of using a PVC pipe niddy noddy is that it can be submerged in water to set the skeined yarn.

Other fiber tools that can be made from PVC pipe include needle holders, spinning wheels, looms, drying racks and warping boards.  Recently I needed a reed holder and played around until I was able to get the reed to sit at a convenient angle and also arranged a place for the lease sticks or a dowel to rest at the back.


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 and August). Visitors are welcome.  The Guild offers programs almost monthly, focused workshops several times a year, and equipment rental (see below).  Southern Strands, the Guild newsletter, is published monthly (no issue in August); deadline for submission of material is the 20th of each month).  Send items to Susie Strauss at
 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