Friday, January 22, 2016

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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Common threads quilting event

Another great fiber event coming up.

Common Threads II: Alabama Quilting Traditions at the Alabama Department of Archives and History
Friday March 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM CST
Saturday March 5, 2016 at 12:00 PM CST
Add to Calendar

Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
Driving Directions
March 4 - 5 at the 
Department of Archives & History

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 and a quilting workshop. 

Admission is FREE but registration is required. A box lunch can be purchased in advance for Friday for $15.

Friday, March 4, 9:00 to 3:30
The Alabama Quilt Book Project 
by Mary Elizabeth Johnson Huff

The Mt. Ida Quilt Project 
by Sarah Bliss Wright

Tour of Archives' quilt collection and storage
led by Ryan Blocker, curator

Gee's Bend Quilting Traditions 
by Louisiana Pettway Bendolph

The March Quilts Project
by Lillis Taylor
Saturday, March 5, 9:00 to Noon

Quilting workshop led by 
Lorretta Pettway Bendolph

Make a Pine Burr quilt square - the same pattern as the official Alabama state quilt!


Register Now!


Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 Dues

It's time for 2016 dues (disregard if you have already paid). Your $25 goes to support rent for meeting space, honorariums for outside speakers, snacks and coffee for meetings (very important), and other guild activities.

You can bring your dues to our next meeting which will be February 13 at 10 am, tentatively at Jefferson State Community College (confirmation to follow). You can also send a check to Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild, PO Box 660723, Birmingham, AL 35266-0723.

Knitted shawl in a tropical location for a dreary day

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Southern Voices Festival Feb 23-27

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:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Upcoming fiber events: Spin-in in Destin

The January Spin-in in Destin, FL, will be January 27-30. Registration closes the 14th (Thursday!) so head on over to the Spin-in Ravelry group if you want to go and haven't registered yet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Call for fiber news!

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 or email. Photos of your work would also be great. Thank you! Emily

Gratuitous photo of textiles from a street market in Kyiv.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2016 newsletter

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

Newsletter of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 


                   President's Letter



Happy New Year!

I hope we’ve all recovered from the shopping, baking, caroling, candle-lighting, gift-wrapping, decorating—the sweet but exhausting joys of the holiday season!  The first of January is always a welcome time, when the new calendar still has a lot of open spaces on every page, and challenging new projects beckon.

My challenge for 2016 is to keep the great momentum going in our fiber guild and continue the legacy of our past president, Karen Ford.  She has set a high bar!  We currently have 69 members, the largest group ever, and the past year has seen great programs in weaving, knitting, spinning, exploring color, and a wonderful dye workshop as well. 

This year marks my twentieth year as a member of the guild.  When I discovered it, in the fall of 1995, I was new to Birmingham, with two small children, and a broken spinning wheel.   I had just designed a sock pattern based on a Wedgwood coffee cup at the Birmingham Art Museum, 
Wedgwood Socks and I was looking for someone, anyone, with whom to share my obsession with fiber.

I can still remember clearly the Saturday morning I stepped into the guild’s meeting place at Oak Mountain State Park to be greeted by Pia Cusick and Mary Geier.  I knew I was home.   I had found my tribe.  On that first Saturday I volunteered to help get out the newsletter, and I’ve been volunteering for stuff ever since, hoping that I can express my gratitude for this gift of companionship and support.

The guild has taught me how to be a much better spinner, dyer, and knitter, but more, it has taught me how to be a richer and happier person.  I have shared my life’s ups and downs with everyone in the guild as we sit together and spin or knit, or measure dye into jars.  I have listened to their sorrows and joys, and I have shared my own.  I have welcomed new friends over the years, delighting to see a new generation fall in love with fiber and create masterpieces.

The ancient medieval craft guilds often protected their trade secrets ferociously, maintaining a lock on the lore of their craft to protect themselves from competitors.  Our guild does the opposite—we share what we’ve learned, and we trawl the world for new ideas, but there’s one trade secret we still hold onto—the joy of holding a beautiful thread in our hands and making something with it—that’s the secret that holds us together as a fiber guild.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, January 9 at our temporary meeting place, Room 234 in the Health Sciences Building at Jefferson State Community College’s Shelby campus on Valleydale Road, adjoining Veteran’s Park. 

All the best,



January Program
How to Use Ravelry and other Online Resources
January 9
10 a.m.
Health Sciences Building
Jeff State
Shelby campus 


Due to construction at In the Making,  our temporary meeting place will be  Room 234 in the Health Sciences Building at Jefferson State Community College’s Shelby campus on Valleydale Road, adjoining Veteran’s Park.  


At our meeting, we will be looking at ways to keep track of and share projects, augment and enhance communication between members and between meetings, and participate in online projects together.  The meeting will be a wealth of information that can educate and inspire us for the new year.  So, along those same lines, we will also be sharing our goals for 2016.  Please bring a “FIBER RESOLUTION” to share with everyone along with recent or current projects for “show and tell”!!


Holiday Party
December 12

Here are some pictures from the Holiday party.  Thanks to Mary Kaiser for hosting.


New Friday Night Group Formed

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.  Email:


Interesting Fiber Items to Read and Check Out..

Mary Kaiser writes: If you’re interested in garment construction, even if you’re like me and not an expert at tailoring, you might like to check into The Cutting Class. This site analyzes garments from the couture runway in detail to show the inventiveness and ingenuity of contemporary design.  It will give you more respect for the world of fashion design, and sometimes a practical tip or two. 

Eufaula Pilgrimage Art Show

The Eufaula Art Scene is seeking artists and artisans with disciplines in painting, pottery, jewelry, mixed media, recycled art, wood, photography, sculpture, fine folk art, textiles, and glass for the Eufaula Pilgrimage Art Show which is April 1,2,and 3, 2016 in  historic downtown Eufaula.

This is a juried show with significant prize money.  Applications are due Feb. 15, 2016.  For applications, submission guidelines, and more information please email or visit or mail Eufaula Art Scene PL Box 1817, Eufaula, Al 36072.  


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! 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.


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.

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