Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 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 getting warm, time for our annual picnic, and time to get out the dye pots.  Natural dyes seem to bloom on warm days, and we’re going to take advantage of that opportunity this year.  At the picnic, again hosted by the lovely and gracious Jennifer Justiss, we will try to get a couple of indigo vats going, and in June, we are excited about learning to dye with mushrooms in our workshop with Alissa Allen.  I hope to see you all at the picnic!
This past week, I visited the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati where I happened on the work of a Norwegian artist, Kari Steihaug, who has collected unfinished knitting projects and made them into an installation, and a very expensive book.  What she writes on the back cover gives me comfort as I unearth yet another project languishing in a forgotten totebag:  “unfinished knitting projects are bearers of stories; we no longer remember what some of them were meant to be, while others continue to carry a dream of something splendid.”  So, when you find yet another half-sock in last year’s beach bag, just think of yourself as a storyteller in wool.  


May Program
Picnic at Jennifer Justiss' farm
This month, our program will be the annual guild picnic, on Saturday, May 14, at 11:00, this year hosted by Jennifer Justiss at her family’s beautiful farm near Chelsea.  Please bring a salad or dessert to share.  The guild will supply burgers (meat and veggie versions) and water and soft drinks.  This year, we are trying indigo dyeing, so you can bring fabric, yarn, roving, or garments to dye.  Please be sure to wash your dyeables thoroughly at home to remove any sizing.  We will run the vats until we exhaust the dye, so we’ll begin by letting everyone dye one thing, and then we’ll add more as long as the dye is active.  We’ll have ikat tape and rubber bands available if you want to try shibori or tie-dye techniques.  Bring a large plastic bag with you, because your items my still be damp when you go home.

Send an email to one of the board members for directions!

April  Meeting Recap

Button making resources

Members made some lovely buttons at the guild meeting yesterday. Thanks for being such a fun (and patient) group to present for.

More button making resources can be found here:

Dorset cross wheel tutorial:
Instructions for several types of buttons (Thanks to Jan for finding this page):
Some history and images of different types of Dorset buttons:
More history and button supplies:
Pictures from Day at the Zoo


Mycopigment Workshop with Alissa Allen
 Saturday, June 11, 2016

Join us on Saturday, June 11th for a wonderful opportunity to learn about dyeing with mushrooms and lichens.  Students will learn about mushroom safety, identification, habitats and ethical harvest.  You will also get to take home a customized guide to local dye fungi, a recipe card with samples of the wide spectrum of colors, obtained by dyeing with mushrooms and lichens, as well as a hand-dyed scarf made in class.  
  • Saturday, June 11th, 10:00 to 3:00, at the Hoover Church of Christ
  • $95 – includes all materials and lunch
  • First come, first serve basis (which means that the first 20 people to get their check into Nancy Lavender, the guild treasurer, will secure their seats in the workshop)
  • Registration for guild members begins April 1st and a deposit (in the amount of $25) will hold your spot.  The remaining $70 is to be paid the morning of the workshop. There are only 20 spots, so hurry and get your deposit in!
  • You can send your check to Nancy via the US mail at GBFG, PO Box 660723, Birmingham, AL 35266-0723. You can also bring a check to the April guild meeting.
  • If the workshop is not filled by guild members, then registration will be opened to the general public on May 1st.  
Cancellation policy:
If it is necessary to cancel, the best thing to do is to get someone else to take your spot.  Other than that, the deposit is only refundable until May 1st.  After May 1st, the deposit is non-refundable. 
For more information about Alissa and Mycopigments, visit her website at

Tatting and Crocheting Group

We have a tatting and crocheting group that has started meeting at Nancy Clemmon's house on the Third Tuesday at 6 pm.  All are welcome. 

Ruth Truett  Honored
Nancy Clemmons has sent  a  link to her Flickr photos of Ruth Truett's prize-winning creations at the exhibition back in March. This exhibition was sponsored by the National League of American PEN Women, Birmingham Branch at the Soon Bok Lee Sellers Gallery at Artist on the Bluff.

Bring Us Your Best: Annual Guild Exhibit
Homewood Library, September, 2016
Our annual guild exhibit is scheduled for September, 2016.  We’ll be collecting your work for this year’s exhibit at the August meeting, so now’s the time to get those beautiful projects finished and ready for the world!  This year, Fiber Frenzy will be happening at the library, so we will all get to see the show together and celebrate our joy in working with fiber.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to give your work a museum-quality place to be seen and to share your gifts with all of the library visitors. 
Fingerless Mitts and Wrist Warmers
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."

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
I am compiling a list of links to Birmingham-area fiber resources and members' websites for the blog. Please send me any links you'd like to see on the blog. Also, I'd appreciate any photos or events that you'd like to publicize.


Interesting Fiber Items to Read and Check Out...


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. 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.

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