Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tour de Fleece starts Saturday

The Tour de Fleece spin-along starts Saturday. Join Team Vulcan Spinners by posting on the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild Team Vulcan Spinners thread.

Team members (including non-spinning Boosters) will be eligible for the following, highly prestigious awards:

  • Booster Award - non-spinner with the most posts
  • Most Yardage Spun Award
  • Novice Spinner Award - any novice who reaches their goal will be entered in a drawing to win this award
  • Most Varied Yarns Spun Award
  • Most Varied Equipment Used Award
  • Most Pictures Posted Award
  • Random Award - all spinner team members will be entered for a chance to win this award


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tour de Fleece Team Vulcan

Team Vulcan Spinners!

Cheer on the Tour de France riders while challenging yourself with spinning as part of the Tour de Fleece. Or (like me) cheer on Team Vulcan, the GBFG team, and admire other peoples' spinning.
We have our own wildcard guild team this year for the Tour de Fleece spin-along! While the cyclists are spinning up and down the hills for the Tour de France, we will be spinning our fibers.
The concept is simple:
  • Challenge Yourself.
  • Spin
  • Have fun.
This year, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday July 2 and runs until Sunday July 24, 2016.
Guidelines (NOT RULES):
  • Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2 through Sunday July 24. Days of rest: Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 19. (Just like the actual tour.) If life gets in the way of spinning every day, you can make it up another time. Or simply decide for yourself how to proceed. The point is to have fun and maybe even learn something!
  • Spin something challenging on the challenge day (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 8, on Saturday, July 9, when they will climb 4 mountains, including the 2115m high Col du Tourmalet, and Stage 15, on Sunday, July 17th, when they take on the Grand Columbier!).
  • Set your own goals and post them on the Team Vulcan Ravelry thread: # of ounces per day or total for the race, amount of time each day, discovering new-to-you fibers/breeds, explore different methods of spinning, whatever you want to work on.
  • Post progress in the Ravelry thread, daily if you possibly can; pictures would be good (how else can you prove it?
Use the Ravelry thread to state your goals, ask questions, cheer each other on. If you don’t have the time to participate, join us as cheerleaders!
Team captains: Jeekeehoo (Jen) and wildapple (Kathryn). Ask us anything; we might be able to give you an answer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Thank you, Alissa Allen, for a fantastic day of learning about mycopigments!
Rainbow of mycopigment dyed yarns

Drying scarves (dyed with dyer's puffball) over the air conditioner.

If you are hooked on mushrooms, check out the upcoming class on mushrooms offered by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Updated by-laws for review

Hello everyone! The board, lead by president Mary Kaiser, has been working on updating the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild by-laws. They have been amended to reflect the current functioning of the Guild and the roles of the board members. Please review the proposed by-laws below. We will be voting on whether to ratify the by-laws at our August meeting.

1996, Revised 2016


Section 1. NAME: The name of this organization shall be: The Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild.

Section 2. PURPOSE: The purpose of this Guild shall be to provide education for its members that will stimulate an interest in the fiber arts as well as encourage all fiber craft people to strive for the highest standards of excellence, to create fellowship among its members, and to promote public awareness through exhibition, demonstration and education.


Section 1. MEMBERSHIP: Membership shall be open to any person interested in the fiber arts. There shall be two forms of membership: participating (one vote); family (two votes).

All members must be current in dues to vote on business brought before the guild. The membership year shall be January 1 through December 31.

Section 2. DUES:

Participating (1 vote) $25/year  Family (2 votes) $30/year

New member joining after June 1:  $l2.50

Dues shall be payable January 1 and delinquent February 28. Any member failing to pay current dues before delinquent date shall forfeit all rights of membership.

Section 3. MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES: Members in good standing shall be able to hold a board position if elected, vote on all guild business, attend board meetings (may not vote on board issues unless an elected member of the board), participate on committees, have access to all equipment owned by the guild, and share their talents through teaching programs, demonstrating for local events and contributing to the guild newsletter.


Section 1. OFFICERS: The officers of this guild shall be: President. 1st  Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Workshop Chair, and Social Media Chair.

Section 2: TERM OF OFFICE: The term of office shall be for one year and may be held no more than two consecutive years for President.  Other board positions may be renewed indefinitely. Terms of office shall begin January 1 and end December 31.

Section 3. VACANCIES: If an office is vacated before the expiration of the designated term it may be filled by the Executive Board.

Section 4. EXECUTIVE BOARD: The Executive Board shall consist of the elected officers and the immediate past president and shall be empowered to allocate funds to transact guild business and manage guild affairs between meetings.


Section 1. PRESIDENT: The president shall preside at all general as well as board meetings. shall be a member ex-officio of all committees except the nominating committee and shall appoint all committee chairpersons.

Section 2. 1st VICE PRESIDENT: The 1st Vice President shall act for the President in case of absence or inability to serve until such time as the President is able to resume responsibility and shall serve as a program chairman. As Program Chairperson. this member shall plan programs for the entire year in office. make arrangements for fees charged. materials needed, location, transportation. accommodations of any special speakers and submit appropriate information to newsletter editor in a timely manner regarding programs, as well as attend all general and board meetings or send a representative.

Section 3. 2nd VICE PRESIDENT: The 2nd Vice President shall be responsible for the promotion of membership in the guild, keep membership records and roster up to date, shall put together a membership packet for new members containing a complete listing of by-laws, guild membership roster, temporary nametag, and any pertinent information about the guild and attend all general and board meetings .

Section 4. SECRETARY: The Secretary shall record the proceedings of all board meetings and handle all official correspondence, and attend all general and board meetings.

Section 5. TREASURER: The Treasurer shall receive and keep accounts of all money received and expended and attend all general and board meetings.

Section 6 NEWSLETTER EDITOR: The Newsletter Editor shall be responsible for obtaining information for the guild newsletter from any officer, committee chairperson, or member in good standing by the end of the preceding month, as well as editing, writing, and distributing the newsletter to all members and reciprocating guilds and attend all general and board meetings.

Section 7. WORKSHOP CHAIRPERSON: The Workshop Chairperson shall be responsible for organizing and promoting guild workshops throughout the year and attend all general and board meetings.

Section 8.  SOCIAL MEDIA CHAIRPERSON: The Social Media Chairperson shall head up the Social Media Committee, and will be responsible for maintaining the guild blog and/or webpage, and with the committee, maintain a guild presence on Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, the guild Yahoo group  and other social media outlets deemed appropriate by the guild, and attend all general and board meetings.


Section 1. MEETINGS: General meetings shall consist of a short business meeting, including show-and-tell of members’ recent work  and a program. These meetings shall be held on the second Saturday of each month except July.  May and December meetings will be the guild picnic and the holiday party.

Section 2. BOARD MEETINGS: Board meetings shall be held monthly, prior to general Guild meeting  as deemed necessary by the guild president or executive board request.


Section 1. NOMINATING COMMITTEE: A Nominating committee of three members shall be selected at the September meeting. It shall consist of a chairperson appointed by the president and two (2) members in good standing voted from the floor. The committee shall meet and select a proposed slate of officers to be presented in writing to the general membership at the October meeting. A copy of the proposed slate must be given to the newsletter editor for publication prior to deadline of September 25th for the October issue.

Section 2. ADDITIONAL NOMINATION: Nominations in addition to those submitted by the committee may be accepted from the floor at the October meeting provided that consent has been obtained from the nominee prior to the meeting.

Section 3. VOTING: Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of members present at the December holiday party, and their terms of office will begin January 1.


1.      Social Media Committee
2.      Exhibit Committee
3.      Nominating Committee (See ARTICLE VI, Section 1)

Section 2. STANDING COMMITTEES GUIDELINES: Standing committees shall operate as a volunteer-based committee with a presidential appointed chairperson or executive board member chairperson to head. Each committee shall set guidelines for their particular committee subject to board approval.

Section 3. SPECIAL COMMITTEES: Special committees shall be appointed by the president in the event of need to serve for limited periods of time or be responsible for special projects.


These by-laws may be amended at any regular or called meeting of the Guild by a majority vote of members present, a written notice having been sent of the proposed amendment at least one month in advance of the meeting. Absent members may submit an amendment vote in writing, such vote to be received by meeting time at which amendment votes are counted.


The rules contained in the current edition of Roberts’ Rules of Order shall govern the Guild in all cases except where they are not consistent with these By-laws and any special rules or order that the Guild may adopt.


Any assets which this Guild may own or acquire are irrevocably dedicated to education purposes and upon dissolution or abandonment of this organization such assets will be turned over to one or more organizations which themselves are exempt as organizations described in sections 501 © <3> of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law or  a corporation contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (3) <2> of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or any other corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law. No part of the assets of the Guild shall inure to the benefit of any member thereof, and this Guild shall not devote any substantial portion of said assets for the purpose of carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.


1. Equipment belonging to the guild shall be maintained and inventoried on a regular basis. A fee to be determined by the board shall be charged for the rental of guild equipment and that money shall be used to purchase new (or repair existing) equipment as needed. A deposit to be determined by the board shall also be obtained at the time of the rental that is non-refundable if said equipment is not returned or returned in damaged condition. The chairperson shall keep good record of the location of equipment and enforce the return date policy established by the committee.

2. The guild shall try to maintain good standing in statewide as well as national fiber organizations through paid membership as determined by a vote of the general membership.

3. Members shall attempt to wear nametags to all meetings.

Monday, June 6, 2016

June newsletter

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

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Newsletter of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 

                      President’s Column   

 We had a great day of natural dyeing with indigo at the Guild Picnic last month, and I can’t wait to see the results in hand-dyed fiber, fabric stitched into quilts, and even works on paper.  Continuing our color season, we’ll be dyeing with mushrooms at the workshop with Alissa Allen on Saturday, June 11.  Since this is an all-day affair, we won’t have our usual monthly business meeting in June.  There will be no July meeting.   Please start looking around your studio for items to exhibit in our annual Guild show at the Homewood Library.  We’ll be taking items at the August meeting for the show.  No theme this time—just give us your best, and our styling geniuses led by Nancy Lavender will arrange them to advantage.  This year, we’ll be having out Fiber Frenzy in September at the library, so everyone will be able to pass through the exhibit and enjoy this showcase of members’ work.   Later this month, we will post the revised Guild By-Laws on the blog.  We’ll vote on the By-Laws at the August meeting. 



Mycopigment Workshop with Alissa Allen
 Saturday, June 11, 2016

The upcoming mycopigment workshop with Alissa Allen is going to take the place of the June meeting. It is going to be great! If you aren't going to be there, you can still look forward to seeing the beautiful colors the attendees will bring to future meetings. If you have already signed up and paid your deposit, then we'll see you there! This workshop filled up quickly, 19 guild members signed up and only 1 non-member was able to get a seat.

Elizabeth Young and Mary Spanos are organizing this event and they are sending emails to participants with information about what to bring, the schedule, and the location (the Hoover Church of Christ where we have been meeting). Watch your email inbox and if you haven't received anything yet, please contact Mary

Some Interesting Facts About Knitting

 No one knows how old knitting really is, though it is generally thought to be older than handcrafts (rug hooking) but not as old as weaving.d

Many ancient textile fragments thought to be knitting have turned out to be nålebinding (Danish for literally “binding with a needle), an ancient form of needlecraft that is sometimes referred to as “single-needle knitting.”j

The history of knitting is not well known because fabrics used for knitting are made of wool, silk, and other fibers that decay rapidly. Additionally, knitting needles are hard to distinguish beyond a doubt from hair picks, skewers, spindles, or the other many uses of a sharpened stick.h

Historians posit that knitting is a relatively recent invention because there are no ancient legends of knitting like there are legends of spinning and weaving, such as Arachne, Ixazaluoh, Nephthys, Amaterasu. There are no ancient gods or goddesses who knit.j

Knitting is considered to have originated in the Arab world, and from there, spread with the Crusades into Spain. The term “to knit” wasn’t added to English until the 1400s.h

The earliest known types of knitting by nomadic people in the desert places of North Africa actually used circular or narrow, oblong wooden frames. The knitting action was similar to “bobbin work.” Historians are unsure when the frames were dispensed with and knitting began to be directly on hooked knitting needles.j

One of the earliest known examples of knitting (formed on two sticks by pulling loops through loops) were a pair of cotton socks found in Egypt from the first millennium A.D. Many of them have knit into them khufic (a decorative Arabic script) blessings, symbols to ward off evil, or both.h

Men were the first to knit for an occupation

Knitting was initially a male-only occupation.d

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

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

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.