Wednesday, November 30, 2016

March Quilts, year 3

March Quilts, year 3 (c) The March Quilts
The March Quilts project is a community art project focused on civil rights. This year's theme commemorates Loving versus Virginia Supreme Court ruling overturning bans on interracial marriage.

This Saturday, December 3, is the first opportunity to contribute a block to this year's quilt. Come to the Birmingham Museum of Art between 10 and 1 to get started on a quilt block.

Previous quilts themes have been the Selma to Montgomery March (year 1) and the gender wage gap (year 2).

March Quilts on display in the Selma Public Library (c) The March Quilts

Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to Register for the Laverne Waddington backstrap weaving workshops

There will be two workshops with Laverne Waddington here in Birmingham during March 2017:
The weekend workshop, March 25-26, Complementary-warp Pick-up Basics 
The middle-of-the-week workshop, March 28-30, Andean Pebble Weave
In 2017, the week of March 27-31 is AEA week. Hope that makes it easier for you to attend this workshop!
The December registration is only open to members of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild. If there are available seats after the membership has had an opportunity to register, then we will happily accept registrations from non-members.
How to register:
  1. Download the registration form here.
  2. Fill out the form, include a check for the registration fee for your first choice of the two workshops that are being offered.
  3. Mail your registration form and check on December 1. Your registration envelope must have a December 1 postmark from the USPS.
If we receive more registrations than there are seats available then we will have a drawing from the December 1 group to determine who gets into the workshop. Hopefully there will be room for everyone who wants to come, but there are only 8 seats available in each workshop, so we are going old school with paper forms and using the USPS to give everyone a fair chance of getting in.
You can only register for one workshop on December 1. If there are seats available on January 15, then we’ll repeat this process to allow guild members to sign up for a second workshop.
On February 14, if there are seats available, we will open registration up to non-members, who will pay a slightly higher price.
If you register and then have to drop-out, you can get your money back if we (or you) find someone to take your place.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Laverne Waddington Workshops March 2017!!!

We are so lucky to have Laverne Waddington coming to Birmingham in March, 2017. She has spent years living among and learning from incredibly talented backstrap weavers. Take a look at her blog to see some of the beautiful things she does with this type of loom and the tremendous possibilities that it offers,
There will be two workshops with seats for 8 people in each. How we will handle registration will be announced in the next few days. Keep an eye on our social media sites to find out what you need to do to register. Seats are limited so if you are interested, watch closely for instructions.
Complementary-warp Pick-up Basics, March 25 and 26 (Saturday and Sunday), see details below. $100 plus $10 materials fee.
Andean Pebble Weave, March 28 to 30 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), see details below. $150 plus $10 materials fee.
The materials provided will include everything you need except for a large C clamp, scissors, and paper and pencils for your own notes.
These are not workshops for beginning weavers, but you don’t need a lot of experience to have enough weaving experience and knowledge to be ready. There is time to take a class or a few lessons to acquire enough knowledge and experience to be ready for these great workshops. Here is what Laverne said about the level you need to be in order to take these workshops:
…not wanting to use time to explain warp and weft and sheds and especially the concept of a ”cross”…knowing that I can launch into a vocabulary with which everyone is familiar. Weavers are also conscious of the fact that things like neat selvedges and even beat take time to master and won’t be put off if their edges on warp-faced cloth are less than perfect at first. Being aware that other kinds of cloth exist besides that which is typically produced on a rigid heddle loom is helpful too…at least an awareness of that warp-faced cloth can be created as opposed to balanced weaves and that they can expect to have to do things a little differently to the way they are accustomed.
Workshop details:
A TWO-DAY CLASS with Laverne Waddington

Complementary-warp patterning on body-tensioned looms 
In this two-day workshop, we follow the path of young girls in some regions of South America as they take their first steps in weaving on narrow warps that are tied to their waists. With these simple body-tensioned looms, we create bands of plain weave, and then learn to add simple pick-up patterns. While doing so, participants will review the basics of backstrap loom operation and the principles of complementary-warp pick-up weaving using only their fingers as tools.
Participants practice reading the weaving from the cloth as well as charting new designs directly from woven samples. The principles are then applied to a slightly wider warp as we weave a classic Andean hook design on which many of the motifs seen in South American textiles are based. We will prepare warps to weave a variety of patterns by mirroring and flipping the hook motif. 

Finally, we learn to apply these principles to warps of any width. 
Participants will take home fully dressed warps that they create themselves in class so that they can continue to study these motifs and pick-up techniques.

Andean pebble weave, perhaps the most easily recognized of the many pick-up weaving techniques practiced in Peru and Bolivia, is not only beautiful to behold but also a pleasure to weave. Indigenous weavers use geometric, animal, plant and human figures posed on the dotted or “pebbled” background characteristic of this weave to decorate carrying cloths, ponchos, coca leaf bags, belts and sashes. Being partly loom-controlled, it is one of the faster pick-up weaving techniques to execute.

CLASS DESCRIPTION: On Day One of this three-day workshop, students will learn the basics of weaving warp-faced bands on a backstrap loom. The students will then be taught the principles of complementary-warp pick-up and will use this knowledge to manipulate the warps by hand and create some basic pick-up patterns including “plain pebble weave”. 
During the next two days the students will be using the Andean Pebble Weave technique to weave a variety of motifs. On pre-warped looms and using the skills learned on Day One, they will weave the basic shapes that are the components of all pebble weave motifs. From there they will work on developing the ability to combine these basic shapes in different ways to create their own simple patterns. We study systems for charting these shapes and patterns.

The students will later be shown how to operate two sets of string heddles on the backstrap loom so that the structure can be partly loom-controlled. They will learn how to make modifications to the basic set-up so that they can add more complexity to the pebble weave shapes as well as the strategies used by indigenous weavers to make the loom set-up, pick-up and pattern reading processes more efficient. In addition, they will be introduced to creating and charting their own more complex pebble weave designs and will use these skills to read and chart motifs directly from textiles.

Watch the Ravelry thread, the GBFG blog, and the GBFG Facebook group to keep up with this exciting event in our guild and to find out how to register!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Loom and spinning wheel for sale

There is a woman in town selling a nice loom and an antique spinning wheel. I’ve seen both items and they are in good shape. It's a Harrisville Loom that needs a cleaning and a few minor repairs to the leathers, a very easy fix with a parts from Harrisville.  It's 4 harness, 36 inch weaving width, flat steel heddles with no rust, asking $500 or best offer.
The wheel spins true with no wobble and the flyer has no damage and spins freely as well. There’s a repair to the connector from axle to footman but it seems very solid. Should be a very pretty little wheel when cleaned up! Asking $150 or best offer.
Email Jennifer at "" or Emily at "".

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November newsletter

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

Newsletter of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 

                      President’s Column   

As the temperatures drop and the holidays approach, we knitters, weavers, spinners, and dyers feel a surge of urgency to get ourselves and our loved ones wrapped up in hand-crafted warmth.  Last month, we refreshed our hand-sewing skills in a program led by Lillis Taylor of Bib & Tucker, and now we are contemplating big projects, like hand-woven and hand-sewed coats in the tradition of the beautiful ikat garments we saw at the Birmingham Art Museum last spring.  We’re working on gifts for loved ones, and visiting craft shows like the Alabama Designer and Craftsmen Show at the Botanical Gardens later this month, where guild members Barbara Mitchell, Janice Weinstein, and others will be offering gorgeous hand-crafted gifts.  This month at our meeting we will learn about bandweaving and a related workshop coming up in 2017.  Our new slate of officers will be presented at the meeting on November 12, so I know you’ll want to be there, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to show-and-tell! 

November Program
Hoover Church of Christ
Band Weaving
3248 Lorna Road, 35216
10am to 2pm

The November meeting will be focused on band weaving, not only a wonderful skill to have in your fiber arsenal (it’s war people, we must continue to fight the machines!) but a wonderful way to start weaving if you have never tried.  Several of our members will be sharing the different forms of creating bands for use as straps of all kinds, embellishment to garments, or watch bands!  We’ll meet at our normal place and time, Hoover Church of Christ, 10am, come to the lower level steps on the front right side of the building.  The program will be first, followed by lunch and show-n-tell.   We will also be discussing an upcoming workshop related to band weaving that will take place in the Spring, so you definitely don’t want to miss this meeting!!!
ALSO, if you have an inkle loom that you are no longer interested in owning and would like to find an excited new owner, this may be your chance!!  Please feel free to bring any loom that needs love to sell or give away at the meeting!

Membership Dues Renewal
It's that time of year when we ask members to renew their memberships.  Dues for 2017 will be $25.  Please fill out the application form below  and give it with a check to Nancy Lavender at the December meeting or mail both to:
Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild
PO Box 660723
Birmingham, Al 35266-072

It would be great to have all renewals by the first of January.

Member information form 2017


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?

Knitting at ArtPlay
   ArtPlay, located at 10th Ave. and 19th Street, will be offering a free knitting group on Thursday evenings from 6-8 beginning September 8.  Mary Kaiser will be moderating, and giving knitting instruction or help on an as-needed basis.  All are welcome.  We often talk about books while we knit, so please bring your recommendations!

Save the Date

Our holiday party will be December 10 at Jennifer Lackey's house. The board decided that this year our gift exchange would be along the lines of a stash buster.  Please bring  4 oz or more of whatever fiber you wish to give--enough for a small project.  We will play Dirty Santa so make your packages look interesting.  Also, bring a salad or dessert.  More info as the event gets closer.  Start looking through your stash.  Directions and address will be in December newsletter.


Proposed 2017 Officers
We, the Nominating Committee, respectfully submit the names for officers of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 2017:

President:  Jennifer lackey
Programs:  Jennifer Justiss
Workshops:  Shira Robinowich-Miller
Treasurer:  Nancy Lavender
Secretary:  Maddy McLendon
Social Media (Blog): Barbara Gower
Membership:  Janna Ford
Newsletter:  Deb Kattus
Past President:  Mary Kaiser

Thank you to all who have agreed to serve.

Karen Ford
Janice Weinstein
Elizabeth Young

New weaving study group!

We are finally set for a first weaving study group meeting.  It will be on second Thursdays, the first one being in November on the 10th at 6:00pm at Hoover Church of Christ.  Anyone interested in weaving is welcome to come.  Bring a project on a small loom, if you have one going.  That would include inkle, rigid heddle, card, backstrap, tapestry, even zoom looms.  Otherwise, just come ready to be inspired.  If you want  to be included in the reminder emails, let Kathryn Pitt know.  Or watch the new Weaving Study Group thread on Ravelry.

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

         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 hosting a tatting and crochet group at her home.  Please check the group discussion thread on Revelry for more information. 
  • Weaving study group: Second Thursday of the month at 6 pm at Hoover Church of Christ.  Contact Kathryn Pitt for details or check the weaving study group thread on Ravelry. 
  • 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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Band weaving with GBFG and Alabama Designer Craftsmen show this weekend!

It will be a good weekend for fiber enthusiasts in Birmingham (and sadly, I will be on a train to New Orleans).

Warming up for planned workshops with Laverne Waddington in the spring, the November meeting Saturday November 12 will be focused on band weaving, not only a wonderful skill to have in your fiber arsenal (it’s war people, we must continue to fight the machines!) but a wonderful way to start weaving if you have never tried.  Several of our members will be sharing the different forms of creating bands for use as straps of all kinds, embellishment to garments, or watch bands!  We’ll meet at our normal place and time, Hoover Church of Christ, 10am, come to the lower level steps on the front right side of the building.  The program will be first, followed by lunch and show-n-tell.   

If you have an inkle loom that you are no longer interested in owning and would like to find an excited new owner, this may be your chance!!  Please feel free to bring any loom that needs love to sell or give away at the meeting!

Bands woven by Mary Spanos

Also, the annual Alabama Designer Craftsmen show will be Saturday and Sunday at the Botanical Gardens. Guild members Barbara Mitchell, Ruth Truett, and Janice Weinstein will be showing their work. Former member Jenny Gorman will be coming back to Birmingham to participate.