Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jen wins the blue (and a few more) at Maryland Sheep and Wool!

We all knew that the Loom in the Loft was magic (along with its owner and very talented artist, our esteemed Prez, Jen Lackey).

Jen's coverlet won multiple ribbons at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, 2017, including the GRAND PRIZE.  For text and photos, check out post #233 on the Ravelry blog.  This link will get you close:

Jen, fess up: was it the can of industrial sized green beans that did the trick?

Calendar changes for the summer

Guild members:  

Please note the following changes to study group dates, time, and locations.

  • Spinning Study will meet June 1, July 6, and August 3 from 6:30-9, at St. Peter Catholic Church, 2061 Patton Chapel Rd, Birmingham, AL 35216 
  • Weaving Study will meet June 1, July 6, and August 3 from 6-7:30 at the St. Peter Catholic Church, 2061 Patton Chapel Rd, Birmingham, AL 35216 

Monday, May 15, 2017

GBFG CUSTOM colorway ("Sloss Furnace") now available for pre-order!

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and voted  on our guild's custom colorway from Three Waters Farm.  The winner was "Sloss Furnace" a lively mix of brights (oranges, reds), darks (blues, purple), and a beautiful rose shade.  It is drop dead gorgeous, and available in four fiber options: BFL, Finn, BFL/silk, and Polwarth/Silk, that can be used for spinning or felting.  Prices range from $19.95 to $24.95 for 4 oz.  Don't be left out; you will want this.  Order now.  Please see link below.

Monday, May 8, 2017

GBFG May 2017 Newsletter


Newsletter of the Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild 


                      President’s Corner   

Sixteen consecutive years and counting that I have attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and barring unforeseen incidents, I hope to make it seventeen this May!  I can’t wait to hear the little lambs baaing in the barns, see the beautiful entries in the skein and garment competition, and, most of all, to just be outside in the beautiful Spring weather with amazing fiber-y activity all around me.  This month the Guild has some activities designed to get you outside enjoying the weather and the fiber arts too.  We have our Alabama Chanin road trip on May 12th and our annual May picnic on May 13th.  Hope everyone can come out to join us for one or both, but wherever you venture this month, old favorite festivals or brand new adventures, take your handcrafts with you!!

May Means It's Picnic Time
May 13, 2017

We will gather this year at the home of Mary Elaine Harris in Leeds on Saturday May 13 at 11:00.  The guild will supply brats for the grill.  Please bring a side, salad or dessert to share, something to drink and a chair.    We will have indigo dye pots again this year, so bring something to add to the pot.  Your items need to be pre-washed and thoroughly rinsed.   Also bring a mesh bag such as the ones that  oranges or onions come in with your name on it since things tend to get mixed up or lost in the bottom of the pot and a plastic bag for carrying home wet stuff.  Look for email with address. 

Upcoming Visit to Al Chanin

We will be leaving the church parking lot around 8 am Fri 5/12 and will be caravanning. It is about a 2 hr drive. Once there we will have a tour of their facility, lunch and a workshop. The workshop will be a journal cover.  If you want to go & do the tour and lunch it is $15. If you’d like to do the workshop too then the fee is $100. We will be getting home late that evening so you may want to bring some money just in case we stop for some dinner on the way home.
 Contact Shira  via email for further questions.


Homewood Library Show
We will again be displaying our different fiber arts at the Homewood Library in September.  Please begin to think about what you would want to enter or get busy making something for the show. Because we have so many talented artists in the guild, it is inspiring to see what people submit.

GBFG on Ravelry
Two activities are coming up on our Ravelry group in the next few months.  There will be a Weave-along starting mid-May.  At the moment, we're gathering ideas in the Weavers Anonymous thread.  Once we know what we're doing, a new thread for the Weave-along will be created.  And on July 1, Tour de Fleece 2017 begins.  Watch for our "rules" (hah!) and timetables.  Start thinking about what you want to spin.  (The colorway that Mary Ann of Three Waters Farm is creating for our Guild should be ready in plenty of time.  Just a thought.)

Advice from LLewelyn
Orange? Snowflakes!

Last summer (2016) as I paged through Pinterest and Ravelry images of patterns and ideas, I cast my eyes upon a lovely knitted snowflake pattern. I picked up the closest yarn at hand which happened to be an orange cotton from a dishcloth I had finished. The right size needles just happened to be in arms' reach and I pulled up the pattern and started knitting away to see if I liked it. 
It was supposed to be a swatch. But it took some progress before I understood the architecture of how it formed so when I finished the first attempt, I 'got it' but was not pleased with the outcome from several mistakes.  Since there was plenty of yarn left, I just started knitting a second one that turned out much better (still some mistakes).

But... I never knitted another one ( at least so far). So during the holidays gone by, my snowflake sat on the ironing board where it had been blocked. It doesn't feel like winter. It doesn't feel like summer. Maybe its a bookmark... for a really big book, or a large coaster.

Lesson learned: When swatching, use a color/yarn you would actually like to see the finished article completed in! It may be the only time you make it!

Thought I would share the pattern link.


Wow, there IS something new under the sun!
This article has been abbreviated. To read the full text of this article, go to: About Us; Taproot Video
This past February, a new experiment was launched in the hand-crafting world; a website which offers online instructional videos on traditional skills. Seen that already, you say? Au contraire! 
Every other online craft instruction site uses the corporate model. “TRV is a digital education outlet that is run by folk art and craft educators, not corporations,” says instructor John Mullarkey. 
This new endeavor, named Taproot Video, is a co-operative of instructors from across the world. Founded by instructors, it is managed by instructors, and benefits instructors and students alike. The co-op members film the classes that they have been offering at national conferences which they have taught and honed to excellence. And being solely in control of the quality of the video class, the instructors can proudly put their name (indeed their reputation) on the DVD or streamed class. 
The name ‘Taproot’ honors this rich folk tradition history; as a plant’s taproot drills deep into the earth for nourishment and life-giving water, so folk traditions provide us with essential elements from the deep history, grounding us in the chaotic, frantic modern world. “I feel that Taproot is on the right track by making it a co-op of like-minded artists who have a passion to see that folk lore skills are preserved,” says Joan Ruane, nationally acclaimed cotton spinning instructor. 
The most exciting aspect of this new co-op is the chance it offers to build community, so important in our divisive world today. “It feels like being on Taproot will be more than a thumbnail among others on a web page with a price tag attached.” says Laverne Waddington, international expert on backstrap weaving techniques. “It will be about being part of a community...a connection between teachers as well as between our students....all of us creating together as artisans, rather than as vendors and customers.”
“I'm really excited about this project and its potential,” says John Marshall, who is planning to film (for posterity) the traditional Japanese textile techniques he has developed over a lifetime. “But even more important to me is to simply make sure that the information is shared in a Western context that may be digested by Western mind set.”
It seems that video and streaming are more popular as millennials replace older students. Online streaming will never replace in-person instruction, but the benefits of filming are clear. Carol James, instructor of sprang and re-creator of George Washington’s sash, says “Everyone gets a front-row view of the technique.”
Kris Leet, historian of Tablet Weaving, says “Much of my work has centered around the necessity of documenting and sharing what is known from the past before it disappears.” Marilyn  Romatka agrees. “I love teaching the attendees at the national conferences, but my heart truly lies with high schooler and middle schoolers. This is how we pass on the skills – get them into the hands of the next generation!”
As Kris Leet puts it, “I prefer to work within a community of artisans, where each artisan is inspired and encouraged by the community, where we learn from each other, not just a craft but how to be better teachers. Taproot is becoming that kind of community and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Membership Dues Renewal
Several members have not renewed their memberships for 2017.    Dues for 2017 will be $25. You may now pay using PayPal. 
Use  this link or use our gmail account

 If you prefer to pay by check, please give to Nancy Lavender or mail to :
Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild
PO Box 660723
Birmingham, Al 35266-072

Also, please fill out the following application:


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?

How not to miss out on guild news:
    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! Janna 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

We would love to have some information on what each of these groups is presently pursuing.  Please email me ( with anything you would like posted.
  • 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.  Email:

The Guild on the Web

Between newsletters and meetings, keep up with the guild on the web at:


Newsletter News...
Each month, we would like to have news from you to share with all of us.  If you have a favorite blog, website, book, etc that you would like for us to feature, please 
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, 10:00-2:00 (no meeting in July). Visitors are welcome.  The Guild offers programs almost monthly, focused workshops several times a year, and equipment rental (see below). 
 2017 Officers and Board 

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



Guild Picnic on Saturday

Hello all!!

Don't forget our Guild Picnic this Saturday, May 13th @11am.  The address is

6010 Bluebird Lane
Leeds, AL 35094

Mary Elaine is our lovely host and she says it's easy to find and there's plenty of parking!

Please bring a side, salad, or dessert to share, something to drink and a CHAIR!!  Don't forget, we'll also be doing Indigo dying, so bring something to put on the dye vat!!