Thursday, December 16, 2010


The drum carder has been sold:)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I hope you are all looking forward to this month's meeting. In case you have misplaced your mailer:

The Burchfield Nature and Art Center
2001 Union Road
West Seneca, NY 14224

Feel free to arrive anytime after 12:29 and a meeting start time of 1:00. We do need to be out of the building no later than 3:30.

Don't forget your cookies (about two dozen) if you wish to participate in the swap with a take home container and your items for the Buffalo City Mission.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The History of Purple

I just stumbled across this while reading the winter Issue of Twist Collective and thought some of you would enjoy reading about the history of purple. See you next week at our new digs:)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

News Flash!

Check your mailbox! I have sent you a very important letter:)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Treat?

One of our members is selling her Fancy Kitty Fine Card Drum Carder with Brush. It has been used for a total of 1 1/2 hours. Pam is willing to accept $350 which is a real steal! Sen d me an e-mail for full contact information.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just a Bit of News

And for your listening pleasure...
One of the podcasts I enjoy is Fiber Beat produced by Wonder Mike. This week's episode was interview of Kathy Hattori of Earthhues on natural dyes. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 14: It's the Little Things That Count

On Sunday, November 14 Mary Ellen will lead a conversation on knitting projects from small amounts of yarn. Since conversations involve more than one, we are asking that you bring in projects for a Show and Tell of the items you have completed from your small amounts of yarn:) We hope you will be willing to share the fiber type, amount, and pattern source. Because you know knitters love to copy, er..., I mean be inspired by others.

This is also the month to bring in your alpaca samples. For those of you who have missed the last two meetings, Doreen provided those interested in 1 ounce bags of alpaca fiber. Each member was asked to prep the fleece and bring in their results. We hope you had fun and we can't wait to see your results. And I bet if you ask nicely, Doreen has a bit more hanging about if you want to join the party a bit late.

Liz will lead next week's meeting; she will be asking for your input on a few items...
Bonnie has been working on obtaining a big name for a summer workshop and we need your input. We need a solid commitment from the group so that Bonnie can continue her talks with the instructor.

The Nominating Committee (Doreen and Peter) will be presenting the names for the offices up for election. If you are interested in running for office, this is the time to put your name on the table.

We are looking for FLAX spinners for the January Roc Day meeting; please contact any officer if you are willing to demo:)

And last, but not least: There will be NO COFFEE at this month's meeting. Please provide your own beverage.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 10th Meeting

It's official! We will be contributing to the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society's first Harvest Fest! Please check the link for their admission fees and hours so that all your friends can see how you are spending your Sunday:)
Bonnie met with the Historical Society this week. There will be two tents outside overlooking the pond, flanking Abe Lincoln; one for just us! Please bring anything related to spinning or dyeing that is "kid friendly" as that is the focus of the event. There is an alternative area inside if it is too cold or rainy and where we are planning on setting up a craft area for the kids.
Members are being allowed to sell at this event: think woven scarves, hand spun yarn, fleece, kits with CD spindle and fleeced, knitted items, etc. Let your fibermagination be your guide:)
Let's help make this first Harvest Fest a success and spread the word!
Check your e-mail mid week for more specific details.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Message from Erica

If anyone is looking to adopt a rescued angora rabbit, there are several listed with a local small animal rescue called "Small Pets, Big Hearts." Their website is To see the angoras click on "New Arrivals and Adoptables." At the top of the page in the pull down menus under animals select "rabbit" and click "go."

These are the angoras that were rescued in Southern Ontario back in the spring.

As always, if you have questions about rabbit care or rabbit rescue, feel free to contact Erica Fire. My information is in the directory or just catch me at a meeting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meeting Follow-Up

What a nice way to begin the 'new' year! Seeing the samples from the dye workshops was truly inspiring - some of you actually came close to changing my mind about dying;)

For those of you unable to attend the meeting I wanted to follow up on some details to keep you in the loop...

Liz made available weld seeds from the dye garden. She and Kathy discussed the plants that they had harvested and what is still left to gather.

An e-mail with the contact numbers for Sue S. and volunteering at Knox Farm Fiber Festival was sent just prior to posting this entry; please look for it in your in box. Two hour shifts at the gates are still open. In addition, we would love to have someone set up a table with dye brochures, samples, etc.

The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society is holding its Harvest Festival on October 10 from 1-4. Tara is looking for someone to provide a family friendly display for natural dyes. The contact information is currently on our Ravelry group.

Many thanks to Liz W., Kim W. and Victoria M. for stepping up to fill the Program Chair position. Many hands make light work:)

We are in need of folks willing to serve on the NOMINATING Committee. One board member and two guild members need to put together a slate of names for our upcoming elections. We need to fill the position of secretary and president. If you are interested in running for an office, please let any current board member know and it will be passed along to the Nominating Committee once it is formed.

Doreen came up with an exciting challenge. Doreen has 1 ounce samples of alpaca that she has made available to the guild. She has asked that we each take one sample and see what we can do with it! Interested members in attendance this past Sunday took away their ounce and there will be more available at our next meeting. Everyone will then need to bring them to November's meeting and we will have a 'show and tell' Feel free to dye, ply or whatever catches your fancy!

Thanks to Pat H. for filling in as secretary for the day and to Nancy T. for the donation of the book!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 12, 2010 Meeting

I love September and the Yarn Harlot captured the 'New Year' feeling perfectly with her September 7th post. Like her, I associate September as a time to get back to normal routines leaving the lazy days of summer behind.
Liz Wells has collected seeds from the garden's weld plants; if anyone would care for some, please bring a container to the meeting.
We are in need of folks willing to demo natural dye techniques at Knox Farm Fiber Festival on September 25 AND on October 10 at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Harvest Festival. Let us know on Sunday and we will give you the contact information. Much of this information is already posted on Ravelry (Thanks Liz!).

This month's meeting is a 'Show and Tell' day. Members who attended the summer dye workshop openings will be asked to share their experiences and products. In addition, we would love to have members show off their summer projects.
After that, we will spend the afternoon spinning outside if the weather holds; otherwise, we shall head inside. Remember to leave the driveway open so that cars can easily move in and out for unloading.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Knox Farm Fiber Festival 2010

Alright folks, time to make a decision: are you attending as a volunteer or a festival groupie?
The Knox Farm Fiber Festival 2010 is being held on the grounds of the farm Saturday, September 25th, 10:00 - 4:00.
All area guilds are participating in one way or another and I know you don't want to be left out! Knox Farm is looking for DYE volunteers to set up a table and work with materials available on site: marigolds, black walnut, goldenrod, poke weed, etc. A solar box is available so that the dye baths can be prepped days ahead. Just add farm fleece or yarn along with some handouts and you will be ready to go. Volunteers would need to man the table and possibly give away snippets of yarn or fleece from the dye baths.
If you are interested, please contact drop a line to the guild e-mail listed on the sidebar!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's Here!

Erica found the link for the article posted in the Amherst Bee. I think Ms. Spencer did a nice job!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guild Survey

Greetings fellow spinners! Now that we have established by-laws and approved a budget, the board of our fledgling guild would like to spend more time with all of you, and less with paperwork. We want to know what you want out of the guild, and what you think about how things have been so far. Several of you have been able to share your opinions with board members directly, which is always welcome. Now we'd like to gather feedback from the entire group, so we've put together a short survey.

Please take a moment to answer both of the following surveys. They are 2 different surveys, so please take both. They are short and you'll see that there are several opportunities for free response. You can go back and change your answers up to the cut-off date of September 4th. They are completely anonymous. A few of the questions require a response, not because they are more important, but because it will screw up the percentages if not everyone answers!

Click here to take survey
Click here to take survey

After the survey closes, I will read through all the data and report back to the guild with the results. Won't it be interesting to see what everyone thinks?

Erica Fire
Guild Treasurer

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 8, 2010 Meeting...

This month's program is a flea market.

Gather any fiber related items you no longer love and clearly mark the asking price and if you are willing to trade on a tag of your choice.

Once you set up outside, spread your goodies in front of you on a cloth, rug, mat, or large piece of paper you have brought for this purpose. If we need to move the meeting inside because of rain, you will need to add your name to the item to facilitate the sale or trade of the goods.

Spend the afternoon spinning and shopping. What a great way to strike up some conversation with your fellow guild members!

Please check your e-mail from the guild president, it contains some very important information on our upcoming Board Meeting!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Hope to see most of you on Sunday for Sheep to Shawl at HFH&F!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thought for the Day

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Program for July 11, 2010

This month's program is called "Favorite Fiber Tool". I'm asking each of you to bring along your favorite fiber tool (expected or unexpected, traditional or re-purposed!). While we spin outdoors, weather permitting, I hope you demonstrate what you brought and we'll talk about them --unless we melt first!

See you Sunday!

Please remember that when spinning outdoors under the beautiful shade tree, we will need to bring our own chairs. In addition, the parking lots between the Victorian headquarters and the farm house, and behind the farm house will be dry! No need to park on the street this month.
Classes are still accepting registrants. Click here for more information.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Festivals for June and July...

And if that one isn't enough for you, Sandy from The Wool Room at Longmeadow Farm had this one for July as well.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Color Me Happy!

Many thanks to Donna and the other guild members who worked so hard to make our first guild dye day a success. While Phyllis gave us a lecture on the basics of natural dying, Donna was hard at work in the HFHF basement kitchen. After a soak in an alum and cream of tartar bath, the skeins hit a variety of onion skin baths: exhausted, average strength, and concentrated.

After removing the skeins from the onion bath, we then saw how different post-dye dips affected the color. Iron 'saddens' the color, ammonia intensifies and brightens, copper deepens the shades.

Hope to see all of you in July for Favorite Fiber Tools and spinning!

And if you have any interest in signing up for Carol and Debbie's workshop, please let Phyllis V. or Donna know ASAP! All money is due by June 25th.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Time for a Dye Job!

June 13, 1010 Program

Introduction to Natural Dyes:
Phyllis Vasbinder

Demonstration: Onion Skins with Various Modifiers plus
Lily of the Valley leaves on your donated skeins
Common Threads members:
Mary Fisher
Phyllis MacCameron
Pat Maciejewsk
Yvonne Maute
Bonnie Morrisey
Becky Swanson

Natural Dyes are one of the most interesting dye methods, especially for protein fabrics (wool and silk). Complicated? No...but, important things to know: a little horticulture, a little chemistry, a little creativity=virtually endless fun. Today's lecture will provide background and a beginning framework so you can continue basic natural dyeing on your own.

For those who want more, help out with the dyeing at Sheep to Shawl, or sign up for the Natural Dye Workshop (limit 10 members).

Interesting Links:
Natural Dyeing Information
Jenny Dean's Wild Colour
Wild Colours
Aurora Silk

A Dyer's Garden-Rita Buchanan
The Craft of Natural Dyeing-Jenny Dean

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Meeting and Beyond

Dear Group,

There was much interest expressed in doing some dyeing this summer. The ability to be outside, and the availability of plant dyes at this time of year, make this a lot more desirable and fun than at other times. As we are a spinning AND dyeing group the Program committee, along with great volunteers, is trying to make a workshop happen for both acid dyes and natural dyes. Because of space limitations and the amount of work required, each will be offered only one time this summer.

Diana Stewart, Doreen Kelly, Pat Hoffert and Bonnie Morrisey are working on an acid dye day August 29 (max around 10 participants) at Kelkenburg Farms. Fee t cover expenses yet to be determined.

This is an overwhelming amount of work, and for lots of personal reasons, no one in the guild is able to undertake teaching at this time. In order to offer an opportunity, however, I contacted the two dyers who did an OUTSTANDING workshop at the Weavers' Guild two years ago. They are preparing to teach at Rhinebeck in October but have agreed to tailor a workshop for what I thought would be a good introduction and fun. These dyes will make a huge variety of reds, yellows and blues, and therefore, all the colors you can conceive. Cutch gives sophisticated browns and tans (NOT like black walnut). These are also expensive dyes that will challenge us all from beginner to expert.

For additional savings and because it would be more interesting, I proposed that we carpool to their dyeing studio in Alfred (an hour and 45 minutes). If they come here, in addition to their time and expenses that we would have to pay, we would need to rent a space. Since they are offering to teach July 25, we need to seriously discuss this at the June meeting. So, below, the details.

The 1-day workshop would encompass processing and handling techniques on wool yarn and fleece, using cochineal, weld, madder, indigo and cutch, with variations in pre- and post-mordants, some top-dyeing and a full set of sample cards to accompany the handout with directions and other information. We will focus the day on a full spectrum of color and a black as well as any other combinations.

Each participant may bring up to 1/2 pound of pre-washed (pre-skeined if yarn) wool/alpaca/silk fiber for mordanting with alum, preferably pre-soaked.

Class size minimum - 6, maximum -10, dates July 25. The fee would be $100 per person plus a materials fee (covering handout, all samples, dyes, mordants, coffee/tea and am/pm snacks) to be decided, and a per-ounce charge for the additional mordanting. We can cater a lunch as well if you like.

We can start as early as 8:30 in the morning but I think it would be safe to schedule the session from 9 - 5. If neither of those July dates work, we'll have to look at another month - those are the only 2 days that both Debbie and I are free!

I REALLY REALLY need feedback soon, so please be prepared to seriously discuss this at the June meeting.

Donna Ball

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Speaking of Felt

If you missed our Mother's Day Spin In, you missed more than a day of fun! Check this out! This is a fully felted penguin done by one of our guild members. Amazing!
I hope you are getting excited for our June meeting on natural dyes...more to follow very soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Felt Retreat

Summer Felt Retreat
June 27 - July 3 2010
Finger Lakes Region
New openings for beginner felt makers June 30 - July 3
  • Felt Retreat at the "Odd Felters Hall" in Kellogsville, NY with instructors Polly Stirling, Sachiko Kotaka, Robin Blakney-Carlson and Cher Benda.
  • Bring your interest in fiber work and spend three days learning how to make this ancient non-woven cloth with a creative team of felt maker/tutors from many areas of expertise and talents.
  • While experienced participants will be working on their own projects in an "on call" mentored situation over 5 days and residing at the "Woodlot" locally, those new to the art of felt making will be guided into the process over a period of 3 days, exploring basic techniques of making both traditional felt - all wool fibers, and "nuno felt" which is felting into fabrics for added texture, drape and conglomerate transformations. Depending where your interest lies, you may progress to make a scarf, shoulder wrap, one piece shoulder bag, lap top pouch or whatever your imagination allows. Meet other felt makers and see the transformation of their creative projects.
  • Basic equipment will be provided and wool will be available for purchase at a nominal price. The cost of 3 days tuition with daily lunches is $300.
  • Opportunities will be plentiful for working with guidance on a personal level. As mentors, we hope to provide a table of artistic courage, technical advice, business experience, and nurturing support.
  • This opportunity to expand perspective and navigate new directions in your felt making with time to relax, eat and rest in our family's lakeside cabin set in the woods.
  • This is a very rare opportunity to work with a wide range of talented instructors, including two of my sisters. Please share with anyone creative you think may be interested. Although the Woodlot, our nearby family camp on Skaneateles Lake, will be full with 5 day participants, tent sites are available with dinner are available for $10.
Susan Blakney, Chief Conservator
AIC Fellow, IIC Fellow
West Lake Conservators Ltd.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's Up Doc?

The following message is from Erica:

There was some interest in angora rabbits back when I did a carding demo. I received the e-mail below from a rabbit rescue organization of which I am a member. There are over 100 angora rabbits being rescued in Canada right now, and they are in need of homes.

It is fairly rare to see angoras available for adoption, so if anyone was considering one this is a great opportunity. Anyone interested should read through all the great house rabbit care information at and if they've decided that they're ready for a house rabbit they can contact Shannon in MA directly with their interest.

If any of our members would like to speak to me in more detail about keeping house rabbits or keeping angoras, they are welcome to contact Erica by leaving a comment.

The Dye Garden is starting its group on Monday evenings, weather permitting, from 5pm to 8pm to work on the garden. Others are welcome and help is appreciated by any husbands, sons, etc. who might help with the initial preparation of the bed. A big thank you to Mary Jo Gadd for bringing plants back from Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gentle Reminder

Don't forget to bring your undyed skeins of any size to the meeting tomorrow! We need these for two upcoming events.

Our guild is only as strong as its members. If you have any ideas for activities or have skills you can share with the group, leave a comment or talk to Donna, or any of the board members. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Mother's Day to one and all:)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Whispering Pines Open House

From our member Jenn Johnson:

You are invited to attend our annual open house, which we are holding over Memorial Day Weekend. We will be open two days this year:

Saturday, May 29th from 10 - 4
Sunday, May 30th from 1 - 5

Come and meet the flock, watch the lamb races, have a slice of rhubarb pie and a cup of coffee!

I will have raw fleeces, fiber, yarn and knit items available for sale.

Check out our web site for other area attractions, we are close to Darien Lake, Iroquois Wildlife Preserve, Amish country, and the Niagara Wine Tour.

Hope to see you then!

Warmest Regards,
Jen and Rich Johnson
Whispering Pines Registered Shetland Sheep
9920 Chestnut Ridge Road
Middleport, NY 14105

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 9, 2010 Program Notes

There is no formal program, due to Mother's Day, attendance will be unpredictable. Instead we're planning a casual, get-to-know-each-other "Spin-in" with a twist of course! Bring your wheels and spindles. We'll set up outdoors if it's pleasant.
We hope you have been collecting your onion skins and undyed, orphan, handspun skeins to donate for the dyepot-tassel fundraiser! We hope to demo the many possibilities of onion skin dyeing next month on these skeins as prep for making tassels to sell at the Sheep to Shawl even in July at Hull Family Homestead & Farm.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Message from the President

Due to our limited space we are unable to accept new members at this time. If you are interested in joining Common Threads, you are welcome to submit a completed membership form. A waiting list will be established and members taken in the order received once space becomes available. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Raveloe Fiber Contact Information

If you are interested in signing up for one or both of the classes at Raveloe, just call Linda at
716-695-7464. The store is located at the corners of Schultz Road and Niagara Falls Blvd. in Wheatfield.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spinning Classes at Raveloe Fibers

The following classes are being offered at Raveloe Fibers owned by Linda C. one of guild members and is being taught by fellow member Margaret N.

Diameter Control and the Art of Plying
Sunday, May 2 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Bring a lunch!

You'll work on controlling your yarn--from very fine to fat and chunky. Spin for the project you want! And plying -- there's a bunch of ways. From multiple bobbins, a center-pull ball, navajo and andean plying. Materials will be provided, but you might also bring a bit of your own fiber to spin.

Please bring your wheel, lazy kate, and ideally three bobbins.
Price for the class is $45

Spinning 101 -- A Survey of Most Things Spinny
Sunday, June 6 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Bring a lunch!

Will cover parts of the wheel, mechanics, drafting, short draw, long draw, over the fold, and a bit of plying. Also woolen and worsted prep, and how to plan for your project. Materials will be provided, but you might want to bring a bit of your own fiber to spin.

Please bring your wheel, lazy kate, and ideally three bobbins.
Price for the class is $45

Friday, April 23, 2010


The library listings have been updated. Although I would love to have an active link with a lovely description of the book, I am not having as much luck as I had hoped. Please be sure to sign out any of our holdings with the guild librarian, Debbi Lesse.

And a very special thanks to Theresa Caufield for her very generous donations!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lost and Found

After today's meeting we found a bag of fiber from Fiber Fancy under one of the chairs set in the bay window. It is now safely stowed in our cupboard for you to pick up at the next meeting. If that is not soon enough, send me an e-mail and we shall see what we can do!

Hope you enjoyed the program!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 11 Program Notes

Our next program on April 11, 2010 will feature fleece preparation by combing. Please bring any combs you have, any diz or other tools you use. If you have top you prepared yourself that would be great to see.

I've also been asked to present hackling. While that is not a method of preparing washed fleece to spin, but rather more a method of blending prepared wool, it is similar enough to combing that we will cover if we have time. If you have a hackle please bring it!

Here are three interesting hackling links:

Hell Chick, Making Stuff

A fascinating DIY project from Yarn Zombie

Color Blending by Stitching for Sanity

And this one is blending taken to the extreme!

There is also LOTS of information in Color in Spinning by Deb Menz.

See you there!
Donna Ball
Program Chair

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mystery Request

Donna is in the midst of developing a program for the guild, but she needs some help with materials. Without giving anything away, she needs some Burda sewing patterns - the kind with the pattern pieces printed on blue paper. The envelopes and instruction page are not needed and the condition of the actual pattern is of no concern.

Hmmm.....this sounds very interesting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Wool?

Not really, but definitely a new direction for an old fiber. Check out March 22, 2010 Time Magazine article "Icebreaker a New Natural" and its discussion of a company in New Zealand doing some fascinating stuff with merino fleece.

Donna Ball

Program Chair

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Have A Library!

We have just received donations for our library! Based on the extremely limited number of items the terms of lending will be limited to members only for one month with NO renewals and an overdue fine of $5.00 per item per month. Members with overdue fines will not be allowed to borrow additional items.

Please see the guild librarian, Debbi Lesse, if you would like to borrow or donate items.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 14 Program Notes

Common Threads Spinning and Dyeing Guild

March 14, 2010, 1:00 - 4:00 pm Daylight Saving Time begins, don't forget to set your clocks ahead by one hour!

Continuing our theme of wool prep,l today we'll be picking and carding, both by hand and machine.

Donna will demonstrate what the picker is and how it works, as well as hand picking. Erica will giver her fabulous demonstration on hand carding both cotton and wool, making punis, cigar rolls and traditional rolags. Phyllis Vasbinder will give an introduction to the drum carder.

Each of these topic could be an entire program - we're just skimming the surface for those who have never worked with fleece, need a refresher on hand carding or are curious about the drum carder or picker. These techniques can also be used with purchased ready-to-spin fiber for many, many different color blending techniques.

Bring your carders, questions, problems, hints and tips!!!

Donna Ball
Program Chair

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Any Ideas?

This is a wheel I purchased about five years ago from a woman in her 70's. She told me it was used by her mother for as many years as she could remember. She believed the wheel was brought over from Germany and was typical of what the women in her city of Buffalo neighborhood used on their front porches during the after dinner hours of many summer evenings.

I just love the idea of the gals sitting on the front porch exchanging bits of gossip while keeping an eye on the children running from one front yard to another.
Could anyone tell me anything about this wheel? The wheel is a bit warped and chipped; I am not sure a drive band would even stay put.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Load of Wash

Donna found two more links to lighten your wash day!

From HJS Studios and another about grading fleece.

And I have been getting a sneak peek to the behind the scenes plans for our March program. I know you are going to be so excited! Please do not forget that we are meeting the SECOND Sunday of March - just 10 days away.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Women In the Arts

Liz Wells wanted to share this announcement with you about Women in the Arts.

Washing Demo

Jen sent us photos of the washing process she uses for her fleece. She thinks she started with about a 3-4 pound fleece and will weigh it again after drying and then carding.

The first picture is the belly wool and the skirtings from around the britch and at the bottom of the legs which will go into the mulch pile.

Here Jen is gently pushing the bag of wool into the hot, soapy water with a wok stirrer working slowly and gently.

The wool is now fully submerged. Over the next 15 minute or so soak, it will float to the top. At that point, Jen will usually flip it over.

Here is the wet fiber just pulled from the soak, the water has drained from the tub and she lets it sit for a few minutes on the rack that came with her dryer until it stops dripping. She then repeats the whole thing; this fleece she soap soaked three times, and rinsed it three times.

This is some of the dirty nastiness at the bottom of the sink, which rinses away.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Sale

One of our members, Pat Hoffert, has a gently loved Bosworth Journey wheel for sale. It is a single treadle, solid cherry wood with a carrying case. The wheel includes 3 bobbins and a built in lazy kate. She is asking $900, but will consider trades for other types of spinning wheels. Leave your name in the comment section and I will private message you Pat's contact information.

Since we are on the subject, I am selling a 32" 10 dent Kromski rigid heddle loom, Kromski stand, The Ashford book of Heddle Weaving, 3/4 lb. of 4/4 navy cotton, 2 spools of 8/4 red and navy cotton, a significant stash of rigid heddle patterns and a few magazines. This total package is worth $378. I am willing to part with this 'warped but once' beauty for $300 or best offer. I just never fell in love with it. Contact me by leaving a comment and we will talk. I will deliver it to the next guild meeting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

This is the Way We Wash the Sheep...

And I complain about prepping one fleece? Imagine taking care of an entire flock!

Donna found this great post on washing raw fleece that she wanted to pass along. Follow that post with more information from "Ask the Bellwether" about removing twigs and hay from clean fleece.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skirting the Issue

Donna has sent us another short link on skirting a fleece. I certainly hope you are learning as much as I am!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Finer Aspects of Fleece

Jen has sent two documents that she will be referring to in her presentation on Sunday.

First, a chart on micron count; and second, "How Fine is a Shetland?"

Again, let me know if you have any difficulty opening the links.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Peek at Rare Breeds

This is a very interesting UK article about rare breeds. It opens as a Word Document so don't be alarmed when it asks you to open the article. Please be assured we practice safe computing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spinning Jenny has a great blog post Donna would like to share with all of you. Please scroll down a distance (after the lovely picture of the bat, yes bat, and Jenny with her tub of potatoes) and you will be in for a wealth of information.

Happy Reading!

By the way, Donna has asked that you feel free to bring in a samples of problematic fleece or questions for the program.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Skirting a Fleece

Our Program Chair, Donna Ball, will be sending us a series of articles and links this week in preparation for Sunday's meeting. We will start with some program notes and then links directly related to our program.

In an effort to keep a "green guild" the following will serve as our program notes; there will be no handouts the day of the program. If you need hard copies, please let one of the board members know and we will be happy to print them for you.

Why start with a fleece? Because you can control every aspect of its prep. You can get EXACTLY what you need to make the yarn you want.

Jenn will provide an explanation of why all fleeces are not alike, how and why we have different breeds and therefore different types of fleeces. She will also lead a discussion on how environment and deliberate breeding lead to specific characteristics with some discussion on rare breeds.

From there we will discuss the main categories of fleeces including fine, down, long/"strong", dual coated and others such as karakul and churro.

We will learn about what makes a good fleece. Jenn will lead us in a discussion of choosing a fleece based on project choice, staple length, and quality (breaks, felting, and weak areas). We will learn how age, sex and weight for the particular breed impact individual fleeces.

The presentation will also discuss the connection between fleece quality and breeding, pasture control, feeding practices and shearing.

We will finish with a discussion of skirting and washing of the fleeces. Please enjoy this and this and this on the topic!

Check back tomorrow for more articles and links!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First You Catch a Sheep!

Remember the old rejoinder: "How do you make chicken soup? First, you catch a chicken"?

Spinning is like that, too. First you catch the sheep!

Our program presenter is Jen Johnson of Whispering Pines Farm who raises Shetlands. She will discuss how breeding, care practices, feeding, and shearing affect your yarn. Starting with a fleece, she will cover analyzing the fleece you are considering buying, skirting, separating for purpose and quality, and washing.

Jen is requesting that we pitch in with questions and personal experience. Bring everything you know or have questioned, problems, tips or tricks, as well as any books, articles or equipment that you have found useful.

For the rest of the afternoon - vendors, social time and spin-in. See you February 21, 2010 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

And We're Off!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make our first meeting such a success! We signed up 30 members and had an additional five to ten people in attendance. If you missed the program or just want to review the highlights, check out Mary Ellen's post.

The Ravelry group is already up and running! Thanks to our moderators Fiber Fancy and Critter Ranch.

If you have a web site or blog, please pass it along to me so that I may post it on our sideboard for all to see.

Parking was indeed a challenge yesterday, but thank you for being so co-operative. The guild has been assured that street parking is allowed. If we have a meeting on a very snowy day, plows will be a serious consideration. For our next meeting, please pull into the circle, drop off your wheel and supplies on the porch and then move your car to an appropriate parking space. Ideally, we would like to leave the spots at the house for those with physical limitations.

By next month we are anticipating that all the tables, chairs, display, and storage units from the Tea Room will have been cleared. This will leave us with a much nicer space. Again, thank you for being so understanding of space limitations for this first month.

Please check back before the next meeting for an update on next month's program.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And Now a Message from Our Program Chair

January 17, 2010 Program:

Spindle spinning seems to be a contentious subject. Spinners love 'em or hate 'em. Few are indifferent. Maybe you feel the magic, maybe you laugh at the "waste of time". Today we attempt to crack the mystery and feel the love!

Bring all your spindles! We'll share what we know about them - and don't know. Try out each others' spindles, talk about the nice and squeal on the not-so-nice. Weigh them on a digital scale. Assess why all spindles are not created equal. Help each other out with technique, share best tips and horror stories. Maybe you'll like spindling more. Maybe not.

BUT, PLEASE NOTE: There can be no burning of spindles during this meeting. Nor can they be used to start the fireplaces. Hopefully, you won't want to. However, spindle selling and trading is certainly allowed and encouraged.

Speaking of selling and trading, an ISO (In Search of...Buyer, Trader, Adoptive Mother) Table will be a meeting staple. Bring anything spinning, dyeing, fiber related you have that is for sale, trade, or just in need of a new home. This might be an unfinished project you want someone to "relieve" you of. Maybe the yarn is good and you just feel too guilty to give it to the Salvation Army. Maybe an unused needlework kit that's worth a few dollars. A sweater that doesn't fit, a hat (who knew it would be so ugly?). Books you want to trade, a spinning wheel you outgrew and now want to sell. Beads, buttons, embroidery thread to sell or give away. Think of it as a way to relieve your guilt, pass on a white elephant, or make a few dollars.