Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Potluck

Sunday December 11

Time for our Annual Holiday Potluck! Bring a dish, and if you're so inclined, a plate and utensils. We will have open spin and show & tell, too. If you have made some toys for our outreach, please bring those too.

We have a yoga instructor lined up for Roc Days!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Is it wool? cotton? rayon? silk? nylon?

The Mystery Fiber. 
Sunday, November 9

"I'm not sure what it is, but I real-l-l-ly liked it!" We find a great deal, love the color, lose the tag. We want to know what we have. One simple, economical, and fairly accurate way to determine fiber content is with a Burn Test.

Daryl (rhymes with Carl) from Daft Dames Handcrafts will show us how to identify our mystery fibers. Each fiber has a distinctive flame, burn and/or ash.  She will help us tell the differences between them. I've seen her give this talk before and it's very informative. Feel free to bring in your own mystery fibers and see if we can identify it.

Daft Dames Handcrafts Stocks all sorts of fibers, geared primarily to weavers, but much of what they stock can be used for knitting. They also have various rovings for sale, as well as spinning wheels, looms, and books. The coned yarns are very reasonable, with a selection that you would never find at your LYS. 

They are located at 
  • 13384 Main Rd (Rt. 5)
  • Akron, New York 14001
  • (716) 542-4235
No Website.

December meeting is our annual holiday party pot luck, open spin, and show and tell.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Man-Made Fibers with Erica

As spinners, we work with lots of natural fibers, and may think of "synthetic" as a dirty word, but did you know there is a third fiber  category?  Man made fibers come from a single source in nature, like corn or bamboo, but go through both physical and chemical processes to become a spinnable fiber. Some of these fibers are brand new, but the first was created in the nineteenth century.  Erica Fire will talk about six man made fibers:  rayon, bamboo, ingeo, soy silk, milk silk (or silk latte), and seaCell.  She'll discuss their history, what they're made of, how they're made and also some of their "green" claims.  If you have made anything from one of these fibers, please bring it in to show as part of show and tell.  Please feel free to bring spinning or anything else you'd like to work on during the talk.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eco Dyeing #2 Sunday 9/14

The silk scarves are in, those who purchased them will get an email as to how much they are. A few revisions for what to bring this Sunday as far as plant material. Bring fresh plant material, don't press the leaves (sorry if you've already done this) but fresher seems to work better. If leaves curl, soaking them in water or vinegar (I will bring vinegar) for a few minutes flattens them out again. If you pick a day or two beforehand, put plant material in a bucket with some water, as you would a bouquet of flowers. Where I'm not sure about this, leaves that are just turning may give of more color.

Metal can be encouraged to rust by soaking it in vinegar, and you can patina copper this way. Put vinegar in a jar, and add the metal, let it sit for a few days, give it a shake periodically. Use separate jars for each metal. Remaining vinegar bath can then be used as an after mordant when dyeing with natural dyes. I would recommend small pieces of metal like washers, pennies, flexible wire. Chicken wire can give a nice effect if it's rolled up either with the scarf or around the scarf, try spraying some vinegar on it to encourage it to rust.

Image above: red/pink–sumac berries, purple–elderberries (I will bring some of these), leaf in upper right–purple beech, bright green in lower left–sumac leaves.

Please check back here Saturday in case there are any last minute additions.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Eco-dyeing Sunday September 14

If you’re planning on doing the eco dyeing Sunday Sept 14 and want me to order silk scarves I need to know soon. I will be ordering Tuesday 9/2 evening. 11x60 are $3.79, 14x72 are $4.95, plus shipping and maybe tax. I’ve heard from are Bonnie C, Bonnie M, Megan, Amanda, Petra, Joann and Kathy R. Email me directly You can bring your own cotton, rayon or linen, you will need to mordant it.
Mordanting cellulose fibers (cotton, linen, rayon): 
1 pound–Pre-wash fabric before mordanting! 
2 tspn alum (spice aisle or Hyatt’s) 
1 tspn washing soda (grocery store-laundry) 
Dissolve each separately in cup of hot water and add to 
2 gallons of water 
Add cloth and simmer for one hour. Let sit overnight, spin out excess water. Can dry or use damp.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Longmeadow Farm NEXT SUNDAY, July 20 1-4 pm

photo by Sandy Long

This is a friendly reminder that our next guild meeting is NOT tomorrow! We are meeting NEXT SUNDAY, July 20 from 1-4 pm at Sandy Long's farm: Longmeadow Farm, 11110 Sandbank Rd., Freedom, NY 14065.

Immediately following the meeting, we'll have a board meeting at the Tim Hortons in Arcade.

Also, for those of you that joined us at the SPCA and haven't yet gotten your plied yarn to me, could you please bring it to the meeting, or catch up with me to arrange a drop off?

Also, Mary Fisher and Doreen Kelly are having an exhibit called Works In Fiber at the Burchfield Nature and Art Center from August 3 to August 31, 2014  It's an exhibit of two and three dimensional expressions of art, blending mixed media with natural fibers. A free public reception will be on Friday August 8th from 7-9:00 pm. For more information or to request a postcard, contact Mary Fisher at or Doreen Kelly at  

Hope to see many of you at the meeting next week!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sue's Open House!    6/21 & 22

Rumor has it there will be cria's, and the hens are laying again, fresh eggs!

Sue Phillips
The Critter Ranch Llama Farm
& WNY Llama & Alpaca Rescue Group
ALSA Halter & ROM Champions
  Angel's Baby Doll & BHLF Erick Liddell
National Top 10 POD 2004 ALSA Champion & ROM POD  Payton's Angel
Rescue ,Shearing, Boarding, Breeding,
Visit our online stores & Blog at

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Building a Solar Oven, 
Plus Open Spin,  Show & Tell
June 8

For those of you who signed up, we are building a solar oven for dyeing. This shouldn't take too long, so bring your wheels, the rest of the meeting will be an open spin. We should have time for a show and tell for any of you wishing to do so.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day! May 11

I hope you all have a great Mother's Day!

We have open spin this month, so come sit back and relax!

We can do a show and tell if you would like to bring something.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Needle Felting with Mary F.

Mary will be demonstrating how to needle felt and then there will be a chance  to try it on your own. Bring wool or roving in colors suitable for your project. You can either bring your own needle felting tools or purchase some from Jeanne from Thistle Creek Alpaca.  You need to let her know ASAP, so she has time to put the kits together.

From Mary:  Hello Common Threads members,

It was so nice to see a few Common Threads members at the Ugly Duckling performance today, Sunday. For those who missed it, I will bring a few of the characters to the meeting as samples of 3-D wool sculpting. The songs and action portion will be hard to reproduce there but maybe you will catch a performance at some later date.

You will need a few items if you are interested in participating in the process that I will be demonstrating at the April meeting, such as:
  • a dense foam pad( cushion foam works well or a fine auto washing sponge works too. What ever you use should be at least 2" thick 
  • felting needles of one or more sizes
  • clean odds and ends carded wool fleece in of  a variety of colors -  coarse wools work best but any will do- I like to use a natural wool for the base then lay the colors over it for the finished product
  • a picture of an animal or object that you may want to create a resemblance of or just wing it from memory. More of Mary's pieces, little birds and big bird.

Or order a kit from Jeanne M. Here's what she sent to me for you all to take advantage of.
  • Foam/3 needles in a gallon freezer bag will be the best value for the group.  
  • They can choose whether to put it in a box or not. 
  • Dyed alpaca fiber available for those who are interested.  
  • Kits will be $10 or less. 
  • Fiber can be bought seperately.
There are enough needles to make 20-30 kits. Also, needles can be packaged separately.  The amount of additional needles will be dependent upon how many kits we need. 

Contact me via email. Thistlecreekalpaca@gmail.comI accept payment via Paypal or pay  me at the meeting.  


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3rd Annual Auction

March 9, 2014

The meeting is our 3rd Annual Chinese Auction! This is another reminder to bring treasures that you'd like to pass along to your fellow spinners. Items that were brought in the past include: yarn, fiber, fiber/dyeing/weaving tools, decorations, candles, wine, books (any kind), etc. Time to let go of those perfectly good projects and purchases that you thought you would be happy with, but didn't quite work out that way.

Thanks to all of you, these auctions have been successful and have stabilized our finances. And we get to go away with cool stuff!!

Tickets will be sold at the meeting. Please also note that due to sales tax limitations, this is a member's-only event. You must be a member in good standing to participate in the auction. 

I was hoping to show you some snow (ice) dyeing I did, but my pictures won't download for some reason. If you like surprises, this is a lot of fun. Here is a link, I used snow instead of ice, you can use liquid or powder acid dyes, and I let mine drain. And another. I dyed roving, silk hankies and silk scarves which I soaked in water and vinegar (or citric acid). Use maybe 3" of snow, otherwise it may take forever to melt. So when life gives you too much snow…dye!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No Batts are Bad…Just Misunderstood!

Sunday February 9, 2014

Have you ever looked at a beautiful batt and wondered what kind of yarn it would make? 

Have you ever purchased a batt, started spinning and were surprised at the results?

Our own Amanda from Willow Glen Farm will discuss various types of batts and what kinds of yarn they can (or can't) produce. This is a HUGE topic that can be affected by add-ins, equipment used and a batt-maker's style (just to name a few!), so this month's discussion will be a broad overview with some examples to discuss. Basically, she wants to get everyone thinking about what goes into batt making in order to make better-informed purchases. If you have a particularly beautiful/interesting/frustrating batt (that you've made, or that you've purchased), please feel free to bring it in to share. No batts are bad, just misunderstood.

Don't forget!

March's program will be our annual Chinese auction, and we're currently seeking donations. Anything in good working order that you feel a fellow spinner would enjoy is encouraged. Past items have included: fiber, fleece, yarn, spinning tools, sheep/spinning decor, candles, wine. Tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event. Members only meeting.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Roc Day: Try Spinning This! 
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone!

Running out of fiber?! Here are some other things to try your hand at. Bring what you can, and anything else you can think of to spin. Suggestions:

Newspaper, don’t forget the comics and ads for some color
Pattern paper (This will be supplied, there is plenty)
wrapping paper
tissue paper
Easter straw
Plastic bags
Japanese paper
Thread and/or fine yarns to ply with

Shred or cut papers in direction they tear most easily.
Water spray bottles to lightly mist paper, a towel to wrap them in.
Scissors, rotary cutter, straight edge, cutting boards.


Newspaper, pattern paper, magazines and wrapping paper: to spin with one strip, it should be aprox. ¾” –  1 ¼” wide, depending on how heavy you want the yarn.  Twist an end and add that to your leader. Begin spinning to add twist. When there is about 3” left, overlap ends and continue spinning, and so on. Misting paper very lightly may help.

You might also try cutting thinner strips with the paper shredder and try spinning it more like roving.

Plastic bags can be cut in strips ½” – 1”+. Cut off bottoms and tops of bags and discard them. Cut strips across bag so you have loops of plastic. Put your hand through a bunch of these loops, pull one off at a time and chain them together until you have desired length, and spin. Ply if desired, either with itself or with another material. I would use the thinner strips if you plan to ply it with itself. You can try shredding the plastic and feeding that like roving, too. 

Fabric can be cut in thin strips, Easter basket straw and tinsel–try spinning it like roving. Mix things together.

Japanese paper: If you would like to try this, washi paper, made from bark, is recommended. I believe it can be bought locally at Hyatt’s, craft store may carry it, too. Rather thin strips can be cut, links on how to do this can be found in files in the guild’s ravelry group. This process is rather complicated, but I think it could be somewhat simplified if anyone would like to try using this type of paper.

As it turns out, I am unable to join you for this. Amanda has graciously agreed to run the meeting. Hope you all have fun, wish I could be there. Liz