Friday, October 20, 2017

Workshop Starts Today

Martina arrived yesterday and visited some of the beautiful sights of Charleston. 
And today, all of these supplies will be brought to the workshop. We are going to have a blast!
I'll try to post a few more pictures of our creative journey. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fiber Bowls, Vessels, or Trivets

We had a lot of creativity going on last Saturday during our general meeting of the PFA Guild. As you can see in the photos above, Pam is always got a smile on her face. She showed us 2 distinctively different ways to make 'fiber vessels'. During the discussion, that tends to happen during such activities, there were several ideas shared for embellishing the pieces that were being made. We all had a great time, if you missed it, you really missed a great hands-on learning experience. 

Just in case you'd like to check out an online tutorial on the process, Pam has shared this link:

We also had show and share time. Many things were displayed by several members. A sampling follows. Weaving special patterns is always of interest to the group. Michaela showed us several hats that she made for some kids that will appreciate them, once our weather cools down. 

Hope this finds you all staying cool and creative. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

August Preview

Here are two baskets/vessels. Pam will explain the techniques for these at our August 19th meeting. Hope you can attend. Guests and visitors are always welcomed at our meetings. 

She'll be doing a demo If you want to bring your sewing machine and threads, fibers, fabric strips, and clothesline feel free to do so. She'll help you get something started that you can finish later. If you have any questions please contact me and I'll try to get you an answer ASAP. 


Sunday, July 16, 2017

July Meeting and 2 Thank Yous

This was some of the lovely pieces seen at our June meeting. This past Saturday found us 
enjoying a wonderful presentation by Dawn Hortman Shaw, at the Fabulon Art Studio. She explained Primitive Rug Hooking, and what is meant by Prodded Hooking. We were a very 'engaged' group, as you can see in the next collage. She is quite knowledgeable, and willing to share that knowledge! 
A few of the beautiful rugs she brought to show us:
And we saw her equipment and supplies:

She demonstrated the 'prodding' technique for creating dimensional flowers. 

This was an excellent presentation and it kindled a few sparks and set a few new fires for this technique of rug making. Thanks, Dawn Hortman Shaw, for a very interesting afternoon. 

Pam and Renee have transferred ownership of this lovely spinning wheel and its accessories. Pam shared a sweet grass basket she is working on. We also chatted briefly about flower pounding and it's nuance of fading. Then she revealed her 'The Dress' art quilt. It was from a pattern by Laura Heine, but she did a lot of adaptations, so it became 'HER' party dress. (The quilt does have a head, but I think the quilt is sooo her, that this picture captures the essence). 
Along with a big Thank You to Dawn, we want to let Ron and Emily know how much their generosity was appreciated. Everyone that was at the meeting had an opportunity to check through some lovely items from the Kinzeys. Most everyone found items that would be welcomed into their creative life's collection. The items left were gathered together, taken to a member's home, sorted and have already been finding homes throughout our community. 

The reason I mention this is, if you are interested in 'trying out' a new fiber related technique, contact us, we may be able to put together a 'kit' for you to do that tryout with. 

Next meeting will be at Fabulon Studio on Wappoo Road in Charleston, SC. Third Saturday of August will be Pam showing us two unique methods of creating fabric bowls. See you then. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

June Meeting Review

Our meeting on Saturday was filled with sharing of our various Charity focused activities. They included Rip 'N Roll of Bandages, Knitted Knockers, Locks of Love, Homeless Veterans (this was a real eye opener).

Updates on each of the Study groups were given. We made note of the times and places. July and August meeting times for Second Saturday Spinners will be announced on the Facebook page.

July meeting will be at Fabulon on Wappoo Road. Dawn Hortman Shaw will give a demo on Primitive Rug Hooking. This is also called Proddy Hooking.
And here are some of our show and share items. 

Hope to see you all at one of the study group meetings and then at the July meeting.

Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 Year-End Holiday Party

Hooked Rug by Emily Kimzey
It's that time again -- and we're going to have a party. Let me just say right off the bat, that this is about the only thing we do all year that is open only to members -- but hey, we'd love to have YOU as a member.

On our regular meeting day in December we'll have a holiday party and pot luck* meal -- December 17 from 11:30 - 2:00 at the home of Kathy Brower. Bring a luncheon dish to share. Wear loose fitting clothes.

And here's the other fun thing we do -- it's a gift exchange. You don't have to participate if you don't want to, but if you do -- bring a wrapped, fiber-related gift ($15 - $20 range). We pile them in the middle of the room and all who want to participate will draw numbers. Number 1 chooses a gift and unwraps it. Everyone oohs and ahhs. Number 2 can now either choose a gift from the pile OR take Number 1's gift (You know you would like to have what #1 chose, or you can gamble on the unknown). It goes around with a few rules about how many times a gift can be "stolen" and it's all in fun. We've never had anyone go home mad. And one more thing -- you really don't have to participate in this if you don't want to -- it's as fun to watch as it is to play. Your choice.

This is a relaxing, fun time we give ourselves each year to just socialize and enjoy each other. Hope you can make it!
And many thanks to Kathy for inviting us to her house!

*For anyone who may not be native to the South and for whom "pot luck" is not self explanatory, you just bring a dish to share - 6 or 8 servings and you've done your part. It's lunch, so anything that you might ever eat for lunch can be on the menu. Hot dishes, something from the deli, traditional holiday dishes, sweets,--  bring it on! Plates, eating utensils, serving spoons, and beverages are provided. It's a pot luck because you just never know what you're going to get -- maybe 15 different pasta salads. Maybe 12 different desserts. (is that so bad?) Somehow though, it usually works out to be quite a variety, and more than enough, and you get to have as many servings as you want. It's a great way to have plenty of food for a large number of people without anyone having to do all the cooking.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Living to Dye -- Part 2 The Wonders of Cochineal

In June, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild continued our exploration of natural dye possibilities when Michaela McIntosh shared the history and properties of cochineal -- which typically produces a range of vibrant red - rusty orange/reds- brownish reds.

She brought along a mixed-up dye pot and we got to see the results of dipping different fibers in cochineal. While indigo comes from a plant that can be, and is, grown locally, cochineal comes from the dried bodies of insects (ee-ewe) native to South America. Today, Peru is the main source.

Here is how the dye is sold -- you can order it from Amazon!
A mesh bag of these pellets of the dried insect bodies are placed in hot water to make the dye bath.
There is a "recipe" for the amount of dye in an amount of water, and it was found that adding lime peel helped the dye take-up into the fiber. 
The story of cochineal's history is a page-turner that is hard to put down. It involves conquistadors,  money, power, subterfuge, international espionage, brutal murder, piracy, and controversy among the food safety people. Read on for the quick version:

Far back into history, Europe had access to a red fabric dye. But when Cortes invaded Mexico in the early 1500s his army found red fabric and paints far more vibrant and vivid than any they had seen before. They also discovered the source of that color -- the dried bodies of the cochineal -- an insect that lived on and was harvested from the pads of prickly pear cactus. Cortes took this wondrous stuff back to Spain and by 1600, cochineal was the country's 2nd most valuable import from Mexico. Only silver was more valuable.

Following the laws of scarcity, fabric dyed using cochineal was expensive; affordable only to the elite. Hence, red garments  - or even garments trimmed in red, were a sign of wealth and status. Think robes of Cardinals in the Catholic church, think flags, think garments for Kings and Queens. . .

Most Europeans thought the red dye came from a plant and because it was so valuable, Spain made sure the true source of the red dye was kept a secret -- to the point that many Mexicans who worked in the cochineal fields and knew how to produce the dye were murdered to prevent the secret from getting around. Other countries either had to buy cochineal from Spain, or steal it (this is where the pirates come in). Cochineal was a very profitable for Spain.

For years, other countries invested great effort to find out how to get their own cochineal, but these efforts were thwarted because they thought they were looking for a plant. After 300 year, in the early 1800s, French and Dutch adventurers figured things out and were successful in smuggling live cactus pads covered with insects out of Mexico.

So then cochineal production went international with cochineal ranches being established in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. Conditions proved to be ideal in the Canary Islands and in 1868, the Canaries exported 6 million pounds of cochineal.

In the late 1800s, just as things were booming, synthetic dyes became available and as a result, world-wide cochineal production plummeted. This created a major finalcial crisis in Spain as a huge, 250 year-old industry faded to almost nil within the span of a couple of decades.

Today, cochineal is produced primarily in Peru (where the Mexicans got it to begin with) and is used in medical tracers, artists' paints and microscopy stains. It is the only natural red food coloring approved by the FDA. Indeed, as food producers continue to switch back to natural colorings, more and more of what we eat and drink will probably be dyed with dead bugs. There are some people who are squeamish about that.

Fun Fact for travelers:  Cochineal can be found in side canyons of the Colorado River, appearing on prickly pear cactus heads inside match head size white fuzzballs. If you see this, mash one of those fuzzballs between your fingers -- a bright red ooze? Yep, that's cochineal.

If this quick romp through history has piqued your interest, find more at these two websites that elaborate on the details on the story:  The Bug That Changed History and Putting the Red in Redcoats

Back to current times and PFAG's experience with cochineal. Here is some 100% silk dyed with cochineal at Michaela's right after she brought this topic to our June meeting.