Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happy New Year -- Out with the Old, In with the New

January's program at Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild helped everyone with their resolutions to de-clutter their lives and their art/craft studios.

A fiber swap is the ultimate "one person's trash is another person's treasure" event -- so that's what we did. In the end, we might not have less "stuff" but hopefully we all went home with more of the "right" "stuff".

It would be interesting to see what a color theorist would do with this selection of odds and ends.

Betty says she has a great idea for this piece of fabric.
Michaela is pleased to find this nice skein of variegated wool.
Otherwise our year is off to a really good start. The new board members are already putting things in place for the coming months (see several months of programs already posted in the right hand column under "What's Coming Up")

It's membership renewal time. If you haven't taken care of this, please send a check for $30 made out to Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild (PFAG) to P O Box 31341, Charleston, SC  29417. We'd like to get our roster out early this year -- and plans are underway for a Member Handbook -- so you definitely want to be on the active list!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Holiday Pot-Luck Brunch

In December, the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild gathered at Michaela's house for what has become an annual  holiday pot-luck brunch and a fiber-related gift exchange. What a fun time, and good reminder of how comfortable we are in each other's company. We really like each other! I'm going to trust that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

Clockwise from top right: Natalie and Malena crocheting away to make holiday gift deadlines. Beth, Maria, and Peggy. Gathered in the kitchen; Kathy, Luann, Beth, Cindy, and Nancy. Sonia received hand-dyed fabric. Ashley and Corinne in red.

Clockwise from top right: Corinne holds a lovely beaded bracelet made by Nancy. Beth, Maria, and Peggy watch to see what Luann is opening. Natalie, Corinne, Malena, and Beth -- with everyone's contributions, lunch was delicious! The last picture is a detail of Becky's new dress -- felted and embellished and made by Margo Duke -- stunning!

 Clockwise from top right:  Kathy, Michaela, and Luann. A precious antique doll given new life by Becky. Beth holds the gift she received -- gorgeous sock yarn hand-dyed by Natalie (while totally serendipitous as these gift exchanges are - this is a perfect match of gift and recipient!)

As the above picture reminds us, we owe our 2015 board, led by Beth Parrott and including Peggy Pye, Ashley Schifano, Sandy Hutchinson, and Maria-Louisa Gullick deep appreciation for providing leadership for us this year.

At our November meeting, we elected a new board for 2016. Our guild has grown in membership and our upcoming 2016 board combines a really good balance of experienced and new members. We can't miss having another grand year.

2016 Officers
President - Kathy Brower
1st Vice President - Sonia Mccutcheon
2nd Vice President - Luann Fischer
Secretary - Laura Burcin
Treasurer - Ashley Schifano
Members-at-Large - Corinne Appleton and Kathy Truluck 

Happy New Year to All of Us.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

3rd Annual Lowcountry Fiber Fair

The folks at the Colleton Museum & Farmers' Market in Walterboro, hosted another great fiber festival on Oct. 17. Many Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild members attended to demonstrate, promote our guild, teach, and or just to check out all that was going on. Jill Chadwick and Gary Brightwell with the museum and farmers' market were very welcoming to us (they even provided lunch for us), the space was great, and the weather was gorgeous!

Other vendors were the regular farmers' market vendors with all the local fall vegetables, a shrimp truck, sellers of home cooked treats, and lots of knitters, crocheters, seamstresses, wood turners, jewelers, and spinners.
A gentleman across the way was going to town with this round knitting loom. He said he was making hats because "winter is coming!"
Our booth was between the Summerville Knitters Guild and a couple from Beaufort who used to raise alpaca in Vermont. They have retired to better weather and occasionally go to fiber festivals to sell their remaining inventory of mostly mill-spun alpaca skeins in the full range of natural colors from white and cream to browns and greys and blacks.
Alpaca skeins from the former Coyote Creek Farm. This particular alpaca was named Adano and his coat yielded this subtly shaded, light fawn, 3-ply.
Kathy Brower brought her large rigid heddle loom and spent the day weaving a plain weave with a "sticky" mohair in these pretty complementing colors. Lots of people stopped to watch, ask questions, and some even wove a few sheds themselves. There is always lots of interest in the rigid heddle looms.Kathy didn't quite finish her scarf -- but almost!

People love to watch spinners. Many people who were familiar with spinning as Peggy is doing on her wheel on the right in this picture -- had never seen an electric wheel like Ashley is using on the left. Ashley's wheel is small and  has a battery pack that she manipulates by hand to keep the wheel in motion. She surprised herself at how quickly she was able to spin up the rust colored roving you see her feeding into the wheel. (Sorry about the sun and shade line dividing this picture. Click twice on the picture and it will enlarge -- you can better see skeins Ashley spun on the electric wheel that are closest to her wheel on the table -- and the blue/green ones Peggy spun on her foot-powered wheel. )

Sometimes the electric wheel went so fast people couldn't quite see how the roving became yarn -- but when they saw Peggy on her more traditional wheel, it all made sense. Kaleigh Osborne was also demonstrating spinning on a drop spindle.  (nice hand knitted sweater, Peggy!)
It was a perfect fall day at the 3rd Annual Fiber Festival. It was sunny and clear but not too hot. Later in the afternoon, Kathy and some of the knitters moved outside to enjoy the sunshine.
As we have in years past, we met several people who were particularly interested in our Guild. We distributed info sheets and business cards and really hope we'll see these folks again at other Guild meetings and events. If you are reading, know we'd love to have you join us for our regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 21, 1:00 - 3:00 at Bees Landing Recreation Center in West Ashley, near the Walmart off of Bees Ferry and Glen McConnell.

Our program at that meeting will be what we call "Speed Dating the Fiber Arts". We'll have several stations with an instructor for several different beginner level fiber arts -- and everyone will rotate through the stations for 20 - 30 minute "get-to-know-you" interactions. Who knows, you might meet a new fiber art you want to take home with you (wink-wink)!

And at our November meeting, please don't forget to bring your knitted or crocheted 7" x 9" squares that we are are going to give Tamara Goff at Knit Oasis. She will make them into blankets and donate them to Charleston Youth Development later in the winter. For information about this project, click here.  Find Tamara's latest pattern, Pixels, at

Have a great time this fall, ya'll! 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Charity Project

For the last couple of years, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild has enjoyed doing a charity project together at the end of the year. Quick recaps of these projects are found at the end of this post.

This year, we're going to tag onto a project someone else has already started. Local knitter/instructor/dyer/blogger Tamera Goff, creator of the blog, Knit Oasis, has started a project to collect knitted (or crocheted) blocks that will be made into blankets and given to Youth Development Center.

Tamera has been posting patterns on her own blog throughout the year, and we can now jump in and select patterns for easy 7" x 9" blocks. All of these patterns are doable for new as well as experienced knitters and should be made with acrylic yarn (washable).

Here are a few pattern choices with links to the directions:

 Get it? It looks fun doesn't it. These knit up really quick and use up those small amounts of yarn you never know what to do with. . .

Tamera's site gives all kinds of guidance and permission -- Any color or combination of colors -- you can make up your own pattern -- you can crochet your own pattern (just stick to the 7" wide and 9" high measurement). She has many more pattern choices on her site as well -- Take a look and cast on!

And if you're not a knitter, Tamera teaches classes -- or come on out to the Lowcountry Fiber Fair in Walterboro on October 17. PFAG members will be there in force demonstrating various fiber arts -- someone will teach you there. (This really works -- A Fiber Guild member taught me to knit four years ago on the return bus ride from our day-trip to Asheville for SAFF and I've been loving it ever since!) These blocks are perfect for brand new knitters!

We'll collect your blocks at our November meeting. Let's make a lot!

Tamera visited Charleston Youth Development Center and did a lovely post about all she learned about their history, their current work, and the important needs they address. CYD is a local umbrella organization serving troubled and at-risk young people. It operates emergency shelters for children who have to be removed from their homes, sponsors lots of good programs like Big Brother/Big Sister, and the national summer Freedom School program.

Recaps of our other charity projects:  Let's Keep This Tradition Going Strong!
In 2013 we made warm felted insoles for Charleston Port & Seafarers' Society, a local organization that serves the needs of men and women who work on the ships that come and go from our port. .
Working at sea + wintertime = cold feet so felted insoles are a wonderful gift!
 Last year we made fleece blankets and gave some to the Emergency Shelter at Charleston Youth Development Center and some to Charleston Area Senior Citizens.
Barbara Vanselow delivers homemade fleece blankets to the Emergency Shelter at Charleston Youth Development Center in 2014

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Revisiting August and our Kumihimo Bracelets

 The August meeting was great with our presenter Mily Carmichael teaching us how to make lovely beaded bracelets using the kumihimo disk.  She was a wonderful teacher!

Most of us got a very good start on our bracelets, but few were able to finish by the end of our short time together. Mily sends this link where we can review the process we used and see how to finish up.

If you have finished your bracelet, please bring it our Sept. meeting on the 19th to Show and Tell!

Made by Kathy Truluck and posted to her Facebook page 2014. 
Perfect for Halloween 2015!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The World Through the Hands

This is Renate Hiller, co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at Three-Fold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Her take on the meaning, the significance, of working with our hands and its relationship to our lived experience is just lovely. Four and a half minutes. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Good Programs Continue

Despite infrequent posts reporting it all, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild continues to stay busy and have great monthly programs.

In May we had a visit from Chiropractic Dr. Brian Cooke. Why would we have a chiropractor come to a Fiber Guild meeting? If you must ask, you probably aren't someone who spends hours of your free time hunched over your knitting, or perched on your loom's bench, operating treadles and shuttles at the same time, or any number of other contortions and repetitive motions performed in ergonomic confusion all for the sake of your latest creative flash.

The good doctor reminded us of the importance of a freely moving spine, stretching, balance, and helped us find trigger points to release tension. There was also a reminder to not sit for long stretches of time -- no matter how "into it" we are. We have to get up, take a break, walk around, take some deep breaths -- or we're going to hurt.

Whether we are knitters, or weavers, or lace makers, or rug hookers -- most of us give our hands a workout. Here are a few easy things to do to stretch out those cramped fingers.

hand exercises for knitters
Click here for a larger, more visible, animated image

In June we had another guest -- this time it was Mrs. Valerie Lobo. She lived the earlier part of her life in India -- and in fact, was an MD there. But she spent time with us showing us a variety of her lovely silk saris -- and lots of jewelry and accessories that are traditionally worn in India.
Brenda was game to be the model as our guest showed us how to wrap a sari.
Such lovely silk fabrics
 We took our annual Summer Break in July, so are looking forward to seeing each other again in August. Our presenter will be Maria Carmichael and she will lead us in a "mini-workshop" as we make a bracelet on a Kumihimo disk.

What a coincidence! The latest issue of HGA's Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot has a review of a new book on Kumihimo.
Beautiful Braiding Made Easy Using Kumihimo Disks and Plates by Helen Deighan
The review is a positive one and particularly recommends this book for Kumihimo beginners. 

Hope you can join us for this meeting in August -- the date is Saturday the 15, 1:00 - 3:00 pm at Bees Landing Recreation Center in West Ashley.