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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Margo Duke Workshop June 28

 Making Machine-Embellished, Hand-Felted Wrist Cuffs with Margo Duke

Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild will host a sure-to-be memorable workshop with Felting Artist Margo Duke on Saturday, June 28, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Margo will teach machine needle-felting and wet-felting techniques, plus tips on free motion stitching that will help you achieve maximum texture. You'll be able to apply all the techniques in your own project and even incorporate hand stitching and beading.

Margo goes by Her Majesty Margo Duke, and you'll see why -- her felting is worthy of royalty! Author of two books on felting and now a resident of Bluffton, SC, she is too close to us for us not to invite her up to Charleston!

This workshop will be limited in size, so it will be an ideal setting to learn and apply what you've learned to a small scale project -- very doable in a day.

Plus, very affordable. Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild members, $65, Non-members, $80, includes your materials kit.

The workshop location is off of Folly Road on James Island, easily accessible via The Connector.

Deadline for registration is June 10. Please print out the registration form, complete the information and mail to Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild, P O Box 31341, Charleston, SC  29417. If you have questions contact our workshop coordinator, Judy Warren at 843-573-9093 or
Thanks to Margo Duke for lovely images of her work

Thursday, May 14, 2015

PFAG at North Charleston Arts Festival, 2015

PFAG was in the Arts & Crafts Vending area at the North Charleston Arts Festival again this year. Members demonstrated an array of fiber arts and gave the public the opportunity to see, touch, and feel AND try felting, spinning with a drop spindle, carding wool, weaving, knitting, crocheting, lace making, and more.

Nancy answers questions about weaving.
Barbara cards a little wool.
Kayleigh makes it look so easy!
There was lots to see at our table -- These folks are checking out embroidery (lower right), lace making (on blue pillow), and knitted socks
Barbara is showing these girls raw wool and roving.
Judy drew quite a crowd to see her felting.
This little girl loved it all! Maybe she'll join Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild soon.

Friday, April 17, 2015

An Afternoon at the Charleston Museum

In February, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild convened at the Charleston Museum to go "Behind the Scenes" with Jan Hiester in the museum's fine textile collection. Jan knows us well because she brought out one beautiful specimen after another -- and she touched all the bases our members are especially interested in -- weaving, quilting, embroidery, knitting, rug hooking, clothing . . . you name it, they've got it.

Embroidered samplers carefully displayed for us on felt sheets.
Showing its age, but still a remarkable example of the classic Blooming Leaf pattern. Look carefully and you can see this coverlet was pieced in  three panels, each two pattern repeats wide.
Samples of needlepoint and the back of a quilt top.
We were excited to hear that Kate Larson, blogger for Interweave's Spinning Daily, had noticed our announcement of this program. She contacted us and asked if we could send pictures and a brief summary of our experience at the Museum. We were delighted to do so -- you can see Spinning Daily's blog post here

Big thanks go to Jan Hiester, curator of this extensive collection, for sharing with us some of the museum's treasures that aren't typically on display.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter This & That

Odds and Ends

Corinne Appleton sent us this one:

Seems Vickie Howell, familiar to many as the Host and Creative Consultant of DIY Network & HGTV’s show, Knitty Gritty, has been browsing through Google Trends and found this chart representing the ebb and flow of interest in knitting and crochet over the years. Here are a few fun facts she discovered:
  • Knitting hit its peak in popularity in 2005. Crochet? It's Right Now, Baby!
  • In the US, the highest concentration of knitters are found in Spokane, Reno, & Boise
  • American crocheters congregate primarily in Chicago, Atlanta, and LA
  • But if you crochet, Argentina is the place to be
The Google chart is here . This one may be easier to see and lets you manipulate the displays more than the one embedded in Vickie's article.

And Peggy Pye sent this one in. . .

A. C. Moore collects knitted and crocheted items to distribute to those in need in the US and in 20 different countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. 

Noted in the Winter 2014/2015 issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, an exhibit entitled Man-Made: The Masculine Aesthetic in Contemporary Quiltmaking is currently at the Craft & Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles through May 3.
". . . This exhibition seeks to examine whether there is a male aesthetic in quiltmaking. Utilizing contemporary techniques, materials, technology, and perspectives, the eight exhibiting artists are part of a growing, loosely-knit network of male quilters who negotiate through their interests and concerns through the junctures of quilting with new technologies and machine aesthetics; with expression of masculinity and sexuality; and with person faxcinations such as heavy metal or science fiction. . . "

Continuing in this vein of random miscellaneous:

Meyriel Edge, presenter of January's program on hat making. She taught art to middle/high school students locally for 25 years. During this teaching career, she took advantage of professional develeopment opportunities that included an intensive course in millinery at the London College of Design and later, more hat making with two well-known milliners in France and England.

Our Kayleigh, ready for the runway.
And Valentine's Day is upon us. Here are two great craft ideas blending sewing, quilting, felting, embroidery -- and of course, hearts..
Hugs and Kisses.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PFAG Expresses Appreciation for Michaela McIntosh

Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild 
Ten Years & Growing!

This year, with very little to-do, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild, reached its 10th anniversary. At our year-end holiday pot-luck, we gathered at Michaela's house and celebrated that birthday -- and to her surprise, we also took a bit of time to express our appreciation to Michaela -- for her efforts to found the Guild and for the way she has supported and served the organization and nurtured all of us for these ten years.
Happy 10th Anniversary to Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild. And Thank You, Michaela!
There was a group of people who were instrumental in the founding and the establishment of the Guild, but they did not start to organize or meet together before Michaela moved to town, and all of them have now moved away or moved on.  Michaela has been "the one" from the beginning with the vision and the unflagging faith in us.

Many know her well, for for those who don't yet, Michaela had a full accomplished life before she ever moved to Charleston. Her former husband was a doctor, so there were the medical school years and the residency years. She raised 3 children. She taught school. She had long been a knitter. She became interested in weaving and joined Weaving Guilds wherever she lived, significantly in Oregon. She took workshops from weaving experts and attended conferences and became a very accomplished, adventurous weaver – always eager to try new projects that would help her learn more, and better understand the finer nuances, whether in regards to pattern, texture, color play, or fiber.

She told me once that she was quite happy in Oregon, but after September 11, 2001, she asked herself what she was doing on the West Coast when all of her children were East – and she moved to Charleston.
Michaela at her loom in her upstairs room in Charleston. The license plates above the window are from Oregon and North Carolina.
Finding no fiber guild here, she joined and actively participated in the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild. She tapped resources available through the national Handweavers Guild of America to connect with South Carolina weavers – but they were mostly in the Upstate or Midlands. She was left to her own to find fellow fiber-philes close to home.

Fortunately, Michaela started working as the demonstration weaver at Middleton Plantation and this put her in an ideal position to meet others interested in the  "old-timey" fiber arts and crafts. As Michaela came into contact with people who either knew how to weave (or spin, dye, knit, quilt, etc. etc.) or wanted to -- her interest in their projects often led them to be interested in her fondest dream - a local fiber guild. Eventually a group of started meeting and took the first steps to organizing Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild.

Michaela at the dye-pot at Middleton Plantation's Sheep and Wool Festival 2009 or 2010.
At Middleton, Michaela dressed in costume and warped and worked a loom with historical faithfulness to the 16th century. She helped the plantation host sheep festivals, sheep to shawl demonstration days, and natural dye-pot demonstrations. She was able to experiment with growing indigo and other dye producing plants and dying wool spun from sheep raised at Middleton Plantation. Her skills grew, as did her sphere of contacts and influence. And the visibility of the fledgling guild grew as well.

Ultimately the founding group filed Articles of Incorporation with the South Carolina Secretary of State's office in March of 2004.

Most of us can relate a story about how Michaela invited us to a meeting, or welcomed us, or taught a workshop or a class, or helped us warp a loom until we could do it ourselves, or loaned us some equipment (like a loom) until we could afford to buy our own, or otherwise encouraged us in some important way.
Beth Parrott is our active member who has been in the Guild the longest. She got to know Michaela through a West Ashley knitting group and was one of the early Guild members – since 2004 or 2005, she thinks. Beth remembers a trip with Michaela to the Asheville area to attend a meeting of the Western NC Guild.

When asked  how she has experienced and remembers Michaela’s role in founding our Guild and nurturing it through the years, Beth mentioned a long list of Michaela’s efforts and contributions:
  • She held the group together by serving as President multiple times
  • Always made sure there was an interesting program
  • Recruited members, and encouraged sharing knowledge and skills
  • Taught weaving, and housed looms at her house so they would be available for teaching
  • Continued to attend distant workshops, conference,s and events and brought back information/ideas to share with us
  • As HGA representative for SC, she connects weavers and fiber artists statewide with national resources available including learning opportunities, scholarships, the Certificate of Excellence process, and all important – connecting isolated fiber people with like-minded people close-by.
  • And she continues to hold out a vision of our Guild with a physical home.
Many people say they want to spend their time in a way that "makes a difference." Members of Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild know Michaela has done this for us. Ten years. . . You would think she would be tired of us. . . . but when we thought about where to gather for our year-end holiday pot-luck, she didn't hesitate to invite us to her house. . . so she must not be completely exhausted with us yet.

Thank You Michaela!