Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Social Networking Site for Weavers and Spinners

Ravelry became such a popular networking site for knitters and crocheters that weavers and spinners sort of horned in and created groups that addressed their own interests. Now there's a new site built along the same vein as Ravelry, but specifically for handweavers -- it's Weavolution and it's brand new.

Weavolution was created by three experienced weavers, -- Tien Chiu in San Francisco, Claudia Segal who lives outside of DC and Allison Giachetti in Colorado. They dreamed of an online community of weavers from everywhere and one-stop-shopping to access all the weaving/spinning resources that are spread out all over the Internet. The site has been in development for well over a year and just launched on June 9.

Because it is so new, it is not quite as intimidating as Ravelry to jump into (there is no wait for your membership to be approved). To get started, just set up your profile (easy), post some pictures of things you've made (optional), join the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild group that has already been established -- and look around to see what else is interesting to you.

You can find people who are using the same loom you are, or you can see what other people have made with your favorite yarn or your favorite pattern. Enter anything you'd like to know or see more about into the search field and you'll find tons of information. I found 7 - 8 weavers from South Carolina, looked at Peg from SC's blog, and saw that no one has posted any projects using one of my favorite yarns, a white nubby cotton called Queen Anne's lace.

Expect to encounter some technical glitches, lots of people way more experienced than you, lots of people with far more and far more sophisticated equipment than you have, but it is there for us to make of it what we want it to be. It can certainly be a vehicle for people who are looking to connect with handweavers in our area -- so for that reason alone, it is to our benefit to represent ourselves online as an active group interested in connecting with others -- because we are.

Have fun and let me know what you think of Weavolution.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Upcoming Guild Meeting -- June 20

Our program in June will be an afternoon of "Super Show & Tell". Bring your work -- what you're working now on or something you've recently completed. We'll take time to ooooh and ahhhh and hear some of the details about the materials you used and why, how you came up with your design, what you tried that you hadn't tried before and what you liked about it and what you didn't. It's always fun and inspiring to see the all different interests and talents that are within our group. We look forward to seeing you -- and to seeing your recent work and/or work in progress.

The word on the street is that Beth Parrot's Mini-sock Knitting Workshop on June 6 was a big success with six students, two of whom were brand new to sock knitting. Beth covered a lot of ground during the day, teaching two heels and explaining why she does a three-stitch garter band on either side of the heel. She also showed how to eliminate the hole at the gusset. Anyone know what "tinking" is? This group does -- and practiced doing it. If you know, send a comment and tell the rest of us!

Everyone was so busy knitting at the workshop, no one took any pictures. I hope someone will bring a mini-sock to Super Show & Tell, so we can get a snap and post it here.

The Guild is making good progress in our fundraising project for the Maseru Tapestries Cooperative in Lesotho, South Africa. They need $1,100 to train five new weavers who can help them double the capacity of the Cooperative. The Guild is contributing $500 from our treasury and as of this writing, has collected an additional $400 for the project. Our deadline is June 30, so if you haven't contributed yet, please bring a check to the meeting on June 20 or mail a check made out to the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild, to P O Box 42119, Charleston, SC 29423.

A recent item in the paper indicated that Prince Harry of England is also concerned about improving the conditions in Lesotho. He and Lesotho's Prince Seeiso both lost their mothers when they were young and both of their mothers were involved in solving problems caused by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. So, in 2004, the two princes joined forces and founded Sentebale, (which means "Forget Me Not) an NGO for Lesotho's orphans and vulnerable children who are too often the forgotten victims of HIV/AIDS and poverty.

This 3 minute video shows Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso with children in Lesotho. It is worth watching to see a bit of the haunting beauty of the countryside and a great scene of Prince Seeiso dancing with a group of children. The women in the Masaru Tapestries Cooperative are raising children alone just like the ones you see here. Our contributions will give them a better chance to support their families in very difficult circumstances. Isn't it amazing how our common love of art and craft can knit and weave a safety net for another family in another place?