Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

In December, Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild gathered for our last meeting of the year, shared a pot luck lunch, shared some of the fiber projects we've been working on, and did a fun gift exchange.

A new board was introduced -- and deep thanks expressed for the current board -- Lynn, Michaela, Kelly, Garnette, and Jess -- all have served multiple terms and we are so grateful to them.

New board members for 2013 are: President, Nancy Warren, 1st VP, Peggy Pye, 2nd VP, Barbara Vanselow, Secretary, Kayleigh Osborne, and Treasurer, Sandy Hutchinson. We are looking forward to another good year with fiber friends and projects!

We've had wonderful programs in 2012 -- often tapping the talents of our own members. Our members have been quite visible in the community this year as well. Kelly Fort has been teaching knitting and Barbara Vanselow has taught bobbin lace making. Linnie Trettin had a show of torn paper collage at How Art Thou Cafe in the spring. Beth Parrot became a published author again as her third collaboration with Charlene Schurch, The Sock Knitter's Handbook, Expert Advice, Tips, & Tricks came out in March. Kelly and Dale Fort, along with Kayleigh, set up an Etsy site featuring art yarn, felted charms, and hand-turned yarn bowls and spindles. Arianne King Comer was honored, along with her Very Special Arts program, to be chosen to design and create ornaments for South Carolina's tree for the 2012 National Christmas tree display in Washington, DC. I'm sure I've missed other significant highlights but suffice it to say, we've got some wonderful talent in our group.

Here's a few pictures from that good get together in December.

Sisters Sharon and Barbara Downey dressed in red for the holiday occasion!
Barbara Vanselow made this precious little elf.
Lots of good food!
The Fort's have been busy. Dale is becoming quite proficient in woodworking. He made these spindles and Kelly spun (and knitted) this cowl. And yes, those are feathers spun into the yarn.
Felted snowman by Kayleigh Osborne
Large batik on silk by Arianne King Comer
Barbara Vanselow's bobbin lace pressed between glass.
Plan on joining us on January 19 for our next meeting. We'll get info on the program out in the next few days.

Happy New Year!!

Easiest Scarf Ever

Directions: Amass a huge selection of yarns with as much color, texture, and variety as possible. Choose a length, allowing for several knots to make the finished scarf to be a little shorter. Gather yarns in your chosen length -- make it random or work on a colorway. A little bling goes a long way. When your group of yarns feels like it's the right thickness, tie some knots about two hand spans apart and Voila!
It couldn't be easier -- or more fun to do as a group.
Lynn showed us what we were aiming for. . .
Everyone brought a lot of yarn. We set it all out on the tables and then we began to pick and choose. (oh,did we mention, we meet in a recreation center?)
One method was to lay out the yarns under consideration on the table to see how they looked together.

Another way to do it is to just build it around your neck and make adjustments as you go.
Here's a few examples of our Voila! moments.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November Meeting of Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild

Hmmm, Holidays are coming fast. Are you looking for a special gift for someone? Here's an idea.

Everyone is invited to bring as much of a variety of your yarn stash as possible with the intention of sharing. We're talking a REAL variety. . . bright, drab, fancy, plain, embellished, beloved, even some of your "Why did I buy that??" yarn. We want shiny, smooth, fuzzy, lumpy, commercial and handspun.

Expand your definition of yarn and bring ribbon, torn sari silk, fishing line, Christmas tinsel. . . anything that makes a line. The more colors the better. And bring scissors.

From our shared stashes we will fabricate beautiful scarves. The method is deliciously simple. The idea comes to us from Barbara Vanselow who saw it in a high-end boutique in Asheville.

Also, we will elect officers for the coming year. Please be thinking about how you might serve for the coming year -- and your ideas about what would make next year a good fiber guild year for you.

See you Saturday, Nov. 17, 1:00 - 3:00 at the Bee's Landing Recreation Center.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Day to Dye For...Wax Resist Workshop

Wooden design stamps warmed in hot wax cookers at each table.
On Saturday, October 27th - some curious Guild members and friends attended our Guild-Sponsored wax resist dyeing workshop, dubbed "A Day to Dye For...," taught by our own amazing batik artist, Arianne King-Comer!!!

I, myself, had been waiting for this day since I attended a monthly guild meeting (a couple years ago, I think!) where Arianne spoke so poetically about her journey with her craft that the inspiration and love just oozed out of her friendly smile!

When the attendees first arrived, layers of newspapers were laid down as working spaces, and we began to melt our resist wax in the cookers. Arianne took us into the other room for some show and tell...

The batik in her right hand is the result of a process of applying a wax design to white fabric; dyeing the fabric in the lightest color to be used  (here it's yellow); thoroughly drying the yellow-dyed fabric; applying wax to all areas the artist wishes to remain yellow; dipping the fabric in the next color; and so on until the artist reaches the darkest dye, after which the wax is ironed or boiled out of the fabric and the gorgeous design revealed!

The piece behind Arianne, with the blocks of design, was dyed with indigo after painstakingly applying cassava paste as the resist. Cassava is a root vegetable, and amazing intricacy can be achieved by painting its paste on fabric using items such as broom straws and chicken feathers! Later in the day, we viewed an amazing video about the long, long process of creating the cassava paste that dye artists use in Nigeria - where Arianne studied in 1992.

We got to try our hand on some cotton muslin squares - learning how to apply wax stamps to the areas we wanted to remain white. It takes some practice to get just the right amount of wax loaded on the stamps! Then we ventured to the dyeing vats located outside where it was unfortunately very windy and rainy -

After struggling with the wind, Arianne moved our pieces indoors to hang on a rack where they'd hopefully dry a little quicker! 

Other projects included hemmed cotton napkins, silk scarves, and t-shirts (Arianne showed us how to turn the tees into textile-necklace/scarves). Very pretty and comfy, too (you'll have to take my word for it, tho, because I don't have any photos of that)!  I also snuck in a few light colored tank tops I'd been saving for this very reason. I shall sneak in another blog post soon - highlighting some of our works which have had the wax removed; so that you can see some finished products!

Busy, Happy Dyers:

Thank you, Arianne!!!  We love you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scary and Not So Scary

Throughout the whole month of October Weavolution is sponsoring the 2nd annual Halloweave - an opportunity for weavers to challenge themselves to tackle their weaving fears. The teams have names like Frightful Fibers, UFOs Begone, The Double Dares (they hope to finally complete a double weave project!), and The Demon Seamstresses of Fleetstreet who will be sewing with handwovens (yikes, that means actually taking scissors and cutting cloth you have painstakingly woven!).

Throughout the month prizes will be awarded through random draws and member votes so check it out here and see how these projects are progressing.  What fun!

Show and Tell got a little scary at our October meeting. Thanks to Ann Blanton, here's a video of Barbara Vanselow's mechanical bat.

And beautiful things that weren't scary at all were also shared. (thanks to Michaela for sending along pictures!)
Jennifer Ley is working on this cable knitted hat

Judy Warren attended a dye workshop in DC and created this piece using shibori folding and resist techniques on organza.

The October program was sharing special fiber pieces we all have and love. Here's a few, again, thanks to Michaela:
These Navajo rugs were made from handspun wool in the 1920s or 30s and were used by Ann Blanton's parents and an uncle as horse blankets. The middle one was Ann's mother's. She never used a saddle so it is in better condition. Ann's parents grew up in Western Oklahoma. 

Barbara Downey's great grandmother emigrated from Ireland to North Dakota and brought lace making skills with her.
Anne Ball has long been inspired by this natural dye chart showing plants used by the Navajo to make their dyes.
Looking forward to Arianne's A Day to Dye For. . . workshop on Saturday. A busy and good time for Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More than "Just a Quilt"

At our September meeting, Jennifer Ley treated us to a trunk show of quilts that showed us quite a bit of her journey into this art. She began by showing us a beautiful, traditional, appliqued king-size bed quilt -- Dresden Plate was the pattern and the colors were the warm earth tones so popular in the 1970s.

Jennifer realized she had a talent for the quilting, but wanted . . . a little more, so she entered a "wearable art" show with a dress, hat, and purse inspired by the beach and the sea. She never did "just a quilt" again.

Jennifer embellished her dress with shells, beads, elaborate stitching, and three dimensional design. (the Jelly Fish just above the waist on the right is a shimmery translucent fabric with ribbon tennicles.)

Hem detail
The perfect purse
Sandy couldn't resist wearing the Sand Castle hat that completed this top to bottom, sandy beach to ocean depth, ensemble.
After the dress, the quilts kept coming out of the truck, each one more spectacular than the last. One was a tall bookshelf -- with favorite books, potted plants, family photos, even the cat sitting on a stack of books on a lower shelf -- just like a bookshelf in anyone's home -- but this was . . . a quilt. My camera could not begin to capture it.

Jennifer combines artful piecing, applique, painted fabric, and sometimes photographic reproduction to give her quilts their vibrancy. And she quilts them herself.

This quilt was made for Art That Works' 2011 show of work inspired by Charles Towne Landing. Jennifer's piece came from a photograph of a thatched roof.
Identifying information and dates are unknown on many older quilts so Jennifer and many modern quilters go to the extra trouble to label their work for future generations.

In the last part of our meeting, Jennifer taught us a few of her tricks for adding beads to a quilt, keeping even curved lines smooth and even.
Jennifer had prepared 3-layer quilt squares, threaded needles, and a supply of beads for each of us. Even the youngest ones jumped right in.

Pretty nifty!
An inspiring program to be sure! Jennifer has had pieces exhibited in several national quilt shows, was part of the North Charleston Arts Festival with the Art That Works fiber group and has won awards in local and region quilt shows. She currently teaches at Stitch n’ Sew in Mount Pleasant, SC. To see more of Jennifer's stunning work, see her Marsh Isle Fiber Arts blog.

It should also be mentioned that "Show & Tell" at our September meeting was Awesome! Since our last meeting in June members have been busy and so-o-o creative. Many had combined vacations or travel with art workshops and/or projects. Anita Sloane attended Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh back in May and she was the lucky winner of the drawing for this wonderful sheep to shawl project.
As an accomplished knitter & new weaver, Anita attended Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh NC in May. She was the lucky winner of this beautiful handwoven shawl in twill made from hand spun wool.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Day to Dye For

Don't miss Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild's 2012 Fall Workshop -- Oct. 27 will be A Day to Dye For. . .

To Register, print this form, and mail it with your registration fee to PFAG, P O Box 31341, Charleston SC  29417.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Fun Challenge for the Weavers

The Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild's Weaving Study Group has met regularly for more than a year and a half now. Convened by Michaela McIntosh, the group meets monthly and shares recent projects, explores weaving drafts, watches How-To videos, and delves into the many books and resources available.

In May, the assignment was to bring a paper bag with three random objects. Mystery bags were exchanged, and each weaver was to make something inspired by the three objects. Here are some of the results:

In her bag Jess Jones found a yellow paint brush, a feather, and a handmade tassel. She used those items as inspiration for a stole she sent to a friend as a special wedding present.
Jessica worked with the color yellow, linen and cotton warp (a bit feather-y), and the tassel? Well, the fringe of course.
Close up
 Lynn, a relatively new weaver found in her bag a square stone, a piece of petrified wood, and an interesting nut shell or casing. These things took her mind immediately to a favorite place in the natural world -- Yellowstone National Park, and suggested muted colors and a design of checks to mirror the shape of the stone. Lynn also made a wrap or a stole.
Lynn's shawl was made with wool and silk and she was completely surprised when it Felted upon being washed in cool water! Since it became too small to be a wrap, Lynn went ahead and put it in the dryer to finish the felting process and now has a thick, placemat sized, mat. Surprises happen, but we can clearly see her design and intent to incorporate her three random objects.

Nancy Warren is one of our more experienced weavers. Nancy's three objects were two postcards with deep blues, greens, golds, and reds and a piece of bright red rick rack. Nancy matched these colors up in some kitchen towels and included a red trim border.
Two art postcards suggest "multiples of something" in these deep colors and the rick rack suggests red trim!
Kitchen towels
 Michaela's objects were a cardboard tea box, a penny, and something now forgotten because the inspiration for Michaela's weaving was found when she unfolded the tea box and saw the lovely, subtle design inside.
Michaela's first sample looking for a pattern to echo the grey scallops and waves found on the inner walls of a tea box.  (Life lesson: Keep your eyes open; inspiration is EVERYWHERE!)
The final project kept the grey warp but switched out the weft thread to a bottle green color. Warp and weft are both silk and wool. 

Out of her bag, Garnette drew a wad of "fluff" -- an unidentified fiber mass, a bit of leather, and a tender fern frond. She worked with these textures and colors to make two purses on the same cotton warp.
Both purses incorporate the natural color in the warp, and the green color from the fern but they otherwise vary due to Garnette's use of a "Point Threadling" pattern that offers lots of variations in a single tie-up. The bit of leather simply did not work its way into this project.

The weaving group enjoyed working on and sharing this project and decided to work on another joint project during these fall months -- The next assignment is to make Mug Rugs (large scale coasters) out of any warp, pattern, and weft. Each weaver will make enough to share and Show & Tell will be in November. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer is Here!

As promised, our June meeting was a lot of fun. Lynn and Sandy had the lucky tickets for the two rag rugs for which we were selling chances. They were both delighted!

And the fiber swap was a great idea. People brought wonderful things they wanted to let go of -- and most of us went home with a few new treasures!
Just a sample of items brought in for the fiber swap -- books, yard, bolts of cloth, quilting hoops. . .

Kaleigh (R) looks over some beaded jewelry that Vickie (L) is ready to let go of. It could be taken apart and the beads used for so many things!
The best thing was hearing Beth Parrot speak about her experiences as the collaborator and co-author with Charlene Schurch of three books on sock knitting. Not only did she help write, but she also knitted many of the samples featured in The Little Box of Socks, The Sock Club Join the Knitting Adventure, and their newest book, The Sock Knitter's Handbook, Expert Advice, Tips and Tricks which just came out in March of this year.
Beth is not listed as Charlene's co-author of Sensational Knitted Socks, but she knitted some of the samples for the illustrations in the book. Here she holds the sock that made the cover! (Beth recommends this book to those who are new to sock knitting and many people consider it their go-to guide.)
Beth's grandmother, "Oma" taught her to knit when Beth was only four and she's been knitting every since. Among the tips and hints in The Sock Knitter's Handbook are Oma's tried and true instructions for replacing a worn out French heel. Now that's expert advice!

It is safe to say that Beth's family members are well stocked in socks, mittens, hats and sweaters, but she also knits regularly for Afghans for Afghans, a humanitarian project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.
Young girls in Afghanistan hold hand-knit socks provided by Afghans for Afghans. (photo from organization's website.) If you would be interested in knitting or crocheting for this good project, see the guidelines and mailing address here.

A well-rounded fiber artist, Beth also weaves and spins beautifully. She is generous with her knowledge and skill and frequently teaches, often at Charleston's downtown LYS, Knit. But for right now, she is busy being a successful author as The Sock Knitter's Handbook is going into it's second printing.
At our June meeting, Beth Parrott signs copies of her latest book, The Sock Knitter's Handbook Expert Advice, Tips, & Tricks, for fellow Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild members
Congratulations Beth! We are so proud of you! 

And indeed, summer has arrived so Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild will take a two month break while members entertain summer guests and travel. Watch this space for spontaneous gatherings for specific activities and for upcoming news about a "Fall Workshop to Dye For! See you in September!