Monday, May 20, 2013

The New Felting Group is Booming!

About a week ago, your primary blogger (Sandy) posted Marlene Gruetter's nice introduction. OK, confession time -- Marlene sent me every bit of that post months ago and I have been slow to actually turn it into a blog post. Well. . . Busted! 

 Apparently Marlene was in town, probably as I wrote, and she met with the new felting study group on Thursday, May 9. The day was inspiring -- members of the group sent me a write up on their day together AND sent pictures, so with no further delay, let me share what Guild members with a special interest in felting are up to. . .

Lead In: Judy Warren has recently convened a monthly felting group for people to get together and explore this versatile art process. The group usually meets on the 1st Thursday of the month from 10 am - 3 pm at the home/studio of Judy Warren. If you would like to attend, contact Judy at 

Here's the report I received this week:

The Felting Study Group met May 9 (Sandy interrupts one more time -- I think the study group generally meets on the 1st Thursday of the month, but probably changed up to accommodate Marlene's time in the area. Ok, I'll be quite, now) and started with a planning session regarding summer meetings, created a binder for future reference and, of course, enjoyed food together while we planned. (Garnette Tuten brought the most wonderful croissants from a French bakery on James Island for our "working lunch" as we did our planning.)

Then Marlene demonstrated the steps in making a small round felted vessel -- cutting the resist circle, laying fiber, decorating, turning it into felt, cutting an opening and finally, shaping. 
Fiber layout for a small round felted vessel
Happy felting lady
The vessel takes shape
Finished and Fenced
Froggy went a-felting!
 After lunch, Marlene helped each person create her own vessel. This was fun and a great learning experience. Those who were in attendance were: Garnette Tuten, Judy Warren, Marlene Gruetter, and Amy Buckley.

In previous sessions, we have made felt squares to discuss their quality and our techniques. We've also made geodes, beads, small coin purses, and flowers.  We plan to continue to advance by taking up nuno felting next.  As our experience and skills increase, we will do larger, more detailed, projects. 

(Sandy says thanks to the felting group for sharing such a good report -- looks like incredible fun!)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hey Everyone, this is Marlene. . .

Marlene Gruetter is here to introduce herself to those of us who haven't met her yet. Though she lives in Ohio, she is back and forth to a second home in The Lowcountry, and as a "mad felter" has connected with our Guild and the new felting group. Welcome Marlene and thanks for letting us get you know you a bit more!

"As a new member, I would like to introduce myself to the guild.  My name is Marlene Gruetter and I currently reside on an 86 acre farm in Scottown, OH along with my husband Carl and a clan of dogs, cats, chickens, horses, pigs, goats and sheep.   Up until last year we raised and bred the Angora goats, Wensleydale sheep and llamas.  But due to health issues we downsized our herd and now only have a few of the “old guys and dolls” hanging out.  

Through the love of my fiber animals I was introduced to various fiber media, and when I was led into feltmaking, it became my obsession and primary media of choice.  A few years ago Carl built me a small studio next to our cabin. This increased “space” allowed me to experiment, develop and create complex projects which eventually led me to artistically develop a unique felting style which I call Shambolic™ Felt.  

This style involves the combination of wool/silk (nuno felting to those familiar to the term, but there are distinct differences between the classic nuno and Shambolic™ Felt.  My work includes ripped up recycled silk garments and the incorporation of all the elements which the garment offers (sequins, serger hem, labels, etc). My focus is primarily on wearables – full lengths coats, jackets, vests, dresses, scarves and handbags. 
In addition to creating felt, I enjoy teaching feltmaking (beginner to advanced) both locally and nationally, conducting presentations to fiber groups and writing articles for fiber magazines.  My website is and I hope you will visit the site to see some of my creations.

My connection with Charleston SC? -- A few years ago Carl and I visited the Charleston area as a quick first visit on the way home from a family visit in Florida and we fell in love with the area. When we returned home we talked occasionally of how Charleston would be a great place to retire.  So, this past year we trekked down (a few times) and with the assistance of a wonderful realtor we purchased a beautiful two bedroom condo at Pelican Pointe near Folly Beach in May 2012. 

And how I found the fiber guild? -- During one of our visits to the condo I forgot to bring wool with me.  I decided to search the internet for area stores which might carry merino roving.  As I was searching I ran across the guild and thought some guild member could help direct me to a retail store.  I contacted Lynn (Holland) and left a message asking about where to buy wool and she responded with some possible sources. Through our conversation she invited me to attend a future meeting.  I was thrilled and became a member immediately.  Currently, I can only visit “every now and then” but when the visits are in sync with guild meetings I definitely will be attending.  If there are ways which I can help with the guild from a distance, I am eager to do so. 

Please feel free to email me anytime.  My address is .

I do hope I get to meet everyone in the future and it is a pleasure to be part of this guild.
scarf and handbag

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild Membership Status Report

It is May 11, and Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild has just "sort of" finalized our membership roster for 2013. Clearly, filling out forms is not our strong suit. 

This blog, and all the information in it, is available to everyone in the whole world wide web to see and, hopefully, enjoy. And we welcome all comers to our meetings, held the 3rd Saturday of each month as well. 

But full-fledged members do enjoy a few special benefits -- discounts on guild sponsored activities and timely e-mail reminders of meetings, programs, classes and workshops in the area that members may be interested in. Through these special e-mail messages we also brag on members when someone is doing a show or has pieces in an exhibit. (for example: Michaela, Arianne, and LuAnn all had pieces juried in at the prestigious SC Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition, shown May 3 - 11 as part of the North Charleston Arts Festival.

And then there's The Roster, with a whole list of other people with similar interests -- with addresses and phone numbers and indications of each member's favorite fiber fun. Old school social networking at it's best!

Awesome Ann Blanton

We have Ann Blanton to thank for compiling and organizing our roster this year. As I look it over I see we have 37 members! -- We are growing and meeting new fiber enthusiasts all the time. Yippee! Love you all! 

And I notice our geographic spread. We have members throughout the Greater Charleston area, down to the sea islands and up to Ladson. But wait! Look! Here's something new for us: We have members (as we so colloquially and unabashedly say here) "from off". -- a member in Myrle Beach (she weaves and quilts), another weaver and quilter  who lives in Glassboro, New Jersey, and Marlene Gruetter, who "lives on a 86 acre farm in Scottown, Ohio along with my husband Carl and a clan of dogs, cats, chickens, horses, pigs, goats and sheep." 

Marlene and Carl stopped briefly in Charleston on their way home from a Florida vacation one year, and just couldn't get the place out of their minds -- so they've bought their future retirement digs here and are in the area occasionally.

We live in a special place that attracts special people -- and the fiber people among them know how to  find their "comrads". Our presenter at April's meeting; Liz Gipson, reached out to us when she planned a vacation here -- and many other fiber lovers who are here for a few days, weeks, or months will continue to find us through a friend of a friend, through this blog or our Facebook page, and through seeing announcements in the paper when they are in town. Marlene has written a wonderful guest post to introduce herself to us which will appear here next. We embrace this opportunity to connect more broadly with more fiber-lovers-- from on and off!

And back to bragging on members: Marlene will have 2 pieces of her "Shambolic wearables" in the 2013 Fashion Show at the Surface Design Association annual conference this June in San Antonio Texas. Shambolic is a special felting technique that Marlene has developed and specializes in -- more about it in the next blog post. . .

But, for this post, I digress from "The Roster". Before I push the button to "post" this entry, I'm going to send the up-to-date roster out to the membership. If you think you are a member, and don't receive the roster, get in touch with me and we'll see what the problem is -- either you haven't paid your $25 for 2013 or we missed getting you on the list or I missed getting you on my e-mail distribution list.

And here's another tip, when you get your roster -- print it out and keep it handy -- but also save it to your computer with the date in the title. That way, you'll always be able to go to your most recent roster!

And just because I like to include pictures: Here's a lovely shawl knitted and worn by Jess Jones to our meeting in April. I love it!
So pretty, Jess!