Monday, October 8, 2018

Made of This

Reno Fiber Guild was excited to have Sarah Lillegard as the featured speaker at our October meeting.  Sarah has just finished her MFA at Sierra Nevada College and is testing the waters in learning all she can about wool fibers.  True to her nature, she is plunging in at the source - animal husbandry, shearing animals, skirting fleeces and spinning the fibers.  
Because, as a guild,  we are traveling "off the beaten path" this year, Sarah introduced us to the Fibershed website and blog.  Farmers and individuals  with small businesses in growing fibers and processing them exist very close to us.  It makes sense that we should seek out and support these fiber sources when we plan our fiber creations.
We enjoyed the photos that went along with Sarah's talk including some of her in full swing as a sheep shearer.  She explained that women are joining the ranks of sheep shearers in great numbers and that many people who have small flocks are doing the job themselves because finding a shearer who will only do a few animals is nearly impossible.  With that in mind, Sara spent the summer traveling to some of these small flocks and shearing their sheep.  Should you need a sheep shearer - please visit her business website, High Desert Shearing.
We very much enjoyed her lecture and value her expertise and membership in the guild.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Artists of Nevada Studio Tours - July 9th, 2018

Three Reno Fiber Guild members are opening their studios on July 8th for a Tour put on by HGA.   Visit HGA's website for complete information

I understand the tour bus will first stop at Kate Hanlon's studio.  She is a silk painter and has a great studio where she creates her "one of a kind" scarves and shawls. This should be a fabulous stop  to look at Kate's workspace and learn about her processes.

The next stop is at Toni Lowden's studio.

Toni's tapestry works - in progress and completed will be on display.  Also, her AVL will be in use with an interesting weaving draft we dubbed feathers.  Here is a link to the wif file.  Reno Fiber Guild will be presenting  information about their current study group using drafts from the Weaver's Draft Book and Clothier's Assistant. See the blog page for links and more information.

The final stop on the tour is at Jill Altmann's gorgeous studio. 

Jill dyes, weaves and sews her own fashions and I know this will be an inspirational stop.  Click here for a preview to the tour to her studio

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Fifth Season of the Learn to Weave Program

Each spring for the past five years, the guild has put together a "Learn to Weave" class for beginning weavers - or for people who have woven before but want to refresh their knowledge and skills.

For the past several years, the guild team has been headed by Suzanne.  Each year she asks for volunteer mentors and even though there were only four students this year, there were a total of five mentors in the class.  This makes the experience so much richer for the students with an experienced person right by their side. 

We want to share some photo from this year's class, taken by Pati F. You are sure to see the joy on our students faces.  This year students were Barbara, Jennifer, Sheila and Nathalie.

We wish them continued weaving success and hope that it will be an source of joy to them for many more years.

Friday, April 6, 2018

MzFiber comes to Reno

Eileen Lee of MzFiber traveled to Reno this past week to present a program on making clothing from handwoven cloth.  Eileen started weaving a few years ago on rigid heddle looms.  Soon she was giving lessons and then forging ahead on a couple of 8 shaft looms.  She is now interested in making clothing from her handwoven yardage and had all sorts of tips for our guild.

One of the first things that Eileen experimented with were shawls and the difficulty women have wearing them.  They are constantly slipping off your shoulders and you always need one hand available  to grip them.  Eileen started with putting a button closure so that the shawl would be connected in the front or be worn off the shoulder.  Then, she experimented with making ponchos by connecting two rectangles together with a knitted center piece.  She found that men also loved to wear these and did some custom commission work for a male customer.
Eileen recommends simple patterns with a minimal number of pieces.  Let the handwoven cloth shine and be the focal part of the garment and save more complicated patterns for commercial yardage.

Sometimes the intended use of a fabric, doesn't match Eileen's original vision.  In the photo below, the blue apron was once a shawl.  She didn't think that the stripe/plaid really made the cut as a shawl, so she turned it into this elegant apron (don't wipe your hands on this one☺)

Two close colors of yarn in warp make fabric richer in appearance 
A closely sett plain weave with a painted warp makes elegant fabric for a garment.

raw edge finishes for handwovens
interfacings, seams and buttonholes

Guild members enjoyed Eileen's presentation and want to thank her for showing us her techniques and her handwoven creations.  She has a Facebook page if you want to keep up with what is on her loom.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lilli's Hats

We had such a treat at our March meeting.  Guild member Lilli M. gave us the scoop on the fine art of millinery.  Lilli has been making hats for many years.  She first got started while she was working in the Bay Area and commuting home to Reno on weekends.  She said that she would wear her creations as she rode Bart, the busses, and naturally the plane to and from Reno.  People started asking her to make a hat for them - and she obliged!  She learned all about making patterns, how to steam and treat the velour fiber and spent loads of browsing time at Lacis in Berkeley. She even rented out hat blocks from the store.

Lilli's hats are well known in Reno.  They have been featured in local magazines, and Lilli has often been asked to make a hat to go with a particular antique car - either to match the car, or the era from which it came.

One thing that Lilli likes to stress is that good materials are a must in the hat making business.  Good quality hats are often found in thrift stores.  Lilli likes to recycle whenever she can, so she buys these unwanted treasures and turns them into stunning new toppers.  Or, Lilli may find a good wool sweater.  She felts it and turns the fabric into embellishments - such as the delightful hat featured below.

Although, Lilli does have a very definite style when it comes to making hats, each hat is an individual and worthy of an outfit just to accompany it!

This hat was steamed and shaped over an actual bucket-like object.  Found objects such as Tupperware, bowls, and more can be used to make different hat shapes.

Needle felting yarns and fiber is another way to make a hat embellishment.  Lilli knew that matching the color of the hat was going to be difficult, so she used a contrasting color.

 The apricot colored straw hat above was treated so that it would collapse in three tiers.  Notice the color gradation from bright to darker.

Another stunning straw hat.  This one was refashioned by Lilli through steam, shape and new additions to the decorations.
Lilli plans to open a little workshop in the near future.  She loves to teach her skills to others and will provide the space and materials in classes.  Once she is open, we will let you know how to visit her.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Party 2017

This year we were treated to a Christmas Party in Truckee at Nancy B's home.  It was lovely and crisp (as it often is in Truckee at this time of year) with just a bit of snow on the ground. 

As usual, we came with food - enjoyed our time together with stories,  eating 
and the grand finale of the Raffle Basket, packed with presents donated by all of us at the party.

This year's basket theme was "Tis the Season of Colorful Delights" and the winner was Mary N.  Mary has been coming to these Christmas parties for years and this was her first win! 

 As always, the basket was filled with wonderful gifts. In the photo above, Mary is admiring a new pair of slipper socks that are lined to keep your feet extra cozy.

Eva and Cheri

Nisha and Shelley

Close up of those lovely slippers

Special Kumihimo necklace with a color technique that Lorene learned on a fiber trip to Mexico

Knitted Christmas ornaments

Because Mary also contributed a gift to the raffle basket, her offering was raffled off in another drawing.  Suzanne was the happy winner of the little bag Mary had sewn with special Laurel Burch fabrics.

 Another year  and another delightful party.  Thank you to Nancy B. for opening her lovely home to us this year.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Diane Palme Workshop - Garments from Handwoven Cloth

Diane Palme presented the Reno Fiber Guild with a one day workshop about making garments from handwoven cloth.  The class was very well received and many attendees wanted to thank her personally for all the information she passed on to them. This post is a compilation of comments from attendees (fonts were changed to separate individual comments).   Diane also has a good blog with more information about her personal journey in making clothing from her handspun and handwoven cloth; please visit and browse her posts.

What a great Kick Start to creating a garment for Convergence. I especially appreciated Diane's presentation skills. A very compact but thorough look at sewing with handspun, handwoven yardage.

One of my many take-away keepsakes is that my handspun yarn has weaving value and is fixable (over, under and not-plied issues). Yay!

P.S. I just picked up a copy of Handwoven Magazine--May/June 2014 and it fell open to an article by Diane (pg. 24) titled "Sampling by Design." - Gloria J.

First of all, Diane’s energy and enthusiasm for spinning, weaving, and teaching is inspiring! I need her vitamins.

Diane was both well organized and well spoken. As for the aspects that I enjoyed the most: a) learning about her use of handspun singles, steaming and sizing. b) What? Mixing values? c) refresher on the color-wheel components.

I did wish there had been time in the lecture to address specific handwoven yardage (s) that was brought. A day and $’s well spent. - Suzanne W.

I appreciated Diane's "engineering" approach to spinning and weaving and then turning that product into clothing. She made all of us feel comfortable and took our questions and comments well. It was a day well spent. Thanks to all who made it possible. - Gayle V.

I really enjoyed the class! She was an excellent teacher! Had many take aways! Sampling for me has always seemed so wasteful of time and materials, but I get it now! I too, was delighted to learn more about using my hand spun yarn. And I loved the color lesson and the little color wheel we got - very helpful. I bought 2 Vogue patterns this morning (on sale today on their web-site) - one a vest, the other a jacket in three different lengths. Thinking about making the vest for Convergence.

I think the best advise she gave us was to just try it out! I am looking at my stash with new eyes!

Thanks to the program committee for bringing her to us! And thanks Gloria for the reference -I think I have that issue of Handwoven as well. - Shelley N.


Diane’s ability to keep the "ball in the air" as she worked her way through the various processes about weaving, sampling and making that cloth into clothing was amazing. There was never a lull in her presentation and there were so many ideas and tips coming forth, that my mind never wandered from the subject at hand. I learned many things from this one-day workshop on making clothing from handwoven cloth; here are just a few things that I will carry forward.

1. Use a lighter colored warp and cross it with a darker weft

2. Warp five colors at once, then randomly select which ones to thread in the heddles.

3. Sample multiple setts before you decide on cloth for your garment.

4. The advice to "go for it". Yes, I know I can sew a vest and I know I have yardage for a vest. All I need is a kick in the pants to get going and actually make a vest!

A big huzzah for this workshop. Thanks, Diane. - Beryl M. 

Glad I was able to sit in for a couple of hours! A delightful woman with many skills under her wing- A well thought out presentation-interesting to see how her "roots (engineer)" played out in her work. She gave out a lot of practical information that probably was over many heads until they get down to making clothing from their own fabric. The best advice was to CUT-it is very freeing OR NOT TO CUT and play with rectangles, seams and simple design lines to create the shapes (tucks, darts, bias, etc.) She does need to purchase a serger as should most who want to sew with their handwovens , unless selvages will always be a part of the clothing design (gets rather limiting). Many of Lois Ericson's patterns (like Folkwear) are very useful, and remember, she was a weaver first, before a writer, teacher, and pattern drafter. - Jill A.

Thank you for bring this class to the guild. I am renewed with enthusiasm to get going on expanding into weaving material to make clothing. I was thrilled to sit there and learn new things and hearing everyone’s perspectives. Thank you for your part in making us more educated. - Sarah C.

What a great event! Diane really sparked my imagination and I'm looking forward to exploring some of her ideas. She was efficient, very knowledgeable and had a number of good suggestions. Thanks Beryl for your time and energy in arranging for her to come. - Laurel B.

Diane’s confidence and methods for using handspun singles as warp encourages me to try singles as warp again. I have always been reluctant because of the prevailing theory that handspun singles were only appropriate for weft. I guess I will jump in the deep end to see if I can make it work for me.

The discussion about color, color interaction and theory was very enlightening and will be helpful in future decisions. I have always liked to strive for complex color combinations and Diane’s presentation should help me implement my ideas.

The discussion in reference to what an appropriate handwoven fabric should be for use in sewing was very enlightening and very thorough. It is definitely time to move beyond plain weave and color and add a little more pattern in my cloth.

It was a very good one day presentation/workshop. A lot of information was provided with theory and practical experience to instill confidence in trying new projects. Thank you Diane for the presentation and thank you Beryl for facilitating the workshop. - igor

Diane's workshop was so enlightening and informative. Gave a whole new angle in looking at my looms. New ideas, new possibilities, new ways to use my handspun, and singles!!!!! as a warp. What an idea. I always figure singles were not strong enough. Now I don't have to ply all my handspun. And when I do, I can weave beautiful fabrics and make beautiful clothing. Totally a new angle to weaving handspun. Thank you Diane and Thank you Beryl. - Virva P.

The Diane Palme workshop was amazing, and very helpful. Just what I need as I stare at my large stash and try to remember what projects I had in mind when I bought all that yarn! Obviously most never started, let alone completed. Her organization of the material was outstanding, and her delivery rapid fire but very understandable. I'm amazed that she could keep up the pace. All the review sections were helpful, but particularly, the data on singles use in warp. I've always avoided it, and put something like cottolin in the warp and then 2 ply in the weft for garment cloth; but now I'll be braver. Would have liked a bit more on weights of cloth and yarn most suitable for different types of garments and shapes (I'm tired of all the things you can do with squares), and tailoring. But I'll just have to read more and observe construction more. I also took more notes and wrote faster that I thought I could--something like 32 pp! Bravo Beryl and all for organizing this. - Kay F.

Thanks to Diane, Beryl and all attendees. This workshop was just what I needed to remind me of how much valuable weaving and garment design and construction techniques have been stashed away in my brain. Looking forward to seeing everyone s results and progress. Nancy P.