Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Annual Christmas Party (Blocks, Blocks, Blocks)

 The Reno Fiber Guild has an unusual holiday tradition.  Each year, instead of a gift exchange, everyone brings something for a themed basket of goodies and raffle tickets are sold for the grand prize.   There is one lucky person who will take home everything in the basket.  The next year, the winner selects the theme for the next raffle basket (which is reused) and the whole thing repeats at a festive Christmas party.

This year, our past year's winner selected "blocks" as the theme.  It was a difficult challenge - but guild members rose to the occasion with a spectacular group of gifts.

Gloria was our winner this year and pulled out a lot of "block" weave items from her basket.  Won't this look lovely in Gloria's kitchen or bath!
And .....how about a glass "block" with lights for
Christmas decoration!

                        Or ...... a quilting "block" pot holder.

Tongue in cheek - Nevada Bar handmade soap
And a couple of scarves - handwoven blocks on the top and a recycled sweater "felted" scarf peeking from underneath.
It was a fabulous party with good food and friends in abundance.  Many thanks go to Lorene who has hosted this annual party several times in the recent past. 
Happy Holidays from the RFG! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Iridescence Workshop

Our guild was so fortunate to have Bobbie Irwin present a two-day workshop this past weekend on how to weave the quality of iridescence into fabric.  She came loaded with information, samples and humor.
She mailed our warps in advance so that we could arrive with warped looms, ready to weave. Our colors were randomly assigned.  She assured us that each of us had won the color lottery.

We had no influence over the colors we received and she admonished us to not trade colors between each other or switch the color orders she provided in our instructions.
There were fourteen of us in the class and I'm pretty sure that none of had the same colors.
The thing that made this class so special was that it was fresh for everyone, seasoned weavers as well as the newbies.
And it was forgiving.  A newbie weaver from our summer intro class had some problems with the loom she checked out from the guild library, so a seasoned weaver stopped her own work to get the errors corrected and get the newbie back on track so she could have a good experience.
Kathy was our lone table loom weaver and while it may look clunky and slow, she whipped out her sample.  Bobbie told me that this she had never seen more floor looms in a workshop and certainly the most Schacht looms,all but three of us.
I had one of the different looms made by Dorset, no longer in business.  It was by far the lightest loom and perhaps one of the reasons it's no longer in business.  I kept having to pull it back to me.
The purpose of the workshop was to learn how to create color play between colors in warp and weft.  Perhaps you can see it in the block on right where you see both the yellow and purple. It is light dependent.
Bobbie had a nifty technique of adding tassels at the selvages with the weft colors.  I think that's far more effective than tags that never seem to make sense after the fact.

It's so hard to display the effect of iridescence in a still photo and I hope this sample shows a little of it.  We were wowed by Bobbie's samples and I think we were all challenged to take this information back to our own looms. I know I am.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September Meeting Kicks Off our Guild Year

The Reno Fiber Guild had their first meeting of the guild year on Sept. 3rd.  It was full of guild business, but there was also time for some spectacular "Show and Tell" and a "Make and Take" Christmas tree felted ornament. 
Nancy  wove and constructed this kimono.  The painted warp was 10/2 mercerized cotton sett at 24 epi.  At the shoulders, Nancy reversed the pattern so that the "feathers" would all point downward and she took advantage of the warp end to make a fringe detail on one of the sleeves.
Lorene was the winner of the "Little Luxuries" raffle basket at our May Christmas party!  Among the treasures was a skein of fluffy pink yarn which Lorene used as weft in this "luxury" scarf. 
Toni is the weaver of this tapestry.  Here is what she said about her piece.
"Sheila Hicks has been juried into several Biennials and is represented by a Gallery in New York, who displayed some of her work at the recent Art Basel in Miami, Florida last March. I find it inspiring that a fiber artist has reached the status of New York Galleries and a Paris address, and have always followed her work. I gasped when I saw the price tag on her small 8x12 inch  work entitled "Sweden" done in white and bits of blue; $10,000. and was inspired to weave my own interpretation"
And finally here is a sampling of the Christmas ornaments made under the supervision of Lorene and Victoria.

left - Lorene's ornament with rick rack border  center - Sharon's ornament and right is Suzanne's ornament.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Learning to Warp - Days 2 and 3.

Our last blog post showed our new weavers with their respective looms weaving away on their samplers.  The looms were taken home, the samples woven off - washed and prepared for "show and tell" at the next two day session in which weavers learned how to wind a warp and beam it on their looms.  Below is one of the samplers.  They were all spectacular; weavers showing us great promise for the future.

Our new weavers learned that warping is a skill unto itself. Making sure the threading cross is intact, counting the threads for the raddle - the whole nine yards!  Well, not nine yards for our weavers - just three this time.


 Mary tries her hand at warping with a reel.

 Then, there is separating the threads into their respective slots in the raddle. (Igor and Nancy are discussing the finer points of raddles and their function).

Getting the loom ready to accept the warp.  Jen, Lorene and Mary have everything well in hand here.

Threading the heddles.  Did we mention that this takes forever!  At the left, Mary is studying her options at the loom while Sheila winds her warp in the background.

Below you see Sarah intent on making sure her threading is done without errors!  A wise lady.

At the end of the second day, everyone was beamed on, threaded, the reed sleyed and the warp tied on to the breast beam. I believe Nancy is saying "I did it!"  Congratulations are certainly in order for all of our weavers. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

First Ever Weaving Class

Our guild met with seven students at the South Valleys Library on Saturday for our first ever learn-to-weave class.  With the looms warped in advance, students and mentors alike converged upon the meeting room at 10:00 for five hours of instruction.
Jen de Jung was the primary instructor though both Beryl Moody and Igor Raven taught supplemental sections and also provided a threaded loom for the students to take turns sleying. Suzanne Woodhead introduced weavers to floating selvedges and installed them on all of the student looms.
The over-head illustrations were clear and attractive.  Jen did it all with her iPad and a bluetooth keypad.  If you remember the old days of slide projectors, we have come a long way baby.
Each weaver was assigned to a student so Igor is assisting Nancy.  I think it went a long way to eliminate frustration and provide support and encouragement since the teaching time was so short.  The students were making a sampler, weaving an inch and a half of each pattern.
I was assigned to mentor Sheila.  Or rather, I was assigned to warp this loom with Sheila's name on it and thus she became my student.
She is already comfortable weaving on a rigid heddle loom so zipped right through the patterns.  She did great.  All the students did!
And then it was time to clean up and clear out.  The students are taking the looms home with them to finish up. They have all the materials they need to complete this project and a booklet of clear instructions.  The next class is a month from now when they will learn how to warp the looms.  To be continued......

Friday, July 11, 2014

Group Warping Party


Lorene and Suzanne at their respective warping boards

What happens when eight weavers  (all with highly ingrained weaving habits) get together for a group warp-in?  Well, it turns out quite a lot happens in a few hours time and along the way, lots of laughter, occasional spicy language and time out for a cup of coffee or tea!
Here is a little background about why there was a group warping party today.  The Reno Fiber Guild is concerned that there aren't enough new weavers being created these days and this year is the year we decided to do something about it.  We offered a beginning weaving class and found seven persons who are eager to learn to weave on a shaft loom.  Several have already gotten their feet wet with rigid heddle looms, but some are entirely new to the craft.  In order that these new weavers start with a positive experience, it was decided that we would provide them with warped looms for the first session and then introduce the warping process in the second session.
Well then, we were committed, weren't we?  Gayle graciously offered her home for the group warp in.  We wound warps on a variety of warping mills and boards and beamed them on table looms and one Baby Wolf loom.  Whew!  But warps still needed to be threaded, sleyed and tied on.  So, we each trundled home with a loom to finish up the warp.   The next step will be the actual class in a few weeks and we are keeping our fingers crossed that our students will have a smooth weaving experience and want to return for their second session.
Jen and her warping mill

Julie and another warping mill
Gayle getting ready to beam on her warp
The Ashford table loom all beamed and ready to thread

Sharon at the warping board 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Year of the Block

It was a beautiful day in the Sierras yesterday for the outgoing and incoming guild board members.  We had lunch in Suzanne's dining room, then spent the next three hours talking about events for the upcoming year. The first and most pressing matter is to offer weaving instruction to the ladies who have recently joined our guild as a result of our outreach.

We have the two options for workshop space that the new board will check into in the next week or two.  We hope to have these ladies weaving comfortably in time for our Iridescence workshop with Bobbie Irwin in October.

We batted around ideas for programs in the upcoming year, with an eye on continuing education.  Study groups got incorporated into a program in October.  We'll watch Madelyn van der Hoogt's video on Block Weaves, focusing on three structures, Summer and Winter, Ms and Os and Twills.  Afterwards everyone will be invited to select which block weave they would like to study.  A fourth study group for the non-weavers in the guild will determine for themselves what they would like to focus on, perhaps bead weaving, shibori or felting?

Each group will have a mentor and will work independently, culminating at the April meeting when we will meet at Gayle's house with looms set up in a variety of block weaves.  Everyone will have an opportunity to weave, round-robin style, and the samples will be donated to the CNCH Sample Exchange. The study groups will also present their results at this meeting.  Even our Christmas raffle basket is themed - Blocks!  It's the year of the block.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bow Loom Weaving

The Reno Fiber Guild meeting last night was a learning opportunity, taught by one of our own members.  Lorene had learned bow loom weaving at a conference and offered to teach the technique to the rest of us.
Several ladies who had attended our recent weaving outreach joined us for this program.  Bow loom weaving appears in many cultures.  The instructions we followed were from the Akha people in northwest Thailand, but it was also used by Indians in the American northeast to weave wampun belts.
We had to make our own looms.  We started with a long dowel, then cut five lengths of yarn which we knotted at both ends.
We secured a paperclip at each end with duct tape, opened up a second paperclip to secure one end of the yarns, did the same on the other end but drew the yarns up until our dowel had bowed - we had a bow loom.
A bow, like that on the bridge of a violin but cut from foam is what spreads the warp threads, as Mary demonstrates.
It's a really simple device.
This is what one of our instructors had woven.
And this is what one of us wove last night.  It was a surprisingly fun and satisfying way to weave decorative bands.  I don't have wampum belt  needs but I see a headband or two in my future.

9/2/2016 Marilyn Romatka has a new video out about Bow Weaving.  Go to her website to see all the details.