Sunday, December 2, 2018

An "Off the Beaten Path" Christmas Party 2018


 The Reno Fiber Guild Christmas Parties often seems to be a magnet for a snow storm, and this year was no exception.  The day started with some light flurries and as the party time neared, it turned into heavy snow in Reno and surrounding communities.  As a result, we probably had fewer party goers than we usually do.  But - there were some hardy souls who didn't let a little bit of snow deter them from the wonderful potluck and the yearly tradition of the raffle basket.

This year's party was held at Lorene's home.  She also stores all the guild's looms and equipment.   Lorene took us on a tour to see everything that is available for checkout and there were a few surprises at just how many tools we have at our disposal. 

Pre-potluck discussions among like minded members.

The raffle basket theme (and we always have a theme) was "Off the Beaten Path"  (This theme was chosen because our 2018-2019 programs are all about embracing something different in our fiber journey.)  Each member brings a gift for the basket, interpreting the theme in any way they like.

Handmade raffle tickets because the ticket person got snowed in!

The big winner of the raffle basket  was Cheri B. and what  bounty she received.  Gifts covered everything from exciting novelty yarns, fiber books, pottery, an amaryllis bulb to a handknit lace shawl to die for.  Usually there is a second raffle for the gift that the winner brought and Kathy T. won Cheri's handmade face cloth.

The Reno Guild wishes everyone a fabulous
 Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Betty Vera Workshop - Weaving Beautifully with Neutrals

Members of the Reno Fiber Guild have been eagerly anticipating a workshop with Betty Vera on weaving with neutral colors.  The workshop had been planned for nearly a year and the three day weaving extravaganza in November came and went all too soon. 
There were 16 students in the class, each with a loom they had warped according to Betty's instructions.  Each person used a different threading which was capable of being interpreted in 6 different ways with treadling and color variations.

Weavers started by weaving on their own warped loom, then rotated to another loom for a grand "round robin".    The goal was to weave seventeen samples for each of 6 treadling sequences on every loom.  Some looms got all the samples woven, and some looms turned out to be very labor intensive and didn't produce as many different samples.  The color surprises were everywhere and from time to time, Betty did a grand tour and talked about what was happening on each loom.

A five color gradation  in the warp sets off a variety of overshot patterns.  This warp was one of the most spectacularly successful in the workshop

Nathalie weaving a lace sample from one of Else Regensteiner's books.

 In the photo to the right, Betty discusses the progress of a sample with Kathy.  Betty encouraged weavers to interpret the weft color selections she had outlined with their own eye and  gut feelings.  Weavers were often asked to pick a weft color that they would never ordinarily use.

Betty put together this mixing of neutral yarns with an explanation about how they could change the appearance of the woven cloth.  Very good advice and ideas for future projects.

Summer and Winter samples gave amazing results with a warp using black and four different shades of gray.

 The photo to the right and the one below show more repeats of the lovely Maltese Cross overshot pattern threading with different treadling sequences and different colors.

Suzanne is engrossed weaving an 8 shaft intermittent twill from G. H. Oelsner

Four shaft crackle (with tabby) taken from Mastering Weave Structures by Alderman

Darla is deep in concentration as she weaves samples on an unfamiliar loom.

This is one of the intermittent twill samples.  The warp was a gradation of 6 cold grays.

Gloria and Kathy share the good light coming in through the window at the Wolf Run Golf Course Community room where the workshop was held. 

Cheri and Shelley cutting up samples to share

The workshop ended with the woven cloth being cut into samples which were inserted into a sample binder.  All the information for all of the  warps was included in each binder so that workshop participants had a record of what was woven on every loom.

Now, as we look at the fading landscape in late fall, our eyes are drawn to all those lovely grays and browns.  Color we used to shun are now eagerly embraced for future weaving projects.  Thank you, Betty, for changing the way we look at and use neutrals!

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.