Monday, October 7, 2019

Angora Goat Shearing Demonstration in Sierra Valley

Reno Fiber Guild members are always interested in fiber.  Where it comes from, how it is processed and how to obtain local products.  Each year an event is held in the Sierra Valley in Northern California  called the Sierra Valley Art and Ag Trail.  Visitors travel from farm to farm, enjoying the produce and, in this case, the animal demonstrations. 

Several RFG members attended the event this year.  Nancy took the following photos and the shearer is RFG member, Sarah Lillegard.

"Each fall the Sierra County Arts Council hosts the Sierra Valley Art + Ag Trail.  Participants stop at one of the “trailheads” to pick up a map of the participating ranches. At each stop they visit a barn that has a display of the history and work of the ranch along with a variety of artisans and crafts people offering their wares for purchase.  My favorite stop is the Harvey Ranch. They raise sheep and alpacas and always have interesting demonstrations showing the process of turning the fleece to cloth.  Imagine my delight this year when there was a shearing demonstration featuring our very own Sarah Lillegard. Darla Garey-Sage and her daughter Sara were there as well. It is always a popular event. This year’s attendees were especially intrepid given the rain and snow we experienced! The weather is usually beautiful.  I was introduced to the Trail by Pati Falk and highly recommend it. For members who would like more information:  https://sierravalleyartagtrail.org/ "- Nancy Sanger

"I was shearing Anna Harvey’s angora goats as a demonstration for the annual Sierra Valley Art and Ag Trail. Anna Harvey and her family run Harvey Farms and Forestry in Calpine, CA when they have been raising and producing local wool for five generations. This was my first time offering a public shearing demonstration and I was delighted to see friends and Fiber Guild members stop by." - Sarah Lillegard















Sarah is also involved with Fibershed and writes articles about plant and animal fibers that are harvested locally.  Click here for links to articles she has written.

If you are interested in learning more about the Harvey Farm, there is a nice little video to watch here.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Guatemalan Textiles Lecture by Virginia Glenn

Virginia Glenn and her husband Norm are intrepid travelers.  Virginia loves ethnic textiles and shared her recent travels to Guatemala where she and her husband bought many pieces that she shared with the guild at the September meeting. 
 

Many of the textiles she brought back with her are handwoven huipil with various types of embroideries.  Some were hand embroidered, some had machine embroidery and some had decorations that were hard to tell how they had been attached.



One of the outstanding pieces in Virginia's collection was this cloth shown below.  It is a warp and weft ikat called Jaspe.  Here is a little article about this marvelous type of textile and how it is made.   Virginia intends to have this yardage sewn into a garment for her own use. 


 The photo below is of a huipil that is entirely covered with embroidery.  It  was the most expensive thing Virginia purchased in her Guatemalan travels and is exquisite.  Virginia explains that she does not barter with the indigenous people as she travels.  She feels that the amount of expertise and time that goes into the making of their textiles , is worth whatever they ask.


In the photo below, Virginia stands between two sisters showing off their handwoven huipil. Many huipil have neck openings that are too small for most American sized women.  The Guatemalan women tend to be shorter and smaller in stature.
 
Below is one of the sashes Virginia has in her collection. This textile is very similar to one shown on the cover of Peter Collingwood's book, The Maker's Hand.
 
 
The lecture and accompanying textiles were a delight and the guild was very happy to have had this opportunity to hear the lecture.  Thank you Virginia and Norm for making it possible.

There are a couple of books that Virginia recommended and are readily available in the U.S. from Thrums Books.  A Textile Traveler's Guild to Guatemala and  Traditional Weavers of Guatemala  Both books are by Deborah Chandler who wrote a book well known to weavers - Learning to Weave with Debbie Redding. (Debbie Redding and Deborah Chandler are one in the same person).

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sage Weavers Highlights

Sage Weavers meetings continue throughout the summer months when the guild has a bit of a break in June, July and August.  Vacations leave our meetings a bit sparse sometimes, but it is still fun to connect when and where we can.

In July and August we had members back from CNCH and MAFA.  And, some had just been busy at their looms, so we had lots to talk about and lots of projects to enjoy.  Because many of you did have vacation plans and weren't able to join us this summer, here are a few highlights.

Diane S. brought in a luxurious scarf woven with 60/2 silk in two different painted skeins.  She said that the colors were of a very similar value, therefore worked well with each other.  Diane's draft used a parallel threading with a nonrepeating treadling sequence.  Sett is 60 epi, and beat at about 56 epi.  The design is striking, the hand is wonderful and Diane showed off her  trademark double weave selvedge.  She thought you might want to try a double weave selvedge on your next piece?  Here is a link. https://callybooker.co.uk/2017/10/comparing-selvedges/   (Note that you will need four shafts dedicated to the selvedge treatment).
 Rae brought in a couple of towels woven using three shafts (see our previous posts from our last year's 3 shaft study group).  This towel was woven with the light  side up - but Rae found that she like the side with the bright stripes better.  What do you think?  This towel was woven with 5/2 cotton and sett at 16 epi.


 Sue M. had been to a Rosalie Neilsen class on Rep Weave.  She wasn't pleased with her first attempts, so she put on another warp and wove  this stunning table runner.  She said it wasn't an easy weave because the warp was so dense that all the shafts tended to rise every time she tried to open a shed.  Slow weaving - but a stunning piece.  The warp was 3/2 cottons sett at 48 epi.





Lorene S. has been experimenting with thick and thin structure.  She did a couple of infinity scarves, but brought in the ends of the warps to show us what she has been weaving.  They both feature chenille as the thick thread in both warp and weft.  The circle  pattern was featured in Handwoven Nov/Dec 2016.  This same magazine has a lot of information about thick and thin and Diversified Plain Weave which is the guild's structure study for this next year.  Circles are rare in woven design and these are really special.


Anni B. needed to beef up her stash of baby blankets - just in case!  She found Tom Knisely's article in the May/June 2019 issue of Handwoven and wove several blankets on the same warp.  Anni says she rarely follows the pattern or directions without changing something, but this time  she did.  Both of the pieces shown here were woven on a straight draw threading.  The amazing part of the undulating design is  that the floats are tied down with a tabby pick between each pattern pick.  The other design is a waffle weave and can be used as a nice thirsty towel for baby.


 
Kathy R. has been following along with weaving lessons from the Jane Stafford's Online Guild.  She was intrigued with a recent project that used linen in the warp and silk in the weft.  Kathy used some 40/2  linen that had belonged to her grandmother who was also a weaver.  The linen gives some body to the scarf, but the silk really changes the character of the piece.  The scarf is very supple and its drape is amazing.   In order to get the shear sections next to the firmly woven sections, you need to cram some  threads closely in the reed and spread others out in a loose sett.  The weaving is done pretty much in the same way by lightly beating several picks and then carefully beating wefts  with greater force for the closely woven sections.  A great technique that is well worth learning.


 
 
Kathy also belongs to the thick and thin study group.  At a previous Sage Weavers' meeting we discussed the fact that Summer and Winter can be woven with thinner tabby picks and a heavier pattern weft.  Kathy wove two textured silk scarves in Summer and Winter using this technique. Another way to get an undulating pattern without the floats!
 
 
Every Sage Weavers has handwoven pieces that amaze.  If you are interested in weaving and live in the Reno area, please check our blog calendar and join us when we meet.




Monday, July 29, 2019

Learn to Weave - 2019



Jann's joy is evident as she tensions her first warp going over the back beam of her loom.
It is always great fun to look at the photos from the annual Learn to Weave program put on by Reno Fiber Guild .  This year's program had four students; three learning how to weave on floor looms and one student learning to weave on her rigid heddle loom.

Of course, before you can beam on a warp, you must wind one. 


Sarah L.


Sara G.
These photos are from a two day session in which everyone learned how to wind a warp, get it beamed on, thread it through the heddles and finally lash it on to the front apron rod.  It's a big chunk to learn, but the Learn to Weave classes come complete with a mentor for each student.  The goal is for everyone to have a warp at the end of those two days so that they can take their loom home and practice weaving.
 



 

Virginia M. was the first rigid heddle student in the Learn to Weave program.  She had two mentors to help her put together her loom and then learn how to get a warp on it.

This is Jann's loom with that beautiful sea foam green warp lashed on and ready to weave.





The photo above is Suzanne W. who has been organizing the Learn to Weave program for several years.  From the smile on her face, I think she is enjoying the process every bit as much as the students were. 
 
Stay tuned for the next post which will show you everyone's sampler.  There will be two more days of classes in August to cement what has been learned.  The goal is for everyone to feel confident enough to do this again on their own.  And, of course, they are always welcome to more mentor help if they run into problems.
 
Thanks to Karen and Suzanne who took these great photos.
 





Sunday, April 14, 2019

Results of the 3 Shaft Study Group Part III


 
When you explore plain weave, you find out just how many ways there are to create exciting cloth.  Three shafts is even more varied and exciting and texture is a big part of the picture.  The first few examples here are texture weaves, woven with either the same warp and weft or a very similar color warp and weft.

This sample was woven by Anni B. from page 32 in Erica's book.  Anni had to modify the draft a bit to fix a long float.  She sett her warp at 30 epi.  The yarn is something from Anni's stash called Orlec and she wove a dresser scarf for her mother and these samples.
 
Beryl M. woven samples from a multi-ply cotton yarn she had dyed in the ball - giving it a variegated appearance.  The warp was sett at 10 epi making this a weft faced fabric.  The draft is extremely simple and fabric sett for a balanced weave would look much different.  The weft in this sample almost entirely covers the warp.










 
The three texture samples above were also woven by Beryl M.  Some of the cloth would make good curtains as you can see through it easily (like lace).  The pieces were all woven with a cotton warp  which is about 8/2 in size.  The weft is 5/2 mercerized cotton which is a bit whiter than the warp.  The drafts came from pages 39-41 in Erica's book and the structures are related to Swedish Lace and Huck Lace.  The last sample was held so that the light could come through it and show the texture.

 
 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Results of the 3 Shaft Study Group Part II

When it comes to study groups, participation is really the key to success.  For the past couple of study groups, we have been trying something new.  We are experimenting with  a group that is a combination of online and in person communications. Everyone in the group has access to an online mail group in which they can respond to questions, post photos and share results.  Our membership comes from anyone who has interest and is also a member of a CNCH guild.
 
How are we doing?  Well, we do have a pretty active participation in the Reno Fiber Guild, but not so much from members of other guilds. This is probably because guild members outside the Reno area aren't able to show up to meetings with their projects in hand.  The lack of personal interactions doesn't help some folks feel like they are a real part of the group.  Since weaving is already a rather isolated endeavor, not knowing group members has its limitations.  We have more work to do to make this experiment a success.
 
Now to the second part of the projects that were woven for this study.
 
Shelley N. wove this lovely, colorful scarf using the draft in the Weaving on 3 Shafts, page 37. Shelley used a 5/2 hand dyed Tencel and 8/2 cotton in navy.  The directions called for a black or dark thread on shaft 1 and pattern colors on shafts 2 and 3.  Shelley chose not to do that because the hand dyed yarn had so many colors.  It was sett at 24epi and Shelley finds it a bit stiff for a scarf.  Her suggestion is to use finer yarn or a less dense sett for a scarf.  For a table runner, the sett would be fine as is.  Shelley supplied samples of this cloth for everyone in the sample exchange.

Shelley also wove the samples in the photo above.  She got the yarns and pattern from Halcyon Yarns.  The original pattern was configured as a four shaft weave, but was actually only using three shafts.  Shelley found the exact same pattern in Erica's book on page 32.  The samples were woven with Block Island Blend yarn - (cotton, rayon & hemp).  She made a series of placements in addition to the samples using this draft.


Igor wove a gamp on page 9 in Erica's book.  There are nine different threadings, all tromp as writ to give 81 different designs and the sample shown above is just a small part of the total.  He had to make a few alterations in the threading so that he can weave off the rest as dishtowels without floats being too long.  The warp is 10/2 cotton sett at 24 epi.  He tried several different colored wefts to get one in which the pattern showed.  Some of the designs are quite tiny.
 
This is Nancy S. shawl that she wove with directions she downloaded from Webs.  The  pattern was called Chiyo Mobius Shawl and it turned out to be on three shafts.  You can see the open patterning stripes in the version that Nancy wove.  She also added a supplementary warp in gold as an accent.  Nancy then sewed the two ends of the shawl together to form a Mobius which allows it to be worn "hands free"  She said she loved that it was so quick and easy to weave.

There are a few more projects to show and more are still on the loom.  There will be another blog post in a few days.

 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Results of the Three Shaft Study Group Part I

RFG members and others from CNCH Guilds are winding down our year long study of three shaft weaves.  Primarily we used Erica de Ruiter's book, Weaving on 3 Shafts, which gave us a treasure trove of drafts and information on doing pick up using just three shafts on our looms.  But there were other sources as well, such as samples from past Complex Weavers' sample exchanges and the book Forgotten Pennsylvania Textiles of the 18th and 19th Centuries, by Thompson, Grant and Keyser.  Weavers were astounded at the complexity achieved with these drafts and techniques.  This post serves to share with other weavers the results of our journey.

Lilli M. shared a three shaft bead leno scarf.  Lilli is a relatively new weaver and she was experimenting with a "new to her" technique when she wove this scarf.  What amazed her most was how the threads twisted once woven. A friend thought that the scarf had been knitted, but Lilli explained that she doesn't know how to knit!  The instructions for weaving 3 shaft bead leno are in Erica's book on pages 82-86.


Kathy R. wove a color and weave gamp  and shared samples with a group of eight study group members.  This cloth was woven with 10/2 cottons and sett at 30epi.  Each color was a 2" segment, treadled to square.  The draft for this particular cloth is on page 32 of Erica's book.  Kathy also made towels from this draft.  It is hard to see the details in this photo, but the actual sample just pops with wonderful little textures.



Diane S. shared this sample made with Just Our Yarn Caravan  (65% lambs wool/35% camel down).  She used the draft in Erica's book at the bottom left of page 37.  She finished the samples cloth and a scarf with an aggressive warm wash to make the yarn bloom.  The cloth was laid flat to dry and then a light steam press.  This cloth is also quite textured and the floats didn't behave as well as Diane could have hoped.  However, the cloth is very soft and spongy and the scarf will be very warm with all the little waffles in it. 

 
This cloth was also woven by Diane S.  The detail of the towel above is woven with 20/2 Lily cotton. and sett at 32 epi for a looser cloth suitable for towels.    She also wove a more substantial sample sett at 36 epi, which gave a more balanced cloth.  The draft for the towel above is from page 32 in Erica's book.  Again, the most amazing thing is the wonderful detail in the tiny patterns.

see description of Karen S. towels under the photo below
Karen S. wove two renditions of navy and white towels.  One of them (top photo) has longer floats and Erica's draft on page 32 were used in this towel.  The other towel with the dots (see photo above) was woven with a draft from a weaving manuscript of Joseph Leisy, 1793.  The color and weave effects were added by Jayne Flanagan in a sample exchange with the EWBM group of Complex Weavers.  This delightful towel defies you to think of it as being woven on three shafts.

There are lots more samples and projects to show from this study group.  Stay tuned for Part 2 in a week or so.

 



Monday, March 25, 2019

Pine Needle Basket Workshop

Reno Fiber Guild members enjoy access to some wonderful workshops.  Here is what the guild president had to say about the pine needle basket workshop held this past Saturday at the South Valleys Library.


We had a great class with Michelle Hazelton of Lakes Basin Creations on Saturday.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and came home with a finished basket at the end of the 4 hour class, along with the knowledge needed to make more.  There is already some talk about having Michelle back to teach her next class of more advanced techniques.  Here are some photos of the day.
 
Nancy B.