First OWG knit along!

Ten members joined in the first OWG knit along, choosing from two shawl patterns to knit along together.  The patterns were both “stash busters”, so knitters could use yarns they already had.  Yarns used varied immensely, from all mohair, to cotton, to merino, to sock yarn and in weights from fingering to worsted – sometimes all in the same shawl!

The group met via Zoom over three weeks in March.  Terrific, clear demonstrations of unfamiliar pattern stitches were given by the group’s leader. It was inspiring to see the yarn choices and progress of each knitter as the weeks went by.  Some members really “went rogue” on the patterns!

The shawl Patterns, “All Colors Work” and “Rogue Wave”, are both free on Ravelry online.    

Creativity Jumpstart 6: Spinning bast fibers

Spinners were able to learn the characteristics of four bast fibers first hand by spinning a representative selection of four different fibers.  (Bast fibers are produced from the stem of plants and as you might guess, tend to be long, stiff and strong – just like the stem.)  All kits included flax, hemp and bast bamboo, plus one of ramie, banana, pineapple or Himalayan nettle.

Creativity Jumpstart 5: Weaving coasters of cork

Using thin sheets of pressed cork, participants in this Jumpstart wove coasters or mats of various sizes. Each person received plain, 6″ X 12″ sheets of cork, cut them to a size that worked for their personal design, then wove and glued these strips to create coasters or larger mats. As you can see, one doesn’t have to stop at just the weaving! Vinyl cutouts, ribbon and even printing on the cork using a printer were used to enhance the cork.

Inspiring HGA “Exhibits”

If you could use a little inspiration in these last days of winter, Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) has put three online for you to view free any time. These were originally meant to be part of this past year’s Convergence conference. Find all three here:

Seasons of the Smokies is a wearable art exhibit juried by fiber artist Dianne Totten. Fiber artists were challenged to design and create clothing that is both functional and artistic. Any fiber arts technique was permitted to be used.

Vistas Along the Appalachian Trail is a yardage exhibit juried by author and fiber artist Robyn Spady. This exhibit showcases lengths of woven, constructed and/or embellished cloth using any fiber arts technique.

Symphony of the Mountains is a mixed media exhibit juried by author Kathleen Curtis Wilson. Fiber artists were encouraged to explore changes in environment, harmony with nature and the rhythm of natural cycles to celebrate the Smoky Mountains in producing high quality, contemporary works using any fiber material.

Free Videos about Fiber Crafts

If you have a bit of free time and could use a little inspiration, the following sites host free videos about fiber crafts. Two are from Handweaver’s Guild of America (HGA) and they each host different videos. All are informative and contain terrific inspiration, as well. Enjoy!

HGA’s Facebook page of videos:

HGA’s YouTube Channel:

Maiwa’s School of Textiles free “courses”:

Botanical Colors’ videos from weekly presentations:

Creativity Jumpstart 2: Dye Fabric and Yarn with Rust!

Rust dyeing produces rich, warm colors and unexpected patterns on fabric and yarn.  It is simple, easy and requires no special equipment.  Participants in this Jumpstart dyed both cotton fabric and cotton yarn using the following procedure.

Soak fabric and yarn in vinegar (no water) until thoroughly wet.  Wrap fabric and yarn around a rusty object or objects, pressing the fabric against the rusty surface.  You will see a stronger color where the fabric and yarn touch the object, so use a large enough object that the fabric and yarn can touch the object often or use several small objects like nails.  Don’t worry about wrinkles or folds in the fabric as these add to the patterning possibilities.  In fact, you can scrunch your fabric just a bit on purpose!  Wrap all this tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let cure from 24 hours to several days.  The longer it cures, the deeper the color.

Unwrap the plastic wrap and unwrap the fabric and yarn.  Do not rinse yet!  Instead, soak the fabric and yarn in salty water to stop the rusting process.  Use 1 tablespoon salt in 1 gallon of water. Rinse the fabric and yarn thoroughly, then wash in a mild detergent and dry. 

Creativity Jumpstarts in 2020-21

Creativity Jumpstart projects were begun in the 2020-21 guild year to help members continue to learn, be inspired and be involved in the Guild during the time of social distancing due to the pandemic. Simple kits were designed to jumpstart members’ creative spirit with small, fiber-based projects. Results of the projects have been shared during Showcase and now here. Just another way to enjoy the creativity of your fellow members!

Participants in the first Jumpstart explored the interaction of colors in a woven structure by wrapping, then weaving on ceramic tiles to create two magnets.

These are made by securing a “warp” yarn to the back of a small ceramic tile, then winding it around the tile to “warp” it. A weft yarn is then secured to the back of the tile and woven across the warp to create a very small woven piece on top of the tile. The last step was to secure a magnet to the back of the tile. As you can see, participants were very creative!