We were met with lovely weather this month. Spinning At The Winery was discussed as well as upcoming Convergence in Reno, along with Sheep To Shawl.
We had a small group this month. Those who did come were glad the rain took a break and we were able to sit outside.
February’s meeting met us with warm, sunny weather at the park. It was a lovely turnout with 10 spinners.
May 19: Spinning at the Winery – Retzlaff Winery, Livermore, CA
June 29-July 1: Black Sheep Gathering – Albany, OR
July 6-12: Convergence – Reno, NV
July 26-29 (?): CA State Fair Sheep Show – Sacramento, CA
August 3-5: Jacob Sheep Breeders AGM – Meridian Jacobs, Vacaville, CA
October 7-13 (?): Spinzilla Spinning Competition – Meridian Jacobs, Vacaville, CA
October 27: Hug a Sheep Day – Meridian Jacobs, Vacaville, CA
TBA: Fibershed Wool Symposium – Pt. Reyes Station, CA
We had a quick business meeting this month called to order by Aviva. The meeting was limited to introducing ourselves to Royce, a newcomer, and doing show & tell.
Kelly was present, spinning wool.
Laura was spinning on her big support spindle. She showed us a green scarf that she’d woven on a borrowed Cricket loom. It was woven from a variety of yarns made from silk and/or cotton.
Aviva was knitting a shawl from mohair that she bought at last year’s Lambtown festival.
Royce, a newcomer to our group, showed up after learning about us on our website and contacting Aviva to confirm where & when. Royce has been spinning for a few months now. She was spinning a merino/tussah silk blend on an Ashford wheel during the meeting. This was her first experience with silk. She started drafting the blend as usual but wasn’t happy with the result. She then learned about spinning from the fold and after finding that technique gave the effect she wanted, has been using it ever since. Royce is an experienced knitter. She’s been honing her spinning skills by studying sources such as Craftsy’s Foundations of Spinning. Royce showed us bags (many of them!) that she’d made.
Cookie has been spinning Cormo and California Red of late. Most recently, she’s been spinning a blend of those two wool breeds. She also showed us one ball that she’d spun from the longer wool separated out by combing California Red. That ball was close to white. And Cookie showed us a second ball spun from the leftover shorter fibers. The second ball was distinctly reddish. If it were a horse, I’d call it a roan.
Cookie brought a couple of containers she’d made using crochet and empty 2 liter plastic bottles. Cookie cut off the top of the plastic bottles and put little holes near their cut edges. She then crocheted a cylindrical section anchored in the holes. She crocheted the top of the cylinder so as to let her thread a drawstring through and added a handle. The handles were made using a crochet hook as a lucet. In one container, Cookie is keeping silk caps and a drop spindle made from a dowel and a 1 inch wooden toy wheel.
Ginger was still spinning her coarse gray Cotswold fleece. She would hand card a bit then spin it. She’s planning to weave that and some other coarse gray fleeces she has into fabric. She’s dreaming of sewing lined garments from the fabric — suits? coat? cape?
Sharon, the events coordinator at the park, dropped by and asked if any of us could come October 1 to the park’s Mountain Music Fest to demonstrate (details at http://PruschFarmPark.og). Ginger promised to send out an email to the guild with Sharon’s contact info. Unfortunately, some of us are already committed to the sheep to shawl contest Oct 1 at Lambtown. Lambtown also runs on Sunday so if any of you are in a position to demonstrate, please read your email and contact Sharon.
We met under the trees on yet another beautiful, sunny summer day.
As of July 31, we had $498.96 in our treasury. The cost of our web hosting has risen from $10.02 a month to $15.06 a month. That adds up to about $180 a year.
We have enough in our treasury at this time to cope with the marked increase in our web hosting costs.
Carol Lewis finished plying the warp for our team for October’s sheep-to-shawl content at Lambtown. She handed the warp off to our weaver during the week before our August meeting. So we’re on track for the event.
Carol Lewis relayed the recruiting call put out by Lynn Curry and Sue Duffield for volunteers to help them staff their spinning demo at the Highland Games (Labor Day weekend at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton). FYI: Margaret will be performing in the Harper’s Hall next door to the spinners.
The domain name for the World Wide Spinning Day has lapsed so it seems safe to assume that this is a defunct event. We’re not planning to do anything for it.
Shortly after Lambtown, there will be event called Spinzilla. This is a friendly, world wide competition to see who can spin the most. The event runs for a week — October 3 to 9. For details and the online sign-up, visit http://www.spinzilla.org/
FYI — if you like to dance, there is (or was over the summer?) a Barn Dance every other Wednesday at Emma Prusch Farm Park.
The rumors that Hannalore’s Custom Handweavers (in Mountain View) is going out of business right now are incorrect. Hannalore has just been recovering from hip surgery.
Show & Tell:
Ange was present at our meeting, spinning away, but brought no show & tell.
Cookie started the meeting spinning a white, fairly course fiber that like the wool some of the handspinner flocks featuring crosses such as Cotswold x Corriedale x Polypay. Later on, she switched to spinning silk on her handmade drop spindle with the polyclay whorl depicting a face. Cookie showed us a photo on her phone of a Motherbear project. If you’re on Facebook, you can also see it there. Cookie passed around some of the small balls of yarn she’d spun on her small 3-D printed Turkish spindles. Those are brightly colored drop spindles that break down into 3 pieces — two cross pieces and the spindle. Once you’ve finished spinning a spindle full, you pull out the cross pieces and slide a ready to use ball off the spindle.
Kelly went to the fiber estate sale in Layfayette. She had also had fun on a trip to Sturgis. Kelly rode behind her husband on his motorcycle. They had the practical sense to stop at hotels instead of camping out overnights. Kelly got her husband to stop at (yarn/fiber) stores enroute. Before they got back, Kelly had acquired enough yarn that she shipped a box home.
Lotus finished the knitting baby dress that she’d just started at last month’s meeting. With the tiny bit of leftover yarn from the baby outfits, she made a tiny stuffed bear.
Lotus spent much of the meeting spinning on her Inca spinner (a distinctly different take on a spindle compared to a drop spindle). The spinner she used was made by her husband. Lotus has plyed on her Inca spinner. First, she pairs up the strands from two spinner fully by taking a strand from each and winding the two unplyed strands onto a ball. Then she plys from the ball by spinning her Inca spinner in the reverse direction.
Lotus has been spinning fiber from Bar-B-Woolies. That wool is from a business run by a long ago Serendipity member so it has been well aged in Lotus’s stash. She now has two bobbins totalling 416 yards.
Ginger was spinning carded Cotswold wool at the meeting. She spent a lot of her time over the past month at non-spinning activities, e.g. reading her Kindle and knitting a beaded shawl.
Patti showed off a lovely purse that she’d made out of her crocheted squares. She had joined her squares, sewed fabric into a liner for the purse, and put it all together with a very nice handle/closure. Patti is now busy with her work as a teacher. School has started!
Nancy got a “Knit Kit in a Box”. This kits makes balls for dogs. Each ball is knitted then felted. Nancy plans to give the balls she mad for her kids’ dogs. Nancy finished knitting the socks she was working on at last month’s meeting. Nancy and her husband spent a week this past month doing US Forestry park service volunteer work near Lake View, Oregon as part of their vacation. The rest of their vacation was spent in Santa Cruz.
Nancy and her husband’s volunteer work started at the site of a wooden box mill dating back to about 1926 – 1936. The boxes were used to ship peaches and other produce. Their assignment was to look for artifacts. If the site was rich enough in artifacts, it would be considered for listing as a historical site. After hard work digging and sifting, Nancy and her husband got to tour a Morgan Butte Mountain fire lookout. The lookout stands on it searching for fires, even — or especially — during violent lightning storms. Nancy was particularly fascinated by a stool in the lookout whose feet were enclosed in the glass/ceramic thingees that you more usually see as insulators on high voltage electrical lines. The lookout stands on the stool when lightning is about, to reduce the odds of electrocution. The lookout tower has a lightning rod and grounding wire.
Margaret was knitting “knockers” as gifts. Knockers are lightly stuffed and worn inside bras to add size or balance out the bust line. Margaret took her little wheel to Tahoe on vacation. She found a book at Barnes & Noble that she found was a great source of quick-knit patterns suitable for knitting on vacation or idle times. The book was called “Last Minute Knitted Gift”. Margaret knitted pointed hats from the book’s patterns. Margaret also knitted a spiral shawl and a couple of not-yet-blocked beaded scarves.
Margaret was a very productive woman this past month as she also came with a set of 3 samplers of multi-shuttle (overshot) weaving and a new triangular shawl knitted from her favorite shawl pattern.
Carol has been travelling a lot and spinning a lot. Over the past month, she plyed all of the warp for our sheep to shawl team that will compete at Lambtown. She then started spinning white wool from the box labelled “2004” that has been sitting in her garage for some time.
It was another wonderful sunny day at Emma Prusch Farm Park. We gathered in the shade under a tree a bit farther from the playground than usual.
Before the business part of the meeting convened, we had a bit of discussion about where to get tools, fiber, and advice now that Purlessence is closing. For buying stuff, there are still events such as Stitches West in February, CNCH in some years, Spinning at the Winery in June, the Monterey Fair Wool Auction on Labor Day, the Boonville California Wool & Fiber festival in September (corrected date now in our Calendar page), and Lambtown in October. For stores in the Bay Area, we still have Carolina Homespun up in San Francisco (check dates or order online — they go to lots of events). Robyn recommended The Woolery as a good online option.
Nancy Derham couldn’t attend this meeting so Lotus read from our latest bank statement for a treasurer’s report: $514.02 is our current balance.
No one brought up any old or new business.
Sharing aka Show & Tell:
Kelly knitted her first sock — a child size blue learning project. The sock was knitted from the cuff down.
Robyn was busy the last week skirting fleeces shorn from her alpaca earlier this year. (As explained in the meeting: skirting a fleece means separating the prime fiber from the poor stuff, e.g. short fiber on head and legs or poopy fiber at the rear). Robyn walked around with the bag of black alpaca from Kissa to let us feel how soft it is. Robyn raises alpaca for a living. Kissa’s skirted fleece weighs 1 pound 4 ounces. She is selling it for $4 an ounce.
Cheryl came with her current crocheting projects. She is working a stuffed bear. She came to the meeting with 2 legs and 2 arms. Over the course of the meeting, the legs came together and the torso grew.
Cheryl also has been working on a ripple afghan.
Cookie has been spinning on various spindles in her collection of 3-D printed Turkish spindles. Each spindle consists of 3 pieces: 2 pieces that make up the cross bar whorl and 1 piece for the spindle. A very neat thing about Cookie’s spindles is that after you’ve built up your spinning, you can pull out the spindle then the cross bars, leaving you with a nice, center pull ball. Cookie showed us a handful of small balls of wool and a handful of balls of silk
Cookie won 1st place for her yarn entry at the Alameda County Fair this year.
Cookie spent most of the meeting spinning silk on a small drop spindle made some years ago at a Serendipity meeting. The whorl was made from Fimo and features a face.
Ginger has been busy sorting / disposing / rehoming the stuff in her garage. She asked if anyone had need of plastic page protectors or 3 ring binders. Several people said they could really use page protectors so Ginger is going to try to remember to bring a bunch of those she culled from her garage sort. Ginger is still spinning coarse gray wool.
Patti has started to sew her granny squares together. She’s found that her stash of squares come in two sizes. The gold and white squares are distinctly smaller than the brown and heathery gold/brown squares. After consulting an expert and learning about different ways to join squares on YouTube, Patti bought some tightly spun many ply merino to use and is sewing her squares together.
Update: Patti wore a blouse made of very breathable, extra UV resistant fabric. Since many of us go to outdoor fairs and such, she thought others would like to see what’s available to buy for sun protection. She provided details on the blouse after the meeting. The brand was recommended by by dermatologist. The site where she bought is www.coolibar.com.
Carol brought in a box holding all of the yarn she’s plyed so far for the Lambtown Sheep-to-Shawl contest. The yardage at present is approximately 1800 yards. The yarn is 2 ply, with 1 ply spun by Ginger and 1 ply spun by various others on the team. Carol spun some of the singles too.
Carol gave us a secondhand status report on spinning at the Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton. The games are a yearly event at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Lynn and Sue Duffield in the past pulled together a booth and spinners to demonstrate and provide hands-on experiences for children. This year, they needed a bit of a break and didn’t get paperwork in for a booth before the deadline. So while you can buy tickets and go on your own, perhaps showing off your drop spindle skills as you tour the event, it looks like there probably won’t be any organized demonstration this year.
If you are in to old style sailing ships: Carol gave us a heads up that the Lady Washington will be back in the bay area in November.
Lotus is trying to whittle down her cloth and fiber stash. She has been busy sewing herself new clothes out of her fabric stash. The salmon colored dress she wore to the meeting was newly sewn from her stash. Lotus brought a well aged bag of fiber purchased many years ago from Barbara Benjamin in her stash to spin at the meeting.
Lotus has also been working to reduce her yarn stash. She showed us a baby sweater and an in-progress baby dress knitted using a self-striping yarn from her stash.
The weather was beautiful, although only a few of us showed up. We didn’t really hold a formal meeting so this write-up is based on snippets of conversation and informal show & tell.
Lotus came with her family — her husband, her son & daughter-in-law, and her cute little granddaughter. Lotus gave Ginger a bank statement to pass on to our treasurer Nancy at the next meeting where both show up.
Ginger was spinning gray long wool — maybe a Lincoln cross, maybe some well aged Cotswold. Ginger just got shelving up in her craft room. She gathered her fiber related books and magazines. She downsized her collection to just what fit on the shelves. She brought the excess first to the Pleasanton senior center knitting group then to Serendipity.
Ange showed us a skein of the gray Wensleydale x Romney yarn that she was spinning at the previous few meetings. As expected, the hand of the yarn is not suitable for anything worn next to the skin. Ange brought a wool/flax blend to the meeting and was wet spinning it.
Margaret has been knitting hedgehogs. She showed us one finished hedgehog and one that was knitted and ready to stuff. Margaret just came home from a trip to Ireland. She really enjoyed watching lambs gambol in the green fields.
Cookie came with her friend Cheryl (spelling?). Both did an excellent job of picking through Ginger’s offerings and offering a good home to quite a few magazines.
Laura was spinning on her big (Navajo?) support spindle.
Book recommendation: Laura Fry – The Efficient Weaver — lots of hints on how to warp and tension.
Aviva called us to order around 11:20 am.
Nancy Derham, our treasurer, reported that the March 31 bank statement reported a balance of $554.16. Her records of our treasury, not yet reconciled against later bank statements, show $533.92 in the treasury. She has received the new credit card that replaces the recent expired one. (This is a credit card in Lotus’s name that we use to pay for our website.)
The day that we meet in September is Spin-In-Public Day. Ange has visited the website for the event and will investigate getting info about our September meeting added to that site’s list of places to go to see spinners.
Aviva got email confirming that the Monterey County Fair Wool Auction will indeed be held on Labor Day (Monday) this year.
The core group of Serendipity Spinners that are planning to participate in the Sheep-to-Shawl event Oct 1 at Lambtown will be meeting tomorrow. We polled those at the meeting who’d expressed interest to see who was more firmly interested. At this point, Ange will be helping Carol and Ginger spin singles for the warp. Aviva said she’d prefer to only be a backup.
The Scottish Games are coming up on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Lynn helped make arrangements for those that went to demonstrate spinning there last year. She and Carol attested that it is a fun event. It looks like we will probably be less organized for the event this year.
Show & Tell:
Aviva had to leave early. She shows us a towel that she was making. The stripe of darker color in the photo was dyed using Osage orange plus iron. The yarn is a merino/angora blend.
Ange is continuing to spin gray Wensleydale X Romney fiber.
Patti finished spinning her brown merino. She is now spinning natural white wool purchased to spin at her church’s yearly Bethleham reenactment. Patti is also practicing her new skill of crocheting. She made quite a few more granny squares from her handspun gold and white yarns.
Laura is spinning on her big support spindle some Suffolk fleece that she got as a freebie a couple of meetings ago and dyed brown (photo). Laura has also been weaving and spinning at home. She finished spinning a couple of balls of blue variegated “fat yarn”. At the meeting, she showed us a recent weaving project.
Kelly picked up a bit too much fiber at Ginger’s fiber giveaway last fall. She brought the excess to the meeting to give away. Kelly showed off the blending board that she made from a cutting board, following the general blending board design that Cookie used to make her blending board. Kelly decorated her blending board with a sheep design, using wood burning.
Karla showed up for the first time at Serendipity. She is a new spinner. She is a new spinner that learned at a workshop in Arizona. At the meeting, she was spinning yarn on a large support spindle to add a bit more twist so that it work better for a weaving project that she has in mind.
Ginger has started in on decluttering her garage and so hasn’t had much time for spinning at home.
Nancy Derham has been busy because May is a birthday month in her family. Two daughters have May birthdays. Nancy showed us two pair of socks she finished knitting. Nancy has also started knitting a replacement pair of skippers for her Japanese son-in-law who lives in Pennsylvania. The pair Nancy gave him as a gift in January already has big holes.
While Nancy visited Pennsylvania in April, she found a hat knitted from very soft spun yarn or roving at a thrift store. Nancy bought it for $1 and dolled it up with a flower. Nancy is spinning some pretty but not very soft dark violet.
Carol is trying to spin through her “archives” in her garage. She is currently spinning from a box labelled 2004. She’s been watching Netflix as she spins. Her recent non-hand-spinning project is a knitting project working up some souvenir yarn Carol bought while visiting a friend in Liverpool.
Sharolene is spinning multi-color yarn from fiber she dyed. Sharolene thinks the fiber is probably a wool/silk blend dyed in a Nancy Finn class.
Sharolene and a friend took a warp dyeing class in Columbia a couple of years ago. They dyed bast fiber. Sharolene used the left over dye to dye cotton balls that had been soaked the night before in mordant.
Sharolene has also been busy weaving. She made a tuck lace piece. She brought and showed us a sampler. She has multiple yards of that hand woven tuck lace at home. It is woven from yarn that she got at Jean Shoe’s estate sale.
Since our treasurer Nancy couldn’t make the meeting, Lotus reported on what the bank said we had as of the March statement: $554.16
Retzlaff Winery is hosting Spinning at the Winery on June 4 this year, from 10-4. Retzlaff Winery is at 1356 Livermore Ave on the outskirts of Livermore, CA. There will be the usual $5 entrance fee that also covers parking your car. Background: The brother of Will Taylor of the Treadles 2 Threads spinning group owns the winery and has kindly hosted this event for quite a few years now. Spinners congregate and enjoy the winery ambiance. Lunch is a potluck. Please do not bring drinks — buy them at the winery. A number of vendors typically show up to tempt us with fine fleece and other spinning goods. Morro Bay mill normally shows up at this event so if you have fleece you want prepared or buy one at the event, you can hand it over. For more details about the event, see treadles2threads.blogspot.com
The Mt. Lassen Fiber Guild is having their 5th annual Fiber Fusion event October 8-9 2016 at Historic Patrick Ranch and Museum — 10381 Midway, Durham CA. That is about 2 miles south of Chico. There is a $5 admission and free parking. This event features a fiber marketplace, spinning and weaving demos, yarn and textile competitions, a sheep dog trial, some free mini workshops, and children’s activities. It runs 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday Oct 8 and 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday Oct 9. For more information, visit www.Fiber-Fusion.org.
If you are interested in events, look into the Wool and Apple festival. It’s held in late September in Boonville. The event coordinators just sent us this info in an email:
The Annual California Wool and Fiber Festival will be held in conjunction with
Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show. CWFF hosts The California National Wool Show
with entries from all over the country. From the source of the fiber, come follow the thread
to the fine fiber end products. The show will also include Angora rabbit and sheep shearing demonstrations, a fiber arts show, vendors and the famous spinning competition and much more.
California Wool and Fiber Festival in conjunction with
The Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show
September 12 – 14,2014, from 10 am to 8pm
Mendocino County Fair Grounds
14400 Hwy 128, Booneville, CA 95415
For information call Nancy Finn at 707-459-8558
or visit our website at
Show & Tell:
Ange showed us yardage she made for CNCH. She brought together her stash of small balls of handspun from assorted classes, etc., arranged to them to distribute the main colors, and wove them at a sett of 8 epi. Ange spent the meeting spinning a gray/brown Wensleydale x Romney fleece that had been pin drafted at Morro Bay.
Aviva showed us what she’d done with her Return to Sender sample from CNCH. (CNCH = Conference of Northern California Handweavers. In the Return to Sender, you receive fiber, spin it — possibly with additions of your own — and return the yarn to the sender. There is a follow up event called Return to Return to Sender in which you receive yarn spun for Return to Sender, work it up in some project, and return that.)
Aviva had a red handspun sweater that she knitted up in a red-on-red Fair Isle pattern. After carefully cutting her steeks and taking them down, she put it in the washer for a short time to finish. Unfortunately it shrank about 3 inches and no longer fits. One lesson she learned: her instructor on making steeks said that it doesn’t matter what thread you use to sew your steek. Aviva used brown on her red sweater and it did show. When the cardigan is unbuttoned, the steek can show. Aviva hid her brown thread by putting down a sewing tape to hide the brown.
Aviva is starting to spin some blue fiber that she got from Abstract Fiber at Stitches. She’s planning to make a white sweater with blue and red stripes. Aviva ordered a pocket wheel. This is a tiny, 6 pound wheel that fits into a fairly small bag. It features direct drive and has pedals. It works with several kinds of common bobbins, including those for Ashford wheels. The Pocket Wheel ships with just a spindle. There is quite a waiting list. Aviva thinks she’ll get hers in about a year.
Lotus also has an order in for a Pocket Wheel. She got a lot of information about the wheel from the Pocket Wheel group on Ravelry. The wheels start at $600. The cost goes way up if you order one made from exotic woods.
Lotus showed us her Return to Sender project for CNCH. She fought colors that bled and struggled to work with colors that she felt were ugly. She did get a blue ribbon, though, for her mix of yarns that in total met the threshold of 50 yards to qualify for the contest.
Lotus entered a multi color vest into the CNCH fashion show. She finished the vest on Monday — just ahead of the CNCH start on Thursday. She added interest by deliberately exposing the selvages on the back and weaving in some thrums. The vest has a false dart to make the shoulder sit right. It is woven from singles.
Lotus experimented with dying wool with avocado peels. She put the peels and wool into water then simmered for 1.5 to 2 hours. She said that it is OK if you have some seed too. Her white wool turned a brownish pink color she called “Old Rose”.
Lotus’s final show & tell item was a weaving project from a class she took: Weaving with Supplemental Warp. The brown square pattern was made by laying a supplemental wrap on top of primary white warp that was wound onto the beam. She used a stick to keep the brown warp draped off the back of the loom from mingling with the base white warp. The project was woven from 5/2 cotton.
Ginger finished a (non-handspun) crochet project — a Silver Bells afghan made with Tunisian crochet panels and cross stitch design.
Lynn is going to be a grandmother again. She made a baby blanket with a simple center and a feather & fan stitch on the outside. Lynn has ordered a larger charkha — the Bosworth charkha. It is due to arrive this fall.
Lynn will be sending out email to kick off our attempt to organize for this fall’s sheep to shawl event. We’ve got openings on the team that competed last year because Lotus wants to rest the day after she gets back from vacation instead of competing. This is the first Saturday in October. If enough people are interested, we’ll field two teams.
Patti went to stitches and took classes on how to knit and how to crochet. She finished spinning and plying the fiber she received at our Christmas gift exchange. She has been crocheting squares. So far, she has white and gold squares. Patti decided that the crochet shawl she’d been planning to do was just too big and complex a project for a beginner so she’s making squares that she can later combine in some way. Patti feels she’s made a lot of progress, especially at being able to spot her mistakes and figure out what to fix or compensate.
Jennifer came late and almost missed show and tell. She spun up 4 full bobbins and made a scarf on one weekend binge. Jennifer started knitting a year ago. She is planning to bring her finished objects but so far, is doing better at starting projects. Right now she has 2 shawls, 1 blanket, and 1 cape all in progress.
Jennifer has also been busy with Ajax. She and Ajax have been invited to an extended Renaissance event.
Jennifer toured a fiber mill. She learned a lot about the financial aspects of running a mill. The mill was outside of Davis but the notes taken at our April meeting didn’t include the name of the mill.
On the topic of fiber mills: Lotus reported that a new mill is opening just south of Ukiah. Lotus didn’t know its name.
Cookie arrived even later than Jennifer. She modeled a handspun silk scarf she’d made.
FYI: Cookie tipped us off to an event to be held at Ardenwood the day after our April meeting.