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Meeting Notes – March 2016

The weather was good enough to let us meeting outside. Aviva called us to order.

Treasurer’s Report:

Nancy reported that our balance as of February 23 was $564.18 based on her calculations. Nancy had not received the latest bank statement from Lotus yet so the balance has not been reconciled.

Old & New Business (Except for Stitches Reports):

Several of our members signed up to demonstrate at Hidden Villa on April 2. Cookie and Nancy Derham were the meeting attendees who’d signed up.

Show & Tell:

Cookie went to a workshop by the owner of Meridian Fibers. She got lessons on how to skirt fleeces, as well as on sheep husbandry. Cookie shows us samples of the brown, gray, and white fleece she got at the class. Half of each sample had been washed and the other half left in its natural, greasy state.

Laura unwrapped an 11″ support spindle she’d just received from someone on Ravelry who had been working hard at stash reduction. Laura has been working this past month on an old Clemes & Clemes drum carder. She has cleaned it and used epoxy to fix the worst of the damage. She showed us some Easter colored batts from her now well-behaved carder. Laura has been using toilet paper rolls to hold the singles she winds off from her spindles. Her latest prize is half an ounce of guanaco.

Easter color batts

Easter color batts

Laura's new spindle

Laura’s new spindle

Inspired by Cookie, Kelly bought a cutting board, used wood burning to decorate it with sheep, and bought carding cloth. Kelly has not yet fully assembled the components into a carding board. Kelly got dowels to doff fiber from her board at Home Depot. The folks there have a service for cutting dowels and boards to size.

Kelly is spinning a silk / merino blend she bought at Stitches from a vendor named Lisa.

Kelly's prizes from Stitches

Kelly’s prizes from Stitches

Nancy learned the Magic Knot technique — or perhaps more accurately, has succeeded a couple of times and is just beginning to work on getting it down pat. This is an old technique used to join threads and yarns. If done well, the knot is barely findable. You can even cut off the ends and the knot will stay. Nancy spotted a fellow sock knitter in a waiting room at Kaiser using the technique to make stripped socks the hard way (i.e. not with self striping yarn). Nancy found instructions for the technique on-line and is working to learn how to do it. She demonstrated following directions to make a knot in the pair of socks she was knitting. After knitting a row or two more, she managed to find the knot again for a phot. Nancy wore her finished pair of multi-cuff socks.

Magic Knot used in a sock

Magic Knot used in a sock

Nancy's Multi-Cuff Sock

Nancy’s Multi-Cuff Sock

Aviva was spinning some mystery batts made some time ago at one of our mystery batt meetings. She is planning to give them to a woman that knits stuffed dragons for babies. Aviva, too, went to Stitches and did a pretty good job of restraining herself. She came home with yarn for two projects plus a modest amount of fiber. The fiber was from a vendor, Abstract Fiber, that Aviva knew from a previous encounter at Blacksheep Gathering up in Oregon. Aviva fell for a bag of yak/merino blend and a couple of other small bags of yummy fiber.

Aviva pulling off some mystery batt to spin

Aviva pulling off some mystery batt to spin

Sharolene knitted a garment — a snood? — for a friend. This is a garment that one wears pulled down around the shoulders. After ad libbing a pattern, Sharolene learned that normally such a garment has shaping at the top to help it stay in place. She plans to retrofit it with ribbing as soon as she can settle on a pretty design that will mesh with the existing cable pattern. The snood was knit from alpaca.

Sharolene's snood in progress

Sharolene’s snood in progress

Sharolene also showed us some beautiful yarn spun from multiple shades of blue. She started with 4 colors and mixed half of each with its neighboring colors. She spun this Polwarth into the skeins. Sharolene also fell for some of the lush fiber from Abstract Fiber at Stitches. She got a silk/yak/merino blend. She has already blended lots and spun up some red/purple/black yarn.


Sharolene's yarns

Sharolene’s yarns

Ginger didn’t do much spinning over the past month. She’s back to sorting and decluttering. She is working on a Christmas season themed afghan made from commercial yarn.

Ginger's afghan in progress

Ginger’s afghan in progress

February 2016 Meeting Notes

We started our February meeting under cloudy skies and on damp grounds. After some debate about whether to set up on a less damp patch of earth outside or somewhere inside, we settled outside. The weather turned sunny as the meeting progressed, although the temperature stayed chilly.

We gathered for our February 2016 meeting

We gathered for our February 2016 meeting

During the course of the meeting, various members mentioned a variety of events that others might be interested in:

  • Sheep Shearing Day at Hidden Villa — April 2nd – Jump on this asap if you are interested in demonstrating. The event is open to the public (for a fee?) if you just want to attend to introduce friends to the end-to-end fiber process.
  • Blacksheep Handweavers’ Guild has a display at the Redwood City Library right now.
  • Living History Day at Ardenwood – Ardenwood has a Living History Day in early March.
  • California State Fair – runs July 8 – 24, 2016. There are classes for hand spun! The deadline for entry paperwork is April 27. Entries are due later and can be submitted in person (in Sacramento) or by mail. visit, contact, or call (916) 263-0989.
  • Highland Games – Labor Day weekend at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Lynn, Lynnette, and Sue (Grant) have a booth. Contact one of them if you want to join the fun demonstrating.
  • Jennifer with her horse Ajax will be participating in a Renaissance War (reenactment with jousting etc.). The event itself will span a 10 day period April 29th – May 8th. Contact Jennifer if you want to watch the local practice on April 10.
  • Tall Ships — The Tall Ships that several members have had fun taking trips on are currently touring the bay area. They are currently at the Port of Oakland. From there, they will travel on to Antioch, Sausalito, and the Port of Redwood City. The tall ship Lady Washington featured on TV as the Jolly Roger.

We started Show & Tell with Carol Lewis. She’s been binge watching TV while spinning away. Carol is trying to turn big bags of white 2004 vintage Corriedale cross fleece into yarn for blankets. Carol said she had thought she was almost to the bottom of the last bag when she uncovered yet another large bag. Carol had three or four very full bobbins on various holders on her wheel — a token of her spinning efforts. She made a valiant effort during the meeting to finish the not-really-final bag but the bag had an ounce or so more wool than the meeting had time. Carol gave us a heads up on the visiting tall ships and on the California State Fair. Carol had already gone to Stitches. She had succeeded in restraining herself, coming home with only two books and a small amount of yarn. She passed the books around so that we could peek. One was Splendid Apparel. It featured all kinds of ways to embellish knitting. The other was The Modern Natural Dyer.

Nancy Derham delivered the treasurer’s report. She once travelled on a tall ship in Maine. That ship stopped in many of the ports in Maine as it worked its way down the coast. Nancy said that her trip in March some years back was very cold. The sailors clearly had to work very hard as they were always going from rope to rope, raising one or lowering another. The trip was a great adventure, though! Nancy wore a blue and white stripped hand knit sweater and multi-cuffed sockets she’d knitted earlier. She is now working on socks for relatives made out of bamboo blend yarn she stumbled on at a Tuesday Morning store for $1.99 a skein. (Tuesday Morning stores carry an eclectic assortment of overstocked goods so you never know what you’ll find.)

Nancy with first sock knit out of her Tuesday Morning find

Nancy with first sock knit out of her Tuesday Morning find

Jennifer brought neither show & tell goodies nor her horse. Emma Prusch Park does not allow guests to come on horseback. She has recently returned from a trip to Kentucky to visit her parents over Super Bowl weekend. Her parents had just packed up to move to Kentucky. Jennifer said she did lots of knitting on the trip. She finished a cowl just before she returned out of teal and other color yarns. Jennifer has two kits with patterns and yarn that she is considering for her next projects. One is for a hooded cowl and the other is for a lacey shawl. Jennifer is also going to be having adventures over the few months practicing for and participating in a Renaissance war with her horse Ajax. FYI:  Ajax will be celebrating his 19th birthday this year so he is a senior in horse years.

Laura showed off a recently finished sweater that she’d knitted from bits and bobs of her handspun. She carefully mixed the yarns to highlight the color variations. All told, she put about 18 ounces of singles yarn into the sweater. Laura spun on a small support spindle during the first half of the meeting then switched to knitting using a technique not commonly seen in these parts. She ran the yarn through a hook on a necklace and worked each stitch with her thumb.

Laura's bits & bobs sweater

Laura’s bits & bobs sweater

Laura knitting in an uncommon technique

Laura knitting in an uncommon technique

Eleanor had nothing to show. She graced us with her company, though. She spun some lovely green heather wool during the meeting.

Patti spun some khaki colored fiber during the meeting. The fiber was the present she picked at our Christmas gift exchange of 2015. No procrastinating for her! At our meeting, Patti wore her first finished crochet project — a tapered crochet scarf that looked very nice held by a newly acquired shawl pin. Patti, too, had already visited Stitches. She came home with a crochet pattern for the Dowager Shawl – part of the Downton Abbey series — and gray yarn for it. This is a simple crochet shawl. Cookie jumped in and helped Patti puzzle out the directions. Patti had a nice start by the time the meeting ended. During Show & Tell, Patti shows us a knitted swatch she made at a knitting class she recently took. She now knows how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch. Patti has come a long way since she joined our group, adding crocheting and knitting to her repertoire.

Patti's first crocheted scarf

Patti’s first crocheted scarf

Cookie came with the fiber blending board she made out of a cutting board. It is well decorated with sheep and other designs Cookie added using her wood burning skills. After laying out her colored fibers on the board, Cookie found that her doffing sticks were missing. So she switched to spinning up some violet wool on her drop spindle. The wool was dyed at a cochineal class she took awhile back. Silk dyed in the same dye bath came out a rose color. Eventually, Carol dug up a couple of dowels in her kit and Cookie was able to pull rolags off her blending board. At home, Cookie has been working on crocheting a pair of portraits. One is of her aunt. That portrait is full color, with a deep red background. The other portrait of on Marilyn Monroe, done in gray scale and intended for Cookie’s sister.

Cookie with the blending board she made

Cookie with the blending board she made

Cookie making a rolag

Cookie making a rolag

Ginger has started plying the green wool she was spinning at the past couple of meetings. Ginger is working toward a weaving binge to make a bunch of plaid wool throws.

Kelly went to the basket weaving class at McClellan Ranch that was advertised in an email to the guild a month or so back. She came home with a nice basket. The basket has a decorative band near the top made of yarn woven in between the reeds. Kelly also dropped by Stitches West yesterday. She came out with a couple of bags of fiber to spin. One bag was of water shades — blues, aquarmarine, and such. The other bag was of vibrant colors. Kelly wants to learn Navajo aka chain plying so that she can preserve the clarity of the colors in the yarn to be spun from the vibrant assortment.

Kelly with basket she wove

Kelly with basket she wove

Kelly with vibrant fiber from Stitches

Kelly with vibrant fiber from Stitches

The Latest Spin

Serendipity Spinners will be spinning at Emma Prusch Park on June 16, 2018. We start gathering after 10 with a goal of being set up around 11. We have a short business meeting around 11:30 then Show & Tell. The afternoon is spend socializing, sharing fiber related tips, and demonstrating for whoever stops by. We generally disperse some time between 3 and 4.

Join us or stop by and say hello. We meet on the grass near the children’s play area. It’s a beautiful place to meet with chickens and peacocks wandering around the grounds. We welcome spinners who just want to drop in and spin, as well as members of the public that walk by and are curious about spinning.

Clothing – then and now

Nordic spindle whorl

11th century Nordic spindle whorl

Do you think spinning wheels are old-fashioned? Think again. Before spinning wheels there were spindles. Spindles are simply sticks with a weight on them that make them spin like tops. In late summer of 2010 a lead spindle-whorl with a Norse runic inscription was found in England. It dates to the 11the century, the Early Medieval period. You can  read about it here and see other pictures of it. It is about the diameter of a silver dollar.


Small clay spindle whorls

Early Bolivian spindle whorls

And then there are these Bolivian spindle whorls that are even smaller. They were found in the yard of a farmhouse in the Bolivian highlands and given to Laverne Waddington who researches and recreates the backstrap weaving techniques of early weavers. You may see more about her work here. These are even smaller than the 11th century whorl and were probably used to spin cotton.


A shaft, a stick of wood, would go through the center of these weights and be twisted like you would twist a top in order to put the spin in the fiber and give it the strength to be used in making cloth. How long do you think it would take to make all the clothes you have in your closet if the fibers were spun this way?

February 2012 Newsletter


table pile with dyed fleeceNext Meeting February 18, 2012
10 AM – 4 PM (more or less)
Email goes to:


January Nutshell
by Ginger and Sue with photography by Frank

We had a fine day of meeting and making batts for our booth at Stitches. Images follow. If you missed the fun in January, you will still have a chance to play in February. More batts will be made at the February meeting. Please bring your drum carders. Neither Sue nor Frank will be at the February meeting.

Old Business

Stitches signup! February 23-26. Ginger is running the signups this year. If you miss meetings, you can email There are still plenty of openings. Remember, working a shift gets you into the the market *FREE* on any day.
New Business

Sue found this class through the Yarn Harlot’s blog. Carson charges $100 an hour plus expenses. Since he lives in San Francisco, the expenses will be minimal. He’s willing to work with us if we want something different than his standard class.

Ergonomics at Your Spinning Wheel – Ergonomics for Spinners (3-hour class) by Carson Demers

Time seems suspended when you’re at your spinning wheel. Hours melt away but stress and strain can be accumulating in your body. Spinning shouldn’t hurt! In this class you’ll learn what ergonomic risk factors are and where they exist in spinning at a wheel. Most importantly you’ll learn what to do to minimize them and early warning signs that could prevent an injury. Safer strategies for seating, balancing your spinning work, and of course, stretches will all be taught.

This is not a “how to spin” class. Students must be able to spin a singles.

Materials: spinning wheel and fiber of student’s choice to spin during class. Students are asked to bring a bath size towel.

Aviva has the spreadsheet she made with the contact information of guild members. She will email it to the attendees at the January meeting. The presidents will print off copies and bring them to meetings.

delivering the treasurer's report

delivering the treasurer’s report

Treasurer’s report: $821.36 in the bank. Dues ($15) are due in January. When you submit your money, please attach a note as to what classes, workshops or other ideas you have as to what we should do with our treasury this year. If you miss Lotus at a meeting, you can send a check to her at P.O. Box 5, Mount Hamilton, CA 95140.



Announcement: CNCH (held next May in Oakland) has opened up registration for its classes. All of Judith McKenzie’s and some others are already filled. From what your intrepid newsletter editor has learned, Ms. McKenzie’s classes were filled within minutes of registration opening.
Programs: Carol asked if we could coordinate with Blacksheep and see if we can piggyback on their programs. Sharolene attends other guilds and could be the liaison for us.

beautiful basket with toolsBasket:
Sue received email from a gentleman who wanted to give away a basket of his late wife’s tools. Since he only lived a couple of miles away, he brought it to the meeting for us.


Show ‘n Tell

Frank: has been using his drop spindle to spin the black Lincoln (and Nancy) got from Don and Willow. He’s been spinning as fat as he can bear to. He’s hand carding and spinning a 2-ply.

Frank's balls of 2-ply Lincoln

tools of the process

Frank’s balls of 2-ply Lincoln






Sue: was just so terribly cold for a few days so she sewed a polar fleece balaclava. She brought tatting to do at the meeting but forgot to bring glasses so she could SEE what she was tatting. Therefore, no tatting was done.



polar fleece balaclava

polar fleece balaclava






teasing teal

teasing teal


Carol: has mostly been knitting. She brought a lovely, fine 2-ply that is about 900 yards of gorgeous, snow white yarn. It’s about 5,000 yards per pound. She was teasing some teal.



  • close up and personal with Carol's yarn

Nancy D.: brought a baggie of thimbles. She got some solar dyed wool during the Holiday party. She’s working to prepare it. One of her young relatives is a cheerleader for the 49ers. We don’t normally have girlie pictures in our newsletter. This is the exception. The photo on the upper left is the girl without all the cheerleader make-up. She’s working on a purse made from strips of cotton from an old dress.

  • purse


Lotus: is working on another potato chip sock. She chose the ceramic beads from the basket.

our bead, er bean counter

our bead, er bean counter

potato chip sock

potato chip sock








Aviva: knitted a bunch of hats from old yarn and wore the red one to the meeting. She’s knitting a brown vest. She bought some cochineal dyed merino at a Mendocino sheep event. She has 8oz. but realized after she swatched that she needs 20oz. so she’s spinning more. It’s very gratifying to spin a fatter yarn and go through lots and lots of fiber.

  • cochineal dyed merino

Sharolene: took a two part class on making jackets. She brought a sweater for S & T and a colorful scarf. She’s spinning a green wool/silk blend.

  • scarf

Ginger: brought the wrong thing to spin. She has a cat at home that is “helpful” and pulls plastic bags out. Her knitting calculator app is in the marketplace. Her weaving calculator and measuring apps are in the works. Her website is at www.

the "new" laptop

the “new” laptop

the new app

the new app









Time to go batty:
See how much fun we had?
And that’s February in a Nutshell.

If you have news or pictures of interest to the group please send it to