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Meeting Notes – August 2018

We had a nice turn out this hot summer day.  We were able to keep cool under the shade of the trees with a slight breeze.

Our discussions included the upcoming Wool Auction at the Monterey County Fair on September 3rd; Spinning demos at Antique Autos at History Park in San Jose on September 23rd; Lambtown at Dixon and the Sheep to Shawl contest October 6 & 7.

Our meeting under the trees

Cookie shared her Mini EEL electric spinning wheel from Dreaming Robots.

Yarn from Scotland

Mule fiber from Bunloit Woolery, Scotland

A sample of hand spun woven fabric to be turned into a holiday garment.

Woven straps

Meeting Notes – June 2018

This month’s meeting was met with high winds and cooler than expected temperatures! Upcoming Sheep To Shawl for Convergence – Reno in July and at Dixon in October was discussed. Several bags of free alpaca fiber from a farm in San Martin were also brought to the meeting.

One of our members shared her WIP of 2-at-a-time socks.

A lovely collection of knitted fingerless mitts.

One of the local chickens found our bags of alpaca fascinating and stayed there for quite some time.


Meeting Notes – September 2016

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.

Laura's scarf woven on Cricket loom

Laura’s scarf woven on Cricket loom

Aviva was knitting a shawl from mohair that she bought at last year’s Lambtown festival.

Aviva's mohair shawl-in-progress.

Aviva’s mohair shawl-in-progress.

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.

Royce's bags

Royce’s bags

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.

Cookie's plastic bottle/crocheted containers

Cookie’s plastic bottle/crocheted containers

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.

Meeting Notes — August 2016

We met under the trees on yet another beautiful, sunny summer day.

Treasurer’s Report: 

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.

Old Business:

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.

New Business:

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

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.

Finished baby dress

Finished baby dress

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 spinning on her Inca spinner

Lotus spinning on her Inca spinner


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!

Patti showing us the purse she made

Patti showing us the purse she made

Purse Patti made from her crocheted granny squares

Purse Patti made from her crocheted granny squares

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.

Spiral shawl

Spiral shawl

Margaret's knitted pointed hats

Margaret’s knitted pointed hats

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.

Margaret's overshot weaving

Margaret’s overshot weaving

Margaret's new triangular shawl

Margaret’s new triangular shawl

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.



Meeting Notes – July 2016

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.

Kelly's first knitted sock

Kelly’s first knitted sock

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 with legs and arms of her stuffed animal-in-progress

Cheryl with legs and arms of her stuffed animal-in-progress

Cheryl also has been working on a ripple afghan.

Cheryl's ripple afghan

Cheryl’s 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's Turkish 3-D printed spindles and balls spun on them

Cookie’s Turkish 3-D printed spindles and balls spun on them

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.

Block of 4 of Patti's larger squares sewn together

Block of 4 of Patti’s larger squares sewn 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

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.

Yarn that Carol plyed for this year's Sheep to Shawl at Lambtown

Yarn that Carol plyed for this year’s Sheep to Shawl at Lambtown

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.

Barbara Benjamin fiber from Lotus's stash; Lotus in dress she sewed from stash

Barbara Benjamin fiber from Lotus’s stash; Lotus in dress she sewed from stash

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.

Baby sweater and dress-in-progress knitted from Lotus's yarn stash

Baby sweater and dress-in-progress knitted from Lotus’s yarn stash

Meeting Notes – June 2016

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.

Ginger's new shelving, partly filled

Ginger’s new shelving, partly filled

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.

Margaret's finished hedgehog

Margaret’s finished hedgehog

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.