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.

Meeting Notes – May 2016

Aviva called us to order around 11:20 am.

Treasurer’s Report:

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.)

New Business:

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.

Aviva's project with Osage orange + iron stripe

Aviva’s project with Osage orange + iron stripe

Aviva with lighter and darker shades of Osage orange + iron dyed yarns

Aviva with lighter and darker shades of Osage orange + iron dyed yarns

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.

Patti's spun brown yarn, plus new gold and white granny squares

Patti’s spun brown yarn, plus new gold and white granny squares

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.

Laura spinning on her big spindle

Laura spinning on her big spindle

Laura's weaving project

Laura’s 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.

Kelly with the blending board she made

Kelly with the blending board she made

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.

Karla adding twist for a weaving yarn

Karla adding twist for a weaving yarn

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.

Nancy with 2 pair newly finished socks

Nancy with 2 pair newly finished socks

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 spinning fiber dyed in a class awhile back

Sharolene spinning fiber dyed in a class awhile back

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's dyed cotton balls (I think)

Sharolene’s dyed cotton balls (I think)

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.

Sharolene's tuck lace sampler

Sharolene’s tuck lace sampler

Meeting Notes – April 16 2016

Treasurer’s Report: 

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

New News:

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

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

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.

Ange's weaving

Ange’s weaving

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's Red Sweater

Aviva’s Red Sweater

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 white wool dyed in avocado peels

Lotus’s white wool dyed in avocado peels

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.

Lotus's project from a Weaving with Supplemental Wrap class

Lotus’s project from a Weaving with Supplemental Wrap class

Ginger finished a (non-handspun) crochet project — a Silver Bells afghan made with Tunisian crochet panels and cross stitch design.

Ginger's Silver Bells afghan

Ginger’s Silver Bells afghan

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.

Patti's whie and gold squares

Patti’s whie and gold squares

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.

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

We will be having our Holiday Potluck and optional gift exchange from noon-3:00pm on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at Emma Prusch Park in the Plant & Science Building located in the back of the part (green building).

Serendipity Spinners will be spinning at Emma Prusch Park on November 16, 2019. 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.

Serendipity now has a Facebook page for guild members! …


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?

November 2014 Newsletter

Next Meeting December 20, 2014
10 AM – 4 PM: our annual holiday potluck
Email goes to:

November Nutshell


From Aviva: We had a lovely day and a turnout of twelve spinners.

Treasurer’s Report

Lotus reported that we have $600+ in our bank account.

Business Old and New

Spin at Bethlehem
Carol Lewis brought her friend Patti Victorson, who is the organizer for Bethlehem, Santa Clara. This year, it is December 11-15, 6:30-9pm. If you plan to spin, come about 30 minutes early. They have costumes that you can borrow.
Location: Santa Clara First Baptist Church, 3111 Benton Street
Dress rehearsal: December 10

Stephanie Gaustad class in production spinning, January 24, 2015
Carol Lewis says that Stephanie Gaustad is offering a class in production spinning on January 24. Please contact Stephanie for details.

Sheep to Shawl at Lambtown
Carol Lewis reported that eight Serendipity Spinners participated in the sheep-to-shawl contest at Lambtown this year. They had a good time and learned a lot. Please contact Carol if you would like to participate in 2015.

modified 11/20/2014

August 2012 Newsletter

Sign for Kelly ParkNext Meeting August 18, 2012
10 AM – 4 PM (more or less)
Email goes to:



July Nutshell

No meeting notes were recorded for July. No show ‘n tell. Nothing.

The Monterey Wool judging judges: Wes & Jane Patton, Saturday 18 August 2012, 9 to 4.

The auction is: Monday 3 September, 12:30 pm. Enter at Gate 4; open at 10am to preview fleeces. Fair opens to public at noon.

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