Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lilli's Hats

We had such a treat at our March meeting.  Guild member Lilli M. gave us the scoop on the fine art of millinery.  Lilli has been making hats for many years.  She first got started while she was working in the Bay Area and commuting home to Reno on weekends.  She said that she would wear her creations as she rode Bart, the busses, and naturally the plane to and from Reno.  People started asking her to make a hat for them - and she obliged!  She learned all about making patterns, how to steam and treat the velour fiber and spent loads of browsing time at Lacis in Berkeley. She even rented out hat blocks from the store.

Lilli's hats are well known in Reno.  They have been featured in local magazines, and Lilli has often been asked to make a hat to go with a particular antique car - either to match the car, or the era from which it came.

One thing that Lilli likes to stress is that good materials are a must in the hat making business.  Good quality hats are often found in thrift stores.  Lilli likes to recycle whenever she can, so she buys these unwanted treasures and turns them into stunning new toppers.  Or, Lilli may find a good wool sweater.  She felts it and turns the fabric into embellishments - such as the delightful hat featured below.

Although, Lilli does have a very definite style when it comes to making hats, each hat is an individual and worthy of an outfit just to accompany it!

This hat was steamed and shaped over an actual bucket-like object.  Found objects such as Tupperware, bowls, and more can be used to make different hat shapes.

Needle felting yarns and fiber is another way to make a hat embellishment.  Lilli knew that matching the color of the hat was going to be difficult, so she used a contrasting color.

 The apricot colored straw hat above was treated so that it would collapse in three tiers.  Notice the color gradation from bright to darker.

Another stunning straw hat.  This one was refashioned by Lilli through steam, shape and new additions to the decorations.
Lilli plans to open a little workshop in the near future.  She loves to teach her skills to others and will provide the space and materials in classes.  Once she is open, we will let you know how to visit her.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Party 2017

This year we were treated to a Christmas Party in Truckee at Nancy B's home.  It was lovely and crisp (as it often is in Truckee at this time of year) with just a bit of snow on the ground. 

As usual, we came with food - enjoyed our time together with stories,  eating 
and the grand finale of the Raffle Basket, packed with presents donated by all of us at the party.

This year's basket theme was "Tis the Season of Colorful Delights" and the winner was Mary N.  Mary has been coming to these Christmas parties for years and this was her first win! 

 As always, the basket was filled with wonderful gifts. In the photo above, Mary is admiring a new pair of slipper socks that are lined to keep your feet extra cozy.

Eva and Cheri

Nisha and Shelley

Close up of those lovely slippers

Special Kumihimo necklace with a color technique that Lorene learned on a fiber trip to Mexico

Knitted Christmas ornaments

Because Mary also contributed a gift to the raffle basket, her offering was raffled off in another drawing.  Suzanne was the happy winner of the little bag Mary had sewn with special Laurel Burch fabrics.

 Another year  and another delightful party.  Thank you to Nancy B. for opening her lovely home to us this year.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Diane Palme Workshop - Garments from Handwoven Cloth

Diane Palme presented the Reno Fiber Guild with a one day workshop about making garments from handwoven cloth.  The class was very well received and many attendees wanted to thank her personally for all the information she passed on to them. This post is a compilation of comments from attendees (fonts were changed to separate individual comments).   Diane also has a good blog with more information about her personal journey in making clothing from her handspun and handwoven cloth; please visit and browse her posts.

What a great Kick Start to creating a garment for Convergence. I especially appreciated Diane's presentation skills. A very compact but thorough look at sewing with handspun, handwoven yardage.

One of my many take-away keepsakes is that my handspun yarn has weaving value and is fixable (over, under and not-plied issues). Yay!

P.S. I just picked up a copy of Handwoven Magazine--May/June 2014 and it fell open to an article by Diane (pg. 24) titled "Sampling by Design." - Gloria J.

First of all, Diane’s energy and enthusiasm for spinning, weaving, and teaching is inspiring! I need her vitamins.

Diane was both well organized and well spoken. As for the aspects that I enjoyed the most: a) learning about her use of handspun singles, steaming and sizing. b) What? Mixing values? c) refresher on the color-wheel components.

I did wish there had been time in the lecture to address specific handwoven yardage (s) that was brought. A day and $’s well spent. - Suzanne W.

I appreciated Diane's "engineering" approach to spinning and weaving and then turning that product into clothing. She made all of us feel comfortable and took our questions and comments well. It was a day well spent. Thanks to all who made it possible. - Gayle V.

I really enjoyed the class! She was an excellent teacher! Had many take aways! Sampling for me has always seemed so wasteful of time and materials, but I get it now! I too, was delighted to learn more about using my hand spun yarn. And I loved the color lesson and the little color wheel we got - very helpful. I bought 2 Vogue patterns this morning (on sale today on their web-site) - one a vest, the other a jacket in three different lengths. Thinking about making the vest for Convergence.

I think the best advise she gave us was to just try it out! I am looking at my stash with new eyes!

Thanks to the program committee for bringing her to us! And thanks Gloria for the reference -I think I have that issue of Handwoven as well. - Shelley N.


Diane’s ability to keep the "ball in the air" as she worked her way through the various processes about weaving, sampling and making that cloth into clothing was amazing. There was never a lull in her presentation and there were so many ideas and tips coming forth, that my mind never wandered from the subject at hand. I learned many things from this one-day workshop on making clothing from handwoven cloth; here are just a few things that I will carry forward.

1. Use a lighter colored warp and cross it with a darker weft

2. Warp five colors at once, then randomly select which ones to thread in the heddles.

3. Sample multiple setts before you decide on cloth for your garment.

4. The advice to "go for it". Yes, I know I can sew a vest and I know I have yardage for a vest. All I need is a kick in the pants to get going and actually make a vest!

A big huzzah for this workshop. Thanks, Diane. - Beryl M. 

Glad I was able to sit in for a couple of hours! A delightful woman with many skills under her wing- A well thought out presentation-interesting to see how her "roots (engineer)" played out in her work. She gave out a lot of practical information that probably was over many heads until they get down to making clothing from their own fabric. The best advice was to CUT-it is very freeing OR NOT TO CUT and play with rectangles, seams and simple design lines to create the shapes (tucks, darts, bias, etc.) She does need to purchase a serger as should most who want to sew with their handwovens , unless selvages will always be a part of the clothing design (gets rather limiting). Many of Lois Ericson's patterns (like Folkwear) are very useful, and remember, she was a weaver first, before a writer, teacher, and pattern drafter. - Jill A.

Thank you for bring this class to the guild. I am renewed with enthusiasm to get going on expanding into weaving material to make clothing. I was thrilled to sit there and learn new things and hearing everyone’s perspectives. Thank you for your part in making us more educated. - Sarah C.

What a great event! Diane really sparked my imagination and I'm looking forward to exploring some of her ideas. She was efficient, very knowledgeable and had a number of good suggestions. Thanks Beryl for your time and energy in arranging for her to come. - Laurel B.

Diane’s confidence and methods for using handspun singles as warp encourages me to try singles as warp again. I have always been reluctant because of the prevailing theory that handspun singles were only appropriate for weft. I guess I will jump in the deep end to see if I can make it work for me.

The discussion about color, color interaction and theory was very enlightening and will be helpful in future decisions. I have always liked to strive for complex color combinations and Diane’s presentation should help me implement my ideas.

The discussion in reference to what an appropriate handwoven fabric should be for use in sewing was very enlightening and very thorough. It is definitely time to move beyond plain weave and color and add a little more pattern in my cloth.

It was a very good one day presentation/workshop. A lot of information was provided with theory and practical experience to instill confidence in trying new projects. Thank you Diane for the presentation and thank you Beryl for facilitating the workshop. - igor

Diane's workshop was so enlightening and informative. Gave a whole new angle in looking at my looms. New ideas, new possibilities, new ways to use my handspun, and singles!!!!! as a warp. What an idea. I always figure singles were not strong enough. Now I don't have to ply all my handspun. And when I do, I can weave beautiful fabrics and make beautiful clothing. Totally a new angle to weaving handspun. Thank you Diane and Thank you Beryl. - Virva P.

The Diane Palme workshop was amazing, and very helpful. Just what I need as I stare at my large stash and try to remember what projects I had in mind when I bought all that yarn! Obviously most never started, let alone completed. Her organization of the material was outstanding, and her delivery rapid fire but very understandable. I'm amazed that she could keep up the pace. All the review sections were helpful, but particularly, the data on singles use in warp. I've always avoided it, and put something like cottolin in the warp and then 2 ply in the weft for garment cloth; but now I'll be braver. Would have liked a bit more on weights of cloth and yarn most suitable for different types of garments and shapes (I'm tired of all the things you can do with squares), and tailoring. But I'll just have to read more and observe construction more. I also took more notes and wrote faster that I thought I could--something like 32 pp! Bravo Beryl and all for organizing this. - Kay F.

Thanks to Diane, Beryl and all attendees. This workshop was just what I needed to remind me of how much valuable weaving and garment design and construction techniques have been stashed away in my brain. Looking forward to seeing everyone s results and progress. Nancy P.

Monday, November 6, 2017

November "Cupcake" Dye Day

Last year, the guild invited Kathrin Weber of Blazing Shuttles to introduce our members to her fiber dyeing techniques.  We learned something from her called "Cupcake Dyeing" in which the yarn is dyed while it is in a center pull ball.  There can be several approaches the dyeing procedure and once the dyeing is done and the yarn restored to a skein, it will be magically variegated.

One of our members (Lorene) has a really nice area off of her garage where she pots and houses plants for the winter.  This was cleared away and made an excellent dye studio for us.

Fiber Reactive Dyes were purchased, and we set to work with our prewound balls of cellulose fibers. 

The photo above shows the "cupcakes" in their little plastic containers.  They will stay in them for 24 to 48 hours or more before they are rinsed.

There is hardly anything more fun than playing with color and this activity was pure delight.  We can't wait for the results.

Here is a follow up one week later at our Sage Weavers' Meeting.  Completed cupcakes.  Wow!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Even More Handwoven Towels!

Our study theme for last year "handwoven towels" seems to have resonated with many of our weavers.  There are still towel warps being woven and new ideas coming from our looms.

These last two offerings may be the last in this series, but they are certainly not least. 

Kathy R. needed to make "thank you " gifts for relatives and what better gift than a handwoven towel!.  She found a draft she liked in the Strickler book, number 27, turned the draft to make it easier to weave, and wove a whole series of towels using different wefts and even a plaid version.

Igor warped the 24 shaft AVL with 12 yards of 10/2 cotton for his towels.  There has been  an uneasy alliance between Igor and this big loom, but the loom may be winning him over. (The jury is still out!) Igor wanted to weave not only kitchen towels, but also some towels for exercise junkies - and he calls them zumba towels.  They are a bit longer than a regular towel so that you can hang one around your neck when you are at the gym, working out.  All the towels were woven on a straight draw threading of 20 shafts with a four shaft basketweave selvedge.
Zumba Towel with an original draft designed by Igor
Draft 8027 from

Draft 61265 from  turned version of draft



Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017 Learn To Weave

Tracy's loom with the weaving in progress.
Can you actually learn to weave with a four day class from the Reno Fiber Guild?  Well, we think you can.  We have an intrepid group of volunteer teachers who have worked hard to put together a comprehensive class directed at students who want to learn to weave.  This year's class had six students, each with their own mentor.  Before the class started, each student was able to pick three yarn colors they liked that would go along with the natural colored warp for their beginning projects.

Student, Tracy Doren, said this about the class:

I have wanted to learn to weave since I was a teenager.  Finally at 53 I've taken the Learn to Weave class and absolutely love it.  Everything about it intimidated me but as I went a long with each step all that went away and now I have so many ideas for projects and am really excited to move forward.  All of the mentors were so great and patient with us all. The only downside is that I didn't learn this earlier.  I'm so pleased with what I did in the class.  

Here are more samplers and towels woven by the students this year.  Hip, hip hooray for the bunch of them.  The teachers and mentors are almost as happy as the students to have had such a great bunch to work with. 

If you are interested in the Learn To Weave Class for 2018 - check out our informational page.

Tracy's towels

Melissa's towels and sampler

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge Continues!

Weaving towels is a bit hit with many RFG members.  Some of the towels have been woven for months, and are just now surfacing, but there are those that have a continual towel warp on their looms and are planning for the sale season this fall.

So, we are going to continue this thread for another couple of posts because it is interesting, we are learning new things and who doesn't like a handwoven towel in their kitchen or bath?

 Shelley dyed some warp chains of white Lily yarn at the Kathrin Weber workshop over a year ago.  She had downloaded a free set of directions for these towels from Handwoven (the e-book is still available here).  The article was entitled "Towels as Gamps" and gave instructions for 8 different towels on a straight draw threading.  The article states that the different tie ups are available in the Strickler 8 Shaft book and I suspect there are also available from other sources too.  These are all 8 shaft designs.

 Shelley followed the instructions given in the e-book which indicated that the width in the reed would be 12.5" and the sett for 6/2 cotton, 28epi.  Shelley was disappointed that the towels are so narrow and will add width to them if she weaves this series again.  However, they will make fine hand towels for the bathroom and the array of different weave structures is fun to examine.

 Laurel sells her towels during the holiday season and now has people requesting certain colors and patterns.  The following towels came from her studio this summer.

The plaid towel to the left is one that a customer ordered.  The colors are plain, but are just what she wanted and so Laurel obliged with this elegant plain weave towel has just added a new collection of weaving drafts to their already astounding online resource.  Laurel picked one of the drafts 68026, to weave the turned twill squares within squares.  A timeless design from 1825.

 And, Marguerite Davison still has surprises after all this time.  Here is her "Myrtle Westola" draft on page 69 and Laurel's interpretation.