Westerville’s Starry Night is a great engagement opportunity for students, young and old!

Guild members Linda Hall and Sue Briney organized the Guild demonstration for Westerville’s Starry Night Family Learning Festival.

Sue and I had a grand time with wonderful guild members. Parents & grandparents were engaged & the students were curious & engaged.  Everyone was very appreciative of our guild’s participation. One member brought her wheel & a sheep that baas when turned over. Just great fun.

Guild Member Linda Hall

Students had the opportunity to try weaving on tapestry floor looms, flat looms, and table looms.  We also had a spinning demonstration and examples of all sorts of textile art!

This event had close to 2000 participants and great engagement at our booth!

Thanks to Starry Night for having us back again this year – we hope to return! For more information on Starry Night: Art & Science Fueling Imagination, please click here.

Thanks to our Guild member volunteer demonstrators as well! As you can see from the pictures below, demonstrations are an involved endeavor, requiring coordination and legwork to get the equipment and materials into the space! These demonstrations are a vital part of our mission to share the fiber arts with those who aren’t currently involved. 

Guild Member Donita Westman

A Sampling of Our First Eighty Years – Schumacher Gallery Exhibit

Early 1900s loom, warped with beige, brown and cream yarn
One of the first Guild looms

Central Ohio Weavers Guild (now Central Ohio Weaving and Fiberarts Guild) celebrated 80 years with an exhibit and subsequent book of its history told through documents, woven samples, connections to our national weaving history, a display of the Guild’s early loom, and 40 contemporary pieces woven by current members. 

The exhibit was wonderful!  If you weren’t able to see it in person, check out the beautiful photos on Facebook!

Guild Member Donita Westman

Fleece Preparation Workshop with Lori Keller

Our November workshop welcomed Lori Keller to share about her methods for Taking the Fear Out of Selecting and Processing Raw Fleece.

She shared different considerations to include when looking at the price of the fleece, questions to ask the shepherd and different aspects of the fleece that will affect prep time.  Lori explained ‘skirting’ a fleece, advantages to doing it yourself whether you’re cleaning the fiber yourself or not, and brought in a few fleeces for us to practice skirting.

We passed around several samples of wool in various stages of processing: raw fleece, washed fleece, & carded batts Lori made on a drum carder.

We also were given samples of fleece to practice washing & rinsing using Dawn or Unicorn Power Scour so we could compare the products.   

Lori demonstrated how to use hand combs for a more worsted-style fiber prep and hand cards for a more woolen-style prep. Lori also sent us home with samples to practice preparing and spinning!

Thanks to Lori for sharing all of her experiences with fleece with us!

Guild Member Donita Westman

A Wool Gathering at Young’s Dairy

As part of our 80th anniversary, COWFG attended the 22nd annual A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs at Young’s Dairy on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17.  We had a great time teaching all ages to weave and spin. 

Many people were interested in trying the loom. I talked with a quilter who had always wanted to learn how to use the drop spindle.  She shared a private lesson with Pat Bullen.  I also received questions about our guild from a member of the Miami Valley Weavers Guild. It was exciting to know that people were interested in our upcoming events.

A huge thank you for everyone who volunteered to demonstrate, for the donations that were enjoyed by all who visited and for all who shared their knowledge.  I am looking forward to next year.

Guild Member Connee Draper

2017 Ohio State Fair Sheep to Shawl Demonstration

July 28, 2017 was the 5th anniversary of the guild Sheep-to-Shawl demonstration at the Ohio State Fair!  The fleece this year was donated by shepherd Alison Ungar of Chaotic Farm in Medina, Ohio.  Since the fleece was so white, we decided to feature its bright color.  We combed the fleece instead of carding it, which supplied the spinners with the nicest and whitest spinning fiber.  The spinners loved it!  We also featured the bright white wool by a subtle contrast with a closely-colored warp.  We purchased a natural colored Australian merino commercial yarn and dyed it to a light golden tan in a tea bath.  Scott Hanratty, our weaver, suggested a few designs, and we choose a 6-shaft twill-based pattern.

We were really thrilled when the plan came together and the shawl turned out even more beautiful than imagined!   Alison loved her shawl and was excited to also receive the guild’s knitted afghan for her prize winning hand spinning fleece.  

The winner of the colored hand spinning fleece this year was Linda Reichert, who took the grand champion award for her gorgeous black wool!  We awarded Linda the 2nd shawl woven from the S2S warp.  This second shawl was woven with 3 strands of fine commercial yarn in light beige and grey colors which gave it a wonderful tweedy look! 

We were glad to have our friends from the Malabar Farm Spinning and Weaving Guild join us again in the sheep barn for the demonstration.  They brought a floor loom, rigid heddle loom, and a rectangular loom, and showed off many techniques.  

Thanks to the great team from COWFG who made this another successful year:  Caye Aiello (spin), Cheryl Koncsol (plan & select fleece), Donita Westman (ply), Ed Morrow (bobbin winder), Jann Offutt (card), Joanne Knapp (spin, fleece preparation), Jon Briney (photographer), Kathleen Craig (coordinator, plan & warp loom), Kim Johnson (great wheel, fleece preparation), Laura Brendon (fleece preparation), Linda Schweiger (spin), Lori Seeger (spin), Mary Beth Sassen (spin), Nikki Fried (fleece preparation), Scott Hanratty (weave), Sue Atkins (spin), Sue Briney (plan & warp loom, drop spindle), Susan Johnson (spin).

We’ve started a scrapbook to capture the memories of the Sheep-to-Shawl demo that began in 2013.  If you didn’t see it at the Fair, it will be available at the guild meetings this fall.  

Guild Member Sue Briney

Editor’s note: See more pictures from the 2017 Ohio State Fair on Facebook!

Guild invited to Starry Night: Arts & Science Fuels Imagination

The Westerville Partners for Education was founded in 2011. Parents and teachers saw a need for programming and advocacy. In 2013, Starry Night began as a way to enrich science and the arts curriculum. This free event has grown in scope and size. Organizations, businesses and individuals had skills, expertise and the desire to help with the educational experiences for all Westerville school students and residents. At Westerville North High School, 72 exhibitors and demonstrators participated in zones, each having a specific focus: medicine, machinery, arts & crafts, science & math as well as an area to showcase student projects.

A student tries out a loom at Starry Night

Our theme, Fiber Fun: From Fleece To Fabric, provided hands-on activities so everyone could experience the process. We had a display that featured wet and dry felting, natural and dyed wool fibers, hand and machine carding, hand/”drop” and wheel spinning, as well as table and floor loom weaving. Many handwoven items were also on display. Two freestanding tapestry looms enabled children to weave with wide strips of fabrics. Motor skill “issues” were eliminated on these large-scale looms and the children enjoyed being weavers. Many had done some weaving in art classes and they were proud to show their skill.

The interaction each of us had was wonderful. Ten of our members spent at least 4 hours interacting with attendees. We were well received and asked to return.  The chairperson told us, “I expected a great activity, but your group hit this out of the park! Seeing the whole fiber process at one time was, I am sure, an eye opener for our students and their families.”

 Guild member Linda Hall

Spinning heads

In March, we had a fantastic workshop-“Ply Baby Ply”-given by COWG member Constance Hall.  This class covered 2-, 3-, and chain plies, as well as cabled yarn and novelty yarn made with playing and color combos.  Our heads are still “spinning” with all the wonderful information.

Guild Member Amy Swanson

Creating Dye Recipes

tye-dyed book cover with text "Building a Dye Recipe Book"

In February, the Guild enjoyed a day-long dye workshop by members Pat and Jasna in the dye studio at the Cultural Arts Center. Participants ‘mixed’ the percentages of commercial yellow, red and blue dyes on cotton squares to create a swatch book of colors–and the recipes to obtain those colors. Each participant left with a binder bursting with color, either to replicate exactly or to use as a starting point for other dyes and fabrics.

See the photo-story of the day on our Facebook page!

Thank you, Pat and Jasna!

Guild Member Amy Swanson