A project for all you quilters out there…

Side by Side is a quilting project encouraging Iowans to tell their stories of pandemic life through 10″x10″ quilt squares. Their goal is to receive 3000 squares to construct 30 quilts to display at the Clear Lake Arts Center.

Posted in Program | Leave a comment

Loom for Sale

Posted in Program | Leave a comment


There was a time when our community was spoiled with multiple LYSs and stores catering to fiber artists. Since that’s no longer the case, our February program was a roundtable where we shared our favorite places buy tools and materials to feed our fiber arts addictions.

A running list was compiled into a spreadsheet for all to peruse. So far, it includes businesses (both online-only and brick-and-mortar shops in 8 states and 2 countries), what they sell, and why we recommend them.

If you have any recommendations to add to the list, please email the info to neiwsguild@gmail.com.

Click below for the full list of business names, addresses and websites – and perhaps find a new favorite supplier.:) 


Posted in Program | 2 Comments

January 2021 Program – A Very Brief History of Our Guild: The First 70 Years

Members Karen Agee and Karla Stille delved into nearly 7 decades of photos and meeting minutes to bring us up to scratch of the first 70 years of our Guild. From its humble beginnings as the Waterloo Weavers Guild who met in members homes and various other venues, through our first official home on Main St. in Cedar Falls to our current home on W. 4th in Waterloo. Karen walks us through the various names and spellings our organization has gone by over the years (when we added spinners to our name), and from refreshments served to handbook size and cover art: how and when our traditions began. How some have changed and others have stayed the same.

Posted in Program | 8 Comments

November Program: Fiber Blending with Erika Lindgren

Erika Lindgren of Aribo Arts treated us to a demonstration of three different ways to blend fiber (AKA preparing it for use in spinning, felting, etc.) and the various tools of the trade.

The she showed us how to make top with a comb and diz. To get all the fibers parallel and regular first requires a comb with long, Wolverine-like claws. Once the fiber was placed on the combs, she showed us how to pull it through a diz, a button-like tool with holes to align the fibers even further.

This type of blending, where the fibers are combed and pulled and parallelly aligned, is often referred to as “worsted”. While a stronger, more consistent fiber, it doesn’t tend to be as lofty.

The next technique she showed us was on a blending board, where she added fiber to the board in layers, and used a burnishing brush to blend it all together. Using two dowels, she rolled the burnished fiber clean off the board into fuzzy caterpillar-like rolags. It was very satisfying to watch.

Fiber blended with carders and blending boards tend to be more crisscrossed and irregular, and is called “woolen”. While often loftier than worsted fibers, they don’t tend to be as strong.

Next, she showed us hand cards and demonstrated a technique called painting on her drum carder Sebastian, using various types of fiber from merino and soy tops to sparkly nylon, which was equally satisfying to watch.

You can watch the entire demo below. Enjoy!

Posted in Program | Leave a comment

October Program: Zentangling with Nancy Barsic

The October fiber arts program took on more of a pulp form as Nancy Barsic, Certified Zentangle Teacher and designer of this year’s Guild handbook cover taught us about the techniques she used in her cover art. The cover contains drawings depicting a variety of fiber arts from quilting to weaving, lacy borders to sheeny silk fiber and hand-painted roving for spinning. What else do you see in this drawing?

Zen is the meditative quality of your drawing. Though the name Zentangle is copyrighted, the drawing itself is not. In this form of doodling, which can be done from ages 4 to 144, there are no mistakes, only opportunities. There is no one “right” way, but many right ways.

Nancy showed us tricks for making things look sparkly, and more 3-dimensional by shading and making things look in front of and behind others, and had us all entertained drawing leaves and mushrooms, borders and bubbles, and a myriad of other structured patterns on small sheets of paper (an easy size to fill up quickly), to show us we all have a little time for art everyday.

The video is available here on YouTube, where you can draw along, and examples of the techniques shown in the video are provided below for reference.

An overview of patterns drawn on each of the three tiles
Step-by-step of Crescent Moon and variations.
Step-by-step of Poke Root, Poke Leave and Hollibaugh, and other designs.
Step-by-step for Pritemps, Static, Tipple, Keeko and Tagh.
Step-by-step for Striping and other designs.
Step-by-step for Knase, Flukes, Cadent and other designs.

And lastly but importantly, Nancy tells us to take time and appreciate your own Zentangle drawings, and to make sure and sign your work.  

Happy doodling!

Posted in Program | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy New Guild Year! (2020 Quarantine Edition)

Howdy, y’all! It’s been a long hibernation being forced to cancel the last few guild meetings of the 2019-2020 year, but we’re (virtually) getting back into the swing of things. We kicked off our guild year with a successful, member online yarn auction, and tomorrow’s program of Zentangle by Nancy Barsic ought to be intriguing (more on that after the meeting – stay tuned). We’re also restarting some of our classes. Hopefully before long, the pandemic will abate and we will be able to resume our full line of fiber arts course offerings.

Posted in Program | Leave a comment

Fiber Arts Tips and Tricks

The February program featured members sharing their favorite tools and fiber tips. Who doesn’t love adding more tricks to their repertoire?

Maribeth Woolsey started us out by sharing her favorite basketry tools.

A packing tool saves wear and tear on your fingers when removing spaces in your weaving.

The spoke weight holds down the reeds and helps measure the distance from center to keep your weaving even.

Clothespins are useful when you run out of hands to hold your weaving in place.

Some of our basket makers swear by the lashing tool. It serves as a “shoehorn” when lashing the rim. Some brand names include Lash Buddy, Lash Saver, and EZ Lasher.

Mary McCusker shared her Addi knitting machine.

For making many hats in a relatively short amount of time, Mary recommends the Addi knitting machine. In around forty-five minutes, Mary can crank out a warm squishy hat. She put it to good use making over ONE HUNDRED beautiful soft hats for the Guild’s chemo hat project. The machine counts the rows automatically and comes with legs and clamps. Other sizes designed for socks and scarves are available.

Darla Cooper loves her Wooly Winder. Her spinning winds onto the bobbin evenly without having to stop and move it to the next hook. She also recommends keeping all of the tools for each of your devices in a dedicated container. Darla thinks this clear one makes finding what she need easier.

Pat Higby has the tools to take one cone of yarn and wind off smaller ones for sectional warping.

Pat found a treasure at a local thrift shop and has put it to good use. When she wants individual spools for sectional warping, she uses her Boyle electric ball winder. To ensure all spools contain the same amount of yarn, Pat also purchased a Lacis yarn counter which comes with its own clamp.

When Karen Agee gets serious about flicking locks of wool, she wears her leather apron. It protects her from sharp tools and keeps her clothing free of fuzz.

Diane Davison made a discovery when a pattern she was weaving required her to use a temple. Unlike the old traditional temples, the Leclerc Clip Temple adjusts to different looms and is gentle on the fabric being woven. Diane gives it two thumbs up! Take a look at a short video, if you are interested. Clip Temple Video

Karla shares the flexible bungees she uses for securing her loom’s lease sticks.

Karla has collected a variety of shuttles during weaving career. She looks for shuttles with a smooth surface, nice weight, and low profile. Karla keeps repair heddles on hand to fix warping errors. She also has a fringe twister in her arsenal of tools. Karla’s last suggestion is having a composition book to keep good records of all your projects.

Once again we appreciate and benefit from the experiences of our members. We can learn so much from each other. Thanks to all who contributed to this program.

Posted in Program | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah’s Shetland, Orkney, and Ireland Adventure

Sarah is with a Zwartible sheep and Inca, the world’s smallest sheepdog.

Enjoy Sarah Jane Humke’s presentation of her recent trip to Shetland Wool Week, Orkney, and Ireland. Click the link below to see her presentation on YouTube.


Posted in Program | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sarah’s Shetland, Orkney, and Ireland Adventure

Craft Camp Estonia-2019

Two of our Guild members, Pat Higby and Karen Agee, shared their Estonian Craft Camp adventure during our October meeting.

The camp provided attendees an opportunity to learn about traditional Estonian handicrafts by selecting two one-day classes, one two-day class, and a field trip. Other cultural experiences were available some mornings and evenings. All classes were either taught in English or with an English translator.

Pat chose birch bark weaving as one of her one-day classes. In this class she learned several basic birch bark weaving techniques to make a variety of traditional objects.

Karen Agee chose the Estonian natural dye class. In this workshop she learned how to dye woollen yarn with plants, how to choose and collect dye plants, how to prepare a dye bath, and how to premordant and dye yarns using the most important dye plants of Estonia.

Perhaps one of Pat’s favorite classes was making and dyeing a needle case made from bone, a material used since prehistoric times. Knives, files, drills, and sanding materials were used to shape the elk bones. Natural dyes from flowers and berries completed the project.

The earliest examples of tablet weaving in Estonia date back to the twelfth century, and Karen discovered Estonian tablet weaving is somewhat different from the method she had previously learned. In this class she made the key chain and belt shown above.

Pat’s two-day class was learning about the crepe weaving technique. This traditionally woven shawl has a checkerboard pattern and Estonian twisted fringe.

Karen’s two-day class was learning the tradition of knitting Haapsalu shawls, which dates back a few centuries. Originating from the small coastal resort town of Haapsalu, this knitting technique is an important part of Estonia’s cultural heritage.

Characteristics of this extremely fine lace knitting are its nupps, lace edging, and light weight. Since this technique is quite challenging even to the experienced knitter, participants made a sampler. You can see Karen’s beautiful work in the photo above.

Are you looking for a crafty adventure? Next year’s Craft Camp will be held July 5-11 in Viljandi, Estonia. Pat and Karen encourage anyone interested in attending to sign up as soon as the new schedule is available. They had a wonderful experience and may go again. Thanks to both Karen and Pat for sharing their wonderful experience!

The link to the Craft Camp is here: https://www.kultuur.ut.ee/en/craft-camp

Posted in Program | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment