Geauga Fair update

Well, the Geauga Fair is now in full swing – if you entered anything, how did you do?

I”ll be there for the next couple of days and would love to take photos of some of our members exploits for a montage in the next newsletter.  If you entered anything in the fair – whether you got a ribbon or not – contact me (Nancy)  privately by Sunday evening with what you created and I’ll be glad to take a picture of it to include in the photo display. We have a talented and creative membership, and the best way to pass on the love of all things fiber is by SHOWING it!  I’ve seen some great pieces already, and am planning on stopping by the Domestic Arts building several more times to see what I’m missing.  When you come, stop over at the Heritage building up in the corner near the bandstand and come visit Joyce and Chuck Fath and team as we demonstrate broom making (that’s Chuck :)) and spinning, weaving and lacemaking (That’s Joyce and Co.)!

…and don’t forget to tell me what you’ve entered.  I promise that I”ll only take pictures of items that people tell me about!  If you also want to include a story about your project, please do!  The more, the merrier!


The Essence of Art Exhibit

Exhibit at the
Last spring Liz Mather invited ​WRSW ​members to an exhibit at the WRLC​,​ where she is employed. She and fellow employees exhibited their art work of paintings, photographs, and weavings. Several members of the now closed ART ESSENCE GALLERY, an artists’ co-op in Painesville, were invited to exhibit at the WRLC. While the company put up new environment buildings for their work space they kept the old farm house for meetings, conferences and exhibits.  Jan Gibson, May Halliday and Uarda Taylor are members of both the Art Essence Gallery and Western Reserve Spinners ​and Weavers. Nora Eason is also part of the show.
The exhibit is open to everyone during regular business hours:
                Mon​day​ - Fri​day​  8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Western Reserve Land Conservancy
3850 Chagrin River Road, Moreland Hills, OH  44022.
Come meet the artists at the opening:
Friday, August 15 ​, 2014,​
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Bits and Bobs about Fair entries

For those who are interested in entering spinning and weaving into the Great Geauga County Fair, here are some potential options. If you have any specific questions you’ll have to contact the Fair secretary.  Read the Fair booklet carefully, and ask the Fair secretary a question if you aren’t sure how to categorize your piece.  The judge and assistants will not reassign your piece to the correct category if it is incorrectly labelled. If you have placed your item in the incorrect category it will not be considered for judging. (I learned this by experience.)


Skein of Yarn – page 37, Section 8.  There are 7 classes in which to enter.


There is no “section” for handwoven goods – this is another area that we have to expand :)  however, there are several potential categories:

Section 5 – Pillows                                          8. Specimen not listed – my comment, you’ll need to note that it’s handwoven fabric.  Otherwise, how will they know?

Section 7 – Needlework Hobbies          11. Wall Hanging – 15×20 and under (not quilted)

12. Wall Hanging – over 15×20 (not quilted)

13. Placemats – 2 mounted

15. Rug – any type except hooking

17. Holiday article – Christmas (no clothing) – my comment, this is a guess.  Your piece better really look like Christmas

18. Holiday article – any other (no clothing) – my comment – again, a guess – you should have strong design elements that suggest a holiday

19. Table runner

20. Loom woven specimen

21. Specimen not listed

Are you spinning… or just spinning your wheels?

Last year an intrepid band of spinners did the unthinkable…. they entered skeins into a competition where there was no skein competition.  Those spinners were from WRSW…. and the competition was The Great Geauga County Fair.  Even though our entries were met with a questioning glance… and a few queries about the rising number of skeins that continued to appear on delivery day… they were placed within the scope of the display.  No ribbons were won that day, but…

The seeds of interest grew.  Over the course of the next year there must have been some discussion, for THIS YEAR there is a category for skeins of yarn in the Great Geauga County Fair!  To all spinners – now is not the year to draw back and decide not to enter anything in the fair!  There is a slim toe hold for an opportunity to build a really fine skein competition right here in Geauga County – let’s not lose this chance!  Make sure that you get to and look at the very easy requirements for entry.  There are several weight divisions, and you could enter one skein in each division, if you want to. Remember – if there are no skeins going into this category, and not enough to show a marked interest in the competition, this opportunity could go away as quickly as it has come.  Make it  point to join in the fun this year, and let’s get a really good showing from the spinners of WRSW!

Win, Place, Show, Etc…

For some fiber people, it’s that last word that stops them from taking advantage of one of the best learning tools around.

“Why should I enter a competition?  If I can’t get first place, I don’t want to enter”.  Well, to borrow from “Chariots of Fire”… if you don’t enter you can’t win!

Actually there is a very good reason why you should consider entering your craft of choice in a juried show, a local county fair, or a regional fiber festival – to LEARN.

When we enter a competition of any kind, it shows that we’re interested enough in our craft to see how it stacks up against other people.  Did you know that you can actually use that curiosity to make yourself a better knitter, weaver, felter – or whatever?

In my case, after a first attempt at age 17 at the local county fair, and the subsequent deflation of my pride and expectations, I realized that by studying the winning entries I could get a better idea of what was considered excellent that year.  Could I have made a better choice of fiber for my product?  Did I even try to do a decent job of finishing my garment?  What about the stitch or pattern… was it appropriate for what I wanted to convey?  What about buttons – did my choice add to the beauty of the finished piece, or did they actually look like bulls-eyes that said “look at me, not the sweater”!  All of these questions and more are ones that I ask myself year after year, as a result of those early attempts to garner even an Honorable Mention in a competition.

Participation in a competition can be very simple – just taking advantage of local county fairs.  Everyone gets in, and everyone can get a fair shake.  Don’t focus on any potential “politics” that you think may be going on behind the scenes.  If your first goal is to learn and improve your craft, I think any potential “politics” is secondary.  For me it took 4 years of trying and observing to actually get a first place, and I still believe that eventually quality is going to win out over politics.

As you consider taking part in the various fairs and festivals in the region, remember that if you don’t win, place or show… if you go in it to learn, you’ll always be a winner!


If you’d like to take a first (or second or third) step towards improving your projects, there’s no time like the present!  The Great Geauga Fair ( is now accepting registration for entry.  The final day for registration is Wednesday, August 6, 2014… but the delivery date for exhibition is Tuesday, August 26, 2014 – so there’s plenty of time for good intentions.  Complete registration information is at the Fair website, and registration can be done either online or by mail.  If you enter – take a photo of your items on display so that we can do a Fair roundup in a coming newsletter!

Guild Picnic

Our next meeting, on Tuesday, July 22, will be a Picnic at the West Woods, 9465 Kinsman Road (Route 87). Come at 6 pm, eat at 6:30. Bring a dish to pass and your own beverage and table service.

Sign up for June 21 Dye Day

In lieu of a June meeting, we will be having a Guild Dye Day at Lake Metropark Farmpark, on Saturday, June 21, from 9 am – 4 pm. We will meet at the Grain Place, in the rear of the Arena, at 9 am.  Betsy Bruce will bring the dyes and all chemicals and give a lecture with instructions starting promptly at 9 am, followed by hands-on application of colors.  Lunch will be available at the Farmpark Cafe or bring from home.

Dye Day is free for WRSW members, limit 20.

A dye materials fee of $10.00 will be required at sign-up and will be used toward your first pound of un-dyed material.  Each additional pound is $10.00.  You must weigh your yarn, warps, scarves, etc. while they are dry.  A scale will be available that morning for those that need one.

Nora will have a sign-up sheet at the May meeting. Or call Nora at 440 543 7058.  You must reserve your spot so we will have enough tables for everyone.

Every participant should bring:

  • wear grubby clothes that can get color on them — or wear plastic apron 
  • rubber gloves
  • lots of plastic bags (without holes!) for wrapping project(s) — need not be ziptop style, plastic shopping bags will also work.  
  • a small or partial roll of paper towels
  • a roll of plastic wrap
  • a container to take things home in – dish pan, bucket, non-food large bowl or pot, plastic shoe box….
  • writing utensil and notebook
  • Prepared fiber - pre-weighed when dry - Think tied* skeins, warp chains, silk caps, silk scarves, cotton t-shirts, socks….

 ** Animal fiber soaked overnight in vinegar water then squeezed (water with a “glug” of white vinegar)
 ** Plant fiber soaked in plain water overnight then squeezed—will soak in activator prior to applying dyes   

*Ties of non dyed yarn should be frequent but not too tight– dye needs to penetrate or you’ll end up with white spots

May 27 Meeting

From our Vice President, Jan Gibson:

Our May 27 meeting will be held at the FINNISH HERITAGE MUSEUM in FAIRPORT HARBOR, 301 High Street (440 352 8301). The museum is located at High Street and 3rd Street in downtown Fairport Harbor.

The meeting will start at the usual time of 7 pm.

For those who may want to eat dinner before the meeting, the Fairport Family Restaurant is just up the street from the museum at 212 High Street.  Reasonable prices and good food (440 354 7474).

We will dispense with show and tell to allow the curator, Suzanne Joel, to have ample time to discuss the collection of rag rugs, wall hangings and table linens.

“Nisu”, a Finnish coffee bread, will be served.

Next meeting is Tuesday, April 22nd!

Wow!  where has the time flown?

It’s time for our next meeting, on April 22nd – that’s right – this week!  Will you be there?  Join us for a fun evening of fiber.  Nora will tell us how we can enhance our designs with Math (and it won’t hurt, either :)  ).  Bring your current project for show and tell.  Mine will be on an adventure in fleece processing.  It’s a work in progress… so don’t think that show and tell is just for finished pieces.  Sometime half the fun is getting there, and we’d love to hear your journey.

The meeting is at 7PM, but there’s always a time for project work starting at 6PM, so feel free to come early.  See you then!

Learn to Weave on a Rigid Heddle Loom class extended at Great Lakes Fiber Show

I’ve just received word that due to such a good response, the people at the Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster (May 24 & 25, 2014) are extending a second workshop of “Learn to Weave on a Rigid Heddle Loom”.  The class offering is on Sunday afternoon, May 25th from 1-4PM.  Deadline for registration is May 1.  You may learn more at If you have been thinking about learning to weave, this is a wonderful and relatively inexpensive way to gain an entre into the wonderful world of weaving.  And if you spin and don’t weave – what a great way to actually use all the yarn that you’ve been making! :)  Check it out!