Category Archives: Events

Bolton Artisans Guild 12th Annual Holiday Show and Sale

Bolton Artisans Guild 12th Annual Holiday Show and Sale

Posted on behalf of Chris Sterling:

“I am a charter member of the Bolton Artisans Guild. We will be having our 12th annual holiday exhibition and sale this Saturday from 1 to 4 at The First Parish Church on Route 117 in Bolton. Please come by and see the wonderful and diverse articles created by my fellow guild members.”

Bolton Artisans Guild holiday show and sale December 12, 2015 1:00 - 4:00PM

Mayan Hands sale

Mayan Hands sale

I plan to bring some Fair Trade Mayan woven and other goods to sell at the guild meeting on Dec. 1. The items are from Mayan Hands and UPAVIM, two cooperatives of women weavers in Guatemala. I have brought them to the December meeting for the last few years, and they have been popular. Bring your checkbooks!

Fruitlands demos on 10/11

Fruitlands demos on 10/11

So far four of us have expressed interest in helping to demo at Fruitlands on 10/11: Judith, Penny, Leslie, and me. The demo is 12-4pm. We will have the guild loom with some of Reba’s softball cotton for lap blankets. Judith offered to bring her RH to demo; I think Leslie has one too that she used in Sept. I don’t want to treadle yet because of a sore foot, but I can bring my inkle loom. So my questions are:

Are you all still willing to help? Does anyone else want to join in?
Do you want to be there all four hours, or just part?
Laura, will you take the loom back after the demo?

WGB Weavers’ yard sale

WGB Weavers’ yard sale

WEAVERS’ YARD SALE – September 25 – 27, 2015 – Public Welcome
ALL are welcome at the Weavers Guild of Boston’s sale of yarn, equipment and books from estates. Members may bring their own to sell, on the same terms as the Member Sale Table at meetings. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Guild. Books cover weaving, knitting, sewing, and other needlecrafts.
9/25: 10am – 9pm; 9/26: 10am – 5pm; 9/27 11am – 4pm. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted. At: Beth Guertin’s studio: 49 Pleasant Street, Waltham, MA. 781-863-1449; email:

Fruitlands update

Fruitlands update

We will be doing demonstrations at Fruitlands on Sept 14, 10AM-4PM, and Oct 11, 12-4. In September we have two people demonstrating on the guild loom. If anyone is interested in bringing a loom, a rigid heddle, inkle, or table loom, we could offer people a hand-on opportunity. We have 3 people on Oct 11, but more are always welcome. If you would like to help, let me know.

Do you want to try tapestry weaving?

Do you want to try tapestry weaving?

Janet’s submission to the Faculty Exhibit at NEWS, July 2015

There is still space in Janet Austen’s Tapestry Workshop the last weekend of October. All the details can be found at this post This class sold out at NEWS, to the disappointment of many.

To sign up, send an email to Laura to hold your spot, and send a check to Laura Busky, 96 South St, Berlin MA  01503.

This class is appropriate for all weaving levels.

Tapestry Workshop Announced

Tapestry Workshop Announced

Tapestry Weaving Workshop with Janet Austin

Work in progress: Janet’s 2015 calendar tapestry

Saturday 24 October and Sunday 25 October 2015
9.30-12.30 and 1.30-4.30

Class description: Tapestries can be woven on any loom, but frame looms have the advantage of being inexpensive and portable.  In this 2-day class, participants will learn basic tapestry techniques for creating shapes, a mini tapestry design lesson and information about tapestry tools and materials. No previous experience is required.

Cost: $175 for the 2-day workshop. Checks should be made payable to the Nashoba Valley Weavers’ Guild.

Materials fee: $35 per student materials fee is payable to Janet on the first day of class. The fee includes yarn and a frame loom.  You get to keep the loom but if you prefer you can return it for a $25 refund.

Supplies: Notebook, pencil and scissors. Bringing your own yarn is optional.

There are a maximum of 8 students in this class.  We will take checks to reserve your spot on a first come, first served basis beginning at the Guild pot luck on Tuesday 23 June.  If you want to sign up for the class but are not coming to the pot luck, please contact Penny before 6 pm on Tuesday 23 June.  If there are more than 8, we will have a random drawing of all those signed up on the first day.

There is a possibility that we will schedule a second session of the same class if there is enough demand.  So if you are interested in the class but cannot go the weekend we have scheduled, please let us know.

Janet Austen, Tapestry Weaver

Floral Fragments #6 by Janet Austen

BFA, Fibers, Massachusetts College of Art
MFA, Painting, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Coordinator and Secretary, 1993-2009, Tapestry Weavers in New
Board of Directors, 2001-2009, American Tapestry Alliance
Member: Weavers Guild of RI, Art League of RI.

Janet Austin has been weaving since 1972. She has taught weaving and spinning classes at the Durham (NC) Arts Council, Slater Mill, Court House Center for the Arts, various elementary schools, at the New England Weavers Seminar (NEWS), and in her studio. Her tapestries are exhibited nationally, most recently in Small Expressions 2014,  The Art is the Cloth, and the upcoming Small Tapestry International 4. Janet lectures about tapestry, writes articles for Tapestry Topics, the newsletter of the American Tapestry Alliance, and is author of the blog: Tangled Web

Potluck Supper

Potluck Supper

June 23 Potluck Supper, Guild Meeting and Challenge Projects

This year Reba is graciously hosting the pot luck supper and Annual Meeting at her home.  The supper will begin at 6:30pm. Please park on Armstrong Road rather than on Reba’s road as her road is too busy.  Bring a dish to share and a place setting (plate, utensils and cup). Drinks will be provided.

Don’t forget your Guild Challenge projects which will be displayed.  There will also be a silent auction of weaving books donated by Pat McAlpine.  Reba will have some of her stash for sale and will give a percentage of the sales to the guild. We will also pick up our Softball Cotton Yarns for the blanket projects for nursing home donations.

Reminder – It is time to pay membership dues – please bring a check for $25 to the meeting and give it to Laura.

Details about the fall tapestry workshop with Janet Austin will be revealed at the meeting and deposits will be taken to reserve space in the workshop. The workshop will be held on October 24-25.

American Textile History Museum in Lowell – Wonder of Wool

American Textile History Museum in Lowell – Wonder of Wool

Wonder of Wool: Ancient Fiber to Modern Marvel

May 20 – December 31, 2015


The American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts is proud to present Wonder of Wool: Ancient Fiber to Modern Marvel, on view May 20 through December 21, 2015.

Wonder of Wool Mythbusters! How many do you know?

Wool is one of the most commonly used fibers in the world and easily the most misunderstood.  Wonder of Wool: Ancient Fiber to Modern Marvel takes a fascinating look at the significance of sheep and wool in our culture and our everyday lives, shattering myths and giving visitors a new understanding and appreciation of this fabulous fiber.

Cool, breathable – and misunderstood
Wonder of Wool explores the unique characteristics of the fabric that have made it so useful both historically and today, with a broad range of uses. The exhibit shatters many of the misconceptions of wool: that it is itchy, only for cold weather, hard to wash, can’t get wet, and has a bad odor.

Visitors to Wonder of Wool can experience the diversity of the wool fibers, from the rough and scratchy 19th century carpet wool to today’s supple and silky wool fabrics used in Joseph Abboud men’s suits. The exhibit also features woolen clothing through the centuries, from an 1800s cape to a 1924 men’s suit with knickers to a modern lightweight sundress. Visitors will see what wool fiber looks like at a microscopic level and how that translates to wearability and performance. The same wool that traps air in sweaters to keep you warm can breathe in fabric for men’s suits worn in warm weather.

The exhibit explores the history of wool, with images and lithographs from the first recorded use by the Greeks and Romans to modern day. Bedouin desert nomads wore wool because it was cool. Until the 20th century, with the advent of cooler and easy-care synthetic fibers, wool was a popular year-round fabric. The competition with the synthetic fabrics forced wool manufacturers to focus on creating more attractive and wearable fabrics, developing processes to smooth out the wool fibers, making them softer, finer and gentler to the touch – and also easier to clean.

What you (don’t) smell is what you get
As a natural antimicrobial, wool wicks and dries more efficiently than many other fibers. As a result, wool is much more resistant to retaining odors than synthetic fabrics like polyester and polypropylene.

Visitors can put wool’s antimicrobial qualities to the test with the chance to smell – or actually not smell – a men’s wool shirt worn 100 days in a row without washing. Mac Bishop, a sixth-generation member of the family that owns Pendleton Woolen Mills, raised more than $300,000 on Kickstarter by wearing a stylish button-down Pendleton Mills shirt for 100 days straight and encouraging friends and strangers to smell it. Shockingly, the shirt smells as if it were freshly laundered!

The exhibit examines the tools of the trade and the dramatic changes in processing wool. Hand cards and a sample-sized carding machine show how the work of processing wool has changed and how these activities that used to take days and weeks to accomplish can now be done in a matter of hours or minutes. Wonder of Wool features tools spanning hundreds of years, from 19th-century hand sheep shears to modern electric shears. The giant shears used to trim the surface of woolen broadcloth show the skill required of workmen who wielded these heavy implements 200 years ago, compared to the lawn mower-like machines used later.

It all comes down to a sheep
“With all the technological advances in wool manufacturing, it all still comes down to a sheep,” said Diane Fagan Affleck, ATHM consulting curator for Wonder of Wool. For thousands of years, sheep have been a primary source for wool to make clothes and furnish homes. Wonder of Wool explores the long history of wool, which began before recorded history when primitive man first clothed himself in the woolly skins of the wild sheep he killed for food.

There is evidence of wool being spun in Northern Europe as far back as 10,000 BC. Wool was the foundation of England’s economy in the 18th century; in fact, at one time it was actually illegal to wear printed cotton! As calicos threatened the wool manufacturing in 1721, wool guilds and manufacturers convinced Parliament to pass the Calico Act, banning cotton for clothing or domestic purposes.

Today, sheep are bred to achieve distinct characteristics in their wool fibers: longer, shorter, coarser, and finer. “What they eat, where they live, the weather in which they live all influence the type of wool fiber from the sheep,” according to Ms. Affleck.

Wool is one of the four most common natural fibers and, therefore, sheep have been of great interest to farmers, breeders, spinners, dyers, weavers, manufacturers, economists, politicians, and even artists. Images in the ATHM collection record the varieties of sheep developed by selective breeding, while others reveal the animals in their habitat or revel in the scenes they create.

An ancient fiber and a modern marvel, wool remains an important fiber with a new emphasis on making it easier to care for and more comfortable to wear.

Celebrate the Wonder of Wool at the American Textile History Museum.

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