Memo to Members

September 2018

1. Retreat - Note: The retreat has been cancelled due to low registration.

The HWSDA fall retreat at Terratima Lodge is coming up on Sept 28, 29 and 30. The lodge accommodates 20 people so get your registration in now for a fantastic, fun filled weekend of sharing and learning.

The cost breakdown is as follows:  Food - $136.50 - Friday supper, Saturday, 3 meals, 2 snacks, Sunday breakfast and lunchLodging -$109.00 for 2 nights.  NOTE: this may be adjusted higher if we don't fill the 20 spots.

Register by email to and mail your cheque to: Cheryl Renwick, Box 1461, Turner Valley, AB  T0L 2A0  Cheques are to be made out to HWSDA in the amount of $245.50

The lodging is shared rooms so indicate if you have a preferred room buddy also let me know about dietary restrictions and mobility issues such as stairs.

Planned activities are as follows:
Ruth Blazenko- bow weaving
Margaret Hall -resist felting
Catherine Ross - peg weaving
Individuals can plan a community dye pot

"Whatever happens, happens"

“This is a great opportunity to enjoy a fall weekend in the foothills doing what we love to do with our community of fiber friends.”    Cheryl Renwick and Kathy Sosnowski

2. HWSDA Membership Matters

a) Membership Renewal: Check your records! If you have not renewed for 2018-2019 this will be the last Memo or Running Threads you will receive. Also, a new password will be assigned for the members only pages on our website. Do it now! Contact Lorel Dederer:

b) New! A new, members only web page is now set up to display digital images of original samples created by our members! Check it out. Better yet, send a digital image of a sample you designed with information about how it was done to our webmaster: Lois Larson:

(P.S. Don’t forget the other wonderful and informative pages on the HWSDA site.)

3. Running Threads

The summer edition of Running Threads has received many compliments!  Thanks! To everyone who submitted great articles and reports.  Please keep it up.  We all benefit from each other's stories. Anyone have a report on the Conference for those of us who couldn't attend? It would be great to hear about it and see some pictures. The next submission deadline is OCTOBER 15

4. Stragetic Plan

Please look on our website for the Request for Proposal Strategic Planning Consultant.  This was a result of the brainstorming session mentioned in the last Memo, and you will be kept informed as the process proceeds….

5. Who's in Town

Custom Woolen Mills are hosting fibre artist Rosemarie Péloquin as artist-in-residence for the month of September.While she is here, she will be teaching two needle felting classes; Introduction to 3D Needle Felting (for beginners), and 2D Needle Felting and Design (for folks with previous felting experience).

 Look online for more information  or phone 403-337-2221.  They are near Carstairs AB, at 30453 Range Road 272 RR#1  Carstairs, AB  T0M 0N0

6. Who's Coming to Town

This is a copy of a letter I sent to Denise Kovnat—I am including this to illustrate the system I would LOVE to use to facilitate bringing in great instructors!!!

hello Denise
I am writing to you from Alberta, on behalf of HWSDA (Hand Weavers,
Spinners and Dyers of Alberta), to ask if you would like to come here to
teach a number of weaving workshops...
I am proposing that I invite you on behalf of the Sheep Creek Weavers
(just south of Calgary) then inform all the other guilds in Alberta that
we are in discussion with you  and that they should contact you to book
you around the same time.
I am trying to initiate this as a way to streamline, cut travel costs,
make life easier for the instructor etc and I send out a monthly Memo to
all HWSDA members which includes information about possible instructors..

In other words, the instructor will be invited to a particular guild, then other guilds can share travel costs, as well as make it more attractive for the instructor to travel here.

I sent a similar letter to Gladys Paulus.  Both instructors were pleased to come to Alberta, and appreciate that we were able to get the word out locally.  (The only problem—not insurmountable, we hope-- is getting a visa  …if you have any knowledge of how to do this, please get in touch with me.)

SO DO LOOK AT THESE WEBSITES.  Sheep Creek will be contacting both instructors next week with a date.     incredible felt     incredible weaving and colour


August 2018

1. HWSDA Membership

Last Sunday (July 29th) a brainstorming session was hosted by Judy Sysak, and organised and guided by Lynne Cowe Falls.   We spent a number of hours putting information and ideas together to help the executive and the membership move the guild forward in a more sustainable and growth-oriented direction. 

It was a fascinating process and Lynne’s expertise was invaluable. Thank you to all members who attended and to those who sent in their insights and recommendations via email. It was most appreciated!

2 Check this out...

If you are in the vicinity of Millarville AB on August 18, do stop by at the Millarville Fair to cheer on the Fleece to Shawl teams.  We have 5 teams registered! Flower Power (Crocus Guild), Baa’d to the Bone (Olds College Master Spinner/Weaver Program) and The Weft Overs (Heritage Weavers and Spinners Guild of Calgary) plus two Sheep Creek Weavers teams who will choose their names in the next week.

Judy Sysak of Tin Roof Studio’s will be providing 5 dyed wool fleeces.  The fleeces will be dyed by Judy in variegated colours in the themes of Alberta Landscapes.   We will draw numbers out of a hat to see which team gets which fleece.

3. Mary Garnham Andrews

It is with great sadness that I need to tell you all that our old and very dear friend, teacher and mentor, Mary Andrews, passed away last Sunday night (July 29, 2018) in Banff at the age of 102.  Mary was a lifelong member of this guild, giving us her time, knowledge, and encouragement over many decades.  Mary was passionate about the quest to perfect our skills, to be proud of our work, and to keep on learning.  She taught for many years at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and was responsible for training a whole generation of weaving teachers.


July 1, 2018


Happy Canada Day to all!


1. Fall Retreat

Save the date, and get ready to book! September 28-30 at the wonderful Terratima Lodge! It is east of Red Deer, so easily accessible for many of us.  Do check their website, it looks gorgeous!

We will have our HWSDA retreat weekend, with a variety of mini activities for your fibre enjoyment.

Bring your favourite pastimes, and enjoy the opportunity to learn new ones. At this point we have Ruth Blazenko teaching bow weaving, rumours of backstrap/tablet weaving, and there may be a leaf plant pot simmering.  Margaret Hall has volunteered to do some resist felting, depending on her overseas schedule. If any of you have something you would like to share with the group, please let your light shine!

Rooms are double occupancy with one double bed and a day bed, washrooms down the hall, with the Bath House providing showers, and two saunas, and an outdoor hot tub. Food is amazing, and plentiful, with much consideration for dietary needs. Rates are being worked out, but 20 people is the maximum.

Contact Kathy Sosnowski  if you would like to teach, and remember, if you are sharing, you get a space at the retreat, kind of like Disney front of the line passes. Enjoy your summer!

2. From the Executive

A reminder…anyone interested is welcome to come to the brainstorming session on July 29th here at my place - and to RSVP to . from Judy Sysak

Many thanks to Robin, Susan, Marge, Katherine, Ruth, Lorel, Judy and Norma, the volunteers who helped promote HWSDA at Olds Fibre Week Merchant Mall!  We had lots of visitors dropping in at the booth and  had some excellent conversations with folks in the fibre community.. from Norma Westcott

3. From your Running Threads Team

Deadline for article submission is July 15. Please have your reports and articles in to the editor no later than July 15 (earlier is always welcome), and then watch for the summer issue coming soon after.

June 1, 2018

1. The Conference

There were 41 attendees to the conference which was acclaimed as a glorious success on all fronts: the preconference workshops excited and inspired participants, the conference workshops also were much appreciated, and the 60 people at the banquet listened to an intriguing and entertaining talk by Dr. Jennifer Salahub and had a fabulous time watching the fashion show and laughing …. Most people found it relaxing with no vendors there, they had more time to visit and chat. The Sunday morning speaker, Dr.Lynne Cowe Falls, was a wonderful finale to a great weekend.

These links are related to Jennifer’s fascinating talk:

Samples photographed by Janine Jones, at Diane Totten’s preconference workshop, a “brain bursting” 2 days which caused a great deal of excitement!

Please visit the website later this month for more pictures, particularly of the prize winners.

Retired/retiring executive members were thanked by the guild at the banquet:  Lyn and Norma, and a special acknowledgement to Maria Lougheed and Keely Sullivan for holding things together over a difficult time.

2. New Executive

We are thrilled to announced that we now have a full executive!! (They will all be introduced to you over the next couple of months.)

Our new President is Judy Sysak, Fibre Artists/Owner of Tin Roof Fibre Studio, Priddis, AB.

“10 years ago my love of knitting drew me to the community of the Sheep Creek Weavers Guild where I quickly fell down the rabbit hole into spinning, dyeing and weaving! I created Tin Roof Fibre Studio on my acreage in Priddis, so that I could share my love of all things fibre with the community with a focus on creativity and collaborative learning.

I am so excited for this new chapter as President of HWSDA and I want to encourage all members to please send me any thoughts/ideas on how we can grow and strengthen our vibrant fibre arts community! "

Our treasurer is Norma Westcott of Calgary, AB

“Hi, I have been weaving since 1979 and have enjoyed the support of weaving communities in Calgary and HWSDA. I have been involved with HWSDA as Librarian, served on the Weaving Certificate Committee before it became Olds College Master Weaver and have helped run conferences. Last year I co-presided with Lyn Pflueger and acted as Treasurer for the guild. I enjoy connecting with really wonderful people and look forward an exciting year with such a dynamic Executive.”

Our recording secretary is Katherine Rankin of Medicine Hat AB

Katherine has been fooling with fibres since a very young age. She has been weaving for about 14 years and has completed the second level of the Master Weaver Program. In her home studio, she works (and plays) at weaving, dyeing and spinning. She has taught weaving in Edmonton and Medicine Hat.


From the Executive: Next executive meeting will begin with a brainstorming session, with an executive meeting to follow. 10:30 am Sunday, July 29 at Judy Sysak’s place. All members are invited to attend, (as you are invited to any/all of the exec meetings) or to email Judy with your thoughts...

2. Running Threads

Don't forget the deadline for submissions for the Summer 2018 issue of Running Threads is July 15, right in the middle of your summer holidays!  Get a jump on the summer and send in your articles early if you want.

How do you celebrate summer with fibre?  Do you use different materials?  Work outdoors?  Hide in your cool basement working on your creations?  Send us a note on what you do - it may inspire others.  Don't worry about your writing skills, just write like you're telling a story to a friend - because you are.  Share pictures if you have some…

3. Help Needed

HWSDA Table at Fibre Week: Thanks to all who have offered to cover a shift at our promotional Table June 15 - 17 at Olds. There are still open shifts. If you plan to visit the vendors this year put aside a couple of hours to talk about HWSDA, hand out brochures and take memberships. 

We really need people Sunday June 17, or any part of these days you can manage.

Contact Norma: or just show up, bring a spinning wheel and visit.

4. Who's Coming to Town

a) The workshop teams of SCW and Heritage Weavers got together over coffee at the conference and agreed to collaborate more on bringing in instructors…. Any guilds are welcome to join in this enterprise, as it is my hope to have us all join together in facilitating workshops.  So keep tuned for a name or names next month, the plan would be to suggest a teacher right from first contact, so that you could all get in touch with her/him to enable cost sharing on transportation etc, and make a more efficient visit for the instructor.

b) As I mentioned last month, the Dutch wool experts Janneke Plomp and Andrina Bravenboer would like to come to Alberta next year. They teach knowledge, or, in a hands-on way, how to choose fleeces or fibres for certain purposes, and in doing so, review the properties of a couple of dozen sheep breeds; they teach how certain fibres can be spun, and how to spin with complex fibres (eg mixtures of plant- and animal fibres), using a variety of spinning tools; how certain fleeces can be felted into home decor, clothing or accessories.  Please contact Lyn for more information.

5. Events

Sheep to Shawl, Millarville    The Sheep Creek Weavers invite all guilds to please join us for our 2018 Fleece to Shawl Competition, at the 111th Priddis/Millarville Fair on August 18, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m at the Millarville Racetrack (just south of Calgary)… simplified rules and great prizes!

To register please contact: Janine Jones 403-931-2170 or

Plant Printing in Red Deer: An “Eco Dyeing” workshop with Lyn Pflueger will be hosted by the Parkland Handweavers and Fibre Arts guild on August 25 & 26, 2018, in the Mountview Community Hall, from 10 – 4 . Cost $100, Registration opens June 15, contact Cammy Desjardins or ph 403 342 7559.  See attachment for details and registration form.

6. Worth a Look

Esker Gallery, Calgary
Anna Torma: Book of Abandoned Details   extremely skilled and exquisitely detailed large-scale hand embroidered wall hangings and collages. She immigrated to Canada in 1988, and has lived and worked in Baie Verte, New Brunswick since 2002. This exhibition will feature new and major works produced over the past five years.  May 26–September 2, 2018


Jolie Bird: 1597; Harmonious Frequencies   May 7 – July 29, 2018  ‘1597; Harmonious Frequencies’ is a performance-based installation to be implemented in the Project Space over the course of twelve weeks. Working within a clean and minimal space, the artist will create an 8-foot diameter representation of the Fibonacci Sequence, which references the golden ratio found throughout nature.

PS from Lyn:  I am no longer on the executive, but am happy to continue with the Memo as long as it is thought to be valuable in some way.   Please let me know about workshops, vendors, events etc in your area.

May 1, 2018

1. Conference

We are delighted to tell you that Dr. Lynne Cowe Falls from the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary will be our guest speaker.  Her topic will be “Everything I learned about weaving, I learned from Dr. Seuss”. (Lyn has been associated with the U of C’s Solar Car Team, and I highly recommend this video !

Vendors: Unfortunately our ”usual suspects” will all be at a big event at the Crossroads Market this year… but there will be plenty of time on Sunday, after conference ends, for you to get down there and shop till you drop!

AGM: The AGM will be chaired by Norma and Lyn, and will follow the usual format.  The most important item will be the election of the Executive, PLEASE think about volunteering, it is a challenging and worthwhile experience…and a great way to meet and work with a terrific bunch of people!

Please let us know if you would like to see a particular item on the agenda.  Also, there will be time allocated for comments from the floor.

2. HWSDA Membership Matters

a) Did you know that HWSDA has a Grants to Guilds policy which can be very helpful with the costs involved with a workship. Please look at the website for information, and for the application form.

I would like to request that guilds let any executive of HWSDA know that you are planning to bring in an instructor. Other guilds may want to also invite the teacher and share transportation costs and host duties. Plans can be announced on the website, in Running Threads, and/or the Monthly Memo.

b) Margaret informs me that she now has 45 members paid up for next year!  It makes her job, and budgeting, SO MUCH EASIER if we pay our membership at the beginning of our year, ie now, rather than just before the next conference …hmmmm…

c) And a reminder from the Running Threads team that the deadline for article submissions for the Summer 2018 issue of Running Threads is July 15.

d) Call for volunteers: to audit the books; to represent the guild at our table during Fibre Week (at Olds College); to track down the authors of the Master Spinners and Master Weavers  (duplicate) theses currently residing in Norma’s garage.

3. Who is Coming to Town?

Here are two great opportunities to bring a fabulous teacher to your guild and share the costs of transportation...or to participate in a class with another gujild.

a) The Edmonton Weavers’ Guild is hosting Melissa Arnold for a 4 day felting/dyeing workshop, this September, titled “FABULOUS FELTED SHIBORI WRAP”., see Melissa’s website for her work, she has great skills as a dyer, felter, and teacher.

“In this exciting 4 day class we will learn the Art of Arashi Shibori on silk fabric and then felt thru it to create a fabulous wrap with a button closure. The Arashi design element is wonderful when felted, and gives your wrap a design that resembles an animal skin. Techniques will begin with dyeing, pole wrapping, discharging (removing color) and over dyeing our silk pieces…then exploring design and layout options for creating an innovative and exciting wrap from our shibori silk using Merino wool with assorted fibers for embellishment… ending with exploring finishing details”.   

This is a class for Intermediate Felters. Some dye experience is helpful but not necessary.

Public registration starts on May 10th.  I believe there is still time if other guilds want to contact her. She will be in Edmonton September 8-20th teaching 3 workshops.  If other guilds wish to contact her, her email is:   Melissa  

Contact EWG if you are interested in taking the class with them:

b) Janneke Plomp and Andrina Bravenboer   would like to come to Alberta next year.  They offer unique knowledge and skills, in a new way, to open up new ideas.

These Dutch ladies are well known in the European fibre world for their extensive knowledge of all possible sheep breeds and other fibre animals. Through their own work, from sheering to spinning, knitting, and felting, to their close contact with fibre breeders and shepherds, they acquired diverse and professional fibre skills and a strong regard for healthy breeding practices and sustainable hand work.

Janneke and Andrina organize various workshops for groups of 8-12 people, catering to whatever the interest of the group is. They teach how to choose fibre and how to check its quality for different fibre techniques. They talk about old and new practices for skirting, washing and carding. While Janneke is specialized in mixing and spinning complex fibres, Andrina is a master in felting full fleeces into home decor (such as pillows, wall hangings and rugs) or garments to size. The offer hands on workshops where you create your own beautiful product, in ways you never thought you could go. More than anything, this dynamic duo opens up a world of wool you never knew about.

(Please contact Lyn for more information… I think this will be a super opportunity for us all!)

4. Local Producers

Please let me know your favourite local wool producers and what breeds they have.   There is a growing interest in using local resources, and also in using a variety of fleece in our spinning and felting for their specific qualities.

5. You might be interested

Alberta Culture Days is an annual three-day celebration that takes place the last weekend of September. Culture Days provides opportunities for communities and community organizations across Alberta to discover, experience and celebrate the cultural life of their communit

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