Memo to Members

March 1 2018

1. Conference

The HWSDA Conference Committee is pleased to report that registration for the 2018 Conference, “Make Mine Takeaway” is underway and classes are filling up.

The good news, for those of you who have not yet registered, is that none of the classes are full (at this moment!), although some are very close to capacity.  If you were planning to register and have procrastinated, now is the time to fill out the form. Don’t forget that this year you can register online and pay electronically or you can register in the usual manner by mail with fees paid by cheque. Registration closes March 15th.

Just a reminder that now is also the time to be planning and preparing your items for the juried show and the fashion show, both of which are always highlights of Conference.

Meet two of our instructors: Lisa Schwartz and Laurie Bullock.

Lisa will be teaching Nuno Felted Stained Glass Scarf, and she says "I am very excited about teaching the Stained Glass Nuno Felting Workshop offered this year at the HWSDA conference. Working with fibre and silk is magic, a world of endless possibiities!"


Laurie will be teaching Two Colour Brioche Knitting, and is an expert in this field, a teacher with limitless patience!





2. HWSDA Notes

Memberships:  A reminder that the AGM, held at the conference, is for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018 … this is also the year in which conference registration occurs… so in order register and to attend both conference and the AGM you need to be a member for that year.  But we would really like to encourage you to join now for “next” year, so will have a  DRAWFOR A FREE MEMBERSHIP at the conference, for all those who have paid a membership for 2018/19 prior to the conference ie before the end of April.

Very important: There was a typo in the membership form sent with the registration package (Marg’s address) which should read Hand Weavers, Spinners & Dyers of Alberta  c/o Margaret Hall  48 Good Crescent, Red Deer, AB T4P 3N6

Guild Memberships: At the last Executive Meeting a motion passed to allow guilds free membership if they have fewer than 12 members.  The minutes of this meeting will be available to members on our website.

Running Threads: In an effort to avoid the Christmas rush, we’re changing the submission deadlines for Running Threads to:  January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.  Please mark your calendars. 

And if you were planning to submit an article for the Spring issue of Running Threads, the good news is you’ve got a little more time to complete it. The new deadline for the spring 2018 issue of running threads is April 15.

Don’t forget there is grant and scholarship money available to member guilds and individual members in good standing. For information on these benefits please check out the website, Contact Norma Westcott,

Are you wanting to join forces with other guilds in the province to plan workshops? The Lethbridge guild is looking for like-minded groups to share information and resources. Contact Penny Peterson,

Executive Search Committee: As you will know, HWSDA is at a crossroads. We are faced with the challenge of finding our place in this digital and busy world, but are determined not to abandon the strength of the personal and community connections which have made our guild so successful for over 40 years.

The conference in May will be a very important event, and at the AGM we need to finally have, once more, a full slate of board members elected.  At the moment we lack officers for three of the key positions.  We are able to be quite creative in filling these positions eg two people could share one position.  And we have found ways to make the positions less onerous, particularly with regard to travelling to meetings.

Therefore we need volunteers to serve on an "Executive Search" committee, and would really appreciate your members considering serving on that committee, or in fact volunteering to be an Executive member.  

We have compiled a list of duties for each position, and would be delighted to send it to any interested parties.  Job descriptions of executive positions will also be published in the next issue of Running Threads.

3. Events

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

Teams of 5 competitors (no designated position) and 1 alternate will weave 22” x 80” finished shawl on a prewarped loom, from worsted yarn spun on manual spinning wheels, using hand carders and/or manual drum carder, and a manual bobbin winder. There will be two $100.00 prizes—one for the team who completes their shawl first (including wet finishing) and one for the team whose shawl receives the highest bid on their silent auction bid sheet.  Dyed wool fleeces will be donated by Tin Roof Fibre Studio.   Entry Fee $25.

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

b) Fibre Potpourri at Red Deer College on June 1-2, 2018. Three workshops: South American Embtroidery, Big Needle Felted Creatures, Sensation Silk Painting. Go to

4) Who's Coming to Town

Marjolein Dallinga will be at Series at Red Deer College from July 30 to August 3, 2018.

5) A Snippet for the Memo from Margaret

Recently I visited the Peter Lougheed park visitor center to warm up. Joy of joys whilst warming up I learned how to rug hook. The park interpreter being from Nova Scotia learned rug hooking as a child. He thought it would be a good idea to set up a communal project at the center. So he bought old wool blazers washed them and cut them into strips, bought hooks and set up a beautiful canvas depicting an owl, for visitors to learn and contribute to. The rug is hopefully to be hung over the fireplace once complete.

He is also a needle felter and showed me some beautiful felted birds.

What an enterprising man! I did tell him about the HWSDA.

February 1, 2018

1. Conference

Our thanks to the Heritage Weavers for the exciting Conference Package, I’m sure that we have all been poring over it.  And remember that today is the day!!! Register now to ensure your spot at the conference and for the workshops of your choice.

Had this note from Ruth Blazenko, the chair of the committee: No guild program for our Saturday January meeting… well, conference table center pieces took care of that!  We had so much fun as a guild on a cold winter day. Everybody loves a fortune cookie-- the needle felters and wet felters were awesome in their colour choices as well at the woven fabric that was donated.  The Chinese take away boxes filled with goodies, there will be weaving boxes, dying boxes, felting boxes, spinning boxes with wild batts and a cd drop spindle!   

Meet one of our instructors, Liv Pedersen from Calgary. Liv will teach Small Tapestries on a Dutch Plank Loom.











Left: Pedersen, Liv. Signe Going Down the Slide. 1981. Tapestry. 56 x 36 cm. Right: Pedersen, Liv. Fall BBQ. 1996. 56 x 56 cm.

2. Clarifying Membershjp Rules

The AGM, held at the conference, is for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. This is also the year in which conference registration occurs… so in order register and to attend both conference and the AGM you need to be a member for that year.  And be assured that we will encourage you to renew your membership at the conference for the following fiscal year (which by then will be the current year, Apr 1 2018-March 31 2019) … and don’t laugh when I say “clarifying”.

All member guilds can send 2 members to the conference as part of the guild membership in HWSDA - contact Lyn Pflueger (email: for more information and access to the registration package. 

·       Conference theme is “Make Mine Takeout”
·       only members can enter the juried show - prizes are monetary
·       non-members can register for any of the pre-conference workshops

3. Who's Coming to Town

Marjolein Dallinga will be teaching a feltmaking class at Red Deer College for Series, this summer. She has taught in Alberta and her workshops are truly wonderful.  If your guild would like to know about her workshops, her website is

4. HWSDA Library

The HWSDA library is now housed in the Olds College library, is still accessible through inter-library loans.

5. Running Threads

Deadline for Running Threads submissions March 15, 2018:  if you enjoy reading the interesting articles in Running Threads, please consider contributing to the newsletter yourself.  It does not need to be long, only about something you are enthusiastic about!  And a few pictures make it all the better.  Velma and her team work hard to provide members with this valuable resource of  news, information, and enjoyable articles.

6. Executive Meeting

The next Executive meeting will be held Februrary 11th in Red Deer: All members are welcome to attend; please contact Lyn for directions and agenda

7. From “the Travels of Margaret”

In the northern lakes of Cumbria England, there is a hidden gem for textile and fibre artists, Caldbeck. This pretty village not only boasts of the ‘Woolclip’ a co op of fibre artists selling their work and fibre supplies. The organizers of the yearly ‘Woolfest’ in Cockermouth.

It has hidden historical treasures. An old weaving shed and dye house, all now converted into dwellings in the village.

Then a short walk up the ‘Howk’ to an old bobbin mill, which operated between 1857 and 1924. In its hey day a major producer of the bobbins for the mills in Lancashire and Scotland. It is situated in a picturesque gorge so it could be powered by a water mill.

The Lake District of England is now a national park but once was dotted with the small mills of an active textile industry.

January 1, 2018 and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

1. The Conference

The conference committee has been hard at work this fall and the results will soon be made public. Your conference package will be arriving in your email inbox around the 15th of January. Check your computer inboxes for all the information.

Registration starts February 1st. For the first time, you can now pay for conference with an e-transfer of funds as well as the usual cheque in the mail.

Here is a peak at some of the Saturday classes- Yurts for birds, Spin like a Viking, Bow loom weaving and stained glass scarves are some of the exciting classes at conference this year. We are delighted to tell you that Jennifer Salahub, Craft and Art History instructor at ACAD, will be our keynote speaker, talking about “the controversial language of textiles”.

This year’s conference schedule includes two Pre-conference classes which are open to everybody. They are a two day workshop by Dianne Totten ( and a one day workshop by Diana Twiss ( Both classes will be held at the Best Western Hotel- same location as the conference.

Dianne Totten                                             Diana Twiss

Your membership renewal form will be enclosed in the conference package.

2. Who's Coming to Town

Laurie Steffler, feltmaker extraordinaire, specialising in garments, will be in Alberta twice this year.  In June she will teach a 3 day –designing your own garments-- class at Olds Fibre week (which always sells out very quickly, book early!) She will also be back in Alberta in September, we are hoping to bring her to the Calgary area. Look on her website for scheduling:

 3. Worth a Listen   Rayon has been part of the fabric of our lives for more than a century, but what you might not know about rayon is the dangerous process used to make its silky smooth fibres is killing many industry workers.

4. Worth a Look


Victoria Crowe’s celebrated painting, Large Tree Group (1975), was chosen by Dovecot Studio in Edinburgh to be woven into a large tapestry as part of their centenary celebrations in 2012.

Fleece to Fibre: the making of The Large Tree Group Tapestry explored the process behind the project, tracing the journey from sheep through to yarn and then into the completed tapestry. Some 70 producers across Great Britain, from small-scale crofters to large estates, provided wool from diverse sheep breeds then spun by a range of specialists – again from individual spinners and small groups to commercial operations on a semi-industrial scale.



2.  cSPACE King Edward, Calgary:   some of the SCW who were out on the town before Christmas paid a visit to cSPACE, the recently renovated King Edward School in Marda Loop.   Unfortunately the organiser of the field trip didn’t realise that the Alberta Craft Council store and Gallery is not open on a Tuesday (oops, me!) but we were fortunate to run into some wonderful young women who have studio space in the building, and who were kind enough to give us a personalised tour.  Natalie Gerber, screen printer par excellence, showed us around her beautiful studio, and the wonderful building.  (This picture is of her skilled and imaginative work.)  We admired the work of Anne Kirsten, of  Assemble Work/Shop, who wants to “help grow the conversation around slow and ethical fashion”, and Work/Shop’s cofounder Kristi Woo showed us her chic and innovative “conscious clothing”.    We could see in the Craft Council store and gallery through the window, and will return next month, when it is open, to see their new show  Uncommon Blends, coming in January...see     We highly recommend cSPACE for a visit for both it's intriguing renovations and its beautiful art and craft.

3. Two great exhibitions at the Glenbow, the Black Gold Tapestry,  Sandra Sawatzky's 220-foot hand-embroidered The Black Gold Tapestry telling the story of how oil has impacted human civilizations around the world, and  highlighting fascinating vignettes from the past and the present.



And  Eye of the Needle, which explores how the humble needle and thread, the shiny bead and sequin, the porcupine quill and tuft of moose hair have been used in the hands of skilled creators to create objects of incredible beauty.




5. Need Your Help

Our members would realy appreciate knowing from YOU about events coming into your area...teachers, shows, popup sales, etc...please email Lyn at


December 1, 2017

1. Conference:  Look for this logo each month   …

Make Mine Take Away!   HWSDA Conference 2018   

May 11, 12 &13 at the Best Western Village Park Inn, Calgary AB    

 The idea behind our theme is what knowledge or skill you can ‘take away’ from conference.  Perhaps it is a new technique or idea that you have been wishing to explore. With summer approaching, maybe there is a new project idea that you can pack and ‘take away’ during your travels, sitting on the deck, at the cottage or simply hiding out in your garden.

There will be an exciting list of instructors for you to choose from, and most will be new to our conference lists.  We are so pleased to tell you that Diana Twiss and Dianne Totten  are two international “names”, and will be offering pre-conference workshops!!!!

Judy Sysak and the Conference Team led by Ruth Blazenko have put together a really amazing group of teachers, and the only problem for participants will be choosing!  Look in the next Running Threads for more information about the workshops, and the other conference activities.

2. We are grateful to:  Loretta Melnychuk, Karen Martinoski and Lynne Bryan Lair from the Heritage Weavers, and Marijane Rose, Cheryl Renwick, and Kathy Sosnowski from Sheep Creek Weavers for auditing the HWSDA finances (needed urgently for compliance with the Societies Act.)

3. Partnering for executive positions: would you really like to be able to take a position on the executive, but you travel frequently, or there are other uncertainties in your schedule? Maybe you and a friend could share a position, each fill in for the other, or at least be standing by to do so….

4. Running Threads:  “Do you have a tip you’d like to share with others regarding your craft?  I’m hoping to have a Tips and Tricks column in Running Threads on a regular basis and know that our members have all kinds of information worth sharing.  Please send them in Word format with pictures separate in jpg format (if possible) to me by December 15 and we’ll get them in the Winter issue.  Think of it as a Christmas present to your fellow HWSDA buddies. 

And a reminder that I need to receive all submissions for the Winter issue of Running Threads by December 15.”   Velma Hudson

5. Learning Opportunities:  Olds is putting the finishing touches on the workshop list for Fibre Week… look at their website in mid-January. 

6. Book Review

two magazines, No Serial Number  (great issue for plant printing) and Selvedge  , both available digitally at a fraction of the cost for the hard copies (comes from UK)… I (Lyn) wholeheartedly recommend them both.  Please send a review/recommendation for a favourite book or magazine.

7. Share a Link:

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