•March 14, 2013 • 1 Comment

Lorinda's Lambs crop

Oreo and Sweettart, two little girls born on 3/6/13. Thanks, Lorinda!

Hats Off! And On! at the February Meeting

•March 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Photo Lydia in Hat

Flax and Fleecers met February 12th at the Swinney Homestead. We were delighted to welcome our guest speaker, Lydia Gerbig-Fast, and her marvelous and extensive collection of hand-made hats. Lydia is a gifted and passionate ambassador for the world of millinery. She originally became a “mad hatter” as a War of 1812 reenactor, although she is fond of the history of all hats, particularly those of the 30s through the 50s.

A metal worker by training, she combined vintage hats and metalwork for her first solo hat show. She has since expanded her knowledge of hat materials; rabbit fur felt is “a dream to work with,” while wool “is a tug of war and gets you cussing.”

She displayed a variety of hat blocks; antique blocks are very rate and expensive, so she generally blocks on found objects, such as flower pots and aluminum bowls–anything plausibly head- or hat-shaped.

She also gave us memorable fashion advice on wearing one’s hat: “You don’t want to plunk a hat in the middle of your head–put some attitude in it!” And with that advice, she gave her hat a jaunty cock and showed us what it means to wear a hat with flair.

Thank you, Lydia, for the great demonstration and inspiration!

Kind Words From Friends

•March 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Late last fall, we were priveleged to spend two days with Kate Larson in a spinning workshop. She wrote a very kind article about the Flax and Fleecers on her blog. Thank you, Kate!

Press Coverage from 2012 Johnny Appleseed Festival

•February 13, 2013 • 1 Comment

“For two days at the recent Johnny Appleseed Festival, crowds of onlookers lingered, watching the costumed demonstrators. Large kettles of natural dyes simmered over an open fire, while fiber artists operated spinning wheels of various sizes, many pumping the foot pedals with their stocking feet.

Young dads hoisted children to their shoulders for a better view, while moms and grandmas explained that fibers were being dyed and spun into yarns that will eventually be used to make warm gloves, socks, sweaters and scarves.”

For the full article, go here:

Member Photos – The Richert’s Ranch

•May 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

Our guild members are so diverse in every way and we have invited guild members to share their photos of what they do.  For our next guild meeting we will be meeting at the Richert’s Ranch outside Fort Wayne to tour their farm and see what they do. They have shared some wonderful pictures here of just a few of their fiber friends.

Alaina and Sabrina with a few lambs; look at those legs!  The girls are raising Suffolk and Lincoln Longwool sheep, and also breeding their very own “Lincolnfolk” variety, combining the best qualities of the two breeds.  In addition to sheep, they also raise chickens, turkeys, cows, and goats.








This is Bernadette with her new lamb, Galadrial.








Curley’s award winning fleece.


Here are some Lincoln Longwool locks  that the girls have dyed. Note the 9 inch staple length of the fibers! These sheep grow an inch of wool a month and can be sheared once or twice a year. The fiber also has a wonder luster, is incredibly strong, and felts very easily.









Below are balls of wool roving that are dyed and ready to spin!  And to your right is the one and onlyCutie Pie, Suffolk  sheep ambassador extraordinaire! Cutie Pie spent her 2011 summer at Salomon Farm’s Farmin’ Fun Day Camp spreading the love in her very own wooly way.

Spinning a Story: Guild Field Trip

•May 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

On March 18th guild members attended Spinning a Story: A collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century prints, illustrations, and reproductions of the spinning wheel at Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana.  Members of the Blends and Friends Spinning Guild joined us, along with other attendees. Most of the pieces were collected throughout Europe by Annamarie Wagoner and her father, Robert Wagoner.  The works in the exhibition are featured in a book by Robert called “Spinning and Sex: Glimpses of Women, Work, and Love in Bygone Times”.  A copy of the book can be found in the guild library.  There was a reception, followed by a presentation given by Robert Wagoner.


Guild members at the Spinning a Story art exhibit

February Guild Meeting

•May 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

February Guild Meeting

This month’s meeting had a full house again with some new faces and members. The program was all about Fiber Toys and Animals and was presented by Holly Bir, and Sabrina and Alaina Richert.  Holly brought a number of adorable crocheted stuffed toys such as her “Love bug” and “Edward” for all you Twilight fans. She also passed around some books full of toys to knit or crochet. Sabrina and Alaina brought a number of examples of needle felted toys and animals (that I did not get pictures of!) that were made with their very own homegrown Lincoln Longwool fleece. My personal favorite was the pig aptly named “Kevin Bacon”.  Other guild members brought a variety of examples such as Betty’s kiwi bird from New Zealand, where our sister spinning guild is, and Ruth’s knitted and felted lamb.

Holly demonstrated a simple and clever way to use wool roving to make a small toy animal. She fashioned a basic skeleton out of pipe cleaners and wrapped it with the roving to make a small sheep. Her example is pictured in the bottom photo; a small brown sheep. The top photo shows a reindeer made with roving wrapped around small branches that another guild member brought. Thanks for a great and informative program!

January Guild Meeting

•January 11, 2012 • 1 Comment

It was a packed room at the Swinney Homestead last night, full of the gentle hum of many wheels as we commenced our first guild meeting of 2012. There were many new faces so we started with a round of introductions. I am continually and pleasantly surprised at the multitude of talent that the various guild members bring, and always learn something new. We discussed taking a trip to Manchester College to see an exhibit of eighteenth and nineteenth century images of the spinning wheel, called Spinning a Story. There was plenty of interest and we set a tentative date of March 4 for the trip. We also talked about upcoming fiber events which will be posted in the events section.

Show and Tell is always a treat and I will try to take some pictures in the future; You will have to imagine the feel of Merino, Yak, Alpaca, and all the other luscious fibers that inspire our membership! We ended the night with spinning, visiting, and a lovely ball of roving for a door prize donated by Wooly Knob Fiber Mill.

It’s exciting to see the interest in spinning and fiber arts grow, and the diversity of the people who make up the Flax and Fleecers Spinning Guild.

5th Saturday Spin-In at Teasel Hill

•February 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Every 5th Saturday thoughout the year, Julie, Barry, and Elena host a spin-in at their farm, Teasel Hill.  It is an fabulous time with spinners/knitters from all over the area.  There is a potluck lunch and some amazing soup that Julie makes and just a mid-morning/early afternoon all-around fun time to be had by all!  This year, one of the 5th Saturdays happened to fall at the end of January.  Here are some pictures from the event.  Look at all of those spinning wheels in one place!  Be sure to join us for the next 5th Saturday Spin-In at the end of April!

A view from above of all the wheels

More spinners!

Betty teaches Rachel how to spin

Charity Knitting/Crocheting + Election of New Officers

•January 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Charity Knitting/Crocheting

The 2010 Flax & Fleecers charity knitting/crocheting project was to make hats for the Lutheran Cancer Resource Center in Fort Wayne.  Guild members pooled their efforts, and just over 30 chemo caps were donated to the center at the end of 2010.  The nurses at the center were extremely grateful for the hats and commented on how beautiful they all were.  They said that they had cancer patients who come in daily to find chemo caps, so the donation was very much needed and appreciated.  The Lutheran Cancer Resource Center is a support center dedicated to helping local cancer patients receive information, coordinate their care, and find support groups.  The services they provide are totally free of charge for cancer patients.  For more information on the Cancer Resource Center, please visit their website.

2011 Flax & Fleecers Officers

At the December 2010 meeting, officers were elected for the 2011 calendar year.  The new officers are as follows:

President:  Melinda Peiserich

Vice President:  Mary Pat Bailey

Secretary:  Anita Richert

Treasurer:  Ronia Krieg