Winter  Newsletter

January 2017

Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild has been around for many years.  The group offers meetings throughout the year, a newsletter to keep you in touch with events and classes.  And every other year there is Hooked in The Mountains.  It’s a rug hooking show plus a hooking in and classes.   Through the guild you can find people who will teach you how to hook in various ways, be it proddy, hooking with yarns, shading, hooking faces and animals.  Everything you need to know about hooking is contained within the members of the group. 


One of the best things about attending Hooked In The Mountains is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.  You might meet up with them attending a Featured Artist or educational talk, attending a workshop, viewing all the beautiful rugs, shopping for the next project in the vendor area or having coffee and lunch in the café..

If you have checked out the Local Hook-Ins map on the Guild website, you know we have members spread all over New England.  It’s a great way to find a group to hook with if you are traveling or just want to visit and see what other folks are up to.. They include groups from Beaconsfield, Quebec, the Northeast Kingdom, North Hero, Hinesburg, Rutland, the Mad River Valley, Sharon, and Richmond..  Many people from Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York attend meetings too.

A schedule of meeting held throughout the year.  My favorite is the summer hook-in.

Saturday Feb 4 Hook-in (no need to register) Tinmouth
Saturday April 22 Spring Meeting and Hook-in Berlin
Saturday July 29 One day summer hook-in Rutland
Saturday and Sunday

November 4 and 5

Fall Meeting and Hook-in Shelburne

Details about each event such as guest speakers, workshops, and accommodations will be posted on the website, via email, and in future newsletters as they become available.

Looking ahead….

Spring Membership Meeting and Hook-in

Saturday April 22

Capital City Grange in Berlin


Directions: Take exit 8 off I-89 (Montpelier exit). Take Dog River Road on your left and follow about 2 miles to the grange on route 12 (6612 VT-12). Plenty of parking and it has a handicap accessible ramp.

Speaker to be announced soon.

Register at

Check out the website for further information and about joining.  Everyone is so friendly and helpful. 

Happy Hooking







Caring for your loom

Proper maintenance and cleaning of your loom, will keep it in good running order. If your loom came with cleaning and maintenance instructions, follow them. If you purchased a used loom, without instructions, the following list should help you extend the life of your loom.  After each finished weaving project it is recommended to dust the loom, vacuum or clean the floor under and around the loom, and give the loom a gentle shake to make sure it is still tighten and correctly align.  Once a year it is a good idea to use a level to check the position of your loom against the floor; and out of level floor can –over time – damage your loom.

  1. Metal parts of the loom should be cleaned with a cloth and oiled using sewing machine oil. Use silicone spray on nylon or plastic parts.
  2. Rust can be cleaned from reeds with powdered pumice. Using a stiff brush and pumice, scrub the reed to strip the rust off. Then oil the reeds well.
  3. Tighten all bolts and screws securely. If bolts are loose, this can cause permanent damage to the loom, with the excessive beating that a loom has to withstand. The wood can be crushed, screws stripped and bolt holes enlarged.
  4. In warm or changing climates, it is especially important to clean and wax or oil hardwood regularly to prevent drying and cracking of wood. Varnished surfaces can be dusted and cleaned with lemon oil.

For stained or unvarnished wood, use lemon oil. Rub it on with a soft cloth and let dry.  Lemon Oil – Lemon Oil is Mineral oil with 1 percent of synthetic lemon scent, or use paste wax.   To clean use Murphy’s oil soap (on wood).  Test any product before using it on the entire loom by using it on a spot that is an underneath surface.

  1. If using loom tie cords (not texsolv) coating them with beeswax can protect them from drying out.

Try to avoid using tape on any loom.

Do take a picture of your loom for insurance purposes.  Keep a notebook with date of purchase, cost, manufacturer’s instructions, and maintenance record.


Loris Epps has been a mentor of mine since my weaving days at Hill Institute.  I would have never gotten through the classes without her.  She is a member of The Springfield Weavers and is a prolific weaver.






Have you ever wanted  to be in a Sheep to Shawl Contest.  I am going to share some of the ins and outs of the contest with you and hope to get some of you to participate in one..    Years ago I belonded to a spinning group WOOLGATHERES.  It was a lucky find for me.  There I found like minded people who loved spinning, weaving, sheep and other fiber animals and lifelong friends, now we stil share the same things plus rug hooking!

It all starts with a fleece and 4 people who work good together.  We had a weaver, Renee, a carder and plyer and sometime spinner Lynn, and Debbie and I who were fast spinners.    The planning started way ahead .  The first thing was finding a fleece and deciding if we should use a handspun  warp.   Handspinning the warp is something we always did, the extra points you get always helps.  We found that it was best to have one person do the spinning,  that would make an even warp..    Another consideration was to dye the warp and or weft.  This always depended on the pattern.  


Our favorite show was The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival which is held on the first full weekend in May every year..  We did it for quite a few years.  At this show you need a live sheep and your own shearer.  We did get some lovely sheep from a woman in Maryland , the shearer was another thing.  We had asked a shearer from around here to do it and he did agree.  Never showed up on the morning of the contest, luckily the owner of the sheep was there and she did an excellent job of shearing.  We won many times there.  I will agree there is a lot of pressure in these contests.  The rules are different everywhere and need to be studied before hand.  Folks can be very competitive.  We always had fun and laughed and chatted all through the contest.


Costumes were worn and signs were made.  A rug and flowers or a plant helped make the space more homey.  Some people played music.  We found it distracting especially when one group play wolves howeling!!!!!! (at a sheep show really!!!!!) We always had some tools you never knew when you needed to fix a wheel or loom.  At the Maryland show Shawls were auctioned off and that was very exciting.  Shawls would go up to a couple of hundred dollars and with the first price money that added up to a tidy sum.




We did win most contests and in the first year or two we divided up the money and each went our own way.  But later we decided to pool the money and we all took a wonderful trip to Ireland on our Sheep to Shawl earnings.  I am not saying we didn’t have some losses and we did learn from them. 

I really miss those wonderful times and wish we could do it one more time!!





Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair :: May 27 & 28, 2017


Shepherds are getting their sheep and fleeces ready, vendors are getting wool, yarns and crafts ready for you  to see and workshops are now in place.  Come and join us at the fair.  Located in the beautiful town of Cummington, Massachusetts, at the fairgrounds.   Good food will be available bring the family for a day of fun.  Sheep shows, Dog trails and lots of demos will await you.


We are pleased to present our workshop schedule for 2017. We host great teachers from near and far. Bruce Engebretson writes for Spin Off Magazine, and teaches at Marshfield School of Weaving. He was trained in the Scandinavian tradition of fiber work. Katherine Johnson will teach us about Naalbinding, spelled variously: in English it is needle binding. Emily Gwynn enlightens us on using charts for knitting! Dotty Taft will be bringing her fleet of drum carder for us to experiment on.
On Saturday the cotton expert Joan Ruane of Bisbee AZ will be demonstrating how to spin cotton. On Sunday, Bruce Engebretson will demonstrate. Other guests will be joining us for various demonstrations.. Check out the Website for times and days.


Potluck Supper

A potluck supper will be held on the fairgrounds dining room at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a prepared dish or salad sufficient to feed your family to the kitchen by 4:00 p.m. NO BREAD PLEASE! Rolls, beverages, and place settings will be provided.  Both refrigerators and a warming are available on the grounds.

Fleece Judging

The Dog Trials are always an exciting event

See you there











                                 HANDWOVEN KITCHEN TOWELS  by LISA BERTOLDI

Kitchen towels!


I love big, thirsty, durable, substantial kitchen towels.  They speak to me of comfort, of meals prepared with caring and thoughtfulness.  Of hot corn bread carried to potluck suppers.  Picnics in fields.


When I was a child doing kitchen chores, I always had certain towels for which I reached.  Often they were decades-old linen towels.  One I have in my mind’s eye was a threadbare rag, so beloved for its softness and its generous size.


For the past nine years I have been weaving those towels.  Always in twill, for the maximum number of threads packed in per square inch, and always in cottolin and linen.  Cottolin, a Scandinavia invention from around the time of World War II, is a terrific thread:  it combines the strength of linen with the forgiveness, the stretch of cotton.  As a warp, it is nearly perfect.  And a weft, or crossing thread, of linen singles, gives gloss, gives absorbability.  I utilize threads from Sweden because they are of very high quality.

I weave these towels on a 160 centimeter Swedish loom, called Glimakra.  It’s a workhorse.  It behaves dependably and admirably, and I love it.  We are used to each other.  I know how the beater should sound, how the treadles should feel with each and every pass of the weft thread.


Each individual warp has a sweet spot, an inch or two in which the weft threads flow like water, and flow dependably, and each beat with the overhanging beater is perfect and satisfying.  That sweet spot is one of the great joys of weaving, for me.


The weaving, or weaving off, of the fabric is about one-third of the effort of the creation of new cloth.  One must design, then plan the warp;  wind the warp threads;  make the warp chain from those threads;  dress the loom;  then make the all-important sample.  Finally one weaves off the fabric.  Still not done!!  Hemming, then finishing of the fabric.  The final step is inspection of each towel.


I sell these towels to an enthusiastic public.  Women and men collect them year after year, in various color ways.  They are given as gifts for weddings, birthdays, house warmings.  I weave them large, nineteen or twenty inches wide, by about twenty-nine inches long, so they can be truly useful in the kitchen or at the picnic. They look great.  They become very buttery soft and yet more absorbent with time and use.


I have chosen to focus my weaving on one item, to make that item the best it can be.  Utility is foremost in my mind:  I want to supply superbly absorbent kitchen toweling.  Durability is critical:  I use strong, well made threads from a respected company.


I have a limited line, in a sign, which utilizes as a weft thread handspun linen.  I spin this linen thread myself, out of the highest quality flax stricks.  The thread is glossy, strong, lovely.  It is a slow and very satisfying process, and the resulting towels are special:  they look a bit rustic, they are a bit heavier, and the drape is exquisite.  They age marvelously.


Each year I perform experiments with rags made from my towels, to see how much use they can withstand.  They hold up really well, and can take many dozens of washings, they can take abrasion, they can take it all.

Weft Handwovens


Lisa Bertoldi

51 Conway Road

Williamsburg MA 01096

Landline 413.268.7485

Lisa also sent us some pictures of a recent Dye Party in Worthington last summer

Thanks Lisa for showing some naturally dyed yarns.  What a fun dye party that must have been,






Welcome to Fiberuary 2017




We hope to have may wonderful people writing about fiber and crafts over this coming month.  If there is something special that you would like to write about please e-mail me at


I have been hosting going to and experiencing Dye Parties  since the late 80’s  They are so much fun and I wanted to share the ins  and outs of them so you can have your very own.

You will need a fairly large area with access to water.  A tent is useful and tables are a must.


Lobster pot with a drain or a canning pot  (these pots are used exclusively for dyeing.

Quart jars with lids                             plastic cups/or small tubs

stencil brushes                                    Dyes (recipe to follow)

placCamp stove and bottled gas            dye pots

wooden spoons                                    plastic spoons

saran wrap if you are doing painted on roving

white vinegar                                        masking tape

With the saran wrap and vinegar we usually ask people to being one or the other

If this is your first dye party and you don’t have any dyes i recommend Pro Chemical Dye Company in Somerset Ma.  800-2buy-dye  or online at http://www.prochemical.dye.  I was introduced to this great company  after I started spinning and have been using them successfully ever since.  If you have any questions, need a specific color they are there to help you.  I use the washFast Acid dyes.

In the dye parties I have attended over the years most people brought their own stoves and pots and spoons.  The dyes were provided for a small fee and were mixed and ready to go.  A tub filled with water and white vinegar was set up for those who brought dry material  .  People brought jars of natural dyes to share.  A rinsing tub was also filled with cold water.

Usually there was a pot luck lunch and bringing a chair to sit on after hours of dyeing is welcomed.

Tables were covered with plastic. A couple of  tables were dedicated to painted on yarn and roving.

Everyone brought scrap wool or yarns to use up dyes.  Most times the left over dyes brought the best colors.  We tried not to dump dyes using them up is great for the environment.

Sometimes these parties lasted from Friday through Monday, with Saturday and Sunday being the busiest days.

Recipe for a Stock Solution

1 tablespoon dye in 1 quart of water





The remains of these dyes after the party can be kept till the next year.  Each dye jar  should be labeled.

My friend Debbie and I did a dye party for the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild.  It was a fun day and we ended up with lots of wonderful colored woolen material.

People also brought basket weaving materials to dye.

It’s a fun way to get a years worth of dyeing done in a day to two.  If you have a dye party please send me pictures  I would love to share them next year.


Pre-soak your yarn s,rovings, warps or material in a vinegar/water solution

Spread out your yarn, roving or warp on a slightly larger piece of saran wrap.

Using a brush or spoon (but being cautious about having too much liquid  as it will         muddy your outcome) add color in stripes, blotches, or whatever turn over to catch what you have missed. If you don’t want any of the original yarn color showing make sure everything is covered.  Blot up ay extra liquid.

Fold over the sides of the wraps and roll up jelly rool style.  Tape package and initial and place in the steamer.  when the pot is full and steaming put top on and leave for 45 minutes.  Remove and let cool before unwrapping and rinsing.

Remember to exhaust the dye that is in the steamer before draining.

Have a wonderful time.  Carole Adams  Whispering Pines Farm



GREETINGS My Fiber Friends


For those of you who did not attend it was a fully packed 2 days of speakers, information, and just plain fun.Speakers and participants were from all over the country and Canada.  We were growers, want to be growers, weavers, spinners and dyers and much more.   We learned so much, made contacts with like minded people.  It was  a perfect event.  A big thank you to the members of The New England Flax and Study group and Old Deerfield Village who supplied such a wonderful place to hold this event.  I am sure there will be much more about this event coming in Feburary but for now here are some pictures of the event.

Hope you enjoyed this pictures.  I am hoping that this event will continue in the future.


Would you like to write an article on your adventures in fiber?  Please e-mail me