Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trying to Revive a Local Fiber Guild

I have a licenses’ plate holder on my Honda CRV that says “I’d rather be Weaving”. That’s kind of an exaggeration for the Procrastination Queen, but it sounds better than “Slightly Warped”, which might be closer to the truth.

Just before the Christmas holidays we had a stretch of heavy rainy weather that produced flooding in the St. George area south of here. One day I rushed into Staples office supplies store and forgot to lock my car. Locking your car in Vegas is second nature, in Cedar City not so much, but old habits are not necessarily bad. Anyway, when I came out of the store I found a note on the driver’s seat from a new resident of Cedar City who was also a weaver and wanted to connect with me. How great was that! Can you imagine if I had locked my car door it would have been a lost opportunity to meet a fellow weaver? Who, incidentally, has turned out to be a very nice lady about my age from California who has been in Cedar for about a year. We’ve really hit it off and are “partners in crime”—not really, but we are working pretty closely on a project.

Both of us have come from active fiber guilds and miss the give and take with other fiber people. So we decided to try and find the weavers and spinners that we know must be here. Both of us were surprised to find that Iron County is sheep country. The University Farm is just “down the road a piece” from my home, and I go by their flock every time I go into Cedar City.

During the summer the sheep from the surrounding ranches spend the time ‘up on the mountain’ and the different flocks are herded or trucked up to the higher elevations east of the city. One Saturday afternoon on the way to church we were almost late because we had to wait for a flock of sheep to go down the same road ahead of us on their way to summer grazing. They were being herded by a young girl on an ATV and an Australian sheep dog, now that’s a little different than Vegas.

It's getting close to spring, even though it's suppose to snow tonight (!), and this ad appeared in the local paper today.

Then in late October Cedar City has a Heritage Festival when they bring the sheep down from the mountain. The Main Street is closed down and the sheep do down the center of town. The sheep end up in a stock yard west of town where some ‘winter grooming’ takes place. Nearby in an arena there are the typical festival attractions of food, demonstrations, and craft booths. All of this was totally new to us.

So, in the past month or so, my new weaving friend and I have been deciding what we should be trying to do. We decided to sign up for a meeting room at the public library to hold an organizational meeting. Then we found out that there had been a local guild some years ago in the area, but was now inactive. It had been made up of weavers from Cedar City, St. George and smaller surrounding areas. Another weaver, Ann Nelson, is a local librarian, and long time resident, her family long involved in raising sheep in Cedar City, was a member of the old guild. She gave us a list of members of that still lived in the area.

So we started with a mailing to about 25 households, and then we spent two days visiting businesses in Cedar City explaining out project and leaving small fliers. We even took out an ad in the student newspaper at the local college, Southern Utah University. I tried creating the ad, but finally asked my son, Dustin, to improve on what I had done. Dustin is a graphic artist, so maybe our college investment would start producing dividends. He was generous and said his payment would in the form of my babysitting for Paige and Jordan, a real hardship.

I think the ad turned out pretty nicely. I even printed some on a sheet and replaced a few of our small fliers with the new fliers.

So this week Thursday evening we’ll see if anyone else is interested in reviving a fiber arts group in this area. Regardless, my weaving buddy and I have decided to start a less formal weekly get together for fiber people at the local coffee house, The Grind, at 19 N. Main Street on Wednesday mornings from about 10:30 until lunch time. The guild in Las Vegas had such a group that met in the local yarn shop and we called it the “WOW Group” (the Weaving on Wednesday Group). But Cedar doesn’t have an independent yarn shop anymore, so The Grind will be the next best thing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Updating a Cutting Table

My daughter-in-law, Erin, gave me an interesting book for either my birthday or Mother’s Day while we were in the planning stages of the Cedar City house. The book was Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space, Sewing Room Makeovers for Any Space and Any Budget by Lois L. Hallock, Martingale & Company, Woodinville, WA 98072-8478, 2005. It really had some good ideas, and I actually read it completely. While the book was aimed at fitting a sewing room to the needs of its user, a lot of the principles of lighting, space utilization, shelving, etc. could be used in setting up other craft rooms.

I paid close attention to the sections on adequate lighting and electrical outlets. That input helped in making suggestions to the builder when it came to designing my craft room. I wished I’d followed through with more outlets in the rest of the house every time I vacuum.

In the craft room there are 6 cam lights in the ceiling, plus lights in the ceiling fan. I’ve added Ott lights for addition light in specialized areas, like the ironing area, by the sewing machines, and weaving loom. The basement tends to be darker, and as I get older I like lots of light to get rid of the shadows. The craft room outlets are set up on two separate circuits so there is less chance of blowing of a fuse while in the middle of a project.

One of the other sections of the book that caught my attention was the adjusting of tables, counters, ironing boards and sewing machines tables to the height of the user to prevent strain and backaches.

The sewing machine table could be modified by using an adjustable chair, which is what I did using an office chair on rollers. So not only does it go up and down to the correct height, but it will move around on the concrete floor in my craft room.

However my cutting table is a folding table like the ones that used to be used in cafeterias. I like it better than the newer plastic tables now sold at Costco. The plastic tables’ tops aren’t as stable for cutting fabric with a rotary cutter as the older plywood or fiberboard table tops. But my table was too low to use as a cutting table, and I wanted to be able to move the table around in the room. I’d read in Studio magazine by Interweave Press that several crafts people like things in their craft rooms to be on wheels so that they can be more easily shifted around. So I’d been slowly collecting plastic storage drawers sets on rollers to fit under my cutting table for more efficient storage using those coupons from Michael’s and Joanne’s. Now my goal was to come up with “something” that would raise the level of the cutting table and make it easily moveable at the same time.

I came up with the idea of stacking blocks of wood with rollers attached to the bottom of the stack. The top block would have a hole to fit the table leg in, but snug enough so it would stay on. The stack would be wide enough for the wheels to be screwed onto the bottom of the stack.

I got a drill press for last Christmas and finally got it set up in the new workroom in the basement. It worked really well for this project. I have to admit Bob helped drill the holes for the table legs, but I did the rest of the project. The idea worked and the cutting table is just about the perfect height. I was able to pick up a nice stool at Ross’s just in time for Christmas projects.

Here is how the craft room looks today, crowded, and messy, but working out pretty well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter in Cedar City

[Family and Friends Friday]

Winter in Cedar City could probably be summed up in one word: cold. But that sounds pretty harsh. It is cold, but it’s also sunny and unbelievably beautiful with snow on the surrounding mountains. The sunrises and sunsets are pretty awesome.

It’s true we do enjoy our shopping trips south to Costco in St. George, UT. What a difference 45 minutes south and 2500 ft. lower in elevation can make in the temperatures.

We’ve found that if you have the right clothing the cold doesn’t bother a person as much, and staying in the sunshine helps. Cedar City hasn’t really gotten that much snow this season and what it has gotten usually has melted before too long. In the surrounding mountain that is another story, the skiing at nearby Brian Head Mt. has been pretty good this year with 62 inches of snow.

Our largest snowfall, about 8-10 inches, arrived over Thanksgiving weekend. Of course Bob and I were spending the holiday with our grandchildren in Las Vegas where it was a bit warmer. On Sunday we were fine driving home north on Interstate 15 until we were about 15 miles south of our turnoff. We were on Black Ridge where the elevation increased and the rain changed to snow and we hit fog. Needless to say, the last leg of the trip was a white knuckle ride. The traffic slowed to stop and go in both lanes, and we saw 3 cars and a semi in the ditch. There was ice on the highway under the snow and it was slippery, as the people in the ditch could tell you. Once we got off at our exit, we were able to breath easier and travel better. When we got home we learned that the Interstate conditions were like that all the way north to Salt Lake City, normally a 3 ½ to 4 hour drive. Who knows how long it took those people driving in blizzard conditions. And guess what? Monday was a beautiful, sunny day! It was just a great day to shovel out your driveway,

That following week it was sunny almost all week and by the weekend the snow was almost all gone! We had a brown Christmas Eve, but it did snow over the holidays, just a few inches. However it’s been so cold that the snow has been slow to melt and it’s been rather pretty. I’ve decided I’d rather have a snow covering than all that brown ground.

We spent about 4 days at Christmas with Carlee’s family in Salt Lake City. How the red headed rascals have grown. Jack is 7 and Katie Jane is now 4. We spent a day in Cedar City to recharge and then spent 5 days in Henderson with Dustin’s family, helping them move over New Year’s. Their blondes are growing like weeds too. Paige will be 3 in February, and Jordan will be 1 in March.

Back in Cedar City to start 2011, we’re back doing volunteer work. I’m the Toy Lady at the Catholic Thrift Shoppe, and Bob is the Dishwasher one day a week at the Senior Center. Bob has joined a rock hound group that goes out on field trips once a month searching out interesting rocks in the area. While I’m searching out other weavers in the area so I have someone to talk fibers with. So far I’ve found about 5 other weavers. Now we’re going to work on getting together.