Butler Farm Show Demonstration 2021

This year at the farm show members of the guild demonstrated the fleece to scarf process.

Melissa, Jen, and Sue worked on spinning and plying a grey Lincoln/corriedale fleece; and Linda made singles from a Texel fleece. Karen wove the two into an overshot pattern. Melissa’s husband oversaw the demo loom and gave many spectators an opportunity to try their hand at weaving!

May Meeting

We will be returning to Trinity Lutheran Church for May meeting and project day. We will be meeting upstairs in the fellowship hall, not in the basement meeting room.

The program will be about preparing and spinning from fleece. Last month we discussed skirting, where (on the fleece) to find the best wool, and sampled some. This month we’ll dive deeper into prep, prep tools, cleaning, and blending.

August 2020

Following the current guidance and since we are still in “green”, August’s meeting Day (Wednesday August 5th from 10am-2pm) was held at Butler Memorial Park in the Optimist pavilion.


See the Butler Parks status here: https://cityofbutler.org/departments/parks-recreation-and-public-property/

Current guidance recommends that we wear masks and practice the physical distancing. We were not able to have our traditional pot-luck.

The extension office is closed indefinitely following the Penn State University closure policy; found here: https://extension.psu.edu/coronavirus

August’s program wasnwas dyeing. Susan and Jen (Marilyn and Karen B too) brought a number of dyestocks. Logwood, indigo, avacado, marigold, henna, onion skin, orange jewelweed, and tumeric. We did some mordanting in the pot, but some dyes didn’t require it. The plan was to have fun and see what colors we obtain.

For July’s meeting, Judy presented the angora spinning program she had prepared, please contact her if you would like a sample of angora, or an opportunity to participate in a 1oz challenge.

Hope you all are well and have lots to keep busy at home with.

June 2020

Following the current guidance and provided we are still in “yellow” or better, June’s meeting (Wednesday June 3rd from 10am-2pm) will be held at Butler Memorial Park in the Miller pavilion.


See the Butler Parks status here: https://cityofbutler.org/departments/parks-recreation-and-public-property/

Current guidance requires that we wear masks and practice the physical distancing. We will not be able to have our traditional pot-luck, and we will likely not be passing our items for show and tell.

Please stay home if you are sick or at risk, I know it feels like forever since we’ve met; but caution is rarely the wrong choice.


Linda has decided that the Scandinavian star weaving that was planned for the early spring will be the program. We will be making the stars out of card stock. There will be 10+ colors to choose from.


The extension office is closed until at least June 19 following the Penn State University closure policy; found here: https://extension.psu.edu/coronavirus

Here is a photo of a bunch of the finished stars:

January 8th 2020

Since the first Wednesday in January is also the 1st of January; we have decided to hold our first meeting of the year on Janary 8th. The program for the day will be “project day” please bring whatever you would like to work on.

Our cancellation policy can be found here. Please use your own judgment about whether the weather is too severe for you to travel. Cancellation updates will be added here as they are available.

Beginning Spinning Class 2019!

In April, the Butler Guild teamed up with the Depreciation lands Museum to teach a class spinning with a wheel.

This was the second year in a row that Marilyn was kind enough to act as lead instructor.  Each mentor was assigned two students and all students and mentors had spinning wheels and fiber to work with.


Some mentors took their jobs very seriously!


Every student was able to spin and ply their first yarn!


Yarn Finishing Program

For our March 2019 program, we compared the effects of different finishing techniques on different yarns. Yarns from multiple members in a variety of fibers and preparations were divided into mini-skiens (about 10yds long), bundled together into crazy skeins (10 different yarns!), and finished by other members.

It was very interesting to see how subtle differences in the temperature, type of soap, or the type of water impacted different yarns so differently.  One conclusion we need to examine further is that the two “finishers” who used DAWN caused more felting than the other finishers.  Both of these crazy skeins had many yarns that bloomed and stuck together slightly.

Another surprising/ interesting observation was how close we were able to estimate the YPP (yards per pound) of a hand-spun yarn using a McMorran yarn balance.  We tested a piece of one yarn with the yarn balance and found it was between 6-1/2″ and 6-5/8″ this would put an estimate of the yards per pound between 650 and 662. The entire skein was 112yd and 77g which is exactly 659YPP!

Here is a detailed table of our observations and notes, and I will be editing it in the future as people use their yarns and report back on if they could tell any difference in hand while using, or in finished items.    At a glance, it seem like there could be differences similar to dye lot differences from some of the methods.


PA Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Results

One week ago it was the 40th annual PA Farm Show Fleece to Shawl! Butler Spinners and Weaver’s Guild has participated almost every year since then.

I want to thank everyone who participated and supported our 2019 PA Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Team.  I know many of you watched from home, and some of you even traveled to Harrisburg to join the spectators.  There are a few pictures posted to the Farm Show’s Website here: Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Album but not any of our team or shawl.  I know some pictures were posted to our Facebook page, so thank you for your support there as well.

There were 9 teams in the competition, all but one of them completed a shawl for judging.  Our team The Butler County Peddalers placed 8th in the competition on January 9th; full results can be found toward the end of this PDF: Wool Results.   Our shawl did very well in the auction and was purchased for $675.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sheep to Shawl competitions, here is what the brochure from the event says:

Sheep to Shawl means just that- a shawl crated from the wool shorn from a sheep, spun into yarn, and woven into the finished garment.  Each team is comprised of a shearer, three spinners, a carder, and a weaver.  The judging is broken down into the following categories:

Shearing: The shearer is judged on even shearing, uniformity, and lack of second cuts (shorter lengths of wool).

Fleece: Cleanliness, condition of fleece, luster and crimp.

Spinning: Spinners are judged on their individual spinning as well as how their spinning relates to the design of the shawl.  The members try to spin very evenly to produce a uniform team product.

Weaving: The judges will look for evenness in the weaving, checking closely for errors.  The selvage edges are examined for evenness and lack of pull-in.  The finished shawl must measure at least 22 inches wide and 78 inches long or points are deducted from the score.

Design: The design and appearance of the finished shawl counts for a large percentage of each team’s score.  Judges look for originality in design, difficulty of weave, color coordination between warp and weft, softness and “drape-ability”, and execution of the finished fringe.

Speed: The teams are awarded a bonus for finishing their shawl first, second, third, etc.  Speed combined with quality is the goal of each team.

More detailed rules for the competition are available here: Wool Department Rules PDF and we have more information on this and other competitions here: Competition Page.

I would like to begin to use this website as a place where anyone in our wonderful fiber community can find a voice and an audience. PLEASE comment below or contact me through the contact link if you like or don’t like this idea!