All posts by Gudrun Polak

January 20 – Mayumi Fujio: Natural Dye, Mushroom Dye and Botanical Printing

Mayumi Fujio has always enjoyed working with her hands to blend imagination into her creations. She loves learning traditional craft techniques – Ikebana, silver jewelry, ceramic art, sewing, dying with mushroom, and knitting. Fiber art is a natural progression and botanical printing is bringing together all of the handicraft skills she developed in the past. Her inspiration comes from art, nature, and simply looking at flowers and plants wherever she goes. After learning the technique of botanical printing, Mayumi has been experimenting with the combination of traditional and newly discovered natural dye techniques. As a modern craft, botanical printing is a constant cycle of learning and experimentation, yet it can never be fully controlled. Just like nature.

Her latest series is a combination of mushroom dye and botanical prints.All the plants she uses are ethically harvested from the Bay Area and her art pieces are sold at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and other prestigious art fairs around the Bay Area.

Her website is:

September 17, 2020 – Carol James on Sprang

The September Black Sheep Guild program will feature Carol James, expert in sprang and the would-have-been keynote speaker from CNCH 2020. She’ll talk about the fascinating structure that is sprang. There will be a live demonstration and examples of the tremendous variety of clothing and other items that can be made with the versatile technique. She’ll include examples from history and modern applications.


Carol James has been playing with strings for a long time; she learned to embroider and to crochet before she entered kindergarten. Since the 1980s she has been exploring a wide, flat, braiding technique known in North America as fingerweaving. In the mid 1990s she was introduced to sprang. She is now a world-recognized teacher. She has spent the past 20 years rediscovering textile forms that had been considered lost, resurrecting these ancient techniques and making them accessible to everyone through her publications, books and workshops. Carol believes that textile creation is part of our human heritage. Textile is an amalgamation of threads interconnecting with each other, just as humans work together in order to create the fabric of society. The method used to create fabric in disparate communities around the world is often quite similar. This is a common language of humans: the construction of fabric. Woven together we are stronger.

Carol James’s website may be found at

Carol writes about the image on the right: “I made myself a new sprang shirt, using a 5/2 mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe, leftovers from other projects. Inspired by the stitch pattern in a Ukrainian belt, I made vertical stripes in the body. I inserted a weft along the shoulder where front and back meet, it gives stability to the  shoulder, bearing the weight of the sleeve.” More information about this piece is on the blog at Carol’s website.

Show and Tell, Sep 2020

Kathy S:  Work in progress

Turned Taquete project done in silk 20/2 warp and 60/2 weft.

Jodi: New work off my loom

8/2 Tencel. The color is hand-dyed by me, except the purple gradients which were from Kathrin Weber.


Ulla:  Dear friend Gisela Evitt remembered,  weavings of her beautiful stash

My dear friend Gisela Evitt died in July.  She was one of the founders of Trampornas Guild and a contributor to Fabrication.  Gisela stopped weaving (but not spinning and knitting) when her husband Bill died in 2009.  She has slowly been passing her stash of yarns to me and I now almost exclusively use it in my work.  We are standing in front of “Gisela’s Linen”, an installation of 23 panels showing the different colors of a 50/2 Knott’s linen she gave me.

Last week was a week for finishing projects.  I had a long warp of linen curtains for our corner bay windows on the loom for a couple of months.  48″ wide, 24 epi and 50/2 linen from Gisela’s stash of Knox linen.  This linen comes in small spools with about 900 yards per spool. The curtains were to let in the light and provide us with privacy.  I wanted the fabric to be quite plain but with some small point of interest.  I saw John’s place mats in 6 shaft spot weave and loved the meeting of “hands” the spots suggested to me.


The other project I finished was two Tallits for family twins who are to Bar Mitzvah in October. The boys are identical twins and have since birth been identified by the color blue and green.  The Tallits are in silk (from Gisela), a grey warp and I dyed the weft.  My daughter who loves to cross-stitch sewed the initials for the two boys.


And here is August.
I have been working on Ply-Split Twining since I took a class with Linda Hendrickson last fall.  I like the SCOT Single-Course Oblique Twining and have been wanting to make rugs in that technique.  This rug is 27″x 84″ and made from 274 cords.  The cords are wool, 40 strands of Maypole 2ply,  a very old yarn, not in production any more.  I had two boxes of it, given to me by Gisela Evitt and Kathryn Coleman in many colors.  I used up a lot of them in this rug.  The rug is thick and springy and will never wear out – I think


Show and Tell, Aug 2020

Betsy: Experiments using Abaca fiber.

I tried using the Abaca fiber from you to make bottle brush crafts… a tree and flower… I need to work on the technique… but it may give you some ideas.

Barbara:  Burning Bush: Conflagration but not Consumed.

Rediscovered and finally finished, here are  three handwoven ikat silk squares with gold leaf (or gold textile paint?) shibori motif. Only one of them had the painted flames. I matched the paint and did the other two to create a series called Burning Bush: Conflagration but not Consumed. Hung with tiny magnets painted to disappear. Hung above the bed in my new studio.

Show and Tell, July 2020

Johanna: Color and Weave/Shadow Weave shirt and skirt.


Here is my Color and Weave/Shadow Weave shirt and skirt I originally created in 1991 with the guidance of Cyrena Wilson (Guild member). It is a pattern from Margaret and Thomas Windeknecht, p. 149 of their Color and Weave Book. While I first made it into a dress, I never did wear it, so I had it re-created into a shirt and skirt just today and do hope to get more use out of it.




Gail:  4-shaft Crackle scarf in process.

The warp is 8/2 tencel and the pattern wefts are Shantung silk and silk/wool blends in brown, taupe and orange. Since I don’t have enough of any one of the three colors for the whole scarf, I’ve had to get creative about color division. I worked up a diagram in Adobe Illustrator that has helped me try ideas out. I plan to feature a border design at each end of the scarf and possibly one at the center as well. The diamond draft is from a 1957 “Practical Weaving Suggestions” article by Rupert Peters. Click here for the article.


Sandy: finished rep rug in time for her son’s birthday.


Ange: Woven jacket with knitted sleeves

Vest warp is all of my blue and green sock yarn oddballs and leftovers; weft is Zephyr, woven in a plaited twill. Sleeves are knitted from DK weight MCN.




John:  Sashiko-ori and the 12-shaft Countermarch loom in action

I successfully wove sashiko stitch. It turns out there is a name for this: sashiko-ori. I will try again with some changes to see if I can get better at it.



I assembled my 12-shaft countermarch loom and it seems to work well. I still need to tweak the tie-up to get a clean shed.

Johanna: Pillows matching a painting



These pillows were created on my 8 harness loom and it is a Strickler Plaited Twill pattern all in cotton. The pillows were made for my couch in the living room where the painting my girl friend made for me is displayed nearby.







Anonymous: Mystery warp, mostly 20/2 cotton, some linen

Betsy: Jacket and Vest

What you see is a “jacket” made from some weaving and knitting I must have picked up at an estate sale. (Or maybe someone in the guild did it. I have no idea where I picked it up.) The assembly – and colors – are mine; the knitting and weaving belong to someone else. The body is plain weave, probably done on a rigid heddle (about 20″ wide), and the colors make a wonderful plaid. The sleeves are moss (seed?) stitch, and when this yarn is knitted, it comes out as stripes.


Here is my third “sweater” knitted during shelter in place. It is a vest made with Noro yarn picked up at Fengari in Half Moon Bay. I believe it is Noro’s pattern, too, although it may be Fengari’s.


Mug Exchange – A Black Sheep Tradition

Black Sheep has the tradition of caring for the environment. One small thing we can all do is to bring a mug to the guild meeting and avoid using a disposable cup. For many years in the past, members exchanged mugs and created mug carriers. Some people got very creative and matched the design with the given mug. To give you ideas here are some pictures.





Show and Tell, June 2020

John:   Loom and scarf

I found this 12-shaft countermarch loom a couple of months ago on Craigslist and only just recently cleared out enough space to set it up. I just need more texsolv cord for the tie-up. Eventually I will expand it to 16 shafts and maybe make a DIY electronic dobby.

I’m taking Tien’s stash scarf online class.

The threading is similar to the broken twill threading in Carol Strickler’s book “8-Shaft Patterns” but not quite like anything in her book. It started out as a four-shaft broken twill, but spread out to eight shafts. I’m using the tie-up from Tien’s class. So the pattern is a mashup.

The weft is Crystal Palace Mini Mochi and the warp is various fingering weight wool yarns.



Kitty:  Water bottle holder exchange with Sandra Rude

Sandra’s bottle holder is a double weave, padded for the shoulder, and has beautiful attention to detail.

Kitty’s bottle holder is Andean backstrap weaving with plain weave and a traditional motif in pebble weave.



Ann: 3 day online indigo workshop with Aboubakar Fofana


He had us work on creating 7 shades of blue from our vats.




Then taught us how to create even colors on large pieces.





Barbara S:    Hex plaited Globe – 14 x 14 x 14″,  dyed Sedori cane.

I hung it on the wall and like the view to the base. I am not sure just where this one will go next, but the shape is nice as it is.


Barbara O:    I bought the Glimakra when I knew nothing about weaving – it was a good deal! It is wonderful to weave on once it is set up! But the counterbalance is much easier than countermarche to tie up. Glad I tried it!

On the loom is a shawl-warp in 8/2 cotton and weft is Zephyr – 50% Merino, 50% silk.

This piece is all 8/2 cotton – dish towels

Cathy D:  Felted Flower Bowl

My process was to wet felt the basic bowl and pink rim. I added the green leaves by needle felting them onto the outside along with touching up the pink rim. The flowers were cut from a felted fabric I made and then attached by needling them to the outside. Beads were added to each flower for interest.
It was a fun project. I really like adding beads to felted items. It’s given me many more ideas!



Cookie: 9 Squares for Bojo Bag,  a Tapestry, Back Strap Loom, a Pouch and a Scarf



June 18, 2020 – Karen Donde – Designing Handwoven Fabric You Can Wear.


Karen Donde weaves garments, fashion accessories and home textiles for sale and teaches beginning-advanced weaving classes and assorted workshops for guilds and conferences. Teaching credits include HGA’s Convergence 2012, 2014 and 2016 and 2020, Southeast Fiber Forum, the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association’s Workshop Weekend, Midwest Weavers Conference, Intermountain Weavers Guild Conference and Florida Tropical Weavers Conference. In Asheville, NC, she has taught at Sutherland Handweaving Studio, Friends & Fiberworks, Local Cloth and her own studio.


Photos are used with the kind permission of the copyright holder, Karen Donde.

Take a look at Karen’s website:


May 21, 2020 – Sally Fox


Sienna colored specimen

Long-time Fibershed source of inspiration, color-grown-in cotton developer and
biodynamic grower since 1982, and shepherd and farmer Sally Fox is our speaker for May, 2020. Sally will be presenting to us about her farming life, developing strains of colored cotton over the past four decades.

Check out her website at