Benefits of Sheep's Wool
Sheep's wool gives superior performance to man-made fibers. And, as a naturally-occurring fiber, it brings so many other amazing benefits...
Balanced thermal insulation properties: Warm in winter and cool in the summer.
Hypo-allergenic: Resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Absorbs harmful pollutants: Does not re-emit them.
Resists house dust mite: Microscopic pores make it unfavorable for the growth and breeding of the house dust mite.
Anti-static: Keeps it much cleaner for longer.
Fabrics clean easily: The outside surface of the wool fiber consists of a series of overlapping scales.
Resists wrinkles: Natural crimp allows it to return to its natural shape.
Naturally flame resistant: Wool is difficult to ignite, has low flame spread and heat release properties. It does not melt. It has superior self- extinguishing qualities.
Eco-friendly and Sustainable: Wool is a totally natural product, entirely renewable and sustainable. And it is 100% biodegradable (a very important feature in a world that is increasingly concerned about the environment).
Natural dyes are derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. Most natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources (roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood) and other organic sources, such as fungi & lichens.
Textile dyeing dates back to the Neolithic period. The essential process has changed little over time.
The dye material is put in a pot of water;
The textiles are added:
A chemical, called "mordant," is added to bind the dye to the fibers;
The water is heated and stirred until the dye is transferred.
Historically, local plant-based dyes were raised commercially and were important trade goods Scarce dye stuffs were highly prized trade treasures.
A Selection of Natural Dye Plants
Black Oak Bark
Black Walnut Shells
Blue Flower Lupine
Cochineal (a bug)
Hickory Nut Hulls
Indian Paint Brush
Leaves: Black Tea
Poplar, Privet, Tulip
Prickly Pear Cactus
White Oak Bark
Study Group Superheros
With increasing numbers of harnesses on a loom comes the possibility of more complex patterns in weaving. Our group is studying the different structures made possible by this increase in complexity. So far, we have studied twills, rep weave and network drafting. Displayed is a Twill weaving drawdown and sample pieces woven from these drawdowns.
SAORI is a plain weave, creative, free-style approach to weaving pioneered in Japan with an emphasizes on finger manipulation, color, texture and self-expression.
The Moonspinners Handspinning
The Moonspinners meet to share, teach, learn and treasure the skills involved producing beautiful handspun yarns. We study spinning techniques to make lace weight to rug yarns, sweaters to art yarns.
We cover equipment: spinning wheels from simple to powered, spindles to e-spinners. Fibers-wools, silks, plant fibers, ecofibers. Techniques: treadling, drafting, take up, long draw worsted to woolen.
Please join us to see if the addictive world of handspinning is for you. "Moonspinners: They're naiads."
The Guild's Natural Dye Study Group is made up of about 20 members learning together how to grow, forage, and shop for naturally derived dyes, and the ancient processes of using them to color various fiber types.
Open to all levels of weavers and sewers. Activities
based on the needs and wants of the participants.
Suggested topics to learn or enhance your skills:
Choosing weaving techniques, loom and yarn
Choosing a design to sew
Adjusting the pattern to fit your measurements
Adjusting the pattern for cutting your handwoven fabric
How to prepare & cut your handwoven fabric
Special sewing techniques
Share your skills and design ideas with the group
Work on projects as a group or individually
Zoom meetings and "How To" presentations
Occasional In Person Meetings at Members Homes
Field Trips (FIDM, museums, other fashion related events)
Ventura County Handweavers & Spinners Guild:
Founded in 1970, the Ventura County Handweavers & Spinners Guild is an all volunteer organization dedicated to the education and promotion of fiber arts, with a focus on weaving and spinning. With an active membership of over 50 members, the guild participates in community events and sponsors a variety of educational programs and workshops in a broad range of textile-related crafts.
Guild meetings are usually held the fourth Saturday of each month except November and December. Board meetings begin at 8:30 a.m., with the general meeting following at 9:30 a.m. A fiber-related program is presented at each meeting, often with a workshop continuing through the afternoon. Visitors and new members are always welcome.
Guild Study Groups
Sewing with Handwoven Open to all levels of weavers and sewers. Activities based on the needs and wants of the participants. Suggested topics to learn or enhance your skills:
Choosing weaving techniques, loom and yarn ~Choosing a de-sign to sew ~ Adjusting the pattern to fit your measurements ~ How to prepare & cut your handwoven fabric ~ Special sewing techniques ~ Share your skills and design ideas with the group ~ Work on projects as a group or individually.
Weaving with 8 Harness Our vision is to have an in depth study of complex weave structures. Each month a person in the group will research a structure of their choosing and lead the discussion at that month’s meeting. Then we can all go away, warp up our looms and spend the rest of the month weaving that structure. Requirements for the study group: An 8 harness loom and the ability to warp and weave this loom. Weaving software would be helpful, but is not necessary.
Saori Weaving This study group will explore incorporating SAORI concepts and techniques into weaving and encourage members to embrace their own uniqueness with their weaving. Members should have basic weaving skills and ability to warp a loom for plain weave.
What is SAORI?
SAORI is a plain weave, creative, free-style approach to weaving pioneered in Japan. SAORI emphasizes finger manipulation, color, texture and self-expression. SAORI is a great stash buster so the more fiber and yarns you have the better!
Natural Dying The VCHSG Dye Garden is open to VCHSG members and VCHSG Fibershed Study Group Members. Current plantings include indigo, marigold, amaranth, madder, and more! The VCHSG Natural Dye Study Group would like to be scientific in our endeavors to work with local fibers.
Moonspinners Study Group "Moonspinners. Sometimes, when you’re deep in the countryside, you meet three girls in the dusk, spinning. They each have a spindle, and on to these they are spinning their wool, milk-white, like the moonlight. Only when all the wool is washed and wound again into a white ball in the sky, can the moonspinners start their work once more, to make the night safe for all."
New Groups Coming Soon The Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild is in the process of organizing more study groups for a diverse selection that appeals to our member's varied interests and educational goals.