MAFA News July/August 2018

President’s Message

Even though most of us probably have lives no longer dictated by the school calendars, summertime still seems like a time for getting away from our routines, spending more time out-of-doors, and doing some traveling…Perhaps we get together with friends for a spin-in or a basket-making session under the trees, or we travel to a workshop or conference, or take a family car trip – with a little knitting along, or spend some time at a family vacation spot with an inkle loom or a bit of quilting or embroidery. This year, you might also use that time to think about creating a project for one of the MAFA 2019 events – the fashion show and exhibit, the artist exhibit or the handwoven towel exchange. Or maybe figure out how one of your little summer projects could turn into a “goody” for the conference goody bags. Hope you all have a relaxing, creative summer! Karen Miller, MAFA President

Conference 2019

The Conference will be held June 27 – 30, 2019 at Millersville University, Millersville, PA.

Conference Volunteers Needed

It’s not too early to think about volunteering to help with the 2019 Conference. Our entire weekend is made possible by volunteer organizers, and we need you, too. Please volunteer if you can, and pass the info about the following open positions along to your guild(s):

  • Door Prize Coordinator – Solicit prizes from schools and suppliers, and conduct drawings in the vendor hall.
  • Goody Bags Coordinator – Collect guild items and prepare them for distribution.
  • Instructor Book Signings – Coordinate Friday evening book signing in the vendor hall. If you are interested in working with the Conference committee, please email Theresa Hill at

Conference Workshops Selected

We are working hard behind the scenes to bring another memorable experience to MAFA 2019 attendees and instructors. One of the ways we are doing this is by building a new website to enhance the Conference experience. We are targeting the website’s rollout by late July, so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements and keep dreaming about the classes, shows, and entertainment being offered.

Keynote Speaker

The Conference Committee has selected Tom Knisely as our 2019 keynote speaker. A local favorite with both spinners and weavers alike, Tom is much adored as a teacher and mentor in the fiber arts community. Tom has made his career from his interest and love of textiles from around the world. He has been studying, collecting and teaching others about weaving and spinning for more than four decades, making him one of the most well versed weaving instructors in North America. In addition to teaching, Tom weaves professionally and is a frequent contributor to Handwoven magazine. Voted Handwoven’s Teacher of the Year, Tom is renowned among his students for his kindness, good humor, and “seemingly infinite knowledge on the subject of weaving. Tom is the author of three books – Weaving Rag Rugs, Weaving Baby Blankets, and Table Toppers.

Fashion Show & Exhibit

2017 MAFA Conference participants expressed overwhelming support for continuing the Fashion Show and Exhibit in the 2019 conference. Our 2019 Spotlight on Fashion will be even better than 2017! All submissions will be shown in an exhibit during the conference. A representative selection of these will be featured in a Fashion Show the first night of the conference. We hope this opportunity will inspire you to apply your creativity and fiber arts skills in creating handmade fashion such as garments, ensembles or accessories. Any textile or fiber art technique — weaving, knitting, spinning, dyeing, felting, printing, stamping, painting, sewing, draping, stitching, tailoring and pattern making, etc. — may be used in the creation of garments. More information will be coming in the following months. It’s not too early to start thinking about your Fashion Show submission!

MAFA Kitchen Towel Exchange 2019

Let’s show off our towel making skills but having a good old-fashioned kitchen towel exchange. Everyone who participates will go home with a new addition to brighten up their kitchen! During the conference, the towels will be on display for everyone to enjoy. At the exchange event, every participant’s name will be in the “hat”. When it’s your turn to draw from the hat, you will receive the towel of the person whose name you pull out. More details at the conference. Guidelines:

  • one entry per participant
  • width – finished width between 14 and 20 inches
  • length – finished length between 20 and 30 inches
  • colors – weaver’s choice
  • weave structure – weaver’s choice (does NOT need to be an original design)
  • fiber content – cotton, cottolin, or linen
  • hems – weaver’s choice (fringed, hemstitched, turned hem, etc.)
  • complete a project sheet to share [an electronic as well as paper version will be available)
  • label your towel with your full name and the name of your guild
  • drop off your towel at the registration desk when you arrive

Conference Goody Bag Items

There will be a call for goody bag items next year – so as you plan your 2018-19 guild programs, remember that you might want one to make little items that would make nice “goodies.” You can see some examples of goodies from past years here on the MAFA 2017 conference site:

Get Ready for Grants!

MAFA will accept proposals for 2019 Guild Grants beginning in September. The deadline is November 1, 2018. Grant projects must be completed during 2019. Grants typically range from $500 to $1,500 for projects that further MAFA’s mission. Successful proposals will show a clear impact/benefit that extends beyond the sponsoring guild. For additional information, including past grant awards and a preview of the application form, see MAFA’s grants page. Please direct questions to Mary Strouse, Grants Chair, at

Upcoming Guild Events

Let us help you publicize your guild highlights or open workshops. Send items to before August 21 for inclusion in the September/October MAFA News.

North West Spinners & Weavers, in Meadville, PA, have two spinning demonstrations coming this year. The first is at the Crawford County Fair on August 21. The second demo is at the Highland Games in Edinborough, PA, September 6-9.

Buffalo Niagara Scottish Games: The Weavers Guild of Buffalo meets at the Buffalo Amherst Heritage Museum. Each summer they participate in live demonstrations in the open air village. They are in the Weavers house during the games, August 18 & 19.

Central Pennsylvania Guild of Handweavers offers the Guild Advancement Program (GAP). Designed to encourage weavers of all levels of development to advance their knowledge and skills in the 5 level program. Booklet at link.

Fiber Guild of the Blue Ridge has an active outreach program at schools, events, and festivals.


2018 Lancaster Fiber Festival: A Celebration of Paper, Fabric, Yarn & Thread! August 16-18 at the Lancaster, PA Convention Center.

Pennsylvania Endless Mountain Fiber Festival, September 8-9, Harford Fair Grounds, New Milford, PA.

The Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, in Hemlock, NY, will be September 15-16,

14th Annual WNY Fiber Arts Festival (formerly Knox Farm), Saturday, September 22nd 2018. Fireman’s Field, East Aurora, NY.

Wool and Art Festival, last weekend in September. Washington County Fairgrounds, Greenwich, NY.

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, September 29-30, Clary County Ruritan Fairgrounds, Berryville, VA.

Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheep Dog Trials, October 6- 7, across from James Madison’s Montpelier, VA.

New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (Rhinebeck), October 20-21, Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, NY.

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, October 26-28, WNC Fairgrounds, Asheville, NC.


A Nomad’s Art: Kilims of Anatolia, Opens September 1, 2018, GWU Textile Museum, Washington, DC. Woven by women to adorn tents and camel caravans, kilims are enduring records of life in Turkey’s nomadic communities, as well as stunning examples of abstract art.

Color Improvisations 2: An International Exhibition of Contemporary Quilts, Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, now through September 23.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, runs through October 9.

Alling Coverlet Museum, in Palmyra NY, has a collection of simple 4H to jacquard coverlets.

Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota, June 10 to September 19, Munson Wilson Proctor Arts Center, Pratt College, Utica, NY.

Ongoing Exhibits

Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery – Alexandria, VA, Exhibits all forms of fiber work, including weaving, knitting, crocheting, sewing, surface design, and more, in 11 juried shows each year.

Fabric Workshop and Museum – Philadelphia, PA, The museum’s purpose is to stimulate experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public. They have various exhibits and a permanent collection, as well as studio facilities, equipment, and expert technicians on-site.

Pittsburgh Fiberarts Guild – Fiberarts International Triennial Exhibit. 2019 Call for Entry. Deadline August 31. Exhibit opens May 10, runs through August 23, 2019. Pittsburgh, PA.


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