Saturday, May 9, 2015

Second Annual Learn-to-Weave Class

Suzanne welcomed our seven students to the Second Annual Learn to Weave class.  We are fortunate to have meeting space available to us, free of charge thanks to generosity of Sky Peaks Retirement Community.

The space has everything we could ask for except for curtains.  Before we could begin anything, we had to hang sheets over the windows so the PowerPoint presentation would be visible.

Our approach requires a lot of volunteer time from guild members who warp up the looms in advance and then attend the session as mentors.  We want students to have a positive weaving experience.

The guild has acquired a number of looms for the equipment library so students can use them in this class and use them while they begin their weaving journey.

Not every one is starting from scratch. Sally was a weaver 40 years ago but "life got in the way."  She is refreshing her skills and recently purchased a used floor loom locally.

Jen demonstrated how to repair a broken warp thread because it will happen and it's really not a terrible thing to repair, once you know how.  She said her weaving teacher would snip a warp thread as she was weaving so she could learn how to repair it.

While everyone was busy at work, Suzanne was winding balls of yarn for the students to take home.  They each have two bobbins that will need to refilled a number of times before they weave all the 60+ samples in the Weaver's Craft Issue 13  instruction book.
We concluded with a discussion on how to read drafts.  This was a lot of information for our students to digest in the 5 1/2 hour instruction period, lunch break included.  We packed everyone up and sent them home to work independently.  They'll be back here again for two days at the end of this month to learn how to warp a loom.  I enjoy dressing my looms as much as I like weaving, so I hope we'll be successful in passing on some more of our enthusiasm.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Death-by-Chocolate Dye Day

Today was our death-by-chocolate and dye-day meeting and it was a beautiful day for our 2014/2015 guild year finale.  Thanks Gayle and Jim for letting us once again meet at your place - it was the perfect setting.

Jen was our dye-master for the day, mixing the colors and tending the indigo pot, which is a fickle bit of chemistry.  Yarn had to be slowly lowered into the pot to avoid introducing oxygen, and by the same stroke, when a skein was removed, Jen quickly popped a bowl under it to keep the drips from introducing oxygen - a long process for our dedicated leader.

And this is the said fickle bit of chemistry.  It looks like an experiment gone wrong, only this is exactly what it's supposed to be like when the pot is healthy and full of dye potential.

And gloves are advised unless you don't mind your hands becoming the same shade as your fiber.  Notice the deep indigo skeins already hanging in the back.

We had two acid-dye pots, one red and one yellow, in addition to the indigo pot.  Although acid dye is designed for protein fiber like silk and wool, some adventurous folks did a tie-dye combo using both indigo and acid dyes with fun results.

The indigo pot was giving such deep rich colors, some folks dipped quickly for royal blue and variegated results.  Everyone seemed to have a plan in mind, so I look forward to seeing how we use these skeins.  Mine, a deep blue 8/2 Tencel, is on the left.

And then there was the aptly named death-by-chocolate table.  The selection was varied but all chocolate.  The favorite seemed to be the Kentucky Derby bars, which were a pecan-pie in the center with tollhouse cookie on the outside - recipe to appear in a fall newsletter.

We got a little silly near the end as we waited for yarns in dye baths or indigo skeins to aerate. Gloria pulled out a silk blank and asked for suggestions, and someone produced a roll of vinyl tape so she could tie off sections.  This is the result.
That's all there is to it, and now she has a lovely shawl.  Beryl and Igor's pup is our model's assistant. It couldn't have been a better conclusion to a guild year.  Our next guild meeting will be in September at the South Valleys Library.  But the good news is that starting in June, we will have weaving clinics the second Saturday of each month to keep our momentum going.  As Frank Sinatra sang, it was a very good year!