Friday, December 14, 2012

Four Skeins Done...

I've been working on spinning up roving I got at Sheep & Wool. I'm using five colours and doing random long colour lengths. Then, I'm chain plying to preserve the lengths. I have four skeins done so far.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fall 2012... The Lost Posts...

It's all about friends!

I had a great fibre-y fall, as autumn is usually full of fibre-y things.  I'm way behind (obviously) on the Rhinebeck post and my fun two day workshop with Lexi Boeger AKA Pluckyfluff!

Arriving at Sheep and Wool!
As usual, The Sheep and Wool Festival was amazing. I got to hang out with my pals Cal and Jill, meet some new friends like Sonya Philip (of 100 Acts of Sewing) and Laura Nelkin (of amazingness) among others! 
Friends new and "old"!

I saw lots of cool animals and amazing yarns and fibres! I bought some roving to spin up to make a sweater for next year.  I've got four skeins done so far.
In addition to the festival, I got to visit Lagusta's Luscious and the Tuthilltown Distillery as well as the Hodgepodge Farm animals - Gertie, Trice and the Chickens.

The other fun thing I did was attend a two day workshop with Lexi Boeger with my buddy Andie L at the Niagara Artists Centre.
A beautiful Early Fall morning!
The workshop was an amazing break from our OHS homework (which is totally great but by the book).  In Lexi's class we got to be truly free in our spinning and learned some fun techniques. It felt great! 

From table of fibre to crazy bat to crazy yarn!
From fluff to auto-wrap to fluffy yarn!
Even yarn made of FABRIC
I've learned to share my Instagram photos directly to my blog, which is going to be fun but, not being super "tech savvy", the pics show up as links, not actual pictures.... oh well, can't have everything! 

A new project started!

I have been holding in to this amazing yarn that lixolux sent me ages ago! It's beautiful yarn from Verb for Keeping Warm! Crochet Socks!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hodgepodge Residency Part 3: The Final!

There's always time for the "swimmin' hole"!

This is the last post about my Hodgepodge Summer Residency! I have other things to blog about that are piling up (like the Sheep and Wool Festival).
Cal with dyed fabric.

The last few days of my residency were spent dyeing with fibre reactive dyes. I was dyeing both cellulose and protein fibres and you can do that with these dyes. I soaked my cellulose fibres in a solution of soda ash and water and my protein dyes in a solution of vinegar and water. This way, I was able to dye both of the same time.
Cal's dots.
We had a lot of fun using the dyes in squirt bottles, droppers and syringes. We were able to create fun designs on fabric and create interesting colour ways on yarn that didn't get "muddy". I used both solar heat by placing the items in a plastic bag and left it in the sun to bake and plastic containers with lids heated in the microwave.

I can't wait to use everything I dyed this summer over the next several months in some weaving.
Cal, Jill and myself!

The best part of the first day was Jill Draper coming by with this amazing piece of linen she had sewn dried beans in shibori style!
Jill's creation!

When it got too hot to be outside, Cal worked on her sewing machine while I started working on my EPS Crochet sweater out of Empire!
The gang at work!

This was an amazing and productive two week residency. I experimented with different types of dyes on different types of materials, hung out with amazing friends (both human and animal) and got started on my first EPS and some rubber stamps for creating my own printed fabric!

Next up.... Sheep and Wool Festival!
Notice the Rhinebeck mug...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hodgepodge Farm Residency Part 2 - Natural Dyes

Cal and me peeking...
It's about time for me to go back to upstate NY for the Sheep and Wool Festival! So, I thought I should post part two of three about my August residency at Hodgepodge Farm!

The first week I was there, we spent our time dyeing both protein and cellulose fibre with natural dyes. To make it easy I used only use alum and cream of tartar to mordant the fibres. Mordanting allows the fibre to accept the dye and make it colourfast, it can also alter the final colour significantly. A lot of mordants are very toxic, alum is the least toxic, so that factored into my decision as well...
Mordanting yarn.
Since I had recently done some natural dyeing from plant matter I gathered from my own backyard which, in my area, gives mostly browns, golds and greens, I was excited to try something different. We wanted some blues, reds, pinks and oranges! So, we experimented with Indigo, Madder Root, Hibiscus Flowers and Jewel Weed (attn. Cal - jewel weed is a natural cure for poison ivy!). 
Posed demo.
I was really excited about the jewel weed, Paula at White Barn Farm told us all about this plant. It is a pretty green bush with tiny, pretty orange flowers. The exciting thing about it is that the WHOLE plant yields a very pretty light yellow. Buttery!
Jewel weed.
The hibiscus smelled wonderful and the chickens loved to steal the flowers right out of the pot! It yielded a pretty, mellow red/brown and a cool thing happened when I left some skeins in the dye vat overnight - they turned a pretty steel grey!
Hibiscus flowers.
We had a few indigo vats, the first was an instant vat that Cal had read about, since an indigo vat can take several days to prepare, this seemed like a great option. The other was a vat that Cal had in her workshop that had been sitting around for a few years. The cool thing about these natural vats is that there really isn't as long as you follow proper storage instructions. We had a great time with the indigo! We didn't achieve any deep inky blues but I think that was because we tried to to jam too much fabric and yarn into the vat - more fibre than dye yields more subtle colours.
Vat one of indigo.
Vat two of indigo.
Indigo dyed stuff.
The madder root vat was a fun one too. We did two vats. Ideally, you want to really soak any roots or bark to extract the colour and there are very strict rules for temperature and timing to yield certain colours. With the first vat, I was concerned I let heat up too much, the fibre was more of a dark orange than red. So, I brewed up the second vat, didn't let it get too hot and let it sit for several days with the fibre in it... we still only got a dark orange colour. No red this time - but the orange is beautiful!
Dippy in madder...
The set-up.
Next time - we get crazy with synthetic dyes!

Hanging to dry.
Pile of yarn.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A few classes!

I'm so excited to be a new teacher at Bee Modern Fabrics in Niagra-on-the-Lake!  I have a Granny Square making workshop coming up and will be running some classes alongside the very talented Alison Ellet!  Here are the details on the Granny Square Class:

CROCHET GRANNY SQUARES (and Granny Circles and Triangles)! We will teach you the basics and you will then be able to make many more, join them into a blanket, make coasters, placemats, bags, more blankets, pillows, rugs...if you love vintage, making granny square accent pieces is a must! Thursday, September 20th, 5:30 to 8:30pm, with a follow-up review/troubleshoot or show & share session on Sept 27th, 5:30 to 6:30 - $40 plus supplies. Call to sign up! (905) 468 8190

I will also be teaching a two day workshop with Spark of Brilliance coming up on Tues the 25th and Wed the 26 from 1-3pm.  It's a textile technique workshop where participants will be working on sculptural wall hangings.  Please check out the poster!
 I'm so excited to be attending a Pluckyfluff class in St. Catherine's this coming weekend with my good friend Andie L.!  I will be reporting on that AND more about my Hodgepodge Farm Residency coming up next time...