I’ve had quite a summer of natural dyeing.  In June, Nancy Zeller of Long Ridge Farm in New Hampshire conducted a 2-day workshop for my guild on Indigo Dyeing.  It was wonderful!

First she brought samples of indigo dyed textiles.

Then we got to work creating our vats. Nancy inspected Karen and Betsy’s vat to make sure it had the proper pH, temperature, and low oxidation.

My partner Amanda, a biology professor (lucky me) and I had a great time working together at the workshop. She was very adept at using pH paper and understanding the reading.

Before the workshop, I took some cotton gauze fabric and shibori stitched it all over.  I got some great results after I dyed it in indigo and then after removing the stitching, dipped it in a woad vat (another blue dye we got to play with).  I was pleased.

Indigo was magic.  I came home with enough of a vat to reinvigorate it and dye some more.  In the meantime, I spent this last weekend experimenting with the lovely yellow dyes of Queen Anne’s lace.  More about that in the next post.

Over the weekend, I attended a wonderful weaving workshop led by weaving artist Kathie Roig.  She presented Warp It, Paint It, Weave It, an exploration of painted warps both on and off the loom.

Kathie was a terrific teacher–well organized, very informative, and most importantly for me, she was a lovely person.  Our small group of nine loved her generous spirit.

The first day was a half day session where she got us immediately into on-the-loom painting.  We placed cardboard underneath the exposed warp, painted a design, dried it with a hair dryer and then proceeded to weave.  This was one of my first attempts.

I experimented throughout using different colors for the weft and the results were fairly dramatic.  The first little bit used black weft while the rest is orange.

Kathie did just enough demonstrating to give us the idea.  Here she demos using stencils.

The on loom painting continued through Friday morning.  That afternoon she showed us how to to set up off-the-loom warps.

This method really spread out the warp so you could paint your design.  A cartoon was underneath to serve as a guide.

By Saturday, many had woven both on and off loom samples.  I work slowly so my unfinished warp is on the right.

The pieces everyone wove were beautiful.  We talked about how we would apply this technique to various projects and what we would change or keep the same.  Kathie encouraged us every step of the way and made us realize how important it is to choose good quality leaders for workshop success. We all walked away quite satisfied.

I spent a wonderful 40 minutes on SKYPE last night talking to Kathie Roig, a talented fiber and weaving artist who will be conducting a workshop for my guild on Painted Warps.  I can’t wait to meet her in person because she sounds like a truly lovely person.  We discussed the 2 1/2 day workshop and the materials needed for designing and painting warps both on the loom and off the loom.  Kathie is asking all participants to bring a photo or postcard of something that will inspire them regarding color and pattern.  She believes this will initiate creative thinking when paint meets fiber.

Yesterday, my husband took a photograph of something in our yard and the color and shape spoke to me.

Being a little color-challenged, I never would have considered combining orange and turquoise with hints of violet and cream.  But nature has a way of putting perfect, but unpredictable, colors and shapes in the landscape.

I don’t know if this will be the final inspiration I bring to the workshop.  We don’t gather as a group until April and I’m sure more eye candy awaits as Spring approaches. But I’m very confident I will come with many potential ideas.