Friday, August 08, 2008

Margie and Karen and I returned from Golden Gate Fiber Institute last Monday evening, having had a wonderul week of fiber heaven at Point Bonita just north of San Francisco.

We were actually west of the Golden Gate Bridge and the weather was, well, let's say, it didn't seem like the end of July -- more like February or March -- but we were bundled up.

We felt like we were at summer girl scout camp, but we each had our own bunk bed, and the food was gourmet, prepared by a chef from the Culinary Institute and his crew -- lots of vegetarian fare, too. And the coffee, OMG! It was organic and delicious -- no institutional coffee. They had it brewed up and ready to go at 6:30 a.m. each morning for the coffee addicts.
We had six days of intensive workshops. Each morning before class, and at other times when we had a little bit of down time, we took walks on the Point Bonita headlands. The weather there was definitely not what we are used to in So.Cal. We felt like we were hiking along the headlands of Scotland, with a stiff wind -- did I mention gale force winds?

There was a trail down to the beach.

These are some pictures of one of the few times we had warm sunshine. We saw lots of wildlife -- many deer, quail, foxes, and naughty racoons.
We all took natural dyeing from Darlene Hayes of Hand Jive. She did a tremendous job of setting up our dye area outside along one of the buildings.

Darlene had great little lectures on natural dyeing and did her best to demystify a lot of the math involved in deciding how much mordant and dye stuff for the amount of fiber we were dyeing in each batch. Here are some pictures of our skeins drying on the trees. These are black walnut, dillweed and mullein.

Here are some skeins of cochenille, logwood, indigo and osage orange.

And here are my yarns -- superwash merino fingering yarn provided by Darlene.

On Saturday and Sunday, we got to do our own thing and decide amongst our group the dyepots we wanted to do. These skeins are all of my handspun. The light blue is indigo, the yellow is osage orange, the green skein is osage orange overdyed with indigo, and the very dark blue is logwood.
The other workshop we all took was spinning with Judith MacKenzie McCuin. I cannot begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge Judith has and the wonderful information I came away with. I learned so many new things about spinning, spun fibers I had never spun before, tried new techniques of spinning, and learned new carding techniques. And, after six days, I have to say that we only scratched the surface of Judith's knowledge of spinning and fibers. It was an amazing class taught by an amazing woman. Here's Jane at the electric drumcarder. You don't even want to try that carder unless you have lots of $$$$ -- you will totally want one. Many students were working night and day to make batts to take home.

And here are Heather (all the way from New Zealand) and Ann at their wheels. Many of us spent each evening after dinner spinning with our other friends, along with Judith, who was very generous with her time.

Each evening after dinner we all met in the large meeting room and door prizes were awarded. Morgaine and Judith worked it out so that everyone got a door prize over the course of four nights. There were some great prizes, all donated by vendors. In addition to dyeing and spinning, other classes offered were felted hats, knotted pile weaving, Estonian lace knitting, and freeform crochet, of course, all taught by fantastic teachers. This was the first of hopefully many workshop intensives to be put on by Golden Gate Fiber Institute and was well worth the trip up to Point Bonita. Winter intensives are scheduled for Jan. 5th-11th, 2009. I know I will be there. [ ]

Just a reminder that our little spinning group will be meeting at Common Threads in Encinitas from about 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. next Friday, August 15th. Please join us with your wheel or drop spindle. You can call Common Threads for more information at (760) 436-6119.

Hope everyone is having a great summer!


Stale Peeps said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time! Jerry and I have just one question....were you the top bunk or the bottom one? :)

janel said...

oh, I'm jealous, it sounds fabulous. I would have been there if I could have gotten time off of work...

tumbleweed said...

looks like that was a fantastic week...with great views.
I got my heart in San Francisco - literally - tattooed on a shoulder!
thanks for directing me to your blog,
all the best