Tuesday, August 30, 2011
END OF SUMMER APPROACHES
I am finally emerging from my summer "cave" -- my self-imposed exile from the blogosphere. I was pretty much burned out after two back-to-back trips in June.
First, I attended a weeklong felting workshop at Shakerag (Sewanee, TN) taught by Jeanette Sendler and Allison Mountain from Scotland. This was one of the best workshops I have ever taken and I (along with many of my classmates) was in the workroom until midnight every night -- so excited and inspired by our teachers. And then back in my room, knitting, reading or whatever until 2:00 a.m. I could not turn off the mind. Suffice it to say, I was exhausted after a week of getting about 4 hours of sleep a night. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
In fact . . . I have already signed up for Shakerag 2012. It is one of the all around best workshop venues. All inclusive and they feed you the most wonderful gourmet healthy food -- breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will either take natural dyeing with Michel Garcia from France or wearable art with Jean Cacicedo, an amazing artist from Berkeley. I am leaning toward Jean. I took her class at Shakerag in 2006 and loved every minute of it.
As soon as I arrived home from Shakerag -- and running on empty -- I had to pack my van for another weeklong trip heading up to Eugene, OR, for the Black Sheep Gathering with my friend, Miryha, of Blarney Yarn. We had a wonderful week and a very successful show but by the time we got home, I dropped into my big cushy chair to catch my breath and get recentered. Just couldn't bring myself to do anything but relax and spin and knit, and knit and spin -- some sewing, too -- well into July and August.
August took our family, both sons, one girlfriend, and my husband and myself, up to the June Lake area of the Sierras. One day we took a ten-mile hike in Yosemite through Tuolumne Meadows up Tuolumne Falls. This is a glorious hike, fairly easy, and the scenery is to die for -- as is most of Yosemite.
At the falls, more water this year because of all the rain and snowpack.
Upon returning from the Sierras, all relaxed, I was ready to start doing some dyeing again. I made my rounds to the various places in and around my neighborhood and collected some eucalyptus and other leaves, and raided my garden. I then made up some bundles for the dyepot. Here are some of the results.
Close up -- you can see prints of the black sunflowers from my garden.
Windfall dried eucalyptus leaves.
Windfall oak leaves that I collected in Tennessee, yellow coreopsis from my garden.
After this dyeing venture with eco printing, my dyebath was still a vibrant rusty orange. I just hated the thought of wasting it, so I poured the liquid into two big pickle jars and put some alpaca/silk yarn into each jar -- no mordant. I set these in the sun for four days and was pleasantly surprised at the lovely color the skeins absorbed from the dyebath.
When I was in the Sierras, I collected some plant material for dyeing. Here are some of the dyepots and the results. The first is white sage -- no mordant.
The next dyepot is rabbit brush.
These two skeins of alpaca/silk were in the same dye bath. The top skein had no mordant and came out a pale yellow. The skein below was pale yellow and then was placed in an ammonia afterbath, which made the skein brighten up, almost to a maize color.
My rabbit brush dyebath was still quite vibrant, and again, I didn't want to waste the color, so I rooted around and found some pieces of silk and wool and placed them in the dyepot. After simmering for a couple of hours, this is the result. I am letting the pot sit overnight to see if the fabrics will absorb more color.
And while all this was going on, I made some panels of white nuno felt so that I could do some eco printing on felt. These have just gone into the dyepot, will simmer, and then cool down overnight. Oh, surprises in the morning!!
So, all my friends out there who have been wondering, "What the . . . ?" I am ready to get back to it after a summer of lots and lots of playing around -- mostly with my fibery stuff.
Next trip up: Taos Wool Festival at the end of September -- a week in northern New Mexico with my friend, Michelle. This is just fun and relaxation. I can hardly wait.