Thursday, November 14, 2013

November's Meeting - A Workshop in Viking Knitting

The Reno Fiber Guild members often branch out into something  beyond their usual fiber interests.  At the November meeting, Mary put together a workshop so that we could learn a technique called "Viking Knitting".  We found that this isn't knitting at all, but some sort of looping technique done with wire and is the basis for making amazing chain-like necklaces and bracelets.   Mary learned the technique in a workshop at the last Convergence and has been honing her skills ever since.  Suzanne and Lorene joined Mary in teaching us the basics of the technique but most of us didn't have enough time to finish our bracelet by the end of the evening.  I hope to amend this post in the future with some pictures of our finished projects.

Mary put together a fine handout with step by step instructions and she also included links to online tutorials that she said were helpful in getting started.  

The first is How to Make a Viking Knit Bracelet Tutorial
Next we have How to Knit with Two Colors
Last, but not least Finishing Techniques for Viking Knit Bracelet

I'm adding a several more links that give insight about the origins of Viking Knitting , Viking Knitting - Fabulous or Fraud and Viking Knitting- How did it Develop

It was a fun evening, and even if our first attempts at "Knitting" weren't perfect, we all learned the basics and were ready to take our projects home to finish.

Friday, October 11, 2013

October Meeting and Upcoming Craft Sales

October's meeting was full of business and then a great program given by Dee Jones of Grass Valley.  Dee brought 50 garments in which she wove the fabric, sewed and hand embellished tops, vests and jackets. Denise, our program person, brought two garment racks  (whatever would we have done without them) and you can see that they were filled!  Dee explained that she has been weaving for at least 35 years, so this represents many years of weaving and sewing.  After Dee's talk, everyone was invited to inspect the garments first hand and try them on, if they wanted to.

 Two of Dee's vests had an unusual and attractive back and several people wanted to know how they could get the pattern.  Dee checked out her patterns once she was home to see if she could get the details to share with members.  The vest in question (see the photo below) is The Tuxedo Vest by Indygo Junction, Inc. No. IJ338
Guild members were talking about their upcoming craft shows; there are a lot of them starting in October.   I thought it would be a great idea to add them to our event calendar listings to help people promote their sales and let the public know where they can find unique and hand made items for holiday gift giving. 
We are all looking forward to next month's meeting on Viking Knitting.  Mary will be instructing us (along with Lorene and Suzanne).  There should be some interesting photos to share in November.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Natural Dye Workshop

Fifteen of us converged on Marilynn Clarke's home yesterday for a two-day natural dye workshop. 
The text we used was prepared by her and guided us through all the steps we took.  We started the morning with a brief lecture and explanation of the class.  She is astoundingly knowledgeable and lucky me - she's a member of my own guild!
We were assigned a buddy and each team was responsible for a dye pot.  She had prepared sheets for each pot with the calculations to achieve the intended results.  For instance the Osage Orange and Madder pot, that team had to calculate what 30% of the weight of fiber was (we knew the weight) and mix 40% of that 30% in very hot water.  The madder was 50% weight of fiber and they needed 60% of the 50%.  Some of us struggled a little with the math, even with calculators. 
The samples were pre-measured and soaking.  Marilyn provided us the weights of the Merino wool yarn since they were wet and we couldn't weigh them ourselves.
We dyed the sample skeins in bundles of three, each looped together with a label identifying the pot.
The results were starting to come out of the pots.  Sharie and I were assigned to pot #1 which was Osage Orange, measured at 30% weight of fiber.  The two bright yellow skeins in the front are from our pot.
The third skein of each pot was assigned an after mordant.  Ours was iron which turned the bright yellow into a wonderful sage green.
The post mordants had mixed results.  Some were hard to see the change and others, like the samples on the front right were dramatic.  That orange was Quebracho Red and Fustic but with the acetic acid after bath, it turned bright pink.  Crazy!
We returned this morning and the first order of business was to attach labels from the bag of labels we received in our packets.
These are my samples from yesterday.  Now that those were taken care of, we began today's dyeing and over-dyeing with indigo.
Again, we were dyeing three bundles.  The first was a single dip of two minutes duration, the second was two dips for a total of four minutes and the third was three dips for six minutes.  Marilyn said that you would just continue until you reached the desired depth of shade.
Into the Indigo Pot

And out!  You can see it's already beginning to oxidize and turn blue.
This is the first of the indigo bundles.  Max brought a silk blouse that she wanted to dye so that's it on the bottom rack.  After all the skeins were dyed, she took off her jeans and put them in the pot.  Good thing she was wearing a long tunic top!

The results were less diverse today than yesterday.  I had some favorites though and one of them, a deep forest green, is on the bottom right, front row.  It's the Osage Orange again. 
These are all my samples and I could not be more pleased, with them or with the workshop.  I had a blast, laughed a lot, made new friends and came away knowing that I can replicate these results, thanks to Marilyn's well-crafted workbook.  Thanks Marilyn!!!!!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dee Jones Retrospective - October 9

The Reno Fiber Guild is pleased to have Dee Jones as their speaker for the October 9th meeting at the South Valleys Library.  The meeting will start at 6:30PM.
Dee is a prolific weaver who has sewn dozens of garments using her hand woven cloth over the past 25 years.  Since she is also an expert quilter and knitter, she often incorporates these elements into her  garments.  A fan of Lois and Diane Ericson, she likes unusual button closures and embellishments.  Dee also puts a surprise decoration on almost every garment lining; something for the wearer to secretly enjoy.
Dee will describe her design process with a slide show and handout.  For extra fun, Dee is letting the attendees try on vests and jackets for a mini fashion show. Wear a simple top and join us for a fun filled evening.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First Meeting, First Post

At the September meeting, a motion was approved to create a blog to give our guild online visibility.  Beryl hatched it almost overnight and this is the first post, using photos from Show-and-Share from our first meeting of 2013/2014.
Lorene was bitten by the Kumihimo bug during our class with Karen Huntoon last year and is now exploring embellishments.  She took a class on making jewelry with wire mesh at the recent CNCH conference and is adding beads she makes using what she learned.
Mary too was bitten by the very same bug and took another class from Karen at the CNCH conference.  This is a new color technique, I believe it's called painting with beads.  Both Lorene and Mary had several examples, okay - many examples.  They've been bitten bad.
Nancy has been experimenting with a 16-shaft weave and had several samples.  She used up leftover cones of cotton but it is so effective, from a distance it appears to shimmer and drape.  It's only when you view them up close and feel them that you realize - they're cotton.
This is a painted warp, also from Nancy, also in cotton.
Diana is a digital textile printer and showed some scarves she recently printed and had hemmed by a lady in San Francisco, who charges $20 a scarf.  They are absolutely exquisite and worth the price tag, in my checkbook-challenged opinion.
Beryl brought a pin loom from a CNCH class.  She said she started in the middle and worked outwards.  We talked about making some of these for our outreach in March, plus everyone has thrums that they can contribute so wannabe weavers will have something to take home.

To the left of her loom is my scarf - my first soft drapey scarf.  I followed Rae's advice and set the tencel at 24 ends per inch, then used hand-dyed, handspun silk for weft.

Not shown were the fabulous macaroons that Suzanne made earlier in the afternoon.  Show-and-Share was spirited, as was the visiting after the meeting was adjourned.  It was a splendid kick-off to a new year.