Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Fibery Year, Part 1

I also like to look back at my teaching and other fiber events at the turn of the year.  I made a list of 2014 events and then started looking through my photos and quickly realized that this is a bigger project than I first thought, and that some of the classes and events really warrant focused posts. 
So today: a quick recap of 2014 with photos & details about a few classes and a promise of more to come!

2014 Fiber Highlights
January: 18th c. Floor Coverings, John C Campbell Folk School, Brasstown NC
February: Swedish Towels, Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild, Purcellville VA
March: a visit to the archives at the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg KY
April: Handpaint Magic Spinning, JC Campbell Folk School, Brasstown NC
I was a student in Deb Robson's 3Ls and 3Cs class, MD Sheep & Wool Festival, West Friendship MD
May: Peace Weavers booth at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Tartan Throws, The Mannings, East Berlin PA
July: Tour de Fleece, which for me means another 3 weeks of my 50+ sheep breed study
August: Peace Weavers booth at SpinQuest 2014, Front Royal VA
September: Tartan Scarves during Scottish week at the JC Campbell Folk School, Brasstown NC
Travels in Colorado & New Mexico, including a visit to Centinela Fiber Arts in Chimayo, NM
 How to Buy a Fleece and Spindle Spinning classes, Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, Berryville VA 
October: a wool waulking demonstration at the Waterford Fair, Waterford VA
Checkmate Fiber booth at Fall Fiber Festival, Montpelier Station, VA
December: a visit to Winterthur Museum to see the Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit, Winterthur DE

I started the year with a John C Campbell Folk School class called 18th Century Floor Coverings in early January.

This is a unique class that works best in a school setting where there are heavier floor looms, so the Folk School studio is perfect. 

The class includes rugs from  from a variety of different ethnic traditions in North America - (pictured here, clockwise from the top left) Jerga from the Southwest, Scandinavian Boundweave, Scandinavian Drall and a Wool Overshot rug from Nova Scotia; not pictured are the Shaker Rag Rug and Venetian Carpeting.

It was a small but enthusiastic class and a great way to start off the year, spending a week working together in the weaving studio at the Folk School.

To quote a favorite book, 
In February it will be - My snowman's anniversary - With cake for him and soup for me!
(Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak)

In February it was time for my brand new class, Swedish Towels, which I taught for the Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild over the President's Day weekend.  I have been planning this class for many years, inspired by a stack of old Swedish VAV magazines that Norman Kennedy gave to me.  I love so many of the patterns and structures that appear in these magazines and I decided to assemble a collection of distinctly Scandinavian weaving patterns for a round robin class.  The drafts include some lovely plain and twill weave variations, monks belt, daldrall (overshot), halvdrall, rosepath, crackle and more.

 The twelve students warped their looms for towel sized samples, wove samples on each loom in class and then wove full size towels later at home on their own looms.  I brought an extra warped loom to class and was able to weave along with the students.  After class, I cut each of my samples in half  and washed one of each pair; the pairs of samples are now in a notebook for this class.  Wet finishing changes some materials and weave structures dramatically, so it's very useful to have these pairs of samples.

 As an added bonus, I brought in some band looms and rigid heddles on the second day of class to demonstrate the weaving of narrow tapes to coordinate with the towels. 

Hanging loops are often found on Scandinavian towels.  Tape is usually a basic plain weave with just a few threads and works up very quickly.  Coordinating tape can be woven for garments and other weaving projects to lovely effect.

Every class has an overachiever!  This is Robin and she wove a sample on each loom and then had time to weave off the remaining warp on her own loom, weave a matching tape and sew up her finished rosepath towel.

OK, time for one more class - back to the Campbell Folk School for Handpaint Magic Spinning in April. 

Where the students learned about:

 different ways to work with hand painted rovings: chain plying, fractal spinning, barber pole yarn,

how to paint rovings

and spun some more!  I love the way each student ends up with a nest of color near their chair.

Below on the left you see one student's work for the week, including a baby blanket project begun; one the right each student's set of skeins for the Friday afternoon student display.

I have taught Handpaint Magic Spinning as a half day and day long festival or guild class, but this was the first spinning class I have taught at the Folk School and it was wonderful to have a full week to explore and play and learn together. 

I also have a Handpaint Magic Knitting class that shows how to work with different types of handpainted and commercially spun color effect yarns.  This would be a great pair of classes for a guild weekend, don't you think?

Happy Handpaint Magic Spinners

Next week - Shaker Textiles!

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