Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fiber Festival Weekend

A couple of weekends ago I invited some friends over and we had "Fiber Fest". The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny. We all worked on our own "fiber" projects, some playing with natural dyes all weekend. On the Wednesday evening before Carla came over and we began mordanting her cotton fabric (which takes a good 3 days to complete), then Kay came Friday night and we mordanted her wool fabric and yarn. Becky and Windi came Friday, set up their camp in my backyard and threw their linen in the mordant pot. This was everyone Sat. afternoon, taking a break and sharing ideas, Judy is showing Jody a cute wool pincushion pattern.

One of the first dye pots was onion skins, one of our favorites, this is Carla's cotton in first before the wool goes in and sucks up all the dye. We would give her fabric a "head start".

Kay checking out some of the first dyed fabrics. She's loving her wool!

Some of the wool fabrics (some with onion skins still clinging) and a couple of skeins of Kays yarn, 70% wool and 30% cotton. It is so beautiful in real life, the way the dye reacted to the different fibers.

Windi and Beckys camp, they do Renaissance reenacting and this is a traditional "tent" called a lean pee.

Becky with her raw sheep wool, she spent a good deal of time washing and sorting it.

Becky learning how to spin with a drop spindle.

Her first hand spun skein of wool!

Carla with the indigo pot. She was very careful not to get bubbles in the dye pot and ended up spending a lot of time in this position, dipping the fabrics and yarn.

Some of our fabrics, the green was originally yellow (goldenrod) over dyed with the indigo.

At night Windi and her friend TJ fired up their torches and made glass beads. They made some beautiful beads, I was so tired I didn't get a picture of them.

Some of the linen fabrics the girls dyed. The fabrics with the tie-dye look Windi wrapped around blown-out goose eggs and dipped them in different dye pots. She dyed her fabric and eggs at the same time. She's very clever.

Carla's cotton fabrics.

Becky's linen.

And Windi's eggs, the front left one she cut out a feather sticker and stuck it on before putting it in the dye pots.

This was a basket of "favors" for all who came, the white premordanted fabrics had daffodil bulbs wrapped in it, ready to plant to use for the first dye pots of the spring. The yellow wool fabric shows the color I got with my daffodils. And of course we had a big bowl of chocolate to enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A little more Colorado

As we traveled and camped while on our vacation I collected different plants, wrapped them in my premortanted wool, simmered them in the dye pot for an hour or so, and then left them for a week in zip lock bags. On our way home from the workshop I opened them and rinsed them out in the mountain streams we camped by, I could not believe some of the prints, it was like magic. I saw this technique done on India Flint's blog http://www.prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.com/ I'm not exactly sure how she does it, this is how I did it. Check out her blog, she is definitely a master at natural dying. She has also wrote a book Eco Colour.
This was my first bundle, I picked some sunflowers along the roadside in Nebraska, wrapped them up in wool and tied them lightly with string (the flowers wrapped around them were for photo purposes, then I threw them in the dye water). Simmered them a good hour, then left to set in the bag with some of the water for a week.

I had to do Aspen leaves and bark in Colorado.

And lichen.

This was one of our camp sites, we had tall cliffs on one side of us and a mountain stream in front.

I was in heaven.

At night we had a campfire along the stream, I quilted for hours.

At the next camp I began rinsing out my fabric bundles in the stream along our camp.

This was the sunflowers, they didn't have much color so I put them in the cochineal pot before I unwrapped them and simmered it awhile. Now they have yellow blobs with the red around them.

Before I left home I wrapped up eucalyptus leaves and stems, (I planted them in my garden this summer). I simmered them, then opened them a week later. Oh my goodness they are unbelievable.

The fabric turned a pale yellow, the leaves left different orange, rust, and deep yellow prints. This picture does not show how wonderful it is. When I hot home I did two more each one better.

And here they are hanging to dry at our camp, left to right, lichen over dyed with wild carrot, lichen over dyed with Navajo tea, eucalyptus and sunflowers over dyed with cochineal.

Another river we camped on. Camping in the Rocky Mountains every night is a wonderful experience, we were on different river or mountain lake every night. Of course we never stayed in "commercial" campgrounds, we camped in the wilderness, in "God's Country".

My fabric rinsed out from the dye workshop, left to right sage, Navajo tea and rabbit bush.

Lichen, cliff rose and wild carrot fresh and dried. It amazes me all the color you get out of the desert plants. More than I can get out of my Michigan plants without an after rinse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mesa Verde, Colorado

When we left the dye workshop stopped and to explore the Anasazi (meaning ancient ones)ruins in Mesa Verde, Colorado. These Native Americans lived in the Southwest 1400 years ago and lived in the cliff dwellings for around 100 years. No one knows for sure why they left but it is believed they became part on the Hopi and many other Native American tribes. Mesa Verde has some of the largest cliff dwellings. Their tucked high into cliffs for protection from enemies and the weather. The parks now has special trails made for the public to hike in.

Close up of one of their kivas where they would have had their sacred ceremonies, pray for rain, luck in hunting, healing rites, good crops and also as a gathering place to weave. The hole is where a fire would have been.

This is how the kiva would look with its' roof in place and the ladder for climbing in and out. Notice the shape of the doors, T shape, one ranger told us they think it was so young children wouldn't fall out. (It still looks pretty big to me).
They have a wonderful museum with beautiful displays of the artifacts that have been found in their garbage dump (they threw everything they didn't want over the cliff in the front of their dwellings). The Anasazi are accomplished potters, I love this piece of pottery with a horn lizard (nicknamed horny toad) painted on.

And the real horn lizard. When we were collecting sage for the dye pots hidden under a plant was a live horn lizard.

Another great pottery shard with pictograph's painted on.

I don't know if you can read the card but it says they found this corn in a vessel buried in a cave and the corn dates back 7 centuries.

They also have a beautiful display of Navajo rugs dating from the 1800's.

There's not much detail to see photographing through glass, just the wonderful colors and design.

We spent the night at the campground near the dwellings, there are many thistle in the area, they are not native to the area but spreading fast.

And this is how it spreads! The seeds blow with the wind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Navajo rugs

While at Rose's her daughter in law Leba showed us her weavings she's working on. She weaves with hand spun wool that was Rose's mothers.

This is Leba with her 2 year old son. I was excited to buy this piece from her. This is a "protection" rug. The four dark corners represent the 4 Sacred Mountains, the light brown is lighting, the white with gray tips water bugs and they all are protecting the center which represent the home. A very old tradition is to weave in a "spirit line" near the end of your weaving so your spirit does not become trapped and you can weave another rug. Leba puts these in hers but I'm not sure you can see it here.

Another of Leba's rugs she is working on, I love the details on it, near the bottom is a big mother spider (black with white tips) and running along the bottom are her baby spiders.

One of Rose's granddaughters showing some of the dresses Rose wove for them for important occasions. Their called "biil" dresses.

On Friday night Mary took us to the Crown point auction. The natives bring in their weavings (of all sizes) to be auction off. The auctioneers keep it moving fast. Everything is displayed on the tables before the auction for people to look over. We learned so much from Mary.

This piece was a crowd favorite. Not everyone does this type of weaving.

This was a beautiful piece, it reminds me of an old style weaving.

I didn't buy a weaving at the auction but bought this piece (before we went) from LaVera. Her family, the "Spider Rock Girls" are well known for their top quality weavings. I was happy she had one available for me to buy. Up by her left hand you can see where she "signed" her weaving, it the symbol for squash blossom. She also weaves in a spirit line. Her little sister is with her. There's quite of few girls in the family and they all weave.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The pots are brewing

We arrived early in the morning at Rose and Henry Dedman's home, they had been up for hours getting the fire and the dye pots going. Henry was still chopping wood for the large fire under the dye pots.

Rose had all the plants cut up and simmering waiting for our wool. The pots she uses were her mothers, where Rose learn how to natural dye. The aroma was wonderful, no chemical smells just nature! It was a beautiful day.

A close up of some of the pots, starting from the back rabbit brush, ground lichen and sage.

Fresh canyaigre (wild carrot) in the front and dried wild carrot in the back with a handful of baking soda mixed in.

Navajo tea, my fabric (premordanted with alum) on the right and wool yarn (premordanted with alum) on the left and natural yarn in the middle. The color difference was fascinating.
I brought some Navajo tea home and have been dying cotton with it and it also turned out a wonderful orange. I was so surprised.

My wool fabric in rabbit brush, it turned a much richer yellow gold after it simmered awhile.

Rebecca (she has a great blog- http://ecologicalartist.wordpress.com/), Rose and myself stirring the pots. The piece I'm holding up is from the lichen pot.

Some of the yarn drying on the fence. My fabric is not there, after it came out of the dye pots I put it in plastic bags and left it a couple of days before I rinsed out the dye in the mountain rivers as we camped our way back home through Colorado. I'll post these pictures soon.
Another great web site is- http://weavinginbeauty.com/ Mary the coordinator for all the workshops has this site and lists all the Navjo weaving happenings in the area. The dye class for next summer is already posted. It was a beautiful experience, I hope some of you are able to attend.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo