I never got here in June. Hmmm.... I was traveling again, and when home, frantically working in the garden. I've been away so much the gardens are quite overgrown and messy. I hope I get them a bit tidied up before I leave again at the end of the week. As this is our first really hot week with temperatures in the 90s I'm not exactly energized to get outside and weed.
Look what I finished! Finally! Although I posted pictures of this project on the loom back in Feb., I actually think I put these towels on the loom way back in November! I was full of excitement to give them as Christmas presents, but somehow after the first couple of weeks I couldn't actually sit down and weave them. Having a guild Show and Tell at the end of June was what motivated me to finally get back to weaving them. I'm happy to have them done! I will keep one and give the other four away, most likely well before this Christmas!
I have just spent an amazing weekend at our regional weaving conference, called MAFA which stands for MidAtlantic Fiber Association. This was the first time they have offered a conference in which one could take only a full three-day class, as opposed to some variation of 1/2-day and 1-day classes. I took a class on natural dyeing, and the teachers were so organized and so well prepared that we managed to dye 76 wonderful colors in only 3 days. We were insanely focused and busy, and we even had to stagger our lunch hours for this class when the rest of the conference had 2 hour lunches which allowed for lunch as well as shopping in the vendors' hall, but it was well worth it! I will try to take some photos of my incredible sample book.
I am now so thoroughly re-committed to the tapestry project I've had in mind for a couple of years now. I want to do it with hand spun, hand dyed yarn, and this class has moved me considerably closer to gaining the skills I need. I've got two fleeces waiting (one washed, one not!) to be combed and spun. I've done a little sampling on spinning technique. I've taken a mentor on this project, or rather, she has taken on me! Her name Vicki Fraser, and she is the creator/weaver of the California Rug Project.
Vicki has been very patient with my questions on what breed of sheep to use and how to spin the yarn. She's been giving me advice on mordanting and dyeing, which I haven't even started yet, but I have taken copious notes from my phone conversations with her. This workshop at MAFA gave me the chance to do some real dyeing and get some experience under my belt. The two teachers, Debbie McCrea and Carol Wood, were also very encouraging to me (sorry, no website for them, but they are located in the Alfred, NY, area and are members of the Rochester Guild) and have offered to guide me on the dyeing if I can come do it at their studio. I'd better get spinning.
Meeting these three women who are so willing to share their knowledge with me makes me realize what positive energies are out in the world when one needs guidance. Some people call this synchronicity, which means something like "with time." That's just my very rusty ancient Greek coming back to me....I think it must really connote things coming together at the right time, and boy, that is what's happening here! I feel touched by something greater than coincidence right now, and I don't want to squander these opportunities.
Hopefully I'll post pictures soon, and hopefully I'll post again this month. I'll be sailing around Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket for the rest of the month, but I hope to get some of the clean white Romney fleece combed before I leave so I can spin while sailing. I'm bringing my electric spinner (made by my husband) because it takes up so much less room on the boat than my wheel. He made it to be compatible with the flyers from my Lendrum. He's so clever....