The weather could not have been better for a dye day, as it was overcast and not too hot. The last few days here in Arroyo Seco have been sunny and in the 80’s – not fun when your outside around boiling hot water and open flames!
I got a late start as we have a class this week and a two year old to drop off with a sitter… but, I was able to complete 13 dye lots out of 3 pots!
Before the yarn goes in the pots, I weigh every skein and calculate my recipes accordingly. Then I put all the weighed skeins on ropes, so they don’t get tangled in the water (hopefully). I have the pots on a high flame while doing the preparation, so the water is hot when I’m ready to put in the first round. This dye run consisted of reds, yellows and blues. Each color category has a separate pot, ensuring us a successful sequential dye day.
My first three lots – Ganado B, Jasper, Indigo Storm – were very quick strikers (meaning the dye penetrated the wool quickly). With a start like this, I thought this is going to be a quick day…
However, most of the colors I was dyeing have a certain dye in their recipes that take a long time to clear (meaning all the dye is absorbed by the yarn, the pot becomes clear and is then ready for the next color). So, as it turned out, I put my last lot in as the sun finally came out from behind the clouds and started making its way towards the horizon, around 6:30PM.
All in all, it was a successful day. I dyed up some beautiful Churro for the first time (Jasper, Kota, Amber, Indigo Storm, Kayenta, Red, and Black), some 2-ply Tapestry Yarn (Ganado B, Ruby A, Indigo B, and Sunflower A) and a couple lots of Rug Yarn (Spruce and Ocher, for a custom rug Teresa is weaving).
I hope you enjoy these notes and pictures!! Now, I’m off to straighten, twist and label all of this beautiful yarn…
P.S. We would love to hear from you! What colors would you love to see in the dye pots next? Do you have any dyeing questions? About our process? About our yarns? If so, please leave a comment (link at the top of the post)…
Back in the early months of 2011, Vicky and her daughter (who recently graduated from RISD!) came to take a Navajo-style weaving class with me. Long story short, Navajo-style looms and tapestry weaving were not Vicky’s favorite thing. By the end of class, I was worried that these techniques had completely turned her off to weaving. As a teacher, this was the last thing I could have wanted.
So, as class wrapped up, I asked her to stay on for a few days. I had her choose some colors she liked and I set her up a little 4-harness loom with some apparel yarn as warp. The goal was to weave a shawl. I had her weave stripes, simple stripes (balanced weave), and invited her to play around with color and texture. A week and three shawls later, Vicki was absolutely in love!
The following winter, Vicky returned to Taos from New Hampshire. She had signed up for a class on our Rio Grande Walking Looms. Weeks before she arrived, we had decided to close down our big shop in Taos (that’s a whole story in itself). So, we decided to deliver one of our looms to her home here in Taos, all warped up and ready to go. I gave here a little tutorial and set her loose, weaving stripes! This time she explored weft-faced weaving, creating little rugs, pillows and runners. About a month and several yards of warp later, she had created a collection of beautiful little weavings and was feeling confident on the loom. She returned to New Hampshire, excited about coming back to Taos that winter to weave.
That following October, we reopened Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco. We had a tiny little space, that allowed me to set up a few looms to teach classes. Vicky called up and signed up for a class… Tapestry 101!
A few days before class, a woman from Maine came into the shop with a couple friends from New Mexico (a weaver and a loom builder). I mentioned the class, her friends encouraged her, and before she left the shop that day, Ginny had signed up for Tapestry 101!
Vicky, Ginny and another woman (who turned out to be an amazing weaver!) joined me in our tiny studio for class. Within three days, Vicky and Ginny had become friends and choose to stay on, rent looms and continue weaving side-by-side. With each piece they wove their friendship grew. When the time came, they both headed back to the east coast with several of their own handwoven pillows, rugs and runners.
For the several years that have followed this first meeting, these wonderful ladies have continued to join me in class every winter. After picking up a few new techniques, they go on to weave several beautiful textiles on their own. Vicky acquired a secondhand Rio Grande Walking Loom and now has an amazing little weaving studio set up in her Taos home. These two have become as close as sisters, keeping in touch between their winter visits to Taos. Their husbands have been caught up in the mix and ski Taos mountain while their ladies are busy at the loom.
The friendship that was born at the looms in our little studio, coupled with the beautiful evolution of Vicky and Ginny’s weavings, inspire me in so many ways. To say the least, these women have made me a very proud teacher and very grateful that I do what I do.
PS I hope this post has brought you some inspiration! Now, I would love to hear from you! Has weaving ever changed your life? Or brought you a new friendship? If so, please leave a comment (link at top of post)…