This year we decided to add a few new classes to our list, two of which fall a little outside of the our normal realm of Southwestern-style tapestry weaving. Structure, The Southwestern Way is one of these classes. I just taught it for the first time a little over a week ago and, I must say, it was a huge success!
Honestly, I was a little nervous before class started (like the-first-day-of-school-excited kind of nervous). I knew how I wanted the students feel by the end of class (pure excitement about the possibilities of simple weaving techniques, coupled with the confidence and knowledge to go out and create their own “patterns” and designs) and I had a slew of potential samples for them to weave up. But, as it was my first time teaching this, I really wasn’t sure how it would all go.
By the end of the first day, I could tell that everyone was having a great time and that they were all learning a lot… even though we stayed with exploring weft-faced weaving, which most of the students had done before. By incorporating new weights of yarn and simple treadling techniques, we were able to explore an array of potential projects that included ways to switch from weaving fine tapestries to heavy rugs, without ever needing to re-warp the loom!
We played around with a few more weft-faced techniques on the morning of the second day. During lunch, I started tying on new, colorful warps, so we could explore balanced-weaves. Using the same yarns and treadling techniques from the first day, the students were now able to see the vast potential of design, by simply adjusting a few little things (for example, weft/warp type and how heavy you pack your weaving).
Through I had intentions of introducing warp-faced techniques on the third day, I could tell the students were already nearing information overload (this may evolve into a two-part class). So, we continued on with balanced-weaves (a huge world in its self) and finished day three with a little talk about finishing techniques.
Each student left with two samplers (knowledge) and the confidence to start exploring new techniques and design on their own. Most of them also walked away with bags full of new yarns to try out at home (excitement). My hopes for the class were fulfilled!
It was a good week at the pots! I’m happy to say I was able to dye 28 lots in 48 hours for a total of 120 pounds of yarn… and all the colors came out really well (except for Ruby)!
I started with very light colors and things were striking fast – the first day, I got about 10 die lots done in two hours! With our sequential method of dying I was able to use three pots for all 29 dye lots. Working my way from light colors like Beige, Mauve, Oak and Walnut, and moving into the dark colors like Indigo, Eggplant, Scarlet and Wintergreen.
Because of our dye method, our colors are very consistent, varying only slightly between dye lots. However, over the years, the company we get our dyes from will occasionally change a colors composition or discontinue a color. They are very helpful with helping us figure out substitutions when needed, but there is still a bit of trial and error before we are able to recreate the recipe needed for our true color. This is a very rare occurrence (only a handful of times over the last three decades), but it is does happen.
If you ever feel like the yarn you received is not close to color in the sample card, please let us know and we will find a solution. It can also be helpful to take a snippet from the skeins you receive and add it to your sample card (even staple it to the back), this way you can track any changes in color over time. Because our colors are so consistent, we do not have a different color card for every slight change in our recipes.
If you got a sample card from us several years ago and would like to know which colors are slightly different please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be glad to send you replacement snippets of any of the colors that have changed (slightly) over the years. If you have sample cards from 20 years ago (we hear this more often than you might think), it may be time for a new set of cards all together! You can order them on our website or via phone, 575-758-0433.
I hope you enjoy this post and I would love to hear from! Please leave a comment with any feedback.
P.S. Our Ruby Rug Yarn has been throwing me through a loop. I will be dying I again tomorrow to get it right with our sample card. Wish me luck!