Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eastside Culture Crawl

The Culture Crawl is fast approaching!  Only three weeks away! 

Several people have expressed interest in helping out.  For anyone interested - a sign up sheet will be posted at the studio by October 30th.

Suggested ways to help out:

-  setting up (Wed, November 14th)
-  cleaning up (TBA)
-  contributing items for sale and/or display (drop off at the studio by Wed, Nov 14th)
-  hanging out in the studio

Please comment or send the studio an email if you have any suggestions or are unable to make it down to the studio to sign up!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out at the event! Whether your helping out or just stopping in to say "Hi!"!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dyeing with Woad

Monday, October 22:

This was the last of the 4 week Special 'Spin Sox Sessions'!  Having learned to darn holey socks, make a drop spindle, spin yarn and how to knit it into a sideways (only needs 2 needles!) socks, we dyed the yarn using woad seeds.

The woad seeds were kept at a low simmer for an hour and the unmordanted colour produced was a smokey green (there are no photos of this colour as it didn't show up too well in the lights of the field house).

After adding an aluminum sulphate mordant to the woad must*, we strained it and put the wort** into 3 different jars.

One jar was acidified with vinegar, one made alkaline with dishwasher powder and one had ammonia added.  The resulting colours varied from deep blue purple to a reddish purple.  None of these colours are even close to the turquoise blue that you get when making a woad (indigo) dye vat, or the pinkish beige that you get when you boil woad strongly.

The turquoise colour of a woad vat comes from the chemical indigin.  Indigin is one of the betalin family of pigments that includes the red of beetroot (betaxanthin) and the blue of indigo (betacyanin).  I now wonder if the purple from the seeds is just a slight chemical difference that happens in the indigin as the plant runs to seed - perhaps it gets partly changed into the red betalin by the sun as the synthesis of all of those chemicals are very sunshine level dependant.

That's why we can't get a good natural blue dye from temperate climates, so indigo comes mostly from India.  We can get blue from Salvia flowers, but it's not a strong blue, and you need to pick a lot of flowers!  Note that Salvia is a Mediterranean plant, so perhaps the blue of it's flowers is darker when growing in its natural habitat rather than in the Pacific Northwest gardens.

What a versatile dye plant!  There are lots of seeds available for free in the field house for anyone who wants to plant some next year... just ask me!

* must: the plant material and water combined - either boiled or fermented
** wort: the strained liquid from a must

What craft would you like to do on Mondays?

Penny’s Crafty Mondays at McLean Field House 6-8pm. Free (though I may make a small charge for materials in some cases).

PS I am not being paid, I am doing this for free as a volunteer.

I will be in the field house on Mondays in December. If you want to learn anything from the list below then come one Monday and we can discuss when and what. It will take a week’s notice (depending on what you want to learn) to get materials together. . I will try and post dates on this site for any requested teaching sessions in case you want to join in e.g.

Booked so far.................

Monday 3rd December

Anything knitting. Bring along your UFOs - Unfinished Objects and we will work on any problems. Socks (sideways, top down 2 on one needle, 4 needle) will be the special focus that night.

Monday Dec 10th

We will be warping an Ashford knitter's loom.

Please feel free to come along with whatever crafty thing you’re working on right now – we’d love to see what you’re doing! The field house has ample work space, tables, a hot plate and various tools.
I can teach you:

Anything knitting based

From basics of how to knit to multi-stranded fair isle, intarsia, entrelac, designing your own pattern, knitting with handspun, socks to sweaters, bonnets to blankets, fancy stitches, lace, domino, short rows, steeks – you name it, I can teach you how.

Spindles and spinning

How to make your own, how to spindle spin, ply, make sequined yarn, boucle or other fancy spinning. Navaho plying, 2 strand plying, spinning cotton wool balls, fleece, feathers – you name it, it can probably be spun.


How to make a cardboard loom and the basics of tabby and twill tapestry weave. How to warp a simple loom, working out your sett and picks. How to make loom-shaped garments (minimal cutting of fabric and using narrow widths). How to use an inkle loom.

Urban yarn harvesting

How to collect the right kind of thrift store sweaters (home made and commercial) so you can break them down into thread, ply the thread and use it to knit new garments.

Anything socks

Sock darning, sideways socks for the new knitter, socks on round needles for the more experienced knitter. Toe up socks for experienced knitters, toe up socks 2 at a time on the same needle too. Toe down socks for the very conservative knitter.

Watercolour 101

How to make small watercolours like book marks, gift tags and greetings cards. Basics of watercolour technique, but mostly just fun painting stuff. You’ll need to bring along some watercolours, brushes and watercolour paper.

Tatting and crochet lace 101

How to make a tatted or crochet lace edging on things like pillowcases, lingerie, or anything you want to embellish. You’ll need to bring along some crochet cotton, a very fine crochet hook/tatting shuttle (all of these are available at Dressew on Hastings St).

Mend your clothes 101

From zips to rips, buttons to hems and beyond. Bring along any clothes that need mending and we can make them as good as new. You’ll need to provide your own thread, patches, zips, buttons etc as needed, but luckily we have Dressew close by where all those things are available.

Come along and book in your request for December 17th and any January Mondays......

Headband Workshop for Youth

Our 3rd week of West Coast Design and Artist mentorship workshops, this week (Wednesday October 24th) we visited the urban weaving studio of Haida Weaver Todd DeVries, and made Headbands !

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrating a year of successful harvests!

During the recent workshop on Saturday, October 6th, we celebrated a year of successful harvesting by weaving a 'horn of plenty'. 

Materials used:  English Ivy (harvested from Stanley Park), Siberian Iris leaves (harvested from the Means of Production garden), Day Lily leaves and old flower stalks (also from MOP). 

The next harvest date in Stanley park is this Saturday - October 13.  (click here for details)