October 2020 Newsletter
Well, Fall is officially here. Pulling out the woolly sweaters, making soup, waiting for a dryish day to sprinkle the poppy seeds that Wendy gave me. Pink peony-blossom poppies will be such a joy when they show up in the early summer, rain or shine! We have tasted the first ripe fruit from my little Florina Apple tree. Though this variety is reputed to be a good keeping apple, I don’t think they will last long. Sweet, tart and crisp. And don’t they look nice on a handwoven cottolin towel?
The madder (red) is setting seeds, and the roots will be ready to dig up in a few weeks. I have discovered just how easily weld (yellow) will take over the garden, and gave weld to Mary for her Eco-dye group. There is more, if you want some! My japanese indigo plants (blue) are a little sparse this year, but I have seed for next year. The local harvest this year includes flax grown by Jane and Yvonne, with seed saved from my Fairhaven plots of a few years ago. Jane and Yvonne are experienced spinners, used to working with wool, so this is a new venture for them. Flax is having a resurgence among fiber folks across the country, and it grows well in our climate!
A large part of my Covid-keeps-us home-and-working-around-the-house this summer has involved renovating a small outbuilding for secure storage and a dye studio for me. It’s done. My dye pots, hotplate, drying rack, plant material, and supplies obtained from Maiwa Supply over the years, now have a dedicated place. There is a counter for the notebooks and scale, a workbench for the hotplate and crockpot. With a wonderful sense of satisfaction and elation, I stirred up the first “cauldron” with cochineal and logwood last week, and was faced with the sobering fact of a steep learning curve for Ikat and painted warps using plant dyes. Weaving and dying are the journey of a lifetime, for sure.
An interest group is forming for those who want to weave the VAV magazine “World’s Best Hand Towels” for the Guild Challenge and you are all invited! While the weather cooperated, several of planned warps and measured them outside, and had a warping demo. Let me know if you are interested. The PDF is in a link further on in this newsletter. There are a number of interest groups forming, getting back together with safety protocols, and moving onto ZOOM, as we all get used to online programming. Plus, in person programming is getting organized, with Covid protocols, at the Jansen Center! Towels, blankets, felting and more! More details further along in the newsletter.
Daryl Lancaster’s program for the September Guild meeting via ZOOM came off without a hitch. It was great to meet up with Daryl again, and see the inside of her studio! Her explanations, examples and technical material on combining weave structures and hand-dyed warps were inspiring and empowering. Again, a steep learning curve for me, but I think I am starting to get it! I am looking forward seeing Laverne Waddington, Backstrap Weaver, who will join us from her home in Bolivia for our October Program. We are working out the logistics of an online workshop with Laverne, no travel required.
As the rain keeps us indoors, I am taking my time, dealing with thousands of miles of string, in a multitude of ways. How many of us, throughout history and pre-history, have spent the winters engaged in just such activities? On it goes.
Hoping you and yours are safe, secure and busy enough to be happy. See you soon!
2019-2020 WWG President