Monday, April 11, 2011

Southeastern Fiber Forum 2011

This was an amazing week. As always Fiber Forum was wonderful!! Meeting old friends and making new ones is high on the priority list, next to vendors and the classes we've chosen to take.
I was privileged to be asked to pick up Daryl Lancaster at the airport in Knoxville Thursday morning. Not a problem. I live about 7 minutes north of the airport!  She flew in just before noon so some of the Tuesday weavers were able to meet us for lunch.
Then it was on to Gatlinburg. Driving through the countryside was pretty but going through Pigeon Forge wasn't. Luckily for us we breezed through there. Later in the afternoon Pat picked up Irene from the airport and they had a time getting through Pigeon Forge. You just never know and have to build in extra time for travel.

Later in the afternoon as people came, this is the view I saw at the north end of the school. Waiting on benches for friends or just to chat were some of the best weavers in our area. Barbara Miller is second from the right. She is an amazing weaver. She's researched and then taught us alot about old weave structures. She is one person I consider to be a real jewel and always a person one can go to with a problem and know she's there to listen and help.

Thursday evening was Daryl Lancaster's keynote address. She gave us a very interesting look at her life. She could have talked alot longer! It's amazing how our lives sort of go in parallel lines even though we're from different parts of the country.

Then Friday classes started. I took Catherine Ellis's class on woven shibori. What a whirlwind! The first thing she said was that we should weave like crazy because we'd start dyeing on Saturday. So we did. We had guidelines to go by and we wove 12" samples, as many as we could that day. We'd been given the choice of about 5 different weave structures to thread our looms with so there were different possibilities depending on your loom. We all just wove on our own looms. None of us finished our warp but Saturday morning I came in early because I wanted to keep weaving and get it off. I'd put about 5 yards on so that I wouldn't have extra. I want to put a scarf warp on the pup now that it's empty again!

Here are some of the things I wove. I wove with 10/2 cotton in natural and had bought some 5/2 pearl as well for the draw threads. Catherine thought the 5/2 pearl was too light, too similar to the warp, so she had me use some green yarn for the rest. I was afraid that the dye would bleed from those pull threads but they didn't seem to do that at all.

We hadn't been told to bring a sewing machine with us. Arrowmont has them. Sure, they've got at least 8 of them but we weren't able to get most of them to work. This Kenmore did nicely until sometime Saturday when it just seized up! If I'd thought of it, I should have just packed my serger as well. That would have made easy work of it all! Those poor sewing machines need a bit of TLC!

After sewing and cutting our samples apart we had to gather them. Oh, as we sewed the zigzag to seal the edges, we would sew in a little square of tyvek. Using a permanent fine marker we labeled them all with our name and a number for us to remember which sample it was. Gathering the samples wasn't really that bad. We had a trick or two to protect our fingers and they gathered nicely.
 Catherine had some samples that we could buy. These are woven in a mill in Hendersonville NC to her specs and the weave structure is a nice fine weave. The pull strings were wonderful and gathered so easily! Much more easily than the ones on our looms. I guess the finer the warp the easier for those threads to be pulled.
 I didn't get a picture of the dye process. We were madly trying to get all our pieces dyed. We had 3 different processes to try:  immersion or painting with mx dyes, vat dyes, disperse dyes and then there was the pot where we could then discharge the dye! We were doing this until mid morning on Saturday. It really was funny, tho, because we all knew how many samples we'd done. There was a point where I lost 2 of my pieces, found them and then lost one of them again. I found it late Friday and quickly painted both sides of it so it would be done by Saturday. One girl lost a piece and only found it as we were cleaning up on Saturday just before noon!! We'd had to soak our pieces for half an hour before we began the dye process and with a bunch of pieces in the pot, it was easy to lose track of them!
I got a picture of Peggy cutting the knots out of her sample.  I think this is the hardest part. You pull those threads so tight to compress the fabric and then have a time finding those threads to get your seam ripper to clip them. It's much easier to pull the fabric apart when it's dry. It's almost impossible when it's wet!
 Here are my pieces that I brought home.  I haven't ironed any of them yet but that pale purple piece in the middle is permanently set and won't flatten out. That was a cool effect using polyester as the weft! The bits of color on there are on purpose and put on before I gathered it. All these different processes to remember! There are 2 pieces on the bottom right side that I haven't clipped the knots out of yet. I dyed them yesterday morning and decided to wait til they were almost dry to see the results!
 Friday evening was the fashion show. This time it was informal and I forgot to take a picture of people lined up waiting to go up. We were all given a file card and told to write what we were wearing on it. I was fortunate enough to go up with my painted warp vest very early in the process so I could sit down and take pictures. I just have a few pictures. The show went on for quite some time! Everyone loved the pieces.
Daryl wore her new suit. This is an amazing piece. It fits her absolutely perfectly. Pictures don't do it justice. One thing that she didn't mention when she blogged about it or I missed it is the way the sleeve is sewn in. It's tucks on top, absolutely perfect little tucks. That handwoven trim looks great on it too!
 I don't remember everyone's names but here are 3 vests she wove. They're probably done using some polyester because they are gathered kind of like my little sample.
 The purse was handwoven and then she added pictures of her family on both sides and connected them with gold trim. Very interesting and a nice way to remember a wonderful family holiday.
 A felted headpiece. I think this was one of the college age assistant's piece. She had a way of folding it up too so she could carry it around. Felting is something I haven't tried. I"m glad there are people that love doing it and are good at it!
 Daryl wore this coat as well. She had carried it on the plane and I"m sure people thought she was nuts having it down here but it's an amazing piece. I suspect she used it in her class as inspiration. Her class was on sewing a vest with handwoven and found fabrics.
 Tommy Scanlin can weave more than just tapestries!!!
 Alice Schlein taught a class on photoshop and computer programs for complex weavers. Isn't this vest amazing? She is such a talented lady. I am always in awe of her!!
 Martha Owen and Pam Howard modeled some blankets they'd made. Not having much fun are they?? Pam taught a lumpy bumpy scarf class and Martha's the expert spinner and taught a class on it.
 Irene Munro taught dyeing. Her classroom was full of wonderful colors on fabric. Here she's modeling a jacket she made with fabric she had rusted. That's on my list of things to do as well. I think there's some rust pieces out here that DH has saved for me. I've got to pull out some fabric and do that!!
 Saturday evening Catherine Ellis had a keynote address as well. This was on her life and how said yes!  If she'd said no at any point along the way she wouldn't have had this amazing adventure with woven shibori and now natural dyes. She's travelled all over researching dyes. She spend time in India and had pictures of people weaving and dyeing. She's about to go back to France to research more with the expert in natural dyes.
Yesterday at noon we had lunch and then it was time to say goodbye again for another 2 years. Hopefully the next Fiber Forum will be at Arrowmont again because the facility is wonderful.
I brought Daryl and Irene back to the airport and then headed home to unload  my car and try to digest all the things we learnt this weekend.
It's back to laundry and weaving today. I would like to get the rest of my warp off the loom today but it's not going to happen. I want to rewrite my notes and get my samples organized in a notebook so that I can keep track of what we've done. I already have a list of what I want to do..
Until next Monday..


Tina J said...

Sounds like it was fun. I can't wait to see your samples tomorrow.

LA said...

And a good time was had by all!!!! I can't wait to see your samples.

Bonnie said...

My head is spinning. A lot to remember in such a short time to learn it. What fun. The pieces are georgous.

Maggie said...

I'm so glad you posted so many photos! It's wonderful that the forum came together, with so many fabulous teachers. What fun!