Monday, October 24, 2011

Summer of weaving

In July, I made a few trips into the next county to Hillman’s Brush Creek Mill, and with help from guild-mate Marion, we got a very dirty 1950's Lillstina loom cleaned, warped and weaving with some towels showing Michigan tartan borders. A group of Mill museum volunteers are signed up to learn how to demonstrate weaving for the many school children who visit the working water-wheel mill. Maybe some will catch the weaving bug and even learn how to warp it up.

 For an Alcona Animal Shelter benefit at the County Fair,our guild obtained a Romney fleece from Big Hand Farm’s spring shearing across the ‘tip of the mitten’ in Charlevoix County. We washed the fleece, then dyed it into the 5 colors of the Michigan tartan. Five of our guild spun up yarn, with one spinner plying it selectively for the best evenness. We warped up a loom for two large scarves, wove one off to raffle while demonstrating spinning and weaving of the second scarf. Considering how small the fair crowd was, we were grateful to raise over $300.00 for the for the Alcona Animal Shelter. We may do this next year for the Alpena County shelter. Here is the happy winner of the scarf.

I scrambled to assemble entries for the Besser Museum juried exhibit. The red and black leno linen top shown in an earlier blog was accepted, as was an installation called ...”Oh Thereby Hangs a ....Tartan” , a rack displaying seven pieces with various interpretations of the Michigan tartan. Another entry simply called “In Process” with a Michigan Tartan scarf in Zephyr just begun.  The juror gave all awards to 2-dimensional work, but I was honored to to have my weaving included.
A teaching trip to the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild in early September introduced me to some of the most talented, experienced, yet eager-to-learn weavers ever. One quite new weaver, Tammy, showed me how she had improvised a Trapeze to warp her loom. Here is her Shaker-chair version.  Her linen workshop weaving came out beautifully.

My hostess, Mary Underwood, introduced me to the beauty of ‘old’ Ann Arbor, within walking distance of Zingermans, the Farmer’s Market and other big-city wonders. Her new studio in the back yard is a view from another world. She spins ‘air yarn’ on the balcony, and teaches as well.

A dozen folks from the Association of Lifelong Learners came out for a studio visit in early September and I learned from one, of her childhood memories, helping her mother weave rugs on a giant rigid heddle loom. A question to WeaveTech list revealed other examples of this rare technique, from Slovak immigrants in Pennsylvania. The rewards of volunteering!

In early October my little Purrington loom made a trip to the Renaissance Center in Detroit where Clan Gregor gathered, as guests of our friends Kathy and Henry Stone, to learn about the new Michigan tartan and other things Scottish and Michiganian. John gave the address to the haggis in handwoven tartan, and we discovered Greek Town a refreshing walk away, so there was nothing for it but flaming cheese and baklava for breakfast.

Then last week our tiny guild, with help from the Michigan League of Handweavers, brought Julie Hurd and Linda VanAndel to Alpena to lead an evening program for fiber folks and gardeners on Colors from Nature. The following day we had one amazing daylong workshop producing large skeins of sixteen different colors for each of us! What an exciting new direction for my handspun projects. Do I see all the colors in the Michigan tartan here?
Until I'm back from Rome......  Kati