Tag Archives: wool

Triangle Weaving at Millstone Plantation

MillstoneFlyer
MillstoneFlyer

Heads Up…  Millstone Institute for Folk Arts is hosting my next Workshop – a wonderful, historical location for this fun technique. More below.

     A little history:  Millstone is where I got started, waaay back with my 1st two lambs, Bambi and Filene. Bambi was a real “character”, butting heads, trees, and finally, me. He didn’t last too long after that. Filene became “Head Ewe” of the flock she great-great-grand-mothered through several generations.

I joined the guild, meeting every Spring Farm Days at  the “Jr. Museum” for the annual sheering and “Sheep To Shawl”  demos. Jesse Conrad brought Millstone’s ambience, knowledge, and skills to show me how it was all done. The shearer “Otis” sheared not only the Museum’s sheep, but truckloads of local farmers’ sheep that were shipped in for the event. We, the spinners and weavers, would roll out the fleeces on a long table, “skirt” the dirty tags off, and roll them up from neck to end, exposing the inner side out with rich, textured crimp of the fiber, moist with lanolin. Each spinner spun yarns, which were transferred to the loom and woven into a full length shawl. We’d all take turns, completing the process in 2 days. The 100% handspun/handwoven shawl was auctioned off at the end of the day. A great way to learn the process– I continued with other festivals’ sheep-to-shawl activities, often as contests, awarding the spinner or weaver who did the most. It was fun!

Back to Millstone. Jesse’s studio has been preserved and the original old house is being restored. Not just any old plantation on a hill, there’s a special aura with its heritage oaks, flock of sheep and alpacas, bees, garden, all overlooking beautiful Lake McBride. Millstone is developing a series of folkart workshops in wood, clay, metal, and fiber. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

February 23 & 24, 2019
Saturday: 10am – 4pm  ~  Sunday: 1pm – 4pm
$ 150 includes frame kit (yours to keep) and lunch.
6500 Old Millstone Plantation Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32312
(from Hwy. 319/Thomasville Rd.)

For more info on joining the class, contact Millstone.
millstoneplantationtallahassee@gmail.com ~ (850) 294-3918
For questions on weaving/yarns, contact Alice.
acappa@alicecappa.com  ~ (850) 997-5505 ~  my classes page

Blueberry Yarns

It’s blueberry season! A great time for dyeing yarns.
How does this work? In my case, a bit randomly.
It’s a little misleading, tho, to think that blueberries
equate to blue dye, unless it’s on your tongue. More like
violet or a mauvey lavender.
I did a few skeins and ended up with varied results. I’m
definitely not an expert and would rather experiment
freely than follow a formula. But I think I used too much
vinegar because the shades I got were darker, rather than
bluish. Wool is a protein fiber and requires an acid dye
bath. (In contrast, cotton needs an alkaline dye bath.)
Since mine were not so clear, I overdyed a couple with a
fiber-reactive blue. In the photo, those are the darker
ones.

Basket of hand-spun, natural-dyed blueberry yarns.
Hand-spun, natural-dyed blueberry yarns.

You can try this easily yourself, but natural dyes also
require a “mordant” – a chemical to make it stick. These
are various minerals (chrome, copper, tin) and are usually
toxic and used in minute doses. But the simplest is alum,
available at the supermarket.
My yarns pick up some “debris” from the berries, but
after drying and brushing, they retain the natural softness
of the Shetland sheep. Mixing varied shades and textures
gives a more interesting weave. Or knit or crochet item. Try
it; it’s fun.