Besides the great pastry, we have also been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in lovely Northern Wisconsin. I'm so glad I missed cold and snow on this trip! I'm also glad, at the end of the day, that I am not doing the Philadelphia show this year. It has not been a wasted trip for business either--Scott Snyder of Snyder Spindles is in my class, and we are going to make some spindles together out of glass and wood. I have a new collaboration partner! Scott works in both wood and 3-D printed material, and we are going to do some fused glass whorls from my cut circles, and I am also going to cast some of his 3-D-printed whorls in glass. The cast glass will have a better weight and feel than the plastic will, and by doing both styles we each get to do some design work.
But the test wasn't the big part of the day. Nope, the highlight of the day was collecting our wool samples from the natural dye day yesterday. As I sat down to write this tonight I realized that I don't even know all the dyes we used! There are twelve of us in the class, and we paired up to do a total of six dyes. Char and I did madder root (shown on the bottom row of the rack), Scott and Suzanne did cochineal, but I have no idea what everyone else did. I'll find out tomorrow. What I do know is that we didn't just use the dye plant, we also played around with mordants which changed the resulting colors of our dyes. We did one batch of the straight color, one set of yarn that had been soaked in alum (and water), a batch that was not soaked in alum but which had iron added to the dye bath at the end, and a batch that had been soaked in alum and also had iron added to it at the end. Can you see how complicated it was and why it got so crazy yesterday? Each of the 12 of us had 24 skeins to be dyed--four skeins from each person to dye four different ways.
We are all sharing our recipes (what we used, how we used it, at what temperature, and for how long) with Ingrid (the owner of the shop and our host who is also finishing up the sixth level project project for her master's), and she will type it all up and distribute it to us. For now l am enjoying just fondling the different colors. I can see how dyeing is bad for a craft-addictive personality (know anyone like that?). One more day and tomorrow night I sleep in my own bed.