Color to Dye For with Judith Mackenzie -Workshop

By Carolee Kirkelie, Central Oregon Spinners & Weavers Guild

September 6, 2018

A day spent with Judith Mackenzie is a day to be treasured. The consummate fiber artist exudes warmth and knowledge while captivating her students at every word. Judith’s work can be found in her extensive books and DVDs; however the in-person, up front Judith is even more amazing! Our day was a focus on weak acid super milling dye, primarily for both color fastness and economic benefits.

We began by soaking our yarn and roving with a surfactant, Dawn dishwashing liquid, to ensure oils and dirt are removed and the dye will be taken up fully without resistance. Dawn Free and Clear was suggested, and a reminder to never dye in the grease.

Our palette begins with the classic three colors of yellow, magenta and cyan. There was also a black or neutral color to change tone; just as in watercolor painting, the principles are interdisciplinary for mixing an extended palette of secondary colors. Our process starts simply with a quart canning jar two thirds filled with cold water and a glug of white vinegar. We each will have a jar of our own color choice and mix efforts.  Judith emphasizes the high tech measuring of ingredients; a pre-moistened chopstick tapped into dye powder is her instrument of choice. Precision is everything! Mix ratio to target is ~4 grams/saturated 1 lb. of fiber. Her process, a wet chopstick in hand, could probably not be more accurate. Again the pragmatic and ever simple approach is not lost on her students.

dye workshop1

Once the water, vinegar and dye powder is mixed to that perfect color, we then place our yarn into the jar; the goal is to have a full jar of liquid with yarn fully immersed. Then put the lid and ring on, while placing the jar into a Ball electric water bath canner. With canner lid in place and temperature set to medium the jars of wool will come up to heat and maintain temperature for approximately 45 mins. One can of course use a more conventional canner approach on the burner; however the electric bath canner comes up to speed rapidly, is a very safe and efficient process to follow.

We experimented with both undyed and previously dyed yarn or fleece that was brown. It was fascinating to see the opportunities to over dye whether unplanned or by design, it increases possibilities for mono color or multi-color spun yarn to make changes.  So do you have some ugly yarn? Change it by overdyeing!

The remaining time together was spent exploring indigo, Instant Indigo otherwise known as freeze dried indigo, and learning all the ins and outs with a practical approach to mixing. We also explored a black walnut dye bath as well as the how-to for lichen and cochineal.

All along the way Judith imparts her worldly learnings, insight and humor. She’s quick witted and doesn’t miss a beat as questions run the gambit of all things wool, protein, amino acids, plant fiber, origins and end uses. You swiftly realize that Judith has gone there…like trying to grow nettle, which requires a picky soil and location preference that did not allow it to be transplanted keeping its use to that where it’s found. Nettle you see made the strongest woven nets for fishing.  Judith MacKenzie the teacher of old and new world ways for dyeing, antidotes for fiber and life, a rich and mind expanding experience should not be missed.



Thrill of the Twill Workshop

– Advancing Twills, Networked Twills, Corkscrew Twills and Echo Weaves

Presented by Robyn Spady   –  September 7-9, 2018

Reviewed by Carrie Gordon, an experienced spinner, dyer, a NEW weaver and a member of COSW since the early 1990’s.

Our adventure began with the “homework” Robyn sent, prior to the workshop.  As a new weaver, I faithfully followed her directions for the 4-shaft single color warp.  This was a totally new adventure for me, my first weaving workshop.

Robyn brought a refreshing humorous approach to an advanced weaving technique.  She started with a brief explanation of what twill is, how twill structure is used and what straight, point, extended point and various other types look like.  She introduced the idea of weft moving up into spaces on the warp, eventually creating boundweave.

From there, we learned about advancing twills where the threading (or treadling) steps up and forward, developing long threading sequences to make a full repeat.  Magic!  This concept is applied to point twills.  After working through several exercises, we launched into Network Drafted Twills.  The idea of drawing a line, then converting it into a threading and/or treadling pattern is mind warping.

Robyn led us into Integrated twills (Echo Weaves and Corkscrew) using two colors.  WOW!!  This is where the concept of thread moving into “space” on the warp came into play.

Robyn took the time to explain and encourage participants (new and experienced).  She made the class accessible to all.

As a new weaver, I was astounded on how far “down the rabbit hole” I could go just on a 4-shaft loom.  The combination of threading, treadling, tie-up and color is endless.  This is just one small corner of the weaving universe.

Thank you for helping make the class affordable for new and experienced weavers!!  Joining with the Klamath Falls guild added to the experience by meeting new weavers from outside our area.  I totally enjoyed the adventure.  Thank you ANWG!!

A variety of photos from the 2-½ days

Robyn’s examples


Robin giving advice


Kathy, Klamath Falls and Delanne, COSW discussing technique


An example of the sampler from the class



Retreat weavers


Eugene Weaver’s Guild – Susan Lily Workshop

The workshop was primarily about pattern-making and fitting garments made from handwoven fabric. Several participants had woven yardage to be used in the workshop, and others chose to use purchased mill woven fabric that shared characteristics of handwoven cloth. Susan began with an overview, and brought several garments for students to try on and examine. Many garments were suitable for a wide range of sizes and shapes, and all were inspirational. Each student chose a style, and began by taking measurements and drafting a pattern, either from Susan’s book, or from a commercial pattern source. Susan rotated through the room, helping each student with her garment plan, and students were able to help each other, too. We initially cut the pattern from gridded interfacing, and used that to make fitting adjustments. In the photo on the right, Susan is explaining the fine points of fitting, and pinning Cathy’s pattern.

Once the patterns were cut and fitted, they were unpinned and used to cut the cloth into pieces for the garment. Susan and one of the participants provided sergers, so all the edges were serged in turn. We had a mini-lesson in how to use a serger, since many of us hadn’t used one before.

After serging, garments were pinned, adjusted, sewn, adjusted, adjusted, tweaked, and adjusted! Due to time constraints, not everyone finished, but everyone did finish fitting their pattern and cutting out their garment pieces; most had only minor finishing tasks left (hems, buttons, etc.). There were several lovely garments completed, and there are several more in the works! Susan was a gracious and patient teacher, and the participants all had fun learning more about sewing garments from handwoven cloth.

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COSW – Temari Balls & Bow Weaving Workshops

On Tuesday, June 17, 12 members of the Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers Guild met at my home for a Temari Balls workshop with Marilyn Romatka from Bellevue.  We used yarns and fiber to form the inner ball, wrapped that with a finer wool yarn, then sewing thread to completely cover the sphere.  Then 5/2 cotton and a variety of novelty yarns were used to stitch designs on the balls. This link gives you a wild look at what can be created as Temari balls, a Japanese folk art.

On Wed. June 18, the regular guild meeting date, we gathered at Tollgate in Sisters for our monthly business meeting, potluck picnic, and a Bow Weaving workshop with Marilyn.  This links you to Marilyn bow loom weaving page.

26 members participated in this event, each paying their own materials fee.  We picked our warp and weft colors of 5/2 cotton and coordinating or contrasting beads that were strung on each of the 2 selvedge edge warps and started weaving away.  Midway through her demonstration the power went out in our building in Sisters, so we adjourned outside to the lovely courtyard and continued weaving!

Everyone enjoyed themselves at these two events and we want to thank WeGO for making this money available for us to be able to offer these workshops to our members.


Clatsop Weavers & Spinners Silk Spinning Workshop

We were thrilled to receive announcement that we had been awarded one of the $200 WeGO workshop grants.

We immediately began to plan what we might do with this award. Since many of our members are dedicated spinners – and since many of the learning activities available are for weavers- we decided to search for a spinning instructor to come to the coast for a workshop. After careful investigation we decided to ask Christine Thomas-Flitcroft from the Aurora Colony FiberArts Guild if she was willing and she agreed.

We contracted with Christine to come for two days, November 9-10, 2013, for a silk spinning workshop. The cost for the two days was $820. She stayed with a guild member and we covered her food costs.  For the workshop we reserved a local bank’s community room.

It was a wonderfully successful workshop. We had ten participants. We learned how silk is produced, the different forms of silk available for spinning, and had ample time to practice with each type. Christine supplied us with more than a dozen different types/combinations of silk/other materials. For example, in addition to spinning the three major varieties of pure silk, we spun silk/cashmere, merino/silk/bamboo, silk/yak, silk/camel, etc.

During the second day we continued to spin and added dying of silk hankies for us to take home and spin. Christine supplied the hankies and the dyes.

It was a very satisfying workshop and each of the participants would heartily recommend Christine to other guilds.

Marty Lemke Workshop Participant Treasurer

Heather Winslow Workshops

WeGO would like to thank Heather Winslow, for graciously accepting our invitation to “tour and teach” in Oregon.   We had a great turnout at all the workshops and fun was had by all.    Next year, WeGO will be sponsoring another “tour and teach” in Oregon.  Information will be posted on our website as things come together for 2016.



DESCRIPTION: What on earth is Lyocell?  Why would anyone combine cotton or merino wool with stainless steel into a yarn?  Aren’t pineapples and soya protein for eating and bamboo for building?  What does a silk and ramie combination feel like? What is modal, ingeo, or seacell?  Learn the answers to these questions and more during this fun filled introduction to new millennium fibres.  Just imagine what a unique project you can weave when you get home.

This weekend in Portland, the first of the series of workshops by Heather Winslow, sponsored by WeGO.   There were lots of learning to be had and the class filled up quickly.   it is nice to see such a busy bunch of weavers.




DESCRIPTION:   Elevate your handwoven garments into the arena of wearable art.  Theo Moorman’s inlay technique allows you to create an isolated, tapestry-like image of any shape or size anywhere on the surface of handwoven fabric.  Think of the design freedom this provides!  You will learn how to adapt the technique for use on clothing through fibre selection, appropriate garment styles, placement of design elements, weaving with a cartoon, and incorporating threading variations to suit special needs.

We just finished our excellent workshop with Heather Winslow – a great time was had by all! This was a WeGO sponsored traveling workshop called “Theo Moorman technique applied to clothing”, and hosted by the Rogue Valley Weaver’s Guild April 22-24.






DESCRIPTION:  Like anything magical, 3/1, 1/3 twill block structure appears more complex and mysterious than it is.  It alternates warp and weft dominant sections in the threading.  What if you treadle tromp-as-writ, or add color changes in warp or weft, or rearrange the tie-up, or reverse your treadling, or add texture…..?  You will see samples and finished products of fascinating variations in both structure and fibers.  Come and be inspired by the magic!

The second workshop with Heather Winslow, was held in Odell, Oregon.  We all met at Judy’s Place Weaving Studio and spent three wonderful days, doing a round-robin workshop learning all the magic we could make with twills.   We all had fun and enjoyed our time that Heather spent with us.






Gorge Handweavers – Color by JoAnn Bachelder

There were approximately 25 guild members and guest in attendance.  JoAnn talked about the color wheel systems and yarn color combinations that work when weaving.  Her points were illustrated with a number of samples. All agreed it was an excellent talk and the guild would like to thank the Grace Carter Weaving Studio for underwriting the lecture.  Following the talk, a wine reception for JoAnn was held at Mary Marker’s house.  It was enjoyed by all.   A special thanks to Mary for hosting the social and to those who provided snacks and beverages plus those who volunteered to help Mary for all the little odds and ends that go into having an enjoyable time for all.

JoAnn’s Lecture on Friday was followed by the guild’s first sponsored workshop, held on March 12th to March 14th. The title of the workshop was, Towels: A Gamp that Transcends Tradition. We had the maximum number of attendees, 18. It was very successful. A great mix of traditional and colorful warp gamps made for an interesting three days.  All agreed that JoAnn is an excellent weaving teacher who explained the subject matter clearly with many samples.  She also showed us some of her “tricks of the trade” that make weaving go smoothly. Thanks to the committee who worked on the planning and execution of all the details necessary to make this a good three days of learning and sharing.  Pictures from the class make for a beautiful visual of the class.