Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 11, 2019

AGWSD Summer School – York Part 3

Tapestry to Dye For with Dot Seddon

Day 5
Everyone in the class was now weaving….

…everyone except me. I don’t do much dyeing at home so I chose to take advantage of the dye studio setup as long as I could!  I dyed several skeins of black, a dark green, and several shades of brown.

 

We had several more sessions with Dot explaining different elements of design.

My final experiment in dyeing was to compare a loosely wound skein vs a very tightly twisted one. The results were interesting.

Late afternoon the Trade Fair opened.

 

The day ended with an informal fashion show were attendees have a chance to show what they’ve been creating over the last 2 years.

Afterwards I gave a storytelling performance.

Day 6
More weaving….

And I finished winding the rest of my ‘newly dyed this week’ skeins into balls.

The afternoon is open to the public for a walk-about to see what all the classes have been doing so time to clean up my station. Not much weaving on the loom (I DID get it warped!) but lots of wonderful colors that I’ll be using for a future tapestry.

Late afternoon it was time to pack everything up and empty the room.

A gala dinner, for which I wore some of my work, and ceilidh with music by Fiddlerswreck Ceilidh Band (and oh did we dance!) brought the week to a glorious finale.

What can I say….this has been a week of:
Renewing past and creating new friendships
Learning and becoming more confident in new skills
Being surrounded by a vast array of creativity & inspiration

It has been BRILLIANT!!

 

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Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 9, 2019

AGWSD Summer School – York Part 2

Tapestry to Dye For with Dot Seddon

Day 3
Wed is a 1/2 day in the courses and field trips to York in the afternoon.

We continued with dyeing in the morning = tertiary / complementary colors

Afternoon was a field trip to York with….

–a tour at the Jorvik Viking Centre which included additional information on the textiles and weaving artefacts in their collection – especially a sock made using a technique called Nålebinding, which predates knitting and crochet. I also saw some clay weights for a warp weighted loom like the ones Ben Rosenfield made for me. [see July 2019 blog The Gift of Friendship ]

–and a stroll through the city to see the York Minster, amazing side streets – including ones that were part of the Harry Potter films, and the summer stock of street performers!

Back to the college for an evening talk and walk at the Askham Bryan Wildlife Park.

Finally activity was the silent auction which raises money for the bursary/scholarship fund. A bidding-war ensued over a bag/purse that would go perfectly with the 1920’s golf shoes I found at Alfies Antique Market in London and I won!

Day 4

I played with some other combinations of colors as others continued to dye yarns or started weaving as Dot held short instruction sessions throughout the day.

By the end of the day colorful ‘laundry’ from other classes was beginning to appear!

The evening program was a talk by James Rebank, author of ‘The Shepherd’s Life‘.

Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 7, 2019

AGWSD Summer School – York Part 1

The 2019 summer school for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is being held at Askham Bryan College just outside York. I’ve been coming to the grand biennial event filled with courses in the fiber arts since 1999 and this year 2 others from the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild have joined me on this adventure!

Arrival
200 enthusiastic fiber folks arrived Sunday, collected our housing keys and got ourselves sorted in accommodation. The queue for evening meal was LONG….
I don’t think the staff was expecting all 200 of us to descend upon them en mass as soon as the doors opened! As the days have progressed the kitchen as adapted and we are now moving quite smoothly!

We gathered in the conference hall afterwards for the welcome and introduction to the tutors. This year there are 15 courses – spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, knotting.

Then dismissed to our classrooms for a brief introduction and outline for our week ahead. My course this year is ‘Tapestry to Dye For’ with Dot Seddon.

Day 1
Dyeing yarns to use in our tapestries.

We are working with 1% acid dyes in the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) as well as magenta and turquoise. Dot challenged us to go with a color we don’t normally use. Since I go to the warmer colors (reds, oranges, etc) I decided to work with turquoise. My brain was not yet in gear so adding 200 ml of the leveling agent instead of 20ml at the start was an OOPS!!! Return to Go! Got myself resorted and I was off.

As it turned out the turquoise and magenta were not cooperating as nicely as the primaries! I started with the darkest batch which simmered for well over an hour and STILL had plenty of dye left! Once the my yarn had reached a nice dark color I took it out, put in another skein and got a second dark skein from the exhaust! Notes made as to amount of dye and the type of yarn used. Others in the group had the opposite problem as their yarn did not take up the dye. Notes were made by all on this! Luckily the lighter shades went MUCH quicker for me. 5 skeins by the end of the day.

Penelope Hemmingway, a textile historian, was our evening speaker: Dark Materials – 18thC & 19th C Textile-related Yorkshire Tales of Murder & Mayhem, Prisons, Workshouses, and Charity Schools. Lots of interesting (and surprising) information and stories!!

Day 2
Using the dyes we created a chart for the possible secondary colors.

Choosing one we then moved on to dyeing our next batch of skeins. Today’s ‘classroom adventure’ was repeatedly blowing the fuse to our room as we have 12 hot plates going! 

I chose to work with orange made from 2:8 red/yellow. My dye baths went to clear MUCH quicker than working with the turquoise and I am very pleased with my results!

The evening program was Textiles from Around the World presented by Cia Bosanquet complete with MARVELOUS samples which we could all see up close and touch!

Posted by: bschutzgruber | July 22, 2019

The Gift of Friendship

Last summer I made a warp weighted loom in a workshop at the Michigan Fiber Festival. [see August 2018 post Big Looms….little looms…and a bit of color ] We used bags of pea gravel to hang from the warp but I wanted to have something that would be closer to what was used in ancient times: stone, clay or lead weights. Looking at pictures of ancient drawings I liked the look of the clay ‘doughnuts’. I contacted my storytelling friend and colleague Ben Rosenfield, who is also a potter. Ben was intrigued at the challenge!!

We agreed that he would make 24 clay weights weighing 1 lb each 

in exchange for the scarf he had commissioned me to weave as a Christmas gift for his wife Laurie.

It took some planning for Ben to calculate what the starting weight should be for the finished weight to be 1 lb and to make sure they wouldn’t crack during firing.

Shipping them from Illinois to Michigan would be too expensive so we agreed I would collect them in April on my way back to Michigan from the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. I was excited to see the results. We were both very pleased with how they came out! 

Sadly this visit was the last time I would see Ben.
He died unexpectedly that night after I left.

 

I have demonstrated weaving in the ‘Textile Tent’ at the Saline Celtic Festival in July for the past few years. [see blog posts Waulking and Art Fair and more…. oh my! and Summer Demos and Fairs ]

My little Yaris was packed to the gills with 3 looms, 2 stools, 2 dress forms, 1 table, 1 floor mat, plus yarns & the clay weights!

 


The festival is always a grand day
with pipe bands, dancers, musicians, and games.

The traditional opening procession carrying the Mayor of Saline on a caber.

Mens Heavy Events

And not only the men but the women too.

In the Textile Tent we had demonstrations of waulking, tatting, inkle weaving, knitting, spinning,

 

 

and in my corner – weaving using looms through the ages.

Ben’s clay weights worked perfectly!

Kids and adults alike tried their hand at weaving.

This little guy took to it immediately!

At the end of the day I raised a glass to the marvelous artists
past and present
I have had the privilege to know.


The gift of their friendship lives on!


Ben Rosenfield
1952-2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: bschutzgruber | May 7, 2019

Oh The Places They’ll Go!

Sometimes the garments we create go out into the world
and have their own adventures! Here are two stories.

At the National Storytelling Network Summit in Kansas City, MO last summer Sadika Kebbi, a wonderful storyteller from Lebanon, generously donated a beautifully embroidered dress for the fundraising auction. Five of us stepped up and pooled our funds to bring in a very respectable price. We are now ‘time-share’ owners of the Traveling Storytelling Dress.


I am the lucky curator of our Traveling Storytelling Dress. Here’s how it works:

1) The storyteller will let me know what month she wishes to use it.

2) I mail the dress with instructions on how to temporarily shorten if it is too long and how it should be cleaned prior to mailing it back to me.

3) The teller then writes a short story about the dress’s adventures while it was in her care/possession and email/send it to the group.

Because the five of us are different heights a way to temporarily shorten the dress was necessary. The dress fabric is light-weight cotton batiste with a heavily embroidered hem so devising a means to do this without damaging the fabric by leave stitch marks and be easy for someone who has limited sewing knowledge to do was a puzzle that needed to solved.

Being a member of the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild has its perks! I brought the dress to a meeting and after a long discussion with several members who make garments both modern and historical, we came up with a plan: by threading ribbon through the channels created by the 14 French seams the dress can shortened from the inside creating a slight ruching just above the embroidered panel.

This past March Minnesota storyteller and time-share owner Katie Knutson had the chance to wear it in performance at the Tales on the Island: The International Storytelling Festival in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. Katie is the first American to perform in this festival and was honored to represent our country abroad AND be able to wear this beautiful international gift as part of the multicultural celebration of traditions through the art of storytelling.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second story involves a felt jacket I made in 2012. The third jacket in a series inspired by fairy tales, Straw Into Gold is inspired by the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

The body of the jacket shows the straw strewn across the floor waiting to be spun.

The trim is the gold spun from the straw.

The crop length reflects Rumpelstiltskin’s small stature.

The fabric is wet felted Merino wool prefelt and roving, plus silk fibers. The trim is a wool/silk blend commercial fabric and the lining is silk habotai.

Straw Into Gold was for sale at Fiber Feast and thus went out into the world.

 

 

 

In March of this year (2019) my daughter called saying, “Mom, I saw one of your jackets at a thrift store! Do you want me to buy it back for you?” I said, “No. It can stay there. Someone who really wants it will see it and it can go to a new owner.”

In April to my surprise and amazement Straw Into Gold walked into AAFG’s Fiber Feast! I was headed to the dressing room to change for modeling as the fashion show was about to begin so I simply said, “I made that,” as I walked past the woman wearing it. She grabbed my arm and said, “I know!! I was hoping you would be here this year. I saw it here when it was sale years ago and loved it but I was a broke student and could not afford it. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it in the shop. I was so excited that the gals at the checkout gave me odd look. I’ve dreamed of having this jacket for years and now I have it!!”

She looks beautiful and I am so happy for her.

And they all lived happily ever after!

 

 

Posted by: bschutzgruber | March 28, 2019

Best laid plans……

No matter how much pre-planning I do
sometimes projects just have life of their own!

Back in February I put a warp onto the loom to weave yardage to make a garment for the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild‘s annual Fiber Feast: Fashion Show, Luncheon, and Sale.

My loom’s weaving width is only 24in/61cm so I would need to weave ‘double-width’ cloth. This involves weaving two layers of cloth at the same time that are connected/jointed along one side. I wanted the colors in the warp to shift across the fabric rather than stripes so advance planning was a must as I would need to know the proper color order for the top and bottom layers.

The woodland ferns which grow throughout the 10 acres at RiverBend, my property on the Tittabawassee River, were the inspiration for the warp colors. [see RiverBend posts Nov 2013Dec 2013 Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4]

Using an excel spreadsheet I mapped out my colors for the warp

and wound the top and bottom layers at the same time. The warp is rayon boucle shifting through 4 colors for the top/right side when opened up, a solid darker green for the bottom/left side when opened up and I used a solid color tencel for the weft.

Side view when weaving:

Things were moving along at a slow but steady pace UNTIL I started having tension issues with the bottom layer of my warp causing a lot of adjustments to be made.

Then with only 24″ left to weave on my 4 yard warp, I was knocked off my feet by ‘the bronchitis from hell’ which took 3 weeks to get past. Now it’s March and the jury date for the runway garments was fast approaching!

I finished my last 24″, cut the yardage off the loom and opened the fabric to find weaving errors/floats on the bottom side. This is not uncommon as I cannot easily see the bottom layer when weaving.

These floats can be fixed fairly easily using a needle and warp yarn to weave by hand the correct the pattern.
The biggest problem was a gap created by the issues with my warp tension.

Luckily I was able to gently manipulate the warp and weft yarns to close the gap fairly well. All of this took multiple days to correct before I was able to wash and dry the fabric. By adjusting the placement of the pattern pieces for my garment I was able to work around the much smaller ‘gap’ problem area and it was ready by the jury session = whew!!

Woodland Ferns Tunic
will strut the catwalk at Fiber Feast!

Posted by: bschutzgruber | January 31, 2019

Yup…. another UFO sighting!

UFOUn-Finished Object.

Yup… we all have them.
Sitting on the desk…
Hanging in the closet or on the door…
Buried under a pile of other projects….
All those things that got moved to the back of the line!

For the past few years UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) have been the January program topic for the AGWSD OnLine Guild plus they were part of the discussions for the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild‘s January 2019 meeting. With this ‘double whammy’ of online and in person reminders plus a new opportunity to continue a project I pulled out ‘stuff I’ve been meaning to get to’ and started whittling down the pile!

Project 1 – Unravel a knitted coat/duster
About 20 years ago I bought a lovely knit coat/duster made from hand spun and hand dyed merino wool yarn. It’s been over 10 years since I wore it last and the style is not something I’m likely to wear at this point. It’s been needling me every time I look in that drawer = Don’t leave me here…..DO SOMETHING WITH ME!!!  This month I pulled it out, separated the seams and began unraveling it!

The crimp in the yarn as I unraveled it was really cool so I’ve kept the smaller lengths to use as embellishment for future felting projects. I wound the bulk of the yarn into a skein, got it wet and weighted it to relax the fiber. I now have over 700 yards that I can use for a future weaving project.

Project 2 – Greek Myth Procne and Philomela
A couple of years ago I had been asked to be part of a mythology slam event. The stories had to come from mythology and fit a ‘Halloween’ (gruesome/horror/monster/etc) theme. The event was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts so I never finished developing the story for performance. Because Philomela weaves a tapestry to tell the story of her imprisonment thus bringing about her rescue, this story though gruesome, has continued to simmer on a back burner until this month. The time had come to get it off the UFO list and get it ready for performance as I will be telling it as part of a Fringe show at the Northlands Storytelling Network Confabulation! 2019 in April. 

Project 3 – Re-felt a jacket
Back in 2000 I made felt yardage using Bluefaced Leicester wool to sew into jacket.

I’ve liked the over all look but as I was new to felting when I made it, the fabric was not as well felted as it should have been. Because it is loose-fitting I’ve been meaning felt it further and interested to see how the stitched jacket will shrink. I removed the lining, cuffs and collar, soaked it then started rolling. 

Boy did it shrink down!!I I now have an unlined fitted bolero jacket that looks great with jeans and a turtle neck and certainly came in handy to wear this week as temperatures here in Michigan plummeted to -34F due to the polar vortex.

Project 4 – Deconstruct a pair of wrap trousers
Another item in the closet that’s been nagging at me is a pair of silk wrap trousers.

 

The fabric is a lovely Thai silk in a gorgeous ombré however the pant length is too short for me unless I am barefoot. The good news is that there is a lot of fabric with only 1 seam to remove. I now have enough to make a tunic! 

 

 

Project 5 – Felt Vessel
Back in December I gave a wet felting demonstration for the AAFG’s annual Holiday Sale. I used a 16″ diameter resist and 3 layers of wool. This worked well as the repeated steps allowed for regular explanations as people came and went but there was not enough time to actually finish the project. The nice thing about felting is that you can pause in the middle of the process, let the piece dry and at a later date rewet and continue. I got the final diameter down to 10″ and then played with shaping. Using 3 layers (vs 2 layers in previous demos)certainly makes this vessel stiffer and less likely to collapse.

There are still more UFOs circling but at least I can check these five off the list!

 

Posted by: bschutzgruber | December 30, 2018

2018 – Looking Back

As another year draws to an end it’s time for a look back.
2018 was a year of further exploration of the fiber arts
as I meet artists while traveling, shared ideas and learned new techniques.

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May 2019 be filled with joy, inspiration and creativity!!

Posted by: bschutzgruber | November 18, 2018

November 18 (1918-2018)

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In honor of my mother, Dorothy Anne Marie Hanlon Schutz,
on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Born in the wake of WWI
And the great Influenza Pandemic
The oldest of seven – her identity and job was to be ‘the oldest’
To keep track of her brothers and sisters
To be the first and forge the trail

A Bachelor’s Degree in 1939 at age 20
A driver of convoys cross country in WWII
The first woman to head her government department
10 years in the work force

Charmed by a precocious ‘youngest child’ and married
She gave birth to 5 children in 7 years
She experienced the loss of miscarriage

She buried a son who was only 20
And stood next to her first born, a daughter

When she buried a son who was only 2

She organized people and stockrooms
She chaired committees
She drove us to all our activities
She raised us alone every summer for 6 years
So Dad could get a Masters Degree

She was never a ‘Martha Stewart’ type
She was not a ‘warm & fuzzy’ mom
She was all business and analytical
She was no nonsense

She rarely yelled – she didn’t have to
A quiet, calm, icy voice was far more potent
Each word articulated with deadly precision
Oh, we knew we when we were in trouble

She never talked behind anyone’s back
You always knew where you stood…for better or worse

The things that made me crazy growing up I now see in myself
I look in the mirror and see her eyes looking back
I hear her words coming out of my mouth
I can organize people and stockrooms

She gave what she was able to give
She made choices and moved forward
Never looking back asking ‘what if….?’

Happy 100th Birthday, Mom!

Dorothy Anne Marie Hanlon Schutz
November 18, 1918 – October 17, 2005

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Posted by: bschutzgruber | October 31, 2018

Jean Gauger Workshop

One of great perks of being a member of the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild is that the guild organizes workshops several times a year. The workshop offered this fall was with Jean Gauger, who creates unique art-to-wear nuno felt pieces.

We would be learning to make a nuno collage cowl neck poncho.

With eleven people signed up and each of us needing table space of 8ft x 5ft/4.5m x 1.5m, AAFG member Helen Welford generously offered to host the workshop in the upper level ballroom of her barn.

 

Day 1

Michigan weather in October can be a ‘rollercoaster’ experience. The morning found us wearing layers, coats, hats, and gloves as the barn is unheated.

Jean talked about her method and helped us decide which of 3 patterns each of us would like to make.

In the afternoon we made samples to check shrinkage rates and test color combinations. I had variegated wool roving that I thought might work well with my hand-dyed silk, plus black wool roving so a test was definitely in order.


I  liked the multi colored wool (R side) better than the black (L side). 

Using the body dimensions of one pattern with the cowl from another my pattern nearly covered the full table.

 

Day 2 

We laid out the silk fabric for the front and back of the ‘inside’ of the poncho

and the layer of wool fibers.

I really liked how the colors were blending!

As the day went on the weather warmed up. We were all in shirtsleeves by the end of the day! So different from Day 1.


Day 3

Over 3 days the temperatures had gone from cold, to warm and humid, to just right.

Now we add silk fabric for the front and back of the outer layer.

I was very pleased with how the colors were blending on this side too and did not add any embellishments.

Late afternoon into evening was spent rolling and shrinking the poncho 40% to the desired size. By 9pm I was ready to try on my rather damp poncho.

Several of us brought them to the October guild meeting for ‘Show & Tell’.

I love the variety. Each one is unique and true to the personality of the one who made it!


This poncho is so versatile!! It is reversible from inside to out, front to back, side to side – each presenting a new perspective.

 

I have enjoyed wearing mine, especially when I performed the end of October at the Scary Story Festival in the haunted Howell Opera House. Built in 1881 the theater was closed in 1924 by the local fire marshal and has remained untouched for over 90 years. The space is unheated so on this cold rainy night my poncho was the perfect garment to wear as I told the frightening tale of a wandering musician who wears a pied cloak of rags.

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