Kay Plus Fun Workshop

Last year, at the end of the Kay Faulkner Play+1 weaving workshop at the Ballarat Fibre Forum, I had a crazy idea. What if I flew our teacher down to Melbourne and held a workshop in our studio? The other students were keen and, after a bit of a delay thanks to the eye surgery, I started organising it late last year.

While the insurance to hold a workshop at the studio wasn’t really high, taking it out for one event wasn’t economical, so I went looking for suitable accommodation. The first place I thought of was Sewjourn, a cottage and studio for rent up in Lancefield. A quilting friend told me about it some years ago and it sounded very suited to our purposes. I made enquiries and booked us in.

Circumstances swung against us for a while, with three out of five of the original students not able to come. So I put the word out among weavers I encountered that we would welcome new participants, and the lovely Kaye (yes, another Kay) leapt at the opportunity to join us. Then Elizabeth and Di were able to make it after all, so we had a group of five.

We arrive at Sewjourn on a Monday. I forgot to take a photo of the cottage, which is lovely. This is the studio:

There was a huge full moon on the last couple of nights. Well, it looks tiny here, as I only had my phone to take photos with.

We had chosen woven shibori as our subject. Four of us began with warp shibori and had pre-warped our loom so we could start weaving when we go there, one warped up on arrival for weft shibori. Here’s my work, with the end of some warp shibori and the beginning of a section of taiten – a form of weft shibori where you substitute a pick with thread.

We’d weave a length of cloth, cut it off, pull up the threads and tie them tightly, then paint with dye. We also did some warp painting. Here’s some of both, hanging on the clothesline to dry:

On Thursday Kay made up a vat of indigo, so we dunked another bunch of samplers in that and watched the colour go from bright green to deep blue black. It’s so magical, you just want to find more things to dye.

We also tried ikat dyeing, where you tie off sections of yarn with tape to prevent the dye penetrating.

This can either be used as warp, with the undyed areas lining up across the cloth – but never goes perfectly so you get that nice fussy edge effect – or as weft, which is what Kaye tried at the end of the week:

On the last day we pinned our samplers up on the huge board that quilters use when staying there.

And laid out our painted warps and ikat yarn.

Kay assessed our efforts, cementing what we had learned.

And then we parted ways, sad that it was over but full of new weaverly knowledge and happy to have spend five days in delightful company and eating some very delicious home cooked meals.

Once at home I unpacked over some days. I had expected to be tired, but a bug I had before I went away resurfaced and left me exhausted and sinusy. Paul also had it, so we were a sorry pair for a while. But mid week I regained some energy and, after rereading my notes and putting tags on my finished samplers, I wove off the rest of the sampler warp.

I took out The Handweavers Pattern Directory and looked for drafts using the extended point twill threading on the loom for the resist thread, and for interesting textures to use for the ground cloth. When I ran out of ideas I decided to see how taiten looked with different width spacing between the resist threads. It’s off the loom now, waiting until I have enough other things to dye to make a session economical.

And the loom is packed away, because I then launched into a big craft room and office tidy up. But that’ll probably be the subject of another post.

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