art · Creativity · dye · Felting · Fun · Yarn

Fiber Workshops Galore

Oh, where to begin?

The past two weeks have been chock full of local fiber crafting goodness.

Last Wednesday I hopped on the bus from downtown to the Patagonia store on North Point in SF, where Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed gave a free short talk on local sustainable carbon farming followed by a natural dye workshop. It was a packed workshop, which was wonderful to see. Rebecca did a marvelous job juggling everyone’s questions and gave very clear and concise demos.

When I first arrived I managed to sneak in a couple of shots before it got too crowded. Unfortunately, I found it tricky to get any action shots during the workshop, but the folks at Fibershed took a few shots of the group, which I’ve included.

A natural dye plant sample board that shows the different shades you can get with different types of wool and fiber
Rebecca set up an amazing collection of dye pots at the center of the store made from local  dye plants and materials
Dye pots included Oak Galls, Coreopsis, Coyote Brush, and Toyon (I’m probably forgetting one)
Patagonia provided some organic cotton samples to play with. In addition to shibori or straight dyeing the squares and bits of local wool yarn, Rebecca also showed us how to imprint flowers onto fabric using alkali water and a rubber hammer.
Rebecca Burgess: Photo by Fibershed
Shibori Demo: Photo by Fibershed
Natural Dye Workshop and Raffle (I won a free pair of pants!): Photo by Fibershed

A few days after the workshop, Danny and I volunteered to help Rebecca plant some indigo up in beautiful Point Reyes for a few hours. Danny was awesome and took some photos while we out there. We even had a chance to make a pit stop at a lovely spot called Millerton Point before heading into Point Reyes Station to have lunch. I collected some blackberry leaves and some eucalyptus leaves and acorns to use for some eco dyeing experimentation next week.


This past Saturday, I took a short 2-hour wet felting workshop at Hand-Made Studio in Bodega with Melanie Perkins. Melanie brought in several big batts of Scottish Blackface wool from a local Petaluma sheep farmer, John Frye, which she had carded and dyed herself using some acid dyes and/or koolaid.

I found the wet felting process very similar to the technique used in the nuno felting workshop, but the wool we used for this workshop was coarser. The process of felting wool on wool seemed to go much faster than felting wool onto fabric. All four of us finished early!




I’ve been doing some natural dyeing with oxalis, hibiscus flowers, and oak galls this week. I’ll post pictures next week of some of my results. 🙂


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