Archive for May, 2008

More Dye Camp Progress

May 18, 2008

My first dye camp task was to develop three levels of intensity. I know that the different colors have different intensities inherently, but I decided to find three levels that work pretty well with all seven colors (fuchsia, turquoise, yellow, gold, cobalt, red and black) — I wasn’t sure I could keep seven different sets of measurements straight! It took a few tries, but I think I lucked into a pretty good set. I’m using the dye concentrate recipe from Ann Johnston’s Color By Accident. Hint — one drop per fat quarter is too little — everything but the gold washed out to an extremely pale blue-grey!

For example, here are the cobalts:

And here are all the colors:

Navy Socks Finished

May 14, 2008

I finished another pair of socks tonight while watching TV. These are navy, which wasn’t totally fun to knit, but will be incredibly useful to own. I used a J.Knits sock yarn and Cat Bordhi’s Riverbed Architecture for the sock structure. I intended to use the Rushing Rivulets stitch pattern in the New Directions book, but seem to have misread the chart and come up with something kinda meshy instead. I like it for this yarn — it’s too dark to show subtle patterning, but the mesh gives it some nice texture.

Of course, sock wearing season is over here until, say, October.  I suppose I should find some other way to handle the fidgets while I watch TV.

Or, since rerun season is about to start, perhaps I should stop watching so much TV.  We’ll see!

Dye Camp Preparations

May 11, 2008

I started to make plans this summer to go to the ASG national conference like I did last year, but wasn’t bowled over by the class selections. What I really wanted to do was dye…so I checked out dye classes. There were a couple that looked really fun, but there were two issues. First, the cost! Wow! Second, it looks like most pack the days fairly full of physical activity, and I’m not sure I’m really up for that; I’d hate to get there and get sick after a few days. Third, the cost! Oh, I mentioned that, didn’t I? I was adding up airfare, hotel, food, registrations and thought “Gee, I could set up a REALLY nice dye studio in my garage for that kind of money.”

Well, duh.

Turns out I could put together a pretty good dye studio in my garage for way less than that kind of money. I ordered an outdoor sink that hooks to a faucet:

Cleaned off a tool cabinet I inherited when my mom moved:

And ordered a big box of supplies from Dharma:

I got almost 50 yards of fabric. Most is printers cloth, which is pretty much like quilters cotton, to use for serious color testing. I also got three kinds of knit, including a cotton/bamboo that is so soft I visit the sewing room just to pet it:

I spent some nasty cold weeks plotting my color test strategies and now that the weather is cooperating, I’ve started dyeing — no waiting for camp!

ASG Regional Meeting in St. Charles

May 10, 2008

The day after the Tacony tour and shopping, we got down to business. About 30 of us, from guilds from Denver to Minneapolis to Omaha, meet all day to discuss topics such as recruiting new members, better serving members through Neighborhood Groups, and dealing with difficult people (purely hypothetically for everyone, I’m sure!).

I think the most interesting discussion was probably the Neighborhood Groups talk — in Wichita, we have four groups that are pretty much defined by location, although a few people attend more than one. (ASG defines Neighborhood Groups as subgroups of a chapter — they are especially useful for the really big chapters where whole-membership meetings are so big that people don’t really have a chance to get to know each other.) Several people at the meeting encouraged starting groups that would better be described as Special Interest than Neighborhood groups. Our Regional Rep also pointed out that nothing says that a group has to be permanent — a group could meet for several months to explore something in particular, then disband, which could make it easier to recruit leaders! One of my favorite ideas from our brainstorming actually came from a typo on the flip chart — how about a Tour (instead couture) Group which would research textile arts from different regions of the world, then make items inspired by those traditions? I wonder if anyone here in town would be interested…

And, of course, the St. Louis Chapter and Susi, the Regional Rep did a marvelous job — great food, lots of chocolate, and goodies!

Tacony Puts on Quite a Show!

May 2, 2008

As part of the entertainment portion of the ASG regionals in St. Charles, the St. Louis ASG chapter arranged for a tour of the Tacony headquarters. Tacony, as we learned, distributes Baby Lock sewing machines and sergers, and manufactures Simplicity vacuums and Regency ceiling fans, as well as distributing several other things. Oh, and owning Nancy’s Notions.  I was astonished at the resources the Tacony people put into the tour — the CEO, Ken Tacony, greeted us, then, when the group was split into 4 tour groups, the CEO and the president each conducted a group. After the tour, half a dozen Baby Lock folks showed us what they were up to, and then the CEO drew names for a truly amazing door prize drawing. In all, I figure that they had a dozen people spend three hours on a Friday afternoon with us, and that doesn’t include the time spent getting ready for us.

And did they every get ready! They pulled out all their samples and hung them on the cubicle walls all through the facility! Everywhere we walked, there were gorgeous examples of sewing, quilting, and embroidery. We heard that even the employees were kinda excited about the decor.

And then, as we were leaving, they handed each of us a major bag of goodies:

Several of us were saying on the bus afterward that the tour was great and the goodies were awesome, but what was the most surprising thing about the tour was learning about the vacuum cleaner division. Simplicity is apparently a high end line, and the CEO told us that they got a bunch of their machines on Consumer Report’s best buy lists. And the bonus? They’re manufactured in the US! I spoke to at least one person who was going to find a local source and check them out.

I hope the total good will and eventual sales turn out to make this effort worth their while — we sure appreciated all the work they did for us!