Illinois Prairie Weavers

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April's Program:

Fox Valley Study Group

This past year the group has been studying block weaves. With the help of computer programs,they designed a profile draft which is then translated to different block weave structures all based on the same profile. They also studied other approaches in applying the use of weaving computer software and/or block weaves. Everyone in the study group is sure to have their own take on designing a profile draft with the aid of a computer. As always, this is a group of very talented weavers so be sure to attend!

Wonderful World of Natural Dyes

by Roving Reporter, Kate W

Dye master Dagmar Klos was guest speaker at our March meeting, giving us plenty of ideas about planting our own dye gardens this spring. Dagmar explained that most plants will produce a yellow color when used for dyeing, other plants such as the indigo plant gives a blue color, and the roots of the madder plant produce reds. For a brilliant red dye, crushed cochineal bugs are used. Dagmar shared a bit of history trivia with us--in the 1700's, the British officers' coats were dyed with cochineal while non-commissioned officers' coats were dyed with madder to produce a lesser scarlet. Many of today's pharmacies started out as dye houses before synthetic dyes came on the market in 1856. Various greens can be achieved by over-dyeing the fiber in an indigo pot, dependent on the length of time in the pot. Fiber dyeing has a big learning curve so it is necessary to keep notes and learn the idiosyncrasies of the natural dye you are using. Through the years Dagmar has learned rainwater or water from a dehumidifier is best for cochineal dyeing, marigolds flower heads can be put in the freezer then used for dyeing with no loss of color. Same with black walnuts--freeze them and then they are easier to smash and remove the hulls for the dye pot than if they were fresh. Dagmar's advice to us is know your project's end and work backwards (in others words, decide how it will be used). You then can plan for which fiber and dye to use to give the best results. Oh, and always dye more than you will need!

March Photos

Click here to view the latest Show & Tell pictures!

Photo Archives

Click here to view individual guild member's photos as well as photos from previous programs and events.