The May long weekend is a busy one. I spend the months before hand organizing a 3 day medieval educational conference - boy that sounds awfully posh. Really, we dress up in clothes of various degrees of accuracy, spend the days teaching and learning mainly hands on skills in all sorts of various areas. We've done brewing, calligraphy, illumination, sewing, print making, paper making, spinning, dyeing, heraldry, embroidery, glass bead making and everything in between. This weekend, I wanted to do an Indigo vat. The last time I did it, most people decided that they just wanted to watch and I found it a rather dull class as there was no interaction from the participants. Indigo is a dye which deserves a hands on approach. So, I did Shibori techniques in an indigo vat. Shibori is very hands on as it's essential medieval period, Japanese tie-dyeing. The class participants were fabulous, the weather was perfect and the dye vat exceeded my expectations. I am only sorry that I didn't get photos of all the items which came out of the vat. We had cotton, silk and even tencel yarn which all dyed up beautifully.
The spinning I did do on the weekend was a fun bit of one on one instruction, on spinning flax. Once flax is spun, it is renamed linen. It's a very different beast from wool, which is my comfort zone. I've spun flax before but I like to get as many different points of view on spinning techniques, especially one so specific as flax. Wendy showed me a different way to dress a distaff - she loaned me one of hers to try out - which was in some ways, a lot easier than the way that I'd learned before. There were a few smoothing hints and spinning hints which I can see coming in handy. The best part of course, was sitting and spinning together. It was a lovely, relaxing break on a hectic, busy and somewhat stressful weekend.