Summer Residency

From time to time I’m asked to open my working studio for groups that want to visit. It never seems to work out, but I’m trying to remedy that this year. I’ve blocked out August 1-9 to do a residency in my own studio. That’s a great time of year to see many of the plants I grow and gather for natural dye.

I won’t be offering any studio workshops during this residency, but will be dyeing and ecoprinting, and will also demonstrate looping and nalbinding, spinning, and hopefully scouring fleece and carding wool.

If you would like to visit, please contact me via email for directions and details. And there are a few things you should know in advance:

  • Studio hours will be 10am to 12 noon and 2 to 4 pm. I’m happy to direct you to other places you might want to visit during the lunch break.
  • I don’t have toilet facilities in my studio (I don’t even have running water). Please plan accordingly 🙂.
  • Also, my studio isn’t air conditioned and can get quite warm in the afternoon, especially when I have dyepots going.
  • Please leave pets at home when you visit, and be prepared for the resident canine greeter.
  • I can’t guarantee a particular activity on a particular date. Much of what I do is influenced by weather. A day or two of rain doesn’t halt the work at that time of year, but definitely can change what I do and when.
  • Children are welcome — especially 4-H members. But please limit groups to a maximum of 8 people, and be prepared to supervise kids of all ages. This is a working dye studio with burners and hot liquids at multiple heights and lots of ways to get stuff on your clothes.
  • Bill and I will have some of our work for sale here during this residency. We accept credit cards through Square.

Finally, I ask that you please understand that I may have to cancel some or all of this residency. My mother is on hospice. I do my best to plan for the unexpected, but you just never know. When you contact me via email for directions and details, I will remind you to confirm before making the trip. Got to take care of family first.

Registration Open for Cross-Knit Looping eCourse

It’s official: Registration is open for the my newest eCourse, Cross-Knit Looping. The technique is sometimes called Coptic knitting, Tarim stitch or Viking knit (that’s right — the fine silver jewelry is the same structure). Cross-knit is part of a large family of looping techniques. It can look so much like stockinette stitch that early artifacts were often misidentified as knitting. But it’s pure looping: The entire length of the thread is pulled through on each stitch, and it can’t unravel like knitting.

Click to go to eCourse registration

Cross-Knit Looping runs January 15-February 28, 2013. Here’s a short video trailer I made for the eCourse.

There’s more info and you can register for the class here.

 Like other forms of looping, cross-knit can stand entirely on its own. But it marries so beautifully with knitting, crochet, weaving and felt that I’ve included some fusion projects in the course. And I think handspinners and dyers will absolutely love this technique.

Cross-knit looping sun tea jar cozy and water bottle caddy (with felt)
Knit neck warmer with cross-knit looping placket and buttons

I really need a model to photograph instead of trying to shoot myself in the mirror. Incidentally, these pictures show projects done with my naturally dyed yarns. There are yarns straight from my LYS used in the course, as well.

Donna’s project bag — knitting, crochet, and cross-knit looping

One of my Sievers students this fall (Roseann?) asked for a recipe (in lieu of a pattern) for the drawstring project bag pictured above. I’ll post that next time.

Add your voice to the conversation at facebook.com/donnakallnerfiberart

5 Reasons To Press Leaves

The piles that accumulated on horizontal surfaces during my teaching-travel season yielded some good stuff. Case in point: an index card with notes for a blog post I meant to write probably in August or September. Better late than never, right?

5 Reasons To Press Leaves Now (or then, or later, or someday)

  1. scan or photograph to print on inkjet fabric, make inkjet heat transfers or use in digital fabric design (i.e. Spoonflower). (FYI, at the bottom of the post is a video tutorial I did a while back that shows how I used Gimp to create a fabric design.)
  2. use as resists for disperse dye transfer prints (great for polyester sheer layers in fabric assemblages)
  3. print with or use as a resist for screening Inkodye on natural fiber fabrics.
  4. use as a resist for heliographic printing with Setacolor or Dye-na-Flow transparent fabric paints.
  5. use in natural dye ecoprint bundles

I also found a note that says, “Short vid tut on tech.” Can’t recall what technique I intended to document for posterity. Any requests?

Fall Fabric Video Tutorial from Donna Kallner on Vimeo.

Add your voice to the conversation at facebook.com/donnakallnerfiberart

When It’s Not A Race

Over the weekend, I found myself this close to the finish line on a big task. Then my bobbin thread ran out. After a moment of frustration, I thought how silly that was compared to the Olympic triathletes who had to change bicycle tires during their race. I love the Olympics. Puts things in perspective.

I’ve been sewing the proofing swatches of my Spoonflower fabric designs into sample collections, both for my own reference and to make it easier to illustrate concepts in my Digital Fabric workshops. I teach that again this week for Michigan League of Handweavers. And I have plenty of samples. So I didn’t refill the bobbin and kick for the finish line. Instead, I got wash off the clothesline, went for a walk with Bill and Scout, and watched the Olympics again.

Sometimes it feels like the clock is always ticking and the to-do list never gets shorter. It’s August and unpulled weeds have set seeds. I haven’t started the deck project. And my ambitious summer dyeing plans? Those withered on the vine.

But I did get a staghorn sumac dyebath brewed from Bill’s leftovers. We gathered last week for a batch of wine. Bill scraped the fuzzy berries for wine, and I got the staghorn stalks and leaves for dyeing. After a couple days of soaking in Mom’s aluminum jelly kettle, I put the kettle on the stove to barely simmer for an hour or so. Yesterday I strained the liquid, but I haven’t dyed with it yet. It looked like there’s color left, so I put the solids into bags in the freezer to deal with later. Maybe when I’m back from Michigan.

Probably not. I need to do the things its been too hot and busy to do before it gets too cold.

In the meantime, I’ll be watching the Olympics and celebrating the achievements of all the athletes who made it there, whether they get to stand on a podium or not. 

Add your voice to the conversation at facebook.com/donnakallnerfiberart

Willow Workshops Of The Hybrid Sort

In one of the workshops I taught at last week’s Willow Gathering in Decorah, Iowa, students dyed silk fabrics with willow leaves, twigs and bark.

Then they modeled and designed constructed vessels…

…that used those naturally dyed fabrics.

After a busy day of dyeing, we started the second day of the workshop by making simple vessels from the leaves of cupplants growing near the building.

Then my students jumped into modeling for constructed vessels. As usual, I got busy and didn’t manage to take pictures of them with their models and fiber phyllo vessels. 

Willow has a reputation as a plant that crosses easily, which sometimes makes it hard to identify the exact species. I guess that applies to me, too: Many ideas have crossed in my head and hybridized.

You could practically see ideas flitting around the room cross-pollinating each other. I certainly came home with notions to nurture until it’s time to thin them out.

Luckily for the Canadian contingent, it’s easier to carry living ideas across the border than fresh plant materials.

Add your voice to the conversation at facebook.com/donnakallnerfiberart