Around 30 years ago I took a class in Navajo spinning, dyeing, and weaving from a Navajo weaver at Henderson Museum, CU Boulder. I loved the colors that I could get from dyeing wool with natural dyes, but since I was a single mother of 4 working my way through college, I didn't continue doing it (it was very time consuming). Instead, I turned to needlepoint to satisfy my love of creating with colored wool (it was portable, I could carry it with me wherever I went). I spent many years designing and stitching needlepoint pieces. Then after I retired, I was able to take a class in quilting, that I had always wanted to do, because my Granny made quilts for all the members if our family, and she had handed her patterns and sample squares to me when she could no longer use them. There has always been something about the textile arts that drew me.
The natural dyeing has always remained in the back of my mind and I still have 2 of the small tapestry looms, that we were taught to make in the class, hanging on the wall of my sunporch, as well as a few samples of yarn that I spun with a drop spindle and dyed with natural items like black walnut hulls, onion skins and various lichens that I gathered in the mountains behind Boulder. The vegetable matter that is on the yarn is dried Wormwood, from my garden, that I put with them to keep the moths away.
I recently posted about visiting the home of our friend, Klee, who raises, spins, dyes, and weaves her own sheep and goat wool. Her bathrooms were full of hanks of newly dyed yarn drying over the tubs.
Our talented friend, Deb H, had a link in a recent post to one of her friends, Michigan Quilter, who dyes wool and I really enjoyed seeing what she was doing.
Then this morning, in the Pueblo Chieftain, I found an article about a traditional weaver from Chimayo, New Mexico, and the photo is so beautiful and the article interesting, so I decided I should share it with you all. Makes me wish I could drop everything, run down to Chimayo and study with this weaver. We are so fortunate to have the traditional Navajo, Hopi, and Hispanic weavers keeping these arts alive in New Mexico. And thanks to Klee and Kathy for continuing this tradition.
Thanks to these reminders, I find that my creative urges are beginning to stir again. I love the look of wool quilts. I may just have to try dying my own wool for a quilt and see what happens.