Sunday, November 16, 2008

How will CPSIA Requirements affect textile artists?

I have been reading about the new regulations regarding product safety testing for manufacturers.
Here is some information from the Fashion Incubator blog that boggles and frightens me:
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/new-product-safety-regulations-that-affect-all-manufacturers/
http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/cpsia-requirements/

I know that the government considers me, a weaver and textile artist, a manufacturer.
How and where will I get the certificates of safety for my yarns, beads, fabrics and dyes? What about materials that have been in my stash for years or that I have purchased on eBay? What about fabrics that I have dyed and painted and discharged myself? Will I have to send each piece out to be tested individually? Aaaaaccckkkkk!!!!!

I can't understand the legal gobbledygook in the regulations, and it seems that the regulators themselves are unsure what it all means. From what I can see, unless they exempt the little people like me, I am out of business.

What is your take on all this?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dyeing Results

As you may remember, I organized a workshop, "Color Mixing for Dyers I", taught by Carol Soderlund in September. It was held at a fabulous location, Glacier Camp on the shore of Flathead Lake.

First, I must say, if you have the opportunity to take a class with Carol, jump at the chance. I have taken a lot of workshops in my time, and Carol was the most organized and most generous teacher I have ever had. There was so much information given to us, the workshop was really a master's level class. I have never really understood the "color wheel" and how analogous colors and complements and split complements worked. Carol's method of teaching the "Cubic Color Theory" made it all fall in to place for me. And the hands-on dyeing experiments were wonderful.

Secondly, if you have a class, or family reunion, or wedding to organize and you are looking for an amazing location, I can highly recommend Glacier Camp . The location is wonderful, the lodge building is new and immaculately clean, but most of all the staff is helpful, and as accomodating as can be.

I have just finished my sample book with over a 1,000 one-inch sample squares. Before the class, I really doubted I would have the patience to stick down that many little squares of fabric. Instead, I found myself contemplating each color individually and really enjoying how they all worked together. (photo courtesy of Carol Soderlund)



Here is a skein of rayon boucle' I dyed while at the workshop. (sorry about the poorly cropped picture, it shows up full size in my blog editor, but cut off when its published) This was dyed with a low water immersion technique using three dye solutions- a pure dye(in this case,yellow), and two complementary colors. I can't find my notes on what I did with this skein, so I can't tell you how I mixed the dyes. Basically, I mixed up a green and a russet color using the yellow dye and either blue or red dye. In addition to Carol's goal for us to work with low water immersion, and to use her formulas for mixing color, I also wanted to push myself to use earth tones. You know, those colors I am so traumatized by....
I crammed the yarn skein in a 16 oz. cottage cheese container, poured the russet and green dyes down opposite sides of the container, and then poured the pure yellow on top of the skein.

I am really pleased with the results! I was surprised by the black- I thought I would have a dark brown where the green and russet mixed. I love the surprises you get where the dyes interact together. Carol described this as "and then magic happens". And this was the perfect black for the other colors. I always fuss over the black MX dye mixes. You have to consider whether they have a blue or green or rust cast and how that will go with the colors you are dyeing. By mixing your own, it is always correct.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What have I been doing?

I have been neglecting you, Dear Reader! I am sorry! You are in my thoughts as I scurry around taking care of life. We are having magnificent, sunny weather, which beckons me outside.

I have been working in the garden, digging potatoes and carrots, picking apples, cleaning up the old plants, and generally putting everything in order for the winter.
I am still working on the manure pile that was delivered last spring. I have been spreading it on fruit trees and bushes, and tilling it into the empty beds. I won't really be done in the garden until the snow falls and the ground freezes. I am always of mixed emotions about the end of gardening season; glad that all the work is finished for awhile, but missing the connection with the earth and the fresh food.

Then there is this little project:

Happiness is a full woodshed! A wood stove is the only heat source for our house, and we need about 5 cords of wood for the year. We are actually gathering next year's supply, as the wood needs to dry for a year to burn well. Our wood shed is divided in two- one side is the pile we stacked last year, and are using now. The other side is being filled for next year. I try to split and stack a few big rounds every day. At the very least, I try to put as much in the "green" side as I am taking out of the dry side.

The last big fall project is filling the freezer with venison. Hunting season is open until the weekend after Thanksgiving. We are committed to growing and gathering as much of our food as possible, and with abundant deer on our land,it makes it possible for us to eat healthy, low fat, organic meat. We have also purchased a quarter of a buffalo grown on a nearby ranch. Supplemented with chickens grown at a nearby Hutterite colony, and brook trout caught in the irrigation ditch that runs through our property, our meat supply is complete.

Sometimes, I think how nice it would be to have a bigger, fancier new (fill in the blank....house, car, clothes, gadgets,etc.) Then, something like rising gas prices, melt down of the financial markets, or the mortgage crisis happens, and I am so grateful our house is paid for, we can grow almost all of our own food, and heat the house with wood from our property. Choosing to live a simple life was the right choice for us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Congratulations America!


I have never in my life felt such jubilation and hope from the results of an election! My thoughts and prayers are with Barack Obama and his family as he takes on the biggest job in the world.