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May 2020 Newsletter
On May 11th, we reopened the factory for production. It is wonderful to be working again, making the products that you have been waiting for. We thank you for your continued patience and encouragement during this time.
Though we’re back—and so glad to be working again—things aren’t quite the same: there are morning health checks and yellow lines on the floor to mark social distancing guidelines. Eight porta-potties dot the parking lot. People eat lunch at their work stations, instead of gathering in the lunch room.
Everyone on site has to wear a mask.
What hasn’t changed: careful crafting of products and close attention to detail at each step of the process.
“Schacht really looked out for us during the closure, but it’s great to be back at work. I’m just happy to see product going out the door to our customers again!” —Troy, Loom Assembler
Our office workers continue to work from home. Any employee who is vulnerable due to health concerns or age continues to shelter in place. We feel good about the health measures we have in place to ensure the safety of our workers.
We hope that you are doing well and are finding comfort in weaving and spinning. Our Explore Tapestry Weave-along and Quarantine Spin-long have just ended, but you can still find the posts on our blog! If you’ve struggled to find focus or need a good reason to try something new, these posts may inspire you.
We have been heartened by our Schacht community, as well as the community of weavers and spinners who have reached out to each other and offered support. We are grateful to have spinning and weaving during this period of confinement. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Patrick and the Schacht Team
Weaving and Over-dyeing
This project started out as a sample warp for workshops. Many people wove it with a variety of yarns, then I finished the runner. While I loved working with these “ghost” collaborators, the finished textile was a bit disjointed. To give it a more cohesive feel, I decided to over-dye with indigo.
The weaving pictured here is very long (4.5 yards), so I shortened the warp length here for a smaller table. You may need to make further adjustments depending on the length you want for your finished piece.
650 yards of 3/2 perle cotton:
- 300 yards light blue
- 200 yards white
- 150 yards gold
Sett: 20 epi.
Warp: 13″ weaving width, 2.5 yards long.
Threading: straight draw, warped in 1″ stripes; I repeated stripes of white, light blue, gold, and light blue across the warp and finished with a white stripe.
Weave structure: Since this was a demonstration warp, the treadles were set up for plainweave, 2/2 twill, and 3/1 twill. Plainweave and twill patterns repeat randomly throughout the weaving.
Finished size: after washing, 2 yards long and 10.5″ wide.
- pre-reduced indigo crystals
- large binder clips
- measuring cups
- gloves with long cuffs
- Make your indigo dye pot, wearing gloves and using measuring cups reserved for dyeing. Let the dye pot sit for at least 2 hours. (Instructions from Dharma Trading Company can be found here)
- Prep your runner for shibori dyeing. I accordion-folded the runner from each end, leaving a section unfolded in the middle. Binder clips were the resists.
- Wet out the runner in water.
- Dip the runner in the indigo dye pot. Repeat until you are pleased with the depth of color. I kept the dyed color light enough to let the blue yarn stand out from the white and gold yarn.
- Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
My experiment worked! Indigo smoothes out variations in the weaving without completely hiding the warp and weft colors. White spots (formed by the binder clips) make a bold windowpane effect.
Dye plants in the Schacht Gardens
It’s planting season! Employee garden plots are one of the many perks at Schacht. Each spring, several of us dig in and get our hands dirty in summer gardens. We’re so happy that Schacht has reopened and we can start our gardens—safely, with masks on of course.
I have been planting dye plants in my employee garden since I’m still learning about the ones that grow wild in Colorado. Several years back, when I lived in Minnesota, I used to gather dye plants that grew on the side of the road. I would pick loads of tansy, goldenrod, and yarrow, cart them back to my house, and hang them to dry. Then my roommate revealed that she was allergic to the plants that were hanging over our heads in the living room! Since then, I’ve kept my wild dyestuffs more contained.
I also preserve food waste that can be re-used for dyeing. Last year I grew marigolds and collected onion skins. This year I have planted marigolds again, along with the indigo seeds I was gifted. I’m looking forward to following the processing methods of Rowland Ricketts and John Marshall as I grow and harvest my indigo!
Here in Boulder, we’re only an hour away from the Chatfield Farms Janice Ford Memorial Dye Garden. If they re-open later in the year, I’m looking forward to visiting and researching what dye plants I might try in my garden next year!
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