Saturday, May 24, 2014

Other Things

I haven't been around here much. 
Been taking a break from my dye pots and project planning
so I could do this

everything - almost had wood paneling. 

Just finishing up the kitchen this weekend. 
And I cannot wait to be done with this paint. 
My right hand has been cramping and I'm not ready to enter a world where I have problems knitting. 
Not allowed yet. 

Also, any day now I'm going to move into my painting studio
that has been 2 years in the making. 

But currently we have baby chicks occupying part of the studio where it makes the whole building glow red at night. 
So spooky. 

I look around and see how much we have accomplished and it feels amazing. 

I'm starting to gear up for my upcoming workshops at the Fiber Frolic. If you interested check the privious post. 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Upcoming Workshops

I've got a full line up of workshops this spring and summer. 
A little something for everyone. 
Feel free to email me with any questions about any of them.

You can also check out my new website at 

I've been running a series of natural dye workshops in conjuction with Portfiber 
all this spring. 

I have 3 classes left;
1 day; Sunday May 18, 2014
Feel free to bring fiber/ fabric in 4oz lots for dyeing. 
Whatever you like from wool, silk, angora, camel, etc. 
You can also purchase fiber from a wide variety at Portfiber the day of. 

You'll learn mordant basics and shortcuts, over dying, heating requirements, and much more. 


2 Days; Sunday June 1st, 2014 11am-3pm at Portfiber
Thursday June 5th 6:15pm-8pm at Z Fabrics.
$105 for both workshops and all materials included

You'll learn so many skills in these two days;
natural dyeing on fabric
shibori methods
hemming techniques


Natural Dyeing for Needle Felters
2 Days; Saturday June 14th 1pm-4pm at Portfiber
Saturday June 21st 1pm-4pm
$140 for both workshops and all materials included
We'll be working with raw Irish Texel fleece I brought back from Ireland:)
Bring along picture of your favrorite songbirds if you'd like. 
I'll also have pictures from magazines and books. 
We'll work on those tiny beautiful details that make songbirds so remarkable. 


The fiber frolic is a 2 day wonder of fibery delights ranging from animals, demonstrations, beautiful hand made goods, fiber materials and equipment. 
It's one of my favroite weekend of the whole years. 

This is the first year I'll be teaching at the Frolic and I'm SO EXCITED. 

Saturday June 7th, 2014
USing just 3 dye pots, I'll show you how to use natural dye pigment powders to dye dye each color of the rainbow. Then using a special technique, we'll make a self striping rainbow yarn. You can then use both dyed batches of yarn to incorporate into any of your fiber projects, rugs, weaving, knitting, crochet, or fulling
workshop fee: $75
materials fee: $15


Saturday June 7th, 2014 
We'll talk about properly collecting within a context, indentification of lichens, and their fascinating properties. I'll also show you to test and prepare lichens for dyeing in order to extract their exciting colors which range from golds, orange, red, purple, and blues. We will also be dyeing up samples from my lichen fermentation jars. 
Workshop fee- $65
Materials fee- $10


Sunday June 8th
10am-2:30pm with lunch break
Every plant  holds pigment inside. It's through experimenting that we find out what colors our neighboring plant life hold. We will discuss foraging with an ecological context, identify, and test what we collect for color using non-toxic mordants on silk fabrics and wool yarn samples. 
Workshop fee: $75
Materials fee: $10


 Peaks Island Fiber Arts Camp was founded by Laura Glendening and Susan Hanley in 2004 - now in it’s eleventh year of sharing a unique blend of arts, crafts & outdoor fun on Peaks Island. Our camps offer a summer time balance of learning skills, exploring & creating, and time for hanging out with new friends in a kind and cooperative environment. This year Susan will be taking the summer off and fellow Islander and textile artist Rachel Bingham Kessler will be filling in. We are happy to offer individual and group lessons too, please contact us for information.

To reserve a place in a camp, send in the following info; Your child's name
Parents' name
Phone number
Which week you'd like to attend

Each camp enrolls just 8-12 campers, so please, To register and hold your spot, mail in your non-refundable deposit of $100 payment to:
Peaks Island FIber Camp
Laura Glendening
17 Sterling St
Peaks Island, Maine 04108

Whittling, creature making and mud oven granola baking!

Spend the early days of summer relaxing with new friends and a project or two. We’ll whittle a walking stick and knitting needles - visit beaches and share stories. We’ll make a piece of fabric from which little animals & creatures will grow. And we’ll heat up the mud oven and bake delicious homemade granola!

June 23-27, 8:30-2:30. Ages 7-12 $285


Create a beautiful light & colorful collage. Using Matisse’s cut outs as inspiration campers will create their own colors, shapes, and patterns with silk cloth. We’ll experiment with designs and lay-outs. When all the pieces of the collage are ready they will be held together, not by sewing, but by felting.

June 30-July 3, 8:30-2:30 ages 8-14 $235
Four Day Camp


Fruit salad, bread, blueberry hand pies, pizza and more. We’ll spend the first part of each day drawing & painting the day’s ingredients. Then we’ll work together to prepare the recipe of the day. Finally we’ll enjoy the good food we’ve made. On Friday we’ll sew together a book using our drawings and paintings, recipes may be included too.

July 21st-July 25th 8:30-2:30 ages 6-14, $285


Follow the paths of snails, bumbles, and hermit crabs while we explore the beach, garden, and forest for these tiny creatures. We’ll inspect their track habitats, and nests. Then using various textile textures, techniques, and our imagination, we’ll create unique keepsakes capturing the nature of these tiny creatures.
August 18-22nd, ages 6-12, $285


an all inclusive fiber arts retreat where you will be fed so well, make wonderful new friends
go on farm and studio field trips and take some amazing classes with some of Maine's most talented fiber artists. 

Another favorite time of year for me! 
This will be my 5th year teaching at Medomak and we've all been working hard to being new classes to the table. 

I am only 1 of 4 other instructors. All of us veterans by now. 

Here's a short list of some of our exciting offerings through out the whole week. taught by me, 

felted soaps * inkle weaving * rigid heddle space weaving * felted landscapes * weaving on a 4-harness loom * tapestry weaving * tunisian crochet * knitting outside the box * finishing techniques * windrow cowl * beginning lace * knitting in the round * intarsia & duplicate stitch * to build a hat * stranded/ fair isle knitting * diagonal knitting/ felted bag * coils and core spinning * drop spindle spinning * carding to spin * botanical embroidery * embroidery 101 * shibori & bundles * rainbows in our dye pots * foraging for color

Holy Moly! That is a lot of classes!!

for more information contact our Director, Casey Ryder:


I am so blessed to have the oppertunity to work with all these wonderful fiber folks who are also dear friends. 

When I'm not knitting, spinning, and dyeing, I'm drawing up new class ideas and refining seasoned ones. 

I will also be adding a few plant dye workshops that will be happening here at my home on Peaks this summer, so keep a look out. 

If you have questions about any of these happenings or would like me to come teach in your area, I'd love to hear from you.

ox, Rachel

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bundles Galore; a short and sweet peak.

As a natural dyer, I have been crazy about exploring India Flint's concept of bundle dyeing. 
Her book Eco Color is a beautifully laid out example of how you can take almost anything and work it directly into cloth to create one of a kind, naturaly dyed fabrics.

The beauty of this technique is all in attitude of putting "whatever" into just a piece of cloth. 
Maybe you throw in a piece of metal you found in the road, or squeeze it with lemon or both.
My creative eye now sees all things natural as potential dye additives, mordants, pigment givers and more. 

I created about a 1/2 dozen bundles
while at our B&B in Mendoceno this past feburary.
I brought along 4 pieces of premordanted with alum silk fabric. 
I was most excited about the eucalyptus I'd find. 

I found some all right, but I didn't get the results I was expecting. 

After being home for a bit I contiuned to build and add to these pieces of cloth adding layers of pigments.

Here are some results below: (i went a bit crazy)

zinfendel oxalis with left over daffodils from a dye pot

started to bundle it here and un did some of it so I could add in the dried basil leaves neglected in their pot. 

I couldn't resist but to check on it every few days. 
I was really wanting to go the way of letting it dye slowly beacuse the idea of heating it up, I wasn't sure if any of the dye pigments would like the heat. So I experiemented with this first. 

Juicer bits like blood orange rind where so much fun to add! 

I thought I'd add some sea water to the mixture to see what would happen. 

finished and pressed

Eucalyptus from Mendocino

daffodils and iron nails

blood orange and red kale stems
LOVE these earthy colors with the pink and pops of forest green!

baby eucalyptus leaves..
fun dots!
layered over some purple flowers tree blossoms.

small ferns near the American River
Love the patterns it left

One of my favorite surprises. 
pattern created by rusty iron nails and vinegar.
looks like a man with a staff or walking stick. 
And mountains in the back ground.

More earthy pink pigments. 
Really fun experimenting with. 

Now that flowers are starting to bloom, I'll be keeping my eyes out for when the blossom is just about to pass on. Then I'll snip it off and wrap it in some cloth and wait. 
little grape hyacinths are next on my list. 

ox, rachel