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Thank you AT&T Small Business ...

We entered (and won!) a contest on Facebook! Welcome to all our new friends, the store is over here!...


We did it! We’ll be considere...

Thanks to all of your votes and shares, we blew away the 250 vote requirement - and it's still going up! If I could find you all to thank you personal...


Vote for Griffin Dyeworks!

The Mission Main St Grants are open again, and I've entered Griffin Dyeworks! We can win up to $100,000 towards our business goals. Here are my...

Kristin Amber Morrison

Featured at the Retreat – Kri...

We are so excited to feature local fiber artist and dyer Kristin Morrison at our retreat this year! Kristin's quote on her website says it all:...

Thank you AT&T Small Business for the #ShopSmall boost today!

We entered (and won!) a contest on Facebook! Welcome to all our new friends, the store is over here!

We did it! We’ll be considered for a grant!

gdw_voting_doneThanks to all of your votes and shares, we blew away the 250 vote requirement – and it’s still going up! If I could find you all to thank you personally, I would. It means so much to be considered for a grant – I have some Big Plans for Griffin Dyeworks and a grant of any amount would go a long way towards making it happen!


Vote for Griffin Dyeworks!

The Mission Main St Grants are open again, and I’ve entered Griffin Dyeworks! We can win up to $100,000 towards our business goals.


Here are my goals for Griffin Dyeworks:
Short Term:
Increase attendance at our annual retreat and bring in “big name” fiber artists
Book 3+ offsite dye workshops in a year

Long Term:
Offer two retreats per year in different areas of Southern California
Host FREE dye workshops for low income women interested in starting a fiber arts related business
Sell lucet, kumihimo, and dye kits in local yarn shops

With the $100,000 Grant, I would also move up the timetable to accomplish these goals as well! In no particular order, and with no due diligence done (i.e. I don’t know what all this would cost yet):
1. Travel to Central and South America, India, Pakistan, China, and the Caribbean to visit dye suppliers.We would love to provide dyes from sources we have seen and verified as treating people humanely and within the limits of the environment.
2. Rent a warehouse space so we can purchase and sell dyes in bulk, direct from the sources. Our current space limitations do not allow this. We’ll also be able to offer workshops on site and begin dyeing yarn, roving, fabric, and clothing to sell. Hopefully the increased income would allow us to hire an employee!
3. Overhaul our catalog: Create new dye samples using different mordants; new professional photos of all our dyes & the dye results; update all the item descriptions; test all the dye recipes for accuracy. Create new kits for lucets & kumihimo.
4. Update our website with a better event management solution, so people can register & pay for an event, sign up for classes, and give us all relevant information in one place!

Please vote for us so we can move on to the next level and closer to reaching our goals!
Mission Main Street Grants

Featured at the Retreat – Kristin Morrison!

We are so excited to feature local fiber artist and dyer Kristin Morrison at our retreat this year!

Kristin Amber Morrison

Kristin’s quote on her website says it all:

“Through the process of foraging and alchemizing plants into natural dyes, I explore the inherent connection of humans with nature, the relationship between us, and how we can draw upon the plentitude of nature, to nourish, heal, design and create.

Because humans exist as part of the natural world, it is imperative that we not compete with nature, but instead participate and commune with nature, not only for our survival, but also for our prosperity as a species.”

She a dyer and uses natural dyes to print on textiles – check out these results from using a traditionally Japanese technique called hapazome – pounding flowers and plants onto alum-mordanted cotton!

Hapazome resultsI can’t wait to see what Kristin decides to teach at the retreat. Her classes are sure to fill up quickly, so don’t delay registering!

You can learn more about Kristin and her art on her website, http://kristinambermorrison.com/.

Spring Frolic Classes Posted!

Our “Spring String Thing” is coming up fast on March 21! The class list was just finalized and posted here on the website!

Remember, you can sign up for classes only if you’re registered for the event. PayPal is currently down in the store, so if that’s your preferred method of payment I added a PayPal option on the Frolic page.

Changes in 2015

As you may have heard, John & Bjo Trimble are taking a step back and have passed Griffin Dyeworks on to their longtime friend and assistant, Theresa Wollenstein (aka me)! I have been helping the Trimbles with Griffin Dyeworks for twelve (!) years at workshops as well as managing their online store.

If you’re wondering how these changes will affect things, rest assured, Bjo and John will be around! While I’ll be the one filling the orders and answering most of the emails, John will still man the Griffin Dyeworks sales booth at events, and Bjo will still teach and answer dye questions via email.

One of my goals is to help spread the word about Griffin Dyeworks and bring in some new faces. Look for advertising in your local yarn shops and online – and help us out by telling friends and guild mates about our Frolics and Retreat or book us to come and teach privately.

Bjo hopes to spend more time teaching and promoting the use of pigments via their new venture, Ancient Earth Pigments! Right now, Griffin Dyeworks is selling their merchandise, but soon they’ll have their own website. We hope you’ll continue to support us and all the artisans whose products we sell.

Ancient Earth Pigments Logo

2015 Events!

Our Frolic is coming up March 21 – you can sign up today, or contact us if you’re interested in teaching or selling at the event!


And our retreat returns to Arrowhead Ranch June 26-28! We’ll allow arrivals Thursday night and classes will start on Friday morning, ending Sunday at noon. We hope you can join us — put down a deposit today!

Indigo Crystal Dye Instructions

(Indigofera tinctoria) aka pre-reduced indigo

We have a two part video on YouTube with Bjo walking us through the indigo crystal dye process!

STORAGE: These natural crystals oxidize in air, so store in lidded, labeled jars, in cool dark area.

pH & TEMPERATURE: Indigo needs high alkaline vat: 8 pH for silk & wool;
9 – 10 pH for cotton & linen.
Dye vat should be no hotter than 70º to 120ºF.
You can even take it off heat & dye until the pot cools too much.

DYE INSTRUCTIONS: WEAR GLOVES! Indigo will stain fingernails for a week or more.

  1. Fill pot with 3 gal water, heat to 70º to 120ºF.
  2. Add 2 T indigo, 2½ T soda ash, 2 T thiox – too much thiox is a bleach!
  3. [Optional] 1 tsp Glauber’s salt to help extend dyeing time if a long dye session is planned
  4. [Optional] 1 tsp dissolved unflavored gelatin to form a barrier between wool & alkali chemicals
  5. [Optional] 2 tsp powdered madder is good for a warmer blue color
  6. Wait 10 min.
  7. Surface bubbles should be bright metallic shiny blue, metallic; not flat or dull-looking.
  8. Remove bubbles & foam with wet paper towel or damp piece of cloth wiped across vat surface.
  9. Wool & silk dyes in 3-15 min; cellulose fiber (cotton, linen, hemp, raimie in 20-30 min.

INDIGO MANTRA: Dip – Rest – Rinse!
STEP 1: DIP: Work fiber or fabric by hand below surface; allow to soak 10 to 30 min.
When removed from vat, fiber will oxidize in the air, quickly turning yellow-green, then green,
then blue: This is normal for indigo.

STEP 2: REST: Don’t rinse.
Hang or just lay fiber on a surface for 15-30 min to let fiber completely oxidize (turn blue).
Otherwise dye will not bond into the fiber. Wet dyed fiber always looks darker than dried fiber.

STEP 3: RINSE: Don’t skip this step!
Use ¼ tsp Orvus soap in rinse water, add fiber for 10 min to help indigo bond into fiber.
This rinse removes unabsorbed pigment.
If darker color is desired, return fiber to the vat for 3 – 5 min; for
For really dark color, return to vat for 30 – 60 min.
Repeat all 3 steps until desired shade is reached.
Fiber can be re-dipped, rested & rinsed as many times desired, until vat turns gray.

SETTING COLOR: Don’t skip this step because it is necessary to set indigo in fiber!
Wash in Orvus® or non-detergent soap 10 min or longer.
Rinse until there is no cloudiness.
Wash cotton twice in washing machine, separately or other fiber will be pale blue!
It is normal for indigo to crock (rub off); it’s why indigo-dyed jeans wear in lighter areas.

VAT ADJUSTMENT: Indigo vat can last several days if kept at least lukewarm & covered
Too much oxygen in vat prevents bonding into fiber & tires vat.
Oxygen will get in but try to avoid adding lots.
Blue vat (vat should be greenish): add pinch of thiox, stir, wait 15 min
Cold vat: color results will be pale. Re-heat vat to 75-90°F, rest 15-30 min
Unbalanced vat: froth changes color, add 1 tsp at a time of calcium carbonate.
When vat stops giving blue, it is exhausted. add pinch of thiox. Stir, wait 15 min before dyeing

CREATING OTHER COLORS: Strong blue overwhelms other colors.
Use an exhausted vat so the blue is weaker: 75% to 85% yellow + 15%-25% indigo for greens;
65% to 75% red to 40% to 35% indigo for purple.

Soda ash (Sodium carbonate)
Diourea Thioxiade (Thiox)
Orvus soap (pH neutral surfactant)
Glauber’s Salt (Sodium sulfate) – Optional
Madder extract — Optional

Go to our online catalog for the supplies listed above, indigo dye history, kits, tie-dye instructions, mordant information & more! Questions? Contact us!

Frolic Class List!

Edit: We have the finalized list of classes on its own page!

Here’s the preliminary list of classes for the 2014 Fall Fiber Frolic!

We’ll be adding a few more in the next few days. As usual, there will be a spinning/fiber arts circle, open dyepots, and the Bjeaux Tapestry for embroidery!

Register today for first choice of classes!

Saturday 10 AM – 1PM

Socks, Two at a time on one circular needle by Amy Bingham

We will knit a baby sock (so you can learn all the sock techniques in one sitting). Learn how to cast on for two socks at one time on one circular needle. Cuff down. Or toe up. We’ll do heel flaps, heel turn and gussets, picking up stitches and how to close the toe with the kitchener stitch.

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: Circular needle (size 1-3-check your yarn for suggested needle size) at least 32 inches long (make sure your cable is flexible-the old metal and plastic needles are not flexible), sock yarn, darning needle.

3 Hours Class Fee $0.00 Min / Max students: 3 / 10

Push That Creative Envelope! by Bjo Trimble

Cut, stamp, trim, paste, enhance – simple actions leading to freedom in designing for many applications. Use fabric, paper, threads, and fusible interlining to think outside the box. No sewing required! No experience required!

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: cameras, questions, and NOT required, but feel free to bring UFOs (UNfinished Objects), including any single items you should have made more of, and any craft items you might wish to share.

2 Hours Class Fee $5.00 Min / Max students: no limit

Introduction to Card Weaving by Kimberly McDermott

This is an introduction to Card weaving. We will go over warping the loom and how to set up the cards to get the patterns you want and do some practice patterns on the bands. Students should bring their own looms and weaving supplies. If they do not own a loom, they can bring a set a of C-clamps and we will go over how to weave between two fixed points.

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: Looms, or C-Clamps to weave between and cards.

2 Hours Class Fee $5.00 Min / Max students: 5 / 10

Beginning Knitting by Erin Reeves

Learn how to cast on and begin to knit your first project. Each student will learn different methods of casting on before starting to knit a scarf.

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: Bring a skein of worsted or bulky weight yarn and knitting needles (straight or circular) for that size yarn. (You may want to purchase two skeins of the same dye lot to make sure you have enough for the size scarf you wish to make.)

2 Hours Class Fee $0.00 Min / Max students: 2 / 6

Saturday 1PM – 5PM

Modge Podge Christmas Ornaments by Amy Bingham

We’ll make some unique Ornaments using modge podge

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: gloves (if you don’t want to peel glue off your hands), paper or fabric you’d like to use, old knitting magazines or patterns, old ornaments you’d like to cover. Anything you’d like to add to your ornaments. Apron or old shirt to wear

1 Hours Class Fee $5.00 Min / Max students: 2 / 10

Narrow ware: From inkle to 4 harness loom by Therese Calhoun

How to move your inkle designed bands from the inkle loom to a 4 harness loom and why would you want to.


3 Hours Class Fee $0.00 Min / Max students: 10

Drop Spindle: New, Returning and Relearning by Cat Ellen

Have you ever wanted to give spinning a try? Would your persona have known how to spin on a drop spindle? Have you tried it before and given up but are ready to try again? Have you spun a bit but are still confused or just want someone to help you improve? It’s time to spin! New, Returning, or Relearning students will be given hands-on spinning instruction with one of the oldest textile tools in existence: The Drop Spindle. And as a wise child once told me, “It’s called a DROP spindle. If you’re dropping it, you must be doing it right!” Don’t miss a chance to pick up this skill again, even if you dropped it before or never tried it at all. Everyone welcome.

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: Drop Spindles and Wool. I will have some you can use

1 Hours Class Fee $0.00 Min / Max students: 5 – 10

Teatotteler Pocket Pouch by Andrea Butler

We will be knitting a tea bag pouch to hold a tea bag or other necessities in a bag or purse. Knowledge of knit and purl stitches. We will be casting on, increasing stitches, knitting stockinette stitch, garter stitch, buttonhole and short rows. Beginner, intermediate class.

MATERIALS THE STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: Drop Spindles and Wool. I will have some you can use

2 Hours Class Fee $3.00 Min / Max students: 1 – 10

Register today for first choice of classes!

Save the Dates!

As always we’re pleased to return to Southern California Handweaving Guild’s Weaving & Fiber Festival, Nov 2 in Torrance, CA! We weren’t able to make it last year due to conflicts and health issues, and missed seeing everyone so much.

Our Fall Frolic will be November 15, once again at the Monrovia United Methodist Church!

We’re also happy to report that we’ve scheduled the 2015 Retreat for the weekend of June 26 at Arrowhead Ranch! Because we booked it early, we’ll be able to offer classes starting at 9am on Friday morning until Sunday afternoon! We are SO excited to Arrowhead Ranch and hope you are, too.

Have a neat technique you want to share? Want to teach others how to do the craft you do but no one else seems to? ANYONE can teach at our Frolics! You can submit a class proposal online anytime, and we’ll be in touch before the event.

Teachers receive a discount on event entry based on the number of hours they dedicate to teaching. We request that teachers only charge their students for materials to keep our events affordable.