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2016 Retreat Classes

This is a FINAL list of classes. Registered guests will be emailed a sign up form. Wait lists will be maintained.
(Updated 6/16/16)

Register for the retreat here or learn more about it!


Friday Schedule       Saturday Schedule

Download a PDF of the schedule

Full Class Description List with materials and fees



List of Classes by Category

Featured Classes by Esther Benedict
The World Around Us: Inspiration for Fiber Arts
Color and Texture in Design
Introduction to Weaving with Designer Yarns (Hand Loom)
Handwoven Scarves From Designer Yarns (Rigid Heddle Loom)

Sewing Machine
Sew a Rope Basket
Sew a Drawstring Project Bag

Crochet for Beginners
FreeForm Crochet Beyond The Scrumbles: Let’s Make Something
Cross Stitch a Sheep Pin
Knit a Beaded Angel Pin
Make a Biscornu Pin Cushion
Make a Needle Book
Needle Felt a sheep
Needle Felt a painting with wool
Beautiful Beaded Spirit Dolls
Bijeaux Tapestry Embroidery
Paper Quilling

Introduction to Multi-heddle Weaving
Basic Card/Tablet Weaving
Tapestry Warping and Weaving on a Hand Loom
Learnings to Read Card Weaving Charts
Basic Weaving on a Potholder Loom

Textiles and Tools from Archaeological Finds in Scandinavia and the UK

Social Media & Online Businesses
ATS Bellydance: Slow Movements
ATS Bellydance: Fast Movements

Using your first spinning wheel
Deconstructing/Reconstructing Hand-Painted Roving or Top
Cable Plying for Spinners
Bubbly Boucle
Spinning Flax
Drop Spinning, Beginning or Tune-up

Dyeing / Painting
Acid Dyeing Yarn – Multiple Techniques
Printing & Stamping on Fabric & Paper
Riotous Reds And Yowie Yellows !
Folds, Resists, bands, and ties (Shibori)
Indigo!!!!!!! The amazing Elusive Blue
Dye Prep / Open Dyepots

Class Titles & Descriptions

The World Around Us: Inspiration for Fiber Arts
The world around us filled with color and texture – how do we translate this – what we see and feel – into what we make as fiber artists (or any other kind of artist, really)? What about our other senses – sound, smell, taste? Can we incorporate these into what we make? How about memories?

In this one hour lecture/discussion/play session, I’ll talk a little bit about my “inspiration” process, and how I translate it into fiber, followed by a chance to create idea boards from photos, artifacts and fiber/yarn samples. If you have photos that you’ve taken, or pictures from magazines, that you love, you may want to bring them.

Color and Texture in Design
Because sometime you feel like a stripe, sometimes you don’t. Introducing the color star, talking about hues, tints and shades, how to get the effect you want in your design – combining texture with color to make something truly remarkable. Applies to spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, making art batts, whatever.

Introduction to Weaving with Designer Yarns
Do you always walk out of the yarn store with at least one skein – besides the ones you went in for? Do you have a lot of single skeins of designer yarn that you just couldn’t resist? This is a class for yarn addicts! We’ll talk about the designer yarns available and how they can be incorporated into weaving. Students will make samples in class.

Handwoven Scarves From Designer Yarns – An Overview
Scarves are the hot fashion accessory – but why buy a scarf and look like everyone else, when you can weave your own unique scarf using designer yarns? Maybe you already have leftover yarns in your stash waiting to be used up! In this overview, we’ll talk about selecting your yarns and demonstrate how to prepare your warp and set up your rigid heddle loom and begin weaving.

Handwoven Scarves From Designer Yarns – Getting Started
In this hands on class, we’ll put what we learned in the overview class into practice and set up our looms for weaving our own scarves. Students will select their yarns, measure their warps and get started warping their looms.

Spinning Flax
Spinning Flax (and maybe some other plant fibers) — An annual favorite class! Time to try the non-protein fibers for a change, many of which require damp fingers or wetting down the fibers while you spin. Instruction will be demonstrated on drop spindle, but you are welcome to bring your wheels. Some prior spinning experience requested.

Learning to Read Card Weaving Charts
Jokingly nicknamed the “Rosetta Stone” class, this lecture and handout discusses the only three things you need to look for to decode and ready any card-weaving chart for warping and weaving. Examine why some charts seem backwards (they might be!). Does not cover brocade, but you’ll see why.

ATS Bellydance
Slow Movements: This is a very low impact class. Learn to play “follow-the-leader” to move in sync with other dancers. Think of this as Tai Chi meets Bellydance, and you have a good idea what the movement is like. No prior experience needed.
Fast Movements: This class is still low impact on your feet and legs, but this peppy dance form should get your blood pumping. Learn to play “follow-the-leader” as you move in sync with other dancers, to some upbeat and fun music. No prior experience needed.

Drop Spinning, Beginning or Tune-up
Bring your Drop Spindle or Spinning Wheel to learn how to spin, or how to improve your spinning. You will practice how to twist wool fiber into yarn. Wool fiber, loaner drop spindles, fiber combs, cards, and other fiber tools will be available for use in the class. Students may bring their own drop spindles or spinning wheels, and wool fiber.

Bubbly Boucle
Boucle is a bubbly textured yarn that is not hard to do.. it comes in steps. Come spin Boucle, Extend your Boucle experience if you like… later you can dye boucle and finally, you can weave with your boucle in a class with our Featured Teacher, Esther! $12 fee/ all supplies provided. Students should bring their wheels, kates, oil, lap cloth, 3 bobbins. Students should be able to spin a continuous yarn.

Riotous Reds And Yowie Yellows !
Cochineal, Madder, Kamala, Indian Onion Skins, Osage and more… come and play with color, mordants, and modifiers.

Shibori: Folds, Resists, bands, and ties
The art of Shibori in Japan, but practiced over time around the world in many many cultures. Easy to do, Come and learn some fun ways to create amazing pattern using simple techniques.

Indigo!!!!!!! The amazing Elusive Blue
Intense deep and dark to Robin’s egg blue as well as the key to many secondary colors, Indigo delights, amazes and enthralls! Great time to bring silk, cotton, or wool thrift store finds to up-cycle or yarns you want to dye. (We share the dyepots so learn how at retreat and dye your big tablecloth at home). ((Friday and Saturday 3-5:30). ((Bjo should teach this one))

Open Dyepots
Register for this time period and the dyepots will be open to dye your pre-mordanted and labeled items. (not pre-mordanted? Not Labeled? Attend one of the two ‘Dye Prep’ Sessions to prepare your items to be dyed!)

Carving Stamps for Block Printing
Learn how to carve your own stamps for block printing (on textiles or paper). This class is suitable for beginners, but we will be using sharp tools, so if you are a real klutz take that into consideration.

Cable Plying for Spinners
Cable plying is an easy way to make beautiful and unusual yarns. The basic method is to make two 2-ply yarns and then ply them with each other to make a strong, balanced 4-ply yarn. Add a bit of contrasting color and/or thickness and you’ve got a designer yarn! Each student will make one or two sample skeins in class. You will need to have a spinning wheel or drop spindle, and be able to spin a single.

FreeForm Crochet Beyond the Scrumbles: Let’s Make Something!!
This is an intermediate class for those who are fairly experienced crocheters – for those who already can execute basic main crochet stitches. It is also very helpful if they’ve taken a beginning FreeForm class. There will actually be “homework”; Students will get the handbook in advance by email, and construct some various scrumbles (crocheted motifs) before Retreat if possible. In class we will make either a small pouch, or begin the construction of a sweater, T-shirt or shawl.

Beautiful Beaded Spirit Dolls
Beware!! Bead embroidery is highly addictive! Jewelry, buttons, accessories, journal pages ,spirit dolls, pouches, medicine bags . . . all these are but a few of the pieces that can be made. In this class, we’ll learn basic bead embroidery stitches and use them to make a beautiful beaded Spirit Doll to bring beauty and comfort to you, or to whomever you gift your art! Processes and supplies for other beaded art forms will also be discussed and demonstrated, so that students can go on to a variety of other project with their beading skills and their own creative imagination.

Learn to Sew Rope Baskets
You will learn how to transform a length of rope into a basket using your sewing machine. No skills needed. You must bring or borrow a machine.

Learn to sew project bags
Learn how to sew a project bag. I’ll show you how to sew a zippered bag and a lined drawstring bag. Knowing how to use a sewing machine is useful but not required.

Introduction to multi-heddle weaving
Get the basics in how to warp and weave with 3 rigid heddles. Seelie/Barb will instruct you on how to warp 3 rigid heddles and you get to weave a sampler of different twill and double weaves. All levels of skill welcome. Any weave that can be woven with 3 harness’ can be woven with 3 rigid heddles. Includes the use of rigid heddle loom.

Textiles and Tools from Archaeological Finds in Scandinavia and the UK
Come see what Seelie/Barb has uncovered on her most recent trip to Scandinavia and the UK in a slide presentation. She’ll show you ancient textiles, tools and other artifact of interest.

Crochet for Beginners
Crochet for Beginners is a class for folks looking to learn crochet or looking to refresh their basic skills. You don’t need to know anything about crochet, just have a desire to learn.

We will work on the skills you need to be a beginning crocheter. Things like how to make a foundation chain to begin a project, stitches such as single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, how to increase or decrease, and how to fasten off to finish off a project.

Social Media & Online Businesses
Trying to get more likes, clicks, and followers? Want to sell online but you’re not sure if Etsy is the way to go? This is a discussion – we all have knowledge and experiences to share! Theresa has been managing Griffin Dyeworks’ social media and website from the beginning, and is savvy in the ways of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Etsy, BigCartel, Shopify, and more.

Deconstructing/Reconstructing Hand-Painted Roving or Top
This is a class for any level of spinner. You have probably admired beautiful multicolored braids or coils of hand-painted roving or top, and maybe spun with them. We’re going to take some of these colorful rovings apart and put them back together in new ways, exploring creative possibilities. You may choose to rearrange the colors to create a gradient yarn, combine fiber from different braids to create new colorways, or do some blending to create subtle color shifts. I hope we’ll have time to start spinning some of our samples, but the main focus of the class will be playing around with the fiber.

Cross Stitch a Sheep Pin
Learn how to Cross Stitch and make a cute sheep pin or magnet. I enjoy Counted Cross Stitch, it’s fun and (for me at least) easier then Crewel Embroidery. In the class we’ll go over the basics of Counted Cross Stitch and learn to work from a charted pattern. We’ll start stitching the sheep in class, and cover how to turn it into a pin or magnet. If you already know how to Cross Stitch, then come and have fun stitching and making a sheep pin!

Knit a Beaded Angel Pin
Learn how to add beads to your knitting by knitting this cute beaded angel pin. This class is an intermediate class for folks who already know how to knit.We’ll be using Size 1 needles with size 10 crochet cotton. In the class we’ll go over how to add beads in swags and singles to your knitting, as well as how to string them on your yarn. We’ll start knitting with beads! And cover how to add the pin back. If you know the Long Tail Cast On, great! If not, we’ll learn it in class.

Make a Biscornu Pin Cushion
A biscornu is an interesting eight-sided pincushion. They are very quirky and fun!  Biscornus can be used for pin cushions, ornaments, and jewelry. They also make great gifts! No experience at anything is needed, but knowledge of hand sewing is a plus. We’ll sew, stuff and finish the Biscornu pin cushion in class.And you’ll take home your own Biscornu pin cushion!

Make a Needle Book
Tired of losing your sewing needles? Looking for elegant way to store
them? Looking for a great gift idea? We’ve got your covered! Needlebooks are handy and fun to make, once you know how there are TONS of modifications and decoration ideas that you can incorporate! No experience at anything is needed, but knowledge of hand sewing is a plus. We’ll sew, and finish the needlebooks in class. And you’ll take home your own needle book!

Needle felt a sheep
By making a sheep, learn basic shapes, putting shapes together and how to make other projects,

Needle felt a painting with wool
Paint a butterfly picture with wool. learn how to needle felt a picture on felt

Using your first spinning wheel
So you’ve mastered (sort of) the drop spindle and you want to move up to a wheel. You’ve (or someone who loves you) gotten your first wheel – but where to start. Come and find out what the YouTube videos don’t – did you get a bargain or a headache.

Bjeaux Tapestry Embroidery
The Bayeux Tapestry is a 230 foot long embroidered fabric that relates the story of the Battle of Hastings, which took place in 1066 in England. It was created by the long labor of legions of skilled seamsters hundreds of years ago.

We invite all Retreat Attendees to come add a few stitches (or an entire embroidered figure!) to our own version called the Bijeaux (“BEE-joe”, named after one of our Founders!) Tapestry. This project was designed and started by our Featured Artisan, Esther Benedict! You can take part in this community project by embroidering from a rainbow of handspun, naturally dyed yarns, and help tell the story of shearing sheep, dyeing the fiber and spinning the yarn. You don’t need to know anything about embroidery, we will teach you the simple stitches. The Bijeaux Tapestry will be available all day, both days.

Basic Card/Tablet Weaving
Card or Tablet weaving was done by many ancient civilizations to create trim and belts. Students will learn to “speed warp” their tablet looms, and how to turn, rotate and flip the cards to get hundreds of different designs. Advanced students can use this same warping to learn how to create patterns and write words with string.

Acid Dyeing Yarn – Multiple Techniques
This is going to be a really fun class suited for anyone who wants to try dyeing – experience is not required. We will go over all the methods I use to dye natural fiber yarn with acid dyes: kettle, tonal, low water immersion/pouring, and dry application to get the speckles everyone loves right now.

Tapestry Warping and Weaving on a Hand Loom
Hand Looms are very simple frames for easy warping and tapestry weaving . They are perfect for doing tests for how various yarns or threads look together when woven before you warp your large floor or table loom. They are also perfect for weaving small pieces. A pattern can be placed behind the warp threads to let the weaver create a woven image.

Paper Quilling
Learn how to roll up paper and glue it to more paper in aesthetically pleasing ways! The art of paper quilling originated in ancient Egypt, later was picked up in the 16th and 17th centuries by French and Italian nuns, became popular with ladies of leisure in 18th century Europe, and spread to the Americas during the Colonial period. Thin strips of paper are rolled into coils which are pinched and manipulated and glued to a surface to form intricate designs. Students will learn basic shapes and techniques and decorate a box or a card.

Printing & Stamping on Fabric & Paper
Dye extracts and colored earths will be used to print on fabric and paper with rubber stamps and small wooden blocks. Stamp or block-print on Retreat tote bags, silk scarves, T-shirts, onesies, quilt squares, or other small pieces of fabric. This class will be far simpler than last year’s block printing class. No prerequisites, no required skills, no experience needed!

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!

March 2 Frolic Classes Posted!

Our class schedule is being finalized and sign ups will start soon!

Check out this Frolic’s offerings on our Frolic Classes page.

Remember, people who have already paid for the event get first choice of classes.

You can learn more about the Frolic on our dedicated Frolic webpage or visit our store to register & pay for the event!

Busy, busy month of May

May has been a VERY busy month.

I am working on a mud-dye and rust-dye tutorial for our upcoming Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Retreat and sewing on several projects.

We saw the Star Trek film at Paramount Studios thanks to Gene Roddenberry’s son, Rod. We saw it again the next week with friends in the Valley. We like it. Of course there are nits to pick: I don’t like Vulcan female garb – on a planet with a standard 140 degrees F temperature, it would be illogical to wear anything close-fitting or heavy. Any starship THAT close to a black hole would be toast. Stuff like that. But in general, it is a good nod to the original Trek while allowing them to go in a new direction. That is a Good Thing, really. The old Trek was too tired to be revived with any success. Love the young actors who played Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura. Doohan would have liked this Scotty, I think.

The whole family participated in Minnie’s Midnight Madness, an unusual team-builder held every year at Disneyland. This is held after the park is closed to the public. We get into costume and give out clues to teams of Disney cast members (employees). The teams have paid to compete for some really nifty prizes. Outsiders are used for the clue-giving to lessen the chances of cheating. And some of them do cheat. We’ve been clue-givers for the past 5 years and enjoy it thoroughly.

This year we were a Robin Hood clue corner so we could wear our medieval garb. I handed out the stickers for the clue-gatherers envelopes that they have to hand in. John played King Richard, wearing Lora’s viscountess coronet. Lora and Kathryn were over in the 70s Disco Gong Show clue, which was so popular that people came back after they’d handed in their questionaires just to dance!

I made Lora widely flared bell-bottomed purple slacks for the game, and repaired a vintage lettuce green polyester leisure suit by adding rust-red fake suede cuffs and pockets for the game show host. Very funny.

We had several one-day and weekend SCA events to attend as well. In our capacity as Baron and Baroness of the Angels (greater LA area) we are expected to appear at these events. So it is lucky that we enjoy doing it. However, it does take up a good deal of our weekends if we let it.

Now we are getting ready for Potrero War (a large 4-day SCA event) where I will teach a dye class and a period pigments class where we make our own egg tempera. I thoroughly enjoy teaching crafts.

It is also important to bring Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts to everyone’s attention so we can build up the business. When I teach dye workshops, I always have flyers to hand out. We’ve only recently introduced the pigments and a really nice period pigment kit for people who would like to try the art of illumination without spending a small fortune. Go visit our website and see!

After that, over the May 29-31 weekend, we will have our ever-wonderful Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Retreat in the Tehachapi Mountains above Castaic, and that’s the end of May! Whew!

As soon as I get a few minutes to sort myself out, I’ll post some photos, too.