Sanguine Gryphon’s Dye Camp 2010

Posted on | May 28, 2010 | 7 Comments

This past weekend, I was a participant and teacher at Gryphon’s second annual SG Dye Camp Retreat in Easton, MD.  I was so honored that Gryphon asked me to teach at her retreat, especially given how popular it is.  She limits the participant list to 30 and holds a lottery to determine who gets to go, but as one of the teachers (joining Gryphon herself as the dye teacher and Lauren Haiken as the spinning teacher), I got an automatic “in” to the camp.

This was my first knitting class, so I was more than a little nervous.  I’ve taught physics (mostly classical mechanics, but some atomic physics and electromagnetism too) as a TA in grad school to a variety of undergrad audiences — from engineering majors to premeds, but I’ve never taught a knitting class.  And since my class was an introduction to lace sweater design, I was worried it would get too lecture-y; so I tried to include some hands on activities. But I think the students enjoyed it and I tried to cover a variety of topics such as choosing a yarn, the importance of gauge, essential sweater (and body) measurements, and some simple shaping examples. I didn’t quite realize how exhausting it would be to talk to a group of students for 3 hours! As a TA, most of my classes were 50 minutes; except for the lab sections — but for lab, other than a brief 15 minute introduction to the concepts in the beginning, I mostly was present for questions while the students went about their activities.

In turn, I got to attend Gryphon’s 4 hour introduction to dyeing where we learned 5 types of dyeing (solid color, nearly solid, variegated, very variegated, and handpainted) and were given 2 oz skeins of Eidos (!) to practice on. And I took Lauren Haiken’s excellent and informative spinning class — I loved how much of a geek she was about yarn, definitely a woman after my own heart. And here is where the pictures come in…

Here we are, choosing from the line of reference mini-skeins which color of dye (both Jacquard and Dharma dyes were available) to use:

Next, we stir our potent mixture of dye, hot water, vinegar, and handtied skeins:

Here is my lovely dye-mate Linda (we teamed up into groups of 3 with similar color tastes since we’d be sharing the same dye pot for all of our skeins) pulling out one of our skeins from the rinsing bin:

And here’s Elissa, one of Gryphon’s elves (note, Gryphon has several elves who help her with various aspects of her business and they’re all lovely and kind people), putting our skeins into the spinner to get rid of excess water:


And finally, our skeins, fresh from the spinner and hung out to dry overnight (the mint green skeins on the right represent the first efforts of my dye team):

Gryphon demonstrates the last dyeing method, the labor intensive and difficult handpainting yarn:

Along the way there were cute kittens and even cuter kids (Gryphon’s daughter Lia, holding one of 3 grey kittens):

All in all, it was a very fun, very stimulating weekend. I was so thrilled to finally meet Gryphon. We’ve been email buddies for years and it was great fun to have the opportunity to interact with her in person. She’s such a charming, creative person with a wonderful sense of color and style. I hope we’ll get a chance to meet up again soon.

A parting shot… what came home (well, to the office anyway) with me… In addition to my handdye experiments (which are hidden away in the paper bag to the right in the photo) are several skeins of Skinny Bugga (for a future indie design) and some skeins of Bugga, Skinny Bugga, and Eidos for me to play with. We were given a few moments each day to shop, but really, it was just overwhelming to the senses. I kept turning skeins over and over in my hand. Asking me to choose a particular color or yarn base was an impossible task.


To see photos other campgoers took, go to the Flickr pool here.


7 Responses to “Sanguine Gryphon’s Dye Camp 2010”

  1. Tan
    May 28th, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

    A great summary! And it was a great class. Even if I was dozing off in the back . . .

  2. Maryse
    May 28th, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    I’m sure everyone was thrilled to have you as a teacher. I know I would. It sounds like a very interesting weekend! Everyone sharing their knowledge and talents! Have a great weekend!

  3. jillian
    May 28th, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    I have no doubt you were wonderful! Sounds like a fun weekend all around, and beautiful yarn to boot.

  4. telma
    May 28th, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    wow… such beautiful colors! i wish so much that i could dye my own yarn. one day… :)

  5. Kathleen
    May 29th, 2010 @ 7:53 am

    That looks like it was so fun (and educational – I know a fair bit about color but nothing about dying. And the yarns that came back with you look scrumptious.

  6. meolanie
    June 1st, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    i love bugga! i’ll have to get on her mailing list for the next dyeing weekend… looks like fun.

  7. RatiganKnits
    June 15th, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    Looks like such a wonderful time. Wish… I could have been there.

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