Monday, February 2, 2015

Sisters In Craft: The Natural Dye Project

I was asked to design a garment and towels for a kit for rigid heddle weavers. I would be using the very same packaged yarn as the Friendship Towel Kits, sold through Cotton Clouds. This is where women in Guatemala learned to dye the yarns with natural dyes through the support of Mayan Hands' Natural Dye Project. Right now these kits are only for 4-harness weavers. I immediately loved the idea! Being a part of this amazing project to help support the women in San Rafael, Guatemala, makes me happy and I'm so honored to be a part of it. 

But oh my, I wasn't prepared for the impact this project would have on me. In each step of my process with these hand-dyed yarns of beautiful natural colors, I found myself wondering about each one of these Guatemalan women; who are they, what are their lives like and whether they thought about us, the women who would receive their kits and make something beautiful from their yarn? I felt an amazing kinship and connection. It warmed my heart to think of them as "sisters in craft" so to speak.

Direct warping method for the vest.
So for my first project, the vest, I used my favorite method of warping directly on my 15" Flip loom. I love color and this warp did not disappoint. For weaving, I chose a simple warp and weft pick-up pattern from Jane Patrick's Weaver's Idea Book, for texture. Really, this vest is so simple to make and the construction requires minimal cutting and sewing. You just add some fun buttons and it's ready to go.

See how happy this vest makes me!
And then there were towels to make. In my 20 years of weaving, I've rarely made towels. Those who know me, know I love to make things to wear. And my sister would tell you I'd do anything to get out of the kitchen at dish drying time. So you get the picture, domestic chores are not my favorite things to do. Oh yes, did I say I love clothes? But I dutifully designed and wove the towels.

By the fourth towel, I couldn't help but think how wonderful this fabric would be as a jacket. So, I cut the towels off the loom and hemmed them and then I couldn't help myself. I started pinning the towels together and there it was, a jacket. Because, after all, who wants to be in the kitchen when they can be trying on clothes, right?

Very versatile and one size fits all.
And it has pockets too!
So now, there are three options for rigid heddle weavers; a vest, a set of four towels or a jacket. Not only are you making something wonderful for yourself but also supporting our "sisters in craft" in Guatemala. What could be better than that! Order your Towel KitJacket Kit or Vest Kit now from Cotton Clouds, who is selling these kits at near-cost so that the profits will go to help these women of San Rafael, Guatemala earn a fair living wage. 

Jacket pattern will be coming soon to my ZoZo FiberArts Etsy Store


  1. Sis, you are amazing!!! I love those beautiful colors!

  2. Thank you Sis! I know, the colors are wonderful! My favorite is the Osage Orange Yellow. Who knew those bumpy fruits from my childhood in Mississippi would make such a beautiful dye color.