DIY Shibori – Indigo dyeing fabric – Part 1

Hi, earlier this year, I took an indigo dyeing (also known as Shibori) workshop taught by Anna Joyce at Craftcation, which was so easy and so much fun. You can see photos from the workshop in my post My Craftcation 2016 Weekend. When I posted photos on my Instagram feed (@csews), a Bay Area Sewists member Ali (@sewmsboncha), commented that I should teach it to our meetup group (I organize monthly meetups for the Bay Area Sewists). I thought, why not pass along what I learned?

Shibori - Indigo dye results - Bay Area Sewists - CSews.com

So four months later, I finally taught the Shibori workshop the first Saturday in August, passing along what I learned. The above photo is some of the lovely dyed fabric drying outside. We held this meetup at The Sewing Room in Alameda, courtesy of its lovely owner Jennifer Serr who graciously let us invade her space last Saturday afternoon.  Jennifer offers sewing classes at The Sewing Room and sells Tilly and the Buttons patterns as well as her own pattern line, Bonjour Teaspoon, in the shop.

I used the same indigo tie dye kits we used at Craftcation – the Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit. I also bought five-gallon buckets at Home Depot , which we filled with four gallons of water. Here are some of the supplies I gathered: buckets, sticks to stir the dye, and the kits – taken before I left for Alameda.

Indigo tie dye supplies - CSews.com

The kits are really easy to use. You get the indigo powder and two other separately packaged ingredients – thiox and soda ash – to pour in the water. (Thiox is a reducing agent, which means it reduces the oxygen in the water. Soda ash fixes the dye to the fiber you’re dyeing.) According to Anna Joyce, it doesn’t matter what order you put them in because the indigo is pre-reduced, which means it easily dissolves in the water.

However, I just watched this video by Jacquard, which says to put the indigo in first, followed by the soda ash and thiox. Well, we did it both ways indigo first and last and didn’t have any problems with the dye. You can always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and watch their video –Indigo Tie Dye Kit from Jacquard Products:

I got the kits at Artists & Craftsman Supply in Berkeley, which is conveniently located near Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. 😉 So Bay Area folks, the next time you’re buying fabric, just go across the street and walk a half-block down to the art supply store and pick up an indigo dye kit. You can also buy the kits from Dharma Trading here ($8.49 per kit) or on Amazon for $9.97, affiliate link here. There is enough dye for 15 shirts or 15 yards of fabric.

I also got three different sizes of rubber bands to use (size 8, 16 and 64), plus cotton twine to use to manipulate the fabric. Size 8 are really tiny – they fit around my pinkie finger. I remember that we had tiny rubber bands at Craftcation, which are useful when you want to make small circle shapes in your fabric. I ordered them via Amazon (affiliate link here) because regular office supply stores don’t carry that size. They had a lot of size 16 (thin long rubber bands) and size 64,the thick rubber bands. In reading about Shibori – after the workshop – I see that at Craftcation, we mostly did the shape resist technique – or itajime shibori – where you fold and bind the fabric and a variation of kumo shibori – pleat and bind. Some of just did binding, no pleating.

Rubber bands for indigo dyeing - CSews.com

I gave each Bay Area Sewist a yard of muslin to play around with. (The dye works best with natural fibers – cotton, linen, silk, wool, and rayon.) We folded, twisted, clamped, and tied the fabric and then put it in the dye bath. I prewashed (and ironed!) the muslin a few days before the Bay Area Sewists workshop to ensure that the dye would take. At Craftcation the tea towels and tote bags we dyed were a little dye resistant. The finishing on the fabric was the problem. Anna said she didn’t have any problems at another workshop she taught so she was surprised. I guess the materials came from a different supplier.

Shibori - indigo dyeing - folding and binding fabric - Bay Area Sewists - CSews.com

One member, Maria, asked if the fabric should be wet first and I said it wasn’t necessary because we didn’t wet it at Craftcation and I prewashed the fabric.

I relied on my Craftcation experience to lead the workshop but in retrospect I should have at least read the Jacquard instructions more thoroughly. My apologies, Bay Area Sewists! I spent more time gathering supplies than anything else. Jacquard says to wet the fabric after you fold/tie/bind it and squeeze out the excess water and air. Then you put it in the dye bath. If I do this again, I’d like to do a comparison – prepare the fabric in the exact same way, then wet one piece of fabric and leave the other one dry and see what happens after dyeing it.

Here’s what I did with one piece of muslin – accordion-folded and then folded in thirds and then I held it together with three rubber bands. The rubber bands weren’t too tight because I was more interested in the folding lines and didn’t really care about the lines the rubber bands would create.

Shibori - Indigo dyeing - pleating fabric

 

As you can see, there’s a lot of white space. I decided I wanted it to be blue so I put it back in the dye bath and now it looks like the last photo. I think I like the previous version better. Next time!

Everyone had fun experimenting. Here’s how Jacquard says you’re supposed to take your fabric out of the dye bath -” squeeze it just below the surface as you slowly remove it from the vat. You want to prevent splashing as this introduces oxygen back into the vat.” You can read the full instructions here.

Shibori - Indigo dyeing fabric - Bay Area Sewists - C Sews

One fascinating thing about indigo dye is that the fabric is green when you first take it out of the dye and then when it oxidizes, it turns indigo blue. For a darker blue, you just wait about 20 minutes for it to fully oxidize and then put it back in the dye bath. You can keep putting it back in for a darker color – but you need to wait for it to oxidize before you dip it again. Keep in mind that when wet, the color looks a couple of shades darker than it will when dry.

I took a bucket of dye home and posted a video on Instagram that shows how green fabric initially is. You can see that it gets darker when it’s out of the dye bath – and you can see the other fabric that’s been out of the dye bath for a longer time. (You might have to wait a little bit for it to load because it’s taking the video from IG.)

A video posted by Chuleenan | C Sews (@csews) on

What I learned at Craftcation was the tighter you tie/twist/clamp it, the more white space you’ll have. So if you want more indigo blue in your fabric, make sure more fabric is exposed to the dye and that you loosely tie/twist your fabric.

What’s so great about indigo dyeing is that you see your results so quickly and you can just have fun experimenting with manipulating the fabric.

Shibori - Indigo dyed fabric - Bay Area Sewists meetup - CSews.com

At Craftcation we were only using the dye for that workshop, which is likely why Anna Joyce didn’t mention anything about not introducing oxygen to the dye bath. No one was going to keep the dye so it didn’t matter if the dye oxidized. If the dye is oxidized, it will be indigo, .

The bottom line: You do need to be careful about introducing oxygen to the dye bath. This means no splashing when you put the fabric in the dye bath, slowly stirring the dye, and putting the lid on it in between dyeing. If the dye oxidizes it won’t adhere to the fibers as well.

The day after the workshop, I cut up a couple of yards of muslin and experimented with different folding/twisting/binding techniques. I’ll reveal the results of those experiments next week – with plenty of photos – in Part 2. UPDATE: I decided to write a post about washing indigo-dyed fabric before I wrote about my dye experiments.

Meanwhile, check out the Shibori techniques in these articles. (If I do the workshop again, I’ll have a lot more information to pass along!)

  • Shibori DIY – a Dharma Trading article on three Shibori resist techniques: Arashi (pole-wrapping), Kumo (twist and bind), and Itajime (shape resist).
  • DIY Shibori – a HonestlyWTF article showing the Arashi and Kumo techniques with photos of the binding and the results.
  • DIY Shibori Designs – a Design Sponge article on three folding techniques and how to make abstract rings of white.

Have you done any indigo dyeing? What’s your favorite binding technique?

Shibori - indigo dyeing workshop - CSews.com

My Craftcation 2016 Weekend – Part 2 + Giveaway

Earlier this week I wrote about my first two days at Craftcation 2016. Craftcation is a four-day business and craft conference in Ventura, California, organized by Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson, the women who founded the Dear Handmade Life blog and the Patchwork Show. This rather lengthy post is about my last two days there (I volunteered for the first two days). I was thrilled to attend some hands-on craft workshops.

Color Theory
On Saturday morning, April 9, I took a color theory class with Bay Area artist Lisa Solomon. We made color wheels using either gouache or water colors to create our favorite version of each color on the color wheel she gave us to fill out. We painted hues (fave colors), tints (fave colors + white) and shades (fave colors + black). I started out with red, one of my favorite colors. The last color I filled in was my least favorite – yellow (because it just doesn’t look good on me). That’s my completed color wheel in the photo below, and my palette.

Color theory with Lisa Solomon at Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

After we did the color wheel, Lisa had us take some Starburst candies and try to match the color of the wrapper and the candies. I gotta say, Starburst candies have some really odd colors. The orange and blueberry candies are strangely muted and tricky to match. The bottom left photo is my attempt to match those candy colors.

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers - csews.comLisa said color theory can’t really be taught in three hours so she also mentioned several books about color that we might want to get, including Josef Albers’ classic Interaction of Color, Victoria Finlay’s Color: A Natural History of the Paletteand The New Munsell Student Color Set, a three-ring workbook that comes with many color chips that you place on color charts. I’ve had a copy of the earlier edition of the Albers book (with the blue/orange/yellow painting on the cover) for years but haven’t read it in a really long time.

After I got home from Craftcation, I went on Amazon and ordered a copy of Finlay’s book and I discovered that there was a 50th anniversary edition of Interaction of Color with more color plates than the earlier edition. Oh, and there’s a super fancy $250(!) two-volume version of Interaction of Color that’s now back in print. I’m sure it’s gorgeous but kinda out of my price range. I decided to get the 50th anniversary edition along with a set of Holbein gouache paints. I got the student color set – twelve 10ml tubes of paint for $30, the price is now $35 on Amazon but the list price is $146(!), which seems really high. Who knew gouache was so pricey? I haven’t bought it in years but I want to continue exploring color post-Craftcation.

And guess what? As I was looking up info on Albers, I found out that there’s an Interaction of Color iPad app! It’s only for the iPad (sorry ‘droid folks) but you can check out the video demo on the Interaction of Color website. There’s a free version of this interactive app and a paid $13.99 version. You get the book and you can play around with his color studies and use the palette tool to create your own color studies. So cool!

Color - A Natural History by Victory Finlay - csews.com

Finlay’s book tells the stories behind various colors – each chapter is devoted to one or two colors (ochre, black and brown, white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). I’m looking forward to reading it. Lisa warned us that the Munsell book was expensive ($85 on Amazon) but that you could find earlier editions for less.

(If you want to learn more about Josef Albers, check out Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. I knew about modernist painter Josef, from my 20th century art history classes in college but I didn’t know anything about his wife Anni, who was a textile designer and printmaker. The pair met when they students at the Bauhaus. Check out her striking work in the Museum of Modern Art here and on Artsy here.)

Superbuzzy!
In between classes I made a quick trip to Superbuzzy, a fabric store in Ventura that carries Japanese fabrics, indie patterns, and really cute little Japanese erasers, magnets, and tiny toys. I was conservative and limited myself to a 1/2 yard of a really pretty Echino print (bottom right photo). I also bought this cute cat eraser.

Superbuzzy - Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

My only minor complaint about Craftcation is that it’s a little challenging to get around if you don’t have a car. However, there were shuttles to take people from the Marriott to events and the off-site locations for food and craft workshops, which was great. Plus there is a trolley that you could take from the hotel to downtown Ventura. My problem was I wanted to get to Superbuzzy, which is not in the downtown area. I ended up taking Uber there and then got a ride back from another Craftcation attendee who was at the store. 🙂 The conference organizers did put together a shuttle to go from the hotel to Superbuzzy on my third day there but it didn’t begin until after the time I needed to go. I skipped out on the Sunday roundtable to explore Ventura. Becky took me to the downtown area, which I hadn’t had a chance to explore. I was so busy at the conference that I really didn’t see much of Ventura.

Indigo Dyeing
My Saturday afternoon workshop was indigo dyeing! That class was taught by Anna Joyce who hand dyes and stencils fabric and makes pillows, scarves, bags, and other things. We used indigo tie dye kits by Jacquard – stirred into 5 gallon buckets. Then we tied our tea towels and tote bags using rubber bands or string and put them into the buckets. My tea towel is the one in the bottom left of this photo. I randomly tied rubber bands in several places on the tea towel. I love how it turned out! We had a lot of fun dyeing. When I posted some of the images from this class on my Instagram feed (@csews), a Bay Area Sewists member mentioned that I should teach the members indigo dyeing. (I’m the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists meetup group.)

Indigo Dyeing at Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

Jenny of Cashmerette was in this class, too. If you squint, you might be able to recognize her in the above photo but she’s also in the photo below – standing to the left of me. Jenny makes patterns for curvy figures. I finally got to meet Jenny in person (I follow her on IG (@cashmerette), along with Mimi Kirchner (on my right), who makes amazing dolls with fabric – everything from foxes and dogs to tattooed lumberjack dolls. I saw her dolls at a Renegade craft fair a few years ago and never forgot how beautifully crafted they are. Check out her Etsy store here and see the cute dresses and jackets she made for the dolls.

The bottom right photo is my friend Becky holding the pompon she made on Friday night – and another indigo dyeing shot.

Cashmerette, Chuleenan & Mimi at Craftcation 2016

Log Cabin Quilting
On Sunday I took the Log Cabin Quilting workshop taught by Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty, who’s also the author of the book Modern Log Cabin Quilting. I had never done any quilting before – I guess I avoided it because it just seemed too time-consuming and obsessive. I’d rather sew clothes. But I thought a workshop would be a good way to dip my toe in the quilting waters. And it turns out that I picked the right class because log cabin quilting lets you improvise. You can vary the width of the “logs” – the strips of fabric that go around the center square (the hearth). Plus you don’t need to be so precise, which I really liked. Here’s the class photo – sorry I cut off the lady on my right. She didn’t quite fit in this format but at least her log cabin piece is in the photo – floating in front of me! You can see how different each block is. Susan is in the yellow sweater holding her book Modern Log Cabin Quilting.

Log Cabin Quilting - Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

My square is the one on the bottom right – it’s a bit wrinkled. This is how it looked after I took it out of my suitcase. The colors are brighter than this photo. I took some extra fabric home with me so I can make a few more squares. I see pillows…

Last Thoughts…
I ended my previous post asking if it was worth volunteering, and my answer is “Yes!” If you get assigned to help with food, wear comfy shoes and be prepared to be on your feet. If you volunteer, you are committing to working eight hours a day for two days, but you may not necessarily need to work all eight hours (see my earlier post for deets). Your shift may start later or end earlier, allowing you to attend more workshops. It all depends on the needs of the conference organizers. Keep in mind that when you volunteer, you miss half the conference unless you can volunteer for three days before the conference begins. If you do that, you can attend all four days of the conference – at least that’s how they did it for Craftcation 2016. It may be different next year.

You do get a very different perspective of the conference when you’re a volunteer – you see all the hard work and intensity that goes into putting on Craftcation – from the meals and event preparation to the decorations and transportation details. As a conference attendee, you don’t really see all that. It looks rather effortless to the attendees who just need to show up at the various designated locations. 😉

The volunteers I met were all really nice and worked hard make sure attendees had a good time. The Craftcation staff was amazing and were really appreciative of the volunteers and respectful of our time.

I can also say that it’s worth attending the conference as a paid attendee because paying less than $500 for four full days of workshops, talks, and plenty of other activities is a really good deal. If you break it down,  you’re not paying much at all for each individual session. If you have a business making handmade things to sell, this is a great conference. There are many business topics covered that are tailored for your businesses. Many of the attendees who had their own businesses seemed really inspired by Craftcation 2016. I didn’t attend the business workshops except for Meighan O’Toole‘s packed session on developing a social media strategy. She rocks. (Be sure to visit her website and sign up for her newsletter for lots of useful info.)

Update: I forgot to mention that I attended the “How to Make Money from Your Blog” on Friday. I managed to squeeze that in before my volunteer shift started that day. Making money blogging doesn’t really didn’t seem viable for sewing blog (like mine) that doesn’t have a huge following. I don’t know that I could do sponsored posts. But I have decided to experiment and I’m trying out the affiliate links and Google AdSense. The book links in this post are affiliate links. (I’ve applied for AdSense – if I get approved, maybe you’ll see a sidebar ad on my blog in the near future.) The message from the two craft bloggers who spoke at this session (Rachel Mae Smith of The Crafted Life and Molly Madfis of Almost Made Perfect) was to have multiple streams of revenue (sponsored posts, ads, teach workshops, do an e-course, charge for mentioning stuff on social media, etc.).

Note on craft workshops: Attendance is limited for the hands-on workshops and most of them fill up on the first day of online registration.  I was on my computer with all my classes picked out, ready to register as soon as I got the password. Many people change their minds about classes so don’t worry if you don’t get in the classes you want. You can join a wait list and usually space opens up the closer you get to the conference and when Craftcation gets underway, people’s schedules change.

Random Nicole craft kits - csews.com

There was a Craftcation pop-up shop during the conference where you could buy crafty stuff as well as things made by conference presenters. I got these craft kits and a fun flower pin made by Nichole Stevenson – fun gifts for my nieces! 🙂

Craftcation 2016 attendees also have a private Facebook group and since the conference has been over, people have been posting about what they’ve been doing, asking for advice, sharing their social media handles, and more. It’s a nice way to keep the Craftcation glow continuing – until next year. If you’re interested in attending the next Craftcation, be sure to sign up for the Dear Handmade Life monthly newsletter to be notified when registration begins. The conference sells out so register as early as you can.

Four days after Craftcation I was walking down the street in Berkeley and I saw this sign in front of my local art store Artist Craftsman & Supply.

Jacquard dye sale - Berkeley - csews.com

I took it as a sign and bought a bunch of Jacquard indigo tie dye kits (40% off!) for a summer Bay Area Sewists meetup. If you have any ideas where to hold this meetup in the Bay Area (indoors or outdoors), let me know! I need a place that’s OK with dye and won’t charge much to use their space – super low-cost or free is ideal. 😉

Giveaway
Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post! To share a bit of the Craftcation goodness with you, I’m giving away Sublime Stitching’s Gothic Grandeur embroidery pattern. If you haven’t heard of Sublime Stitching before, founder Jenny Hart’s tagline is: “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery.” If you check out the Sublime Stitching website, you’ll find embroidery patterns for everything from animals and aliens (the space kind) to Day of the Dead motifs and bikini-clad ladies as well as embroidery floss, textiles, and more.

Sublime Stitching - Gothic Grandeur - Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

Here’s an image from her website of the  embroidery pattern, which you can’t see very well on the envelope. I’ll pick a winner next Saturday, April 30 so add you comment below if you’d like a chance to win this pattern.

Sublime Stitching - Gothic Grandeur

Inside this envelope is an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of iron-on transfers. It also includes instructions and an embroidery lesson – if you want one. The envelope info says you can use it multiple times onto fabric, cardstock, leather, and wood. To enter the giveaway, just comment below. (U.S. only because customs, etc. make it too expensive to send overseas.)

Happy stitching, quilting, and crafting!

My Craftcation 2016 Weekend – Part 1

Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

I went to Craftcation 2016! Craftcation is a four-day business + makers conference in Ventura, California. It’s organized by Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson of Dear Handmade Life, organizers of Patchwork Show. This was the fifth year of Craftcation but the first one I attended. I had a fantastic time. If you follow me on Instagram (@csews), you may have seen some of the photos I posted during the conference (April 7 to 10).

The above photos are (clockwise from top): Welcome sign at Marriott hotel, stuff in conference bag plus a friendship bracelet kit from “Wanderings” event, pompon I made during a happy hour, and Thursday night dinner table decor. (The correct spelling is pompon but it’s been heard as pompom so it’s often spelled that way.) This is Part 1 of a two-part blog post on my Craftcation experience.

I remembered seeing lots of posts about Craftcation last year and I knew my friend Becky had been going to it for a while so in February when I got the email about Craftcation 2016, I asked her if it would be worth paying to attend (more than $400 to register, plus hotel and travel). She suggested that I look into volunteering and she generously offered to let me stay in her place in Oxnard, which is next to Ventura. We have a mutual friend who we both know IRL. Becky and I were Facebook friends who also followed each other on IG.

I got in touch with the conference, asking if they still needed volunteers, mentioning that I was a sewing blogger and organizer for the Bay Area Sewists meetup group. After all, they didn’t know me and I figured if they knew I had a personal interest in the conference, that would help.

I soon heard back and got the details from Delilah. The shift options were as follows: 1.) I could work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then attend the entire conference for free; 2.) I could work 8 hours on Thursday and  8 hours on Friday and attend Saturday and Sunday; or 3.) I could work all day Saturday and Sunday and attend Thursday and Friday. I knew I couldn’t do the first option because I had to work so to help me decide between the remaining options, I looked at the conference schedule. I decided to volunteer on Thursday and Friday because the Color Theory and Indigo Dyeing workshops were on Saturday. I couldn’t start work until Thursday afternoon, so I was assigned to work meals on Thursday and Friday rather than assist at workshops. The great thing is that I got a link to register as a regular conference attendee and sign up for classes just like all the other conference attendees – except that I knew I could only register for Sat. and Sun. classes. And Sunday was only a half day of classes. Thank you Delilah and Nicole for making Craftcation such a great experience as a volunteer and an attendee!

I flew down on Thursday morning and began my shift around 2 pm. I took the Ventura Airporter Shuttle from LAX, which drops you off at the Holiday Inn. Becky picked me up and then we went over to the Marriott to pick up our name tags and conference bags. At registration I ran into two people from the Bay Area – Jill and Alysia who are members of the Bay Area Sewists! Of course I would run into people from the Bay Area! They’re attended all the Craftcation events.

Becky had to get back to work and I told her I’d get a ride to the fairgrounds, where dinner was taking place. Delilah was running around in a vintage 1960s Volkswagen van picking up volunteers and shuttling them to their various locations, and dealing with a slew of text messages. I helped her answer a few texts as she was driving. I told her I hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch yet so she very kindly drove me to Spencer MacKenzie’s, a fish taco place to pick up a yummy fish and shrimp burrito before my shift began. So nice!

After picking up and dropping off a few more folks, I ended up at the fairgrounds where Linda, another volunteer, and I helped Stephanie, who was the stellar organizer of the food and drink for the entire conference. She ensured that everything was in its proper place and ready to go by the time people arrived. We just did whatever she told us to do before dinner was served (cover the long tables with paper table runners, put some decorations on the craft tables, snap the glow sticks inside the paper lanterns, set out the utensils, etc.). The theme for the dinner was Blue Bayou. Thus the “lily pads” and cardboard boats on the tables. I also wrote on small pieces of paper what was being served for dinner: Cajun chicken, chicken sausage, chicken andouille sausage, sweet potatoes and kale, rice and beans. Luckily for us, so much had already been done earlier in the week so we actually had some down time before people arrived.

Craftcation 2016 dinner decor - csews.com

I got to listen to the keynote presented by Emily McDowell, an illustrator whose stationery line is now carried by stores all over the country. She gave an inspiring talk about how her business grew from her handling the printing to now turning it over to another company, freeing her time to design. She read the text of one of her unique cards – the awkward dating one, which was really funny.

Then I was serving food at the buffet line – scooping loads of rice and beans and a sweet potato/kale combo on to plates. My right shoulder was so sore by the time my shift was over! I also helped with cleanup – removing the tablecloths from all the tables, tossing away glasses, etc. I was there until about 9 pm.

Michael Miller Fabrics - Craftcation 2016 - csews.com

At the dinner there were craft tables so people could decorate their name tags or grab a glue gun and stick flowers and pompons on a headband. And best of all, for sewists at least, Michael Miller Fabrics was there. You could play Plinko and win a prize – fabric, pencils, etc. from Michael Miller. Luckily I had several moments of down time so whenever I wasn’t needed, I zipped over to crafty side of the room.

I played Plinko, which I had not played before. (Apparently it’s one of the games on the Price Is Right. It’s even got its own wiki page here.) I won the dazzle bundle – fabric printed with metallic inks, see the above photo. Yay! And the Michael Miller lady gave me this swatch book of the company’s Cotton Couture collection – 150 colors! And the fabric is sooo soft and has a lovely hand. I want to make some shirts with this fabric. It’s a lightweight fabric and drapes nicely; it’s not quilt weight. And so many colors! Michael Miller provided fabric for the sewing and quilting workshops. The photo on the bottom right is my first log cabin quilt square I made on Sunday using Michael Miller fabrics. Sorry the lighting wasn’t great when I took that photo. the colors are a little off.

On Friday, I didn’t have to show up until late morning and helped prepare the Tavern, a bar and restaurant, for lunch and then hand out pita bread with tongs. Lunch had a Mediterranean theme (pita bread, humus, baba ganoush, chicken, sweet potatoes and kale, plus a gluten-free dessert tres leches (cake)).

There was also a masseuse giving free massages! So I had her work on my sore shoulder before people began to arrive. They came in waves – a school bus was shuttling people over from the hotel. It got crazy busy then. My knees were starting to ache from standing around. After lunch was over, Linda and I headed over to the fairgrounds to do food prep. I washed pots and pans and sliced a pile of zucchini and red peppers for lunch the following day. And then I was done with the volunteer work by late afternoon and free to attend the conference!

Craftcation 2016 - craft tables and party - csews.com

Here’s an explanation of the above photos: I decorated my name tag at the craft table on Thursday night at the dinner. On Friday at happy hour there was a craft table to make pompons. It took me three tries to make one that was full. I tied it to my name tag. After happy hour there was “Wanderings” – visiting the various hotel rooms where people showcased their services and handmade goods, offered crafts for people to make or color or provided libations. People applied in advance of Craftcation to participate. There were ten participants. Becky and I went to the various rooms – on four different floors, showing up with our official Wanderings card and got it stamped by the Wandering participant, proof that we visited their room. Then we had to turn the cards in to be entered into a drawing to win a ticket to next year’s conference – and we also had to vote for our favorite Wanderings participant. The winner of that vote would get a ticket to Craftcation 2017.

Becky and I visited each room, checking out the jewelry, drinks, coloring in a drawing. I bought some beads and a necklace. We samples mini margaritas in the Southern Charm room. That’s Becky toasting with her drink in that photo. I made the flower headband during the Thursday night event – I took that photo when I got home. Everyone was eating while I was quickly glueing the flowers to the headband.;)

And the last photo on the bottom left is me and Becky at the Starry Night dance party on Friday. There was a photo area set up with stars you could hold as props. People were supposed to dress according to the party theme. As you can see Becky came prepared with her silver wig and silver cape. I put picked up some tinsel at a Wanderings room and added that to my vintage beret, which I wore with my Alabama Chanin wrap – embroidered with spirals – made me think of Van Gogh’s Starry Night – sort of.

As you can see, there was plenty to make and do at Craftcation 2016! Was it worth volunteering? Stay tuned for Part 2 … later this week. …