Indigo dyeing and weaving instruction: traditional hand weaving techniques taught in rug, blanket and natural dyeing.
Workshops range from two to five days depending on the length of time needed to complete a functional piece. Class sizes are small, which allows for more one-on-one instruction. The goal is to create a finished, useful textile using American and local fibers in an atmosphere of fun and sharing. Rug workshop looms are pre-warped and ready to weave so that you can take home a 26" wide by 3' to 6' long rug. Blanket and tartan class looms are prepared with dummy warps that are ready for you to tie on the warps that you design and wind at the workshop. All workshops are taught by Principal Instructor, Stephanie Morton, unless otherwise noted in the description. Please contact me directly about participating in the workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org.
:|:|: 2017 Workshop Schedule :|:|:
All workshops run from 9:30 am to 4 pm
Alpaca/Wool Core-Spun Rug retreats
:|: June 23 to 25
:|: September 5 to 7 :|: November 28 to 30
alpaca meditation mats
Rag Rug retreats
:|: June 27 - 30 :|: September 18 to 21
the market basket
:|: June 19 & 20
Your family tartan retreats
:|: may 18 & 19*
:|: June 6 & 7 :|: september 28 & 29
:|: July 7 & 8
:|: august 11 & 12
catalogne, the rag coverlets of Quebec
The ConnecticuT RIVER BLANKET
2017 Workshops Are completed. Please check Back for 2018 schedule in January and February.
:|:|: course descriptions :|:|:
AlpacA/Wool Core-spun Rug retreats
AT flat Rock FARM, Lyme ct.
This ultimate weaving experience gives students the opportunity to relax and renew themselves for two full days and nights tucked away at Flat Rock Farm in the rolling hills of Lyme, Connecticut. Four weavers share a beautifully appointed cottage with a full kitchen and two bathrooms. Arrive the first evening to a light meal while you choose your yarns and get settled in. The next morning you will walk across the alpaca paddock to the studio barn, which houses two early 1700's barn looms and two sturdy rug looms. You will weave your rug in two days, and complete the edges before returning home to lay your new rug on your bedroom floor. This workshop gives weavers enough time to weave and complete their own 2' by 5' core-spun rug on pre-warped looms. Students will have the option of weaving either fringed or bound edges for their headers. All participants will learn how to finish these headers to produce sturdy edges on their rugs.
Participants: You can be an absolute beginner to take this class, or an experienced weaver who wants to use my pre-warped looms and enjoy the company of other weavers. Class size is limited to 4 weavers.
Fee: $510.00 Includes workshop fee, guesthouse lodging in the farm cottage for two nights, breakfast and lunch for two days and dinner on Saturday evening.
Materials: Connecticut-grown and spun alpaca/wool core-spun rug yarn is available for purchase at the workshop, or you can bring your own core-spun. American cotton warps are on the loom and are included in the workshop fee.
2017 Retreats: See schedule above. A special retreat will be held on October 13 to 15, when we will weave square meditation mats followed by a guided meditation on the last afternoon.
rag rug retreats
at Flat Rock FARM, Lyme, CT
This workshop gives weavers an opportunity to weave rag rugs on sturdy rug looms that will produce a tightly woven, durable rug that lasts for years. Bring your own cotton, linen or wool rags and we will cut and weave them on tabby or twill warps. We will focus on the most efficient cutting methods, tensioning the warp correctly, seamlessly splicing to avoid lumps, perfecting our beat and edges, and weaving sturdy headers that will beautify and protect the structural integrity of our rugs.
Three-day workshop: This workshop is best suited for beginning weavers, as looms will be pre-warped at 26 inches wide in standard colors. (Usually ecru, one or two blues, and another popular color depending on my current projects.) You will design and weave a plain weave (tabby) rug.
Four-day workshop: Experienced weavers, as well as beginners who want to learn the warping process, will have a choice of designing a solid, striped, multicolored or log cabin warp that you will wind and tie onto an existing warp. The current warp structures on my looms are tabby, straight and point twill, rosepath and goose eyes, but experienced students can arrange ahead of the class to have a warp threaded in double-bind or some other structure appropriate for rag weaving.
Participants: Beginning to advanced weavers aged 12 and up. Class size is limited to 4 weavers.
Fee: Three days: $755.00 Four days: $990.00 Fee includes meals 3 times a day.
(CT Handweavers Guild members pay a reduced rate)
Materials Fee: Warp materials are included in the workshop fee. Please collect, wash and bring your own rag weft materials. We will discuss them ahead of time so that you can prepare them correctly and I can put on the right color warp for you.
2017 Retreats: June 27 to 30; September 18 to 21; December 7 to 10
The CONNECTICUT River Blanket
at the old lyme studio
Using Patricia Fortinsky's beautiful natural-dyed Tidal Yarns, we will choose the colors of our warps for lap blankets made of 100% New England wool that Patricia sends to be spun in Vermont. Together we will design our blankets, wind our warps and dress our looms in a point twill pattern, and then weave them over the course of one week. On our final workshop day we will full (wet finish) these luxurious blankets that will be treasured for generations to come.
Participants: Up to three weavers with weaving experience for the 5-day workshop. Advanced weavers may want to weave a wider, longer blanket if they are confident that they will complete it in three and a half days of weaving. Beginning weavers will have the opportunity to take the three-day workshop, where they will weave on looms that have been warped for them before the class. There is an additional fee for this design and warping time.
Fee: Five Days: $400.00 Three Days: $350 includes the design and warping fee.
Materials Fee: Wool yarns hand-dyed with natural dyes are priced at $34 per 275-yd skein. You will need approximately 9 - 10 skeins to weave a 34" by 64" fulled blanket, and 6 skeins of yarn to weave a shawl. (Please note that 3-day workshop students will be choosing their colors by consulting with Patricia first about the color of their warp, and then sample and choose their weft colors when they come to the workshop.)
Please note that 2017 Workshops are completed. Please check back for winter workshops to be held in 2018.
catalogne! The rag coverlets of quebec
at the old lyme studio
When French settlers in New Brunswick were unable to obtain enough wool to weave their blankets they turned to cotton rag that they cut from old clothing. These heavy coverlets were plain and functional, keeping them warm in the cold Canadian nights. Most were plain white or striped with various bits of old shirts and skirts, and their humble appearance has kept them from wide public view. But they are lovely, soft, warm and a wonderful tradition to follow in recycling! Students will bring their rag to pre-warped looms and weave a blanket up to 58 inches wide without seams. Once your first panel is completed you can return home to complete the second half on your own looms, or arrange to return for open studio time to use my large looms. These two panels can then be sewn together to form a wider coverlet.
Participants: Up to 4 weavers, including beginners.
Materials: Looms pre-warped with 8/2 cotton are included in the workshop fee. Students bring their own rag weft.
Fee: 4 day workshop: $450.00 5 day workshop: $500.00.
2017 Workshops: November 13 to 17.
your family Tartan
at flat rock farm
This three- to four-day weaving retreat sets the Scottish scene for weaving your own family tartan! Stay in the beautiful farm guesthouse, dine on local and farm-fresh foods prepared by Flat Rock Farm owner, Caryn Erickson, and renew your creative spirit with other weavers. We will wind wool warps that we tie on to dummy warps, beam on and then weave scarves or small blankets just in time for holiday giving. This workshop introduces experienced weavers to the simple (but demanding) art of tartan weaving using Jaggerspun wool yarns from Maine. You can elect to stay from three to four days depending upon your confidence in finishing your project in the allotted time.
Participants: Four guesthouse residents and two day students. Intermediate to advanced levels, please.
Materials: Jaggerspun Maine Line or SuperWash wool will be available in your tartan colors for a fee of $65.00 or more, depending on weight.
Fee: Retreat guests: Three days $755.00 Four days $995.00 (includes class fee, all farm-prepared meals and lodging) Local students: $395.00 (3 days, includes lunches) or $510.00 (4 days, includes lunches) and you may elect to purchase dinner on the farm if you wish to join in the food and after-hours fun.
2017 Workshops: October 16 to 19
at the old lyme studio and flat rock farm*
Two-day workshops explore the ancient art of creating bound-resist patterns and dyeing textiles with Indigo. On the first day we will fold, bind, block and tie our scarves using Japanese Shibori techniques, and then mix our indigo dye vat. On the second day we will dip our fabrics several times in the vat before opening them up to reveal fabulous patterns and designs! We will hang them to dry before you leave with your instructions (and bar of soap!) to wash them at home. Please note that indigo dyeing takes place outdoors, so we dye from April through October only.
Participants: Up to 6 students from beginners through experienced dyers.
Fee: $200.00. (CT Handweavers Guild members pay a reduced rate)
Materials: Two scarves are included in the workshop fee. Additional scarves in different lengths and fibers will be available at a low cost. Both beginner and advanced level dyers may want to work on Nui Shibori (pulled string) techniques using New World Textiles' 100% American cotton woven with pull strings incorporated in the weaving process. This exciting new fabric is designed by Eileen Hallman, and scarf blanks will be offered for purchase at the workshop. In addition students are highly encouraged to bring articles of their own clothing, linens and other textiles to dye.
2017 Workshops: May 18 & 19, June 6 & 7, July 7 & 8, August 11 & 12, September 28 & 29
Returning students may bring their prepared bundles to a one-day dye session on September 29.
The market basket
at flat rock farm
Sosse Baker of The Chester Gallery in Chester, Connecticut, will lead us through the steps of creating a sturdy market basket with an ash handle and strong bottom that is perfect for carrying your farmers' market shopping. The finished basket measures 16" by 11" and stands about 8" tall. Come to stay at the farm or attend the workshop as a day student. Sosse gave us this course description: "Day 1. Beginning with a unique base found in an early Pennsylvania basket, students will attach skids to the base and weave up the sides of the basket using natural and dyed weavers to create a checkerboard effect. Day 2 will be spent finishing off the basket with laced rims and a sturdy ash handle. Finally we'll dip our baskets in a driftwood dye."
Participants: Four guesthouse and four day students. No prior experience required.
Fee: Workshop fee includes two days of instruction and lunch prepared each day at the Farm: $250.00
Lodging includes two nights in the Farm's beautiful guesthouse, as well as breakfast and dinner each day. $240.00
Materials Fee: $50.00 per student to the Instructor.
at flat rock farm
Students aged 9 to 14 are invited to learn to weave on the historic looms at Flat Rock Farm! The farm is home to The School for American Handweaving and to four antique looms upon which students practice this centuries-old art form. Our first children’s program is being offered Mondays from 4-5:00 starting April 24th through May 15th. A light after school snack will be available for students arriving on the bus to the Farm. While adult classes enable the creation of full sized rugs, this introductory course will focus on fun: we encourage children to weave freestyle wall hangings with colorful yarns or a small rug for your room using our traditional tabletop and historic floor looms. Space is limited to 8 participants and will be filled on a first come basis. Please contact us via email to reserve your space now! Cost: $100. Materials: $25 per participant covers all materials.
Out-of-State Students: The guesthouse at Flat Rock Farm is available for many, but not all, workshops. Please check with the School to ensure availability, as we can always give suggestions for local lodging. And consider bringing your family to stay in the Lyme/Old Lyme area if you are coming from a distance. Located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, our corner of the State is filled with antique homes, historic village centers, farms, woods and rolling hills. A shoreline bird sanctuary and wooded preserves offer quiet places for reflection and bird-watching. In warm weather there are nearby beaches and a place to rent kayaks. This area is being called the "Hamptons of southeastern Connecticut" for good reason.
:|:|: Apprenticeship :|:|:
In this time-honored arrangement for learning a craft the apprentice learns to weave and dye while working with a professional weaver. She/he will work under my guidance in a daily routine of rug production in my Old Lyme studio. The apprentice is responsible for her/his own transportation, room and board, and is expected to be punctual and helpful. The apprentice will:
- Commit to a specific length of time of 6 months or more, and a minimum of three full days a week during this time.
- Assist in all aspects of rug weaving, including winding warps, setting up looms, cutting and preparing weft, sampling, weaving and finishing rugs.
- Assist with dyeing cloth and yarn.
- Assist with organizing supplies, cataloging inventory and cleanup of the studio.
- Design and keep one 3' by 5' rag or alpaca rug that she/he has woven during the apprenticeship.
No prior weaving experience is necessary, but a true desire to learn is required. After agreeing on the time and schedule, a written contract will be signed. If you are interested please send your resume, three references and contact information to email@example.com and indicate when you would be available to start. The next apprenticeship opening will be in January, 2018.
Maureen Connaughton, 2017:
Steven Pohl, 2016:
Jeannette Pringle, 2015: As a young girl in Switzerland Jeannette was introduced to fiber through mandatory knitting lessons at school. Imagine that! She hated it at first, but grew to love it so much that she became a masterful knitter who designs her own patterns. In 2010 she began to learn weaving with Lucienne Coiffman at Guilford Handcrafts, and then wove rugs for Beaverbrook Farm Lyme, Connecticut.
Hannah Kitt, 2014: Latest update on Hannah - she's started her own website and is doing contract weaving for farmers. Go girl! Here's what she has to say about her time here: "As an apprentice, I have been thoroughly immersed in many different aspects of weaving. As is true in most of life, the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know. I came to Connecticut to weave with Stephanie having learned enough to know I loved weaving- I had gotten my feet wet. In my time at the studio, I have gotten to experience the many different aspects of production weaving. I have warped and helped wind on countless warps, helped with classes, have woven many rag and alpaca rugs, and learned various finishing techniques. I also had the chance to attend local guild meetings, a state guild meeting, and the HGA Convergence in Providence, RI. Most importantly, I have developed a tool set. I have learned how to troubleshoot and figure out why something isn't working, and how to fix it. As my time here comes to a close, I feel that I am equipped with the ability to move forward with confidence. I don't know everything, but I have the tool set to figure it out."
Hannah came to my studio with a degree in Studio Arts from Iowa State University, and was eager to learn to weave rugs. She left with a strong background in warping and weaving alpaca and rag rugs, and strengthened her dyeing skills during our many indigo days in the summer. Everyone who came in contact with her will miss her quiet, calm presence and immeasurable help. To see photos of her two apprenticeship rugs that she is taking home with her go to my Facebook page at Stephanie Morton Handweaver. All the best in following your dream to become a professional weaver, Hannah!