Fibers Foundation : From Sheep to Yarn

 June 28 - 30, 2019

(Friday evening - Sunday afternoon)

$290 per person

limited to nine participants


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We live our lives in a natural world filled with incredible color; our constructed and human-made worlds, too, are amazingly colorful.   Color is good and fills our vision with joy.


In addition to the color that nature provides for free with no involvement on our part, with a little effort and know-how, we can produce amazing colors on fiber and fabric by only using materials provided by Mother Nature.  In this workshop we'll dye yarn with amazing blues from indigo, brassy yellows and golds from marigolds and onion skins, pale yellow from carrot tops, red from the cochineal insect from American deserts, browns from walnuts, and whatever color this year's comfrey feels like producing.  With little extra effort, we can also produce greens, oranges, and purples from those humble beginnings.  We'll be mostly dyeing wool yarn, but indigo is non-discriminatory and will welcome both wool and cotton.


The instructor is providing all materials, including all dyestuffs and eight ounces of 100% wool yarn.  If you'd like to bring 100% cotton items (tee-shirts, napkins, socks, underwear), they will be welcome in the indigo pot.


Natural dyeing is so much fun and is a wonderful and very easy way to play with color.  In addition, you'll spend a good part of the workshop giggling.  Appropriate for those who are 15 or older.  Please join us!

Class includes:

  • expert instruction

  • LOTS of hands-on experience

  • take home samples and instructions

  • six delicious meals  


Class is limited to nine participants for optimal learning opportunity.

Click here to register!


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Achieving beautiful colors dyeing with onion skins and indigo in our September workshop.

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About Your instructor:

Greg Cotton grew up on a sheep farm in South Dakota and always wondered what happened to all that wool after shearing was done.  In 1980 he learned to spin, and being a person of generally oddball passions has not stopped spinning since then; in fact, he has been teaching other people how to spin since 1983.  Greg lives in Iowa City with five chickens and a house filled with fourteen spinning wheels, 98 spindles, seven looms, innumerable knitting needles, and enough wool to survive the zombie apocalypse.  When he's not involved with fiber or chickens, he works as the College Librarian at Cornell College (where he never attends a faculty or committee meeting without a knitting project or a drop spindle close at hand).  His non-fiber passions include baking bread with his 27 year old sourdough starter, faithfully writing in his daily diary, and never ever missing a day at the gym.

Cancellation Policy: Full workshop fee and one-half of accommodations charge (if any) are both due at time of reservation; balance due upon check-in. Full refund (less $25 accounting fee) returned with a full 7 days notice. Less than 7 days notice for a cancellation will result in loss of deposit.

ACCOMMODATIONS (not included in Workshop fee)


Two nights for $115 for a single, $140 for two guests.*  For the Rachel Carson Room, add $20 a third guest.

Aldo Leopold Room (left photo, above) - Upstairs, king bed

David Brower Room (center photo, above) - Upstairs, queen bed

Rachel Carson Room (right photo, above) - Upstairs, queen & twin beds

Wallace Stegner Room(not pictured) - Downstairs, two twins, available only to those requiring an accessible room.

*A $30 cleaning fee will be added to each room

Mercantile overflow - If the Mercantile fills up, there are also  rooms available in a neighbor's comfortable house, located less than one mile from the Mercantile. Rooms there are priced the same as the Mercantile's. Please contact our innkeeper with any questions.