A place to come to see what's new at Heritage Spinning & Weaving – Lake Orion, MI

A Weekend of Color


The last time SOAR (Spin Off Autumn Retreat) was in Michigan I met Deb Menz (author of Color in Spinning and ColorWorks) and decided that I wanted to have her come teach at the shop. Shortly thereafter I booked her for 2007 – 4 or 5 years in the future. I remember thinking that was a really bold thing to do seeing as we’d only been in business for a short time. Well, that time simply FLEW! Deb came last week and she was all I had hoped for and more.


Several years ago, I realized that it was impossible for me to take a class at my own shop. First off, I find that my being a student is disruptive to all the other students because of facilitating the class and running the shop and, hence, interruptions. It follows that this means that it is really hard for me to focus in a class and I don’t get out of it what I should. However, I find that having visiting instructors is a real treat to me because they are often former shop owners, always visit many shops and understand my business from a different perspective than most. That means I get to talk shop, which is a fun thing to do from time to time. Deb and I hit it off nicely and were able to help each other with our businesses, which was fun for me.



Since I didn’t sit in on the workshop, I invited guest bloggers, once again, to share their impressions of the weekend: what they learned, what surprised them, how they were inspired. Here’s what they wrote, starting with the instructor:

Deb Menz (at left advising Maureen): It was a delight to teach this group!! By the third day, they were the quietest group I have taught . . . but I could see the wheels in their minds turnig as they designed their own multi-colored yarns. A teacher can’t ask for more than that. Thank you, Joan!

Kimberly: This was a fun class with lots of “hands on” color theory. Deb is a marvelous instructor and gave us a fine foundation for furthering our creativity with color. It was surprising to see how the same colorways turned out totally different yarns depending on the way the fiber was blended (thin layers, short stripes, long stripes) and prepared for spinning – rolled and pulled batts or Z-stripes. It has inspired me to be more creative, experimental and inventive. As Deb pointed out – ideas are all around us – we just need to take time to pursue them!

Mary: I learned how to minimize and emphasize a particular color in a yarn, how to change a color I don’t like into one that I do without dyeing it, and how to manipulate color by the way you add it to the drum carder and draft it afterward. I was surprised that you can actually make a great looking yarn out of nine colors . . . that plying isn’t absolutely necessary. I was inspired to grab all the leftover colors I have in my stash and start creating interesting yarns. I will keep my drum carder out because it can be a much bigger part of the creative process than I had given it credit for. Thanks to Deb! Thanks to Joan!

Tress: How fortunate we are to be able to take advantage of Deb’s creativity before she retires from teaching on the road. She made me feel confident when I had my doubts.

Linda: Wow! What a wonderful class. Color. Color. Color. I have no fear of color any more. The color wheel is a wonderful invention – the second best to the caveman’s wheel! There’s no limit to the possibilities. I absolutely love Deb’s idea of taking a picture from a magazine and duplicating the tones, huts and values! Thanks Deb and thank you Joan for bringing her here to

Barb: This class not only gave confidence and tools to a novice, but also revealed how rich the world of color work is. I got enough ideas for a lifetime all in a collaborative and engaging class. Deb knows just when to coach, encourage and inspire.

Jeri: What fun! I can see my using things I learned in Deb’s class as I design my next flower garden, my next quilt, my next woven placement and, oh yeah, my next spinning/knitting project. Seeing all those colors just waiting for us to dive into? Why, it was better than chocolate.

Fran: I learned a great deal about my drum carder and how to use it. I also enjoyed learning about how to strip the colors, how to blend them. Deb has wonderful classroom management skills – how to pace, etc. She is wonderfully patient and cheerful with us all. Now I feel I can take these concepts and plly them to a project and I can also put color together in different ways than I have would have. A great class! A great teacher!

And, a final note from Joan. While Deb may not be taking her “show on the road” after this year, she will be available for workshops in her studio. For more I information, watch her website: www.debmenz.com. And a few more photos:


Spinning up some colorwork. 



Gentle shades of spring.


Graduated batt predafted for spinning.


Can’t you just see the calm of fiber preparation? 


A work in progress.


Sybil doing her Abe Lincoln impression using her lovely original single skein created in class.

Comments on: "A Weekend of Color" (2)

  1. Oh the color! Oh to be able to create the yarn! What a great resource you brought to MI. It will be exciting to see the results of this class. Thanks, too, for the insight into a shop owner wanting to take a class–you are a student, too.

  2. Gee I was so engrossed in all the color I forgot to write down my blog comments during class! This workshop with Deb was unbelievable. Being able to create beautiful fiber batts and spin with the excitement of colors unfolding is marvelous and liberating. We can create just what we want as spinners! Deb had a way of explaining color and basic color theory so that I finally “got” it. What a gift…thank you Joan for having the foresight to bring Deb here for us. Ohh..and one carder is not enough…sigh.

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