I love that, through teaching, I have the opportunity to encourage others to fall in love with textiles. No matter your experience level – if you’ve never touched cloth before, or are a seasoned pro – there’s always new things to learn and I’d love to help you or your group discover new skills and passions.
Below are descriptions of workshops I teach, but I’m happy to put together a custom workshop or creative experience. My workshops are typically textiles-based and explore skills in spinning (I cover many topics, but specialize in working with raw wool & fibre properties); non-traditional quilting; image transfer & cloth; sewing; pattern drafting & fashion design; machine knitting & knitwear design; dyeing animal fibres; and fabric manipulation.
Intro to Spinning
Get comfortable spinning on a wheel and learn the basics of fiber properties, how to prepare fibres, how your wheel works, how to buy materials, and everything else you need to feel good about spinning!
Crash Course in Spinning
Have you ever wanted to learn to spin your own yarn? Now’s your chance! Learn how to use a spinning wheel to spin different fibers and make and design your own beautiful handspun yarns. In this crash course you’ll get comfortable with the basics of using a spinning wheel, how to buy and handle different types of fiber, and how to troubleshoot your own wheel. Be careful though, this can lead to a lifetime obsession!
Raw Wool? Wonderful!
There is nothing better than burying your fingers into a freshly shorn sheep fleece! Soft wool fibers, lanolin, and the smell of sheep; nothing more magical than taking that fiber and seeing it come alive as spun yarn at your very finger tips. The world of spinning raw wool, while amazingly rewarding, can also be intimidating to dive into. Rachel MacGillivray will help you take the plunge and uncover some of the mystery. Here, you’ll learn about different types of fleece and how to pick a good one for spinning. You’ll find out what to do when you get it home, including: skirting and different ways to clean, prepare the fibre, and spin. Together we will skirt and wash up a fleece and play with fibre prep. Participants will learn everything they need to go out and buy a fleece and start spinning!
Please note: this is not a basic “learn to spin” workshop.
1 Day, but can also be expanded to a 2 or 3 day workshop where we do breed studies, work with examples of raw wool from the predominant wool-type groups, and card, comb, and spin.
Noils, Nepps, and Knock Out Yarn!
Learn to get exciting texture and impact in your yarns! In this course we’ll play with adding different materials such as silk noil, wool nepps, sari silk, mohair locks, wool locks, fabric strips, sequins, sparkle fibers, yarn confetti, and other, more unusual and unexpected materials to your handspun. Find out all about what these fibers are, how you can find them, and how you can use them in your spinning. Stretch your mind and be ready to have fun!
Level up your spinning skills in this 3-day course. We’ll practice unbalanced plying and novelty spinning and learn things like making coils, spiral yarn, and intentional thick & thin. We’ll get technical with new drafting and fiber prep methods and talk about how they affect your finished yarns. We’ll also look at lovely long raw wool and practice lockspinning.
Dyeing and Colour Theory for Spinners
In this class you’ll be introduced to the boundless world of dyeing your fibers for spinning. Together, we’ll safely mix & use dyes for animal fibers and touch on how they differ from dyes for plant fibers. Learn different ways to dye your top, roving, loose fiber, and spun yarns; add a punch of colour to your work by dyeing textural add ins like silk noil, locks, nepps, and icicle sparkle.
We’ll delve into colour theory and topics like “What does analogous mean?” “What happens when you mix complimentary colours?” Blending & fiber prep exercises will help you to understand colour mixing and learn why record keeping matters. Solid colours? Painted transitions? Crazy variegated dye baths?! You want ‘em? you got ‘em! By the end of this course you’ll have dyed fibers to play with, a sample book with various dye & blend methods, spun yarns, and the confidence to dye fibers & experiment with colourways in your work.