Because, we are smarter than string.

I’ve mentioned that Southern California is a pretty amazing place where great stuff happens, right? Well here’s another reason why you wish you lived here!

Twice a year, in a little church in downtown Monrovia (just north and east of downtown LA), something amazing happens.

Yellow yarn

People drive in from all over Southern California because they know that Griffin Dyeworks is throwing a frolic. They come lugging spinning wheels and bags of wool, their knitting and all their toys… and then they hang out in this little church ALL DAY LONG and do things like learn to spin worsted yarn. Or maybe they learn to do a long draw and spin woolen or possibly they learn to knit on tiny wooden needles. Maybe even to use a drop spindle. Some of ’em show up to learn how to dye fiber using stuff you can find in your backyard.

Wheel and bokeh

Y’all, they learn how to dye wool using bugs. The outside is full of bugs. Bugs which can one day contribute to sweaters. Who knew?

Dyed with bugs!

There are alpaca pushers. With batts.

Batts made out of alpaca.

Did I mention, that these alpaca pushers, they are pushing alpaca at poor defenseless spinners? I didn’t get any pictures of this happening because I was too busy whipping out my wallet and buying alpaca.

Ceramic spindle whorls

That is not alpaca. Those are spindle whorls. Seriously, I’m not showing you the alpaca. It’s mine. All mine. ALL THE ALPACA.

There’s laughing and talking. Old friends meet old friends, strangers become new friends and we all make plans to meet up again in six months. Or next week down at the coffeeshop.

The broken wheel

People are happy to lend you their orifice hooks, spare bobbins or a spindle. If your wheel is having problems, there are people falling over themselves to help you figure out how to fix it. They’re happy to teach you the stuff they know, because they want you to know it too. Just for the joy of it.

A charka or spindle wheel

Twice a year, this little church in downtown Monrovia becomes a host to something that is a whole ‘nother kind of sacred – other than its daily purpose of being God’s house, I mean. It becomes a place where knowledge of history, love of craft and skillsets are shared freely, happily, and sought after just as enthusiastically.

Just because.

Because, it is there.

And, because string is fun.

The Indigo

This is Good.

Griffin Dyeworks and Fiber Arts

About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
This entry was posted in knitting, LA Stories, spinning, Strings, Sticks and Wheels, weaving. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Because, we are smarter than string.

  1. vivupnorth says:

    It looks marvelous, beautiful, and joyful! And makes me want nothing more than to play with yarn all day. Which may very well be an option.

  2. Bailey says:

    Vrrry niiice, Rainy! It was oodles of fun!

  3. Mouse says:

    How awesome! There is usually nothing like that around my area- I’d love to learn how to use natural dyes!

  4. DataGoddess says:

    What kind of fiber was it, again, and can I have some? 😉

    Some day I need to visit you so you can teach me to spin, like you taught me to knit!!

    • Rainy says:

      back off my alpaca, lady…

      yes, I will totally teach you to spin! I would love to.

      And you can learn on a nice border leicester. Not alpaca.

  5. cavalaxis says:

    Yes, but was there any alpaca? 😉

    So good to see you again, my dear. ❤

    • Rainy says:


      It was all like, omg, there is all this mother!@#!@ alpaca all up at this mother@$#@!% fiber frolic. Except, with less swearing and more buying.

      OMG. Alpaca on a plane. I can sort of see it…

  6. Andrea says:

    Nice picture of my spinning wheel. I had to change the bobbin to get it working. It was nice siting next to you spinning. Oooooo yummy alpaca.

    • Rainy says:

      Oh you know, the last time I looked over you guys had just realized the bobbin wasn’t spinning, did that fix the problem?

  7. CambriaW says:

    I’m. So. Jealous. 😉

    • Rainy says:

      It was really awesome. I was totally humbled by the amazing spinners in that room and all the knowledge that was being so freely shared!

  8. OMG!! If I had the cash on me at the time I too would have taken home some Alpaca delight!! I pet it and nearly climbed in one of the bags!!! Apparently they frown upon such behavior… 😛

  9. Cat says:

    I’m so glad we got to connect at the Retreat, and I simply ADORE your photos. 🙂

  10. Bjo Trimble says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful Fiber Frolic review! This is exactly why we started first the 3-day Fiber Retreat, and then – for those who could not get away for a whole weekend – 1-day Frolics. All this to draw we fiber artists together, to learn, to share, and to fall in love with alpaca. It’s my passion to teach others how much fun this can be. What more can one ask? — Bjo

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