Thursday, June 9, 2016

Painting Yarn

hand dyed warp
May was a busy month for the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners.  We celebrated our 25th anniversary, held our final business meeting before the summer break, attended Qualicum Beach Family Days and discussed painting yarn with Lucy Slykerman.

Detail from Lucy's shawl

testing dye strength
Lucy Slykerman is well known for her work with painted warps.  She was in our area and generously agreed to meet with members of our group who have an interest in warp painting.  We had a wonderful morning sharing experiences and learning from an expert.
Members of the guild brought in their samples of painted warps or finished products.  We used the samples and the stories behind them to spark discussion about designs and techniques.

Marie's experience with old dye

 Marie brought us an example of what can happen when one uses old dye.  She was not expecting the grey colouring in her scarf.  The age of the dye was questionable ( more than a decade but less than a century).  The lessons presented by this piece might be to date ingredients when you purchase them and test them before you use them.  Lucy showed us a quick way to test a dye using paper towels.

Staggered warp bundles
Several of the examples involved painting the warp or manipulating it when dressing the loom to get specific effects.
Mary brought an example of yardage that was made from painted warp bundles.  The bundles were deliberately off set in order to create blocks of colour.
The blending of one colour into the next is inevitable if the dye liquid has an opportunity to move during curing.  This suggests that you might want to separate colours that will turn muddy when they mix or alternatively you might use this property to create a gradual transition that creates intermediate colour.  Sylvia and Linda brought examples of scarves that demonstrate colour blending.
plain weave scarf
Pat isolated groups of warp threads and used a thickener to reduce dye movement in order to create stripes that change over the length of the warp.

pleated scarf

painted stripes in warp

Lucy showed us her design process and how she uses both painted and solid colour yarns to create stripe interest in her baby wraps.  She finds that darker weft threads tend to make the painted warp stand out so she gets intense colour.

Lucy's design

We left the session with painted warps waiting to go on the loom and/or new ideas for what to do with those colourless yarns sitting in our stash.  You can expect to see some colourful new creations by the fall.

scarf waiting to be woven
We would like to thank Lucy for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to learn from such an accomplished weaver.  To learn more about her work and in particular her baby wraps, check out her website at

Friday, May 20, 2016

25 Years of Fiber and Friendship

Sheila's transparency
centre piece
This month we celebrated our guild's 25th anniversary with an old fashion tea complete with china cups, silver tea pots, fancy sandwiches and cake.

 Each table was decorated with an imaginative table centre.  As you would expect they were one of a kind fibre creations    

 Past members came with stories and memories to share.  We learned how the guild had made several moves before finding a home in the via Train Station and how a painting of the station had helped to raise funds for the studio renovation.      

founding members


Elaine Duncan, the weaving teacher who encouraged her students to form the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild, was our special guest.  Myrtle, who helped to found the guild was one of Elaine's students.  Myrtle presented Elaine with a hand woven shawl. It is inspiring to see that after 25 years both teacher and student are still deeply involved in weaving and continue to share their knowledge and experience with others.
Elaine our first teacher
Our guild has many long term members who have contributed over time by serving on committees or the executive and who continue to be mentors and volunteers a guild events.  They were also recognized as an ongoing resource and presented with the commemorative coasters.

Linda's coasters in summer and winter

Interest in the fibre arts waxes and wanes over time.  Guilds such as ours maintain the knowledge and resources over the long term. They provide support and fellowship for artisans with a common interest.  They encourage new artisans to take up the craft and move it forward.  Thanks to people like Myrtle and Elaine who saw the value in starting and maintaining a guild there will be organizations to help us in our fibre arts journey for many years to come.

As part of the celebration guild members were asked to weave something with silver threads.  The entries into the "glitz" challenge were on display at the tea.  Sheila's transparency (pictured above) captured the spirit of the day with the fireworks and silver threads.  The black outline on the lettering makes it pop against the neutral background.

Many of our guild members are spinners and knitters as well as weavers and we can all use a knitting angel from time to time.
silver and white hand spun yarn
Knitting angel

Several of the pieces were elegant scarves or shawls that were "dressed up" with the subtle use of metallic threads.
close up of inlay section
Silver, white and black make a stunning combination. The piece on the left uses pattern inlay in silver and white against a plain weave in black to make a dramatic statement.
detail undulating twill shawl
Black and silver in an undulating twill creates a glittering effect over the entire piece.  This item will look even better with movement as the silver flashes in the light.
The picture below shows another version of a black and silver shawl.  Narrow silver bands in the warp and in the weft create a pattern of squares. The shawl is open and so light that it would make an elegant wrap for a dressy outfit on even a summer evening.
Any of these shawls would look stunning with the braided necklace with its Celtic knot.

silver lines on black background

braided necklace

sequin scarf

 The final black and silver piece is a narrow scarf with a multitude of silver sequins.  It looks more like a piece of jewellery than a scarf.

Benita's scarf
shawls in teal
Silver also pairs well with cool greens and blues and several members took advantage of this.  The photos shows quite different interpretations of a similar theme.  The three scarves are related in colour although one is a pastel shade.  Two have used a fancy ribbon accent.  One includes the ribbon accent in the warp while the ribbon forms weft bands in varying sizes in the other.

detail of shawl

Silver threads are also present in this twill shawl.  They create a subtle twinkle when the light catches them.

Some imaginative accessories were included in the show.  These items were made using a pin-loom to create squares of cloth that can be assembled to produce larger pieces.  The colourful bags are meant for carrying wine to a party.  Now that's an accessory that fits with the celebration theme.

pin loom bag
wine bags

There was a prize for the best entry into the glitz challenge.  Elaine was put to work to judge the entries.  She was complementary about all of the entries but in the end she had to make a choice.  The winner is now busy deciding which yarns to buy with the gift certificate.
the winner

Many hands helped to make this a great afternoon.  The organizing committee did a great job and we appreciate their efforts.  We would also like to thank Quality Foods of Qualicum Beach for supplying the food and Lyle Mufford of Strait Coffee Roasters in Sechelt for supplying the tea.