Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flopsy and her friend Mopsy (hidden behind the curry bush) are suggesting that gardening time will soon be competing with studio time.  Until then we are having fun painting warps, learning to spin and weaving scarves at our guild studio in the Train Station in Qualicum Beach.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Train Station and soon we will be busy planning our contribution to the celebration.  The celebration will take place on August 23rd.  If you are in our area come and join the celebration.  More information will be posted as the date draws near.

At our monthly meeting we were treated to a presentation by the "colour study group".  The group began by exploring basic colour theory then went on to consider designing with colour.  Recently members of the group have been using woven colour gamps to illustrate how threads crossing in different weave structures will alter the perception of colour.  After their presentation they challenged the audience to do some yarn wraps to explore colour combinations.

Cathy's painted scarf in bamboo yarn

Over the past couple of months guild members have been learning how to "paint" a warp with dye.  Many versions of painted scarves have appeared at monthly show and tell sessions.  They have been so popular that we set up one of the guild looms with a painted warp.

These two pieces were woven from the same warp by different weavers.  The warp consisted of mixed cellulose based fibres that work well with fibre-reactive dyes.  The bamboo scarf pictured above came from a different warp but the same dyes were used.

The red and the blue scarves were also woven on a painted warp.  The dye process is messy and requires a lot of preparation so it makes sense to dye several warps at a time.  The problem is we may not have a detailed plan for that warp so we need to improvise when the plan and the materials don't match.  In the case of these two scarves the clever weavers used solid stripes to get the required width and add a design feature.

 While scarves have been very popular some members have been exploring new areas.  We were treated to an example of "bead leno" a technique that uses beads to twist yarns during the weaving process so that an open but secure cloth is created.  The example shows how various weft materials alter the look and texture of the cloth.  Some areas are almost transparent.

And finally we have a lovely reminder of Christmas in this hand towel with the border of trees.  I think they must be the Douglas Fir trees that are so common in our area.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mid-winter in the Studio

Mid-winter on the coast means grey skies, occasional flurries mixed with the rain and short days.  One could go into a sulk like the two bald eagles sitting on the fishing boat in the picture.  Not interested in soaring majestically these two were just squawking their discontent to anyone on the wharf who was willing to listen.

Lucky for us we can chase away those mid-winter blues in our studios.  We can substitute bright coloured materials for those grey skies, take comfort in the rhythm of the spinning wheel and look forward to brighter days.

Mabel's silk & Samoyed yarn
We have many accomplished spinners in our group as well as a lot of folks new to the art of spinning.  There are a number of small holdings in our area. Many of them are home to animals that produce material for spinning which is one reason why spinning is a popular past time locally.  We are lucky to have some excellent spinning teachers in our guild.  They provide workshops for both novice spinners and advanced spinners.  They also keep the guild equipment working and are a bank of knowledge for guild members.  A weaving guild's most valuable assets are the members with expertise who are willing to share it.

February is shaping up to be a month for spinning.  Beginner spinning lessons are under way at our studio space in the Train Station.  For the more advanced, we had a demonstration of using a blending board to mix fibres prior to spinning them.
In the first photo, Sharon has laid a series of coloured hanks across a blending board then she combs them in order to blend the different colours.  While the demonstration involves the same material dyed different colours you could use the same process to blend different materials such as the silk and dog hair that makes up Mabel's yarn.
The photo below shows how a blended fibre would look when spun then knitted.
examples of blended fibres, yarns and knitted items
As always our meeting include an opportunity to for members to show their works and share information.  This month we had a variety of items on display.
Margie's netting
Sylvia's rug
They include a light net-like piece and a dense rug which demonstrate the great range of items that all started out as yarn.