Saturday, October 7, 2017

Spinning and Weaving for Active Ageing

golf course with chestnuts
This year the recreational department of our regional district asked the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners to participate in their "active ageing" week activities.  They wanted to broaden the emphasis of the activities beyond those traditionally considered "physical activity".

From the time that we are quite young we are told that physical activity is "good" for us.  Remember gym classes and those horrid outfits?  If they weren't enough of a turn off then running laps in the cold (in those horrid outfits) certainly did it for a lot of us.  Later in life, we may have taken up yoga or a sport (Golf and tennis fashion were an improvement over gym bloomers.) or even joined a gym.  Maintaining these activities over a changing life time can be difficult, yet we are told physical and mental activity are important for maintaining health in our senior years.

loom or gym equipment?
So what does this have to do with spinning and weaving?  Well, both involve a body in motion and both involve mental activity.  Spinning involves stretching and gentle rhythmic movement of the legs, feet and arms.  It is similar to yoga in its ability to create calm.  Weaving involves lifting weights, pulling, and rhythmic arm movements.  It reminds me of a universal gym machine. 
Spinning and weaving also involve mental activity such as planning, measuring and calculating.

Our new home in Qualicum Commons was not ready to receive guests so we decided to join with other groups to put on demonstrations at the Qualicum Beach Museum.

active ageing in the fall sunshine
We shared an outdoor area with a group of sketchers and did double duty, providing them with something to sketch as well as showing off our craft. 

inkle loom weaving

We included demonstrations of hand manipulated weaving, spinning with a drop spindle as well as with a wheel. 

Salish loom and drop spindle demonstrations

This event is our last outdoor exhibition of the year.  Our attention is now focused on the annual show and sale, Elegant Threads.  For more information see the side bar.  The sale committee is busy planning and promoting.  Members are busy working on new items for the sale. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fall Fair Exhibit

Dahlia exhibit at Lighthouse Fair
One of our favourite events is the Lighthouse Community Fall Fair. This takes place just up the highway from Qualicum Beach at the Lighthouse Community Centre.  This year the guild had a large room in the main building so in addition to our usual demonstrations we had a large display.

When not attending our display, guild members got to check out the exhibits and prize winners (the Dahlia's are exquisite), eat home made pie, visit the vendors, participate in a cake walk or silent auction and generally have a good time.

Outfits pairing denim clothing with hand crafted items

This year we decided to stage our weaving display around two themes, what goes with denim clothing and what can you make out of denim cloth.  We made outfits based on a piece of denim clothing such as jeans, a dress or a jacket.  It was surprising to see how many different hand crafted items fit with the casual look and colour of denim.  We had shawls, scarves, knitted tops, vests and even felted beads.

denim dress and shawl

funky flower hat

Jude's rags and rug

Linda explaining rag rugs
The second part of our display included items made out of denim and tee shirts.  It included rugs and a fancy denim bag.  Linda was kept busy explaining the process of cutting the rags and weaving the cloth.  The random surface effect of turns or joins in the rag strips gives a lovely homely effect that is characteristic of these simple but very effective and practical pieces.
While the weaving looks simple there is an art to getting a tight rug with a consistent width that will lay flat on the floor.  The preparation of the rag strips can take longer than the actual weaving.

detail of  Charlie's tee shirt rug

Our display included demonstrations of spinning and of weaving.  The warp on our small demo loom was finished and the end knots on the warp on our Jane loom are rapidly approaching the harnesses.  That isn't surprising since both looms have been in heavy use this summer.

Tracy's rovings

The Lighthouse Fall Fair includes the usual prize categories for handicrafts and baking.  Spinning, Felting and Weaving are included in the needlework category.  One of the weaving prizes is sponsored by Weaver's Atelier and another is sponsored by the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild.

Jude's nuno felted shawl

Gitte's star

Misc weaving category

Several of our members came home with prize ribbons and rosettes.

This marks the last of our summer public events but we will be participating in the Regional District of Nanaimo, Active Aging Program.  The public is invited to come to the Qualicum Beach Museum on Thursday September 28th from 1 to 4 pm where they will have a chance to try their hand at spinning and weaving and learn more about guild activities.

Check our "events" calendar and the special links section for more information about meetings and demonstrations.