Monday, June 4, 2018

Merry Month of May

Family  Day
May has been a busy month for the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners.
 This month we attended our first outdoor event of the season, the Qualicum Beach, Family Day.  Our booth was popular with small aspiring weavers and spinners as well as their parents. 

rosepath tea towel

The tea towel project finished up at the end of the month.  The floor looms in our studio at Qualicum Commons had been dressed with warps threaded in a rosepath pattern for tea towels.  Each weaver was assigned a length of warp.  The weft colours and treadling patterns were the weaver's choice. so the end results were quite different. Check out the finished cloth on the loom and see how the weft has altered the colours.

preparing for warp painting
We've been playing with dyes.  In order to create colour effects that change over the length of the cloth we can weave with different colours of weft threads or we can dye the warp before it is put on the loom and weave with one colour of weft.

The dye process is a messy so it is a perfect project for a sunny day and as you can see by the photos the weather cooperated.

applying dye
In the photos, fibre reactive dyes are being applied to cellulose based yarn such as, rayon, cotton or linen.  The yarns have been wound as a warp, tied loosely, washed well and then soaked in a sodium carbonate solution and wrung out so they are damp.  The liquid dye is applied in any order or pattern imaginable then the warp is carefully wrapped in plastic and allowed to "cure".  This type of dye does not require high temperatures to react with the fibre.

The results always include some surprises as the dyes tend to move and intermix to give intermediate results that are not always predictable.

painted warp with inspiring flowers

We will be taking a break from regular general meetings from June until September but interest and study groups will continue to meet regularly at Qualicum Commons on Primrose Street.  In July we will be opening up our studio to the public as part of the ART IN ACTION event organized by The Old School House Art Centre.  This is a major event that includes displays and demonstrations and even a painting contest.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Settling into our new home

In August of 2017 the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners left our beloved but cramped home in the old Via Train Station in Qualicum Beach.  The tiny loft with sloped ceilings at the top of a narrow stair case was full of wonderful memories but we had to admit access was a problem and we had outgrown the space.

With the assistance of the Town of Qualicum Beach we moved to a new location in the centre of the downtown area.  Qualicum Commons on Primrose Street is a re-purposed elementary school.  There we have a spacious ground floor former class room.  At first the space was daunting.  So much of it with nothing but bare walls that go straight up!

entrance to Qualicum Commons

After several iterations the space is now a studio, library and meeting space.  It even has a small coffee corner.  Doug our treasurer and handy man is now quite adept at putting up and taking down shelving in record time.  His patience is greatly appreciated.  Also thanks to a grant from the Regional District of Nanaimo we have tables that are light weight and more flexible, storage cupboards and containers for organizing supplies.

library corner

looms everywhere

weaving lessons in progress

Study group 
The space has allowed us to expand workshops including beginning weaving and knitting classes.
Study groups and interest groups are finding the space more accessible and attendance at our general meetings has grown.

In July we will be inviting the public to visit our studio as part of the ART IN ACTION event.  This is an annual outdoor gathering of local artisans.  It is hosted by The Old School House Art Centre.  Mark your calendar for July 21st and plan to pay us a visit. 

Above is an example of items that were part of the show and tell portion of our April general meeting.
clasp weave woven bag

The pink and white bag is an older piece of weaving.  The weaving was planned carefully to include the raised knots that mark the steps in the pink bands as they become narrower.  The rings for the draw string were inserted while the piece was on the loom and the draw cord is made from the same yarns.  It may look like simple weaving but it requires a consistent beat and accurate measurements to ensure that all of the design elements line up when the bag is constructed.

Jackie's Hat

In May look for our booth at the Qualicum Beach Family Day Celebration on May 26th.