Saturday, January 17, 2015

Looking Forward in 2015

Still recovering from the holiday season?  Try easing back into the studio by reading an inspiring book, reviewing your stash of yarns and fibres or maybe marking the guild meetings on a new 2015 calendar.  You could try making some new years resolutions with a fibre arts theme but that suggests commitment and it might be premature since you are probably coming down from a prolonged dose of sugar and calories and may be over influenced by guilt.   Still on that theme if a fitness-related resolution is on your mind remember that spinning and weaving burn calories and involve both upper body and leg exercises.  So, "weave more" or "spin more" are healthy resolutions.

If you decide to start with something easy like "set up the calendar" then the following might help.
In addition to the monthly guild meetings, the Colour Study Group and the More Than Four Study Group will be getting together on a regular basis.  The study groups support shared learning about a specific topic.  
The Colour Study Group is working on the topic of neutral colours.  Neutral colours may not be showy but they often hold a piece together while allowing other hues to stand out.  Grey and beige are not the only neutral colours and not all greys and beiges are created equal.  Currently members of the group are exploring neutral colours by designing and weaving items based on an array of neutral colours.  At the same time they are exploring how different weave structures will impact on how the colours in warp and weft blend together.
colour gamp in huck threading

Perhaps the most enlightening part of study group meetings is seeing how individual group members have interpreted the challenge.  These two items accomplish the same objective but they are quite different.

colour exercise in diversified plain weave

The More Than Four study group are exploring 3 dimensional effects including, weave structures that give a surface effect, materials that create pleats, tucks and bumps after finishing and techniques that involve a combination of material effects and weave structure effects.  After some research the group discovered the field was very broad indeed.  The members of the group have chosen 3 areas they would like to explore and are currently weaving samples for the first topic they selected.

loose woven prior to wet finishing
The photos show samples of collapse weave based on a high energy yarn, a single rayon thread, that was used as the weft in the piece.  The warp was set very open to give a gauzy fabric.  When the piece was washed the weft yarn kinks as show in the close up.  The final width of the piece is about half the original woven width.  The same effect can be created with over spun wool singles so if you are a spinner with some over spun yarn this technique might be of interest.

close up showing weft kinks after wet finishing

There are other weaving and spinning related activities that you might want to explore for your calendar in 2015.  For new or want-to-be spinners there will be beginning spinning lessons in February.  For everyone there is a spinning and weaving retreat in Powell River at the end of March (27 to 29).  This event is an opportunity to renew or make new friendships with members of other guilds.  Then there is the Robyn Spady workshop and lectures in June.  Add to that some group projects at our loft studio and resource centre and you have a very busy spring.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Carols and Cookies

We have put down our tools and donned our Christmas sweaters for the holiday season.  You will find us in the kitchen baking, out and about shopping, or over eating as the season demands.

 While we do not like to admit it, some of us are madly trying to finish those hand made presents.  If only we had not sold all those scarves at the November sale we would be finished by now.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the past year of friendship and creative efforts with a pot luck lunch.  Great food and good companionship along with the cheques from the sale made it a very festive event indeed.

As we have been busy with other activities this month, I thought it might be fun to review some previous works that have a red and green theme.  So, the following is a collection of old photographs.  Some of the photos are from previous winter sales including the felted sheep on the wreath and the tree.  They went to good homes in 2012.

felted sheep on a vine wreath Nov 2012
Christmas ornaments

Rep weave place mats
set of towels
study group, block weaves
study group, undulating twill yardage

Some of the works were done as part of a study by the More Than Four study group as they worked their way through different subjects.  Twills and block design are two examples

denting and cramming scarf
wool scarf in twill

There are many different ways to interpret a scarf from light and airy,almost decorative, to dense, warm and functional.  Like tea towels, scarves are excellent projects for learning new techniques.  They are fun to weave or knit and a welcome gift.  The scarves pictured here are very different.

hand spun yarn in two distinct styles, a lacy scarf and a cozy hat

table runner diversified plain weave
pin loom snowman

tied weave runner
detail of wool scarf with diamonds in twill
Snowmen are a popular theme at this time of year.
a crowed of felted snow people
 Red and green can be a difficult combination to work with especially with weaving as crossing the two colours will create a muddy brown.  That probably accounts for the small number of pieces that have both colours as often a more advanced technique is required to keep the colours separated.  Hope you enjoyed our holiday retrospective.

We will either be taking in the sun on a warm beach or back in the studio in January.  In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas carols and the cookies.