Monday, January 22, 2018

We're Back

lichens on a fir branch
Winter is still with us.  The rain has settled in for the long term.  Anything stationary is likely to sprout a nice crop of lichens like the branch in the photo.  Lawns may be green but it's moss not grass with mushrooms dotted here an there.

But of course we are artisans so those lichens are the design for a boa and the mushrooms are fodder for the next batch of natural dye.

Our regular guild meetings have resumed at the Qualicum Commons location in the town of Qualicum Beach.  We are still working through the final layout of our space and thanks to a grant from the Regional District of Nanaimo we can afford proper storage for our library, yarn supplies and growing inventory of equipment.  The space is already well used.  Knitting lessons are underway, Beginning Weaving will start this month.  Several workshops and loom projects are in the planning stages and we are even having a garage sale.
yarn challenge and woven ban

At our general meeting we had a chance to see what people have been working on over the past two months. 

The hand spun yarn in the photo was the result of our previous guild challenge.  If you look closely you can see the sequins that have been added during plying.  The yarn was woven into a decorative band that is the design feature on a very special project bag. 

arbutus pillow cover
The design for the pillow cover is based on the colours and texture of an arbutus tree trunk,  The baby blanket is one of a pair made for a granddaughter.  Does she plan on having twins???  Notice the detail of the edging.

baby blanket with edge detail

multi-yarn warp scarf
The lovely scarf in fuchsia started life as a mixed yarn warp
nuno felted wrap


The blue and natural coloured piece may look like a scarf but you might be surprised to learn it is actually a series of scrubbies that will make your pots and pans shine.

The red and purple piece looks other worldly but it is a section of a nuno felted wrap.  Imagine the dramatic entrance you'd make wearing it.

detail of rug
 The final photo shows the detail of an incredibly colourful rug made with scraps of thick yarn.

We will be busy for the rest of January with lessons and preparing for our yarn sale in February. 
 We received a large donation of yarns that is for sale and in addition members will be selling off their excess inventory.  The yarns are suitable for both knitting and weaving and include natural yarns, mixed yarns and synthetics.  The public are invited to the sale at Qualicum Commons on Primrose Street in Qualicum Beach on Saturday February 10th. 

Oh yes and we will spend some time in the studio especially if the rain keeps on falling. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A little holiday cheer

We have put down our shuttles and moved the spinning wheels to one side while we work on the holidays.  Even the knitting needles are silent.  So we are busy shopping, wrapping presents, cooking and of course eating. 

Which brings us to the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild potluck.  Now this event is special in two regards.  First we get to eat, drink and be merry together and second we get to distribute the proceeds from our Elegant Threads Show and Sale.  The sale was a great success thanks to a horde of volunteers and an even larger horde of shoppers.  Our silent auction brought in almost $1,000 which will help with the rent obligations we now have.

cable yarn
Earlier in the year our president had set guild members a challenge.  Weavers were asked to pick (without peeking) a series of cards with suggestions for designing a woven piece.  Spinners picked from a  series of cards specific for  creating yarn.  Participants were told to bring their results to the December pot luck.

The spinner who produced the blue variegated yarn was challenged to use many values of the same colour, print or paint the yarn and use a cable technique.  If you look closely you will see many different shades of blue.

baby sweater and legings

The knitted outfit is hand spun yarn dyed with mushrooms.  The jacket design is asymmetric.

Unwaxed candle wick is the unconventional material used for weft in the small mug rugs.  Also look for a block weave structure, curves and shades and varieties of white with a cut fringe.  Now that is a challenge!

overshot&finger weaving
The overshot runner on the right had to incorporate overshot as a weave structure, monochromatic colouring with stripes of different lengths, wool as a material and finger weaving as an embellishment. The fringe is finger woven.  The wool warp was painted in shades of blue to create background stripes of different lengths.
The colourful mats required a natural vegetable fibre as one of the materials.  The weaver used iris leaves and cat tail stalks.

bright colours, holes, chenille

Another weaving challenge included Bronson lace as a weave structure, holes as a design feature, bright colours only, chenille as a material and crochet as an embellishment.  A crochet trim in chenille was added to create a colourful border.  The piece looks very Caribbean.

painted warp, Fibonacci series

Or how about Fibonacci series in the design, yarns of two different thicknesses and an 8 shaft weave structure on a painted warp.

The wall hanging required shades of grey, texture as a design feature, a supplementary warp structure, Danish medallions for embellishment and boucle as a material.  The weave structure was based on Theo Moorman's technique for inlay which uses a supplementary warp.  Danish medallions outline a rectangle in the centre.
shades of grey

Executing the challenge piece is only part of the learning.  The real value comes in the group discussions and problem solving.  So, while not everyone produced a piece in the end we all had an opportunity to generate new ideas that will resurface in some future project.

Have a great holiday season.  Enjoy the Christmas lights.  Your neighbours went to heroic and sometimes dangerous lengths to put them up.

Xmas lights and snow men
January will be a busy month for guild members with knitting and weaving classes for beginners, study group meetings and on January 22nd we have our Annual General Meeting.