Saturday, April 14, 2012

Retreat Bag Exchange

butterfly bag
One of the activities at our recent retreat was a bag exchange.  Participants were invited to create a handmade bag and to bring it to the retreat where it would be exchanged for a bag produced by some one else.  The guidelines were very simple, the bag had to have been made by the person submitting it.  With no other guidelines you can imagine that quite a variety of items were submitted. 
mixed media bag
knitted & felted bag
felted bag
wet felted bag

Many of the bags were felted.  Some were wet felted while others had been knitted and then felted.  Even though a similar technique was used the results are quite different.  Some are rustic, some are playful and some are very elegant.
The weavers in the group also showed off their talents.  Some of their bags were made from recycled materials.  The bag with the bold motif in yellow was created out of hand woven sashes. While one of the pink woven bags is made out of rags.

woven bag

This is a small selection of the 29 bags that were brought to the event.  Congratulations to those that submitted bag.  We hope you enjoyed the bag that you took home as much as the people shown below.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shared Inspiration From Retreat

display table
People attending our recent retreat said that one of the most enjoyable aspects of the event was the sharing of ideas through events such as show and tell, the bag exchange and the fashion show.  So, in that spirit what follows are some photos of the show & tell session. 
interpretation of Saskatchewan tartan
skirt of handspun yarn
Heather's scarf
Here we have some of the participants describing their pieces.  Too bad that there is no audio track to accompany the photo's as some of the stories behind the pieces were as interesting as the pieces themselves.  Maybe next time I will take a video and post that.

cat & dog bags

Anita's summer&winter bag
doubleweave table linens
The variety of items was quite amazing.  Many featured handspun yarns. Some of the yarns included unusual fibers as illustrated by the cat and dog bags.  I've heard of people spinning dog hair, but cat hair is a new idea to me.  The lining in the bags had the species appropriate decorations.
The woven pieces included scarves, table linens, and bags.
12 harness pattern in black & silver

  This beautiful top knitted from handspun yarn included an unusual ceramic pin.  the colours in the pin reflect the colour in the top.

This friendship blanket is unique in that is was a group effort with individuals contributing knitted squares which were joined to make the blanket.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Spinners and weavers from all over Vancouver Island and slightly beyond have been happily retreating in Parksville the past 3 days.  The pictures below should give you a flavour of the events.

There were a lot of busy feet and whirring wheels.  Do you recognize any foot wear???
These photos are candid shots and I am glad to say there were no worn out heels or protruding toes in sight.
We have all admired someone's handknit sweater.  Their talent and taste are clearly visible on top but check out the feet if you want to see the real person.  There could be a raving extravert hiding near the floor. 

There are many styles of spinning wheels and we could look at them but I thought it might be more revealing to check out the choice of footwear and treadling technique. There are strong differences in the choice of foot wear.  Some prefer the stocking feet approach while others prefer a range of shoes including sensible walking shoes, garden clogs and a running shoe that could cope with the rocks on the beach.  We even have a half-way approach with slippers and socks.  There is also a split on the one versus two treadle approach.  This limited photo survey suggests there is no correlation between the choice of footwear and the approach to treadling   

There also seems to be a mix of sock styles with some opting for the good old sport socks and others preferring more colourful feet.

Some spinners bring a companion along and all spinners find a companion along the way.  When asked what they enjoyed the most about the retreat, the overwhelming majority indicated meeting old and new friends.