Sunday, September 30, 2012

Children's Day at the Museum

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners last demonstration of the season took place at the Qualicum Beach Museum and Archives this past weekend.  This event is primarily for children but as always curious adults were also entertained.  In keeping with the museum theme, the emphasis was on the past and how our great grand parents would have lived.
Our luck with the weather continued so the event was well attended and we remained dry (an important point here on Vancouver Island).

The space under the tent is quite small.  Once you include looms and spinners there is not much room for displaying items.  We used a clothes line to create a cozy space and to make room for hanging light items.  Here our tea towels separate us from the booth next door.  We also included a small table display of handspun yarns, knitted and woven items.  My apologies for the photo to the right as the light reflecting off the tent has altered the colours.

We introduced a number of youngsters to the arts of spinning and weaving.  Some showed great patience in mastering the drop spindle.

  Our demonstration loom has been so popular that we finished one warp and have started a second one.  The variegated yarn was a good choice for our latest crop of beginner weavers as they could see the colour bands forming.  Once they had mastered the simple concept of weaving tabby, they were fascinated by the patterns that Myrtle could create on her four harness loom.
As the afternoon progressed the temperature began to drop.  The children did not seem to notice but those of us who were less active began to feel chilly.  Mary solved the problem by wearing the lovely blanket that she had brought for the display.  In doing so she became a featured item in the display.  Many people were envious.  It looked so warm and cozy as well as beautiful.  I also think it looks very authentic for the museum setting.  Can you imagine how chilly it must have been before central heating and how important a warm blanket would have been.
 This event is our final display/demonstration of this year.  Myrtle has faithfully brought her small loom to the demonstrations and in spite of numerous distractions she has worked on a scarf for her grand daughter.  We have watched the black and gold creation gradually take place.  We are happy to report that she finally reached the end of the warp and took it off the loom.  The scarf is two-sided, with warp dominating on one side and the weft on the other.  It will be interesting to see after it has been wet finished.
  Our next event will be our annual show and sale, Elegant Threads, which takes place the last weekend in November at Rotary House in Qualicum Beach.  We hope you will come by and see our display, chat with our members and pick up a unique gift for someone.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weaving and Spinning at the Fall Fair

Long live small communities and fall fairs!  They celebrate the domestic and agricultural arts and remind us that people can still bake a perfect chocolate cake from scratch, grow vegetables and turn just about any edible item into relish or chutney.  Many of the fall fairs include weaving and spinning in their categories for awards.  If you have a fair in your area consider entering your weaving or handspun yarn.  It is another way to keep these crafts alive.  Congratulations to Margaret and Amanda who took home ribbons for their work.

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners were invited to take part in the Lighthouse Country Fall Fair that took place this past weekend.  This is an event many of our members look forward too including Jude who is sporting her volunteer Tee shirt.  The weather was perfect, no rain, loads of sunshine and warm.

  In keeping with the event we decided our display would have a garden theme.  We added pots, rakes water cans and even old garden tools to our display.  We also included examples of vegetation, including scotch broom, that can be used to dye wool.  Check out Dyes From Plants by Seonaid Robertson for a recipe.

We shared our exhibit space with Dashwood Meadows Alpaca's and were pleased to include Amanda's samples of alpaca yarn dyed with natural materials.

The shawls in the photo were hung from old leaf rakes that are sitting in upturned clay pots

While our display draws interest, it is the demonstrations that engage people in a way that a static display cannot.  The demonstrations give us an opportunity to explain the art of spinner or weaving.  Yet again, our demonstration loom got a good work out while our spinning circle attracted a curious crowd.
Myrtle's blankets

Linda's yarn
  One of our younger visitors was kind enough to pose for me so I could take a photo of her butterfly face.