Monday, February 27, 2017

Just Playing Around

stump with shells
Now and then we all need to spend some time "just playing around" with no plan, no purpose, no deadlines, and no particular end point in mind, like the person who randomly added clam shells to this driftwood stump.  They enjoyed a relaxing time at the beach using the materials at hand and placing them where ever they could find a perch.  Maybe the result isn't a lasting masterpiece but it certainly shows off the old stump in a new way.
Just playing around can lead to new discoveries.

Some people find it easy to start producing without having done at least some planning.  They may even find it difficult to follow any set direction with the result that projects, if they are finished at all, may be a total surprise to the maker and not always a good surprise.
Eleni's runner
On the other hand some people cannot bear to start working without having a detailed plan which they follow without any deviation to an ending with no surprises.  Of course the ideal is a mix of both.  Just enough planning to execute a project but enough flexibility to take advantage of serendipity when it happens.

Playing around can be a stimulus for creativity.  If you are a planner then you can plan a non-project by putting on a long warp and just playing with what ever yarns you have on hand like this long runner made from a mixture of wool yarns, with stripes, twill zigzags, and inlay in no particular order.  You might find areas of the yardage that are appealing and could form the basis for a new piece.

Pat's experiments with spacing
Pat's scarf experiments
The scarf with open areas is another example of playing with yarns just to see how they will behave.  This piece is one of a series using different setts and denting ratios to create a light open cloth.

Of course, spinners can also play around with various fibres, natural or commercial.  The photo is a close up of a knitted shawl showing the hand spun yarn with coloured tops and varied thicknesses.

detail knitted hand spun shawl

Eleni's hand spun yarn
variegated yarn

With hand spinning the variations are unlimited.  Half the fun is seeing how the colours develop from the dyed fleece.

Terry's tea towel
Tea towels are a weavers favourite model for experimenting.  They involve some planning in order to come up with a suitable size and weight but there is a wide scope for playing with pattern and colour.  They are a good frame work for letting your creative side lead the way.  A white tea towel warp is like a blank canvas. There is the added bonus that if you don't like the results you can still dry dishes with them.

Check the Member's Works, to see more of our monthly show and tell session.

Our next monthly meeting will be held on Monday, March 27 at the Baptist Church on Beach Avenue in Qualicum Beach.  Meanwhile we are continuing to work on the display for our guild booth, there are plans for more group projects on our studio looms and our study groups are active.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Busy Hands

snow drops in January
By late January the urge to get busy overcomes most of us.  The first symptoms usually involve removing holiday decorations and eating up all the leftover goodies.  The second stage involves remorse for eating up all those goodies and a need for activity to counter act the remorse.  That can escalate into a cleaning frenzy, coupled with a strong desire to discard something.  The fourth stage emerges as the cleaning frenzy subsides.  It is the need to make something (that does not involve baking as we still remember where that led us).

And so by early February most of us are back in the studio or looking at yarn or fibre samples the way a gardener looks at seed catalogues.

At our first guild meeting of the year we saw what some of the "busy hands" in our guild were up to.
Anita's hat
The knitted hat with dots of colour is a reminder that it isn't spring yet in spite of the hardy snow drops.  It was inspired by the passing of a dear friend who used a similar technique to knit mittens.  The colours dots look like gum drops.

ikat style shawl
The ikat style shawl in the photo was acquired during a winter holiday in a warm climate.  What will it inspire in the future?

fancy twill scarf
The lovely tencil scarf was woven using a fancy twill draft.  The central motif has a "rose" like appearance, as if the scarf was dotted with flowers.  It is most appropriate for a valentine.
crackle sample
The Exploring More Study Group are learning about Crackle, a versatile weave structure that can have many different iterations.  The sample shows a traditional approach while the shawl is not traditional.  The threading was derived from a random approach that might be similar to creating a name draft.
non traditional crackle shawl

The final photo shows a derivative of honeycomb that was woven with miscellaneous bit of yarn as the pattern weft.  It is a history of thrift shop purchases that were never used up.
honeycomb scarf
Our guild efforts are now concentrating on finishing the work on our guild booth.  Our studio looms are warped for "trees" and the felters are busy with rocks and we have a sea gull in the train station loft.  Sounds weird? It will all be revealed at ANWG in Victoria.

Next meeting is Monday February 27th at 10:30 in the Baptist Church across from the Train Station in Qualicum Beach.  Visitors are welcome.