Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vancouver Island Retreat

Here we are just back from summer holidays and we are busy planning for another vacation. For those of you who do not live on Vancouver Island, I should explain. For the past 25 years the weaving and spinning groups on the island have held a spring retreat. This is an opportunity to rest, renew friendships and share information. Many of the guilds on the island are small and isolated so this event is important for keeping in touch with fellow weavers and spinners. You can only do some much via the internet. The 2012 spring retreat is being organized by the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners. It will take place March 30 to April 1, at the Quality Bayside Inn, in Parksville.
The two photos were taken from the patio of the Bayside Inn. They show the herring fleet in full action. What you may not be able to see in the photos are the masses of seagulls, the eagles and the sea lions that are attracted by the herring spawn. Herring season is late March to early April in our area.

So what has this got to do with creating beautiful yarn!
Nothing, but if you attend the retreat and you are lucky, you just may have a first hand lesson in the cycle of nature as well as learning some really great tips about spinning and weaving like how to avoid this mess.
The retreat will include vendors, a display of works, a fashion show, and mini workshops. Since this is the 25th anniversary of the retreat the organizers are planning a memory board with photos of previous retreats. Dust off those photos if you have them.
For those who are ambitious there will be a bag exchange. Participants are invited to create a bag that they will submit to the exchange in return for a bag created by some one else. The only requirement is that the bag be made by the person who submits it.

See the Island Shuttle publication for more information about the Vancouver Island Guilds Retreat. Alternatively, you might want to plan a similar event for the groups in your neck of the woods. We could all use an inspirational recharge about the time that winter is fading.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fall Fair

The good old fashion fall fair is alive and well on Vancouver Island. This weekend the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners strutted our stuff at the Lighthouse Country Fall Fair. While our tomatoes and squash might not have been prize winners like those in the picture, a number of our members took home ribbons for their work. Hurrah to fall fairs for keeping alive the arts of hand spinning, knitting and weaving.

We also had great fun visiting with the folks who came to our display, eating home made pie and cotton candy and checking out all the other displays. Some of us also enjoyed the entertainment on the stage although the drum group really played havoc with the spinners rythmn and there may be some blips in the yarn as a result

The title of our show was from fleece to fashion and nothing fits that theme better than this pumpkin coloured caplet knitted from fine handspun wool.

The ever popular spinners were kept busy demonstrating how to turn fiber into yarn. They mesmerized little children, many of whom left clutching a precious sample of fleece.
A number of the spinners were working with space dyed rovings

The weavers contributed to the fashion theme with yardage, tops and accessories plus fashions for the home in the form of table linens, pillows, blankets and rugs.
We also introduce some of our visitors to the art of making cloth on the guild loom. Inch by inch the warp on the loom is being turned cloth by novice weavers.

Fiber and yarns are not the only things we weave with. I'll bet there aren't many weavers out there who haven't thought of making something out of roots or shoots or seaweed. Most of us don't get much past the thinking stage especially if the item requires some processing to make it useable. But....some of us do and the result is this display of baskets made from bull kelp.

A few people were brave enough to try to work on their projects although I don't know how you can keep your place while weaving a tapestry as detailed as this one and answer questions at the same time.
It took all day but, a determined group managed to cut miles and miles of hand woven chenille. As one person's hands got tired another one would take over. The chenille will be the weft for a plush rug. The rug will be the door prize at our fall show and sale Nov 25 to 27 th

I am ending this entry with my favourite display table at the fair. I love the colours of these dahlias.