Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elegant Threads 2011

Our annual guild show and sale takes place over 3 days from November 25th to 27th.  Most guilds run on a shoe string budget and the proceeds from guild sales are a major source of that shoe string funding.  We hold our sale at a small community facility, Rotary House, in Qualicum Beach.  The photo shows one section of the hall set up for our sale in November of 2010.  You can expect to find a mixture of hand crafted items that have been spun, felted, knitted, braided or woven by our members.
Our members have often discussed the whys and wherefores regarding the guild sale because it takes a lot of energy and time to organize the event.  Few of us have any expectations regarding the proceeds from the sale.  We joke that we don't even  make a minimum wage as an artisan.  There are various recommendations for pricing of handspun yarn or hand woven goods that are based on the cost of raw materials and the time.  Those formulas may work for a well known artisan in a large urban area but they are seldom used at guild sales in small towns like Qualicum Beach.  So, for those of you who love hand crafted items and are looking for a bargain check out the smaller guild sales.  You can find high quality items at very reasonable prices.
The discussions about the sale usually end with us concluding that the sale is an opportunity to showcase our craft and to interact with the public.  We encourage our guests to interact with members by creating a relaxed atmosphere and including demonstrations.  We hope that they will gain an appreciation of these ancient crafts even if they don't make a purchase.  
 The sale also gives members an additional incentive to produce.  You can only give so many birthday scarves or baby blankets and making baby blankets in the hope that some day you will have grandchildren is not a good idea.  Oh, patient friends and relatives will always say "thank you" for yet another tea towel but it is soooooo much better when someone actually buys it.  It is not the money that is important, it is the fact that some one valued the item enough to want to purchase it.
If you are in the Oceanside area the Nov 25 to 27 plan to drop by our show and visit with us.  The hours are Friday November 25th from 11:00 to 6 pm, Saturday November 26th 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday November 27 from 10 am to 3 pm.
The location is Rotary House at the corner of Beach and Fern streets in town centre of Qualicum Beach.  There is plenty of off road parking.  You might consider making a day of it and visiting the Quilters and Artisans that are also holding their events in Qualicum Beach that weekend.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gilmore Loom Follow up

The last post described our new (new to us) Gilmore Loom.  We had put a test warp on the loom and wove a short piece of yardage in plain weave using the same material for the weft.  The yarn was an ancient donation of coarse rug wool in an off white with a slight fleck of orange in it.  The yarn had been passed over for earlier guild projects like a wall flower at a dance.  Too plain and too coarse to excite any interest.  The yardage was pretty blah as well and felt a bit like sandpaper but no real weaver ever threw out a piece of weaving without at least trying to improve it.

So the yardage was stitch and pleated and tie and tie again and finally coiled up and thrown into a dye bath and heated without stirring.  All this in a deliberate attempt to end up with an uneven dye pattern that would disguise the blah yardage.

The result was a trip back to the 60's when tie dye and macrame ruled.

Wet finishing and brushing took off the sandpaper texture and a bit of simple sewing turned our ugly duckling into a decent pillow and a bag that show of the patterns from the dye.

The moral of the story being that even quite nasty looking yarn can have a useful ending with a bit of imagination.  So don't overlook the plain jane yarn especially if you are willing to experiment.