Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Starting Them Early

This summer the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners have a busy schedule of displays and demonstrations.  We started out this past weekend with our booth at the Qualicum Beach Family Days event.  This annual event is a favourite with young families especially on a sunny day.  There are many child friendly activities including a visit to our booth.  The young fellow pictured here is fascinated with the workings of Myrtle's 4 harness table loom.
Our display included a variety of weaving, felting and spinning to give people an idea of the diversity of our members' talents but spectators are most interested in seeing how items are actually created.

We always set up our booth with the spinners near the front.  There is something about the spinning wheels that acts like a magnet to draw folks to the booth.  All afternoon we had a line of old and young spectators.  The adults ask questions or share memories while the children appear mezmerized.      
For some children, curiosity can overcome any reluctance to approach a new situation, especially with mom or dad's encouragement.  Other children are too shy, so they linger nearby watching the object of their desire and looking for any positive sign that it is ok to come closer.  The little girl in this photo is fascinated by the spinning wheel.  She has her eye on the fluffy white fleece in the basket.  What kind of magic is at work here that can turn the fluffy material into thread?  Finally the spinner senses her presence and offers a gift of the fleece.  Now if some one would just tie up the little girl's shoe laces, she can move on to the next booth. 

Our 2 harness table loom got quite a work out at the Family Days event.  Adults seemed to be as fascinated with the process of making cloth as the children.  This small table loom is easy to operate and just the right size to demonstrate the basic elements of plain weaving.  Boys and girls were equally willing to try their hand at operating the loom.  Many of them had done some simple weaving on a box or cardboard loom at school so they understood the basic concepts.   
We would like to think that we sparked the interest of some future weavers and that the terms warp and weft are now etched in their brains.    At least we provided a glimpse into the past or gave our audience an appreciation for how the cloth they are wearing came to be.  These days so many items appear like magic in the stores without any connection to the source and without any understanding of the complexity behind their creation. 

  We had great fun doing it, got to visit with friends, share some laughs and enjoy the sunshine while it lasted.  A few of us actually got some spinning done.

If you missed us at Family Days, look for us at the Oceanside Arts Council event June 23rd in Parksville. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Winding Down for the Summer

May is here and Spring is flaunting her colours.  As the weather improves other activities compete for our attention, the garden, the beach, the golf course or that RV that wants to get out onto the road.  Making time for fiber arts is more difficult now that warm sunny weather is encouraging us to go outside.  It will only get harder as spring gives way to summer. So now is the time for finishing up those projects we have on hand.  Take the fringe twister out onto the patio and finish off that shawl or finish your sewing so you can turn your "studio" back into the spare bedroom before your summer guests arrive.

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners' final meeting of the season will be on Monday May 14th, a week ahead of our usual meeting time.  We will meet in June to celebrate friendship and our varied accomplishments with a pot luck lunch.  Then the summer months will be given over to finding new inspirations through other activities.  We will meet again the third week in September. 
canvas weave block design
multiharness canvas weave design
 The weaving study groups will also take a summer break.  The lace group has been working its way through Donna Muller's book, Handwoven Laces. They have worked on Canvas Weave, Huck spots and lace and Swedish Lace.  Summer vacation for this group will include some time to research Bronson Lace.  Think lemonade, a weaving book and a chair in the shade of a tree.

The Twill group have been learning about twill weaves beginning with how to change the twill line.  From there the group has researched undulating twills, advancing twills, interleaved twills and plaited twills.  As a member of this group, I have started to dream about twills and that is a sure sign that a break is needed.

undulating twill sample

As the formal meetings wind down for the summer a lot of informal events are in the works so don't put that spinning wheel away.  Guild members will be demonstrating at various local events starting with the Qualicum Beach Family Days on May 27 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.  In June we will host the Bradley Centre Show and Tell and participate in the Oceanside Arts Council summer event.  Rumours are that one or more "dye days" will take place now that the weather supports out door activities.  Check the "events" posting for information about summer activities.