Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back to Fall

September is the month marked with the return of things we enjoy.  Children return to school.  We return home from summer vacations.  Migrating birds return from the north.  Local apples return to the farm market.  Artisans and crafters return to their studios with renewed inspiration.  The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners guild returns to regular monthly meetings.

Something about September makes you want to buy squash and wool yarns.  It also inspires a change in colour pallet as the leaves turn and fall mums appear in the garden stores.  Jackie's blanket fits with the blue skies and changing colours that we have experienced in the first half of September.  The inspiration for this blanket came from the yarn sale table at the ANWG conference.  We congratulate Jackie on being the first to use the yarn she purchased at ANWG.  Some of us are still admiring our purchases without having any idea as to what they will turn out to be.

Mary's hapi wrap reminds one of the black berries that were so abundant this year.  It is woven using a mix of colours like the mix of ripe and unripe berries on the canes.  You can see how well the fabric drapes from the photo.

David's point twill scarf has a colour mix that resembles the fall colour of the potted mums that are now appearing in all the garden stores.  The yarn is relatively thick and will be warm.  David has opted to "wrap" the fringe rather than twist it.  The contrasting colour makes the fringe stand out. 

For our September show and tell, Linda brought us an example of tubular braiding with a diamond patterning.  This technique can be used to create a decorative edge on a piece of fabric as well as making beautiful cords.  This is another idea arising out of the ANWG conference and workshops.

  Cooler weather was definitely on the minds of some folks as we had an abundance of scarves to choose from.  Myrtle's scarf is a mixed warp that she worked on as a demonstration at our summer displays.  You can see her working on it in the previous posting.
  Jude also produced a scarf from lovely dyed alpaca.  It was made on a small frame loom.  Jude made the small squares over the summer as part of our demonstrations.  These 2 pieces demonstrate just how useful small looms can be.

The spinners and knitters in the group were also busy over the summer months.  The photo above is a close up of Anita's knitted vest showing the lovely mix of colours in the yarn.  While the photo below is Marie's handspun yarn.

The final piece in this show and tell episode is a table runner done in a tied weave structure named Bergman after the woman who first published it.  The colours are meant to represent the early fall season with dark green of firs and cedars against the changing colours of the under storey shrubs.  It will grace my table for Thanksgiving dinner.

The guild is now in the planning stages for our annual show and sale called Elegant Fibers.  The show will be part of the Qualicum Beach Winter Walk that takes place from November 22nd to 24th.  The "walk" will include a walking tour of the many galleries that dot downtown Qualicum Beach, plus 3 major, once a year, artisan events including the Arrowsmith Quilters annual show and the Village Craft Faire and of course the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners.  For more information check the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism site.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer into Fall

The gardens are putting on their last show before gradually going to sleep for the winter.  That means in a short while there will be more time for weaving and spinning.  Guild meetings will resume and our thoughts will turn to our annual show and sale in November.  But just before we get down to business we had one last fling at the Lighthouse Country Fall Fair.  We came home with fresh corn, home baked pies and blue ribbons.  Congratulations to Jude on wining not one but two ribbons.    
We brought along a selection of looms for folks to try out.  They included an inkle loom, a rigid heddle loom, a 2 harness loom and a unique 4 harness loom.  The photo shows our production line ready to go. Using the various looms the demonstrators were able to show the progression of weaving equipment from simple structures for raising every second thread to harness looms that can create patterns depending on how the warp is threaded and the harnesses are raised.  With this range of looms we were able to show that techniques that appear quite different are all based on the same simple principles.  The different looms reflect the purpose of the weaving and the resources available to the people who developed them.

 It did not take long before we had a group eager to see and try their hand at weaving a few inches.  It helped that one of our members is experienced with teaching children to weave.
 As always the spinners were very popular especially with young children who are fascinated with the turning wheel and the sliver of fleece that is magically transformed.  We had some drop spindles in action as well as the spinning wheels.
 We also brought along an ancient sock knitting machine that was the basis for an important "cottage industry" at the turn of the century. 

We had a large display area so we were able to have a section devoted to clothing, another to table linens and the third to fiber and yarns.

At our annual sale we are often told that our items are "too nice" to actually be used.  People do not realize how robust hand woven tea towels and table linens really are.  With that in mind, we decided to display items as they might be used in our homes so guild members were asked to bring a table setting and place mat.  Our "dining table" had a variety of styles from informal to formal.

We also had a collection of mug rugs with their matching mugs complete with a tea pot and cozy.  All that was missing was a kettle, some tea bags and a plate of cookies.   
The clothing section included a variety of outfits.  The styles ranged from simple structures that require minimal cutting and sewing to tailored items that require good sewing skills and the confidence to cut into precious yardage.  The beige hapi wrap in the photo was created as a guild project.  The previous post shows the yardage as it came off the loom.  It will be one of several items in the silent auction at our annual sale.  The sale, Elegant Threads, takes place from November 22 to 24th at Rotary House in Qualicum Beach.  A lot of our visitors left with sale flyers to "put on the refrigerator" as a reminder to reserve the date. 
Our final display demonstrated the evolution of raw natural fleece into toques and mitts.  The display included examples of dyed fleece, dyed roving and hand spun yarns.  And, just to prove you can weave with almost anything, we included some baskets constructed out of a range of materials from kelp to pine needles. 
I am curious as to how the colourful ball of roving will look once it has been spun into yarn.  It came
 from Grinsheep Fibre Productions, a local supplier.  The yarn will certainly will be eye catching.  Maybe it will reappear at a future show and tell session.