Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Carols and Cookies

We have put down our tools and donned our Christmas sweaters for the holiday season.  You will find us in the kitchen baking, out and about shopping, or over eating as the season demands.

 While we do not like to admit it, some of us are madly trying to finish those hand made presents.  If only we had not sold all those scarves at the November sale we would be finished by now.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the past year of friendship and creative efforts with a pot luck lunch.  Great food and good companionship along with the cheques from the sale made it a very festive event indeed.

As we have been busy with other activities this month, I thought it might be fun to review some previous works that have a red and green theme.  So, the following is a collection of old photographs.  Some of the photos are from previous winter sales including the felted sheep on the wreath and the tree.  They went to good homes in 2012.

felted sheep on a vine wreath Nov 2012
Christmas ornaments

Rep weave place mats
set of towels
study group, block weaves
study group, undulating twill yardage

Some of the works were done as part of a study by the More Than Four study group as they worked their way through different subjects.  Twills and block design are two examples

denting and cramming scarf
wool scarf in twill

There are many different ways to interpret a scarf from light and airy,almost decorative, to dense, warm and functional.  Like tea towels, scarves are excellent projects for learning new techniques.  They are fun to weave or knit and a welcome gift.  The scarves pictured here are very different.

hand spun yarn in two distinct styles, a lacy scarf and a cozy hat

table runner diversified plain weave
pin loom snowman

tied weave runner
detail of wool scarf with diamonds in twill
Snowmen are a popular theme at this time of year.
a crowed of felted snow people
 Red and green can be a difficult combination to work with especially with weaving as crossing the two colours will create a muddy brown.  That probably accounts for the small number of pieces that have both colours as often a more advanced technique is required to keep the colours separated.  Hope you enjoyed our holiday retrospective.

We will either be taking in the sun on a warm beach or back in the studio in January.  In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas carols and the cookies.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Elegant Threads 2014

On Friday morning (November 21) the sale committee and a host of helpers began the process of setting up for our show at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum Beach.  Our show was one of many events taking place in the Oceanside area the same weekend and we wanted it to be something people would remember.  As usual members came up with some unique and beautiful creations (like sari silk place mats) and as usual the set up crew wondered how they could possibly display everything.  As always they managed to find a place for everything.

The weather was terrible that morning but in spite of it, there were people knocking on the door before we had finished the display.  Over the years our show has developed a good reputation that brings people back year after year.  We create a relaxed atmosphere and encourage visitors to interact with our members.  The demonstrations of spinning and weaving always draw a crowd.  One visitor remarked that she liked to hear the story behind the piece she was buying.  Others like to meet the maker of the items they have purchased.  It helps to distinguish the items we make from mass produced items.

This year we had a multitude of scarves in different yarns and styles.  There were bold patterned wool scarves designed for cold weather.  Others were long and colourful with a youthful look in easy care cotton.  Still others were sophisticated designs that would complement a plain top.  Many were based on a painted warp, no doubt inspired by our painted warp workshops.
There was a similar variety of shawls and blankets to choose from.

 Our silent auction table was popular.  The items for the silent auction were either donated or created as part of a workshop or demonstration.  Members were very generous donating items or their time to make items.  The money raised from the auction goes towards guild activities and resources.
There were a number of tops for visitors to choose from.  Garments with simple lines can be created on relatively narrow looms with a bit of ingenuity.  It is amazing what you can create out of a rectangle.  These are one of a kind items so you will never see your "twin" wearing the same outfit.  Here are 3 different interpretations of a hand woven top.

There was an excellent selection of knitted items.  The large shawl is made of hand spun yarn in natural colours.  The colourful set of gauntlets and cowl is also made of hand spun yarn.  For the knitters that do not spin, we had lovely hand spun yarns.  You can see an example in the last picture.

These booties have been knitted and then felted.  They are quite thick and will keep those feet warm on a cold winter day. If you needed more insulation we also had felted insoles, hats, bags and tea cozies.

House hold items included rugs.  The ones shown here are made from old jeans that have been cut up to make weft material.  Hand woven tea towels were as popular as ever as were hand woven hand towels.  These small items make excellent hostess gifts.  Weavers use them to explore colour and pattern variations.  The set of hand towels pictured here were woven on the same warp.  

We had a great time visiting with the folks that came to our show.  Based on the sales, they must have had a great time shopping.  There was strong interest in the silent auction too.  Thank you to everyone who participated and to all the visitors that stopped by.  If you missed us this time then there is always next year.  Mark your calendar for November 2015 and watch this blog for announcements of the next Elegant Threads Show.

Friday, November 14, 2014


We are back in the studio getting ready for our annual show and sale.  There are hems to sew and fringes to twist, yardage to full and knitting to block.  Some of us even have a seemingly endless warp to weave off. 
The guild sale is a rare opportunity for members to sell their creations.  It is also a fund raising event for the guild.  The proceeds contribute to our resource centre and educational events. Please come to the show and help us justify buying more stuff for our stash.

Elegant Threads
November 21th to 23th
Annual fibre art show and sale

Rotary House, Qualicum Beach
Corner of Beach & Fern

 11 am to 6 pm Friday November 21
10 am to 5 pm Saturday November 22
10 am to 3 pm Sunday November 23

Free Admission

Qualicum Weavers & Spinners

The show features demonstrations, a silent auction where you may pick up a bargain (check the Oct 29 post to see the lovely shawl and rug), and a relaxed atmosphere where you can chat with the folks whose creations are on display.
This show is unique in our area as it reflects the traditional arts of spinning, weaving, basketry and the working of raw fibre.  All the items are hand crafted by local artisans.

  Next week we will be busy dressing up Rotary House.  Rotary House is located at 211 Fern Road West in down town Qualicum Beach.  Look for our sign on the side of the building.  Who knows what treasurers are waiting inside for you to find.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Keep Me Warm Exhibition

This year the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners took on the challenge of an exhibit.  Members were asked to create a piece that represented the theme, "Keep Me Warm".  Items had to have been finished within a year of the exhibition date so that they would be recent work.  Members were also asked to use traditional techniques of weaving, spinning and the hand working of fibre to create their items.
A wide variety of items were submitted to the exhibit committee that then had the task of organizing them into a cohesive exhibit.  The items included articles of clothing, blankets and table linens.

 The lacy shawl is knitted from hand spun alpaca yarn.  It took 200 hours to create not included the time to raise and shear the animals that produced the fibres.  The title, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is very appropriate.

Hand worked fibre is the basis for this felted ensemble, a scarf and a set of ear muffs.  The technique involved felted wool using a barbed needle.

A number of people chose to interpret the theme as a warm blanket.
The blankets are quite different in construction and design.  They included a lovely azure coloured throw that contains ribbon and mohair to give spots to colour that invite closer inspection.  The plaid blanket is a reproduction of an ancient tartan of Chinese origin.  The multicoloured blue blanket was produced by sprinkle dyeing the warp and weft fibres then weaving to give random colour effects.  The stripped blanket is very large as it was woven in twill using a double weave technique.

The fabric for the "Ice Storm Kimono" was woven using a stitched double weave technique to give it an icy blue exterior and a warm orange interior.  The colours are graded from white and silver to represent ice to blue to represent the sky.  The appliqued panels represent ice covered trees.

In this area, winter can bring storms that result in power outages.  It reminds us that we often depend upon those power lines to keep us warm and that inspired Mary's interpretation of the exhibit theme.  Her piece is based on a tied threading weave structure that involved many experiments to get those power lines to drape in just the right fashion.  The warp was painted to represent the earth and the sky.  The reverse of this piece is equally interesting and quite different.

This "Fireside Table Runner" is based on a rep weave technique.  Blocks of colour alternate on the front and back as thick and thin threads weft threads are manipulated.

Maggie used silk fusion to create her stormy scarf.  The photo does not do justice to the subtle colours.  The silk fibre base has embedded yarns and hand embellished motifs that are better seen in the detail view at the side under member's works.

Cosy shawls and  warm ponchos and vests were inspired by thoughts of cooler weather.  The simple poncho design is classic but Myrtle has interpreted it in a sophisticated style with lovely ceramic buttons.  Audrie has chosen a shawl design with a lacy border.  It is knitted of hand spun yarn with a subtle variegation that makes it very versatile.

Pat made a classic shawl using a warp and weft spacing technique to produce a window pane effect.  A reflective yarn was include to give a subtle shine to the stripes depending on how the light falls on the piece.  It drapes beautifully.

The vest is a combination of a woven front and a knitted back.  The fabric was created first then the yarn for the knitted back was matched to it.  The decorative edges of this unlined piece are all hand finished.  The front closes with a zipper to give a fitted effect.

The hat and cowl ensemble that is  pictured with the vest was knitted from a variegated yarn.  Although the two pieces were created by different guild members they both chose a similar colour to work with.

Our four legged friends inspired the dog coat and matching blanket,  The ensemble has the appropriate title, "Keep My Friend Warm".  The lined coat uses  huck floats plus a colour and weave effect to create the pattern while the blanket is a play on the same colour scheme and plaid effect.  The colour scheme was inspired by the colouring of a dog's natural "coat".
Finally we have the poster boy for our exhibit, a bold colourful scarf that is soft and drapes well. 

We hope that you managed to see these pieces in the flesh.  If you missed the exhibit (We take it down on November 17th.) we suggest you plan to see our annual fall show and sale, Elegant Threads.  It takes place at Rotary House (corner of Beach and Fern) in downtown Qualicum Beach.  Elegant Threads starts at 11:00 am on Friday November 21st and ends at 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 23rd.  While you are in town you can take in the Victorian Tea at The Old School House Art Centre.