Monday, December 28, 2015

Starting the New Year

January.  The chairs are gone and the beach is deserted except for storm watchers.  Time to head to the studio and plan our next project.
January is a month of expectations and looking ahead.  The rush to finish items for guild sales and Christmas presents is over.  You can relax and let your creative force wander somewhat aimlessly without guilt.
January is the perfect time to surround yourself with the yarns or fibers in your stash and ask them what they want to be.  They may respond in a different way if you were recently given a new tool, book or exotic material.

  If we are looking for fresh ideas this January we might want to check some older ideas.  Simple clothing has been very popular this fall, just as it was in the 1980's.  While the designs are similar the materials are quite different.  The photo at the right  shows a simple top from the "chenille" period.  It is a rectangle with a neck slit.  The selvedges are joined near the ends of the cloth.  It could easily be reinterpreted with a light weight fabric with good drape or as a knitted piece.  This top drew a lot of attention at our guild meeting during the show and tell session.

section of guild library
If cold rain gets you down then try checking out a good book from the library.  Our guild library is a great resource for members.  Many of the books are out of print and very difficult to find.  Of course, you already know there are numerous on-line sites to visit.
For a new perspective look at publications designed for other fiber arts.  The motifs in the needle work photo could easily be translated into knitting or weaving.  The artisan who created the piece is accomplished at all 3.

double size quilt

You might also want to take some time to visit an exhibit.  The photo above is from an exhibition of quilts that took place in Oceanside.  This piece is a riot of colour with rectangular frames around different quilting motifs.  What a lovely sampler.

The guild is taking a short break over the holidays but we will be meeting again the fourth Monday in January.  Our study groups, More Than Four, Fun With Four and the Colour Study group will also be meeting in January.  Check the Guild Events list for times and places.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Shopping

shoppers looking for the perfect gift
This Christmas some lucky people will receive a hand crafted present that was made by one of the Qualicum weavers and spinners.  Our annual guild sale was held the last weekend in November and as a result many lovely items went off to new homes with all our love.  We hope where ever they go they will give as much pleasure to the recipient as we had in making them.  
shopper with an armful of treasures
Good weather, a hard working sale committee, a host of volunteers and many creative hands helped to make this year's event a success.  We also owe thanks to the organizers of the WinterFest Craft Fair for helping to publicize our event.  And we should never forget the husbands and partners who pack props into trucks, climb ladders, do the heavy lifting and bring tools to repair the unexpected.  

a selection of scarves for everyone
Our guild members have been very active this year so that we had a large variety of items and plenty of choice.  As usual the set up crew had to be very imaginative to show off all the items.

knit and woven scarves

tea towels on rack
Scarves and tea towels are always popular as gifts.  There are so many different ways to interpret a scarf or towel that they are never boring to make.  Shoppers had many different styles and colours to chose from.  Our new tea towel holder makes good use of vertical space and allows for easy viewing.  When a sale is as large as ours getting the most out of the space is important.  
simple tops
a warm ruana with hand worked trim

button front shawl
One of a kind tops are always popular and we love to experiment with hand woven cloth.  Styles ranged from these simple but elegant tops to sporty warm ruanas.  There were lacy knitted shawls in luxurious hand spun yarns.
If you preferred to knit yourself, we also had an abundance of  unique hand spun yarns.

triangular shawl in hand spun yarn
Household items included hand towels as displayed around the old basin, table runners and place mats, coasters, and felted tea cozies.  There were rugs, pillows blankets and even felted slippers to keep you warm in the coming winter. 
hand towels
selection of table runners

Pillows with inlaid details

felted slippers

 A lot of our visitors took the time to chat or watch the demonstrations.  As always we were happy to oblige.  We hope they left with an appreciation of what is involved in making these items and why we are so passionate about our yarn and fibres.

The sale is a major source of income for the guild.  In addition to supporting our studio/resource centre it offsets the costs of educational activities.  As a fund raising effort, we included a silent auction at the sale.  It generated a lot of interest, and brought out some competitive spirit.  The keen bidders returned at the close of the sale on Sunday for one last chance to make the winning bid.

silent auction table 

A merry Christmas tea towel
We are sorry if you missed the sale but remember there is always next year.  Check this site for more information in the fall.  In the meantime I wonder whose kitchen will be home to this very merry Christmas tea towel?

Friday, November 13, 2015

You are invited to.....

You are invited to Elegant Threads, our annual show and sale.  

The members of the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners guild will be holding their annual show and sale from Friday November 27th to Sunday November 29th.  Members have been working all year to produce one of a kind items including hand spun yarns, household linens, clothing and accessories.

felted animals
You may also find some whimsical items that are just for fun.  There will be loads of potential Christmas presents just waiting to be found.  

We will be having demonstrations of weaving and spinning so if you have ever wondered about "slow" yarn, "slow" cloth or "slow" cloth made from "slow" yarn come and see how it is done.
double weave on a painted warp

 Be aware that we love to talk about our craft and are more than willing to explain the how and even the why of the items that we made.  Often it is the story behind a piece that gives it a certain value you can't find in mass manufacturing.  We work to create a relaxed atmosphere that encourages people to stop and chat.  We hope you will stop by, have a cup of cider and enjoy the show.  

Where is all the fun happening?

Our sale takes place at Rotary House in down town Qualicum Beach. 

Rotary House is located at 211 Fern Road west at the corner of Beach and Fern.  It is about half way between The Old School House Art Gallery  and the Civic Centre.

There will be a Winter Art Walk with locations throughout Qualicum Beach so wear your walking shoes and plan to spend the day.  Check the Old School House Art Galley for details.

The hours for the sale are as follows

Friday, November 27, 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday, November 28, 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday, November 29, 10 am to 3 pm.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Colours

There is something about the fall that seems to stimulate the creative soul.  I think it is the changing colours in the landscape.  The blaze of colour is short lived and just begs to be captured through some creative effort.  Inspiring colour schemes are everywhere and they change daily.  Brilliant yellows soften and reds turn to orange then rich browns.  Purples creep into green shrubs and here on Vancouver Island the moss creates bright green patches throughout the "lawn".

Some of the items that guild members brought to our monthly meeting reflect the fall colours.
Linda's pile rug

Myrtle's ruanna
Orange pumpkins are everywhere in anticipation of Halloween which may have been the inspiration for this pile rug.
The ruanna of mixed fibres brings to mind chestnuts and deep orange/brown hues.  It has tucks at the shoulders

Several of the scarves used purple and darker blue yarns or a mix of both.  The lace-like scarf was knitted from a luxurious yarn and is light as a feather.  The scarf with a blend of colours has a subtle curving pattern that runs lengthwise while striped scarf is made of different textured threads.

detail Sheila's scarf

Lynnette's advancing twill scarf

Sylvia's scarf of hand dyed yarns

In our area lichens are very common and as leaves drop they become visible in the trees.  This puffy scarf reminds me of an old maple tree with pale green and grey lichens.
differential shrinkage scarf
Everyone's pallet is not dominated by fall and that is a good thing.
pin loom shawl
This shawl was pieced together from squares woven on a pin loom.  Two different yarns were used to create a central motif.

Two of the items demonstrate surface effects that we can generate with a little ingenuity and dye (whether natural or synthetic).  The silk square was printed with leaves using indigo while the curved flower motif was created by dyeing the handwoven yardage after a resist had been applied.
resist dyed shawl
printing with natural items

Our guild has some expert spinners as illustrated by the skein of hand spun natural linen.  

Maggie's hand spun linen

At our monthly guild meeting we were treated to a lecture on Mexican textiles.  While the cloth is still hand woven on back strap looms the use of synthetic threads and automated sewing machines has changed the look of the traditional clothing.  In spite of that, the colour mixes are characteristically bold and the colours themselves bright compared to our more subdued work.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Return to the Studio

Summer has passed on and fall has arrived.  We have packed up our shovels and pails and headed away from the beach with lots of inspiration.  Visitors have returned home.  Children have returned to school.  Ah! It is finally quiet.  Time to return to the studio and turn all that inspiration into a project.
Maybe you captured some interesting photos that suggest a colour scheme or a graphic design.  As for me, I am still trying to figure out how the maker of these sculptures managed to balance the rocks without the help of a glue gun.

Our guild regrouped in late September and we decided to start off the fall season with a show of what members had produced over the summer, a demonstration and a challenge.
It was obvious from the items brought for display that many of our members had managed to squeeze a lot of studio time in between hosting friends and family, travelling, gardening and playing.

tea towel project
The looms at our studio were kept busy with more rug making and tea towel projects like the examples shown in the photos.

detail of corduroy rug
Some members continued to work on the lessons from the Robyn Spady workshops and lectures. The workshop participants left with plenty of warp on their looms to explore the concepts further at their own pace.
Robyn Spady workshop sampler

cotton/wool shawl
Mary and Pat, of the More Than Four study group, continued with their explorations of three dimensional surface effects while Sheila took her cue from an on line double weave study group.

double weave place mat

seer sucker scarf

Whether their projects evolved from a study or just evolved from thin air guild members were on a creative roll.  Some of the pictures are shown below while some appear as individual items under Member's Works to the right of the blog post.

Linda's towels

huck place mats
Anita's handspun yarn
Ngaire's towels
rigid heddle shawl
As part of the September meeting program, Sharon Pickard (Grinsheep) gave us an over view of rigid heddle looms.  She brought along several different styles and demonstrated their use.  She also brought along a lovely shawl that she wove on a rigid heddle loom.  The photo does not do justice to it.  The colour mix is lovely and the texture threads pop in real life.
Sharon at the loom
The guild has a rigid heddle loom that members can borrow.  We hope Sharon's demonstration will create interest in this versatile loom.  It boasts a freedom for design that a  regular harness loom cannot match.

The meeting closed with a challenge.  The Qualicum Weavers and Spinner's Guild will celebrate its 25th year of operation in 2016.  To celebrate this "silver anniversary" guild members have been challenged to produce a piece based on "glitz".  So, spinners think about creating a yarn that sparkles with silver and gold.  Weavers get out those metallic threads and start designing.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

We Went to the Fair

We went to the Lighthouse Fall Fair where we met this lovely scare crow.  She was stationed with a pair of well dressed hippies (notice the ban the bomb necklace in the background).

This is an annual event that we have been part of for many years.  We usually put on a large display with demonstrations but this year we also sponsored a special prize for a woven shawl.
This new prize augmented the existing categories in weaving, felting, spinning and knitting.

This is our sign stuck to the wall with half a roll of painters tape and placed as high as a tall husband could reach.  Sometimes you have to work with what is available.  We may be a bit crooked and haphazard but I think the red green and white combination works against the cream background.  At least you won't miss it.

This year we went with an old fashion theme with emphasis on the home.  The washday scenario made us all thankful for permanent press fabrics and a more relaxed attitude to wrinkles.

The iron in the photograph must weight 5 pounds and while it was excellent at pressing linen one needed substantial muscles and good joints to use it.  No wonder our mothers and grandmothers did not need to go to the gym to lift weights to stay in shape.

The display included a colourful collection of tea towels and table linens paired with old china (some depression glass) and kitchen wares.

Scatter rugs were something my grandmother had in abundance to cover the wooden floors in the farm house.  They added a bit of colour and warmth. In our example we have included two rag rugs made from denim strips.  The metal device with them is a manual rug beater used to remove loose dirt by whacking the rug as it hung on a line.  Often this was a job for a child.  It makes one appreciate the built in vacuum system.

The Lighthouse Fall Fair has a large variety of prize categories that celebrate traditional skills and  some non-traditional skills.  If you like to bake, preserve, ferment or brew, there is a category for your tasty products.  Likewise if you are a gardener you can try for the biggest squash, the weirdest potato or the best of produce in different vegetables groups.  Apples were popular this year.

 There are categories for various fiber arts including spinning, knitting, felting and weaving. A number of our guild members went home with ribbons and not just for fiber arts proving that they can cook too.

The two shawls illustrated were worthy of blue ribbons in the wearables and the general weaving categories.

The needle felted animals and the little girl's hat were also blue ribbon winners.

Congratulations to Pat M, Linda W, Sylvia and Jude.

The prize winner for the special weaving category for a hand woven shawl is pictured below.  It is based on a patterned double weave technique and woven in fine wool.  Congratulations to Pat C