Friday, October 27, 2017

Busy Busy

It is almost the end of October.  That means, coloured leaves, crisp evenings and Halloween.  It also means that beginning of  the craft fair season.  So, in between raking leaves, planting the last of the bulbs and locating our winter boots we are busy getting ready for our very own sale, Elegant Threads.  We have barely a month until the sale which takes place November 24 and 25th at Rotary House in Qualicum Beach.  For more information see the note to the right of this post.

There is still a short time to finish spinning a variegated roving, felt just one more piece or weave off a final warp.  But that is just the beginning to the process.  Now the items must be wet finished or washed and blocked.  Hems and seams need to be sewn.  Fringes need twisting and any embellishments need to be added.  All this before we finally get to making up and attaching labels.
cedar bark heart

This year you can expect to see a wide variety of hand made items at our show.  Our sale showcases the arts of weaving, spinning and related fibre art including felting.  Weaving is not limited to the creation of cloth.  The technique is used to create baskets, wall hangings and rugs.   You can weave with almost anything including, grasses, cedar bark and bull kelp.

There will be a good selection of knitted and woven items made from hand spun yarn.  But if you are a knitter looking for something extra special we will also have a good selection of truly one of a kind hand spun yarns in both natural colours and hand dyed colours.  The basket of yarn pictured below was dyed using mushrooms as the colour source.

mushroom dyed yarn

Sometimes we get a glimpse of what will be in the sale during the show and tell portion of our monthly meetings.  But unpacking the boxes on the morning of the sale is akin to the "big reveal" on a TV show about home renovations. 
Shawl with ribbon stripes

This month we saw a selection of elegant shawls, warm scarves and cosy blankets.  Obviously those crisp nights are influencing what we create.  We were also treated to some interesting cedar bark weaving. 

The show and tell portion of our meeting is a chance for people to share what they learned at workshops.  It is a great way to pass on knowledge. This time we learned about mushroom dyes.  It was a timely topic with all the mushrooms that pop up in lawns and gardens at this time of year.
colour gamp blanket

mixed yarn scarf
Linda's scarf in crackle pattern

So it's back to the studio and get busy.  With luck Linda will finish off the beautiful purple scarf in crackle weave.  The photo shows the cloth "just off the loom" but there are several steps to go before this beauty appears in the sale. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Spinning and Weaving for Active Ageing

golf course with chestnuts
This year the recreational department of our regional district asked the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners to participate in their "active ageing" week activities.  They wanted to broaden the emphasis of the activities beyond those traditionally considered "physical activity".

From the time that we are quite young we are told that physical activity is "good" for us.  Remember gym classes and those horrid outfits?  If they weren't enough of a turn off then running laps in the cold (in those horrid outfits) certainly did it for a lot of us.  Later in life, we may have taken up yoga or a sport (Golf and tennis fashion were an improvement over gym bloomers.) or even joined a gym.  Maintaining these activities over a changing life time can be difficult, yet we are told physical and mental activity are important for maintaining health in our senior years.

loom or gym equipment?
So what does this have to do with spinning and weaving?  Well, both involve a body in motion and both involve mental activity.  Spinning involves stretching and gentle rhythmic movement of the legs, feet and arms.  It is similar to yoga in its ability to create calm.  Weaving involves lifting weights, pulling, and rhythmic arm movements.  It reminds me of a universal gym machine. 
Spinning and weaving also involve mental activity such as planning, measuring and calculating.

Our new home in Qualicum Commons was not ready to receive guests so we decided to join with other groups to put on demonstrations at the Qualicum Beach Museum.

active ageing in the fall sunshine
We shared an outdoor area with a group of sketchers and did double duty, providing them with something to sketch as well as showing off our craft. 

inkle loom weaving

We included demonstrations of hand manipulated weaving, spinning with a drop spindle as well as with a wheel. 

Salish loom and drop spindle demonstrations

This event is our last outdoor exhibition of the year.  Our attention is now focused on the annual show and sale, Elegant Threads.  For more information see the side bar.  The sale committee is busy planning and promoting.  Members are busy working on new items for the sale.