Sunday, November 25, 2018

Shopping at Elegant Threads

scarves for sale
November has been a busy month for our guild, culminating this past weekend, in our annual sale, Elegant Threads.

This year we moved to a new location for the sale and are happy to report that yarn and textile lovers were able to locate us at Qualicum Commons.  The new location meant revising our display layout, building new props and reorganizing processes.  The sale committee did a fantastic job as usual.

sorting goods in the studio
A few days before the sale our studio was filled with members's goods waiting to be sorted and props waiting to be assembled.  As usual the display elves managed to turn this mishmash into a pleasant shopping environment with a place for everything.

the elegant shawl rack
 Our members are quite active and have a range of interests including felting, spinning, knitting, braiding,weaving, and basketry.  That presents challenges for the display but results in a wide variety of goods for the shoppers.   

earth tone shawls
Even items that you might think have a common elements such as a shawl can be interpreted quite differently.  We had earth tone warm wool shawls to cozy up in but we also had elegant silky shawls to complement that little black dress.

wall of scarves
It seems this year that all of the weavers had scarves on their mind and so we had a wall of casual scarves and another of fancy scarves.  This year scarves even out numbered the tea towels.
hand spun yarn for sale

knitted hats
The spinners and knitters were well represented.  There was a good selection of unique yarns, including some that were hand dyed or blends of luxury fibres.  Hand spun yarns were the foundation to the many knitted items making them one of a kind creations.

lace knit scarf
We also had a selection of cedar basketry including Christmas ornaments and some unique bags.
cedar purse and bag
spotted owl
 One had to look carefully at all the table displays to find treasures like the watchful owl or the tablet woven bracelets. 

tablet woven bracelets
Thanks to members' generous donations we had an expanded silent auction table.  Proceeds from the silent auction go towards guild programs and expenses. 

Since we took over responsibility for the studio rent sales like Elegant Threads are more important from a financial point of view.  Commission from members sales is a major source of income for the guild.  If you purchased something then thank you and we hope you enjoy your purchase as much as the maker enjoyed making it.  

We have always love interacting with the public and Elegant Threads has been our way of showing off what we do on a grand scale.  Many thanks to the folks that come every year and to those that came for the first time, we hope you will come again. 

Shopping at Elegant Threads

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Elegant Threads 2018

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild will be holding our annual show and sale on November 23 and 24th from 10 am to 5 pm.

The sale features the works of guild members.  Members have a wide range of interests including spinning, felting, knitting, weaving, basketry and dyeing.  So, you can expect to find a variety of items and styles.

a selection of scarves
All of the items in the sale are hand crafted with limited production.  Many are original designs and one of a kind creations that you won't find anywhere else.  Some are inspired creations with a story to tell so be sure to ask the maker when you visit our show.

felted container
hand-spun yarn hat


This year we will be holding our sale at Qualicum Commons (formerly QB elementary school).  Our studio and resource centre is located here and it will be open during the sale for those interested in seeing the large looms.  The address is 744 Primrose Street.  There is plenty of parking in the lot behind the Commons.  The entrance to the lot is on Primrose.  (See links of interest for map)

front entrance 
The Elegant Threads Sale is also a fund raising event for the guild.  Every sale contributes towards the operation of the guild.  In addition we will be having an expanded silent auction this year.  This is your chance to get a bargain.

Admission is free and you can use your credit card for that special purchase.

You might also want to check out several other events that are taking place in Qualicum Beach this weekend including,

WinterfestCraftFair Nov 23-25, QB Civic Centre winterfestcraftfair

Parksville Quilters Sale, Nov 24, St Stephen's United Church

Chichi Black and White Tea, The Old School House Art Centre Nov 25 TOSH

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mushrooms and More

In late October the farm fields may be full of pumpkins but the woods are full of mushrooms and that calls for a mushroom festival.  You may know mushrooms for their culinary or mind expanding(?) properties but they are valued for other uses as well.  If you enjoy dyeing with natural materials, mushrooms should be on your list of collectables.

dyer's mushroom
The show and tell portion of our monthly meeting involved mushrooms and more.  The photo to the right shows a clump of Phaeolus schweinitzi which is often referred to as the dyer's mushroom.  It produces a lovely range of muted shades including pale yellow, golds, orange/gold mixtures and rich browns.  The final colour depends on many factors, including the condition of the fungus itself, the mordants involved, the water used for the dye bath, timing and the yarn.  The final colour of the fibre can be surprising which is why dyeing with natural materials is so interesting.

natural dyes from the garden
Dyers will try to get colour out of anything that grows including flowers from the garden and beets from the kitchen which often leads to experiments with small amounts of fibre.  What to do with those dye samples?? Natural dyed yarns blend well together because they all tend to have an earthy quality.  Simple structures like the woven wool bags pictured below are perfect for using up small quantities of dyed yarn.

natural dyed wool made into bags

And now for the "more" part of the show and tell.

different weft colours

Fibre-reactive dyes can be used to paint a warp made from cellulose based fibres.  The warp is wound as usual and dyed before it goes on the loom.  While you may have more control with these chemical dyes there is still the same anticipation when you wash the cured yarn and see how the colours have moved and blended together.  The weft colours come into play during the weaving.  Dramatically different cloth can be produced using the same painted warp. 

There is a story behind the striped scarf below.  It is a story of perseverance or just plain stubborn refusal to give up when things go dreadfully wrong.  The weaver estimates that at minimum wage the labour cost for this scarf is around $2,000.   More time spent undoing and redoing than doing in the first place.  After a while it just becomes a battle of wills, the yarns versus the weaver and in this case the weaver won out in the end. 

Ginny's labour intensive scarf

Our members are busy getting ready for our sale, Elegant Threads which takes place on November 23rd and 24th in Qualicum Beach.  For more information see the sidebar.  Some of the pieces shown or similar items will be in the sale.  The number of pieces brought to the meeting suggests there will be plenty to see and buy.

tea towels ready for the sale