Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Lesson's Learned

samples of saori weaving

 This past year has been a bumper year for educational activities.  Covid forced many of us to turn to on-line activities including attending workshops in the comfort of our own homes.  Our workshop committee rose to the challenge and organised a number of on-line weaving workshops, from "linen and lace" with our own Linda Wilson to the "double rainbow" with Jennifer Moore.

As the Covid crisis waned we were finally able to return to having in-studio events.  There are some things you just can't learn without getting your hands dirty? wet? or otherwise engaged. 

Some of us took our first step into beginning weaving and beyond with the Beginner Weaving workshops.

We tried our hands at basket weaving and will continue with that popular subject with Vera's "cat's head" basket session in January.

We learned how to turn fleece into a bowl, learned the fundamentals of knitting and made Fair Isle hats. 

felted fleece containing resist

laying out the fleece
More recently we turned fleece into bags for wine bottles, vases or just into lovely bags.  The photo shows laying out the fleece with a resist between layers.  The resist is then encased in fleece and wet felted.

After felting has taken place the piece is cut, the resist removed and the edges and final shaping are completed

a bevy of bags

one done and one to go
Knitted socks are a symbol of  a cozy, casual style that values practical arts.  But they can also express individualism and even a bit of a rebellious nature without being frivolous.  This fall our knitters learned to look at socks from a different angle by knitting from the toe up.  Mary Jennings was the workshop leader.

retro spinning wheel
finished heel


Our last workshop for the year was about beginning something new.  Linda Raven introduced a group of yarn enthusiasts to spinning using a foot powered spinning wheel.  Participants started with the basics about sheep breeds and the properties of their fleece and ended up with bobbins full of their own hand-spun yarn.

straw into gold? check the socks


With Covid restrictions lifted some members even ventured to other places to take in-person workshops.  The samples in the first photo are from a saori weaving course attended by a member.  Like all true fibre enthusiasts she generously shared her learning and samples with other members of the guild.

So, whatever your passion keep on learning and keep on sharing.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Closing out the year

Christmas lights

 We have moved into that time of year when getting ready for family visits and celebrations is at the top of the "to do" list.  

hand kit toque

If you happened to have done your Christmas shopping at our sale, Elegant Threads, then maybe you are busy wrapping up this lovely toque.  If not you might be busy finishing off a special project of your own.  Hopefully you are not still wondering what to give that special person who needs nothing.   

There is something special about hand made gifts especially if the giver is also the maker.  The gift becomes more than a "thing" because it has a bit of the maker in it.  Every artisan puts their vision, their love of craft, their style or even their sense of humour into the pieces they produce.


Here is to the season or red and green! It is a time to use up all that red yarn you've been accumulating or to explore one of best known complementary colour schemes.  Seems our group had a lot more red yarn than green.

tea towel gradient

plaid blanket
red and white cowl


mug rug

We can work in different colours and if you love to decorate a seasonal tree with funky baubles take a look at these colourful dryer balls.  They do double duty as unbreakable tree ornaments that are very kid friendly.

felted dryer balls/tree ornaments

gift basket
And finally, we like to give presents too.  Here is a photo of one of the gift baskets we've put together for our dear neighbour, The Qualicum Beach School of Dance.  We love them all from the tiny tots to the budding beauties.  We wish them all the best for their upcoming concert and fund raiser at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thank you for making Elegant Threads a success

tower of tea towels

 This is a thank you to everyone who helped to make our annual show and sale, Elegant Threads, a successs.

We had a blast!.  We visited with old friends who come every year and we made some new ones that we hope to see again.  We enjoyed sharing our love of fibre arts with others.  Your encouraging words and compliments were much appreciated.  To those of you who bought items we hope they give as much enjoyment as we had in making them.

Our famous tower of tea towels was greatly diminished by the end of the sale.  Here's to the many kitchens that have, or shortly will have, a new work of art!

knitted toques

setting up the props
sorting the shawls

An event like this takes many hands to put together.  We started our planning in the spring and in the end the entire guild pulled together to make it happen. 

 The items in the sale depend upon what individual members have been working on so the sale committee has to improvise at the last minute to create a cohesive show.  They did a great job.     

We should also recoginze the spouses with their trucks and jeeps and trailers who do the heavy lifting when it comes to moving props and tables especially in the rain.  Their patience, good humour and willingness to support us are appreciated. We love you guys!

setting up silent auction

huck lace shawl

wool boucle shawl
So what did we have to sell?  Well what follows are some pictures of the display items.  Many of them have now moved on to new homes.  

dishcloths in waffle weave

checkerboard and tiles

Items included games, baskets, towels, table linens, luxurious accessories and wearable art.  

wooly scarves
basket with frills


jacket in handwoven yardage

Friday, November 4, 2022

QWSG Presents Elegant Threads

Elegant Threads, the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners annual show and sale, takes place

Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19.

The event takes place at Qualicum Commons, 744 Primrose Street in downtown Qualicum Beach.

The hours are 10 am to 4 pm on both days.

Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking off Primrose Street.

Here is just a taste of what we have to offer.

shawl on a painted warp
You can expect to find a variety of items including one of a kind accesssories such as the shawl woven on a hand painted warp or the blue scarf in textured yarns.
scarf in textured yarns

If you have been to the show in the past you know you will know its a visual treat and as well as an opportunity to find some unique high quality gifts for those special people.  

tea towel rack
Items range from the practical, a hand woven tea towel that will last for years and years, to the whimsical, a felted tea cozy with wooly friends grazing in the flowers.

felted tea cozy

Many of our members are both spinners and excellent knitters.  You can expect to find plenty of keep-me-warm toques, mitts, cowls and shawls.  If you have a knitter of your own on the gift list you can also check out the selection of hand-spun yarns that you'll never find in a yarn store.

christmas toque in handspun yarn

hand spun yarns

lace knit shawl

basket tree
This year you can also expecct to find an expanded selection of basketry items thanks to our popular basketry workshops.  Everything from a whimsical basket tree (get the pun) to wine baskets (without the bottle of course).

wine basket

We've included a silent auction for those bargain hunters that like a bit of competition.  Plan to be there at the close on Saturday for that key final bid.

knitter's bowl a silent auction item

We would like to think this is more than the usual craft sale and that you will take some time to enjoy the exhibit, talk to the makers, watch the demos and even take a peak at our studio.

Elegant Threads display

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Designing with Stripes and Colour

inspiration and outcome

There are many on-line or in-print sources with detailed instructions on how to weave a specific item .  They are a great place to start whether you follow the instructions exactly or modify them to fit your needs.  These recipes allow you to work on weaving technique and build up an experience without the barrier of having to develop a design from scratch.  When you are new to a craft it is also reassuring when the finished piece matches the illustration in the source material.

basic design tool

But one of the most satisfying things about being an artisan is being able to take an illusive idea and turn it into a concrete form.  For that to happen you need to learn how to design,  And so was born, our beginner workshop "The Boucle Tea Towel".  In this workshop, participants learned how to go from paper and coloured pencils to a finished tea towel in cotton boucle.  Along the way they learned about sett, balancing a design to fit a specific width and how to make a striped warp.

tea towel with colour wrapping sample

The students were given the challenge to design, plan in detail and weave a stripped tea towel in cotton boucle.  Students learned to produce a colour wrap using the actual yarns to mimic the stripes in the tea towel.  An example is shown in the picture above.  The wrap does not illustrate how the weft alters colours but it is a quick way to pick a sequence that will be pleasing.

Once you've got the pattern of stripes worked out you need to do some arithmatic to determine how to fit the size and number of stripes into the correct width for the tea towel.  And finally there is "balance".  Sometimes you need to add or subtract part of a pattern on one side so the piece is balanced when viewed as a whole.

two towels one warp
Once that striped warp is on the loom you have still more design decisions to make about the weft.  The photo at the right illustrates two strikingly different out comes with the same asymmetrical stripe pattern in the warp.  The top towel has narrow weft stripes as a border at each end and a pale weft which makes the yellow stripes pop.  The darker weft colour and multiple wide weft stripes breaks up the yellow warp stripes producing a very dramatic piece.  

clasped weft tea towel

The blue and green tea towel was done using a clasped weft technique.  In this technique weft colours do not cross the entire piece.  Two shuttles with different weft yarns are used.  The yarns are linked together so both colours appear in the same shed.  The movement of the colours almost obscures the warp stripes.
composite of tea towels

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


 our home in Qualicum Beach

 We are all learning how to balance the realities of Covid 19 with that basic human need to socialize.  We have had small group events at our studio in Qualicum Commons but most of us have relied on Zoom or another application to stay in touch electronically.  

Mary's yardage
It is a hardship for a lot of us fibre artists since our art form has a large tactile component.  Pictures are lovely but there is nothing to compare with holding a piece to understand how it drapes, to feel the warmth or to experience how it reflects the light.  Mary's yardage is lovely in the photo but in person it is delicious and begs to be wrapped across your shoulders.

But we have started coming together on a regular basis as study groups, in workshops and soon at our general meetings and different drop in sessions.  Check out "Events" for times and dates of regular events. 

We started off  the fall with an open studio day.  Members were invited to see the results of our guild challenge and check out future plans.

Wendy's ocean inspired towels
Guild members were challenged to design and create a piece inspired by either the Ocean or by a Landscape.  Wendy chose the ocean as her inspiration for this beautifully proportioned stripe design.  The cotton tea towels were woven on a rigid heddle loom.  Her efforts earned her a fabric inspired pottery mug.

Lisa's landscape hanging

Lisa chose the landscape as the inspiration for her wall hanging.  She used the technique of clasped weaving,  Pairs of weft colours ebb and flow across the piece in to create natural contours.

October and November are going to be busy with both established and new activities

waffle weave dish cloth
We have 2 new studio projects on the floor looms, a colourful tea towel and waffle weave dish cloths.

Several workshops are either planned or in progress.  Our "design your own tea towel" session for beginners has just completed with some happy weavers "wearing" their unique cloth
 tea towels or a wrap?

mini-tables for knitting or spinning
New activities include both drop in fibre craft and chat group.  This is an non-structured event.  Members are invited to bring whatever they are working on.  For October the drop in dates are Saturday October 22nd and Tuesday October 24 (10:30 to 12:30).  

We will also be holding get together and learn sessions approximately 3 times per month.  Each session include a short presentation.  

Elegant Threads, our annual fall show and sale will take place November 18 and 19 in the library at The Commons.  It is just down the hall from our studio so you can shop and have a peak at what's on the looms.

For more information about our in-studio activities please contact us at