Our members live in a collection of small to medium sized communities that populate the mid section of Vancouver Island. These communities have distinct personalities which they celebrate at community events. Family Day in Qualicum Beach is one of those events. It brings together a mix of community groups from tap dancers to weavers and spinners. Rain or shine our guild has taken part in Family Day for many years. This year it was sunny. Our cheer leader is showing her appreciation.
We love this event and the enthusiastic group of families that always show up. It is delightful to watch the children most of whom are shy at first and a bit reluctant to try anything. With a bit of encouragement they soon become fascinated with the process of making yarn or cloth.
our booth is always a busy place
Events like this are a great way to help keep the crafts alive, to build an appreciation of the "made by hand" label and to introduce people to a satisfying past time.
OUR GIGANTIC GARAGE/YARD SALE Our next "public" event is a new for us but not for most people. We are having a garage/yard sale! A gigantic sale too big to fit in the garage alone. This is a fund raiser to help finance our educational programs and resource centre. Members have been purging their homes for the last month and as a result we will have truck loads of stuff to sell and I am not kidding. There will be collectables, house hold and garden items, tools, furniture, children's items and so much more.
You can help us to simplify our lives while recycling for the good of the planet and even find yourself a bargain by coming. That gives you three reasons to be there, so copy the following information.
Date: Saturday, June 22nd
Time: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: 238 4th Avenue West, (corner of Jones & 4th Avenue) in Qualicum Beach
Perhaps the most important benefit of belonging to a arts guild is the opportunity to learn from others and grow your own skills. Sharing knowledge, learning and building confidence are important activities for the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild. We have a very active teaching program and most of the teachers are guild members who are generous with their time and talents. Still, sometimes to expand into new areas or explore in greater depth we need to go beyond the guild's resources and tap into the greater arts community. It can be difficult and expensive to bring in experienced teachers and even more difficult for our members to travel great distances to workshops. This is where the concept of "sharing the learning" can help.
This year our guild was pleased to be the recipient of grant funds from the Association of North West Weaving Guild (ANWG).https://northwestweavers.org/ The funds were used to give financial assistance to members so that they could attend workshops and classes that are not available locally. In return, the workshop attendees share what they have learned through presentations and workshops. Three grants were awarded for, basketry, Saori weaving and textile dyeing workshops.
At our April general meeting we were treated to a presentation on Saori weaving.
The Saori loom has a simplified warping process and with just two harnesses and two treadles it is idea for playing with plain weave. If a pre-made warp is purchased then the time and effort involved in set up is minimize. The wheel attached to the castle is a bobbin winder.
saori woven strip
The weaving process is more free form and encourages experimenting with materials and hand manipulation including a form of clasp weave. The whole process reduces the emphasis on straight edges or perfect rhythm allowing the weaver to take a spiritual journey without guilt feelings.
Our next general meeting will be Monday, May 27. Until then we are busy setting up some new studio projects and getting organized for our first outdoor event of the season. Members are also working on pieces for the ANWG conference that takes place in Prince George in June.
Finally, look for our booth at the Qualicum Beach Family Day Event on Saturday May 25th. Our booth is very popular with young would-be weavers and spinners. Stop by and say hello!
This year we took inspiration from the local Brant Festival that celebrates nature and the cycles that play out along our shores. As part of the festivities we held a two day show and sale of members' works many of them inspired by the migration of the Brant goose. We even developed a special tag for items inspired by the bird.
Brant and ocean inspired towel
The Brant festival organizers were very supportive and helped to publicize our event. We appreciate all their efforts to make the entire festival a success.
As our membership grows so do the interests of the members and that is reflected in some of the new items that were included in Elegant Threads and More. Several of our members are interested in working directly with raw fibers to create silk or wool creations. In addition to nuno felted pieces the sale included silk fusion lights and wet felted bags and slippers.
wet felted hand bag
silk fusion lights, they glow from within
The weavers had been busy with some spring weather related items. Pieces in neutral or natural coloured yarns were popular. The scarves on the right are so light you can see through them.
We still had plenty of eye catching items that expressed the maker's love of colour. Many of the items were hand dyed by the maker using a range of natural and synthetic dyes and a range of techniques from immersion dyeing to hand painting.
hand spun yarn
hand woven scarves
The set up crew did a wonderful job of turning the chaos shown on the previous post into a calm inviting show that encouraged visitors to browse through the display tables, ask questions and visit for a while. We hoped visitors would find a piece that would talk to them and ask to be taken home. We are happy to report that did happen. Proceeds from the sale will help cover the rent on our studio and let us continue our guild programs.
Thank you to the sale committee and all their helpers, both members and their conscripted family members. Many hands are required to put on an event of this quality. If you were able to attend we hope you enjoyed the visit. If you missed it look for us at Qualicum Beach Family Days in May and at Art in Action in July.
Every spring the little fish whose remains are pictured above reminds us of the awesomeness of natural phenomena and how all living things are interconnected. The herring spawn in March and April coincides with the arrival of Brant geese on their long journey to their summer breeding grounds. Our area becomes a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers and we celebrate with a month long Brant festival. This year our guild decided to participate in the festival with a show and sale of our works, many of which have a Brant or natural theme.
flightless birds not Brant geese
Today we were busy getting ready for our Elegant Threads and More event. Members bring their sale items to our studio the day prior to the sale. We never know what will show up or how many tea towels we will have to fit on the display racks. It is exciting to see what new items and designs people have been working. No matter what shows up our display diva, can come up with a prop or stand to display it.
Mr Fixit performing last minute adjustments
Doug is working on a display for items inspired by the colours and symbolism of the Brant Goose itself. Linda, Myrtle and Pat are busy sorting and hanging scarves and shawls and clothing so they can be moved to the sale area first thing in the morning.
where can I hang this ?
so many scarves
checking out the hats
recording the inventory
Sylvia is recording inventory for the guild store.
When the doors to the sale room open tomorrow at 10 am, all of this chaos will have been brought to heel and you'll see an inviting display of unique hand crafted items. Everything from silk fusion lamps and felted bags to mushroom dyed hats or rugs made out of jeans.
towels inspired by the ocean and Brant geese
The sale runs Friday and Saturday, April 5 & 6 from 10 am to 4pm at Qualicum Commons, 744 Primrose Street in Qualicum Beach. There is parking in the lot off Primrose.
Grey yarns tend to sit on the shelf like a wall flower at a dance. More vibrant colours seem to get all the attention. Those grey yarns have more potential than you may think so don't leave them on the shelf.
The natural world is filled with shades of grey. Think of beach sand, stones, and weathered wood or lichens, tree bark and birds.
stones on weather log
Grey is a classic colour that doesn't become dated. It is conservative, easy to look at, and combines with other colours to give a contemporary look. It is commonly used for printed materials, fabric and interior designs.
Grey is neutral and can calm a vibrant colour scheme. If you colour design seems over powering then try adding some grey to the mix. The tea towels in the photo are based on M's & O's patterns in bright warm colours but the weaver has made good use of grey to balance the strong patterned areas.
tea towels mix of grey and orange to yellow
Grey mixes with many different colours including electric or light blue, lime green, yellows and oranges, gold, rose, aqua and even deep purple. Check out any site for house paint to find contemporary colour schemes based on grey.
The colour grey appeals to both men and women. Dark greys, especially when paired with dark colours, have a masculine quality. Light greys are more feminine when paired with light blue or yellow.
Since grey accessories can be worn with a range of colours, it is a good choice for scarves or shawls and items that are intended to appeal to both men and women. The motif in the scarf (pictured below) stands out against a neutral grey background.
summer & winter scarf
All greys are not created equal. Just check out "grey" paint chips the next time your at a paint store. Achromatic grey is an equal mix of white and black and it has equal amounts of red, green and blue. It is truly neutral. But there are chromatic greys that are not a balance of red, green and blue. Chromatic greys will have a "hint" of colour to them. These greys can be considered warm (rose tones) or cold (blue/grey or green/grey). Before selecting a grey check it against your other colours. https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-ca/colour-overview/find-your-colour
twisted threads create random pattern
You can always create your own shades of grey by mixing black and white yarns in your piece. The photo at the right has a moire pattern due to the way the weft threads have been twisted.
The photo below shows yardage that would be suitable for a coat or jacket. Bright buttons or a coloured trim would look great with the neutral textured fabric.
yardage in mixed fibres
silk fusion clutch purse
The silk fusion clutch purse shows a classic combination of grey with gold. It has a contemporary elegant look to it.
We are busy in the studio these days with workshops and projects. We are participating in the Brant Festival this year and that has inspired a lot of interest in the colours associated with the Brant goose, black and white of course but also greys, beige and off white. The geese will arrive in our locale sometime this month.
Watch for our show and sale Friday April 5th and 6th from 10 am to 4 pm at Qualicum Commons, 744 Primrose St in Qualicum Beach
The spinning wheel pictured to the left is a lovely piece of craftsmanship from the turned spindles that form the wheel to the carved hearts and other embellishments. To the man operating the spinning wheel, it is a piece of fine furniture as well as a fine instrument for creating yarn.
At any large gathering of spinners you could expect to see variety of spinning wheels in operation. The size, position of the wheel and the treadles might vary but that large wheel shape tells you your seeing a spinning circle.
Many things have changed since it was necessary to spin our own yarn. For many of us it is now a leisure activity and we see the opportunity to join a spinning circle as a pleasure not a necessity.
The spinning group of the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners meets every Tuesday from 10 am to noon. Members bring their wheels or knitting with the intention of working. They also bring their problems or triumphs to share over a cup of tea. Of course there is always a spinning circle as these just form spontaneously if there are more than two spinning wheels in the same location. It is something to do with all that twisting that goes on.
But take a peek at the latest Tuesday spinning circle and you'll see a modern twist. The first hints that something is different is are the extension cords and the outlet bar.
e-spinners in cherry wood
The spinning devices in this circle are electric. The large wheel that is romantically associated with hand spinning and history is no where to be seen. The bobbin and flywheel are obvious but they are now being driven by a motor in the base.
So why would you want to replace that beautiful wheel in the first photograph with a far less romantic electric spinning wheel. Well, that lovely wheel is heavy and an awkward shape that is difficult to store and transport. In that way it really does resemble a piece of furniture. The electric spinners are bread-box size (does anyone have a bread box anymore?).
The traditional wheels pictured above are driven by foot power and while that gives one an excuse to knit colourful socks and booties it also means you must be able to coordinate what your feet are doing with what your hands are doing. Getting all those parts moving in a synchronous fashion can be difficult at first and impossible if you have health issues that effect your lower limbs and feet.
blended fibres before spinning
; Even with the electric motor assist, the spinner is still very much in control of the final yarn, from selecting, dyeing and blending the fibres to controlling the thickness and amount of twist. It is still very much "hand spun" yarn when it comes off that bobbin.
New weavers are often advised by the more experienced to make and finish samples of their designs before committing time and yarn to the full project. Few of us follow through with that suggestion at first. It seems we have to learn from our own disaster, the scarf that was stiff as a board or the sleazy top fabric that wouldn't hold together.
If you work from a recipe then the author has done the sampling for you and will give you the appropriate materials, structure and sett and finish. The more you deviate from the instructions the more likely you are to have surprising results that can be good or bad.
If you work from your imagination and yarns bought at a thrift shop then the results will surely be a surprise so you'd better do some sampling early in the process.
Sampling doesn't just mean weaving a small section. It includes wet finishing because the "magic in the water" can cast a truly evil spell on your hard work.
A collection of samples can be a valuable resource. It is worth setting up a system for retaining samples and information so that they are easy to retrieve and interpret. Don't limit yourself to your own samples. Broaden your collection with designs from other weavers. There are several sources.
Guild of Canadian Weavers Sample
Before weaving software was common weavers shared designs through printed materials which often included a small sample of the cloth. Today it is easier to check a WIF file and a photo in an on-line source but something important to textile artists is always missing. For us the texture, drape, loft and sheen are just as important as the weave structure. Sample programs like that of the Guild of Canadian Weavers still exist and many study groups have limited sample exchanges.
If you have attended a lot of workshops with "round robin" sessions then you will have acquired an excellent sample collection to help you recall the lessons. These can be the starting point for your own designs.
sample of pique
Take a second look at the first photo of Sheila's samples to see 9 variations of a simple design with huck lace accents. She has explored colour effects and played with the placement of the huck lace and has a lovely collection of mug rugs/samples.
sampling crackle treadlings
MARCH SPINNING AND WEAVING CLASSES
Our winter workshops continue with spinning and weaving classes for those who have some experience and would like to increase they skills and knowledge. Participants in the "Twill Treadlings" class will be coming home with a most useful sample, a guest towel with decorative rosepath.
The spinning class will look at the history of spinning, wheels, various techniques and tips for spinning and plying plus an overview of yarn consistency and diameter.
Often our ideas of weaving are dominated by textiles produced on harness looms. Sometimes we overlook the value of techniques using simpler and much older technology.
Remember the head bands, guitar straps and colourful belts from the hippie days? If that was before your time you may recall the friendship bracelet craze? Many of these items were made on a simple inkle loom. Weavers with long memories might still have one stashed away in a dark cupboard. Don't throw it out just yet!
inkle loom with cards
In general, inkle woven bands are warp faced plain weave textiles that depend on the colour order in the warp to create pattern. The resulting bands can be quite beautiful but complexity of the design is somewhat limited unless you use a pick up technique. The introduction of cards (tablets) into the weaving process allows for individual groups of warp threads to be raised or lowered. The design possibilities expand exponentially.
card woven bands
Card weaving is an ancient technique that has been around since the iron age. The process of card weaving twists the yarns and produces a much strong textile than plain weave. Perhaps it evolved in part because of its superior strength as well as its decorative value.
Card weaving consumes warp far more than plain weave so if you want to make yards of trim a normal inkle loom won't hold enough warp. (Expect a "take up" of 30% or more.) You could consider a purpose built loom for weaving bands or you could use the front and back beams of a table loom to hold the warp and replace the heddles with cards.
using a table loom
painted warp card woven
So what can you do with yards and yards of narrow woven bands? One obvious use is as a strap for a bag. Instead of the straps being an after thought you can design the finished piece so that the straps are a major design feature. A custom trim can lift a simple fabric out of the ordinary. You could give friendship bracelets an adult look. Or you can sew bands together and use them as the fabric for a bag. Imagine the possibilities!
designing with trim
Members of our guild have recently formed a card (tablet) weaving interest group. If anyone is interested in learning more about card (tablet) weaving or would like to share their experiences with the technique then contact us at Qualicum Weavers and Spinners
In December our attention is more on social activities than working in the studio. The guild sale has come and gone. Now the only urgency is to finish those Christmas presents before the 25th.
As the year comes to an end it is also a time to think about the future. Maybe you are working on your new year's resolutions already. Improve your diet? (after the cookies are gone) Exercise more? (when the weather improves) Find a use for that odd coloured yarn? Stop buying odd coloured yarn at the thrift shop?
painted warp shawl
If your future interests include learning something new then you will be happy to know that our workshop committee has been busy lining up some interesting classes for 2019.
Perhaps you saw something at the Elegant Threads sale and you are inspired to learn to weave. Beginner weaving classes are being offered in January. The instructor is a master weaver who started weaving when she was 12. Linda Wilson developed the Level 3 Master Weaver program and teaches it through Olds College in Alberta. Take this class and you will be well on your way to mastering weaving.
hand spun yarn
Maybe you are inspired to produce your own yarns for knitting or weaving. We've got a class in January for that too. Linda Raven is a retired educator and former owner of a spinning mill so fibres are in her blood. She has extensive experience teaching beginner and intermediate spinning classes. this course will give you a good grounding in the art of turning fibre into yarn.
Scarf from Woven Beauty
If you have ever thought of starting an on-line store or wondered how to display your work on-line then you might want to attend the lecture on Introduction to Selling on Etsy. Lynnette Lynch of "Woven Beauty" will share her experiences on January 9th. The photo above is an example of how to display your work in a clear and attractive manner.
Check the side bar under Workshop Series 2019 to see what the latest offerings are. We are planning for more including, twill treadling, novice spinning, felting and silk fusion lanterns,
detail from 2018 nuno felting workshop
Our workshops are open to members and non-members alike. So if you belong to one of the many related spinning/weaving guilds we'd love to have you join in one of our workshops. It is a great way to make links within the broad arts community. Similarly if you are interested and think you might like to try your hand at fibre arts this is a great way to meet people with similar interests.
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
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
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.