Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Learning the Basics

knitting basics
Our guild has grown rapidly over the past 3 years.  Some of our new members are old hands at the fibre arts and have recently moved to this area.  Some are newly retired and interested in reviving an interest from earlier days now that they have the time.
Still others have well developed skills in related areas and want to expand into new areas.  So we have spinners who would like to weave, weavers who would like to knit and knitters who would like to felt.  And of course the felters want to weave.

In order to help make that happen we have been concentrating on teaching the basics.  We started with basic knitting lessons.  The course was organized and delivered by two of our experienced knitters.  We learned about materials, stitches, gauge and why people love to make those cotton wash cloths.  (Because they work and are easy to make.)  We might not have that fair isle sweater ready for Christmas but we can now add knitted edges and embellishments to our weaving.  Christmas stockings may contain a few hand made wash cloths too.
Examples to illustrate points

weaving lesson
Our next major effort went into a beginner weaving course.  Beginners started off with pre-warped looms to get the concepts then moved on to working on their own projects on individual table looms.  We were lucky to have an experienced weaving teacher in Linda Wilson for this course.  In March she will move on to teaching us about drafting.

nuno-felted scarf
Nuno-felting will round out our lessons for February thanks to Janice Charko.  Janice Charko's web site
The photo at the left was made by one of the students using the "dryer" method for felting.  It was nice to see members of a neighbouring guild at this workshop.

Our guild is the largest in the mid Island area and with our new studio space we are able to expand our workshop program.  Where it is feasible we hope to be able to offer workshop spaces to fibre enthusiasts beyond the members of our own guild.

Lessons in basic spinning and spinning silk are being planned.  Watch the events section or check our facebook page for more information.

a bright and light blanket
In spite of all the learning activities guild members were busy with creative efforts in February as demonstrated by the show and tell portion of our meeting.

wall hanging, the sea

The large wall hanging was felted and represents the ocean.  The dark blue stripe has beads embedded in the wool felt.
The blanket with colourful stripes was compared to a beach blanket but it is much too cold for that in February.  Better to wrap it around your shoulders and sit by the fire.

The piece on the right was done by a new member who has recently started working on a refurbished loom.  She obviously had fun trying different techniques and patterns using the yarns that came with the loom.

section of a long piece with variations

Monday, January 22, 2018

We're Back

lichens on a fir branch
Winter is still with us.  The rain has settled in for the long term.  Anything stationary is likely to sprout a nice crop of lichens like the branch in the photo.  Lawns may be green but it's moss not grass with mushrooms dotted here an there.

But of course we are artisans so those lichens are the design for a boa and the mushrooms are fodder for the next batch of natural dye.

Our regular guild meetings have resumed at the Qualicum Commons location in the town of Qualicum Beach.  We are still working through the final layout of our space and thanks to a grant from the Regional District of Nanaimo we can afford proper storage for our library, yarn supplies and growing inventory of equipment.  The space is already well used.  Knitting lessons are underway, Beginning Weaving will start this month.  Several workshops and loom projects are in the planning stages and we are even having a garage sale.
yarn challenge and woven ban

At our general meeting we had a chance to see what people have been working on over the past two months. 

The hand spun yarn in the photo was the result of our previous guild challenge.  If you look closely you can see the sequins that have been added during plying.  The yarn was woven into a decorative band that is the design feature on a very special project bag. 

arbutus pillow cover
The design for the pillow cover is based on the colours and texture of an arbutus tree trunk,  The baby blanket is one of a pair made for a granddaughter.  Does she plan on having twins???  Notice the detail of the edging.

baby blanket with edge detail

multi-yarn warp scarf
The lovely scarf in fuchsia started life as a mixed yarn warp
nuno felted wrap


The blue and natural coloured piece may look like a scarf but you might be surprised to learn it is actually a series of scrubbies that will make your pots and pans shine.

The red and purple piece looks other worldly but it is a section of a nuno felted wrap.  Imagine the dramatic entrance you'd make wearing it.

detail of rug
 The final photo shows the detail of an incredibly colourful rug made with scraps of thick yarn.

We will be busy for the rest of January with lessons and preparing for our yarn sale in February. 
 We received a large donation of yarns that is for sale and in addition members will be selling off their excess inventory.  The yarns are suitable for both knitting and weaving and include natural yarns, mixed yarns and synthetics.  The public are invited to the sale at Qualicum Commons on Primrose Street in Qualicum Beach on Saturday February 10th. 

Oh yes and we will spend some time in the studio especially if the rain keeps on falling.