Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Attempt at Blogging once again!

It has been a bit of a struggle these past couple of years  - intermittent mingling of thoughts, actions etc. Not to be daunted, I will again attempt to blog on a regular basis. Short meaningful, I hope, thoughts that will put a wiggle in your creative brain!

Today I tried to focus on a few things I needed doing, and to reward myself with something I wanted to do if there were no interruptions - suffice it to say I locked the door and pulled the curtain. It was quiet in the courtyard, so I didn't feel guilty.

I have been obsessed by circles and have explored the making of, in different techniques - tapestry, Theo Moorman, various overshots. The grid poses restriction in order to get a round shape so it is always a challenge. Then I saw an image of woven circles in Google Image and a draft by Susan Poague. Yippee says I, but was unsure of how to do it as the draft was unclear to me. Then Susan's circles were published in Handwoven, and I didn't have that issue. I only buy it now and again, so I had to order it. I got it, followed exactly except for the materials, (I am not a rayon chenille lover) and didn't much like what I saw - I needed it to be airy and light. So resleyed to 12 epi using cotton and tencel warp and linen and cotton/linen in the wefts and played. Yay I love, but then craft fairs got in the way.......
so now I am doing what I want....but the ridiculous part of this textale, is that I had the pattern the whole time in my Strickler's book - Diversified Plain Weave using the point twill and
'swelling' it out......I felt a little bit like a fool, but I had a good laugh too. The egg shape will hopefully shrink into more of a circle after washing and off tension.

I guess the 'wiggle' would be to obsess but take time to think it through - saves yourself a little grief in the end. My brain can be so fragmented with the creative energy and other people's energy that taking time for myself on a regular basis and journal on a consistent basis.

And now I end with the music I listened to throughout the day - everyone likes the music in the studio - today it was a definite mix. Laura Fry ends her blogs with her reading material, but my reading these days is mostly non-fiction and knitting patterns!

Marianas Trench
Alpha Blondie
Lana del Rey
Alison Kraus
Dolly Parton

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Annual January Sale at THE LOOM!!!

Just another quick little reminder that there is the annual January Sale at THE LOOM - everyone likes to be reminded so here it is!!! So many beautiful new yarns - the store is bursting and the first day was amazing. We are all at the ready to tempt you with such wonderful yarns - and we just might spin a few while we are at it!!! I work on Wednesdays 10-2 and all day Saturday, but the Studio is open and please come and have a quick visit if you have time. 
I promise promise promise to write my blog soon - I have begun.
 20% off all regularly priced yarns all month long!!!
250 746-5260

No snow so far!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cowichan Valley Fleece and Fibre Festival

I will be writing on my blog soon - thank you all for missing me!! But to keep you up-to-date, mark this on your calendar.  It is going to be awesome!

I'll be in touch soon - very crazy busy these days, but my computer is fixed here in the studio, so will be able to write more.  However, if you are on Facebook, befriend me at Leola's Studio - I try to do daily updates there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

…I’ll know if it’s what I wanted. It might be what I needed which usually ends up being what I wanted in the first place.” -Eyarheh Wapa

A lovely visit from a former student wrote the title of the post... It led me to design a workshop, called Pique Your Passion. Anyone wanting to have me teach this workshop get in touch - it is intense, fun and the only way I can really bring the studio to you.....more on that later !

I am on my way to Convergence in Bellingham this week, so I hope to see many of you there. Please look me up at Booth 16 - would love to meet you! and for more information:

So, I can only say I have been busy and too tired at night to blog - so I got my laptop fixed and I can now work in the studio - Ann and I are constantly getting obsessed about certain weaving techniques - one of which is rosepath - and especially eight harness rosepath - a traditional threading that for many of us was the first threading we used.  Wanya, my esteemed teacher had a certain reverence for rosepath (rosengang) which probably impressed my young mind and still does. So off Ann and I went down the rose garden path and had a heck of a good time! As a result we have pillows made out of Eastwin mohair blend - 100% Cowichan Valley fibre! The above trees (I thought of pussy willows, but others thought it was after a forest fire etc. :) at any rate this one is special as I had a 93 year old manfriend giving me the treadling order,  as I was on a table loom.  The red tree is for Forbes! We later found the skeleton tie-up key in Tim's Treadling program on-line!!!! which we will use when we get to the floor loom - our plan is to make bolsters which are wide narrow pillows with an insert of the rosepath........I will post pictures when they are done. 100% Cowichan Valley fibre too - mostly mohair. At present we are wrestling (I say this as I put my neck out reaching for the heddles!) with a 12 harness loom.....onto another project though.

So lots of pictures to show what the last few months have been like.....
The spin-in in Metchosin was a huge success and it was wonderful to see everyone!

And then it was Fibres West - which was an amazing fibre fair in Cloverdale. I met so many people that are obsessed by fibre!! Aren't we all??

I did my usual red corner and a natural corner and then Hummingbee Farm had their luscious fibres surrounding me - can it get any better?  http://hummingbeefarm.webs.com/

Some pictures from the event - Fiona Duthie was there - she is one of my favourite fibre artists in the whole wide world..............

Shibori - another workshop by Fiona
and there were so many other things to see, knitting designers, the Cashmere Breeders of British Columbia - YUM!!!, lace, flax and everyone loved my Cowichan Valley fibres too!
More pictures.....
The lace pictures were for Barbara and of course the women demonstrating there, knew her!
And one of the most wonderful experiences was finally trying an e-spinner and I tried to hold Devon back as I told her that her spinning life would never be the same again.....
My favourite piece - a little hooked bird
And then I am on a tour - the Cowichan Valley Artisans Studio Tour http://www.cowichanvalleyartisans.com
I managed to get a little thread painting on raw silk done as well - fiddleheads were calling me! The tour continues through December.
Okay, now the studio - busy as ever and some interesting things to see!!
I don't know what it is, but I love ALL the parts of weaving - including the ties - the anticipation of another rag rug!!
I can look at this all day - I just find it so pretty - Eastwin Farm Mohair - hand dyed by me!! I like that space dyed yarn works well in a weft face......
Handwoven chenille - all sold!!!
Fenn from Custom Woollen Mills came by - and saw that we were weaving many rag rugs - she said she uses sock tops from the mill to weave hers and would send me some - soon a package came, but all I could think of was rya!! and so now everyone wants a rya rug!

A lot of our local wool is processed at Custom Woolen Mills and on the island as well with Anna Renning and also there is a mill on Salt Spring - we are lucky to have this available to us - I want to weave with as much local fibre as I can - so we have started weaving Cowichan Valley blankets using our local fibre - we have finished 4 already - and looking for fleece to process!!
We are making them about 52 X 72
I have very sore arms!
Rya rugs are fun to make and use a lot of material - if you are using rags and fabric. Some of my young students made a rug using Pendelton Blanket selvedges - it was so heavy - I don't seem to have a picture of it though - will have to get them to send me one and I will add it to the post.
The two looms were next to each other - and were a perfect match - couldn't have planned it.  I am always surprised when there is a keen interest in one technique how it becomes infectious! I even had a rya rug walk into the studio to be repaired!!
We love using mohair and especially our local blend from Ann's farm, Eastwin - but I wanted to celebrate it - so wouldn't you know, a knitting designer walked into the studio and introduced herself and I jumped at the chance to suggest she design something for us. And voila - she did. It is so beautiful and luscious and fun to knit. You will be able to purchase it through my website soon, pattern and the mohair blend....or the pattern can be purchased on line from Andrea Rangel's website or Ravelry.  It is called Glenora where the pretty goats live.....my sweet student, Katie is modelling it for us in these pictures.
I mentioned my website - I have an official one now and it isn't quite up to date - one will be able to purchase things eventually but the site is www.leolasstudio.com
and we have had photo shoots as well which have been really fun to watch.
My photographer is awesome. www.kimyanick.com/
And I will end with one picture that has captured my heart

My weaving teacher, Wanya came to visit one day. I have a great deal of respect for this amazing woman. She has taught me that tradition, heart, and spirit combined, makes for a weaver that continues to explore and teach the magic.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year!

My dear friend Anne wrote the following on a card
'wishing you a year as rich as a tapestry, as "full" as a handwoven blanket and as connected as the seasons...' with love
I wish this to all of you as well - have a wonderful year of creativity and joy!!!

A photo I snapped one day because it called to me...

Speaking of tapestry - just to let everyone know that it is moving along centimeter by centimeter and it is so beautiful - Anne, Barbara, Ann Marie and I all do our part - it is a community tapestry, so others are welcome at any time.

a couple of details....

Barbara Birke

Goddess of the Birch
So I have decided that I would try to showcase someone each blog - I have just too many interesting people come through, working and creating in the studio, that both humble and inspire me which, leave little snippets of wisdom and make me feel like there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish all one would like to accomplish. So this month I would like to feature a woman that I have known for about 30 years and who I didn't really know until she came quietly into the studio and said she would like to weave on the the community tapestry! And now when she doesn't come in on Thursdays, I feel that my week is not complete.
Barbara came to Canada 32 years ago from Germany. She had studied at the Academy of the Visual Arts -  Kunstakademie in Stuttgart. Her focus being textile and to begin with explored fabric painting which evolved into teaching at the Academy in the printing department. She then switched to weaving, and worked on many hangings and was paid by the meter! One of the biggest was approximately 18 X 4 meters and then it was hung in the Heidleberg Cancer Institute.
Working with another weaver, she was accustomed to working with others in a 'community' way - just as she is now in the studio - lucky me!  This hanging was done 'rya-like' - which of course piques my interest as I so want to weave a rya - perhaps then next community weaving.....
Barbara discovered bobbin lace in the Cowichan Valley and is a crackerjack bobbin lace maker - unbelieveable. She submits her designs to Lace Makers Gazette and Die Spitze.  Barbara is also well known for her knitting and everytime I see her, she has another sweater on that she has designed - and she is so humble...
Barbara's personal statement, she expresses, "I love every thing what you can do by hand", in her lovely accent and continues, "I love working with my hands and using nature as a springboard. It is important to work along with other like minded people." After asking her what she can offer the world - she was reluctant to answer - but after some discussion, she likes to bring awareness of the textile world to youth through demonstration and feels this is one way to keep the craft alive. Her work can be seen at the Sooke Arts Faire every year, the Tzouhalem Weavers and Spinners annual show, and various fibre fairs on the island.  My creative world is enriched by this wonderful artist.
Who will I showcase next time..........
I have been playing as usual - Summer and Winter Lace these days - just to stretch the threading - white on white for the most part which of course bores me to no end - but I do want to paint it or dye it once I have finished - I have been inspired by Lynette who writes in her blog Le Tissier Designs who submits to Vogue Knitting magazine - amazing lace knitter. Check out the latest Vogue Knitting  magazine and see her socks!!!!
And then I have been obsessed by pink...........thanks to my friend Sherry of Vintage Treasures who now has her store in Chemainus.....
A raw silk flower thread painted 4 X 4 inches sitting on a blanket in cream and white - two blankets one in white woven with Eastwin mohair blend and the second a Fleece Artist kid mohair.....Pretty pretty pretty!
It is the season for submitting for craft fairs in the summer and Christmas, Convergence, brochures - deadlines everywhere -  slowly but surely everything will get done....I keep weaving, and teaching and being inspired every waking moment - it cannot get any better than this.

I leave you with an adage that came my way by Susan's husband Bruce when we were talking about getting old and retirement etc. - that talk!! He described this ideal moment at the age of 14, he was in a canoe with an older gentleman, fishing and enjoying the summer day - his Finnish friend, George Wala gazed out over the water and turned to him and said -

Too soon old
Too late smart
He told me this just after I had the pleasure of teaching a dozen young women, the Renaissance Women they call themselves, aiming to learn as much as they can - which made me feel just a little old - but good because I have been blessed with the ability and the good fortune to be learning everyday - all the things that I love to do.
I have much more to tell you and to share with you but will do that in another blog - lots of stimulating conversation, amazing art sites etc. Create everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is almost upon us!!!

We are almost finished with the craft fairs for the season - and it has been very successful. The Crystal Garden "Out of Hand" show was great, tiring, but great. We shared a booth with Mixed Metal Mimi which worked really well together. Her shawl pins have been a hit in the studio gallery and we were not surprised at how well they sold in this show as well - certainly the metal and fibre work together.  We were tired, but jazzed up and ready to continue, but soon exhaustion hit me and I was glad to be home. What was interesting to me was that 30 years or so ago I had been doing craft fairs in the Crystal Gardens, and almost in the same location, making ponchos, scarves and blankets and having the same conversation about where were craft fairs going.....lots has changed, but the attitude is about the same. I think as artists, we love to meet the people who appreciate and love our work - there is not the same 'sweetness' that one can get on-line. Oh, and everyone has a credit card reader on their I-phones!!!! Makes a big difference in sales.

Mimi and Me!!

The studio has continued to be busy, what with me trying to weave in order to have stock for the Christmas fairs and teaching, it was pretty intense - but I loved it! Lori, one of my students who weaves a lot is preparing gifts for her family and her rag rug, basic pick and pick, is just wonderful and a matching blanket to boot.
and another warp goes on - this time a table runner by Gillian,  her second project which is threaded to a goose eye and looking rather wonderful - cotton warp, and linen weft. The runner is half woven now

My young students have been keeping me busy. Because I encourage self directed creativity, I sometimes have no idea where the kids will take me. One class, I found myself in the middle of braiding rugs - so there they were, braiding these very long braids outside - luckily it was sunny and the next thing I knew, I was skipping rope!!! Much to the surprise of my students, I soon landed on my behind! Man, it was fun for a few minutes anyway!

Everything from legwarmers to delightful little toy animals......

And the tapestry grows - we are at the purple flower!!!
I had the Salt Spring Weaver's Guild come for a tour in the last month, which was just wonderful - I think that they had a great time what with filming and taking pictures and I am pretty sure they were inspired by all the looms and my student's weaving. I certainly loved having them in the studio.

And speaking of filming - Shaw Cable came to Whippletree Junction a couple of weeks ago - and it was one of those days that everything went wrong that could go wrong, but they were great working around my craft fair stress and managed to make me sound somewhat articulate. If you wish to watch it!!!!! you can find it on:
And there will be an Open House on December 15th - come and have some hot chocolate and see the  weavings and friends - new and old! And there are lovely shops to poke about in.
 So if I don't see you at the Open House - have a wonderful holiday and a healthy
and creative New Year!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's almost November - oh my goodness it is November!!!!!


Peter Collingwood
Had a wonderful memory lane week due to designing a mini-rug workshop for some wonderful women from the Campbell River Guild. I had the honour, as many have, of studying with Peter in 1979!! He passed away a few years ago in the month of October, so it seems fitting that I should begin this post with rugs!!

Rugs - farthest left and farthest right front and back
Herringbone twill rug in the middle
Campbell River Weavers - hard at work!
The workshop included a three-end block weave from Peter's book (using rags in order for the rug to be finished in a day), a herringbone twill from Davison's book, a twill rug done on opposites, and another twill threading sett at 4 epi in order for it to be bound - pick and pick and the like.
Val did her rug on opposites on a cotton warp - it looks great. The picture doesn't do it justice. Judy had a great time and managed to get a 'rag bag' that will be a showstopper.
I had done a rag rug as well on the block weave, and then after the class left, I couldn't wait to get back on the loom so have produced three carpet bags using wool and wool blends. I will be working with a leather artist to trim with leather and use leather straps. I am quite excited and I am loving using a blend of wools together to shade and make the blocks 'move'. I want to add a little tapestry in too.  My arms are sore!!!!
Rags to wool
The studio continues to be busy and creative. New students every week, both young and older. I had a wonderful group of 15 women for Professional Development day to learn, 'textile arts in the home and the classroom'. They were enthusiastic and worked hard all day. I was in my element - any chance to educate about my passion, I cannot be stopped! These very creative women made a journal for their creative ideas and meanderings using the accordian book style (I have a 'thing' about accordians!), using fabric and embellishment for the covers. The weaving station had paper weaving, needle weaving on little looms my husband kindly made, and spindles made from dowel and CDs (although only one participant managed to fit that in!). Weaving on the floor looms was also happening, with everyone weaving on the rag rug, and rag mats which were later raffled off. Needle felting onto recycled felted wool from wool blankets to make a coffee cozy was also done. We managed to dye some local wool as well with cedar chips from a totem carving that my next door studio artist, Herb Rice keeps for me. They also went away with a tea towel and an old package of Rit dye to tie dye!!!! There just wasn't enough time to do it all!!! SO much fun. I hope I get to do it again.

Cedar chips with a little alum and ammonia - very pretty

Leola's Studio has introduced a new line of hats - we have branded them 'toque' - handcrafted from local mohair/wool and then hand dyeing them individually. They seem to be quite popular. We are at the Out of Hand Christmas Craft Fair in Victoria this year, so we are busily getting ready for it. November 23-25 at the Crystal Gardens. Never mind weaving like a demon!
 The tapestry is growing and we have weavers every Thursday coming into weave. So it is really becoming a tapestry and we have rolled it a little already.  Tapestry is such a great way to lose yourself. I really lose track of time when I weave and find that I just need tofill in that shape , and then I will get up and do something else, and before I know it, an hour has passed!
I am working on a blog for the tapestry as well - it is under construction. I am slow at these things and of course leave everything for weeks on end and then do a big blitz - but the blog is  - www.tapestryatwhippletree.blogspot.com - so save it somewhere!
Now speaking of tapestry. I had the honour of attending one of the most amazing tapestry workshops ever - and I have attended Archie's and Jean Pierre's and thought they were amazing too. But Sarah Swett was awesome, awesome, awesome. Four days of bliss in Penticton. And I had the most wonderful hostess, Ann - a whole post I will devote to her one day - and Hilary was the best - never mind her amazing lunches......
The beautiful handspun hand dyed wool we used...

Her tapestries spoke to us all - Value was what the workshop was all about - I learned so much more than I thought I had room for. AND she plays the concertina (as does Anne Clark who is my partner in the Community Tapestry!!! - as I said before I have a 'thing' about accordians!). Sarah spins all her weft by spindle and dyes with natural dyes, uses a wool warp, and the back is as perfect as the front - and she washes her tapestries - I was spellbound.  Look her up - www.sarahswett.com
You will be glad you did!
The Penticton Workshop - one of the best I have ever attended.My hostess is on the far right in the back - may she be safe as she travels to Gambia...

And then when I got back to the studio, the following week I had a visitor from the Penticton Guild, which I am now a member of, the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers Guild (did I get it right?). I am very impressed by the guild and wished I was closer to take part.
Now for some pictures of the studio garden.....front and back
Flax blooming, the front of the studio and my sunflower, one of many blooming over the flax and indigo - protectors of the garden!
I still have a lot in the garden in bloom - have to dig it up to get some seed....
We will be famous one day in the Cowichan Valley - everyone grew indigo this year and it was a bumper crop nd everyone seemed to have a different method of dyeing. My friend Barbara, the flag bearer of the indigo growers here in the valley, got the most beautiful colours eco-wise

Barbara's is in the middle - she used fresh as did I, and then overdyed in more fresh and got darker colours. I love the paleness of it and have named it Indigo of the Cowichan Valley - a Westcoast blue that is so beautiful and I can hardly wait to make a warp with it and the cedar dyed yarn - about the same Value, my Penticton friends!!!
And then the flax has been pulled and retted and it is now drying in my weaving partner, Ann's attic - ready to be broken, scutched, hackled and spun........and then dyed with indigo - a perfect product.

 And one more important thing - I now have windows in a wall that didn't have any - and it has made a big difference - that and lighting which will come eventually. I spent a week in the Kootenays and after I came home, there they were so beautiful and I now have window boxes as well.  Thank you Peter for being so kind - never mind that I also have a new bird house as well!!! While in the Kootenays I just happened to notice that the Castlegar Weaver's Guild had a show on......

Had a lovely chat with a guild member and just happened to buy her towel....
My new windows
I leave you now and I will try to stay on top of the posting - I know I have said that before, but one never knows, I just might do it one day. Drop into the studio any time - I offer workshops in most any technique you wish to explore - you tell me what you want, and I will design a workshop for exactly what you want and more!