Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I will try to post a little more after this weekend, it has just been so very busy - lots of new ideas coming in all the time and many a wonderful student, learning about the fabulous world of textiles.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Fleece and Fibre Show was fabulous and thanks to Annie and her committee, it was a success. We did have fun and I met so many people - thanks everyone for being so supportive and encouraging. I met with the committee for next year and I am very excited - more on that when we have information - just be sure that it will be great and inspirational.
There has been so much happening that I can hardly think of what went on. Suffice it to say, that a lot of creating has happened - we have new spinners and weavers in our midst and the world is richer for it. Watch out weaver's guilds, as you will soon have new members. Oh, on that note there is a Tzouhalem Weaver's Guild Show and Sale in Mill Bay until December something
Monday, October 18, 2010
It has been some months since I have written - not because I didn't want to, but because I have a difficult time finding time to do so. I was told recently that I should write something every week, but I can't work it in in my style of communication I guess. I value those blogs that are always updating - it is so interesting to read other's adventures but I cannot always read every blog either.
The summer included lots of great discussion - one being the tea towel debate....having only sold traditional hand towels, I was surprised at what other weavers were selling their beautiful tea towels for. Poor Daphne and Karen had to listen to my diatribe for some time about the value of the weaver and the fibres and the structure and the length of time that they last whether cotton or linen etc. etc. So I held my ground and have sold all my hand towels for what I asked - weavers, you are skilled whether it be a tea towel or a scarf, towels should not go for less than they are worth - and they are a thing of beauty - a small art piece that women and men can use every day in a functional way - ahhh, such pleasure. Enough said.The resident cat, Whippy, was scarce through the summer, along with Bun Bun the one-eyed
This summer also presented me with a woman who is making a Leola's Studio adjustable weaving bench made from sustainable wood from the Cowichan Valley. It is a reasonable price and they are lovely. I will be bringing a couple to the Fleece and Fibre Fair this weekend - hey I will have a booth there too - I hope to see you there.
I have a few things to do before tomorrow morning so I am going to end here for now and continue after the Fleece and Fibre Fair. Leola's Studio has been open now for one year and we hope to have a little gathering open house near the end of November to celebrate the year and to have a Christmas show and sale as well - but more on that later. Hope to see you this Saturday! If you are interested in classes, let me know and we are still meeting on Sundays for knitting and spinning or crocheting or just come and have a chat.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I have the good fortune of having a lovely and lively group of women that meet on Sunday to knit and spin and 'yarn' about anything and everything - and learning something new every time. I invite you to come and enjoy the fabulous women (so far no men, although the travellers that pass through have many comments!). We usually begin around 10 and stay until we tire. I pick up my Cowichan Knitting Sisters, and then the day begins.....
Now what have I been doing this month? - a month of plenty and some changes also. My studio is expanding!!!! Well, a little room is all, but what a difference it will make - but renos are a big upheaval and so far I have been patient, but I am getting antsy. The reno, the heat and the many tourists that have come by, have made the studio exceptionally busy. However, it will be great to have all the floor looms (except my Cherryville loom, as she needs to be the centre of attraction - she's my best friend in all the world and we have been together since I was 16...) in one room, the student table looms will be in the entrance and near the best light, the warping area will be in the floor loom area as well. And the little sewing room is in the new part - a very small space, but it works.
The teapot garden is growing more teapots! One week, there were seven new ones and even today I noticed a couple of new ones. Thank you to all that may have 'planted' one. Yesterday a family of ladybugs moved in....
August has been a continuation of dyeing. My friend Ann and I have gone just a little crazy since our cotton dyeing escapades, which we continue as we design double corduroy and discuss the 'king's road' in great detail and the whys of pile and shag rugs and how they might translate to other functions and uses. It seems we have gone more crazy with this but we are having a heck of a good time and I have to blame her for sleepless nights - it is just too stimulating.
We dyed a lot of wool, but we started dyeing these wonderful blankets that Ann gets woven in PEI from her mohair.........although we have only technically dyed three blankets, we have already prepared and designed about 50 more! Horse troughs and block and tackle are some of the future ways of assisting us in our elaborate designs. For the most part, we had a wonderful time and our artistic needs were being met.
These goats are the inspiration and their mohair provides many a spinner, weaver and knitter quality fibre to create beautiful projects. I miss having mohair goats - I still have fibre from them, but they have since passed on and I am fortunate to have Ann's goats to fill that emptiness. Aren't they so pretty? Oh yes, the blankets......well, when these blankets are wet and hot, they are heavy and uncomfortable to move around, so we had great fun dealing with this, and Binder Bob the dog, didn't help much either - he moved too close to the burners and singed his hair and continued to 'help' us throughout the day - we kept putting him outside, but forgetting there was another door open and getting back to dyeing these heavy blankets and there he was again. Gave us yet another laugh though.
We likened the blankets to Tony Onley landscapes - please forgive us for this, but there are shadows where we would dip the blanket in a little more, a little more and so forth, that would then give us all these hills and valleys - and you just have to have been there I think - we weren't sure that they were really weird or really beautiful - it is quite wonderful to work big though....
We managed to fit in some time to pick some transparent apples, the whole time planning the next project, the next dyeing binge, and the next weaving exploration. We met again to put a warp on and when we realized the extent of this one small technique - and the endless possibilities, we were like two children just discovering Christmas or something - luckily there were no witnesses to our dancing and screaming outside the studio - or maybe it would have been a great thing to see!
I had brought some apples to a regular Whippletree friend who told me all about the blackberry/apple pies she was making but had no more apples................well, the next day I received a pie which I shared with Ann - have you ever cut a pie in half with a pair of scissors?? It works like a hot damn.
I am also teaching younger textile students and my youngest, Hannah came for a class after holidaying, and made a great bag that was a felted wool sweater and needlefelted it with polky dots....we had a lovely afternoon together creating and also planning the many things one could make with a shrunken sweater. Never, ever, throw out a shrunken sweater!!!
One the most important part of August is the big sale at THE LOOM!!!! 20% off all regularly priced knitting yarns.......lots of beautiful fibres. It is not too late to get more for your stash collection if you can't decide what you need! Karen and I put a display in the window of all the new beautiful cottons, linens and cottolins available too - although not on sale, there are some lovely new colours. There is some new Fleece Artist spinning braids just in too, although I have one student, not to be named of course, that seems to be able to smell the new Fleece Artist fleece!!!!
Well, I think that is about it, there is so much that happens on a daily basis at the Studio, that I can't get it down - the conversations and the connections that happen surely would blow anyone's mind is about how I can only describe my daily life - everyone contributes to the creativity of the universe and I am so very grateful that I can be a part of that. The generosity that abounds is most amazing. Thank you all for being a part of it. I leave you with the latest solar dyeing - tansy and queen Anne's Lace. I put a pinch of iron in the tansy and the jar of liquid turned it squid inky and the queen Anne's lace is light celery green. It has pennies, but I think I will put a pinch of copper in with it to give a better mordant............has anyone heard of the pennies and ammonia method? Hope to see you soon.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I cannot believe that this month is almost over and I have so much to share and so much to do - yikes!!! I will try to bring the last two weeks up to date - I believe solar dyeing and spinning were my topics. The wool was dyed and the colours are very subtle, but next to the original colour (I used Eastwin Farm mohair/wool), they were quite striking. The surprise colour was bracken fern - there is almost a mauve-y pink tinge to it. I didn't use very much and feel if I cooked the normal way, the colours may have been darker.
The warping mill in action - I can hardly wait to see the warp - Ann took all the dyeing home to warp - so I have to wait. She is very busy too, so I will be patient, but maybe I will phone......the ikat will have cured by now. Our favourite colour was the ecru and lemon yellow together. We are using Procion MX dyes that are amazing in their intensity and I usually get them from Maiwa in Vancouver.
The ikat we made just a little darker, so one part more of ecru. The other colour was aquamarine and the last dye was 2 parts olive green and one of lemon yellow.
And so some tea towels waiting for sister tea towels to be woven with the new beautiful colours.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I have been doing a fair amount of spinning and teaching spinning. The fleece I have been spinning most recently is Shetland and I am in love with Lucy's fleece. My friend Alberta, one of the best shepherds I know, has wonderful sheep with wonderful fleece. I have been spinning in the grease and it is like one long staple - it just doesn't end.
Ever the educator, I labeled and put examples of the plants next to the jars. I left them for about 5 days and then yesterday strained and put back into the jars along with some mohair/wool from Eastwin Farm. I used alum for them all and put some pennies into the dock and wort....they are quite beautiful already - lovely shades of green.
Then there are marigolds, coreopsis, St. Anne's Lace, tansy, goldenrod, and on and on, never mind all the seaweeds and lichens - it is never ending and I want to dye it all. I have to look for my copy of natural dyeing by Jane Patrick - a very old publication that I contributed to, and it was full of different dyeplants that were tested for light and colourfastness.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I will write later and put a picture on of the market.
Monday, May 31, 2010
I have been trying so hard to get to this blog, but I have been busy getting ready for the Baby Fair with Oma Gosh! Designs, so soon that will be finished with for a few months before the next one. And then we have the Market @ Whippletree Junction starting on the 13th, with the day before being the World Wide Knit Public Day all in the courtyard outside my studio! Lucky me - I am very excited. This photo is of a little poncho I am making today using Mochi Plus - a favourite yarn that has lovely repeats to it. Just imagine a little one with a colourful poncho on. I have made a few in the cream and pastel colours, but felt that colour was in order!
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking a spinning workshop with Anne Field from New Zealand - what great fun that was. It was all about exotic fibres and although I was nervous, I was able to manage very nicely and everyone was lovely and welcoming. Lucky me. I took a picture of my spinning wheel (a Schacht) - isn't she pretty and riding on a ferry!!!!
So now I am dyeing and spinning and picking and carding, and fleeces keep coming my way - so much wool and so little time to enjoy it. I was trying to spin at least 2 hours a day, but somehow I am doing about 2 hours a week. Expectations can be so high. Anyway, I am loving what I am doing and just wish I could do more.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I have just visited an amazing website http://www.stonearabie.com/ for those of you that are facinated by the tartan. This man apparently has been weaving for only a few years and he is a genius. For me tartans have been too slow and too precise for my patience level, but I have been inspired to look into it again. One of my students is really crazy for them, so I put her on to this website so she can drool. Whenever I have done a tartan, I, of course would put crazy colours and threads together to maintain my interest - always breaking the rules! The tartan I have pasted in was the one I did for my mother-in-law many years ago - and I set it up correctly but I used shiny reds and greens and a boucle white. It was fun and fanciful rather than a 'true' tartan. I wish I had the stole that I wove for her - it would be interesting to see again.
The studio has been very busy with students, Oma Gosh! Designs and selling used weaving and spinning equipment. I love being in my space and sharing what knowledge I have and hope that I can be as inspiring as Tartan John.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Imagine a day....
...when the peace of a forest
and the strength of a mountain
become a cathedral
for your heart...
This day has been filled with such energy that I am exhausted by it. And it is all extraordinarily good filled with generosity, goodwill, kindness and creativity. There are very good people in the world and I just happen to know some of them.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I am loom rich these days - but have been also been selling equipment - not mine, but others that have brought in equipment, I use it while it is residing in the studio and then when someone comes looking for a loom, or spinning wheel, off it goes.....works well. I have also been weaving double weave pickup, thanks to a local guild having a workshop and my demonstrating to a student that didn't know what it was, and I was pulled in by the technique. Hadn't done it in a long time - but it is so easy and so effective. I, of course do not weave it traditionally - had enough of that weaving with wool on one layer and linen on the other - the Swedish way! Loved it at the time, but then discovered other threads to use.....
The Studio has been busy with lots of tourists coming through already. I have been going to the studio earlier and earlier to get some concentrated work done...
And the newest warp - bags with simple double weave pickup, or as I always called Finn Vav
Thursday, April 22, 2010
My friend Daphne wandered in and I with my glasses off, (as I was sewing hats and literally had my nose to the machine), I flippantly said I am busy, but instantly remembered the long awaited bag - on with my spectacles and there the bag was in all its beautiful and colourful glory. What a glorious 'garden' of colour and beauty. This bag was knit in a technique called entralac (sp?) and is knitted basically from the top to the bottom, the tiers getting smaller and smaller - and the knitting this way and that.........a lot of work that only ones that have tried it know and really appreciate the skill involved - a priceless bag but at the right price........
It was a good spring cleaning day and the time to begin with projects for Oma Gosh! Designs. So the hat making has begun and a lovely day to organize our time for a baby fair and the coming Market at Whippletree, of which I will write about as I begin to feel we have enough details to share - it will be on Sundays starting in June in the Courtyard at Whippletree Junction, south of Duncan - there that is what I know so far!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A busy week so far - lots of weaving done and I will post some pictures eventually - perhaps when finished. The teapot garden continues to get a lot of attention and the garden is full of weeds!!! I have good intentions of getting back to the weeds, but the studio calls. I managed to make a couple of little moss gardens in kitchen strainers! I planted a pansy in each of them. Gaye then told me I should have used some fleece to hold the moisture - I still can....
A few weavers have come in and told me they were taking a double weave pickup class with Alison - I want to take a double weave pickup class!!!! However, I decided I would play on my leftover twill warp and see if I could remember - I used to do a lot of it at one time - sure enough, this small voice echoed through my head, "pick up what you don't want to weave!" and away I went, and Goddess bless the weavers that were excited, I got excited too - so of course I have to do something but most probably nothing traditional (have had my fill of traditional all those years ago) judging by what I did on my leftover warp - sky's the limit!!! I love finger manipulated weaving and at one time that is all I did - where is all that stuff anyway?
I am taking a spinning workshop with Ann Field next month - the Loom is sending me. I am so excited as I really need a refresher and now with all the added knowledge too - like MICRONS. Thanks to Jennifer of Pacific Sun Alpacas, I have my micron card I carry around with me. And the class is all the exotics and I have a Schacht spinning wheel - I will really be 'uptown'.
My new friend Aurelia and I are getting together to view her spinning - maybe exchanging weaving lessons for spun fibres!!!! She is a crazy spinner and can spin in her sleep! She uses natural dyes (madder, cochineal, indigo etc.) - I can hardly wait. Loving her energy.
I guess what is hitting me today is that not a day goes by without people taking pictures of the teapots, but also not a day goes by without someone coming into the studio and inspiring me, motivating me and presenting me with gifts of potential textile art. I thank all of you for making everyday the best day so far!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Off to Providence this morning to help Betty put a warp on - we threaded the loom really quickly and rolled most of it on before I headed back to the studio. I have about 5 warps on the go, but felt I needed to finish with my alpaca phase. I spun some alpaca that Jennifer of Pacific Sun Alpacas gave me and then I busied myself with her beautifully dyed alpaca. I felt that I needed to use it immediately and so I did - everything was orange today and so began the Pacific Sun-set warp.......I even planted onions in my garden today which in my mind were very big orange skinned beauties already, instead of these spindly Walla Walla seedlings.
So I realized as I was making this Pacific Sunset warp that it was really like cooking - the stock or foundation which is the alpaca and then the spices or embellishments to support the foundation........I loved the colour although challenging in some ways, but the skein was full of colour - orange, yellow, coral, pink, gold, magenta etc............lots to work with - and so there is Cascade Merino and Paton's Classic Merino, Crystal Palace Party, one of those ladder yarns, Sublime (cashmere, silk & merino) - a great support system for the Alpaca. And so I am happy as the warp is happy. Now what to use for weft? Probably a beautifully dyed mohair from Creston - Riverstone Yarns and my all time favourite these days - Merino Stripes...........
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The day begins for me with Whipple the cat greeting me beneath the big cedar tree next to my studio.......I feed him/her and begin my day. Some days are easier than others - today I didn't have a student or Annie to structure my day, I had me, a tired me and that is when I bounce from one project to another........today of all days, I felt I should spin some alpaca, and my day began........part of my day is taken over by the people that are walking through the courtyard, often to the public washrooms, but also to peek into the stores and my studio. This of course colours the day with conversation, some sales and stimulation. Well, alpaca seemed to be the theme today, as no sooner did I play with the alpaca - I realized that I needed coffee and over to Black Coffee to get my java, then to say hello to Gaye at The Loom, I ran into these two amazing women - one being a ferrier and the other an alpaca shepherdess.......well, what a day the day became. I learned so much about alpaca (not like sheep at all!) and Jennifer came back with this beautifully dyed Grade 3 alpaca knitting yarn.......so interesting and to top the day off - I met this beautiful couple and their child from Denmark - he being a tattoo artist and when I say artist, I have never seen such incredible body art - he uses old techniques from the Inuit and Maori...I suspect that he is also rather well known as he travels the world demonstrating his art - didn't catch his name, but he said he would email me - I told him when I figured out the tattoo I wanted and where, I would give him a call - and a trip to Denmark would be fun!
One more teapot today and a new birdfeeder came my way. Tomorrow an early start at Providence to transfer a warp to loom for Betty and then my dear friend Annie will come and help me weave. I love having her in the studio - she motivates me.