Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's been a year since I posted!!

I have finally a minute to post a wee bit. The spring, summer and fall has been incredibly productive, creative and satisfying, but with a small toll on this girl. Since March, the studio has been alive with energy and hard work. It has been both exhilarating and tiring and this weekend we are having an open house to thank you for supporting our small endeavour.

Please come and visit and see a working studio in action, have some refreshment and perhaps pick up a gift or two. There are also gift certificates for classes and/or garments as well.

If you can't make it, thank you for your support and kindness. I am grateful every day that I can do what I do and it has been assisted by everyone's contribution in celebrating the wonder of textiles.

We will continue to welcome you and continue to educate and introduce the magic of the textile arts. May you be drawn in! 'Trompe as Writ' everyone! (A weaving term that means drawn in...) which is often what people say when they come into the studio the first time.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. May the light bless you in 2017.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sticky Wicket

Port Renfrew series 2015
This is the Sticky Wicket warp!
1. a small door or gate....
2, an opening like a window....

I am renowned in the studio for putting on sticky warps - I can't help myself as I love mohair especially and fuzzy yarns in general, but I am not afraid of them and for the most part never have much trouble with them.  However, of late I was trying to use up some of the stash and they all happened to be the same colour - gray and fuzzy. So I made a warp for Ann to weave on the 12 harness (she has long arms and long legs) as we felt we needed some more ponchos. Lots of complaining went on beaming it as well as weaving it but we are both patient and zone out. Ann was busy so I finished the warp off and yes it was sticky....however I will cover a few tips that I have learned over the years. But first I think I may have had some 'other realm' assistance. I looked at my shuttle and Lilly Bolin's name was on it! And I wove happily with a few adjustments - so here I go with some suggestions....the `wicket` behaves when you use some of these tips.

Mohair goes a long way - you don't need a lot to make a statement. I am not a fan of the mohair blanket - warp and weft - I think it a waste of such a lovely fibre. Blending with wool makes it go farther as well.

Sticky warps are not just mohair of course - boucles can give you a problem or two as well.

Check the reed. In this case I was lazy, I sleyed a 10 dent reed to 8 epi because I couldn't find an 8 - that would have helped in the sticky department.

I have also used spray starch on my warp whilst it is still on the warping board - this helps a lot. Let it dry if you think it will rust your reed. Also make sure the room is warm - damp days make the fibre more sticky.

Beam with your harnesses open - I beam through the front, so I often open the tabby sheds to split the warp - I have no problems with tension if you are wondering about that - my warps go on smoothly and at a good tension.

Weave with a flat Swedish style shuttle - works a charm. Ann uses this ugly taped up rag shuttle that for some reason she loves - I changed shuttles right away and had better success. Also I advanced frequently so the fibres couldn't have a confab and embrace each other (my theory) and beat with the shed open.

On 4 harness looms a direct tie-up is recommended, then you can wiggle your stickies apart if need be. On a 12, it just isn't possible unless you have really big feet.

I leave you now as I am readying for a show.

Music of the day included:
Blaze Foley
Chet Faker
Amelia Curran
Bedouin Soundclash
Anika Moa

............days later - I have finished the last show and will blog a little about that next time - thought I should get this one out.

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?

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
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 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
and we have had photo shoots as well which have been really fun to watch.
My photographer is awesome.
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!!!