Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sundays at the Studio

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.