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  - - 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 -
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!