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A review of the year – January to April 2020

On the first Thursday of each month, the guild typically host a show, ask & tell.  With the advent of COVID-19, we were not able to meet.  To keep our guild spirit up we moved the show & tell to Facebook.  We had no idea when we made that decision in March/April timeframe, that we would still be in the middle of the pandemic in the December 2020.  As the year is coming to an end, we will be doing a year review on the website.  Our members have been busy, so get your coffee/tea , sit down in a comfy chair and enjoy this first part of this year in review.

Spinning

On January 21st, 2020, Oh, the fun we have! Members gathered with their spinning wheels to spin with a bunny! German angora bunny–Ms Rosemary Snowflake–came to the high school with caregivers Skye and Bella. Ms Rosemary Snowflake likes to be cuddled, so members had the opportunity to have a warm lap while they spun. Skye and Bella shared their knowledge about the various breeds of fibre giving bunnies and how they are cared for. They also brought some of their collected fibre for us to fondle. This was truly some fibre bliss!

Visit from German angora bunny with owner Skye and Bella

Mary's Yak fiber

Mary P shared the following with us: I have been stash diving for the last month and have embarked on a goal to spin my “exotic” fibers. Judith Mackenzie had this tip in her Rare and Exotic Fibers book: steam your roving or top before spinning to “wake up” the crimp. The attached photo shows the difference in the yak top I am now spinning. Huge difference in feel and spin. The fibre feels alive instead of limp. The 100 grams were squished in a small sandwich bag and then into a small shoe box. Now they more than fill the shoe box. On both pictures, the thinner roving is before steaming and the thicker roving is after the steaming.

 

Silk Fusion

In early 2020, Ida Marie made lovely silk fusion boxes and hanging trees.

Silk fusion boxes and trees by Ada Marie

Our best friends: sheep

New Gotlands at North Beach Farm Early April 2020.

Lola was a Dream mother. Gave birth in about 15 minutes. And started caring for them right away. Dory was also a dream. She had hers in the pasture at 11:00 pm and had him cleaned up and standing with no help from us. Luna had hers twins after long labour from 2:00 in the afternoon until 3:00 am for female and 4:00 am for male. She rejected both due to way she was feeling. We cleaned them up, kept them warm, milked Luna and Dory for colostrum and tied Luna up and helped the twins to feed directly every 3 hours during daylight. The twins were 15 and 20 lbs after two weeks. All is good.  Maeve, our fourth ewe, was to give birth in the next few days

Berg our ram is looking very proud of himself.

We prepared fleeces from our original four ewes and ram for a special project, we prepared sweaters for our daughters -in-law – carded, spun and knit with craft resources on all on Salt Spring.

Thanks goes out to Margaret Thompson , who helped us through our first lambing season.

Dave and Marnie Naphtali.

new Gotlands at North Beach Farm

Shearing season is always busy on Salt Spring Island.  This is not different at Sheila’s farm. Below are pictures of her 19 sheep awaiting shearing and after.   There is a lot of spinning and weaving in Sheila’s future.

Sheila 19 sheep gathered for shearing

Weaving

Alpaca silk blend scarf handspun and handwoven by Sandra

 

 

 

Sandra says she finally got that alpaca/silk blend to behave and weaved a beautiful scarf, shadow weave structure on just 4-shafts.

 

 

 

 

 

Balance weave on backstrap loom by Elise

 

 

Elise is using her isolation time to explore balanced weave on a backstrap loom. She bought an antique Miao (Chinese minority group) bamboo reed, and she warped her backstrap loom with 2/16 cotton to get a fairly airy weave, to which she added a little bit of inlay with 2/8 cotton – inspired by Guatemalan “pikb’il” weaving.

 

 

 

From Sandra: Gardening has been top of the to-do-list this past week, but a couple of projects are inching along. This tartan-ish plaid blanket is on Mom’s 45″ counterbalance at the studio. The frequent colour changes make for slow progress, and given my somewhat limited stature, an hour of weaving is a major workout. The bright colours remind me of spring flowers.

zucchini flowers anyone? Trying Linda Gilkeson’s early start suggestion.

Aubrieta deltoïdea (purple rock cress) is magnificent this year.

 

Sandra tartan plain weaved blanked

Double Weave on loom by Kate in progress

 

Kate Hammond, a new member, stated the following: Our first week of home schooling was definitely … different… first we were treated as an unexpected extension of Spring Break but  we are attempting to fall into some sort of pattern! But I did get a little weaving done! I am on the pattern pick up portion of the double weave sampler. Pattern pick up is both extremely time consuming and also my new favourite thing! But did I mention time consuming? I also made the mistake of letting my kids help me pick the pattern so, fingers crossed, I can work with what they chose! think you can guess what it is yet?

 

 

Monk Belt Table Runner on loom in progress by Lisa

 

Lisa Miki, a new member, shared her experience: I’ve been participating in the Studio’s Beginners Weaving Round Robin Workshop led by Sandra. The loom I dressed is for a monk’s belt short table runner/placemat. It’s been so much fun to weave and I can’t wait to trade it in for another project to learn a new technique! The format of this workshop is perfect for this time of social distancing because we can work on the table looms at home in isolation. But I must say that I’m looking forward to a time when we can all be back in the studio together.

 

 

 

 

Sweet and cheery plain weave napkins by Genevieve

 

From Genevieve: My first project completed for the Round Robin Workshop! A sweet and cheery plain weave napkin. I like it so much I may have to make a whole set to coordinate with my gingham picnic blanket! Looking forward to trying the next project….

It’s plain weave, 8/2 cotton.

 

 

 

 

From Terri B: This is the most recent weaving off my SAORI loom. It was very calming to weave once I was actually able to sit at the loom. It took a few weeks to be able to focus enough and then one day I just decided to start weaving back and forth.

The warp is cotton and linen and the weft is cotton, linen and silk. It washed up beautifully in the washer and dryer and is so soft now (photos are before washing). I’ll be making some type of clothing with it.

Saori weaving by Terri B

Sandra 's dye combo creation called terra-cotta

 

From Sandra: The last couple of days of April was spent creating a dye combo I’m calling terra-cotta. Two variations are illustrated. Ultimately, it’s for a cotton slub weft to harmonize with the warp stripes pictured. Can you guess which Procion MX dye colours I used? Would you believe orange, purple and scarlet?

 

 

 

Sheila was very busy and weaved 4 throws between January and April 2020.

Patterns were taken from Tom Knisely’s baby blanket pattern book, Jan/Feb handwoven magazine, M&O pattern and plain weave.

4 throws weaved by Sheila

Studio News:

Early April, What’s on the studio looms? The Spring has an 8-shaft Rosepath woven-shibori scarf warp.  The woven-in blue pattern threads are a fast way to mimic a traditional stitched shibori design. Through treadling choices, a variety of patterns is possible. This scarf has two patterns (rosepath diamonds and waves) that alternate (picture 1)

Next step is to pull up the blue threads to compress the underlying plain weave cloth as tightly as possible in preparation for dyeing (picture 2).

The scarf yarn is 8/2 tencel and is readily dyed with Procion MX. After dyeing in a black bath, and removing the blue pattern threads, the shibori pattern is revealed. This is a closeup of the rosepath diamonds section (picture 3).

The final step for this scarf was overdyeing with fuchsia. Soft, supple and warm. Love it (picture 4).

Lessons learned? 1. Tie the pattern threads more tightly to avoid dye leakage that’s evident as horizontal streaking. 2. Normally, the pattern threads are carefully cut at the knots and quickly pulled out. This time, as an experiment, the knots were untied and the pattern threads recovered as a black & blue ikat yarn; very slow, tedious process which doesn’t warrant repeating.

The second scarf woven has three different treadling patterns, and the dyeing process may change. We can dye before pulling up the threads to create the background colour, either by immersion or as painting. Definitely exciting possibilities.

 

Rosepath shibori scarf woven on 8-shaft loom

 

More from the studio — the Guild’s Artisat jack loom had an old-fashioned twill tea towel warp with rosepath threading in the stripes. The warp is primarily 8/2 hemp-cotton (unbleached) with 8/2 cotton for the colour stripes. The towel woven uses unbleached cottolin weft to give a subtle “white-on-white” contrast. The previous towel (visible on the cloth beam) has a pale gold cotton weft and a fancier twill treadling. It looks radiant: warm and inviting, like a summer’s day. The towel before that is pale green with dark green stripes. More spring than summer. Who knows what the next variations may be.

Old Fashioned Twill Tea Towel on studio loom

 

Spinning and Weaving at the Fall Fair

Learning to Spin and Weave at the Fair

Salt Spring Fall Fair spinning!

How long does it take to learn to make yarn on a drop spindle? At the Salt Spring Fall Fair it took about half an hour. Some of the students signed up for more lessons over the winter, and some headed straight for the only fibre vendor at the Fair to stock up on raw materials. See our classes to learn about spinning on Salt Spring.

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What is Yarn?

What is Yarn?

By adding twist to a bunch of fibres, we make yarn. There are three steps in making yarn. Thinning the bunch of fibres to the thickness you want, adding twist, and storing the resulting yarn. Once you understand the steps involved, you can begin to appreciate the many different ways that fibres can be combined to make yarns with different properties. Twisting two or more single strands together is called plying and further increases yarn strength. The properties of the finished product will vary in strength, softness, smoothness and durability based on the length and character of the fibres involved.

Many hand spinning tools will be on display at the Fall Fair, at the Annex and in the demonstration tent.  Watch hand spinning with many different kinds of drop spindle, and  see how treadle spinning wheels work. When you see drop spindles and treadle wheels side by side you can see what a huge technical advance the invention of the spinning wheel was. Sign up at the Weavers and Spinners demonstration tent for lessons in basic drop spindling and  pick up a sample of prepared wool. The yarn you make will be yours to take home.

 

Learn spinning at this year's Fall Fair.

Learn to turn this …… into this

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