Learning to Weave 2020-style

In February 2020, we started an introductory weaving workshop, lead by Sandra Hodgins, with six participants: Lisa Miki, Kate Hammond, Genevieve Lalonde-Martini, Sharon Bloedorn, Elise Young and Igor Darmokhid.

Each of them prepared a unique warp and dressed “their” table loom in our guild studio facilities.

With the greatest good fortune, when the pandemic circumstances became apparent in late March, most of the projects were ready to weave.

Once again we were lucky, the looms could be used at home, and the round robin workshop format allowed safe drop off and pickup at the studio.

Unfortunately, Igor was unable to participate in the weaving assignments; we miss him and his good humour.

By the end of October, all the projects were completed in time to be displayed in the SSI Public Library’s lobby showcase.  We thank the Library for this opportunity to show one more way that creativity flourishes on Salt Spring.

The six structures explored were:

1- Rep weave placemats with an original design inspired by Joanne Tallarovic’s book titled “Rep Weave and Beyond” and thoughts of chili con carne.

Rep weave placemats at the library display November 2020

Rep weave placemats at the library display November 2020

2- Colour and weave red/white napkins, another original design with the classic logcabin motif in the centre.

3- Twill colour gamp napkins using 12 different colours of 8/2 cotton.

Colour and weave Napkins at Library Display November 2020

Colour gamp napkins at the library display November 2020

4- Monk’s belt table runner with the two block design woven according to the inspiration of each participant.

MonksBelt placemat

5- Double weave sampler in greens to try weaving (a) 2 layers, (b) double width—joined one side, (c) tubular—joined both sides, and pickup for a figurative pattern of the weaver’s choice.

Double weave Library Display November 2020

6 – Swedish lace runner on a red warp with choice of orange, fuchsia, or dark red weft.


Lace Napkins

This round-robin workshop was a unique experience for everyone involved, and took place in other than ideal circumstances.  However, as the instructor, I couldn’t imagine a better group of enthusiastic guinea pigs to test drive a new workshop.  Working in isolation, as was necessary, prevented the usual coaching, feedback, and opportunity to learn from (and about) each other.  They worked well independently, at times revealing great inventiveness.  I predict with confidence that all of them will create interesting, and I hope exciting cloth.

Here are a few observations from the participants.

This was a fantastic project to be a part off and offered such a good look at what you can do with different weave structures and patterns!  It was really great to have something to learn during the pandemic….. Kate

As a new weaver, it would take me months, if not years, to design, setup and weave six different projects.  This round robin was a great opportunity to quickly sample various type of weaving and discover what I like best.  I learned that I enjoy weaving with a lot of variety – the colour gamp, with its twill treadle pattern and constantly changing weft colours, was my favourite project …. Elise

The beginners weaving round robin was such a fun and interesting experience.  We got to try six different techniques that I’ve been curious about, but haven’t tried until now.  It was the perfect pandemic project because we could weave together and yet apart.  It’s been inspiring and given me the confidence to get a project going on my own loom at home…. Lisa


Library display November 2020

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.


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


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


Fall Fair 2019

Showcase: Seasons in Colour 23 Aug to 15 Sept 2019

Salt Spring Island Weavers and Spinners Guild was awarded the final 2019 Artcraft showcase: Seasons in Colour. This was a collective exhibition of new works by 15 members of the guild rising to the challenge of representing the colours of the seasons in their own unique way.

The guild was provided with guidelines on dimensions and a theme (Seasons in Colour) which created a certain uniformity in the pieces, but from there on the similarities end, as different materials, techniques, abstractions and representations mark each work with the stamp of the artist.

The Weavers and Spinners created a collection that invited the visitor to sit, look and wonder at the visual feast that the seasons bring.

Seasons in Colour ran from August 23rd to September 15th in Mahon Hall with an opening celebration on Friday August 23rd from 6-8pm.

Showcase: Seasons in Colour Opening Night Aug 23rd 2019

From left to right, Nancy, Susan, Sandra and Mavis are having a social moment during the opening reception.



For the duration of the show, Weavers and Spinners Guild provided demonstration of their crafts: weaving, spinning  and other fibre arts that members are passionate about.

Showcase: Seasons in Colour Demonstration by Victoria

Victoria is weaving at the demonstration loom, a very popular stop during the showcase.  Both the warp and the weft are from local fibres, all in their natural colours, except the red.

On the wall, behind the loom and Victoria, are the following showcase entries, from left to right:

  • Sunset by Susan Brown, woven in linen and buttons
  • Colours of Spring by Valerie Short, woven in organic cotton and tussah silk
  • Transformation by June Simmons, silk fusion with wool, silk, eucaluptus (viscose) and cotton
  • Starry night by Nancy Côté, triaxial weave (or mad weave) with cotton fabric
  • High Tide: Dusk and Dawn by Donna Vanderwekken, woven with hand-dyed silk

Below, June demonstrates fibre preparation, normally done before fibres can be spun or felted.

Demonstration of fiber preparation by June

Members were also encouraged to  demonstrate any of their crafts.  Here, Genevieve demonstrates her beading techniques and displays some of her creations.

Genevieve demonstrates her beading technics and some of her creations.



The following pictures are the other art pieces made by the guild members specifically for this show.


Moonlight by Judith Dios

  • Moonlight by Judith Dios, nuno felting using Merino wool, mulberry silk fibre, silk fabric, fabric dye and thread


From left to right:

  • Leaves by Mavis MacMillen, woven using linen and handspun wool/silk/mohair blend
  • Island Waterfall by Mavis MacMillen, woven using cotton and cotton/linen blend
  • Peruvian Delight by Mary Passon, woven using Peruvian organic cotton
  • Pebbles on a Winter Beach by Donna Vanderwekken, woven using handspun wool and handspun llama


From left to right:

  • Primavera Azzurro by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton
  • Brick Lane by Ida Marie Threadkell, silk fusion with silk chiffon, merino wool and silk fibre
  • Twilight in the Garden by Sara Ratner, nuno felting with habotai silk and local Cotswold lamb fleece
  • Dusk by Sara Ratner, nuno felting using silk gauze, merino and glass bead
  • Primavera Verde by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton
  • Primavera Rose by June Simmons, felt incorporating wool, silk, eucalyptus (viscose), cotton


  • Autumn Leaves by Sandra Hodgins, woven with cotton quilting remnants pieced & cut into strips for weft.


  • Xylem and Phloem by Karen Selk, , applique silk fusion, hand and machine-stitching and beading.


  • Les Quatre Saisons by Carol Dodd, felting with silk and wool


From left to right:

  • Sweet Potato Pie by Tanis Smythe, woven with silk and paper
  • Onyx by Tanis Smythe, women with linen, rayon bouclé and merino wool
  • Equinox by Victoria Olchowecki, woven using linen with cotton

Display in the library

On display in the SSI public library lobby are the results of a weaving challenge to explore basket weave and canvas weave. These items were inspired by samples woven by our members for the Guild of Canadian Weavers 2019 newsletter. Winner of the people’s choice award was Nicole Onetto.

Left side of the display

Right side of the display

Voting station


Heritage Day at the Farmers’ Institute

On Sunday July 8th a group of Guild members took their tools and raw materials to the Farmers Institute to show the public how the ancient crafts of spinning and weaving are still practiced and enjoyed. A table loom provided absorbing entertainment for visitors

of all ages. Some of the younger ones were fascinated by drop spindles and asked to learn how they worked. In about 15 minutes they were able to make yarn to take home.

Ruckle Farm Days 2017

Winter Weaving Workshops