Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Skagit Valley Weavers Guild Followup

I did get Nancy's permission to use this wonderful picture of her on the night of the guild meeting and her presentation on her month long trip to India. She looked stunning in her apple green kurta and scarf. As so often when I hear a program on fiber subjects of interest, I go home and call up my local library website. I am fortunate to belong to one of the best library systems I have encountered, the Sno-Isle library system. I was entranced by the colorful textiles that Nancy both brought back and showed in her pictures. Of course I have seen these textiles occasionally throughout the years but now they had my attention. I found a wonderful book in our local library system titled, The Sari by Mukulika Banerjee and Daniel Miller, ISBN: 1-85973-732-3. Not only does the book have lovely color pictures but delves into the intimate details of what wearing a sari is all about. I learned not only about the sari and the other items of clothing worn but a lot about Indian women and their connection to this particular item of dress. It was a fascinating read and I would highly recommend it if you are at all interested in Indian textiles, dress, and culture.
This week I travel down to the Seattle guild and will have much to report on the program. In the meantime, my own weaving has slowed considerably while we get our house ready to sell. More on the subject and the new adventure later. -Renee

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Skagit Valley Weavers Guild Meeting

I am a little behind on my meeting report but here it is!
One of the wonderful aspects of all the weaving guilds I belong to is the talented and interesting members that make up the guilds. We had one such member give us a travelogue program for our February meeting. Nancy took a fiber tour that was lead by Anita Mayer. If you look at a couple of my recent posts you will find information about Anita. This particular fiber trip was to India and was for a month. Nancy gave us a fascinating account complete with pictures and a surprising amount of textiles that seem to endlessly come out of the small box she brought them in. This is a picture of a couple of the textiles. I also have a beautiful picture of Nancy wearing one of the lovely outfits she bought. I lost track of all of the places and adventures that Nancy told us of. There were a couple of fiber workshops that she and the others participated in while they were there too. I could have listened to Nancy's stories for a few more hours. The trip sounded quite adventurous and her pictures showed the beautiful people of India and the glorious colors and clothing of the country.
Personally, I love travelogues as I haven't had much opportunity to travel widely as of yet. Nancy's program was perfect for this time of year when we need warmth and color and a burst of inspiration. Well done Nancy and thank you! -Renee

Dyed Roving and Handspun Yarn

I have been waiting to take a picture of this roving and yarn. I like to use natural light as it seems to capture the colors the best. Light has been a bit of a challenge around here lately. We have had days of rainy, cold, gloomy dark weather with never enough light to use. Today the sun came out. Unfortunately, it was the weird way-too-bright blinding sunlight that we get at this latitude this time of the year. I tried to find a place to take the picture where the sunlight was a bit filtered but it was surprisingly difficult. I got light and shadow no matter where I put the yarn so this is the best I can do at the moment.
At the bottom of the picture is the roving I painted with acid dyes quite a while ago. The roving is a 54's Australian wool. Not as fine as Merino wool but of a respectable fineness. I mixed my own dye formula trying to match colors from a magazine photo. It actually worked! The nicest surprise came when I spun the roving into yarn. The colors appear darker but harmonize beautifully without appearing too muddy. As usual, the yarn is much prettier in person. I have decided to give this yarn to my friend Elizabeth whose knitting blog you will find in my Fiber Links list under "Elizabeth's knitting blog".
Since the sun was out and it wasn't raining or freezing, today was an outdoor workday. Plenty of winter clean-up projects and much to do to get ready for spring... -Renee

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Brake for Bald Eagles-WWG meeting

Yesterday was a very long but rewarding day. I drove my wonderful commute to the Whidbey Weavers Guild meeting. If you all remember from previous postings, my “commute” involves driving across the scenic Skagit Valley, where the tulip festival will be held in a couple of months, then onto the north end of Whidbey Island over Deception Pass to Coupeville where the meetings are held in an old officer’s building next to the Puget Sound. The commute is one of the most beautiful drives and the view from there is spectacular, but I am getting ahead of myself!
What made this trip a bit challenging was I was driving our pickup truck with a 4’X6’ tapestry loom carefully wrapped and tied down in the back. I also had Twill, my dog, in the cab with me as I knew I would be gone most of the day. Oh, did I mention? The wind was probably blowing at 60 mph. This may even be an underestimate but I didn’t follow up on the weather. While driving across the Skagit Valley birds were struggling in the wind, some literally flying backwards. A bald eagle zoomed across my path about windshield height and yes, I had to put on my brakes to avoid hitting it! I could hear the eagle scree as it went flying by.
I snuck a quick peek at the water below as I was going over Deception Pass and shuddered. It was a wild churning of waves and cross currents. The tide was high and the water around here is extremely cold. Not a good day for boating. I made my usual stop at Deception Pass State Park to let the dog stretch her legs but the park was gated shut. We had to walk along the fringes while the trees swayed and bits of trees blew past me. It took a bit longer to get to the meeting but we made it. I walked the dog around before settling into the meeting and the wind blew her ears back flat against her head.
The Whidbey Weavers Guild Program featured none other than Anita Mayer, who is also a guild member. This time we got to see the garments she brought to show elegantly modeled by Fine, one of our guild members. I had heard much of what she discussed during our fieldtrip to her studio last month but, as always, I heard a few new things as well. Her presentations are always inspiring.
Speaking of inspiring, we had show and tell in the afternoon. I am always impressed with show and tell. I always come away with a renewed respect for the skills and talents of my fellow guild members. I took a few pictures but neglected to get permission to use them. I do not like to use pictures of weaving or people without their permission. I will post a picture or two when I have contacted the people.
In the meantime, the picture above is the view from the guild meeting area. I walked Twill to the water’s edge during lunch. There were bits of white foam from the waves blowing past me. Both Twill and I struggled to walk there and back. If she was a smaller dog, she would have gone kiting into the wind dragging me along behind!
The tapestry loom was placed into the guild storage while it awaits its new home. Twill and I usually stop at my favorite beach to walk before heading home but this time it was late and although the wind had finally blown itself out, the rain was hammering down. I had to brake once again for a bald eagle about the same spot as before so it might have even been the same one. We made it home safe but weary. I must also mention that my traveling story is quite tame compared to one of the guild members who arrived soaked from head to toe as the result of a wave sweeping through the cabin of the passenger ferry she was sailing on to get to the meeting. That is another story! Weavers and fiber artists are a dedicated and passionate group.
The next event on Whidbey that I will be attending will be in April for a spinning workshop with Judith MacKenzie McCuin and then the Whidbey Weavers Guild Spin-In. I will be reporting on these in April so be sure to check back in! In the meantime, check out the Whidbey Weavers Guild website listed in my Fiber links and I will be posting more later. -Renee

February Krokbragd Study Meeting

It has been a bit busy around here and the weather and intermittent internet connection hasn’t helped a whole lot either. That said, I was able to get to another Krokbragd study group gathering. It was held at the same gracious house as the first one. The weavers have been busy! This is just a sampling of what was brought. I will have to do another posting of mainly pictures as I had a few wonderful ones to choose from.
The study group was a very pleasant get together. It started snowing but the snow didn’t stick so it mainly contributed to the atmosphere. We were snug and warm and cozy. The more experienced Krokgragd weavers shared a few tips and pointers, and all but me wove away on their looms. I was busy untangling wool rags that belonged to my grandmother for her use in braided rag rugs. I thought I would weave them into a rug using the Krokbragd weave structure. I have a bit of preparation to do but they are all untangled and washed at the moment. I need to determine how large to make the rugs and get the warp on my big loom. I am determined to have at least one done by the next meeting!
Working in a study group of this nature is wonderful. There is a communal sharing of information, experiences, and expertise. There is also the very enjoyable companionship of working with your weaver friends which is quite a treat since most of our weaving is done in solitude. I must confess to a dream here. I would love to start a weaving center where people could come together and weave like this. A bit challenging as it would require a large space, many looms and quite a bit of commitment. Very challenging but not impossible! I am putting it out there. One of these days…
On that note, I will leave this posting with another inspirational picture from the Krokbragd study group. -Renee