Winter – that time of year when we slow down after creating a warm and loving environment for our friends and family and gather to share gifts, food and warm memories of another Holiday Season. That time has passed for another year and now that we are starting to stir in our creative spirits we are pleased to get the call for the first gatherings of the year of the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild. This is a time when we come together at each other’s homes to share in a common interest and in the news of our Guild community. For me, my Guild also provides a connection to a grassroots fibre community and allows me to contribute to the preservation of the craft in my area.
Twice a month members of our Guild gather in each other’s homes for a general Spin In. This gathering, however, is in addition to those – a meeting to plan a course of study and exploration in hand spinning. On January 14th six members gathered at Birgit Rasmussen’s warm and cozy home to share creative camaraderie and learn the finer details of our craft of hand spinning from a Guild member and Master Spinner Birgit (right in photo) who gained her Master Spinners certification from Olds College, Alberta. This fine program also offers a Master Weavers certification. Our Guild is gifted to have a few Masters among our membership, who graciously share their knowledge.
As spinners, we gathered to plan what we want to explore under Birgit’s expert teaching – hand carding, spinning in the woollen and worsted systems, the long draw, spinning flax, Navajo plying, wheel ratios for twist per inch (TPI), spinning and preparation of exotic fibres such as silk, cotton, banana, soya, casein, sea cell, etc. and techniques for blending fibres and colours in carding and spinning. While the focus of the Fibreshed is on local fibres these practices will add greatly to the overall goal to create beautiful clothes.
Now to share with you the members and the diversity of hand spinning skills we were exploring and planning that day.
Here, Joan F is working with a Tibetan Spindle.
She does the finest of spinning on her Peacock Wheel using Aurelia’s Merino/Silk top. We all marvel at her thread-like spinning which she will then ply into the finest of yarns.
Merrily holds up the beautiful skein of Corriedale which she has just spun with the lovely Majacraft Little Gem wheel that she purchased from a past member.
Some members who do not spin or are waiting to learn bring their knitting to Spin Ins. Here Debbie is knitting up thrums into a new project.
Joan R and her husband spent three months this summer trailering across Canada. She kindly brought Merrily’s new wheel back from La Scie, Newfoundland from our loved past member Celeste. Joan also spins on a Majacraft Little Gem and here she is spinning a Merino/Silk top.
This past year Roberta worked on many fibres and local dyes and created a beautiful Dyer’s Garden (See Blogs Aug/Sept 2013). Roberta uses a Lendrum wheel and here she is showing her beautiful carded roving of hand dyed Alpaca from Thormanby Island – our very first local fibre for our Fibreshed. She dyed this alpaca with an alum mordant and logwood.
Here Roberta shows her handspun Merino, mordanted with alum and dyed with Rudbeckia flowers (black-eyed Susan/coneflower “Cherry Brandy”) from her Dyer’s Garden.
Last but not least meet Sasha, Birgit’s good buddy, another lovely older gal who is comfortably curled up at the foot of Roberta’s wheel for her snooze while enjoying the pleasant hum and motion of the spinning wheel.
We look forward to sharing more information on the progress our Spinning Clinic over the next few months. We have room for seven more to join in this Spinning Clinic commencing early February.
Words and pictures by Deanna B. Pilling