Lovin’ Lopez

We just returned from the most marvelous weekend of camping at Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island, a two hour drive and a 40 minute ferry ride from Seattle. Lopez is one of the San Juan Islands in the Straight of Juan de Fuca, between Washington State and Vancouver Island, BC.

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Saturday morning we drove down to the Farmer’s Market in Lopez Village where we met farmers, musicians, artists, craftsmen (of both genders), bakers, recyclers and many young entrepreneurs selling cookies, lemonade, felt sheep and jewellry.

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We ate pounds of snap peas, bunches of carrots, handfuls of strawberries, and seasoned dehydrated flax crackers. We rolled on the grass, ran in circles, sampled smoked salmon and chatted with artists. In NVC terms, our time at the farmer’s market met my need for community, fun and learning. I felt fulfilled and inspired by everyone I met.

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First, there was Beckie and Dave Heinlein of Arbutus Farm; they were selling roving and yarn from their flock of Romneys. Dave told me all about breeding sheep with a double-recessive gene for coloration. Beckie and I talked at length about the wonders of needle felting. She needlefelts purses until they are in the rough shape she wants, and then wet felts them to finish the fulling process.

I love the way she weaves the roving to form Celtic knots as she is needle felting. Then there was her sock solution that left me dumbfounded. She uses needlefelting to repair holes in socks instead of darning them, or throwing them away. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? There are two pairs of socks sitting under my knitting chair just waiting for such a solution.

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Needless to say, I brought home several balls of roving, and plan to buy more in the future. Because much of the undyed wool is a brindled blend of black and white, the dyed colors have beautiful variations. I can’t wait to work with it.

Marianna Haniger is an artist transitioning from video and film to sewing clothes from vintage fabrics. I spent at least an hour in her booth while Owen schmoozed the little boy selling cookies just across the way (he got three free cookies, and I bought a skirt).

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The yellow and red skirt in the middle was already sold, but I had to take a picture because it was so beautiful. Marianna said the vintage silk scarf used on the bottom was printed “Made in occupied Japan”. She described the origins of several pieces, recounting where she found the fabric and the challenges she encountered trying to make the pieces fit her vision. It was inspiring to hear about her process and work.

We have two weddings to attend this summer; I have my eye on either the seafoam skirt (top-right) or the orange medley (middle-left). Ironically, I made sketches for a very similar skirt in my bedside dream book months ago, but I’m not sure I’ll have the chance to finish them before we leave for New Hampshire.

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We bought a pair of knives from Wayne Hagel of Arrow-W Knives, handmade on Lopez Island. I should have taken a picture of the schematic Wayne posted next to his table; it showed the process he uses to create the knives from a piece of forged steel right down to attaching the custom handles. Each knife is unique; all works of art. In hindsight, I wish we had bought more because they would make such wonderful gifts.

As I was scrambling around, trying to buy one more basket of strawberries (the sweetest little berries I have ever tasted) before my family drove away (they threatened to leave me at the market several times), I realized I’d dropped my camera case. Retracing my steps brought me back to Beckie and Dave’s booth. Sure enough, someone had found my case and because of the needlefelting, presumed it belonged to them.

Forgotten in my excitement as I browsed was the woman who makes beautiful baby clothes out of recycled cashmere and merino sweaters. The pants, jumpers and sweater sets were well made and beautifully crafted. Sadly, there is no directory of merchants for the Farmer’s Market, so the only way to find these artists is to visit again. I wonder if I could write that off as a business expense?  

As I was writing this post, and trying to narrow down the pictures, I told my children I wanted to create a separate blog post just describing our adventures, our travels, and the wonderful campground (the quietest ever). My super-private son asked me, once again, not to. Since he is my son, I will respect his wishes, but I can still include a link to our flickr photos, can’t I? But if you see him, don’t tell him you’ve seen any pictures.

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2 Responses to “Lovin’ Lopez”


  1. 1 Perdo44 Monday, June 25, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I can see that you had a wonderful weekend, treasues that you can storeup in your memory bank.

  2. 2 Cheryl Monday, June 25, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Love Marianna Haniger’s skirts and maybe I shouldn’t have read that before I began work on mine – yikes – now I am having performance anxiety 🙂


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