Archive for March, 2009

Fibre Fill

Have you ever tried to explain to a customs agent what a fiber festival is? Nothing edible, I swear. Just wool and silk. A whirlwind weekend full of fiber fun started after crossing the border at Sumas, WA/Huntingdon, BC Friday afternoon.  We started with a stop at FibresWest in Abbotsford, BC. We watched some spinners at work, browsed the various booths, and pet two llamas in an enclosure at the back of the hall.


In addition to picking up some hand dyed mohair locks, silk noil and silk/cashmere fiber, I visited with Keri, a high school chum who now works in the offices for the Abbotsford Exhibition Park, which include the Ag/Rec building where the festival was held.


After a  zippy trip down the highway to my parents’ place, we arrived to the gorgeous smell of Papa Pizza crafting a fine dinner.

Once the children were safely snuggled in bed, I dashed off to Tsawwassen in order to catch a ferry to Saltspring Island where I was enrolled in a workshop at Ulrieke Benner’s Art You Wear studio. Thank you  Melissa for generously offering me the keys to her mAgiKal cabin in the woods.

Saturday’s workshop was wonderful, in terms of location, atmosphere, company and teacher. We spent a long day creating either a hat or a purse under Ulrieke’s patient instruction.

In order to catch my return ferry to Vancouver, I had to leave before my hat was really finished. The spiral ends mid-hat in the last photo. Lacking a proper hat block, I wore the hat wet as I drove to Fulford Harbour. I couldn’t help fingering the felt as I drove, and once in line, I couldn’t resist playing with it some more.

Ulrieke left me with the strict instruction to pinch the lines for a couple of hours to create permanent creases along the folds. As I reinforced the existing lines, I instinctinvely moved the line down to the edge, and once there, it seemed natural to create a small brim on one side.


It now resembles something a little closer to a quirky fadora. I love the colors and the lines. The squiggle is silk/cashmere fiber I bought at FibresWest, while the rest is commercial merino provided by Ulrieke. If you ever have the chance to attend one of her workshops, I would highly recommend it. However, make it a weekend getaway to fully appreciate all that Saltspring has to offer.


As Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny in New Westminster, we walked in and around Queen’s Park, stopping to look at the Rose Garden under renovation and play on the playground.


Time for a quick birthday photo – Happy Happy Dad!


All too soon, it was time to head back towards home, but not before stopping in LaConner to see “All Things Not Quilted” at the LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum located in the historic Gaches Mansion.  This exhibit has been on my to-do list for several months, and since it will end on March 29th, it demanded a detour on our way.

LaConner is a sweet little fishing village full of boutiques, galleries, bookstores and cafes. We spotted a flock of wild turkeys across the street from the museum, and then walked behind the LaConner Civic Garden Club to peek at the town from above the main street.

The town is full of public art.  Sculpture large and small can be found along the street. In addition to the textile museum, LaConner is also home to the Museum of Northwest Art. If you are spending time in the northwest, make a stop in LaConner and be sure to chat with the volunteer working at the front desk of the museum. You will come away with some bit of local history and charm.

Spring Blossoms

While the Northwest has been experiencing erratic temperatures and unseasonal snows*, my studio has been bursting with colorful blossoms. This collection should warm even the bluest fingers.


These pieces are now available in my etsy shop. If you are interested in additional blossoms to create a bouquet or a centerpiece, I’d be happy to work with you.

*Robin says this isn’t global warming, it is ‘global warning’.

Tactile’s Birthday Contest

There is nothing like meeting the producers of the fine products you use, but even nicer is making the connection and realizing that you already knew them. When I first started writing this blog, there was a very gracious commenter who seemed to notice everything I wrote and always had the most encouraging things to say. Her name was Maia and she was a spinner. She wrote her own blog, which I started following after she left a few comments.

Last February, when I attended the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat, I spent lots of time browsing the booth of Tactile Fiber Arts. They had such beautiful fibers, dyed in a gorgeous array of colors using only natural dyes. I’d never used any blended fibers, but I couldn’t resist the colors. Suddenly, Maia returned to her booth and we had an aha moment. She recognized me from my blog, I connected the company with the blogger and all of a sudden it felt really good to spend all my money right there.


I made two scarves as soon as I returned home and was delighted with the resulting felt. It is soft, supple and has a subtle sheen. The finished piece has a lacy almost ethereal quality as the fibers channel into the dips in my bubble wrap, but I see this as a feature. It was so lovely I didn’t post it for sale, but moved it immediately to my personal collection.


The second piece was listed in November and sold right away in the flurry of holiday purchases.


Now that I knew just how lovely these fibers were to use, I snapped up several more hanks when I returned to Madrona this year. I haven’t busted them out of their wrappers yet, but it won’t be long as Tactile Fibers has announced a second birthday contest. If you haven’t tried their fiber, don’t wait. If you already know how great it is, send in some photos. I’m planning to make some flat pieces of felt to sew into drop spindle holders. Oooh. I can’t wait to get soapy.

Flickr Photos