Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two Interesting Things

.... Happened on my walk today.
First off I found the first patch of Cortinarius semisanguineus this year. These are one of the shrooms that dyers always look for. I think they must bloom later in the year,  (if that is what mushrooms do ?), anyhow I was happy to see them.

As we walked back down the trail I spotted one of my handmade hats hanging on a branch ! 
To be honest I had not noticed it was lost, but was very pleased to see it !
Unfortunately I think it must have had a tangle with a forest denizen. 
It will never be quite the same again !!

If hats could talk .....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Adventures With Mushroom Dyeing

A couple of weekends ago the weavers and spinners contingent of the Powell River Fine Arts were lucky enough to have Ann Harmer come up from Pender Harbour and lead us in a 2 day mushroom dyeing workshop.
You can check out Ann's fantastic blog of her own mushroom adventures here.

The first day the group headed out into the forest around Powell River eager to find mushrooms that would give us colour.

After tramping about in the woods lots of mushrooms were found. 
Headed back to the Fine Arts facility Ann's wealth of knowledge correctly identified the shrooms that would hopefully give up some of their colourful pigments.

The next day we prepared the mushrooms for the dye baths.

We had 4 main types of mushrooms that we were going to be working with.

These are Hypomyces Lactifluorum, (Lobster mushrooms)
They need to be peeled and this is the result of the brightly coloured parings.

This next picture is Hydnellum Aurantiacum, a toothed fungus,cut up into small pieces and in the pot !

Next up is Phaeolus schwinitzii, or Dyer's Polypore often found on old fir stumps.
I don't have a pic of the "schnitzel" as I call it but here,  Lois, Lis and Amy, (our guest from Campbell River) are working hard on the preparations.

Last up is the beautiful, (well I think so anyway !) Tapinella atrotomentosa or Velvet pax.
Look at this lovely specimen. 

We also had some other varieties that we experimented with 
but these four were the ones that we worked with and produced samples for the whole group.
We had already premordanted our wool with
 a)alum/cream of tartar
 b) iron
c) copper

Here we are, hard at work, 
(in other words having loads of fun and getting messy).

And here are the end results.
We got some great colours !

Here are my sample sheets that we all made up.

What a great experience and we learned SO much, thank you Ann for a wonderful workshop, Marty for organizing it. Thank you also to Doreen for being the official photographer and sharing these photos with us.
There is the 2013 Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival coming up next weekend,
 if you wanted to learn more about mushrooms I encourage you to check the link.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Skeins and skeins

...... Of geese,    Off they go for their winter break.

And here are our mushroom dyed skeins from Saturday's workshop.
More to come on that.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I'Hos Cultural Tour ~ AMAZING !

Yesterday Simon and I got to go on an amazing trip to Desolation Sound with I'Hos Cultural Tours.
We had been looking forward to it and could not have wished for a more beautiful day out on the water.

 I can't remember all the places that Erik took us to but it really was an amazing afternoon.

Erik's knowledge and love of the area is obvious.

 As well as the great tour around Desolation Sound we even got to see whales off Mittlenatch.

 Pretty special.

Thank you SO much Erik and I'Hos Cultural Tours.
 Wish you every success for the future

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Tapestry Hat

I just finished weaving this tapestry hat.

It was a fun project that came from this book.

I had been intrigued by it for quite a while.
You weave it on this cardboard template that you warp up. Here is mine ready to weave.

And another couple of pics in progress. I used a mixture of hand spun and mohair yarns.

I made the little shuttle/needle tool which worked well to go under and over (many times).

You also warp and weave on the back side as well.

And ready for the big REVEAL,
(well, ripping the cardboard template into shreds anyway).

After knitting on an applied I-cord around the edge it was ready to go ! 
In the book she uses some ribbing around the edge but I made an executive decision and did the 
i-cord instead.

Can you tell I am pleased with how it turned out ?!!
I will make this project again.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Clothes From Old

My latest obsession... errrr, I mean pastime, has been upcycling clothing. 
When I go to thrift stores these days I look for clothing made of nice fabrics, specially linen. I don't care if they fit cos I'll transform into something that does. 

Here are the latest creations !

The two on the left are linen. They were both long shift type dresses in their former life. I was able to cut off the bottom and add panels in the sides. The cotton top on the right was cute, but too short. I added some extra layers to make it a length I like.

I also look for skirts that could become tops. Three of these were skirts that I sewed onto the top part of tee shirts I had lying around. The red one had part of a tee shirt added to the bottom.

This was really fun and I would like to think I've saved a few pieces of clothing from the landfill.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Some Weaving Has Occurred !!

I thought I'd post a few finished woven objects, just so you know I'm not a total slacker.
First one is a woven scarf. 
I was experimenting with using a very stretchy cotton in some of the warp threads which would ruffle when I took it off the loom and ruffle it did !

I was pleased with how the experiment turned out and will definitely try this again. I love it when I have an idea that actually turns out the way I wanted it to. (Not always the case if you take a look at the drawer of failed experiments, haha !!)

Continuing my obsession with finding new life for used coffee cans I found this idea of weaving around objects. Very simple, you make holes, top and bottom, thread the warp through the holes and using thread scraps, weave under and over the warp threads. Will definitely try this again on some other recycled containers.

Last item, also woven off loom, as it were, is a screen I made out at the cabin. I used maple sticks which I wove into the nylon thread warp. It was fun to work outside with the the trees and a couple of sticks as my loom.

Now I just have to finish the two items languishing on my looms at home !
That's it for now.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


When we got down to the cabin today we were happy to see some trees had been cut down.
One particularly was a problem. Here it is before.

And here is the after.

Here is what remains of a big old cedar that was behind the cabin, much more light now !

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A W♡♡LLY Day

Spent a day full with wool today.
On the left is some I am sorting ready  to wash. On the right is some Babydoll Southdown fleece from our ram Womble, washed up already.

And into the wash it goes. This is Kirby's fleece. He is our Babydoll/romney wether.

I also carded some of this nice Suffolk fleece that I got from Steve during this year's shearing extravaganza, (with Johanna Walker). It has lovely subtle grey and silver tones. The pic doesn't really show it very well.

And lastly I got to hang out with BUNS, and they are pretty woolly too !!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I ♥upcycling

FINALLY I found a use for coffee cans.
If only they were still real coffee cans they would be a lot more useful but these days they are not metal anymore but cardboard disguised as metal.
Anyhow here's what I came up with !

A storage unit.

Instructions as follows.
1. Drink lots and lots of coffee until you have enough cans for your storage unit.
2. Find a suitable "frame", in this case I found a recycled wooden box that grapes had come in.
3. Remove the outside covers of the coffee cans to give them the high tech, space age, silvery look.
4. Arrange in chosen frame.
5. Fill with your own bits and pieces.

Well that was easy wasn't it ?

You could spruce up the outside too.........but I'm lazy and didn't.

Here it is installed in my weaving room.

Notice the flock of killer sheep guarding the bits and pieces !!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Back To Basics

I love anything that makes life simpler so I was thrilled when I found this old fashioned style (we have a real antique one at the museum so I recognized it right away), bread maker in a thrift store the other day. I like the idea of making a bigger batch of bread and freezing it. This unit does that and without electricity too so that's got to be good.

I made a batch of bread with it today. Here it is mixed up in the pan, ready to rise.

And again, once it had risen, you use the mixing pan to proof it so less washing up, Yay !

 And here is the finished product !
It made 6 loaves and 2 pizza shells, so that is pretty good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


April and David were visiting on Sunday and as always April took some great shots.
 Thought I'd share a few here.

Violet, Marmite's little ewe.

 Carson, one of Dandelion's twins.

 Sychronized grazing, haha !

 Mmmm, hay, Marmite says...

Violet, the opportunist !

Thanks April !

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Woolly Few Days

We've had so much fun visiting with Johanna, our wonderful sheep shearer from Langley. I got to drive around the district with her and meet lots of nice sheep and people. Nothing like the smell of a freshly shorn fleece !