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from the archives

November 17, 2017

last night was guild night

Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild

the guest speaker was

Carey Pallister, archivist, Sisters of St. Ann Archives

she brought examples of the needlework done by the sisters

and very thoughtfully, copies of a hand drawn weaving pattern (anyone remember those days?)

you can read more about the sisters and their needlework teaching

at the Royal B.C. Museum Archives

needlepoint –  wool on canvas

the dog was raised, tufted work, very fine and clipped to contour the body

the bird’s tail and the bull rushes were beaded

the lace and netting work is almost a lost art

sorry, there are several layers

wish I’d had a measure to show how incredibly fine the work is

have to wonder what their eyesight was like after years of doing such fine work

this was a small border – approx. 6″ X 12″ on an altar cloth

the bottom green border was appliqued and the tiny stitches almost unbelievable

sister Mary Lucy’s sewing basket

these don’t look like they were ever worn

can’t you picture them on little feet

and finally, the Victorian obsession with “hair work”

it gives me the creeps

in the studio – the weaving is black and white

woven with black and white weft stripes

and then with white weft




November 13, 2017

November’s pages – finished early

only one more month to go!

it was not my intention to dig into old photos when I started this

it just took on a life of its own

that’s me on the left, with sister Myrna

Mom knitted the sweaters

I remember really disliking the colours – yellow and brown

looking through the pictures I realize that the majority of our clothes were handmade

I made paper patterns before stitching

which reminded me of the hours spent dressing paper dolls

on the loom – a 2 yard sample of the twill treadling used for the tea towels

daughter-in-law found these Irish linen hankies in an estate sale

pristine — still in their original box with green ribbon

I wonder how many were brought back from a holiday abroad?

tea towels and winter reading

November 8, 2017

the studio tour went well with many friends dropping by to say hello

and it didn’t snow!the tea towels are finished

washed, trimmed, hemmed and pressed

the one with the threading mistake is waiting to be carefully corrected

hopefully I can needle weave one corrected warp thread

the red towel (at the top) is half woven with red linen and then finished in stripes

as the red was coming to an end

and the stash is a little lighter – yeah!

collecting some winter reading

Ikigai – translated as “a reason for living”

a small, hard cover book with nice paper – good bedtime reading

the chapters on Japanese diet and exercise makes me thing of the obesity and diabetes that plagues the western world

saving this one for a cold winter day

this was an impulse buy and I’m sorry I spent the money

the author is a quilter and the focus is on Japanese printed fabric specifically produced for quilting

using cotton from the U.S.

but it covers many topics – maybe too many

as for indigo, there are already several excellent books on the subject

this quote leaves me shaking my head — describing Japan’s Edo period

“farmers only farmed, dyers only dyed, weavers only weaved”

(that is not my grammar/spelling mistake!)

 many craftspeople in Japan still focus on one specific area of work/study

that is what makes them masters at what they do.

 finally, a publication from the Royal British Columbia Museum

Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi

translated as “long ago person found”

in 1999 “three sheep hunters encountered human remains on a small icefield on the north side of an unnamed mountain in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park.”

“In this comprehensive and collaborative account, scientific analysis and cultural knowledge  interweave to describe a life that ended just as Europeans were about to arrive in the northwest.”

I was a volunteer at the museum when this work was done

and feel very privileged to have seen a small part of the ground squirrel robe that is described in the book

Kjerstin Mackie, who blogs at Quimper Hittys is a textile conservator at the museum, worked on the robe and wrote the chapter on the analysis, documentation and conservation of the robe, a beaver skin bag and undesignated fragments.

the diagram at the top shows the parts of the robe that were found

and below, the tiny stitches holding it all together

“the original threads used to stitch the pelts together were made of two-ply, Z-twist sinew..”

I was born and spent my childhood a little Southwest of the area and am fascinated by the descriptions and pictures

at 688 pages it is going to take me considerable time to read this detailed, scientific account

and I can’t wait to get going!

the book is available from the Royal B.C. Museum shop

time flies

November 1, 2017

hard to believe it’s November already

only 54 days until Christmas – maybe you didn’t want to know that!

but first — my studio tour is this weekend

time to tidy up  – everyone welcome

the first journal page for this month is already finished

over the years I’ve saved interesting clothing labels

did you guess that I’m a pack rat?

the dress is a copy from one my Mom made

the bodice is smocked – and it really did have a blue ribbon

looking through pictures I realize that Mom made most of my clothes

girls didn’t wear pants in those days – only snow pants with your skirt tucked in

does anyone remember the horrible brown cotton stockings?

mine were always falling down

celebrating colour

October 29, 2017

the leaves are falling

the warm weather and clear blue skies

won’t last for long

the colours are stunning

need to enjoy it while it lasts

this bark looks like it is stitched

nature’s dye palette

a change of weft colour to reflect my mood

shading in the warp stripes created with three different twill treadlings

 worth more experimental weaving – see where it leads



shifu hanten

October 24, 2017
tags: ,

anyone interested in shifu and/or Japanese hanten

here is an interesting link

thank goodness it is sold – no temptation!samples from my collection

slow and steady

October 23, 2017

the month is speeding away

too fast, too fast!the journal pages for October are finished

I talk too much – stitching  all those letters takes time

spinning all the silk hankie colours together

and planning to ply the fine singles to mix the colours even more

finally, the warp is on the loom

while winding this mixed warp and dressing the loom

I wondered how easily it would weave – if at all?

well, it behaved perfectly – weaving is like that

maybe that is what has kept me weaving for 40 years

but, wait a minute

look at that, a threading mistake that wasn’t caught

to late to fix for the first tea towel

c’est la vie!