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Archive for March, 2010

Weaving in Canada – and celebrating Earth Hour too!

This past weekend, I was in Richmond, BC for a workshop.  It’s always a treat for me to go to Canada and I had been looking forward to this for a long time.  The workshop was literally scheduled around the recent 2010 Olympics . . . a first for me!  It was evident as I approached the USA/Canada border that the spirit of the Olympics was still going strong.

The workshop started on Friday afternoon and went through the weekend.  What made this trip even more special was taking part in Earth Hour.   The purpose of Earth Hour is to raise awareness about climate change and ponder actions we can take on a daily basis to make a difference when it comes to the environment.  So, on Saturday evening at 8:30 pm, my delightful host, Agnes, and I turned off the lights.  It appeared everyone in the area did the same thing and turned off their lights.  What did we do while the lights were out???  We sat by candlelight sipping wine and chatting. 

The company of Canadians is always marvelous.  This weekend was no different.  This particular workshop, Extreme Warp Makeover, is a lot to cover between the presentations and all of the weaving.  This group was definitely up to the challenge.   Below are a couple of pictures from the workshop . . . one picture Iwould like to point out is the wall paper border that Yoriko used in warping her loom.  The colorful trucks caught my eye and I knew I just had to take a picture to share with others.  Yoriko told us she has used it many times to warp her loom.  It still looked practically new and it worked beautifully . . . plus, it was fun to see the colorful trucks roll off the loom as the workshop progressed.

The same spirit that enwrapped the 2010 Olympics permeated the workshop.  It was a truly wonderful way to spend the weekend and I look forward to my next trip to Canada!

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Weaving, Warp Beams, and Weather in Washington

I’ve been busy as usual; however, last night it dawned on me I had been in three of Washington State’s corners in a period of a little over a week.  First, I headed to Spokane to teach a workshop.  I always love going to Spokane!  It reminds me of the very first time I visited.  It was 1974 and I went there to see the World’s Fair . . . which was also my first ride in a taxi.  I think that was more exciting than anything else.  Taxis seemed very exotic back then!

36 hours before I left for Spokane, the local news station reported that we were about to have our first ‘winter weather advisory warning’ of the season.  The next day, the passes over the Cascade mountains weren’t in great shape.  This prompted me to pack along tire chains, a couple of flashlights, warm gloves, and a few extra changes of clothes just in case I had to crawl around in the snow putting tire chains on .  Fortunately, the following day turned out better than expected and I headed across the mountains and was able to drive through the late winter wonderland without incident.  Spokane was marvelous.  Sunny with cool crisp air.  The weavers in the workshop did an exceptional job.  The facility was unbelievable.  Imagine the surprise on my face when we showed up early on the first day and the tables were all linened.

The day after I returned from Spokane I headed off to La Center, WA (near Vancouver, WA).  Somehow my planets had aligned and the third beam for my 40″ wide AVL loom, which had never been used, was finding a new home.  I found it odd (yet intriguing) that someone so close to where I lived could use it since it required an AVL with the same width as mine.  Shortly after arriving at Lisa’s house to deliver the warp beam, we discovered not only had we gone to the same high school . . . but, had also graduated the same year.  We were both actively involved in the fiber arts program (known as ‘Living Arts’ in school), but neither one of us recalled the other.  It was fun recalling Mrs. Borden, our weaving teacher and bonding over how difficult high school was to endure. 

With the warp beam delivered, I took a detour to Portland, OR to visit Powell’s Bookstore, the best bookstore in the world . . . plus, visits to The Mill End Store and Fabric Depot . . . After dinner with my father, I headed home . . . however, I made a stop in Woodland, WA to take a picture of Fibre Federal, a credit union I saw on my way down.  The name cracked me up and I amused myself with ideas of financial transactions with textile folks.  I’ve provided pictures above because I thought the name was so odd.

So after making it to the Northeast corner (Spokane) and the Southwest corner (La Center), I headed off this past weekend to the Northwest corner of the state to do a workshop for the Whatcom Weavers Guild in Bellingham.  The workshop was held overlooking the Bellingham marina and the weather was fascinating to watch.  It was a great group and they completed their samples in record time.  Fortunately, we were able to transport looms to cars during breaks in the rainy weather.  It was a great way to begin spring with anticipation of sunnier and drier days.

A Sew & Sew Adventure

SewExpo, the largest sewing-related conference in the USA, just ended this past Sunday . . . and as expected . . . it was an adventure.  I’m sometimes unable to attend, but this year I attended all four days.  This was because of all of the classes I wanted to attend.  Unfortunately, photography is not allowed . . . so I don’t have pictures . . . but, the following were the highlights of my experience:

  • Spending time with sewing icons Marcy Tilton and Sandra Betzina.  Both of these women inspire me a great deal and getting to spend time with them was inspiring.
  • The “style” shows . . . which are free fashion shows . . . were great!  It’s a great way to see many of the patterns being sold that have been made in to garments and watch how it drapes, moves, etc.  I saw fashion shows with garments from Linda Lee, Louise Cutting, Marcy Tilton, and Sandra Betzina . . . and a style show put on by the Independent Pattern Company Alliance (IPCA) . . . this includes designs from Lorraine Torrence, Islander Sewing Systems, La Fred, Saf-T-Pocket Patterns, Dana Marie (formerly Perfection Artistic Wearables), etc.
  • One of my favorite fashion shows was put on by the fashion design design students from Bates Technical College.  Lots of creativity and ingenuity . . . including a modern-day version of a Victorian-era bustle dress that you would have to see to appreciate.
  • The vendor hall is ominous to tackle, but when you have four days you can take your time
  • In the past, the seminars were limited to 45 minutes in length . . . this year they added seminars of greater length.  I signed up for a few of them and they were well worth the time and money.  After a total of 11 classes in four days, I’m spilling over with ideas!
  • One of the high points for me was a seminar with Londa Rohlfing  She did a 45-minute seminar “Refined Embellishments” . . . and all I can say is “Wow!” . . . She was great . . . After being blown away during her 45 minutes seminar of her teaching a handful of techniques, I marched out and immediately purchased her 2 hour40 minute DVD.  If a 45-minute seminar gets me that excited, I’ll be completely unbearable after watching her DVD.  I got to spend some time with her the following day and she’s just delightful!   If you’re interested in learning more, you might like to go to her website  http://www.londas-sewing.com/.

Yes, I purchased items in the vendor hall . . . my favorite scissors of all time are the 5 1/2″ scissors from Kai Scissors.  They’re well-balanced and extremely versatile.  I went by their booth and bought a couple more pair . . . At an Expo price of $14.95/ea, why not?  They also now have a curved version of the pair and I have one of those now . . . I expect it to be really handy for trimming weft ends, etc.  To take a look, you can go to  http://www.kaiscissors.com/.  They have a three-piece ‘starter set’ that made me a believer!

Like a child after Christmas, I’m thrilled with the experience . . . but, looking forward to the next time I can attend.  I just need to figure out how to find more than 24 hours in a day to work on all the ideas I have!

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