Beautiful Inspiration

A friend had me over for tea and weaving talk not too long ago. She introduced me to an incredible book she had recently received. Now, it is humbling to admit but I coveted this beauty. I was borderline rude as I leafed through it, it distracted my attention so. The combination of text and photos had my imagination on fire. I gleefully proceeded to order a copy for myself. (Beautiful enabling perhaps?)

IMG_0590Lovely cover but it doesn’t begin to convey the interior.

From the introduction: “From ancient textiles to those of the 21st century, there exists a continuum of creativity…” and from there, the reader is well and truly engaged. The book is divided into sections covering a broad spectrum of Impact, Ingredients, Structure, Surface, Added Dimensions and Imagery with detailed research within each category. The photography is lush and a good number of the images are full-sized plates. Wonderful, did I say wonderful?

IMG_0594Forgive my fairly crummy photos, I tried to edit out my foot!

Myriad disciplines are seen but there are a lot of weaving photos, showing weaving and dye techniques from all over the globe. My friend displays her copy in her living room on a stand, so it isn’t lost in her other books. While I am again shamelessly imitating her, I plan to do the same. One can peruse, dream, admire – did I say this was wonderful?

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There is great inspiration to be found in works like this, even as I learn to do just the basics so far with my looms and wheel and knitting. Seeing how others interpret the world around them helps all of us to look at the world with fresh eyes, to try to see the patterns within patterns. And this is a theme to be applied to all parts of  life I think. It makes the ordinary shine.

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From a flying trip to Point Roberts this weekend. The van is proving to be a very good thing! Like many Canadians who live on the border we pop over from time to time. This time we stayed the night on the beach. The van kept us warm and sheltered from the wind, and we were able to walk and watch the porpoises and sea lions. Not to mention the eagles, and the killdeers and the spring flowers…Great stuff.

Weavers are Completely Warped

IMG_0518At least this one is. The little “doo – dad” arrived in the mail in record time and I was able to wind on. Ok, there were a couple of false starts on my part but this loom is sweet. My learning style is kind of “throw some yarn at it, and fine tune from there.” Weaving is going to challenge me to try to do it right the first time. Good, good discipline and so rewarding. The cloth I am making is no big whoop – it is a sampler of different weave structures. Currently the sampler doesn’t even look like this, as I have been using up leftover sock yarn to see what colour does with the ubiquitous blue.  This is proving to be very interesting as the yarn which has one certain effect when knitted seems to have a radically different effect when woven. Wonderful!

Honestly, I wish I had stumbled onto all of this when I was younger. There is not time in this lifetime to absorb all there is to know and create.

In a bit of a topic change, when hiking on our holiday we saw a lot of deadfall from the heavy snow and winds this winter. Over the course of the walks I was able to collect a bit of lichen. I am reluctant to disturb trees in this collecting business but there was  a lot on the ground and my technique was to “graze”. I don’t know the name of this one but as soon as we get a bit of sun I plan to do some solar dyeing with it.

IMG_0477If we ever get more than a day at a time of sun that is. One advantage to our south-facing deck is that while it gets too hot for humans to sit out there when it is sunny, all sorts of mad scientist experiments can occur.

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Oodles of this on the ground too. This makes a gorgeous deep yellow. This is one that is reputed to be mildly toxic, so again the plan is to solar dye. It worked well last year. I may add a modifier of some sort to see if the colour can be changed a bit.

There is always some project to do…

Small Projects While I Wait

The Jane loom is quite a piece of equipment. And it is sitting quietly in my spare room waiting for use. Wow.  It is an efficient looking thing. I can’t say I am intimidated exactly, that is not the word, but I am weirdly grateful to have time to get used to it, to circle around it and look at it, before I use it. (There was one little piece missing, and this piece is winging its way from Saltspring Island. The customer service with this purchase has been exceptionally good, and I think the little missing piece is just a fluke. ) I have warped it with more of that never – ending blue yarn, in anticipation of weaving yet another bit of blue yardage, only this time to see what working with eight shafts is like.

So small projects it is, a pair of vanilla socks knit in short bursts to be nice to my hands. Gratefully spinning seems to be OK  for the delicate digits. I am looking forward to weaving on the Jane with my handspun – the idea delights. There is that factor of bounce and life in hand spun yarns, and that has certainly been the case with the rigid heddle projects.

IMG_0517Two hundred and forty metres of merino, fingering weight give or take. The loom arrived a couple of weeks sooner than expected – poor me, I have to purchase and spin some yarn. And while I wait I am lurking on the weaving groups on Ravelry, googling images of all sorts of weaving, just letting my imagination drift. It is important to just let the mind wander a bit I think. It keeps the well from running dry.

More pictures from the Stein Valley.

IMG_0436The reaction ferry is an engineering marvel. It may be hard to see them, but this ferry is held by strong cables and steered by wooden rudders, pulled across by the river itself. It fits two vehicles and when one is on it, the current can be felt in the floorboards of your car. I always look at that rescue boat with speculation but have not had the nerve to ask. Later in the spring, when the snow melts in the mountains the Fraser will be too high and too full of debris for the ferry to run. Then it is down to foot power, crossing into Lytton by way of the railway bridge, or driving a winding, rugged road through the mountains to Lillooet. One year we backpacked in and on coming out the ferry had stopped running. We ran into a local guy who directed us to that winding road. “Its scenic” he said. It certainly was.

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From deeper in the valley, near the site of ancient pictographs. I have always thought these rocks acted as guardians of the valley. I don’t know if that is what the people who live in the region believe, it is just an impression I have had on every trip.

IMG_0503Mandatory trailhead shot. Funny, over the years in the pictures the sign stays the same, how come the hair is a tad greyer in the hiker?

Spring Camping

It’s a bit early to trust that the weather will hold. In a few places they are pulling out of major snowstorms and it can rain like nobody’s business here in April. We really wanted to test out the van so we were off for the inaugural trip. Not too many miles but we managed to hit three kinds of climates this time. Manning Park was fabulous in snow. It’s the end of the season so the trails were a bit dodgy but we persevered. No other lunatics on the trail either which was a bonus.

IMG_0363Lunch time. We parked in the Cambie Loop trailhead overnight. It was a tad cool, maybe minus 10 or more celsius. The insulation in the van worked just fine and we were pretty comfortable. I think more comfortable than the folks who created these snow caves for sleeping.

IMG_0373I am a hearty hiker and camper but nah, not for me, at least this trip.

Within about one hundred kilometres or less we were in a dryer, warmer climate.  There is a very pretty gem of a recreation area near Princeton, the China Ridge cross-country ski trails. The snow was essentially done but we managed.

IMG_0413We carried our skis as much as we used them. This was a picnic in the sun. There was much evidence of elk and deer, but we must have been noisy and didn’t see any. (Well, a number of deer on the side of the road, this is the time of year the roadsides have fresh new grass. It is important to watch out when driving these highways, to avoid the collision between humans and animals.)

Then finally, we spent some time in the Stein Valley, near Lytton. The Stein is a World Heritage site,  deeply important to the First Nations people who live in the region. In the nineteen eighty’s it was slated for logging and there was tremendous work done to preserve it. There are ancient pictographs here, and artifacts from hundreds of years ago. To hike here is to feel a very powerful peace. We have been here several times, and every time discover something new. And that is just to scratch the surface. The best way to see it is to take some time, I think and to be quiet about it. This time we only had a couple of days but were so lucky in that there were few other people here. It was, as always spectacular. Pictures don’t do it justice.

IMG_0462 At the start of the trail, the Asking Rock. A good place to be still a minute before setting off. There are often traditional offerings placed here, bits of tobacco, some coins.

IMG_0469From the side of the trail. The walking follows the Stein River up to the alpine. It is pretty rugged, though this lower end is pretty straightforward and gets most of the use by hikers as a result.

IMG_0474Again, off the side of the trail. This is after crossing a part of the trail called the Devil’s Staircase. It is not too bad when carrying a light day pack. I have done it with a fully loaded backpack in the heat however, and it deserves the name.

It was a good trip.

I expect the blog to be back to its regularly scheduled fibre topics one of these days. Knitting has resumed, in short bursts, and it seems that I have (ahem) ordered a loom…

(Down the next rabbit hole, yes indeedy.)