Well, really in the aspen parkland, which I believe is one of the technical terms for the geography I was in.
Trollheimen Weaving Studio, run by the lovely Unni, was where I spent a five-day mini vacation/weaving retreat. 70 Mile House is the closest settlement, about a five or so hour trip from the lower mainland. It is a spectacular drive to get there, through the Fraser Valley, then the Canyon and on into the interior of BC. The road follows the old gold rush trail and the settlements along the way hearken back to that time. The names of these places give a bit of an insight – 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House – these were stops along the way for the throngs that came to find gold. Many stayed, given the richness of the land, or given the hardship of getting to the gold fields. Every settler has a story.
Anyhow, the weaving. Unni very capably helped me put a sectional warp on a 60 inch Leclerc Jack loom. That was quite the workout, both physical and mental. We put on 456 ends of some lush quebecoise yarn, known for its strength and lack of pilling. We did a 3 and a half yard warp so I could make a ruana, and I had chosen to work in Rosepath, as I had done that before and really liked the look. What a far cry from my Jane – this was heavy lifting at times, my first time on a floor loom. Great fun. I went to bed at night with my head spinning, but in a good way.
I learned an enormous amount, and much of that was from observing Unni work. There is an economy of movement when someone has been doing a task well for many years. Where I fumbled and dropped yarns, her hands knew precisely where to be at what time. An instinct for what the tension issues would be, where the knots were hiding. I learned to repair broken warps, to utilize ends in such a way as to conserve yarn. (I have discarded so much and wished I knew how to use what was lost.) Unni is a very good teacher, in that she makes the student feel like a success. The weaving itself only took a day, though a full one. Being me, I had to be a bit different in my approach, and rather than the initial thought to make the rosepath an accent, I loved the texture so much I used it, in different colours, overall. I am insanely pleased with the result, though there is a lot of work ahead. My selvedges are a tad amateur, so I will do a crochet edge, and there are lots of ends to weave in, washing and fulling – a few more hours indeed.
No finished objects yet, though the silk/handpsun scarf is close and hopefully I will have the ruana done by next week. It is good to meet other people who share one’s loves. I was glad to have the time to myself too – it was a retreat, not like our times at the monastery or sits at our house, but I had many opportunities to be still, and to be appreciative. It did me a lot of good.