I'm finally back to stay for the summer. I know I left you in mid-conference but the Sunday was a very full day and Monday was taken up with packing and the ferry home. We didn't get back to my house until suppertime. After that I had one day to wash and repack and Thom and I were off to Sasquatch Provincial Park north of Harrison Hot Springs for a camping trip with our kids and the grandbeasties. Then we rushed back home yesterday, watered the dry garden, showered and headed off to our friends' 50th anniversary party. Whew! Today it was back into the neglected garden to try to beat some order into the jungle it has become. The weather has been very hot and dry (for us at least) and some of the earliest veggies are bolting and bitter so out they come. The beans and cucumbers are flowering and we picked a couple of boats, er...zucchinis. There's some good-sized baby tomatoes coming along. The vines are now up to the roof of the greenhouse and needed a lot of string to stay out of the pathway so I can get in there to water them. It's a lot of watering for us but the warm-weather veggies are enjoying the sunshine and heat.
But you want to know what happened at ANWG! I spent Sunday morning checking out the exhibits. They had the garments from the fashion show the night before hanging up so we could all see them up close. It was a very well-rounded selection which included weaving, spinning, knitting, felting, kumihimo, dyeing and surface design. Predictably one of my favourite pieces was my friend Ruth's lovely handspun and knitted lace shawl dyed in madder and cutch:
And this incredible handspun vicuña shawl:
I apologise for the lighting but I wasn't allowed to touch! The fibre for this shawl must have cost a fortune anyway since South American pure vicuña is very rare and hard to acquire.
One more photo from the fashion show, though there are so many choices (and you can see a few more in the background):
This long handwoven vest had a gorgeous hand-dyed silk lining. The colours were lovely and this is one of those garments that looks good both on the stage and up close - very wearable. The other exhibits were also really interesting for the wide variety of fibres and techniques used. I can see the focus of the weavers and spinners opening up to a larger world and accepting a broader definition of textile creation. Good stuff.
In the afternoon I went to my second class, this time learning Salish Knitting with Sylvia Olsen. She supplied us with the pattern and yarn, a thick singles that she gets spun for her at Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs, Alberta. It imitates pretty well the original handspun yarn used by the Coast Salish in their sweaters. This class wasn't for teaching you how to knit but to show you how to do the particular interlacing technique that is used to avoid stranding the thick yarns across the back of your 2-colour work. Although not Native herself, Sylvia learned spinning and knitting from her late mother-in-law when she was living on the Tsartlip Reserve as a young bride. She has some simple rules to follow to make the knitting easy and I really enjoyed her stories and information on the origins of the "Indian sweater" and the people who spun the wool and knit the garments for cash to feed and clothe their large families.
Here's a mishmash of pieces Sylvia brought to show us, some her work and the very elderly sweater with the butterflies that someone had gifted her:
This proves that you can use this interlacing technique in any gauge and fibre since some of her garments are in finer wool and cotton yarns. I eventually want to make a yoke pullover but meanwhile I finished my hat (not blocked yet though):
In the second picture you can see the inside with the neat "pebbling" as Sylvia calls it. (I made a couple of boo-boos but I'm not showing you where they are!) No long strands and nothing really shows on the right side. I like it. The hat suits Thom better so it will be his. One day when it actually gets cold enough to need such a warm hat that is!
I have a bunch of goodies to show you from my Market shopping too but I think that will have to wait until next post.