Friday, November 30, 2012

Exciting news for the Vancouver Flax growing project

Much to my surprise I have been awarded a grant for my Vancouver flax growing project. I've never applied for a grant before and didn't expect to be successful.

I'm going to be growing flax next year at the Means of Production garden and also in what I call my Other Garden (a back yard of a nearby rental property). I now have the money to buy/build the flax processing equipment neccessary to turn flax into linen fibre and  enough left to hire a Modo truck to bring in some compost and manure.

Flax was grown all over BC, as far north as Bella Coola - we have the ideal climate. Families planted a small plot of it every few years to provide the material to make garments, bed sheets etc. As it's such a hard wearing fibre, it wasn't neccessary to plant every year. Being able to process, spin and weave your own linens wasn't an art, it was just what you had to do if you wanted something other than woollen underwear (scratchy!) and blankets.

I'll be posting about the project on this website and also MOP, and have already begun the process of getting the land ready at the Other Garden. Caitlin ffrench (knitter, weaver, spinner, dyer and much more) will be partnering with me to grow at MOP, and she'll take the project forward in 2014 to grow more flax at Trillium Park and various other City pieces of land.

The flax processing equipment will be stored at the field house until Trillium Park's artist space is ready and will be available for anyone to use. If you want to grow some flax in your garden (it has such pretty flowers!) let me know. Flax seed from the store won't work, it needs to be a specific fibre producing type ('Marilyn', available here You could grow some at home and use the processing equipment to make your own linen.

So check out this blog for updates on the flax growing process and also the retting, braking, scutching, hackling, strick making, spinning and weaving of flax in Vancouver.


Sideways sox pattern missing line

There's a missing line in the Sideways sox pattern below - it gets partly cut off by the scanner. It should read:

'Knit straight until your sock is as wide'.... (rest of the instructions do appear), 'as the top of your foot at your toes'.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sideways sox and Dec 3rd

Just posted my adapted sideways sox pattern that was pinned to the wall in the field house for so long......

If you're coming on December 3rd to learn sideways sox, please print yourself a copy or have it on your phone (depending on how old you are!).

Don't forget to bring needles that are the same width as two strands of your yarn laid side by side, and a large safety pin or paper clip as a stitch marker.

I'll have a variety of people there starting sox of different types (like top down, two on one needle or toe up) and also some people with UFOs (unfinished objects) that have stalled. I'll try and give everyone some individual attention but please remember my advanced age and very young knee!


The Sideways sox pattern adapted for beginner knitters

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mixed media basket

This small basket, woven by one of our beginner weavers, was started during the Cedar Weaving workshop and completed at the recent Weaving with Invasive Plants workshop.

Woven using a combination of materials: 
Red cedar provides the warp and forms the base of the basket. 
Yellow Flag Iris leaves give a beautifully textured and subtle coloured band. 
A couple of twined rows of yellow cedar finish the edge and lead into the driftwood handle.

Woven by Janice - November 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

A fun "Crawl" was had by all

It was great to see all the enthusiasm from the community about the work we have been doing through our studio this past year. 
Thank-you to everyone who walked through the door to share our cozy space and to talk about
 weaving, spinning and knitting with us!  

 A big "Thank you!" goes out to all the Urban Weaver Collective members who helped set-up and clean-up the space, gave weaving, spinning and knitting demonstrations, talked to everyone who came through the door and provided the creature comforts to keep us going (including rice crispy squares with bacon - who would have thought it could be so good)!  The weekend wouldn't have been the success it was without you there to help!

Taking advantage of a lull in the crowd to focus on some spinning and knitting

The latest addition to my Event Basket collection:  braided yellow flag iris - coiled and stitched

What's in store for the coming year? 
New workshops ideas were discussed this weekend; keep an eye out for information on bookbinding with Martin, knitting side-ways sox, weaving a bicycle basket of English Ivy and more harvesting opportunities with SPES (Himilayan Blackberry, English Ivy, Yellow Flag Iris). 

Happy Weaving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mondays in December at UWC

Crafty Mondays begin again in December.

Starting on December 3rd, Mondays 6-8pm will be craft night. The first session is knitting based - you'll find more information under 'events'.

It seems from the amount of interest that the Urban Weaver Collective has generated during The Crawl that there may be a much larger number of people at the Monday craft nights in future. I just wanted to warn people that I haven't managed to get my normal energy level back post-surgery and am finding it quite hard to cope with these 2 hour sessions.

So while I'm happy to help to the best of my energy, please be prepared to learn from and help each other during these sessions - you all have way more skill than you think you do!

And if anyone is prepared to help with the set up and clean up of these sessions, that would really be great and would help.

Also, thanks to the tireless crew who helped set up and look after the UWC studio during the Crawl.

Good news! Martin Borden, who does all the excellent video work for the UW Collective, like documenting the Scottish Broom and invasive species work has agreed to head up a couple of Mondays next year teaching bookbinding.