Spinner’s Christmas Yarn Bowl Exchange

The Spinners got together at Louise’s house for the first Christmas Social since Covid interrupted our annual get together. It was extra special this year because all the Spinners were there. 

Everyone contributed something towards our lunch and everything was so delicious.

The fun continued after lunch with our gift exchange and the theme was to cover a dollar store bowl in Fibre and create a yarn bowl holder. 

Each person  drew a number from Santa’s hat to determine the order of picking from the pile of pretty Christmas packages. Sofia made sure no one chose a gift out of order and she was very good at keeping us honest.

So much fun, laughing, talking and admiring of the creative ways each bowl was covered. 

Before the afternoon came to a close, there was a brief discussion of a retreat which we all thought was a great idea. 

Stay tuned for the next installment for what happened with that brief discussion!

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The guild’s recent challenge was to make something from your stash. Everyone participated using up left over tubes of cotton, mixed yarns, fine silk yarn, beads, and raw and spun fibre. One of our members, Pam, took the challenge to the highest limit. Below is her story of how she accomplished this.

“I had multiple bins of bits of mixed synthetic yarns accumulated over the years – balls that were just not small enough to justify pitching out without feeling guilty.

When the Guild came up with the Stash Busting Challenge, it was an opportunity to find a project that would use up my large collection of yarn ends from other finished projects. 

I found this easy crochet basket that used scrap yarn by making balls of scrap yarn tied together then using 5 strands together ie 5 balls of yarn at a time using a size 9 crochet hook.

The yarn didn’t even have to be the same thickness when making up the balls.  Initially I tried to make balls made up of the same color ie all shades of blue or red etc. After a bit I just started working with the next color out of the bin. 

The bags are worked from the bottom using a magic loop of 6 stitches. 

Not only do you use up a lot of scrap yarn, you have a beautiful bag to show off!”

The website is mypoppet.com.au/makes-crochet-baskets-scrap-yarn-project/

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Its been a long hard road for all of us. More so for some. Our guild has been mostly on hold for almost two years. Fortunately emails, messenger, and phones have kept us in touch. Its been a long hard road for all of us. More so for some. Our guild has been mostly on hold for almost two years. Recently a notice of an upcoming fibre event circulated and everyone’s ears perked up. An outing!

The Hamilton Fibre Market was to hold its 2022 event at THE COTTON FACTORY.

The Cotton Factory is really a grouping of buildings which was home to the Imperial Cotton Company which was built in 1900. The main three story building housed the equipment where the cotton was made and the smaller out buildings were used for sorting, painting, finishing, shipping, waterproofing and warehousing. Its main product was heavy duct cotton which was used for main sails for boats and awnings.  Historical records indicate that the Imperial Cotton Company made the sail cloth for the Canadian Bluenose schooner. The cotton company contributed economically towards making textiles, Hamilton’s second largest industry. Today, the building has been transformed into a creative space for workshops, artist studios and office space for creative professionals. It has also been used for film production for CBC’s hit TV program Murdoch Mysteries as well as many other programs.

Eager to see this collection of old buildings and of course the fibres for sale, a group of spinners got together and headed off.

There were 40 vendors displaying and selling their products. As you can see form the photos below the range of items for sale was extensive, covering everything from raw and spun fibres, basketry, spinning wheels, tapestry and assorted fun items.

Our spinners ended their fibre filled day with lunch at Kelseys.

Things are looking up. Days like this kick start everyone’s creative juices.

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Yes, we all are still here.  We weave, spin, knit, embroider, and do beautiful marketry. We are looking forward to being able to be together and touch and feel our fibre work. Photos can’t do our work justice.

Below are photos of some of our members’ endeavours that they have completed, or almost completed, over the past few months.

Some of us are stash busting; some are trying new weaving drafts and knitting patterns; others perfecting their spinning.  Keeping our hands busy keeps our mind busy.  We are lucky to be able to create lovely things.   Hopefully we can find homes for all of them.

Creations by Pam

She finished a pair of socks for a friend’s son who is a huge baseball fan and plays on an elite team. The socks have a baseball player knit into them.  A simple tube sock pattern using Kroy 3 ply sock yarn which is a blend of wool and nylon.  

Her mom wanted a wash and wear hat so she knit this hat using acrylic yarn. The pattern is the Elwha Hat by Attic Yarns

Her mom wanted a wash and wear hat so she used acrylic yarn. The pattern is the Elwha Hat by Attic Yarns.

The Marquetry winter scene is in progress and is a sneak preview of her entry to her club’s Winter Scene challenge.

Pat’s Creations Her work is described below.

Hand spun yarn, Pink light and dark and grey is 1000 yards of mixed fibre yarn , fibre from John Arbon in Devon England

Hand spun BFL in shades of green , gold and brown, looks like a forest….1000 yds

Big cowl that drapes over one shoulder is knit from 3 colours of hand spun Corriedale sheep fibre

The shawl with the lace is  knit from Hebridean  yarn from a small company in the Hebrides call Birlinn named after a Viking ship

The other gold and grey shawl is knit from yarn from Wales

Barb’s Creations

Experimenting with the Strickler Pattern # 246, Barb found she had to really concentrate to keep the treadling straight, and didn’t always succeed, so one of the towels is hers. She used a 3-colour rotation and had fun putting the colours together.

One of her challenges was working with the colour Salmon. Someone on Ravelry suggested turquoise, and that worked really well.  The other ones she used were Aquamarine and Brique (not the Brick–with-a-K, which is darker) and they all looked nice.  She only used 3 colours/towel so Turquoise, Salmon and Brique for one and Turquoise, Salmon and Aquamarine for the other. It was a great colour study.

Elizabeth’s Creations

She had been busy. Teatowels, rugs, baby blankets have been produced in abundance. She got a Ashford 8 harness table loom and has been exploring her new purchase.

Marianne’s Creations

Marianne has been spinning merino for a lovely scarf and knitting the cutest socks.

Jill’s Creations

To fill her spare time when she is not hiking, Jill has been knitting with Sari yarn

Jessie’s Creations

Jessie has been busy spinning lovely yarn for her cardigan and gloves.

Susan’s Creations

Sue has been working on this new threading. She said it took forever to wind.

Louise’s Creations

She created this centre piece for Ann’s new apartment. The runner just arrive in Japan for her son and his family. They wanted something colourful.

My Creations

Exploring Deflected Double Weave has been my winter’s projects. What happens if I use different yarns or change the setts, and different threadings. It hasn’t made a dent in my stash.

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It seems like it was yesterday that I was watching the forest behind my house sprout green leaves and peonies blooming.  I felt hopeful.  Soon we would be over this pandemic.

I decided to dress my loom with a hand dyed warp from Marian’s stash.  It was painted in chartreuse greens, yellows and a pale greyish blue. Perfect colours for spring.  When I pulled it out of its bag I realized that something had been munchng on it.   I persevered, removing damaged ends and tying on repair ones, and started to weave.  As it was not colours I usually weave with I tried out a few colours for weft but could not make up my mind.  Unable to make a decision I left it and I departed for the cottage for two months.

Well summer passed way too quickly.  Time to share with grandkids.  Surprisingly they even wanted to learn how to weave! 

When I returned back to the city I finally found time to sit down in front of the loom with the Spring coloured warp.  I chose a slightly blue green as the weft.  But when I went to start the second scarf, I realized that the insect or mouse damage was too great.  Some threads were part way shredded.

I tied on another warp using the chartreuse green from Marian. (My camera does not pick up the true colours unfortunately.)  I am now weaving it in pale yellow with olive bands. I do want to be able to give Marian’s daughters these scarves by Christmas time.

As I weave. I watch the leaves turn gold, copper and red and I wonder if I have some fine wool in these autumn colours that I can tie on to this warp! Maybe this is the way my next months of weaving will be.  I will just look out the window and choose a colour theme and continue weaving.

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The guild has not been able to meet since February.  Our Winter Retreat  cancelled and study groups hosted via emails.   Here’s hoping we can have our June BBQ.  I asked our members to send me photos of their work – finished or in progress.  One of our members in a senior retirement home has been confined to her room for a month or so, but her hands kept busy working on something for her door and for our Fall Flower Power Challenge.

Here is the result of the past month’s endeavours.

ANN                   I am planning to mount some knitted flowers (1 narcissus, 3 crocuses, 4 tulips and 1 dandelion) on a board to display at the entrance to my apartment.  I have finished the crocuses but the other flowers are not yet ann photoassembled, and the leaves not yet knitted. It is a bigger project than I had anticipated. But I am having fun and learning a lot.

The photo is of the parts being blocked before assembly and of the finished crocuses.


JILL                         I am knitting (thank goodness for you tube) an Isabella Shawlette from Wellington Fibres.  If  I ever finish this one I will be starting a second one in blues.  Also my first attempt at a fork woven flower.

PAM                        The shawl is worked from the tip to the top so I figured when I ran  out of yarn that would be the size of my shawl.  The fibre is 50% alpaca, 30% mohair and 20% wool from Wellington Fibres.  I didn’t  count on the shawl being deeper than wide so when I ran out of fibre it wasn’t wide enough to wrap in front.  I didn’t have anymore fibre and neither did Wellington Fibres so I spun fiber from Fullin’ Woolens after separating out the blue to get the copper color.  It is a blend of Merino, Bambo and Stellina.

The blue towels are called ‘Keep it Simple’ by Mary Ann Geers and the tea towels on the loom are from a Viking draft from Anges Geijer as woven by Gunnel Oresjo.  Marian had photocopied Handwoven’s collection of Best Tea Towels featured in their magazine and she shared the book with us when we were at Burleigh Falls.  I borrowed the book and saved these patterns.

JESSIE                      I’ve been knitting and spinning up a storm while I’m stuck at home.  If I get bored with what I’m doing I just start another pair of socks.   The socks are from Marian’s stash –  the shawl’s Pat’s Shetland wool and the mobious is Spinrite no name.

PAT                            Here is my spinning
The white and green are left over bits.  The green is mohair and wool 60/40.
The white is polwarth.  The brown is natural Icelandic

The shawl is made from Marian’s yarn , mohair and wool 60/40.  I call it Marian’s shawl.
It’s not yet blocked or washed but soon it will be ready to give me a warm hug.

image0(1)   image1(3)

BARB                            Tea Towel warps of Snowflakes and Feathers have been on my loom recently.  Just finished this Feather Towel – the treadling order is a real PITA, so I have to talk to myself to  keep it straight.  I guess this one would be Peacock Feathers, since I used Brassard’s Peacock 2/8.

LOUISE                          Baby blankets and placemats have been on my loom. I also finally finishing a beaded bracelet.


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Social Distancing in a Weaver’s Life

I should be writing about Guild and Fibre Happenings.  Usually Spring is an awaking, not only of plants, but of weavers, Fibre Shows, Seminars, and Workshops.  Snow has melted and out we go into the world.  Not this Spring however.  These days Emails, photos, telephone conversations are our social interactions.  We search the web not for news of this horrid virus but for mind stimulation, ideas, and colours.   Fibre people are a lucky group.  We tend to have a stash of yarn, fleece, rovings, etc to keep our hands, looms, and spinning wheels busy.

Over the years I have become the person who stores guild display items and even some weaving equipment.  Two years ago the guild participated in a Seminar Challenge…Get Wired.  We consulted the keynote speaker and a local source who had taken a course on wire weaving and then enthusiastically put on a bronze wire warp.  A few of us wove off some wire pieces for our display.

As there was still warp left on the back beam, I retied the remaining wire  so that eventually someone could use it to explore this medium.  This never happened.  The loom sat in my studio for months and the months became years.

Recently after moving it once again to another corner, I decided that enough time had gone by and no one was going to take it off my hands and out of my studio.  I recommenced my venture into wire weaving.  Warp tension was terrible at first.  (Maybe that was due to the cat!) It was hard to get it to unkink.  I persevered and  ended up with 5 little sections of weaving.  Ironically the closer to the end of the warp the more even the tension became.  I had also learned that on this Dorothy Loom I could beat more evenly if I was as close to reed as possible.

Here are my 5 little vases.  Without having to stay home, and keep my distance from others, this warp would not have been finished.

As I cleaned up my studio I decided to try and gain 5 or more inches of shelf space by tossing out old copies of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot.  Before sending them to the garbage bin, I of course read through them one last time.  Low and behold what did I find but an article on WIRE WEAVING.  It was in Winter 2002/2003 written by Donna Kaplan.  The weaving was done on a rigid heddle loom.  If you happen to still have this magazine check it out.  Maybe you too can explore wire weaving.


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Last year one of our spinners, Jessie, showed us an article in which a fibre piece was inspired by a piece of a tree. As every year our guild tries to choose a challenge that is not linked to a conference or a seminar, we decided this might be fun to do. The “Big Reveal” was held at our January meeting. There was quite a variety of techniques and fibres….woven linen, bamboo, tencel, cotton. Felted cobweb to reflect water, or a shell or a stone. The spinners choose a similar stone to inspire their knitted pieces. The fibre pieces were then put in a display case on the 3rd floor in the Mississauga Central LIbrary.
My photos do not do the pieces justice…too much reflection, but you can get a sense of the display.



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This is the second year that our Guild’s Annual Xmas party was held as a lunch rather than a dinner.  We were pleased the weather co cooperated as winter came early here in our area.  The food was delicious as usual and there were an incredible variety of handmade gifts.  It amazes me that our members are talented in other disciplines.  Pam’s  marquetry is beautiful  and amazingly perfect.  The hand knitted cowls, socks and slippers are beyond me as I never managed to learn to knit.  Louise’s felting is outstanding.   As we draw a number to pick a gift and then the gift is often stolen by another person, I am never sure who goes home with what.  The important thing is we all have fun.  Sue’s home was a perfect venue. Thank you Sue.

The Spinners also held a Christmas lunch.  Their gift exchange entailed the challenge of creating something to keep your feet warm.  Check out the variety of footwear!  Pat hosted the party for them and as you can see from their happy faces (complete with silly hats) that they enjoyed themselves. Louise’s stuffed Brie was a hit as always.  I am going to try this out myself this year.

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I finally finished the warp on my cottage loom.  My sister had asked if I could do her some more tea towels but lighter weight.  Somewhere on the internet I saw a photo of a woven piece done in taquete polka dots but in pastel colours.  It reminded me of summer sherbets.

I had a plastic bin of 2/16 cotton and sure enough there was a variety of pastel colours.

So I wound a warp in the 2/16 alternating natural with a pastel colours.  I set it at 30 epi.

July and August were too nice to be inside weaving so most of the weaving was done in September and October.  I managed to get 5 teatowels.  Perfect for next years summer parties.  And they are a nice light weight for drying dishes.

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