The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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The absorbing Colour of Water – a show opens

An all-guild show curated by the Art Gallery of Burlington is currently on in the Lee-Chin Gallery until May 24, 2015.  The theme is, “The Colour of Water,” and our guild has a juried section in the show.

River by the Sea Scarf by irieknit in classic crackle on the loom

Weaving water over sand at Frenchman’s Cove, Jamaica

The piece that I have submitted is a handwoven scarf inspired by the confluence of the river as it meets Frenchman’s Cove in Portland, Jamaica.  It is a 4-shaft Crackle or Jämtlandsväv structure woven as drawn in with 4 pattern blocks.

First weaving for the Colour of Water curated guild show irieknit handspun in classic crackle weave

The first attempt was a prototype

Planning for this scarf took more thought, materials and calculations than anything I have woven up to now.  The colour-blending ability of this classic crackle structure was new to me.  In presenting a draw-down for our curator, Denis Longchamps, I was also learning structure myself.  It took a full first scarf.  To speak cricket, there was a long run up to the crease!

The impetus was a copy of Susan Wilson’s book, “Weave Classic Crackle and More” that a weaving friend de-stashed this winter.  Her clear explanations & beautiful projects met the blank slate that is my novice brain.

Water’s fluidity carried me forward.  Nothing was more fun this wretched winter than getting lost in the memory of this place where we swam as children.  The warm Caribbean sea mixes, ebbs and flows with the cool river.  It is also a place where I have partied as an adult.

Nearly finished River by the Sea Scarf by irieknit in handspun yarns

Getting to submission state!

 

After the trial run (totally wearable), I sleyed, and tied-on for a 13″ wide scarf in the reed.  The mystery main warp balanced at 4,075 YPP.  In the final piece it is sleyed at 27 ends per inch.  Calculations were all for this yarn as 0.8 of the maximum twill sett.

Detail of handspun blending in classic crackle irieknit River by the Sea woven scarf

From the beach to waters’ confluence

 

The first run helped me learn the sequence for weaving three shuttles at a time, and to get comfortable with my new Glimakra temple.  Getting the river’s colour shift from sand to bank was very important.  This also improved with my comfort at changing for pattern yarns as well as grounds.

Each of the 6 handspun elements in the scarf is from batts made by favourite fibre artists, and spun on spindles by me.  The batts are from Enting Fibercraft, Abby Franquemont & Sericin Silkworks.  I over-dyed with tea and black walnut to better represent the sand, and river bank.  The alternations were planned, and the shifts are not symmetrical although each is woven in the same classic crackle format for 4 blocks.

What humbled me the most was how the warp behaved in its second sett.  There was far more length shrinkage, and this drove me far closer to the tied ends than anticipated.  This has been a wonderful stretch into working with colour, and meeting the technical weaving criteria of our guild.

No rejection news is good news?  The take-in was this past Monday.  This “River by the Sea Scarf – colours at Frenchman’s Cove” measures 11.75″ x 59″ with fringe lightly beaded with Toho 8/10 Japanese seed beads.


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New year, inspired!

Happy new year!  Our holidays were spent back home in Jamaica.  It was the mix of what we call Christmas breeze, friends and family that made this trip extra-special.

coconut tree in Jamaica's north coast

Christmas breeze in Jamaica, defined

Inspiration came by more than sheer natural beauty.  The island is still dealing with the Chikungunya virus outbreak.  It is transmitted by mosquitoes, and last October the government declared ChikV a national emergency.  We are not infected but close family members are still coping with serious joint pain, and other symptoms.

In meeting ChikV, the economy, and not to mention personal challenges, I am inspired by the strength & creativity of people back home.  Things are difficult for so many that we know & love.

Blue Mountains view in Newcastle, Jamaica from Eits Cafe

View at Eits Cafe, Newcastle, Jamaica

Any view of the Blue Mountains is beautiful.  This was on the patio after lunch at Eits Cafe in Newcastle.  I grew up with a similar tree-line view from the bedroom that I shared with my brother.  The land is green.

Whole fish dinners in St. Mary, Jamaica

Speaking of eating

Our waitress at dinner in St. Mary on the north coast came back to make sure we understood how the snapper would be plated.  “That’s what we want!  Whole fish!”  She smiled, approvingly.

Cut stone staircase and Georgian fretwork at Harmony Hall, St. Mary, Jamaica

Harmony Hall, St. Mary, Jamaica

Returning to visit the first art gallery I ever loved.  The old great house, Harmony Hall is just as lovely as ever.  We enjoyed our visit & the freshly-squeezed limeades immensely.

Sea Grape tree shade St. Mary, Jamaica coast

Happy old sea grape tree in St. Mary

Every good beach no matter how small needs good shade.  The best seashells came home with me to Canada (hints:  look under the seaweed; use a stick; avoid sand-flies).  These two saw immediate love with the cotton spinning!

Spinning cotton supported spindle with seashell whorl

Seashell vacation cotton spindle

Just looking down at the beach, sometimes you might find fossilized coral.  This one survived the area’s blasting.

Fossilized sea coral, St. Mary, Jamaica coastline

Coral fossil on Jamaica’s north coast

We spent less than 48 hours on the north coast this trip.  Even so, I have happy thoughts about the Art Gallery of Burlington’s curated show this year.  It is “Colour of Water.”

Morning sun St. Mary, Jamaica private beach

My shadow casts colour too

This is 1 of 6 handwoven towels that I finished in time for Christmas.  Taking the other 5 home for hand-hemming was how I got them all done!

Handwoven Keep it Simple KISS cotton kitchen towel

Keep it Simple kitchen towel gift

I rushed to weave more towels in this 2/8 cotton using the denim colour for warp.  The progress story & were surprisingly popular with friends & family, so I had to make 2 extras!

Weaving cotton Keep it Simple kitchen towels on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom

Christmas gift towels on the loom!

The towels were all loved.  A little too loved since I found myself saying over & over, “No!  You totally should use them!”

These are the Keep it Simple towels by Mary Ann Geers.  Diane helped me fix a sleying error after the first towel, and she flagged what I soon discovered was a silly tie-up error.

Another friend, Margaret, has enabled me into some excellent weaving pattern books just this week.  Lots to learn this year about structure!

Bougainvillea in bloom, St. Andrew, Jamaica

Christmas morning Bougainvillea

 

Luckily, there is still more inspiration in baby form.  My brother & sister-in-law are expecting!  We are so thrilled, and this is the launch of All The Plans!

Craft books for future irieknit projects

Laying good 2015 plans

The top book here is very important:  “Knitting Counterpanes” by Mary Walker Phillips.  I think my handspun Romney yarn may be perfect for a small-sized knit counterpane.

See the two folders above the backstrap loom book?  They are pick-up patterns recorded by Catherine A. Stirrup from designs of Peru & Mexico.  A weaver kindly sent them to me with the backstrap weaving books in her destash.

Top whorl drop spindles by Jonathan Bosworth and Edward Tabachek

Welcome to the herd, Tabachek spindles!

To much fan-fare, I opened a superbly packed box with the 2 Tabachek spindles (right, above) & a surprise.  This was late last year.  When my friend, Devin, offered the spindles to me, I was so thrilled!  They are a favourite make, and holly was a quiet dream as well.

Devin, they are loved, and see regular use both at home, and at spin-ins!  The grey fibre is yak/merino/silk top.

Jennie the Potter thrown stoneware jar with drop spindles by Tabachek, Bosworth, Jim Child, CTTC

Spindles! Progress!

Cheers for 2015, everyone!  Looking forward to lots of projects, new friends, and especially becoming an Auntie!

 


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Spinning on a blanket

Am I ever happy that I took the plunge on a made (by me)-in-Ontario wool blanket!  How could you not love having this to work with?

Hand-combing station for Ontario Romney lamb's wool

Value add: combing local Romney lamb’s wool

Love, however, gets you only so far with a project like this.  Fine-tuning my process has helped tremendously, and I am sharing the tweaks with you, today.  Simply adding denim under the comb’s clamps has been great.  It not only gives huge grip & protection but also gives me visual contrast.  That indigo is a welcome relief from white wool seen against the white ceramic floor tiles!  Getting a clean combing is so much easier now.

Another tweak is with the flick card sitting there on top of the waste bucket.  With clean & largely sound tips, I am just flicking the cut-end of  most locks before loading the comb.  It speeds things up.  As does flicking while standing – I hold locks tightly twisted, and flick into thin air.  No lap-cloth; just bouncing and slightly combing against the grip.

By using the flicker again on the waste from combs, I keep the seconds for the hand-cards (later, much later!) and compost the rest.

Hand-combed Romney wool dizzed top by irieknit

Resulting wool top for spinning

My focus is to do same-day spinning.  Two passes in the combs is good for this wool.  I use my lignum vitae Tabachek diz (see: the 1st picture, lower left) to pull the top.  It is 3/32″, and is so cool for this job.  Smooth, strong, and a pleasure to hold.

As gleaned from Robin Russo’s video, I am now using a clean sheet on top of my anti-fatigue mat as I diz the wool from the combs.  Catching it cleanly has helped the spinning too.

Spinning hand-combed Romney lamb's wool top on my Watson Martha

This Tuesday’s fibre prep

The main challenge is to keep moving forward.  This is intensive work – both in terms of time and labour.  My 6th bobbin has 7 lengths of top so far.  It is logged on a project sheet that I keep on the dining table.

Keeping it real is key here.  My Watson Martha wheel is the spinning tool, and it will be on this exclusively for the duration.  Although the bobbins are larger, I am spinning 18 lengths of top for each single using Scotch tension, and a cotton knitting yarn for the drive band.  There is a small sample from my first spinning that keeps me mindful not to draft the top too thin as is my wont.

The Spinner's Book of Fleece by Beth Smith autographed for irieknit

Motivation in book form: Beth Smith is helping

Nothing that I have described here is beyond my ability.  Everything is unless I stay the course.  This is why I am thrilled to have my friend Beth Smith’s new book, “The Spinner’s Book of Fleece” land just at the right moment.  Beth gets fleece to yarn, and then to the projects that she maps out methodically.  As a former workshop student with Beth, I knew that the technical side would be well and gently covered.  On my chosen breed, I learned at p. 135:

Romney wool is considered to have demi-luster, which means it has some shine but not as much as some of the Leicesters or Teeswater…

What leaps off the pages are the projects and samples.  They are light at the end of a tunnel.  Here I am working 5 days to get one of these 2-ply balls of yarn for my project.  It weighs 105g.

First plying balls of Romney lamb's wool for a blanket

Preparing for a family blanket of Romney wool

Having Beth’s voice reinforce truths like, “Spinning is not an end in itself,” on my coffee table is that special help.  Her handwoven images and notes are invaluable as I inch towards my goal of weaving with my handspun yarns.  This élan of working in unique but logical ways with fibre is egging me on.  Beth is the friend who asked why I had more fleece stash than projects.  I am glad that I could listen to quiet urging, and for the kind words in her autograph!

 

Before I go back to the combs – big thanks for all the support about Toby that poured in after my last post.  He seems to be doing better this week but occasionally has seizures now.


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The footnote, and the flax that brought us here

There is a footnote to my last post on the Wm MacDonald Saxony spinning wheel.  Since posting she continued to impress me through 4 bobbins of BFL/silk top.

BFL wool/silk handspun yarn by irieknit on antique Nova Scotia spinning wheel maker William MacDonald

Four bobbins’ worth from the antique MacDonald wheel

As she ran, I cleaned and oiled and spoke to the twitter.  A wool lock shim came to the front maiden & I had an eye out for any signs of trouble.  Towards the end of the fourth bobbin, I felt a slight shift.  All of a sudden, I discovered an old repair to the right of the front treadle support – and not in a good way.

R. Needles, “Wheelwright” from London, Ontario spoke at the 2013 Ontario Handspinning Seminar.  He writes succinctly in his paper for the seminar:

Function matters if you’re going to use it.

This named wheel functions beautifully, and is an important historical artifact.  We are going to seek professional assistance to restore this old fix.  It’s actually still holding because I recognized the change in feel, applied a non-invasive brace (hello, leather tag from that purse!), and caught it before real damage happened.  As a solid piece it can take glue you know from a pro.

More than anything else there is a simple fact.  I love this wheel.  So, stick a pin – we’ll get to that 5th bobbin spun yet!

Blame the flax

This tipping point from “wheels” to “wheel collection” is all because of flax.  Yes, that’s right, I blame the flax.

A lot of line flax spread for my distaff

Pennsylvania flax

You should watch out for this sneaky fibre called flax.  It wants you to have specialized wheels, and takes its own sweet time to whisper sweet nothings in your ear as you go.

Antique Pennsylvania line flax dressed on small distaff for spinning

My glorified stick distaff

See the twisted fingers of flax to the lower left of the distaff?  This is the finest from the antique Pennsylvania flax that I combed last October. I brought it out last month for a group fibre study on Ravelry.com.

Flax boon waste during handspinning on denim but it's antique!

Flax boon fallen away from the fibre in spinning

Even after last fall’s hackling, the best of this flax has a ton of boon & straw!  Out came a bandana, in fact.  It was that much dust as I drafted from the distaff.  The flax varied wildly.  One minute I had soft, fine lengths, and the next I was waving the straw along!  I just went with the texture, and kept up with wet spinning to smooth it all over.

My jeans were soaked.  I looked a sight.  Still there I was, hooked all over again on the linen.  Having a virtual spin-along was also really cool.

About the wet spinning – it wasn’t plain water this time.  I gave a lot of flax seeds a generous splash of boiling water.  Steeping & stirring happened but I was really halfway to the wheel before long.  There was a good difference.  In the future, I’ll boil the seeds, and use the flax-slurry.

Book - Reflections from a Flaxen Past by Kati Reeder Meek and handspun linen single yarns

Learning the linen

This fibre varied from fine to feeling almost like tow flax.  I hope there was enough twist in this linen yarn.  It was spun wet, and felt fairly textured when I wound it from my drying tin (holes are punched in the sides of the tin) to the rolls for storage.

Alongside my singles is a birthday present – Kati Reeder Meek’s, “Reflections from a Flaxen Past for love of Lithuanian Weaving.”  A fantastic first flax reference for my shelves!  It was Camilla Valley’s last copy, and is blowing me away.  The Lithuanian linen tradition far more complex than I ever dreamed.  Most of all, I am thrilled to have a spinners’ insights on making linen weaving yarn.  It is so well reasoned, and accessible.

Handwoven linen Swedish lace sample by weaver Jette Vandermeiden

Handwoven lace samples in linen by Jette Vandermeiden

Also inspiring this push is the samples of handwoven linen lace that Jette Vandermeiden brought for our guild class last month.

Handwoven lace samples by weaver Jette Vandermeiden

More samples from Jette’s class

All of the samples were interesting but I was so drawn to Jette’s discussion of the linen laces in particular.  My goal is to practice weaving first, and build my skills but with an eye towards learning to weave my own linen textiles.

First year bloom on Clematis vine

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all Canadians near & far!  Like the Clematis, this is my first year with roots in the Canadian soil for this day, and that means something!

 


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Hearts alive for your Valentines

Happy Valentines Day, dear blog!

Yoked lopi sweater stranded knit

Pop-up hearts 

Do you see the band of hearts?  It was an unplanned surprise on the needles!  I was simply re-using this Faeorese motif again but flipping from a white background to the brown.

Faeroe stranded knit motif lopi sweater

Faeroe border motif

It is charted on p. 118 of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, and is listed simply as, “border from man’s cuff (Faeroe).  The sweater body is the 34” chest from the free Vormorgun vest pattern.  I am usually no fan of yarn company patterns but this one was clearly written, and correct.

Lopi yoke knitted sweater

Hunting for and combining the yoke motifs was a lot of fun.  The best words of encouragement were from Sheila McGregor at p. 132,

Faced with this range of possibility, it is more than a little depressing to see what the average yoked jersey looks like.  Yokes are very easy to experiment on and spectacular designs can be worked with only three colours…

book Traditional Scandinavian Knitting

The book in question

Miss McGregor (as the Foreword so names her) has helped me into other books on stranded knitting, and so the interest grows.  Will you join me in heeding her call for us knitters to return to a “finer and more craftsmanlike approach?”  It’s been fun so far!

Felted heart pin Valentines Day

I heart you.

A quiet word

Yesterday, I tweeted my thanks to Sasha and Jillian for the SpinDoctor podcast.  In the early, terribly shy days of my learning to spin, I found and lurked within the amazing catalogue of shows that Sasha produced.  Jillian joined seamlessly, and it never wavered.  Much later, I joined the podcast’s Ravelry group.

SpinDoctor gave me markers, reviews that I trust implicitly, laughter in my neck of the woods.  The straight-as-an-arrow content meant a great deal to me, and so did the warm delivery.  Most of all it is the only podcast that actually made me a better spinner.

Jamaicans say this instead of goodbye:  Walk GOOD!

Knit rabbit soft sculpture mohair tail

Yes, I made a Rabbity with a kid mohair tail. For this occasion!


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In with the new – a floor loom!

The idea that I could weave came about quite simply but over a long dash of time.  Exposure to all of you weavers helped but it came down to an awareness that in changing my life has room for more.

Hemp and two flaxes – handspun yarns

Spinning flax, hemp and cotton helped the scales fall from my never-going-to-weave eyes.  Each yarn evokes a memory of cloth I grew up with, know and love.  Woven all.

Spinning cotton for khadi

The Great Wall of Never finally broke down last year.  I quietly wrote & saved 1 line:  my goal is to learn to weave before I am 40.  In what has been essentially uncertain times, I needed that space & focus.

Commission knitting and backstrap weaving both dovetailed in the past year.  Not only could weaving enhance any business purpose but I love the rhythm.  This work challenges me in entirely new ways.

A loom bench as it arrived!

In the days before the Sarah Swett Workshop my slow search for a floor loom crystallized.  Beth very kindly let me know that her Schacht Mighty Wolf was for sale – all 8 shafts of it.  We discussed all the terms ahead of the trip, and I did my best due diligence on what the local market had to offer.  So many (including Beth) helped us come to a decision.  Margaret, Nancy, Cheryl & Sasha in particular listened to all the options, and gave such solid advice.

Weaving studios don’t have midnight blue walls

Melvin was very much involved in the long-overdue paint job for this room.  It had to happen & it had to happen quickly!  Hence my silence last week.

All the better to see the world!

As you might have heard me say on Twitter, I was worried that a primer coat would not be enough!  Man, did I hate that wall colour!  It’s finally gone.

Same view, different day

After researching on-line, I chose Benjamin Moore’s HC-173 called “edgecomb gray.”  This room gets full sun in the morning & barely any after noon.  Some colour cuts the glare, and with the deep blue living underneath, I may just have achieved a neutral gray.

Mighty Wolf loom closed

The main contender in my deliberations was an 8-shaft cherry Norwood listed on the Toronto Craigslist.  It came with 30″ weaving width.  The sellers were absolutely wonderful about answering my questions, and were very flexible for a potential viewing.

Schacht Mighty Wolf open in my room

Last Friday, N & I went to pick the loom up, spend the afternoon with Beth & have dinner with friends on the way home.  So, biggest piece of equipment ever & still feeling completely right!  She’s a 1988 loom, originally owned by Jillian Moreno.  I am the 3rd in her life of going from one friend’s home to another.  No storage time for this baby – she has been woven on & loved.  Thanks to the workshop, we were all together when I told Beth YES, please!

Loom & some stash containment at home

The major pluses as I saw them were its folding x-frame, that the loom is still in production, and the extra 6″ of weaving width.  I would be lying if I didn’t also tell you that the loom’s history, and patina played a big role.  Schachts are desirable but not that common in our area (LeClerc country as I like to call it).  It really was sitting at her bench that Saturday night that let me know this was the best loom that I could afford.

Reorganized for stash

This is my combination 11th anniversary & birthday present.  More than all of that it’s a milestone – I did something big for myself and have my work cut out for me.  Family, you all made it possible.  As I told the agent at the border, “Crazy that a Jamaican would be getting a loom today!”  It is, and so many of you readers are to thank for helping me get there.

My first boat shuttle

Thank you, Beth – for extra time, my first boat shuttle being so pretty, and extra everything.  I will work hard at learning how to weave on this great loom.

Homework

One Must be Generous with Fibre

Also at Beth’s were these 2 mason jars of walnut dye liquor.  A wonderful gift from She Who Cannot be Named – Thank you, M!

For my dyeing pleasure!

Other spinny elves have been equally generous to me as well.

Southern Cross sw Merino & Border Leicester x Corrie

Sasha averred on Twitter the other day that, “One must be generous with fiber.”  Both gifts are making me very happy.  On the one hand, I get to spin my first Southern Cross Fibres on Martha thanks to an elf.  On the other hand, I have 15 oz of the Border Leicester/ Corrie cross that is beautiful pin-drafted roving from Morrow Fleece Works thanks to another elf.  I started to spin it lightly with my Forrester Akha-style spindle.

Melvin’s former BFF – Cheviot roving

In exchange for the pin-drafted dream, I snuck out Melvin’s most favorite fibre ever – Cheviot roving that P. Hinton donated to our Guild.  A word on my sample findings for that Cheviot…

Cheviot on the CPW

… not only is it popular with the cat but it didn’t much like my high-twist hiding experiment on the CPW.  Just so you know, I forgot to mention that my dear!

(edit to fix picture)


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Pallashanin – Barbara Reid textiles collection auction

Pallashanin:  I am gathering; I am picking up, making or creating the design

Textile Traditions of Chinchero:  A Living Heritage, Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez/ CTTC, 2012:   Textile Terms Glossary, p. 165; p. 89

On Monday night, the Burlington Handweavers & Spinners Guild auctioned textiles from the private collection of Barbara Reid (1925 – 2012).  My spinning friend & inveterate enabler, Nancy, sent me the auction information months ago.  She had a hunch that I might be interested.

Um, yes!  The guild preview screamed Above-Average-for-the-‘burbs…  We are talking a weaver’s collection of objects on travels to Asia, Eastern Europe & South America.

Nancy had me at Turkish distaff.  Let alone the Andean weaving both large and small.  A girl can hope, can’t she?

Books by Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez

A girl can also read.  Just about everything I know about Andean weaving is from these Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez books, and conversations with Abby Franquemont.

My first jakima khipu – a bunch of cotton bands

In just 2 months, I will take Abby’s full-day backstrap weaving class at the Spring String Thing.

It’s simple.  I want to learn pallay: harvest, pick up, collect.  This post explains why one would.  And as I understand things, I really do not want to be called waylaka.

Cutting to the Chase

This beautiful puka (red) poncho now lives with us.  It was my last bid of the night.

Andean puka poncho

It hit me that the bidding was low enough for me to enter.  A single thought drove me:

This poncho is not going for a song.  Not tonight.  The market value is what the market pays tonight.

Dealers stayed out but a BHSG weaver was in big time.  We looked evenly at each other, and my bids came without blinking.  Another guild member marveled, “She really wants it.”  Yes, I did.

Andean poncho: front left pallay

What is the provenance?  The auction catalogue says the poncho was woven in “Chincero, Peru.”  It goes on to state:

Red wool man’s poncho woven on backstrap loom by Quechua Indian, Lake Titicaca area of Peru, purchased 1988. 46cm x 46cm

That raises a conflict.  Lake Titicaca is in Puno province.  Chinchero is a district in the province of Urubamba, Peru.

Poncho detail: front, lower left, 2nd pallay and sewn-on ley edge finish

The designs or pallayninkuna will speak for themselves.  I think that they were woven using the pata pallay technique, also called pebble weave.  It would be complementary warp – the back is reverse colours.

The above design is based on facing puma claws motif.  The centre green & gold motif looks like tanka ch’oro – shells side-by-side.  The weaver also incorporated birds into the puma claws pallayshin.

Andean poncho, centre

In “Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands“, 2007 Nilda says that pata pallay has typically been found in Pitumarca & the Urubamba cordillera.  The animal pata pallay dominate the design.  Does this point away from Puno & Lake Titicaca?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Using both of Nilda’s books, I have identified these pictoral motifs with variations (in no grand order):

  • horse
  • pigeon
  • birds facing with cow eyes
  • puma
  • owl
  • llama
  • viscacha (chinchilla-like rodent), Chinchero
  • pato – duck
  • dismembered Tupac Amaru
  • arana – spider

Andean poncho: back, left

In “Textile Traditions of Chinchero“, Nilda classes many of these animal pallay as using the supplementary warp technique.  Although it comes from the Urubamba mountain communities, Chinchero region weavers have also incorporated them (see, p. 127, 130).  After receiving a weaving with the horse pallay from her father in the 1970s, Nilda introduced the technique to her area.

Andean poncho: back left, detail

I love this textile.  The sheer accomplishment of having spun, dyed and woven this for the man who wore this humbles me.  As Nilda quotes Lucio Ylla in “Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands,”:

Through their clothes and weavings, we can tell where the people come from who travel to our community.  We can identify them immediately, and many times we even know the purpose of their visit.

What I do know is that in 1988 when Peruvian weavers feared the loss of their traditional textiles, Barbara Reid brought this wool-not-synthetic, red poncho to Canada.  It may be a bridge from an older striped puka poncho or from an area that used a riot of animal designs.  Either way, it is woven with care and skill.

It’s a piece that brings not only warmth or beauty.  As I look hard, and re-read, I can feel myself lifted on those woven wings, and inspired to strive by the puma claws.

What were the first bids of the night, you ask?

To my early amazement, the guild auctioned both Turkish distaves as one lot.

Turkish distaves – small, flax (l); waist forked distaff (r)

Mine was the 1st & only bid!  They will aid & abet my flax spinning goal.  Just last weekend, I spun this dyed tow flax on the small antique wheel.

An insane amount of flax strick is also making its way to our house… maybe.

A kilim bag from Turkey’s Euphrates Basin area.  Not my best purchase ever but what’s a little guard hair to a spinner like me?

Bolivian chumpi (belt)

Such an interesting piece!  The weaver of this band varied the condor motif for both open and closed beaks.  I am not sure what the alternating design represents but the centre eye varies.

See the poor llama?  She lost her herd!

The last two were also a paired lot.

Forgive the pose, please.  Winter picture-taking was wearing thin with me…  This thin Andean chumpi or belt is as light as a ribbon.

An Andean design sampler!

My shadow box now sports an Andean hair comb, woven with reeds.  The catalogue listed it as being from the “jungle area east of Andes.”

Each of these textiles, and the many I saw but dared not bid on has lifted my spirits.  The Burlington guild put on a great auction.  It was a real tribute to their friend, Barbara Reid.

The long-suffering Toby

Someone please tell Toby that it’s in an effort to save the eye from the ravages of his own paw, and we love him.  Thank you.

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