Saturday, 28 January, 2023

By The Fibreside

Knitting and spinning on the Sunshine Coast of BC

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Waning and Waxing

Well, it’s been another year, almost to the day, and I just updated my web hosting, so it’s time for another blog post. My husband and I are almost done our last day at the office for two weeks, I have taken two weeks off from my part-time remote job as well, and we’re looking forward to some time to get firewood, catch up on things we haven’t had much time to do, and most importantly, REST. I haven’t had a break since last Christmas, and I can definitely tell! As the light waned towards the Winter Solstice, so did my energy levels, contributed to by long work days, coming down with COVID in August followed by a nasty rhinovirus in November (I’m still coughing), and just the overall lack of time to do the work I need for my health and also on the things I love to do, like spinning and knitting.

A full bobbin of qiviut singles sits on top of qiviut punis with an empty bobbin below it.Since last year, I’ve done more fibre arts, if not as much as I wanted. I finished a knitted scarf while down with COVID, and I’ve spun a few yarns, some high in volume and some low. I took on a contract to dehair, prepare, and spin about 150 grams of qiviut, which has been an experience. I have completed the first bobbin, and it will be one of my focuses over the break to work on the second. Qiviut is an incredible fibre, and I do feel blessed to have been able to take it from raw to yarn, even if the dehairing and prep took a very, VERY long time! My fee for this project is keeping 20% of what I spin, and I am looking forward to making something incredible out of my 30 grams.

I have been teaching and demonstrating more as well. Fibre Week returned this year and I enjoyed teaching Introduction to Plant Fibres and Master Spinner Level 4 in Olds. I also taught Intro to Plant Fibres at the Sunshine Coast Fibre Camp, Blending for Colour and Texture in Spinning at Fibreworks in Madeira Park, as well as beginner spinning on both a spindle and a wheel there as well. I am involved with the Powell River Fine Arts Association, and we are seeing more spinners join our ranks there, which is wonderful. I recently purchased a silk reel, and once I make up a croissure apparatus, we’ll plan a day to make bug soup and reel silk with my friends on the weaving/spinning side.

A collage of photos showing Hoshi coexisting with my knitted skirt in progress.I have also started knitting a skirt, and it’s been going quite well. I need to order more yarn in order to make it the length I need, but I’m waiting until I’m closer to the end of the ball so I know exactly how much I need to order, and if I should just order the solid colour or another ball of gradient and go back in the other direction. Hoshi is seven now, and has left some of the mannerisms of kittenhood behind. He has decided my lap is the best place to spend evenings, and he is mostly coexisting peacefully with my knitting, though sometimes the moving yarn is just too much for him. He also considers the weather before deciding if he wants to spend the whole day outside, which is a daily amusement for us as we leave the house for work, and if he makes the wrong choice one day, the next day he’s very firm: “I am NOT GETTING OUT OF BED. Do you see me IGNORING YOU WITH MY EARS? Stop LAUGHING AT ME.” Pets are wonderful and bring all kinds of joy to our lives. And hair. Don’t forget the hair.

All my spinning supplies had to transition to our home this summer, as we were forced to find new office space due to a proposed high rent increase. We found a perfect space on short notice, but it was 300 square feet less, so there wasn’t room in the new office for my wheels and fibre. On the one hand, I no longer have my spinning at the office to fill in any spare time I have, but on the other, I really didn’t have a lot of spare time anyway (and even less now that I am working a part-time remote communications position during the day, which has been wonderful and rewarding), and having it at home means that whatever I feel like doing on the weekend, I can. I have been reacquainting myself with my stash, and have worked on a few different projects that I otherwise might not have with less easy access. I have also resolved to finish the projects that have been languishing on my two espinners. They’ve been languishing because I’ve been fighting with the wheels; each one has a different issue, and with such limited time to spend spinning, I really didn’t want to fight with anything. However, it’s been long enough, and if I’m going to attempt repairs someday, I need the wheels cleaned off. For the Electric Eel Wheel Nano, it is simply a matter of meeting the wheel where it’s comfortable and not spinning for too long so as not to overheat the motor again. For the Hansen, it’s about having the power cord plugged in in just the right way to get power to the unit. I’ll be working on those projects over this break too, and I’m looking forward to finishing them off.

Despite sometimes not feeling like I spin enough, I am definitely still a spinner. It has been so rewarding to demonstrate spinning in public, like at the Powell River Fall Fair, where I spent over two hours and didn’t realize that much time had gone by. It’s been amazing to meet students from all up and down the coast at Fibreworks and Fibre Camp, and make contacts with the community here. Returning to Fibre Week was like coming home again, and I’m looking forward to next year, where I have a couple of weekend courses on offer as well as teaching Level 4 again. This year, I found the most perfect spinner’s wreath at one of our local garden centres. It was woven of cotton boll stems, and is fluffy and perfect and doesn’t make one think of Christmas just by looking at it. I took one of our sheep ornaments and hung it from the centre, and I have decorated the wreath itself with tiny Christmas ornaments for the season – crocheted Danish Christmas hearts, paper stars made from curling ribbon, tiny Nisser made of beads – and when Christmas is over, I will leave the sheep, take down the other ornaments, and put up seasonally-appropriately-coloured woven stars on the equinoxes and solstices to celebrate the changing seasons. The light is waxing now that we’re past Solstice, and with the return of the light and the change in the year will come more opportunities to reflect, review, and choose the way I balance my life. I hope this season is treating you well, and that you are able to find time for yourself to just be. And it won’t be another year before I post again, I promise!

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