Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quilts in Wales, Quilts in Houston and yarn/fibre sources in Canada

Today I received the Autumn Newsletter from the Welsh Quilt Centre. I was glad to hear they have extended the exhibition of Kaffe Fassett's quilts at the Centre in Lampeter, Wales. (Those who came on the May Welsh tour will recall our visit there.)

This is a very extensive site and is replete with a wide variety of news, including a video by Jen Jones, who originally recognized the importance of the Welsh handmade quilt tradition and has been passionate about saving antique quilts. She has branched into Welsh shawls and blankets. Be sure to watch the video and see as much as possible of her collection. (After watching the video and reading the site, I spent more time looking at other connected sites under the Antiques TV banner.)

The 2014 schedule at the Quilt Centre: "Main exhibition - Early to Bed, Early Welsh Quilts and Janet Bolton
Secondary exhibition - Sandie Lush with her exhibition of Sweater Quilts
Art exhibitions from Sarah James (March to mid-May). ValĂ©riane Leblond, (mid-May to the end of June) and Ruth Jen (July and August ).

On a personal note: the whole site brought back happy memories for me. I spent a memorable time last year with my Canadian and Welsh family, just down the lane from Jen's original shop at Llanbydder.

In contrast, from quilts in a small Welsh town is the quilt festival in Houston, Texas: The event opens tomorrow, 30 October and continues to the 03 November. Hard to imagine 1000 shopping booths, 415 hand-on classes and events, and 1300 quilts on display. It would be fun to attend.

I learned of two sources of fibres, one for silk and the other for angora and qiviut (from the muskox.) Thanks Velma.

-  Sericin Silkworks & Other Fine Fabrics in Waterloo, Ontario

-  Cottage Craft Angora,, in Woodstock, Ontario




Monday, October 28, 2013

Mostly Shetland

More news from Andy at Global Yell: this time about the spectacular improvement in the Scottish textile industry.

Abby, the author of the Visit Shetland newsletter has sent out the November version. One of the most interesting newsletters I receive: I always make sure I read it in detail.

The whole publication is really comprehensive. Just a few examples: I listened to the broadcast of a programme from BBC 4 radio about Shetland Sunday teas--there are even two recipes given. Also a review of Shetland Wool Week: Those who've come to Shetland with me in past years will recognize familiar names like Hazel Tindall and there is a photo of Mary Kay holding up one of her beautiful lace creations, during a workshop.

Mitred blanket update: I've completed 68 squares. (You can tell I've been knitting when I should have been doing other things.) It still puzzles me, that with all the squares which have been knitted, that I still have a lot of yarn in my basket!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wales, Shetland, Madrona, Ireland

I'm back home now and will be working hard to get caught up. If I've missed replying to your emails, or haven't returned phone calls, please remind me and I promise to contact you and give the information you need.

There has been some interesting information in my inbox:

-   Welsh Rarebits a small company which represents quality accommodation in Wales. We've stayed at a number of their properties during our tours and have never been disappointed. Have a look at their website: In the latest newsletter there is a contest for a significant prize (250.00 British pounds) which can be used towards a stay or a meal at one of the properties. Well worth a try.

-   Shetland: I may have posted the following before, but in case anyone has missed it, here are some contacts:  A - Z of Shetland video!Postcards from Shetland and the online magazine, 60 North

-  Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat is scheduled for the 13 - 16 February, 2014 in Tacoma, Washington. I've been twice and plan to attend again next year.

-  I been advised that there is no information about the tour to Ireland next year on my website. (Thanks Shirley) As soon as I post the details and registration forms for the Viking Cruise and Scotland, I'll be working on the tour to Ireland for September, 2014. I have a rough itinerary in mind but need to do more research.

re: The mitred blanket update - I decided to make it a bit bigger, so before I'm finished with knitting the squares, I will have to complete a total of 108. At present, I've done 49.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm still here........

Didn't mean to take so long between posts, but I've been out of town for over a week and didn't have access to my computer. There were a number of interesting articles in my inbox which I think are worth passing on: 

-  Andy Ross of Global Yell and his news about Wool Week, highlighting fibre artist, Deborah Gray -

-  The newsletter of the American Textile Museum in D.C. Also read about the Advocacy Project and the importance of quilting in helping a number of communities which have experienced privation and lived through terrible events.

-  Treenway Silks October newsletter. I understand the company moved several years ago from Salt Spring Island in B.C. when it was sold to an American couple. I still enjoy seeing the vibrant colours and news they send. They are asking if readers will support them with votes in their efforts to secure a very helpful grant.

- This year's competition called 'Sheep to Sweater' takes place throughout a number of countries. I'm not exactly sure of the date for the 2013 event, but will try to find out. (I have heard it used to be called 'Back to Back' and the ladies from Shetland won every year. As a consequence, I understand they can no longer compete.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

The quilt Index and another new word (well, to me)

As I think I've indicated before, I don't quilt but love the craft and cherish the handmade quilts that I have. One is over 50 yrs. old and was made for me by my grandmother. I can still remember the patches, which were left over from when I used to sew a lot, which she incorporated into the quilt.

I was watching a sewing program on PBS yesterday and a guest talked about the Quilt Index. I had a quick look at the website and will go back and read it in detail when I have more time. It is extremely comprehensive.

The new word I came across is 'tovacuddies'. I first saw it mentioned in a talk given by Carol Christiansen, curator of textiles at the Shetland Museum. Wonderful Bess Jamieson, who I was extremely fortunate to meet on my first visit to Shetland in 1995, explained it further. From what I understand, tovacuddies are places along the seashore where finished cloth can be firmly attached and the ebb and flow of the sea acts to full the fabric. Bess said the end result is similar to the tradition on Harris when the ladies sit in a circle and move to cloth around, all the while singing traditional fulling songs.

The success of the Scottish Skeins & Skerries tours is entirely due to Bess. She helped me plan the tours, introduced me to a number of craftspeople and over the years, made innumerable helpful suggestions. I should have bought a lottery ticket the day I met Bess!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Viking Route Cruise, the Textile Museum of Canada and Reclining airline seats

I've completed the details for the Viking Route Cruise in May, 2014 and my talented website guy will be updating my site soon. Watch this space!

I have been doing a lot of knitting on the mitred square blanket--just 70 more squares to go! It's a big project as once the knitting is completed, I will still have to work in the ends, line it with flanelette, and knit a border. I know that Brandon and Kaffe would disagree with my approach, re working in the ends of the different colours as they would just knot the ends, however I just couldn't leave them like that. Some things I obsess about.

I knit a blanket like this a number of years ago for one of my grandsons and now that the recipient has grown a lot, he asked if I could make it longer. (Which I really couldn't.) I told him to give it to his little brother and I would know a longer, wider version. This size should last him a long time. It will eventually be a total of 99 squares.

Today I received a newsletter from the Textile Museum of Canada. There is a lot going on and I urge anyone who will be in the Toronto area to visit.
The displays are very interesting and there will be a sale of fabrics this month.

I read about a survey of how airline passengers feel about reclining seats on aircraft. I don't know the details of the survey (size of the sample, where it was conducted, etc.) but apparently 90% of people don't want them to be allowed. The survey said that frequently flight attendants have to resolve 'disagreements' between passengers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Knitter Magazine

iPhone Screenshot 1

Yesterday I bought this copy of The Knitter,

It's not the most recent issue, but as I've indicated before, in Canada we are behind in obtaining the latest issue--not a hard thing to live with.

Again, I found the contents to be interesting and focused on many of my interests. There was an article about Kaffe Fassett and his love of colour. (Timely, since I'd just heard him speak three days ago.) The designer of the sweater featured on the cover and with the directions inside, indicated that she was inspired by a traditional Norwegian pattern. There was also an article about hiking and knitting in Iceland, also well timed as I'm doing a lot of research on that country in general, and knitting in particular.

English designer, Jane Crowfoot, has a design for a crocheted bag. I don't know how to crochet, but met Jane a number of years ago. We had a tour to Yorkshire and took a workshop at Rowan from her about beading a knitted bag.  A thrill to actually be at Rowan in Holmfirth. We had a great day there and our group bought a lot of beautiful yarns which were available at one British pound each.