Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Alpaca to Apparel

I am blessed to be a member of the Monashee Spinners and Weavers, a group of wonderfully talented spinners, weavers, knitters, and other fiber type crafts as well. They are a positive, upbeat group of ladies who are all happy to share their skills and knowledge. Without them I would not know how to spin or weave.

Some of the members of Monashee Spinners and Weavers decided to enter the Sheep to Shawl competition at the Salmon Arm Fair being held in September 2005. I was fortunate enough to be included as one of the spinners, as only 6 members can enter per group. Our weaver, Louise, had a great idea for a shawl we could do, but as it was a very different type of shawl she wanted to do a practise run. I had never seen one of these competitions before so was happy to have a chance to get some experience and knowledge of what to expect. A perfect place to do this was as a demonstration at Lumby Days. This year is the 50th year of this annual celebration in the little town of Lumby, BC.

We wanted to do this demonstration as the competition would be done, so ahead of time each of us that would be spinning took some alpaca fleece home and spun it to an agreed upon size of yarn. This was given to Louise to "dress" her loom with, in other words, she had to have the loom fully warped except for 20% which she would have to do "on location".

Saturday 11 June 2005 we met at in a building at Lumby Days where we (Barb, Kitty, myself) spun the "weft"(the yarn that would be woven across the warp to make the shawl). Barb (after the first while) switched to plying the singles into a two ply yarn, loaded it onto bobbins for Louise's shuttle, and Louise did the weaving. It was great fun and a fantastic experience. We only used 3 of us on the spinning wheels this time because we were working with already prepared "rovings" of alpaca fiber, not what we would be doing at the actual competition.

Of course, I took the time to fit in some picture taking.

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