Monday, February 15, 2010

Fingerweaving Untangled: Carol James

Right now I have no kitchen, and for a time, not even the studio is accessible as they do repairs to the ceiling. I scurry from room to room with painters and electricians flushing me out like a grouse, moving me on! My laptop computer is wi-fi so I carry it around the house with me. A recent e-newsletter from the Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild alerted me to a neat book on finger weaving! I had previously done a post on the historical details of the traditional finger woven sashes of the early French Canadian settlers (here's the link to the older post). I seem to get a lot of people stopping by at my blog researching this technique or looking for a sash. ( I get to see their search engine question or where they land on the blog).

I have been emailing with the books author Carol James, aka "Sash Weaver", and my copy of her book is coming to me in the mail!

Carol says:
'Fingerweaving Untangled' is a 64 page, full color, soft cover book that teaches the basics of the technique of 'ceinture fleche'.
Based on 'handouts' for a weaving course, it was honed by honest students who did NOT take to fingerweaving easily, and who shared their mistakes and difficulties with the author.
This is the only book on the subject written in English by a Canadian.
It has been translated into French. Le Fleche Demele is available from the author and from Renaud Bray in Quebec.

I asked Carol to share a bit of her background:
I've always been interested in things fiber. My mother taught me embroidery and crochet before I went to kindergarten. I learned to knit by first grade. In high school I made all my clothes. I learned about fingerweaving from my husband, a Quebecois. I was very easily hooked. Moving to Winnipeg in 1990 and settling a few blocks from the site of Festival du Voyageur, I decided that my sons needed sashes. I associated myself with the community that is interested in this kind of heritage, and found myself frequently asked to demonstrate the technique of fingerweaving. People did not stop with the 'how' but also wanted to know about traditional patterns and colors, so I had to do the research. They also asked for lessons. One thing just lead to another.I started teaching fingerweaving classes at the St Boniface Museum. Figuring that students need a piece of paper to take home, indicating the key points they had learned, and wanting students to keep their hands in the yarn while they were with me, I composed handouts for them. Students praised the quality of information on the sheets, and urged me to publish.That's about all the story. Good luck with your renovations! Carol

The Festival du Voyageur is just under way in Winnipeg, Manitoba right now and if you visit Carol's blog, she is featuring pictures of the festival. They definitely have more snow and colder than us here with the 2010 Winter Olympics!
This picture above is of a loom woven sash.

This picture is of a finger manipulated/ woven sash and you can clearly see the 'arrow' or fleche! A big thank you to Carol for sending me these pictures to use here. I would invite you to browse Carol's web page for more information and she also keeps a blog. I have linked to hers under my blog list. All questions and further information concerning her book and how to order is covered at her page. Carol's web page/ blog is a great place to spend some time and browse.
I'm sure sorry to have missed the class she held in Victoria... but I most likely couldn't go this time anyhow. I'll have to study my book closely and do some homework.

Not sure what I will be blogging about next time...might have to start showing you the renovation as weaving has been pretty sparse around here!

4 comments:

bspinner said...

Very interesting!!!!!!! Carol's saches are beautiful!!!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to do the research on Carol's book and contacting her for an interview!!!

Nice new header!!!

Theresa said...

Oh you have my true sympathies. Not even a studio for hiding from construction. Ouch!
Looks like a fun book and always, I learned something from your great blog.

Lynnette said...

What a great post, Carol does amazing work and I'll be sending for my copy soon too. I've been interested in this most Canadian of techniques, and was amazed at what was for sale when I was in Quebec....a lot of the shops had the ubiquitous "made in China" copies for sale at fairly reasonable prices and only a few of the "real thing" hanging high up out of the way of the average tourist.

charlotte said...

That's very interesting, I've never heard about fingerweaving before. Are those sashes woven on looms or is it a non-loom technique?