Friday, July 13, 2012

Hot on the Trail

On the west coast of BC, Canada, summer has finally arrived!  This was after weeks of cool temperatures and rain which had most people feeling like we were missing out after seeing the east coast basking in toasty heat.  I was okay with the situation as cooler weather means you can do more and not feel like a limp noodle, and suffer less with seasonal allergies.  I knew that inevitably the heat would come!

It arrived just as we were heading out to the Okanagan Valley, in an older minivan who's AC just died!  *gasp*  We're heading to go and pick up the new to me Megado loom.

There were lots of preparations to make before we left, such as take out all the back seats in the van and gather old blankets and such to protect the coming load and tie down straps to prevent shifting.  We also had to water the beejeesus out of the garden and take down the many hanging baskets and place them under cover in the shade to keep them from drying out while we were away.

I also had to do some serious shopping!  The results will be shown a bit later on. During the shopping trip, I had pulled a muscle in my right shoulder while trying on clothes. It was very painful and so for the duration of the coming days, I took ibuprofen and iced my shoulder well. It made basic tasks rather difficult and weaving was out of the question (which upset me more than making a bed or cooking or packing a bag!)

Finally with our suitcase packed, and the dog off to the kennel for a holiday of her own, we hit the road! We were bright and early at the ferry terminal and enjoyed our two hour ride over.

The drive to Kelowna was soon under way! There was no point of taking pictures as we drove as there was a blue haze everywhere and apparently it was high level smoke from the forest fires in Siberia that had crossed the Pacific and covering much of the province.  The drive was much like our last one, but with much less snow pack through the mountains.  We spotted a forest fire at one point but it had already been called in.  We could feel the heat increasing as we approached the valley! Now, I had a plan for cooling. I had brought a large beautiful silk head scarf and I  put it on and tied the corners around to the back of my neck and we rolled down the windows and we listened to the wind buffeting at our windows for many miles as we drove at 110 km per hour!  The scarf prevented my now longer hair  from being whipped into a frazzle of knots. I had pictures of my mother wearing her scarves in the 1960's running through my mind as it was a common practice for ladies back then. I didn't worry what people would think as they passed us as most likely, I would never see them again!

We stayed at my mother in law's town house and had a lovely visit with her. She had just celebrated her 89th birthday and so the house was full of flowers and cards.... and then we came through the door with more and gifts too!

We arrived in the Okanagan Valley on a day when the temperature had reached 37 degrees Celsius (or 99 degrees Fahrenheit).  We felt like we were melting! Our bedroom was in the much cooler basement thankfully!

The next day we headed to my friend Margaret's house which is in Lake Country north of Kelowna and there are a series of smaller lakes there. Its very pretty country! (we used to live there).

Meet Margaret! We have been friends for many years now and she was my first weaving mentor.  I started weaving in the spring of 1996 and met her shortly after this. Due to her encouragement, I joined the Guild of Canadian Weavers in 1997. I later went onto become their BC Provincial Representative, then President of the Guild (2003-2007) and also served as an active past president for a further year co-running the guild during a medical leave of the then president.  All thanks due to Margaret and her encouragement!

So enough about me, now let me share a bit about Margaret: She is a retired occupational therapist and so had me seated correctly at my looms right from my weaving start. The height of your bench, proper posture and correct throwing of shuttles and her famous advise on getting good selvedges: "simply weave a mile!"    Margaret has been the official mentor for test candidates of the Guild of Canadian Weavers Master Weaver program for many years now and, is one of the special thirty weavers since 1947 to receive their master weaver certification. Her 1994 thesis was on Opphamta  The link will show you an example of this type of weave structure but is not Margaret's weaving) Needless to say we had many weaving  and guild (local and national) related adventures together.

I had full intentions of photographing the loom in its complete state before dismantling began, but we started talking and  before we knew it, Bruce had a lot of parts off and starting to stack them into the back of the van! So here is the loom, somewhat reduced:

Bruce has the bin underneath and so when the side rails are worked free the frames and castle will rest on the bin. Our minivan had been driven around the corner of the condo building and parked directly outside the patio door where the loom was situated.  Bruce had been busy! What the picture doesn't show you is the HEAT!! 

Margaret lives in the ground floor condo and despite a busy bustling gated community behind her, her view is this:

Aspens and natural woods to the left....

.... and a stunning calm lake view from the front! There were neighbours above and to the side, but the building design has them discreetly out of view. Its a beautiful place to live!

Meanwhile, while we continued to chat and reminisce, Bruce soldiered on! (I did have a wounded shoulder to nurse you know). It was his idea for us to visit while he worked and very kind of him.

We're getting there! I helped with the main frame and small parts.  Meanwhile, Margaret is opening some gifts from us.... 

A runner, woven by me, for her dark teak dining room table (more on the runners in the next post) Her wood table showed the subtle pattern off nicely! The picture above shows it on the counter at home before gift wrapping.

 More personally, there was a hand painted silk scarf, made by a local artisan from the Cowichan Vallley. The soft muted peach, pinks and greens reminded me very much of the Telana dyes that Margaret and I used to paint silk warps. The overall colours would go well with her wardrobe colours I know that she favours.  Margaret loved it!

There was also one of my recent book marks for her winter reading and a card, also made locally that is hand beaded: (check out the detail!)

Then, all was done and the van was fully loaded and well wrapped, tied down and secure. The bags have all the small parts.... We still had to get a suitcase and other bags in there yet for the trip home!

Despite smiles and waves, the good byes were difficult.  Friends.

We left the next morning before the heat was under way and by lunch time we were at my son and daughter in law's home for a quick stop.  We had some clothes for Ethan who is coming up to being 3 months old.
Ethan seems to really take to Bruce (who held him first as I was still trying to get in the door and put my gear and gifts down!)

He's grown so much! As you can see, he's quite taken with his Grandad!  Then it was my turn and he spit up milk all over my shoulder within seconds of being picked up!  I was assured that makes me a bonafide Nana but I still went and tried to 'sweeten up' with soap and water! We couldn't stay over this time or even for very long as we had another stop to make and so after a energy shot of coffee, it was time to hit the road again.  Another good bye but we'll be back!

Bruce snapped this great picture of daughter in law Lisa, Ethan and myself.  She's doing a great job of being a mum.

Next, we headed over to see my father for a visit and we enjoyed the time there with him. We all sipped cold ginger ale while sitting on his patio and before too long, it was time to go and race to the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay......which we missed by five minutes.... and so we sat and waited for an hour and a half for the next boat. It was comforting to be almost first in line though... The quiet time was nice after the hectic pace of the day.

The ferry ride across to 'home' was lovely. It was warm and the strait was flat calm. The sunset was starting and I commented that all we needed was whales or seals and PRESTO!  The next thing I know, Bruce yelled and pointed off to amidships that he'd just seen two orcas!  Sure enough, there were two killer whales steadily heading north through the water away from us. The ship's captain told the passengers over the loud speakers where to look for them and I wondered why the boat didn't list to starboard with everyone racing to look!

We got home about 10 pm and then it took a while to completely unload the van, including the loom into the house.  Its parts are strewn all over the studio now and await the rebuilding efforts to come!

There's its head! (or brain if you like  ;-)  I have to rebuild it with Bruce's help and also locate a small reconditioned laptop or notebook to run it. If anyone out there has experience with this sort of thing and can advise, please leave a comment.

It was well after midnight before we climbed into bed.... very tired after a very long day that started at 5:30 am and covered +/- 500 km's.

Post Script:  Since the Woolhouse Tools loom sale failed, we have been talking about its future. For the time being, its not for sale and I'm keeping it. We will have to work on the arrangement of three looms in the available floor space.

Finally, anyone needing shuttles?? I have some for sale in my equipment sale page (see tab at the top menu bar)


Theresa said...

Very exciting Susan. I am positively green with envy over your new Megado! Stay cool.

Anonymous said...

Ethan is growing like a little weed, what a cutie patoutie! Love your new hair do, very cute and sassy. Bruce is indeed a gem to do all the taking apart and movement of the loom for you. I am jealous of your new loom, it will be such a neat new toy for you. Enjoy!

Delighted Hands said...

Lot's of fun adventures! Congrats on the new loom! Your grandson is precious!

dorothy stewart handwovens said...

What a great post, I felt as though I was there with you all the way !
As always lovely pictures and what a nice place Margaret has there. She will have a bit of a gap in her home now that the Megado has moved out !
Will look forward to more stories about the building. Remember rally Booker also has a Megado here in Dundee.

Margreet said...

Susan, a lovely way to get your new loom home. Loved reading about it.
I use a very small 10" laptop for my Magic Dobby. Nice size to keep near the loom. I only use it for the loom. The designing I do on my bigger laptop. Just a matter of getting the files to the loom laptop for weaving.
I'm sure you're going to enjoy your new loom. You just need to get used to the software. I just love my Magic Dobby.
Sorry to read that the sale fell through of your own loom.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Susan, you and your husband made a very lovely, memorable event in which you could also include your family. I can just see your face beaming with a smile all the way home with your loom. I am very happy for you. You will be learning a new process now with this loom but I know you are looking forward to the challenge.Looking forward to seeing pictures of the loom construction. Your husband is a blessing.

Spinning Out of Control said...

Love road trips! It looks so beautiful up where you all different from where I live.