Friday, September 18, 2009

Friends, Family and Late Summer Fun!

So, did you miss me? This is blog post #100!
Yes, I'm back and now catching up on stuff here at home and sorting through holiday laundry and memories. It was a fun time overall but nothing feels like home does it? From when we left to coming home, the feeling of fall has really hit and the changes are happening fast! This little grape leaf will now live well beyond the coming frost and snow.

It was found amongst the green and shady others on Lynnette's deck. Now doesn't this look inviting? They sure did a lovely job of creating a lovely space outdoors.
It's our inspiration for when our deck is finally redone. Seems this year it is not to be... no one has any time to fit our job in this late in the season.

I was at my MIL's home for close onto a week and shame on me! No camera came out during that time. I guess it was more about just talking and a whole lot of listening. Just being together.

I did get one of Lorraine when I was dropped off at Lynnette's. She has been a wonderful MIL for the past 24 years. Always gracious. I hope that my SIL thinks the same of me some day...

Behind where we were sitting is Lynnette's amazing garden. It's lush, green and produces a large crop that we dined on for lunch and dinners! Some found it's way to our home too. We had a yummy Greek Salad the other night.

Her sunflowers teased the birds... where's the seeds??

There were ginormous cucumbers hanging off the vines that were crisp and cool. Then there were the tomatoes. Sweet and they seemed to fall into your mouth as you walked by. Okay, they had help but could you resist?

Lynnette, Ngaire and I chatted constantly about weaving (their studio is amazing and full of looms right now as they prepare for the coming workshop they are holding) Their retail space is full of brightly coloured scarves and shawls and made me realize that a bigger push is needed at home to create my own corner for sales as well. They toured me around the town of Vernon and showed me all the changes in the five years since I left. There are huge housing developments being built right up the sides and tops of the mountains! The view of lakes and valley bottoms are stunning. We spent an afternoon at Davison Orchards and had lunch outdoors with pumpkins and fall produce piled up all around. Some three or four local varieties of apples bought there turned into a delightful apple pie. No one does pastry like Lynnette!

The next day bright and early we headed up the valley to the Shuswap and the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. I took a random shot from the car window as we approached the Enderby Cliffs. That's me in the side mirror!

The Shuswap Weavers and Spinners Guild is the host of the annual 'Sheep to Shawl Event' held every September and interested guilds send along a team consisting of a weaver, one plyer, and three spinners. The looms are preloaded with their hand spun warp and they must spin the weft there, all under time constraints. This is a bit over simplified but gives you the basic premise.

The sky was clear and it got to 30 degrees Celsius and so everyone was a little warm. Fortunately we were all under cover and shared the space with a gent building canoes, a bee keeping exhibit, baskets made from pine needles and the quilters. Over in a corner was the local woodworkers guild demonstrating their tools and so it was a bit noisy and dusty from time to time, but all in good fun! I took a great many photos and would invite you to see the photo share here. In the mean time these ones will tell a great story!

Ngaire, a new weaver, took the job of weaving the shawl for her team, Ponderosa Weavers, Spinners and Fibre Artists Guild. Now an iPod looks a bit weird to some but she wore it to reduce the noise and so better concentrate on her task at hand.

This is Ngaire and Lynnette and guild president Chris, plus other team members, listening to Gudrun discuss their marks after she completed her judging of their shawl.

Here's the result! Second place, out of three teams. Not too shabby for a newbie weaver! Both her mum Lynnette and I were so proud of her.

I mentioned pine needle baskets were on display here. The stacks to the right of the basket are the Ponderosa pine needles found in the Okanagan Valley. They run 6 to 10 inches long and so are perfect for basketry. They are preparing to fall this time of year and so are gathered and straightened with rubber bands till they are used. The baskets were beautiful!

Now, while the sheep to shawl event was running, my friend Gudrun's husband came and picked me up and took me to their lovely home near the shores of Shuswap Lake for a luncheon with them and two house guests they had staying there. We had a lovely meal, with cups of fresh coffee and conversation. Afterwards, Gudrun and I disappeared to her studio and chatted all things weaving. But not before taking her picture by the recently completed tapestry. It now resides in 'pride of place' above their fireplace mantle.

I was literally speechless when I saw it in person. Pictures simply do not do it justice. When viewed from 6 to 8 feet away, it looks like a large painting. The colour blending is that precise. Here is a detail closeup of the bottom left hand corner.

I tried hard to get some decent pictures of Gudrun's antique 1932 Scottish loom but the light from the windows, even with drapes drawn, prevented me from getting a good one from the front. The best I could do was the side and this shows the immense size of it, with fly shuttle in place with 3 'garages'. The beater bar is secured forward right now as there is another project being threaded. The time flew by and soon it was time to get back to the fair. Gudrun was the judge for the sheep to shawl and the deadline was looming. (pun intended :)

We were all quite tired after the long day and the next morning we had a leisurely start and made our way down to Winfield area, also known as Lake Country. I used to live there too for about 4 years. The annual event called 'Art Walk' was a relatively new thing when we first moved there, but 16 years later, it's thriving and well attended. It's held at the local high school and community centre and you walk between the two building and take in the areas local talent in painting, pottery, sculpture and fibre arts. I had my camera and took a few shots but didn't take anything up close for fear of offending some artist. Those I did take were with their permission and I have even sent copies to those who asked.

It was very crowded and well attended... this one gives you a general idea.

They even had musicians playing and invited guests from other countries, such as India.

One invited guest was the Ponderosa Weavers, Spinners and Fibre Artists Guild and here is Lynnette and Ngaire chatting with Jodie who is on booth duty. The booth being their display from the recent ANWG conference.

There was so much to see and do while there. We visited yarn stores, shopped and had lunches out. The resulting loot will be the topic of my next post!

I did spend an afternoon with my weaving mentor Margaret the first week away and I had a lovely time catching up on news with her. Sadly, I forgot to grab my camera when heading out but I reflected later that stopping to take pictures would have broken the mood and so I'm good with it. Some moments are simply for the memory banks!

One visit with a friend sadly came a day too late as she had passed away from when we spoke until I called to arrange a time to see her. That came as a shock as you can imagine but she and I had a lovely chat via the phone just days before we drove there and I will treasure her kind last words.
Chris and I had always exchanged emails no matter where I lived and we shared weaving information and tips. She was always game to try something new and I admired her for it. If there are looms in heaven, then she's already weaving.

Hubby had to drive back earlier as he had to work this past weekend. Then the time came for me to spend my last day and head to the airport. We stopped to take some last scenery shots at the look out near Vernon.

This one is facing the Coldstream Valley just a little east of Vernon. Yup, I used to live there too... and it's where Lynnette calls home still. Lovely isn't it? There is a blue haze in the air from a forest fire burning somewhere still, otherwise you could see the mountain they call the Camel's Hump and even the Monashee Mountains near Revelstoke, BC.

This is Kalamalka Lake and Rattle Snake Point. It is part of a provincial park. Yes, there are rattlesnakes there...but there are basic precautions to take when walking there or anywhere in this valley. You must do your homework when venturing 'wild'.

This shot shows beautiful homes clinging to the hillside overlooking the lake. This is typical Okanagan scenery... brown grasses, sparse Ponderosa pines and lakes. It's not unusual to find cactus growing on the slopes! It's the northern portion of the Sonoran Desert. Each year sees it getting hotter and hotter here. Since I don't do heat overly well, we moved back to the coast to a more moderate climate. But it is a dry heat there!

So one fast 45 minute flight home and I have been quite busy with catching up on bills, laundry and other normal (boring) stuff but will be back to the looms as quickly as I can! Elena's shawl is pinned out on the board and waiting my time and attention.


Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Wow!!! This all sounds like so much fun!!! Thanks so much for sharing;)

India said...

Autumn in Sunnybrae is just lovely. Fantastic!

Theresa said...

Of course you were missed and thank you for the lovely post about all the wonderful things you were doing. Beautiful pictures!

bspinner said...

My commentss could go on and on but instead I'll just tell how much I appreciate you sharing your wonderful vacation with the rest of us. Thanks!

barbara said...

Reading through your blog this morning, I felt like I was on vacation. Thank you for sharing, nice to hear about your vacation and to get the pictures as well. Take care, just remember everything does not have to be caught up-to-date immediately. Weaverly yours ... Barbara

Life Looms Large said...

Welcome back!! Looks like you did have plenty of later summer fun!

There's a lot to love in this post...but the pine needle baskets and the birch tree tapestry are especially great to see.

I just acquired my first fringe twister.....whenever I think of twisting fringe, I think of you! (Doesn't that make you feel famous!!)


charlotte said...

This sound like a terrific vacation! The tapestry is really an incredible piece of art. It was very interresting to read about the pine needle baskets, thank you for sharing all those great pictures.

Anonymous said...

By serendipity, I read here last night of Gudren Weisinger's extraordinary tapestry and this morning of an excursion she undertook to Sigrid Piroch's ARTS studio in Pennsylvania a dozen years ago to help restore an Anni Albers loom. An amazing weaver, and so talented. You are fortunate in your friendship. --Sue in MA