Monthly Archives: June 2015

Coast Colours – Horsetail

Horsetail (Equisetum sp.) is a living fossil.  Those of us who find it as an uninvited guest in our gardens can be thankful it doesn’t grow 30 metres high like some of its ancestors in the Paleozoic forests.  It’s also called scouring rush as the stems are coated with abrasive silicates and the plants were used to scour cooking pots and mugs.

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Combining the tasks of weeding and gathering for the dye pot, I picked a large basket of horsetail (sadly it hardly made a dent in my garden!).  I put it in my pot, poured boiling water over it and let it sit overnight.  The next day I cooked it for 5-6 hours and then let it sit overnight.

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The next day I added my fibre and fabric and held the temperature below simmer for several hours.  I let everything soak overnight and the next day.  Top left is a wool roving and beneath it some cotton.  On the right is silk (which is actually more golden than shown in the photo).

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In the exhaust bath I dyed some wool from Olivia who lives in Roberts Creek.

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Heather Apple

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Marie-Claire – Our First Certified Artisan Producer

Three years ago Deanna Pilling introduced the idea of the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed as a project for our Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild.  After a great deal of time, effort and love on her part, everything came full circle at the Guild’s annual potluck lunch as Deanna presented tags to Marie-Claire DeClerck as our first Certified Artisan Producer.

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Marie-Claire was introduced to the fibre arts in 2000.  Burnt out from her work as a child psychologist she decided to take a year off and attend the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.  She took a course in weaving, fell in love and the intended one year of study grew into four.  In 2012 she brought one of her looms to the Sunshine Coast.  When she was looking for a warping board, Sew Easy put her in touch with Deanna and soon after Marie-Claire joined the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild.

In 2013 she bought a drop spindle and spun Newfoundland alpaca wool given to her by her son and then wove it into a shawl.  In 2014 Deanna asked her to weave a coat made from our local Round Table Farms Icelandic wool that would be hand spun by another Guild member.  When no one else was found to spin the wool, Marie-Claire realized she needed to improve her spinning.  Starting in January 2015, sometimes spinning up to 10 hours a day on her Lendrum, she quickly became an excellent spinner.

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In preparation for the coat and to test whether her spinning was even enough for a good twill weave, she spun wool from two colours of Icelandic wool which she purchased from Tideview Farm (Vancouver Island) and then wove it into a scarf.  The lovely scarf is beautifully soft and the twill weave is clear and even.

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Another project grew from her visit to Fibres West where she purchased the fleece of L’Oreal, a llama from Fat Chance Ranch in Langley.  She wove a scarf which is literally softer than silk.  Two skeins of white wool will be woven into 2 more scarves with the bit of brown from a small brown patch in the fleece used for highlights.

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Right now Marie-Claire is knitting a pair of socks for her daughter with the wool of Jill, a Roberts Creek sheep and daughter of Olivia (who provided our first local Fibreshed wool).

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Marie-Claire showed me her notebook with plans for the ruana-type coat she will weave with wool spun from the Round Table Farms Icelandic sheep. She has come to love spinning and this summer she plans to spin wool for weaving.  She started with weaving tea towels and she learned a lot, but now she is finished with tea towels and plans to weave for Fibreshed projects.

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Marie-Claire told me, “The Fibreshed offers people the opportunity to learn new things.  I felt in a rut and wanted something more creative.  The Fibreshed allowed me to branch out into something new.”

Heather Apple