Tuesday, March 20, 2007

100 Mile Fiber Festival

I’m launching the 100 Mile Fiber Fest blog!

Inspired by the 100 Mile Diet, I’ve been looking for other local products to utilize to help support the local community & economy and to help the environment by cutting down on transport miles and about a gzillion other reasons. Becoming more of a 100 mile knitter was a no-brainer. I’m blessed to live in a thriving local fiber and texile community that is surrounded by alpaca and sheep farms. There are also many local yarn producers that make a mélange of hand-dyed yarn, many of which are also naturally dyed. I also have access to stinging nettle and cedar bark and other plant materials for fiber. I’ve even seen folks use dried bull kelp to make baskets!

I’ve done a few pieces in the past utilizing local fibers but now I’m making a more conscious effort to use local fibers more consistently. I get most of my local alpaca and sheeps wool from fiber swaps, fairs and from the farms themselves.

The 100 Mile Fiber Fest blog is dedicated to showcasing the wonderful creations folks are making with fibers grown or raised within a 100 miles of where they live. It’s open to any sort of creative vehicle including spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, felting, basketry and whatever else you can make with naturally grown fibers. Just send an email with an account of your wonderful 100 mile fiber creation, some info like where you are from, what sort of fibers you used, where you got your fiber and any tips and techniques you’d like to share. Photos in JPEG form can also be sent within the body of the email (no attachments please) and please keep them to a reasonable size. You can send in your 100 Mile Fiber account to Fiberfest@hotmail.com

Now, my most recent 100 Mile Fiber knitting creation was inspire by a visit with Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses' this past weekend. I had come across one of my favorite myths, the showdown between Athena and Arachne. I know that most interpreters paint Arachne as a boastful, brash young woman who needed to be brought down a notch for bragging that she was a better weaver than Athena. In my alpaca fuzz filled mind, however, Arachne is a proud, strong minded and self-confident young woman who worked hard at becoming the best weaver she could be, though she could have benefited from a bit of humility. She did not shirk from her talents or play the modest maiden like women back then (and even to this day) were told to do. She dared to challenge the goddess Athena to a weaving contest and she beat the disguised Athena fair and square. Unfortunately, Athena was a sore loser. When Arachne realized that she had disrespected the goddess, her shame led to her suicide.

I was inspired to make an Arachne lace capelet. In the myth, Athena sprinkles the juices of aconite, or Wolfbane, onto the Arachne to loosen her suicide’s loose and turn her into a spider. Wolfbane shows up often in mythology and folklore as a plant with special powers, often deadly powers. So I tried figured I’d use plant motifs as the background pattern for the capelet. I tried to recreate the leaf of the Wolfbane in body of the capelet but I won’t know if it works until I block it. I'm using the perennial favorite 'Fallen Leaves" for the bottom border.

I’m using locally raised alpaca yarn that I purchased at the Duncan fiber fair and some at a farmers market last year. I’m also going to knit up Arachne in gold handspun wild silk yarn that I purchased from Trish Moon at Indigo Moon Studio on Gabriola Island. Wild silk coccoons are gathered after the moth has left, instead of being steamed to death in thier coccoons like cultivated silk. I’m using a modified version of Barbara Walker’s Arachne pattern.

So far I have this much done:

I’m hoping it will be done so I can wear it for the Nanaimo Fiber Swap and Sale, which is being hosted by my Weavers and Spinners guild. The Fiber Swap is being held on Saturday, March 24th from 10am to 2pm at St. Paul’s Church Hall at 100 Chapel Street in downtown Nanaimo. There will be a wide variety of local fiber, fleece, yarn and equipment. The guild is also selling baked goodies and lunch there.

Along with being one of the hostesses for this event, I’m also going to be running the 100 Mile Diet & Fiber table. Pop by and say ‘Hello’.

Have a great day!


Nanaimo’s 100 Mile Diet Challenge.

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