Monday, 27 August 2012

Smith and Ewe at Kamloops Farmers' Market

Since 1978, every Saturday, from the middle of April to the end of October, an entire city block is closed for our weekly Farmers' Market, 8 AM to Noon. August 25 was a perfect market day - sunny and not too hot. Recently, my husband George and I were in Vancouver for a weekend, and we decided to check out some well known markets in that area - the Deer Lake Saturday Market, and the Trout Lake Farmers' Market. I am happy to tell you that Kamloops' market is twice as big and twice as supported by weekend shoppers.

I attend as a vendor in the non-agricultural section, which is the heritage-designated Stuart Wood School yard beside the Market.

Saturday morning the beautiful wrought iron gates are opened for another market day.

Pottery by Michelle Finlayson
Bringing the old back to new - Jerry Gauthier recycles old barnboard and other found treasures into new furniture and accents for the home.
Linda wastes no time - making new felted objects.
A happy customer purchasing the eco-friendly wool dryer balls from Smith and Ewe.
Here I am at my booth with our super friendly, super efficient
Market Manager, Deanna Hurstfield.

Colin Hammerquist of
Edesia Catered Events is cooking up a storm, as he does every weekend. This picture was taken 20 minutes after the market closed - everyone wanted his wonderful eats.

Some scenes from the suppliers and vendors of fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey, meats, baking, preserves, and garden abundance.

Next weekend is promising to be just as wonderful, weather-wise. Bring your visitors, and spend some long weekend time at your Kamloops Farmers' Market.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Retro Music Weekend at Sun Peaks Resort

Saturday, August 18 was HOT HOT HOT. But I spent the morning at the Kamloops Farmers' Market with my fibre wares. It is always an interesting day - and this day was no different. My first customer (buying mittens in August for Christmas presents) had lived in the Northwest Territories, and we spent some time chatting about places we had both been in - Hay River, Fort Smith and Yellowknife. Another customer, a mayor from Nova Scotia who was heading home after spending some weeks in Kamloops, exchanged business cards with me in case we decided to trade homes for a few weeks next summer!! She comes here every year for a few weeks, leaving a heritage home overlooking the ocean.

A quick unpack at home, and we were headed up the mountain to Sun Peaks Resort for the Retro Music Weekend which is a weekend of tribute bands.
This is the third year for this festival. We attended the first year, but missed the second. The crowd was decidedly larger than the first year. Friday night was Beatles night (Fab Fourever), which unfortunately we missed. The first act on Saturday was a Neil Young tribute (Live Rust), which we also missed due to previous obligations, but from all we heard - we should not have missed it.

Then came Guns N FN Roses - Axl would have been proud. Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin Show), and then Arrowsmith (Arrowsmith Rocks) closed the evening. Close your eyes and you could not tell the difference.

The weather was perfect - next year the Resort will probably have to move the bandstand to the mountainside. The crowds are definitely getting larger - a good thing for the resort. Kevin Costner attracted 6000 fans and Matthew Good will no doubt attract as many on the long weekend in September.

Sunday was Sun Peaks Farmers' Market Day -

The festival ended with a 2-hour ABBA Again concert - young and old alike enjoyed, clapped, sang and danced.

The final event of the weekend was the inaugural 540 Longboard Challenge - money prizes for these young daredevils. They came down a long and windy course through the subdivisions to the finish line in the village.

What a great weekend!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Preparation for Sheep to Shawl competition at Salmon Arm Fall Fair, September 8

Our spinning group, The Thompson Treadlers, decided we needed the challenge of competition this year, and we submitted our entry for the Sheep to Shawl Competition at the Salmon Arm Fall Fair on September 8. The rules are no mechanical tools, all fibre must be handspun including the warp, only 10% of the spun fibre can be other than sheep's fleece, the loom will be pre-warped, and the fleece for the handspun weft may be washed and dyed ahead of time, but no further preparation is allowed beforehand.

After a couple of planning meetings, the shawl pattern is planned, the warp is now on the loom (hand dyed handspun Romney wool), the Romney grey lamb fleece has been hand dyed in shades of fuchsia, turquoise and burgundy, and the jobs alotted to each member of the team. Our meeting last night was to see how the weft fibre would look after being carded and spun to make sure we are on the right track, but no weft fibre can be handspun ahead of the timed competition.

We met at Sue Northcott's, setting up the equipment outside in her lovely back yard while being watched over by her llamas.
This is our team plus me (taking the picture). Left to right - Sue Northcott, Jennifer Wallace (spinners), Sheila Grant (pattern designer and weaver), Sharon Philip (spinner) and Terry Prehara (spinner and plyer).
This is the first batt being prepared on the Patrick Green carder.

This is me (Mary-Anne Smith) dizzing the batt off the carder.

And the dizzed batt was so lovely and soft, we thought it would make a good boa.

Teasing the dyed fibre.

And finally, we got to spin the fibre to see how it is going to turn out for our project. Everyone was very pleased with our end results. Now that our strategy is decided, on to the competition! Should be a lot of fun.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Visit at Qualicum Bay Fibre Works

A trip to Vancouver Island for a bit of a holiday at Kingfisher Oceanside Resort in Courtenay, BC, meant that we were within 40 minutes driving to Qualicum Bay Fibre Works. I had sent some mohair to Anna Runnings to have carded into roving, and was curious about the process. An e-mail to Anna before we left home, and an appointment was set for the visit.

Anna lives up in the hills from the ocean, and gave excellent driving instructions. Here are a few pictures of her business.
This is the wash tub line - there arefleeces in net bags in each tub. To the right is a large drying room with netted shelves and fan.

After drying, the fleece goes to the carder. Anna said the carding machine dates back to the 1870s, the others are new in comparison (1960s) and she knows every quirk of each machine. She rarely puts fleece through the picker, saying that the carder does such a good job, it is usually an unnecessary step, unless specifically requested.
After carding, the fleece goes to the machine that makes the batts into roving of various sizes, depending on the customer request.

This may be the end of the process, but it may not - if a customer has requested the fibre to be spun into yarn. This was the machine of all machines, and Anna said it definitely has its moments - she has to baby it well, until, as she said "it will condescendingly spin the fibre into yarn".

My mohair was treated very well - it is a bit of a wait but you can understand why. Anna will answser all your questions via e-mail. I highly recommend her service.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Man and Woman vs Mouse

So the second bird feeder was one of those that the birds love to scatter seeds from, and birdseed lay all over the ground underneath. From the sundeck, I could see a mouse running to the feast. MOUSE!!! in the HOUSE??? George says with a cat in the house, there will be no mouse coming in, but I was not buying it. So off to the store to buy a trap. Wait - why not buy 4 while I am at it? And make them the old fashioned wooden snap kind.

George said - you put them out, I'm not doing it. So I load them up with peanut butter, and go into the garden to set the traps. As I am putting the first one down on the ground, a mouse ran RIGHT OVER MY FOOT! I am sure the entire neighbourhood heard the scream. That was it - I gave the job to my husband. After he stopped laughing, he placed the traps. So far, we got 7 - a regular trapline. Sorry, animal lovers, but I have dealt with mice in places where they don't belong before, and I didn't want to take any chances again. They will eventually get the message.

By the way, the bird feeder is no longer there so they don't have their buffet anymore.

On the more pleasant side, I thought you might like to see some of the flowers that bloomed in our garden this year.