Sunday, 30 September 2012

At the Open House and official opening of New Gold Mine, Kamloops

Once upon a time, there was an open pit copper mine near Kamloops called Afton Mine. The mine, owned by Teck Corporation, operated from 1977 to 1997, and shut down due to economic times and lack of ore deposits.

Abacus acquired the holdings from Teck in 2002 and continued explorations. They determined the ore body was large enough and profitable enough to open a new mine - thus New Gold (or as some people refer to it, New Afton) was born. However, this is not an open pit mine - rather an underground operation. To get an idea of scale of the previous open pit mine workings, the little dots in the white at the bottom are full sized dump and work trucks.
Actual processing of the ore began in spring of 2012. New Gold now employs over 400, and held an Open House to allow the public onto the property to see what has been done to date, and what they plan to accomplish over the next 15 or so years.

There were speeches, free pizza, bannock, hamburgers, hot dogs, beef on a bun, veggie and fruit plates, and CUPCAKES!

Then, instead of a traditional ribbon cutting to declare the mine officially open, New Gold did this -

Lots of demonstrations and information booths all around the grounds.
The inevitable - my husband meeting with a student whom he taught in elementary school - now very much enjoying his new career with New Gold as a heavy duty mechanic.

Employees of New Gold.

The busiest people in the food area - the bannock booth.

Thank you, New Gold, for this great family day and allowing us to see what this undergound mine is all about.

The final gift - a fireworks display for the city of Kamloops.

Smith and Ewe at the Ponderosa Spinners Spin-In, Kelowna, BC, Sept. 22

I was invited to this annual event as a vendor, and was very happy to join this group for the day. This is part of my booth with hand dyed Bluefaced Leicester braids.

Another section with hand dyed Mawata silk hankies.
Hand dyed merino/nylon superwash rovings, and hand dyed, hand blended fibre batts.

Enjoying an entire day with nothing to do but spin, chat, learn and watch others do the same :)

I took a walkabout and watched happy customers spin up fibre they had just purchased from me.

In the afternoon after a fabulous lunch, we had a Show and Tell and items were laid out for closer viewing and questioning.
This piece involved natural dyeing with leaves and flowers, basically rolling up the damp handwoven fabric with plant materials inside, leaving for a few days, and unrolling -
a serendipitous method of achieving interesting
and unexpected effects from nature.

Some beautiful handspun art yarns.

A prize winnning handspun and handwoven vest.

and Melissa Nasby brought some of her incredible hand felted and sculptured masks.
It was a fun day and I hope to be back again next year. Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Smith and Ewe at Farmer's Market Sept. 15

Today I thought I would people watch - and found a few interesting photographic opportunities.

 This lady was dressed in vintage clothing promoting the upcoming Kamloops Railway Heritage Days. Her gown and hat had been beautifully made with lots of handstitching by a volunteer costume maker. She was also promoting the Hallowe'en Train - a Kamloops tradition before Hallowe'en = spooky train ride in the dark. She said she was not as friendly on the train - she is the Black Widow.

There were several VERY TALL young men wandering the market, with TRU Volleyball on their shirts. Turns out their coach had given them an assignment for team bonding - they were to purchase items for (and then I assume prepare) the team dinner. It was fun listening to the conversations - one group shopped for appies, one for entree, one for dessert - and more than one shopped for themselves. Gotta keep those carbs coming!

Today was the Farmer's Market Tomato Festival - celebrating the diversity of tomatoes and sharing recipes, samples, tips and seeds. These Tomato Pixies toured the grounds, offering cherry tomato samples, and informing the visitors about the event going on.

This little sweetie danced around in her sparkley tights and tutu - with a big bag of juicy, red cherries.

Mom dressed this one up to the nines - check out the shoes!

 And lastly, one of my happy customers came to show me the hat she made last winter out of a thick and thin yarn highlighted with copper coloured beads and sequins - in search of another skein to make a matching scarf.

Oh - if only every weekend at the market could be as warm and sunny!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Smith and Ewe at Sheep to Shawl Competition, Salmon Arm, BC Fall Fair 2012

My spinning group (the Thompson Treadlers) decided we were going to enter a Sheep to Shawl contest held during the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. In the past, this competition started with shearing of a sheep, handing the raw fleece to a team, to produce a wearable shawl within a time limit by spinning the yarn and weaving the garment. As the sight of blood from shear blade nicks, and the smell and appearance of freshly shorn fleece was not too popular with the general public, the rules of the competition changed.
The rules are now - 4 hours to complete a wearable shawl. Warp must be handspun but the loom may be pre-warped. Fleece for weft may be dyed, but cannot be prepared in any other way before the competition. Shawl must measure at least 16" wide x 60" long, excluding the fringe. Only a maximum of 10% of fibre weight may be a non-natural fibre.

So here we are, at our first competition. Left to right - Mary-Anne Smith (carding and spinning), Sue Northcott (spinning), Jen Wallace (spinning), Sharon Philip (spinning), Terry Prehara (spinning and plying) and in front Sheila Grant (designer and weaver). We are all decked out in matching shirts donated to us by Electrictree Yarns in Kamloops.
 The Artisan Hall was a beehive of activity (literally - there was also a beekeeper's display in the building).
 The Thompson Treadlers pictorial - and our drum carder ready to roll.
 The Kelowna team loom ready to start.
 Salmon Arm ready to go.
 Vernon team on their mark.
 And it is time to start. All members of the team teased out the dyed Romney fibre, and passed it on to be drum carded and blended. Our fleece was a grey Romney, dyed with fuchsia and turquoise together, and separate turquoise, and separate fuchsia, for colour blending with the addition of white Firestar for bling.

Everyone is hard at work -
teasing, drum carding, spinning and weaving.


During the lunch break, I got the chance to tour the fair grounds and take a few pictures.The Recycle Wagon must have worked because the grounds were spic and span clean.

The scarecrow patch.

Long lineups at the food carts, but mine was the best - a crepe filled with chicken, pesto sauce, onions, feta cheese and dill/ranch sauce.
                                                                           And Elvis was there too.

Some animals spotted on the fair grounds.
Above, the Kelowna shawl on the go.
This is our shawl, halfway done.

Vernon's shawl - halfway done.

Salmon Arm shawl, halfway done.

These are the colours we blended together to form our weft.

Sheila is doing a great job - she has never woven with pure wool before. Below, she is hem stitching the edge of the finished shawl.

And here goes - no turning back now!
The fringe is trimmed evenly.
The shawl is put in water to soak, relax the weaving, and full the fibres. We also gave it a rinse in Mane and Tail for softness.

We are FINISHED!! Our first ever Sheep to Shawl competition and we were a tired but happy bunch.

Gudrun Weisinger was the judge for the competition. She is a master weaver and excellent teacher. She spent considerable time going over all the shawls, and after giving out her constructive criticism and compliments, 1st place went to Kelowna, 2nd place went to Salmon Arm, and the Thompson Treadlers from Kamloops, BC were awarded 3rd place, with Vernon 4th.

Our team - already planning next year's challenge.