Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Olds Master Spinner Level 4... Beginnnings

Here it is just past the middle of July and we are all baking in a heat wave combined with our usual high humidity & also high UV index of 9 or 10. We  could use a thunderstorm to lighten things up.
We have had a lot of rain, but I just came from pulling 10 minutes of weeds and the gardens are extremely dry.

It wasn't but only 3 weeks ago that I was with a few spinners in a classroom setting at Olds College in Alberta. A few days before I was due to fly, the Bow River was overflowing its banks and causing terrible loss for people out there. Rain combined with the snow melt in the mountains was just too much for the river to contain. Many people lost homes, lives or suffered property damage.

My heart goes out to all of them. It will take a great deal of time to rebuild.

In Olds, AB, they weren't affected. The college housed some evacuees for a time.

Classes went on with some people affected by the flooding not being able to attend.

I flew into Calgary Airport from London on the morning of June 23, 2013. Good flight and Jack, my shuttle driver was there as my luggage came round.The countryside I saw that day was lovely even if it was raining part of the time.

When I got onto the campus I settled into my townhouse room and went over to the vendors' marketplace just as I had planned. After seeing what I needed to complete my workbook assignments I was able to purchase a few supplies.

In the class there were the five of us from Ontario, all previously acquainted from the other levels taken in satellite classes in ON. I met 4 other spinners in our class - Maria, Susan, Lynn and (?) sorry her name escapes me at this moment.

Our teacher for Level 4 is Donna Rudd, very capable & very good at explaining & demonstrating what we must learn.
Donna in our silk reeling class

Here's the building our classes were in:
Olds College
The gardens around campus were beautiful being they have horticultural programs.
Columbine flower
These are Columbines, unlike any I have seen before. Many walks produced many pictures of the gardens. Very beautiful indeed.
Olds College is in an agricultural setting and they also have animal sciences and a full working farm on their many hundreds of acres.
Animal Science building
Level 4 deals with the luxury fibres: cashmere, camel, flax, cotton, silk, ramie and bison. How to choose fibres, how to spin, how to finish and where to use them. Level 4 also introduced acid dyeing and silk reeling from cocoons. More novelty yarns were part of the curriculum too. Flax - finally I learned how to dress a distaff.
Dyed silk worm cocoons

Reeled silk

Just wonderful things we learned. No wonder they call them luxurious. It's amazing what properties they can bring to a blend of fibres.

Now for a year's worth of homework. Where to start....let's go to the beginning and just work through it fibre by fibre.