The Potluck Spinners and Weavers hosted a visit and lunch in the Annapolis
Valley for the Kedge Weavers, a dozen or so weavers came from the South
Shore of Nova Scotia for the outing on Monday, June 10th.

I met the Kedge group in Wolfville at Applewicks around 10:30am, the
storefront and workspace for the local L’Arche community, an international
organization for persons with disabilities. In this community, participants
weave and make candles. Brenda Gilmour, one of the Potluck members and our
treasurer works for L’Arche, and gave a wonderful tour of the shop and
weaving studio. There were many questions about production and where they
get their materials. Brenda mentioned that their best weaver is in a wheel
chair, so can’t use a floor loom, so they are trying to figure out how to
rig up one that she can use with her hands.

Applewicks weaves a lot of napkins, placemats, runners, sandwich mats and
many other wonderful things. They get a great many custom orders, people
want placemats to match their decorating. Many of us commented that weaving
and candles seem to be the perfect match.

The candle making studio was just as intriguing, not much margin for error
regarding temperature. Applewicks makes high quality candles, including
their extremely popular Celtic designs that take several pours to complete.
It was interesting to see how they have come up with new designs in order to
work around participants skill levels. For instance, one young man has
autistic tendencies, so enjoys repetitive tasks. He loves to grate wax, so
they have two candles, one that is dipped in the shavings, so it looks
frosted, so cute. The other is almost entirely shavings, so it looks like
granite, and changes form with every burning.

The shop offered a discount for anyone who wanted to take anything home, and
almost every Kedge member went home with something. I think they cleaned
them out of citronella torches and woven sandwich mats 🙂

After our tour we headed across the Valley floor to the Canning area and the
home/studio of Pia Skaarer Nielsen of the Wonderous Woolerie, the Potluckers
wild weaving Danish woman.

Myself, Pia, Ken, Pat and Marilyn had prepared a spread of lasagna, salads,
bread, quiche, rhubarb pie, dandelion jelly, cranberries and fruit salad.
I’m still full.

After lunch we had a tour of Pia’s studio, I had a chance to see her newest
scarves and throws, so beautiful. Even the dummy warp on her loom caught
everyone’s attention. One of the Kedge Weavers, Pixie, and she really does
look like a pixie, got hold of some of Pia’s handspun/hand dyed homegrown
wool and wouldn’t let it go. Pia’s hand turned spindles were a hit as well.

Next came show and tell. We made our way around the circle, by the time
they got to me I was so amazed by the talent around me I was hesitant to
even bring out my basket. The president of the Kedge Weavers, Cy Fear, must
keep quite busy with all those women, he seems to enjoy it 🙂

The member that really made an impact on me was a woman who just started
weaving a year ago. She and her husband, who couldn’t be much more then 40
decided they were going to retire early, so they changed their lifestyle and
made it happen. They bought their first loom a year ago, her husband does
all the setup and even manipulates designs on the computer and threads it up
for her. He recently rebuilt a floor loom, and of course had to try it out,
so wove a rug in a rosepath design I believe. He made benches, boat
shuttles and a warping mill this winter, and will likely be on to spindles
after this week. They are moving to Northern Saskatchewan in a couple of
days, so I won’t get to see her again, but hope to correspond via email. If
anyone in Saskatchewan knows of anything spinning or weaving related going
on, please let me know so I can pass it on.

We saw fine woven blouses, coverlets in summer/winter, chair pads in double
weave that are stuffed on the loom as you go, handspun that was primarily
brushings from mohair blankets, rag rugs, felted vests and so many other
incredible treasures.

I must say, having the chance to sit with all those weavers got me
motivated, since I got home Monday I have woven three rugs and I’m about to
start the fourth.

Julie Rosvall
Wolfville, NS
Potluck Spinners and Weavers

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