Saturday, January 10, 2015

Xul'si'malt

[Photot of Harry Xul'si'malt Manson
I missed blogging for quite a few months and I feel the need to blog and record some major events that happened this past year. One of these life-changing events was Tribal Journey 2014 Qatuwas (coming together). But this blog post isn't about that but it is related and it is just as life changing to our Tribal Journey skipper. It's about our skipper Gary's grandfather Harry Xul'si'malt Manson who was recently inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, the first First Nation member to be inducted. This came over 100 years after dying a tragic death in 1912.
It is quite the story and the story spans over 100 years. It is a story of racism, a lost father, a recovering drug addict falling out of the sky, the finding of a grandfather, the restitution of his reputation and recognition on a national scale. The story has been covered by others: CBC news did a story which you can read here and The Current did a show that you can hear here, and you can watch the video documentary on the story here and watch the induction here and the actual induction with Gary and his family singing the Celebration song here.
Gary inherited his grandfather's name, so this event is especially important to him but also to all his family.


[Photo by Mark Kaarremaa] Gary Xul'si'malt Manson

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Norah's mittens




[Photo: Liz H-K] A brisk November morning
with 12 volunteer happy hot hands for a photoshoot
I have been assisting my friend Norah Curtis of Norah Curtis Designs, with getting her hand made sweaters and mittens finished and ready for two big sale events, one in Calgary and the OneofaKind (that's how they spell it, really) annual show in Toronto.  Norah has won numerous craft awards for her work over the years.  She has studied craft in Iceland, Japan and Canada that I know about but she's probably studied everywhere she goes and she goes to a lot of places.

Norah doesn't do anything half heart-ed and I mean anything  (cooking, gardening, biking, etc.)!  Take her sweaters, she doesn't just design the sweaters, she designs the very fabric, then makes the fabric (she makes knitted fabric which looks like woven), fulls the fabric, designs the sweater, designs the trim, sews it together, designs and makes the buttons! Then uses the fabric remains to make matching mittens. And then attends only juried craft shows and sells them and boy  do they sell!

[Photo: Liz H-K] A pile of sweaters ready for steaming.
 My job? Chief steamer.  That's like ironing but, err, more professional.

[edited to I forgot to post this on my blog (it did get on Facebook ) until after the craft shows. Norah sold every last mitten and most of her sweaters.]
[Photo: Liz H-K] And a pile of 
freshly steamed vests.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mountain Goat

[Photo by Mark Kaarremaa]
Look what turned up on my step! A mountain goat head. Even Fergie is fascinated with the old goat. The goat had been hunted by a friends' grandfather many years ago and was destined for the dump until I mentioned I was looking for mtn. goat wool. So the old goat ended up coming for dinner and what was going to be a shaving party but before I could put razors in everyone's hands, one of the guests protested. Claiming she could find someone who would want the old goat, someone who might be able to find goat wool naturally shed from a goat or two up in the mountains. Okay, razors down for now. This old goat can remain fully bearded for awhile longer. In the meantime, if anyone has goat wool they would like to swap for this head, let me know.
[Photo Chilcat yarn - mtn goat wool around
cedar.  Photo by Mark Kaarremaa]



Mtn. goat Oreamnos americanus is actually in the antelope family, not in the goat family. First Nations such as the Chilkat Tlingit people  used the wool to make their famous Chilkat blankets. They spun mtn goat wool around thin strips of cedar.  

[Photo by Liz H-K, Chilcat Blanket
made from 
 mtn goat wool. CMC]
The Coast Salish used the goat wool in blankets and regalia. The goat wool is easily seen in the plain white blankets woven in a twill pattern although the wool was also used in twined or hybrid blankets.   

Wool was collected in the wild where the goats shed the fur in late spring. Alternatively, the goats were hunted and the pelts were moistened, then rolled up with the fur inside for a few days before unrolling and pulling the fur out of the hide. 

[Photo by Liz H-K, Coast Salish Blanket made from
 mtn goat wool CMC#VIG250]
Mtn goat has two types of hair/fur/wool, a kemp-like wiry hair and a very soft underdown wool.  Very fine blankets had much of the hair removed before spinning the soft down wool but a few hairs always remain and are useful for identifying the wool as coming from mtn goat.  

[Photo -Mtn goat near Banff. You can see his
wool starting to moult. Photo by Mark Kaarremaa]
Interestingly mtn goats are only found on the mainland not on Vancouver island, yet the Cowichan have an origin story that includes mtn goats on the island. In the last decade or so, mtn goat bones were found in a cave on northern Vancouver Island and carbon dated to 12,000 years old. So although now extinct on the island, they once lived here just as the origin story says.
  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

This blog lives

[photo by Liz H-K] HOORAY!
This shot was taken on/at a reef party in Nanaimo Harbour.
The reef is only visible at extreme low tides,usually in July.

It has been one year since my last blog post. The year long pause was due to a variety of factors starting with a switch to a tablet which only encourages browsing and not writing, or as some one described it, consuming not creating. Then life happened. Long story not designed for public blogs, but here I am with a new computer one year later and with more time. So the blog lives on!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fibrations

St Anne's Academy, Victoria BC
I never got around to posting about Fibrations held in late August at St. Anne's Academy in Victoria this summer.So, before the 2013 year ends, I thought I better get this post up. Better late than never.
Fibrations was a celebration of fibre, all kinds of fibre and all kinds of ways of using it. Organized by Knotty by Nature --if you are visiting Victoria you MUST stop in at Knotty by Nature. It's a fibre store with attitude, positive attitude, like a fuzzy yarn that grabs you, whirls you around like a spinning wheel would and knits up an event called Fibrations, totally run by fibre aficionados.

The Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild had a few demos with members showing basketry, weaving and lace making skills.

Scutching flax
There was a booth by the Victoria Embroiders Guild. Who knew that such a guild existed? And that they stitched up such wonderful things. One booth that stuck out  proud as can be, was the fly tying booth. He used all sorts of interesting fibres to make his fly ties. And the fact that he was one of the few male fibre enthusiasts didn't phase him in the least.

A highlight of the day was the Linen Project. This is a group of flax enthusiasts who have a long term flax to linen project going. They plant and tend the flax, rett it, process it and then produce fabrics. They had demos going all day showing people how to hackle, srutch and process the dried flax stems.

Interestingly, in the 1800's it was Sister Marie Angele, a nun from St. Anne's Academy who taught Cowichan girls at St Anne's school near Cowichan Bay how to knit. This was the start of what grew into the Cowichan sweater industry. It seemed fitting that Fibrations was held there.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Solstice - The days are getting longer

Google's logo, Dec 21, 2013.
Dec 21. Winter Solstice. I am trying to mark the solstice with a return to the blog. The solstice marks the lengthening of the days AND it also marks the first day of my semi-retirement. Well, not the first day since I am on holidays but when I return to work on Jan 2, 2014, I will be only working half-time. This is part of my plan of a phased in retirement. This means I will have more time for fibre and more time for blogging. At least, that's the plan....