by Ronda Payne/Special to the Langley Advance
For artisan-craft shoppers, one show in Langley is a highlight: the Langley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild’s Beyond Fibre artisan show and sale this Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday Nov. 4.
With a new home and different days, it will be even better than ever, said one long-term member of the guild.
Langley’s Judy McLaren has been part of the community since 1980 and a member of the guild since 1995.
“I’ve always liked knitting and fibre arts in general. We had sheep and we had been to the sheep and wool fair many times and I’d seen them do sheep-to-shawl competitions,” she said of where her love of fibre arts really took off.
“They sheer the sheep and they spin it and weave it into a shawl.”
When McLaren expressed interest in the event, her husband thought she’d enjoy spinning – so got her a spinning wheel of her own.
“A good idea, wasn’t it?” McLaren joked.
Turns out her husband had a great idea as she took to the addition to her fibre arts skills immediately. She learned to spin yarn to knit. She’s even spun cat hair and turned it into fingerless mitts. Her daughter’s Labrador’s fur became a hat.
“I’ve been knitting since I was a child and I’ve always loved that,” she said. “There’s always something different about it. There’s always something new. Always something different that comes along. New ideas and different challenges.”
Every fleece is different and every fibre is beautiful with its own colours and sensations, McLaren said. Fibre arts is very creative when it comes to design of a new item.
“It’s very tactile,” she added.
McLaren does most of the things included in the guild’s activities of spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, and felting. In fact, she started the guild’s knitting subgroup, the Crazy Clackers.
“I did start that group because when I joined the guild, there wasn’t that part. So I started that,” she explained. “I also weave, and dye, and felt.”
She also has her own dedicated dye room under her patio at home where she can open the windows to let the fumes and powders escape.
“It’s quite messy,” she added. “And you should be careful with the dyes.”
When asked what has kept her in the guild for 20-plus years, McLaren explained simply it’s the camaraderie first.
“And the educational experience and the stimulation that you get from going to meetings because there’s always an educational component,” she added.
At this year’s Artisan Show and Sale, McLaren will have mitts, stockings, toques, and socks for sale – many of which she dyed the wool for. Her items will be on display along with other guild members’ work and fellows artisans from other skill-sets like leather work, pottery, jewelry making and others.
“Such beautiful work, not just from our guild but from other artisans too. It’s going to be at the West Langley hall. It’s changed locations,” explained McLaren. “It’s on Friday and Saturday rather than Saturday and Sunday. I’d say there’s something for everyone there. Such high quality and beautiful things. You get to talk to them [artisans] and have demonstrations there.”
Admission to the show is by donation at West Langley Community Hall 9400 208 St. from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4.
There will also be a silent auction as part of this year’s Beyond Fibre event.