Thoughts on Autumn

Here on the West Coast of Canada we are having a protracted summer with warm days and no rain. This is a mixed blessing as the lack of rain is having a disastrous effect on crops, fish, and wild fires.  I never thought I would say this but “please bring on the rain”.

A fall tradition in many communities across the country is the local fall fair. These events bring folks together to celebrate what makes their area special. The Tzouhalem Spinners & Weavers Guild supports community events throughout the Cowichan Valley. We organize the fibre exhibits at the Cobble Hill Fair including a spinning demonstration and of course we enter our fibre projects for judges feedback and perhaps a blue ribbon.  A member shared that the children visiting the Cobble Hill Fair were fascinated by the spinning wheels. They stared as if it was magic as the fleece became yarn. They just might be right as it does feel like magic sometimes when that perfect skein is produced.

“Arts on the Avenue” is another annual event that brings many artisans to Ladysmith on an August Saturday. This year’s booth had members demonstrating spinning, inkle and rigid heddle weaving.

Our final event of the season is the Cowichan Exhibition. Guild members organize the Spinning and Weaving exhibits for adults and juniors. After a couple of tough years with limited attendance rules this year was so much fun. The exhibits were top notch and many entrants earned ribbons for their creations.  The junior entries were especially wonderful! It was great to see so many children and teens creating with fibre,. Could they be future guild members? We hope so!

I’ll end this post with some fair photos and an encouragement to support your own local fall fair by entering your creative projects, baking, garden produce or whatever entry fits for you, consider volunteering in some way and finally attending the fair to admire your community member’s exhibits.


In Praise of Hand Knit Socks


Here on Vancouver Island head we are heading into a wet, blustery winter so it seems like a good time to bring out our stash of hand knit wool socks.  A pair of socks knit with love and care in every stitch will keep even the coldest toes cozy and warm on a cold winter day.


I put the call out to guild members to show off their socks and they were happy to share their creations. From a pair or two for little feet to Size 12 ones for the men in our lives the colours and patterns were stunning. Some of us are traditional 4 double pointed 2.25 mm needles; others knit two at a time using 2 circular needles.  We knit top down or toe up, we may knit a traditional heel, a Dutch heel or an afterthought heel. It doesn’t matter how we knit the socks the result is the same because when our family and friends pull on a toasty pair of socks they feel loved







The yarn choices are amazing. You can knit using all one colour or try a computer dyed yarn that mimics stranded colour work.  You can find patterns in stockinette, various ribbed patterns and wonderful cable designs. Pay a visit to your LYS and I am sure they will be happy to help you find just the right pattern and yarn to suit your needs.

I remember my first attempt at sock knitting and let’s just say it was not a resounding success. One heel migrated to the side of the second sock which made it challenging for the wearer to feel comfortable. Thankfully I have made great progress and now always have a pair of socks of my needles. I have knit many patterns but my go to knit is Kate Atherley’s Basic Ribbed Sock. The ribbed pattern stays up on the leg and is great for car knitting.

Socks may be intimidating for new knitters but don’t be afraid just take the plunge. You, your family and friends will be happy with your efforts and after all a shoe can hide any “design elements” you add 😉

Until next time happy knitting.