4509 Tolt Ave, Carnation, WA
(425) 333-4066

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  • Cowichan Retreat

    I don't know when my fascination with Cowichan sweaters started, but last February when I visited Victoria, I purchased the lovely book, Working withWool and Yetsa's Sweater, both by Sylvia Olsen. When a Cowichan Sweater class was offered at VK Live in Seattle last April, I signed up right away. Barbara Brown taught the class and had us knitting a doll-size Cowichan inspired sweater vest using Prairie Wool by Custom Woolen Mills. I enjoyed the class, but it left me wanting more. I got really excited when I saw this post by Andrea Rangel. So, when Kathy Cadigan contacted me a few months ago to see if I would be interested in visiting Cowichan Bay, hang out with Andrea Rangel, AND learn about the Cowichan sweater -- I knew I had to go.   

     

     

    On October 18th, Kathy, Paula, and I left bright and early to catch the 8:30am ferry from Anacortes to Sydney, B.C. It was a beautiful ferry ride and it gave us lots of time to sip coffee and knit. We arrived at our hotel in Cowichan Bay around 1:30 pm. We were met by Andrea who was dressed head to toe in her hand knits. (Yes, from hat to leggings!)

    We had a quick tour of Cowichan Bay (it's quite small), drank more coffee, and had yummy baked goods at the artisan bakery where Andrea's husband works. Over coffee, Andrea talked to us about the history of the Salish people, their culture and customs, their blankets and sweaters. We learned about why there is controversy and why when I knit a Cowichan inspired sweater, I must say "inspired.” I am not of native Coast Salish decent, so thus, my sweater will never be a true Cowichan sweater.

    We learned about the origins of the fiber for the blankets (a fiber dog that is now extinct), and how hard it is now for Coast Salish to find local wool. A lot of the wool now comes from New Zealand and some are still spun by native Coast Salish using wheels made from retrofitted old treadle sewing machines.   

    The next morning after breakfast we headed out in search of Cowichan sweaters. We visited the farmers’ market in Duncan where we spotted many Cowichan sweaters "in the wild" as Andrea would say. The people that wore these sweaters were very friendly and were more than happy to let us photograph them and to share with us the stories about their sweaters.

     

    We then headed over to Hill's Native Art to purchase our very own sweater. When we arrived at Hill's we were pleased to see the woman working at theshop was knitting a sweater while we were shopping! She was so kind to show us her yarn, the spinning wheel she used, and what the fiber looked like before it was spun. I was so excited that I purchased two items -- a sweater vest knitted by Erma and a sweater that was hand knit by Esther, both Coast Salish from Cowichan Bay. We finished the day with a visit to a winery, a color work lesson, and then an amazing goat roast at Andrea's friend’s farm.

     

     

    Our last day in Cowichan Bay started off with coffee and a lesson on Cowichan sweater construction and pattern making. We then visited the most magical place, Whippletree Junction. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed on Sunday, including Bamboletta (I wanted to cry!), but one place was open -- Leola's Studio. Leola is a friend of Andrea with the most amazing studio filled with fiber, looms, spinning wheels, yarn, and blankets. Everywhere you turned there was something special to see. I definitely need to visit Whippletree Junction again (and Bamboletta!).

     

    Before we knew, it was time to head home. We loaded up Kathy's car with all our goodies and said goodbye to Andrea.  A most memorably weekend. Thank you.

    You can see more photos from our Cowichan retreat on Instagram, #cowichanretreat .

     

  • Getting Ready

    Fall is here and that means it is officially knitting (and crocheting!) season.  Winter will be here soon so it's time to make some warm, cozy and woolly wears for us and those we love.    It also means that Tolt Yarn and Wool needs to open!  Be sure to check your email (if you are on our email list), Facebook, Instagram or our Website for our official Grand Opening date which we will be announcing very soon!

    I have assembled an amazing staff including my manager, Clare, who has been very busy helping me get the shop ready to open.   There is so much to do and I need all the help I can get! 

    My husband has been doing last minute finish work on the building and once that is done he will start building more fixtures for the shop.  We have moved in some of the antique furniture that I have collected over the past few months and once all the products have been entered into our computer system, we can start stocking the shelves. 

     

    We will have some amazing lines here at Tolt.  Beautiful yarn such as those from Jill Draper, gift items like slippers from Padraig Cottage, and knitting bags and notions from great suppliers such as Fringe Supply Co. and SO MUCH MORE!  I am so excited to share this amazing space with all of you and look forward to building a community of fiber artists.

  • Summer fun!

    Last week was a blast! Thursday was Stitch N' Pitch at Safeco Field.  We didn't have a booth this year but we had t-shirts, we had buttons and we had a whole lot of fun!  Karen and I enjoyed the game (and I enjoyed the garlic fries!), saw bunch of knitters and visited other LYS booths. 



    Friday was the start of Timber Music Festival here in Carnation.  I can't say enough wonderful things about this event!  The music was amazing!  I especially enjoyed Bryan John Appleby and Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers.  My family met up with friends there and we all had a great time, especially the kids.  The event was really well organized, family friendly (there was a free kids concert on Saturday morning AND a root beer garden), and clean (Klean Kanteen was there to provide reusable water bottles and reusable beer cups).  The weather was perfect and it was so awesome to see all the concert goers enjoying the the river, the park and walking around our small town!  I can not wait for next years Timber Music Festival!  (You can see more photos on Instagram, hashtag #timberfest.) 




  • What We've Been Up To

    We have been very busy here at Tolt Yarn and Wool.  Greg has been working hard giving 4509 Tolt Ave a little face lift.



    If you have driven by recently you will notice the new corbels and the lovely new paint color.  There has also been a lot of improvements on the inside.  The old wood flooring was ripped out due to some rotting and radiant floor heating has been installed and soon the concrete floor will be poured.  Greg has salvaged most of the wood flooring and will put it to good use building fixtures and shelving.


  • Shearing Day

     

    Once a year we gather our sheep together for shearing. We send the newly shorn fleece to a mill where it is processed and returned to us in the form of skeins. I'm always surprised how many skeins are made from our little flock.  Take a look at the process below! 

     






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