In this episode of Art on the Island, Maureen Bader interviews knitter and spinner Helene Racine. Helene and her husband have lived on the Island for 21, moving here after living six years in the Arctic.  One learning experience from Arctic living is learning to make do with what they had when they got to the island.

Maureen Bader
Helene Racine - Art on the Island

Helene Racine: Spinning & Wool

Helene’s main activity is working with wool, and spins quite a bit of wool from fibers from different sheep, such as Marino. Listen as Helene describes how different wool sources give different products. 

Helene took up wool spinning after moving to Cortes, as spinning is done more by feel instead of visually, so is a good activity to do in the winter with low light. Helene also knits shawls, ponchos hats and blankets. Helene’s mother first taught her knitting, but since then she is mostly self-taught.

Did you know wool fibre has scales? Listen as Helene describes how wool fibers connect together to create long strands that eventually make balls of wool. 

You can hear how Helene just loves wool and why during the interview. 

Helene explains the difference between spinning wool and weaving. She explains the difference in rhythm while weaving and how she uses the various processes to achieve different things. 

Helene talks about where she buys her wool and fabrics, and finds the convenience of online shopping very attractive. World of Wool is one online source, and fabrics at Sew Sisters and National Canadian Fabric. She has sourced some wool here on the island that she enjoyed working with.

Helene markets her work at the Gorge market in the summer and at Manson’s throughout the year with Jo-Anne Thompson.


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