She spins a good yarn

Skye Donald spins her own yarn on a traditional spinning wheel in Erringto - Brenda Gough photo
Skye Donald spins her own yarn on a traditional spinning wheel in Erringto
— image credit: Brenda Gough photo

Those who know Skye Donald will tell you she is one busy lady. The woman who has thrown her hat into the ring to be elected the next director in Area F for the Regional District of Nanaimo is also very comfortable behind a spinning wheel.

For the last four years she has been spinning fibre and making yarn that she sells at the Errington Farmers Market.

Donald gets most of her material from her alpacas, which she raises on her farm in Errington. She also spins wool from sheep, which come from Lasqueti Island. She said the sheep live on the family farm and have been there since the very first settlement on the Island.

Donald is carrying on the family tradition of spinning wool and said she picked up the skill from her grandmother.

She said when her grandmother was unable to drive to the Bradley Centre in Coombs for the weekly spinning sessions; she drove her grandmother to the Thursday drop in group and joined in.

“I sat by a fantastic lady who taught me how to spin. That was about four years ago. It is a very social gathering. We sit and spin and we have show and tell,” she said.

She added they support each other and learn new techniques from one another.

Donald said she washes and dyes her own fibre and uses her spun yarn for knitting shawls and scarves which she also sells.

Spinning and weaving are among humanity’s oldest crafts and Donald’s foot-powered spinning machine was a hit at the Qualicum Beach Museum Family Day event Saturday, Sept. 24, where Donald explained to the youngsters on hand how the invention works.

When Donald isn’t knitting or spinning, she is teaching singing and performing opera.

Donald has been directing the choir at St. Stephens United church in Qualicum Beach for the last four years. She also sings with a Chamber choir based in Nanaimo.

The Island Consort Chamber Choir is a 15-voice community chamber choir whose repertoire is varied and loosely “classical,” focusing on sacred and secular music of the Late Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Donald said last May she did a recital for the opera society and this December she will be singing some solos for the Parksville and District Community Choir.

As director of the church choir she said she is excited about the challenging Christmas project they are working on which involves Polyphony music.

“It’s a challenge, but our choir is ready to do it and I am excited to do it. The music is over 300 years old. I made my own transcription. It was an exciting project and took a long time,” she said.

As a child, Donald sang in the church choir and in middle school she was one of the first members of the District 69 youth choir. At the same time she joined the adult choir at Knox United and continued to do music programs in high school.

“I sang my first Messiah in Grade 9. I had some really good leadership provided by Dottie Stokes at Knox.”

Donald said she is excited about her upcoming election campaign, which will be based on preserving the community’s values.

“I really value our rural atmosphere. We value our farm community and value our environment, too. Those are the things I am interested in.”



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