Simply Spinning and Weaving

A very laid-back session, giving people a chance to chat and look at other people’s WIPs


A sampler made from the natural dyes used at this year’s dyeing picnic


A prolific art yarn spinner!



More weaving


There was also spinning


And a finished piece, not spinning, not weaving nor dyeing……… but a lovely handmade item nonetheless!


Once again, a very well-attended session and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks to all for sharing techniques and skills.



Nine members attended the All Wales Event held at the Minerva Centre, LLanidloes last month. People reported back that it was, again, a good day out. The displays were good (winner: Ceredigion Guild) and the ‘Patterns of Wales’ challenge boards were quite diverse.

One point was noted that the PA system for the talk was working well this year! It was also noted that there were not as many stalls nor the diversity of stalls as there had been in previous years. However, the raffle system worked well (except for the member who put her raffle ticket against the wrong item……and then won it!)

First of all, the Llyn Guild’s display and challenge board


A selection of the rest


And few more


Thank you to all those members who contributed a piece for the ‘Patterns of Wales’ challenge board and those who helped on the day by car-sharing and helping to put together/put up the displays. A good team effort!


Spindle Spinning


An excellent turnout for this workshop led by Chris Jukes, something we’d been looking forward to. It was busy,busy.

There were a couple of non-spinners amongst us, so Chris went over the  basics to start with.


She had a selection of spindles: turkish, top whorls and bottom whorls, round and square.


We were going to use top whorls but had the option to use our own spindles. I did take a photo of Edna’s spindle which must have been 2 foot long, but I can’t find it. Will add later!


The spindles we used had a hook at the top and three notches in the whorl. The leader is latched onto the hook and through the notch directly behind. The other notches are simply to balance the whorl.

Once we had the basics, made our leader and attached it to the hook, we were away!


There was laughter, a few mistakes, encouragement and always help and no tears!


One or two  had difficulty getting to grips with holding the fleece comfortably and Chris brought a selection of holders, bags  and distaffs for us to look at


Chris showed us how to wind  singles onto a tennis ball ready for plying


She demonstrated how to navajo ply


and also add beads or buttons


using her spindle kate


After plying we used a niddy noddy, book or arm to make our skeins!

Once again I was slow to get a group photo of all finished skeins and there was a great variety. Maybe Chris will let me have a few of her photos and I will add later.

If you want to see  more of Chris’s work look here

She also runs workshops at Plas Tan y Bwlch, Trigonos and this summer was in York doing workshops for the Association of WSDs

Thank you to Chris for a really great day- we learned a lot. Hope to see you again!


And of course, there were other activities going on as well


And a gorgeous development from a previous workshop on knitting techniques





On 22 June this year there was an Archaeological open day at Bryn Celli Ddu on Ynys Mon. Several craftspeople, in costume, were there demonstrating prehistoric crafts. It was lovely weather and there were lots of people there, making it a very successful day


I was very interested in the Neolithic textiles of Sally Pointer .


She grows her own flax and uses a spindle to spin linen. We were encouraged to have a go.


She demonstrated a form of weaving called sprang


Here is a selection of things she has made; click on a picture for a closer look and slideshow


She also has a youtube page here showing lots of different prehistoric and Roman ‘crafts’.

Working alongside her was her partner, Gareth, who was making glass beads by rubbing the glass on a stone. He used no modern tools just a wet gritty stone, a bowdrill and a flint stone- it was brilliant!

You can watch a video of them collecting Whitby Jet and making beads here


It was a lovely day ! I was so interested in the craftspeople and what they were doing, I forgot to go and check out the archaeological dig!

For anyone who has an interest in local archaeology here is a link




Dyeing Picnic

A lovely day in Pistyll with a great group , including another new member!

The weather was good to us if a little breezy, but the sun and the views made up for any shortcomings.


Our dyeing day is held as an introduction to dyeing, a taster session, inspiration for those new to natural dyeing. Even for those of us who have attended before, there is still the amazement factor when things turn out unexpectedly.

Jean ran through some of the basics of dyeing, especially for the newcomers, but also as a reminder to the rest of us. Cherry bark and walnut hulls are substantive dyes, ie. they need no mordant to ‘fix’ the dye to the fibre; adjective dyes do need a mordant; by using different mordants, dyers can often obtain a variety of colours and shades from the same dye; fermentive dyes need no heat or mordants. Fuller info can be found here


Today’s session was ‘Dyeing from the Kitchen Garden’. On the list were onions, spearmint, comfrey, red cabbage, herb marigolds, blackberries, cherry bark, dahlia, walnut hulls and elderberries. All of these items were collected by members and brought along- they were the ‘natural’ dye plants, not commercially bought .



Damp skeins were added to a hot alum solution, the most commonly-used mordant, and left for the fibre to take up the alum.

Meanwhile,  the dyes plants were being heated for about an hour. After removing  the damp skeins from the alum soak and squeezing out the excess liquid, the yarn was added to the dye pots




What is good about these days is the teamwork – people scurrying filling buckets with water, rinsing yarns for each other and hanging them up to dry, emptying buckets and of course those making cups of tea and coffee!


Look at the variety of colours here from onion skins. Skeins were dyed in onion skins alone and then removed. Iron was then added to the dyepot and some skeins were reintroduced for a short while. There was a variety of yarns too, some commercial, some handspun. This was one of the amazing results!That’s the fun with dyeing.


The results at the end of the day…




And a few more…




And,  of course,  there’s always something else being produced, whatever the main workshop is!…….



I always mean to photograph the lovely lunch everyone contributes to but somehow we are all sitting eating and chatting in the conservatory before I remember. One day! ( I’m sure Lynne will remind me, as she often does!)


Thanks go to Jean for once again leading the workshop and to Ann for the use of her cottage.


Simply Spinning and Weaving…with a bit of Show and Tell

June’s meeting was supposed to be a Fibre Show and Tell but became a ‘finished fibre’ show and tell!

We welcomed new members who came along with some lovely items to show…

And more…


Even more…


and even some sewing…


After the Show and Tell we had the fibre swap- 100g of fibre  in just two colours were randomly swapped amongst members. We can add a further 25g and create something to show at the November meeting for the Rita Walker trophy..

Normal activities then resumed.  There was there weaving…

and spinning…

there was crocheting…



and some beautiful handmade cards made by a member to raise funds for Jerry Green Dog Rescue where her daughter is Community Fundraiser…



and some nuno felting…


There was a good turnout of members attending and our numbers seem to be rising monthly, bringing new enthusiasm and skills to a lovely group. Great!



Calon Wlan again held their Fleece Fayre at the lovely National Trust farm, Hafod y Llan, near Bedgelert. It was a good day with plenty of fleeces for sale

lots of craft stalls


together with a variety of demonstrations


Thanks to Lilian, Chris and Sue who represented the Llyn Guild, demonstrating spinning and weaving and hands on sessions with both adults and children and answering many questions about our craft. So busy, in fact, that I didn’t take any photos of our group!!




Simply Spinning and Weaving – again!

What a tremendous turnout for our July Meeting! And another a new member.

There was a variety of things going on








and, of course, spinning…


Some great ideas from some of our members…

Looking forward to the next meeting- Dyeing from the Kitchen Garden!



The Llyn Guild decided  to hold the International Spin in Public Day in July again, rather than September, to take into account visitors and  holiday makers visiting Caernarfon, school holidays and, of course, the weather. I believe it was classed as one of the hottest days of the year, so we got that right!

As last year had been so successful and well- attended, it was decided to ask Caernarfon Castle if we could go again. It was a yes!


There were plenty of examples for visitors to look at and lots of questions were asked about the items


Sitting in the shade of the gazebo it was pleasant enough to demonstrate a variety of spinning and weaving skills


One member brought along her young son, and another brought her grandson and both involved themselves fully in the activities and were a great help.


Thanks to Mary and grandchild, Maureen, Rachel, Lynn, Edna, Tania and son and Lilian for promoting the skills of weaving and spinning on behalf of the Llyn Guild.

Special thanks to Lilian who organised the day from beginning to end. A lot of time and effort spent which resulted in a successful day. Thank you!



Plying Workshop

In May we once again welcomed Fiona Nesbit, a lady with a wealth of knowledge that she happily shares with all. Not only that, she arrived with a small toolkit and was good enough to check over members’ wheels. She also brought a lovely selection of fibre and yarns

She ran through a few points about spinning techniques, which was very helpful to newer spinners and a good reminder for ‘older’ ones!

S spun- anticlockwise; Z spun- clockwise

Singles are spun one direction and plying done in the opposite direction.

Image result for diagram s spun and z spun

Spinning chunky yarn needs less twist, so drive band goes on large whorl; spinning fine yarn needs more twist, so smaller whorl is used.

Lazy Kates, used for plying, are best tensioned.  Vertical ones are best placed slightly behind you and on a level with the wheel and horizontal ones on the floor


Fiona did a mesmerising demo of Navajo (chain) plying (which I am unable to upload to the blog) but there are many good videos on you tube. I like Sarah Anderson- she just gets on with it without the usual you tube mindless chatter. Watch it here. 

Navajo plying uses a single to create a slightly thicker 3 ply yarn which is a ’rounder’ yarn than 2 ply. It’s also used when spinning multicoloured fibre so the colours don’t create a ‘barber pole’ effect which would be the result with normal plying.


Fiona showed us a variety of ‘art’ yarns- boucle, beehive, lock spinning, corespinning and more-


We were also very taken with her felted bags


I’m afraid I was so busy spinning that I didn’t take any photos of completed plied yarns!

You can find out more about Fiona’s workshops at Shropshire Weavers 

She also has a facebook page


Thank you Fiona. All of us had a great day and we look forward to a future session!


Lattice-work Crochet

A well-attended workshop led by Lynne and supported by Edna- what a team they made! Both had brought along examples of the stitches we were going to learn

Lattice with textured ripple-


Solomon’s Knot –


A guide to Solomon’s knot crochet can be found here



Tunisian crochet –

A good basic tutorial for Tunisian crochet can be found here


We were a group with varying experience and ability with crochet and it was great to see those with more experience helping when others got stuck.

Our sample piece for latticework began with a chain of 33 with 5 extra for the turn-


Work was turned and a treble crocheted into the 3rd chain along, followed by a chain of 3 and a treble again into the next  3rd chain (Heck! I hope I’m giving the right instructions- Lynne, Edna shout out if it’s wrong! )


Once you get the hang of it and sort out treble crochet against double crochet…. or half treble…, or double treble….. or even triple treble……, bearing in mind UK terms are  different in some cases to USA….it’s then plain sailing……….!


Image result for crocheted sailing ship


Some were content to carry on simply with the lattice work,


Some added the wavy ripple effect. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos, as once again I was so involved with my crocheting! If anyone has carried on and wants to email me a photo of their work, I’ll add it to the blog.

The wavy effect is achieved by starting on  the foundation row of the lattice work- work 2 trebles into the bottom right hand side edge (downwards), 3 trebles into the the lower side (right to left), 3 trebles into the left hand side edge (upwards), 3 trebles along topside of lattice square (right to left)


Examples of different types of crochet  brought in by Lynne and Edna


It is so lovely to have members who have such a variety of skills and are happy to share them with the rest of the guild. So thank you, Lynne and Edna, for your time and talents.


And once again, members demonstrating other skills

And another, with a large square pin loom blanket. which might lead to another workshop………


And following on from the Dorset button workshop last month, Mary, who is making a bride’s, and bridesmaid’s dress, has decided to make her own buttons for this project……..




Whilst tidying the store cupboard I came across a lot of very interesting documents and photos relating to the setting up of the Llyn Guild of WSD in 1980. Here is some information by a member, I don’t know who, but a lovely little reminiscence about a founder member, the late Peggy  McGinn.

‘I moved to Wales in 1997 and was taken along to a meeting of the Lleyn Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and within half an hour I was having my first spinning lesson from Peggy.  Peggy was a founder member of the Guild which was started in 1980.

The idea for the Guild originated in the summer of 1980 when a few keen spinners, mainly from the Gwynedd Guild, met up to see if they could find a room to start a spinning club.

At the Guild’s 15th anniversary meeting Peggy said that “members of Gwynedd Guild from the Pen Llyn area have found it too difficult to attend meetings held in Bangor and had got together, and with a great deal of hard work, set up the Lleyn Guild”

Meetings were held monthly on the last Wednesday of the month at Glynlliffon College and within a few years they also started holding some full day meetings as it was felt that 2 hours was too short a time to learn a new craft. Meetings later moved to Penygroes Memorial Hall and eventually the evening meetings stopped and full day meetings were held every month.

Exhibitions were held in Caernarfon Castle, daily for two weeks in the summer. There was a great deal of interest shown by sightseers at the castle and many of the younger visitors were able to try their hand at spinning. The sale of items made by the members also helped to finance the Guild. lt was rather cold and damp sitting in the castle and it was a wonder that all the exhibitors did not get pneumonia (l believe that Peggy and Johnny nearly did)

Fleece to Garment Competitions were held at Penrhyn Castle and later at Plas Newydd on Anglesey with teams of 6 (later 5) from other guilds in the area competing. Johnny organised the event. Each team was provided with a bag of raw fleece, a pattern, and some fancy yarns and buttons to decorate the finished garment. The teams were only allowed 4 hours to finish the garment and it was quite amusing for onlookers to see 2 or 3 team members trying to finish knitting and sewing up the garment all at the same time. It was a tiring but most enjoyable day.

Tryfan Crafts was started to allow any craft people in the area to meet up for a day once a fortnight to knit, spin, weave and share ideas about any of their interests.

Various outings were organised by Peggy for the Guild including one memorable Mystery Trip which managed to keep everyone guessing until it reached its final destination. Somewhere to eat of course.

Peggy also arranged outings for Tryfan Crafts twice a year to Abakhan to stock up on craft materials. The first destination on arrival was always the cafe and then everyone bought large quantities of wool, material, cotton and craft items in general so that the coach was packed as we travelled home.

Over the years our members learnt many new crafts from outside. tutors and also from some of our own knowledgeable members too many to mention by name. There was dyeing, felting, crochet, weaving and much, much more. From Peggy we learnt how to make Dorset buttons and berets and she taught many of us to spin.

It is thanks to the hard work of Peggy and other like-minded members that the Lleyn Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is still thriving after 36 years.’

How lovely that Peggy’s legacy is carried on by present day members.