S/He savoured the hours of freedom and solitude…….

……much better than Lockdown or Corona blog don’t you think?!

How many times have we uttered the words ‘there’s not enough hours in the day’……..’I wish I had the time to do the things I really enjoy doing’ ?

Well, here are a few things some of our members have been creating since we last met in February – and doesn’t that seem an age away!

Some members’ contributions are in their own words.

First up is Robert-

With the expectation I will one day get a proper floor loom (c’mon universe, is there one out there waiting for me?) I’ve been exploring the whole new world (for me) of weft-faced rug weaving on my hand looms, in contrast to the balanced weaves I’ve been used to so far.  Feels like going back to basics, but it’s fun for this old dog to learn some new tricks and explore possibilities.
The attached pictures are of a sampler I’ve just taken off the loom.  I’ve used three different warp threadings side-by-side, described in one book as “double two-tie unit weave” and in another as more simply “plaited twills”.  Since it’s only a sampler I’ve been using up various balls of wool/acrylic knitting yarn, weaving in triple thickness. I’ve discovered that you can convert a balanced weave pattern to a weft-faced structure by ‘weaving in opposites’. Hope all that makes sense!
 Think I’ve got enough of an idea now to actually make some (albeit small) rugs…

Tania sent a photo of the ‘ingredients’ she was going to use , then followed with the art yarn she had spun. Her art yarn is wonderful!

 

Maureen has been very busy!

and also-

The Knee Rug conversion:

 

Step One:  Take one UFO (waistcoat) created from one of Tania’s lovely Art yarns,  add natural Merino handspun, solar dyed light aqua and micro wave dyed dark teal handspun yarns. Varying the ply and Art yarns will creates its own unique effect.

Step Two:  Remove stitching that originally formed the ‘waistcoat’. No re-knitting at this stage.

Step Three: Crochet together ‘waistcoat’ pieces to form a flat centre.

Step Four: As it was a herringbone knit, you’ll need to ‘fill in’ the corners to square it up.

Step Five: Pick up stitches around circumference on a long circular needle and knit in the round, until you have used up all your stash balls or attained the size you want for your Knee Rug.

Sit back, snuggle up and enjoy the pleasure of having rescued a UFO and created an even larger hole (or dint) in your stash!

More from Maureen!-

Peyote Beading came about when I did a workshop in Glen Innes with the very talented Joy Fletcher, who has won many Craft Show prizes for her far more complicated work than I have mastered.  Fortunately I still have a stash of beads and therefore an almost endless resource of little glass beads.

The Jumper was worked in commercial Bamboo yarn from my stash, in a top down style from a  Drops knitting pattern.

I love knitting socks, so I decided to make these using a double moss stitch just to take more time in doing them. I generally use commercial sock yarn.  On this occasion it was a random dyed Wrigglefingers hank.

 

 

Edna has completed the shawl she was working on at the February meeting. The puppy dogs are a fatal attraction for Edna. She makes them to sell to support the Jerry Green Animal Rescue where her daughter works.

 

Mary next-

I’ve just finished these knitted slippers for our son in Germany

 

I had already unpicked and washed the original shrug which I knitted in the early days of my spinning and never been entirely happy with. I’d decided on this wave pattern as it’s so easy and gives a nice scalloped edge, I’m quite pleased with it. It’s hand spun shetland and mostly dyed with onion skins. It was a good project for this time when there’s so much more time at home, I’ve since knitted a small jumper for our youngest grandson and am now wondering what to do next!

I hurt my back last week with too much gardening, so spent some time on my sewing machine instead. I’ve made several balloon balls for my grandchildren which are fun and safe to play with indoors.

I’ve washed some fleece from our brown sheep and am considering felting a rug, I’ll let you know how that turns out!

We await the update, Mary!

 

Jean has probably produced a lot more than these gloves, so we will await the next blog when no doubt she will surprise us!

At last I completed my fingerless gloves from yarn left over from the tunic I made some time ago, inspired by Lynn’s Domino workshop

 

I have just put  my felt sculpture out for the summer– in winter it would take off in the wind!

I think some of the winds we have here in North Wales would see it airborne any time of year! Might be taken for the prop from Portmeirion’s ‘The Prisoner’ rather than the Search & Rescue drone being trialled at Maes Awyr Caernarfon!

 

Wendy, one of our members who owns The Naked Spinner in Criccieth has  more time on her hands now after a hectic year

 

Ann has been doing more spinning than usual but has also been making wash bags for nurses, having done over two dozen at the last count.

 

She also has a wip which will be good to see when completed. She has such a good eye for colour in her spinning

 

Lynne has not had a good time recently after a very bad fall so is restricted in what she can do

 

Sue has been busy making Christmas presents

 

and a wip from 6 years ago which was to use up hand dyed, handspun stash but which I think I’ll have to begin again on larger needles as there is a variety of wool weights being used. Maybe I’ll get it finished if I’m happier with it…I’m winging it with the pattern anyway!

 

And  Ann Sh.  has made a mysterious piece of material that she intends making into a cushion cover but is having trouble uploading a photo- never mind, Ann, we’ll do a workshop on this for you!! Bring it along to the next meeting and I’ll put it in the blog then.

 

Meinir sent info re knitting keps for Key Workers-

Cap for Key Workers

Every year the Shetland Island host a week’s knitting event, comprising of classes, demonstrations and talks, Shetland Wool Week.. This year 2020, the event has been postponed due to the coronovirus.

Each year there is a patron who designs a cap pattern for the Wool Week and this year it is the well known Shetland designer Wilma Malcolmson who has created the official pattern, Katie’s Kep.

Talking to one of the Dutch tutors that teaches at Wool Week, Hadewych Van der Werf, she has asked people in her knitting class to knit the pattern and produce knitted caps to give to key workers as a way of appreciation for all their hard work and effort during this crisis.

Wilma Malcolmson has kindly agreed that the pattern may be used to knit a cap for Key Workers in North Wales and it may be downloaded for free from the web site the Shetland Wool Week . The cap is a fair isle pattern, with clear instructions, is suitable for those wishing to try some fair isle knitting for the first time or the more experienced knitter. You may have someone in mind to receive your finished hat, if so, please give it to them.

If there are any spare caps, please place in a clear sealed plastic bag, it’s up to you if you want to put a little note in with the cap, then please can you post to Katie’s Kep,c/o Tanrallt, Llangian, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 7LN .

The caps will be distributed to key workers in the voluntary/public service sectors to say thank you to the unsung heroes of this crisis.

This is being run in conjunction with the charity Awyr Las

 

So for now it’s goodbye and good wishes to all!

 

 

 

 

 

Show and Tell

Welcome to 2020, everyone!

And what a wonderful start it was; a great session of ‘Show & Tell’.  Once again, I’m amazed at the skills of our members – the words light and bushel come to mind!

It got off to a good start with Jannicke outlining what we would be doing at her tapestry weaving workshop in March. She brought along several samples of weavings she had done in the past.

 

In Norwegian this technique is called “billedvev”, meaning “picture weave”. This weaving technique is like weaving a puzzle, each area of colour is separate from but dependant  on the other areas at the same time.
This form of weaving was used to depict important political, historical and religious events including the Vikings.
Other examples can be seen here
Other samples Jannicke brought along were Krokbragd, a traditional Norwegian technique which is similar to the colourwork of Fair Isle weaving, as the same patterns are frequently used in both.

 

One of our talented rug weavers, Rachel, began to warp up a small loom in a figure of 8, to show others how to do this stage, which ideally should be prepared before the March workshop.  For this project, the warp needs to measure 14 cm either end and space the warp evenly. Jannicke will bring the necessary sticks to bring the 40 warp threads to the same plane.

 

Really looking forward to this session, Some of us already weave, some do not but I think we will all learn something new.

 

Talking of Rachel, she brought along a couple of her rugs to show us. She has a huge floor loom and weaves rugs as presents for special family celebrations such as a wedding .

She pointed out a slight ‘imperfection’, a ‘ladder’ in the rug, which led her on to talk about legends of indigenous peoples and their stories about spiders and ladders.

In Navajo culture, rug weavers would leave little imperfections along the borders in the shape of a line called ch’ihónít’i, which is translated into English as “spirit line” or “spirit pathway. The Navajos believe that when weaving a rug, the weaver entwines part of her being into the cloth. The spirit line allows this trapped part of the weaver’s spirit to safely exit the rug.

There is another story here

Much looking forward to our ‘Show & Tell Rugs’ at the  October meeting.

 

This year’s Association competition is ‘Still Waters’- a textile piece in any discipline to fit within a 6inch/15cm ring. A metal ring, a wooden embroidery ring or a cardboard circle covered with dyed and embroidered fabric are all appropriate.

Edna brought along a couple of 6″ rings, initially to give members an idea of how to create the basis for their project

She had made these some time ago, not based on the competition, and had used silk painting on one and made silk paper on the other. Silk paper is one thing I’ve never made and so Edna gave me instructions and sent me home with some silk. Thank you, Edna!

 

Lynne also whizzed by with her example of crochet in a ring….but I missed getting a photo. Sorry, Lynne!

 

Beryl showed us her cross stitch work and a little story behind each. Originally, she had decided to make herself  the Welsh dragon, but it had been so liked she presented it to them and so had to make another one which she is keeping for herself!

The Isles of Scilly map is a kit she bought to sew as St Mary’s was her birthplace. It is a lovely reminder of her family, some of whom still live there and who she was able to see when she got a chance to visit.

 

Beryl also knits and crochets hats, scarves, gloves etc for charity and brought along an example

 

She also brought a lovely cable hat she had knitted, saying that she doesn’t normally suit hats, but was rather taken with this one!

 

Weaving seems to be prevalent in this blog, for here now comes Robert!

He has three spinning wheels at home, but since he started weaving three years ago, they are collecting dust!

He began his weaving with traditional designs, working with angular patterns, rather like this later gradient wall hanging

but has since started experimenting with waves…

The warp he is using is cotton dyed with onion skins, a follow-on from our dyeing day last year.

 

Chris was next to show us her projects; fingerless mittens with a domino pattern and a  wet felted and needle felted item, photos of which I didn’t get as I was so overcome by the sight of the  aran sweater she was wearing. We have watched the progress of this being knitted over the past two years or so at various meetings and never expected to see the day it was finished…..but then again, as she says, she is a busy lady!

And isn’t it just beautiful.

 

This is a hand-stitched quilt in progress made by Mary as a present for a family member, the individual fabrics evoking relevant memories. Having handstitched one myself, I know how much time goes into this.

 

Also, I couldn’t resist posting this photo of a couple of Mary’s past creations. Her lovely  homegrown fleece, handspun, hand-dyed, handknitted Shetland jumper with her own design features, accessorized with her beautiful handfelted necklace from a previous workshop.

 

 

Maureen, from Australia,  brought along some of her work that she did
when she belonged to a guild in her home country. She handspun the merino  for this  knitted piece that can be worn either as a long skirt with a separate knitted halter-neck bodice, or as a dress. There are armlets to go with it and a separate yoke collar of space-dyed yarn. Just look closely at the photos for better detail. All in all, a wonderful piece!

 

She also brought along another project from when she was a member of her Australian guild. Their task, working with three different sized templates, was to produce different pattern designs to demonstrate their skills.

 

She was also wearing a lovely top-down knitted sweater…

 

Janis was next in line to show her yak,silk and merino shawl which was so soft. There was also her Shetland Wool Week beanie, a free pattern which can be downloaded from this site

She also brought along a piece of silk to show the shibori dyeing she had done, which was lovely!

Once again, sorry Janis, no photos.

On a positive note, last year  Janis brought along to show us some eco printing she had done and this has led to her leading a workshop for us in April. Another meeting to look forward to!

 

Jean brought along her ‘recycled’ cable sweater. She  handspun the yarn and dyed it with logwood and an alum mordant. ‘Recycled’ because it was knitted up and undone three times before she was satisfied with the design and fitting!

 

Our last ‘Show and Tell’ of the day was Glenda who could be called ‘the bag lady’ simply because each meeting she has a new project bag she has made! A couple of meetings ago it was mentioned about having a wrist bag to put a ball of wool in whilst knitting and lo and behold she goes and makes one!

 

And finally, hanging forlornly and anonymously on the wall, a gorgeous freeform weaving project which demonstrates a varied number of different stitches and knots

 

 

Thank you to all who brought in items for us to see. It was a great session attended by a good number who went on to spin, weave, knit, crochet and chat.

Please note that the calendar of meetings for 2020 has been updated here on the blog and on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/Llyn-Guild-of-Weavers-Spinners-and-Dyers-746018142239288/?ref=bookmarks

There is no epiblog today as this has been such a long blog, but I would welcome ideas for future ones.

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.

 

Epiblogue

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

 

 

 

Epiblogue

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…

knitting…

 

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!

 

Epiblogue:

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

weaving…

 

 

knitting…

 

crochet…

 

and, of course, spinning…

 

Some great ideas from some of our members…

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

 

Epiblogue:

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……..

 

 

Epiblogue

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.

Simply Spinning and Weaving

It’s April….where did March go?

Ah yes, lambing time-

 

So, just a short blog this time.

The session started with our usual meeting with much on the agenda. Lots of constructive discussion and thoughts. It’s great that we work so well together!

The  March session was just weaving and spinning, and there was plenty of that going on,

 

It was also good to welcome a new member, a textile artist who is preparing for an exhibition at Plas Glyn Y Weddw in Llanbedrog. Find out more about this lovely building here

 

Can’t remember what this fibre was, sorry……

But look how great it turned out-

 

Also, spinning from the fold

 

Look at the speed of this wheel!

 

Very impressed with the skills of some of our members – just look at these project bags

 

As I said, a short session for me as I had to leave early but others stayed on for the afternoon.

So folks, that’s it for now!

 

Epiblogue:-

 Snowdonia National Parks, Afon Eden Project at Ysgol Bro Hedd Wyn

Info about the Afon Eden project here

If you remember, from a previous blog post, here,  Llyn Guild of WSD had been invited to assist in this project by letting the children learn about sheep, fleece and wool through weaving, spinning and dyeing and other associated aspects in the journey of fleece to fabric.

The first  session took place back in November and we didn’t think the children would have taken so much in, it had been so hectic.

So we were quite surprised when we returned in 2019!

Lilian and Sue spent two mornings in March with the Year 3 & 4 children, their teacher Marian Jones and project officer, Sam Price, completing their part of the project.

The children had been busy with Christmas, the holidays, and were now getting ready for their Eisteddfod but they were ready to complete the work they had started; in fact some of them had taken the weavings home to work on.

 

These were the skills we taught

  • brief talk about the processes fleece go through to clean them
  • comparing strengths of plied fibres against straight fibres
  • dyeing fleece with plant materials- dock leaves, elderberries, sloes, blackberries, marigolds, onion skins, turmeric
  • hand carding fleece
  • drum carding
  • needle felting with fleece
  • spinning on spindles
  • spinning on a wheel
  • card weaving
  • stick weaving,
  • weaving on  French knitting bobbins
  • basic sewing stitches

Every child had a go at everything back in November, but at the two sessions in March they could choose to do whatever craft they wanted.

It was good to see them helping each other

 

We ended up with more than could fit on the project picture, so lots were left in class for the children to create a large class picture for the Eisteddfod , and also small pictures of their own. The equipment and extra fibre and yarn used in the project was left for the children to practise their skills further, and have fun, which I’m sure they will!

The beginning……

 

The middle……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think we all thoroughly enjoyed our time working on this project, the children learning lots of new skills. I did too! As the only non-Welsh speaker there, the children were happy to teach me a selection of topic- related words and also gave me homework! I also loved this ram with his lovely horns, so had to give him his own bit of stardom!

 

The completed picture will be displayed at Yr Ysgwrn alongside another exhibition,  ‘Treasures in Peatbogs’,  by Haf Roberts, the Cyfoeth ein Corsydd Officer , until 31 August 2019. So, a lovely day out for you this summer!

Thanks to Snowdonia National Parks, Gethin, Sam and Haf , Ysgol Bro Hedd Wyn staff and children, Lilian, Bethan and Sue.

Permission was given by the Park, the school and parents for the photos to be used on the Llyn Guild blog.