Dorset Buttons

A very well attended workshop run by Edna- and what a quiet, concentrated session it was!

She gave a lovely introduction briefly detailing the origins of the Dorset Button. You can find out more here and download tutorials here 


Edna brought along a wide range of buttons that she had  made


We started by casting on around the ring in blanket stitch


and then slicked these stitches to the back or inside the ring, leaving a smooth edge to the button.

Laying down of an even number of spokes for the warp comes next

Once this is complete the rounding can begin. This done by backstitching around the spokes from the centre outwards.

This forms the basic Crosswheel button.


There are many variations that can be done and a few were tried out



Edna then showed us how to make a Yorkshire button


And several had a go and ended up designing their own!



Yorkshire buttons tutorial can be found here  and here

And, of course, google images have an overwhelming display of both types of buttons- Dorset and Yorkshire


For those who love making buttons, this book has been recommended


Thanks to Edna who is a skilled and talented member of the Llyn Guild. It was a lovely day!



Calon Wlan held the Spring Fair at the Neuadd Goffa, Penygroes on Sunday 24 February and although it was quite a late arrangement, it was quite well attended.

There were  spinning demonstrations by the Llyn Guild WSD and a good display of work

Some visitors were surprised to find there was a Guild so local and asked many questions about spinning, weaving and dyeing methods. It was so lovely to see this interest. One young lady’s husband had bought her a couple of sheep, a wheel, carders and other equipment for Christmas and asked for advice on a variety of things.

We may have a couple or so new members at the next meeting! Also the original Guild spinning wheel may be going to a prospective new member, which is good news.

So thank you to Lilian, Carol, Jannicke and Sue for promoting our Guild and thank you to Rachel for supplying items to display.


Jannicke also brought along items for display from her craft and felting group, Floyd, based in Llanberis


Rose Green of Saorimor was here with her beautiful Japanese style weaving, demonstrating the craft as well as having articles for sale.


Another major contributor was Lucy of Patchwork Sheep

Besides setting up the Calon Wlan website and caring for a flock of 50 sheep, she also uses her fleeces to create beautiful objects. This is a selection of her work


Kathryn Parry of Gull Skull Designs returned again with her lovely woven and crochet work for sale


There were fleeces for sale


And alpaca fleece and yarn from Snowdonia Alpacas


Calon Wlan is a group that aims to bring together local sheep farmers and fibre craftspeople. It has been up and running for just a year. Last year a Wool and Fleece Fair was held in Penygroes and a Summer Fair at Hafod Y Llan, a National Trust farm near Beddgelert; both events were very well attended.

Research is  being undertaken by Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig at the request of Calon Wlan into the wool industry in North Wales. They are looking to see if there is a need for a micro-processing plant in North Wales. There has been a lot of interest in this. If you feel you can make a contribution, contact or ring 01766515946


A Gentle Start to 2019



It was good to see everyone after the Christmas/Solstice break and catch up with what members had been up to and what plans they had for the new year. Also a warm welcome to a new member, Janis.


This member was using up stash, colours of which were out of her comfort zone

See how muted these colours have become.


Using up stash by another member…..

And the beginnings of a West-Knit Penguono…..


It was so nice to see the return of people who had to miss  a few sessions in 2018. We look forward to seeing one or two others joining us again as soon as they are able.

Dates have been confirmed for the meetings this year with several workshops to learn new skills. Others may be added as and when so see Events and Meetings page for 2019.

Also, Spinning in Public Day, the Guild  trip to Newtown Textile Museum and Wool Board will be announced when details are confirmed.


After the initial meeting,  members got down to work –

‘Elf ‘n’ Safety were conspicuous by their absence at this demo…..!



No injuries were sustained and everyone was able to carry on spinning and knitting!


Sorry, knitters, I didn’t get any photos!

Thanks to Mary for organising the calendar for this year and Lilian, who  is in the process of organising outings.


2018 and all that

A Happy New Year,  Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i bawb!

What a busy year, so just a quick pan through some of the sessions we’ve had.

In February that lovely session with Cathy on lichen dyeing.


April gave us Liz with Mapuche weaving. A busy workshop.


Then in May, we had an in-house session with small loom demos.


June brought us  a ‘show and tell’ of equipment, from antique objects to handmade, and such a variety!


July…… a day we all look forward to….the Dyeing Picnic!


In July, we also did a ‘spin in public’ at lovely Caernarfon Castle where we made quite an impact!


A full house for the nuno felting workshop in September


Which brought us to the agm in November. Secret Santa raffle. (Thanks, loved the Ferrero Rocher, my absolute fave !)


We had a good discussion about next year’s calendar of events, workshops etc. Looks very promising.

There were quite a few entries for the Rita Walker trophy, using our fibre swap


And the winners were……..!

…..who will share the trophy for six months each.


After lunch, had a look at some of the items brought in by members. Once again, impressive skills demonstrated by members




Also in November, the Llyn Guild were invited to be involved with the Afon Eden Project which  the Snowdonia National Park Authority is committed to developing. It wants to involve people in the community in conserving the environment, and the important species in the local environment of Trawsfynydd.

Lilian , Sue and Bethan took up the offer to work in Ysgol Bro Wedd Wyn, Trawsfynydd, with a group of 7 & 8 year olds, introducing them to a variety of fibre-based skills – dyeing with natural plants, carding on hand and drum, spinning on spindle and wheel, needle-felting and weaving on card, weaving sticks, knitting dollies and bobbins. We hope to be going back in the new year to complete the work started and see how the children have got on with the equipment we left behind. Had a great time there and look forward to returning.

(Permission has been given by the parents, school and Park Authority to publish these photos on the Llyn Guild blog)



New calendar of events will be posted later in January once they have been confirmed at January 17 meeting

Thanks to all those who have helped to make 2018  a successful year. Looking forward to 2019!


Nuno felting

A large contingent arrived at  Neuadd Goffa , including visitors from Gwynedd Guild and a local lady ready for the workshop on nuno felting.

The name comes from the Japanese word “nuno” meaning cloth. This  felting technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show. Nuno felting often incorporates several layers of loose fibres combined to build up colour, texture, and/or design elements in the finished fabric.

It can be made in many weights to accommodate many different uses. You would make a very light weight nuno fabric by laying one layer of loose fiber onto an open weave fabric base, which would be suitable for a summer dress. A much heavier nuno fabric results from laying 3-4 layers of loose fibers onto an open weave base making fabric suitable for a winter coat. Fibre can be felted onto just one side of the fabric or both sides, giving a different effect each time.

Jean, who was leading the workshop, brought several examples of her work for us to look at

Large towels were laid out with a sheet of bubblewrap on top of which was laid the base fabric. Fibre was teased out and spread in fine, even layers going in opposite directions. Onto this fibre base was placed the design you had in mind- or just went for it in a zen way, with fingers crossed! All was sprayed with cool, soapy water. Over this was laid another sheet of bubblewrap.

However, some people did their own thing as they had a specific design in mind

We used plastic bags on our hands to rub over the bubblewrap to help the fibre to start penetrating into the fabric. Then the whole ‘sandwich’ was wrapped around reed matting or pipe insulation and rolled back and forth- for what seemed forever!

Deciding when it was ‘ready’ needed referral to Jean in many cases.  You’ll know it’s time to stop rolling when the fibres are making their way through the fabric. You can check this by feeling for them, pinching the fibre to see if it’s attached to the fabric or sometimes you can see they’ve come through.

Now, the piece can be rinsed in quite hot water which will help the final felting process and also remove the soap

The results were very interesting and different, depending on the fabric and fibre that was used


Thanks to Jean for another great session and for providing extra resources.




Spinning & Weaving

Just a simple spinning and weaving session this month….and once again, a little gift from Edna!

Although there were only about half of the members there, it was interesting to see how many different spinning wheels there were. There are probably more hiding at home, as I know for sure that some members have one or two or three or more and, of course, each one has to be different!


Someone was spinning silk


Someone was spinning the fleece of their pet sheep


Someone spun merino and silk blend with a hint of sparkle



Of course, there weren’t only eight spinners there; some were weaving and some were knitting and crocheting


Jannicke brought along her backstrap weaving which we were impressed with, reaffirming that you don’t have to spend large amounts on expensive equipment to produce a lovely piece of work.


Jean was wearing her nuno felted waistcoat

It is surprising how soft and supple this is. And of course, colour is the key.


A few months back, Jean put out a request for old jeans. She wanted to make a rug. Today, she brought in the finished article. There were quite a few umms and aaaaaaahs! It has to be said, these photos do not do it full justice.


Look at this lovely interpretation by Jean, of a Maggie Jackson shawl from her ‘Ireland’ book


Don’t forget to click on a photo to view the slideshow.


Spinning in Public

Spinning in Public is an international event usually held on the third Saturday in September.

(More SIP info here )

The  Llyn Guild decided this year to be different. To take into account the weather, school term times, holiday season and visitors to North Wales, we decided to have our session on a Tuesday in July at Caernarfon Castle.

For more information about the castle, tours and their Open Doors event in Sept, click here

The staff at the castle were very welcoming and accommodating, providing us with a gazebo in case of inclement weather. In fact, it was a sunny day with just the occasional gust which had us running and fetching back  bits of fleece, Guild  business cards, securing the Guild Board…….!


We were given a lovely little gift from Edna, one of our members, which started the day off beautifully


And then of course, down to business-

We had lots of  things on display for people to look at and handle – examples of different fleeces, natural dyed and acid dyed fleece and yarn, felted objects, knitted things, spinning and weaving equipment and tools. All these brought about a lot of comments and questions from  visitors. So many who stopped to check what we were doing commented that they had certainly picked the right day to visit the castle as our presence was a real bonus!

There were six of us there and we didn’t let up all the time we were there. Children (and an occasional adult) took part in weaving a rug on the peg loom and then had a go at stick weaving, which they then took home with them together with some card weaving.  Several children showed a real aptitude. Overseas visitor children were easily able to follow instructions.

Mary brought along fleece from one of her Shetland sheep and there was lots of touching and questions about it.


Lynne brought several skeins of yarn that she had coloured using natural dyes and quite a few children had big smiles on their faces when she let them keep one to take home!


Click on a picture to take you to a slideshow.


We all had a great day and hope to repeat it.

Thanks to Caernarfon Castle for allowing us to demonstrate there and to all the staff who were so welcoming.

Thanks also to Lilian for arranging this.





Dyeing Picnic July 2018

Well, we couldn’t have asked for better weather, considering the torrential downpours and buffeting winds of the last two years- no tying down of the gazebo and getting members, dressed in raincoats and wellies, to sit on chairs holding down the flapping side panels .

Although the sun didn’t appear till later, there was a warmth and calmness to the day even though the results of the dyeing weren’t always what was expected. We all put it down to the water!


This time we were looking at substantive dyeing; dyeing without any mordant.

A little more information about the two types of dyeing with plants can be found here .

Familiar things on the list –

Some things  not quite so familiar –

And three from our earlier in the year  talk  by Cathy O’Brien

The parmelia is found on the uplands, mainly on drystone walls; xanthoria is found on old trees; the cladonia, we’re not sure which one as there are so, so many, was found in the carpark by the beach! Some lichens are rare and are protected, so if you fancy trying this out, check first.


The dyepots were set up……..there were more but I got over-excited and missed a few.

These were brought up to boiling and then strained

Yarn was added

You might notice from the last photo that not all the dyebaths had been strained before adding the fibre. This was comfrey and quite a few hilarious minutes were passed trying to get the leaves out.However, one must note,  even Harris Tweed  cloth and garments have the occasional bit of vm in there so we are in good company!

One of the dyebaths was elder buckthorn bark to which was added soda ash.  Skeins of yarn were added and this will be fermented over 3 to 4 weeks. This solution can’t be boiled as the wool will simply disintegrate.

elder buckthorn bark


Jean had prepared some examples of what we could expect


The skeins, once removed from the dyepots were rinsed and hung out to dry in the glorious sunshine.

Some of ours did not achieve the same vibrancy as the examples. The xanthoria parietina should change from pink to blue as it oxidises in the air, and ours wasn’t quite there, even though several people said they could see it (Specsavers comes to mind).  And our woad, well, what can be said? Quite a failure! But that sparks an idea perhaps, for next year!

One strange result was Mary’s labels. All started off white and look how the different dyes were taken up




There are many books about natural dyeing. The go-to book, of course, is Jenny Dean’s Wild Colour

More about natural dyeing can be found here 

And, if you want know what flowers you can grow for dyeing, with recipes, look at this book


Thanks to Alan Silverside  for the most wonderful photos of lichens at Last Dragon Lichen

Thanks also to Hazel and Gwilym for donating the aronia berries at Aerona

Thanks to Ann Shingles for the use of her home in a beautiful location,

Thanks to Jean Rickford who has to plan, provide, manage,and organise our day (and us). She does it superbly ,too.