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

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.



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!