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.



Show & Tell- Equipment

Well, it was that kind of session, with a lot of  ooohs! wows! what a good idea! not seen one of those before! how does that work? and so on…..

One of the first oohs! was the introduction of a Country Spinner- I don’t think many had seen one in real life and we were taken aback at the size of the bobbin and orifice


There were a variety of carders, hand carders- flat versus curved-


and very handy covers for them to protect the tines


Drum carders, Classic and Barnett


A variety of equipment, besides the carders, was  displayed to show how to blend fibres-

Blending boards- handmade at home and much, much cheaper than buying  readymade ones. Fibre is pressed into the board using a wallpaper paste brush. Small rolags made using large  and small knitting needles.


Homemade hackles with 6″ nails on one and metal Affro combs on the other and a selection of pottery and shell dizzes with a bead hook to help initially pull fibres through the diz.



There was a lovely warping board made by a member’s husband, who can turn his hand to anything


This a is a mudag, sometimes called a creelagh or murlagh. It is a basket once made in the Scottish Highlands but this was made by a Yorkshireman! It was used to hold fleece prior to spinning. The unusual shape meant fleece could be carded into rolags and placed by the fire  so the heat on the lanolin in the fleece would help with the spinning.


There were handy, handmade travelling, spinning machines- a rakestraw, and one made from a piece of wire


Here is  a Navajo spindle, the size of which brought a great big wow! It had to be about 4 foot in length, definitely not suitable to use whilst travelling!


Handmade Lazy Kates were in evidence


swifts, antique metal and wooden


Most of us have this type of ball winder

But just look at this beauty!


A lovely little weaving/darning tool and just look at the price!


I think this member’s husband should go into business with this Andean plying tool he made.


I’d never seen one of these before- a sailmaker’s palm


And here is a selection of items, not equipment, that members brought in to show us. Each one had a precious story behind it.


Thank you to all who brought in their treasures and made this such an interesting session.


Small Loom Weaving

A pleasing turnout for this session. We also welcomed three new members (** see below re membership/workshops) to our small Guild which is very good.

There were a few different small looms being demonstrated on.

There was a short  demonstration of basic pin loom weaving. This is a very quick and simple way to do small patchwork pieces that can be sewn together to make larger pieces.

There is a basic pattern on the pin loom .

then there are other patterns such as a herrringbone

One of the good things is that as you weave, the bottom of the warp fills up as you weave the top bit. You can easily make a 6″ square in 15 minutes! It’s also something you can put down and pick up at any time without worrying where you’re up to!

You can find tutorials at the Fibre Factory website  ,Work for Idle Hands here and Donna Kallner website

For more complex patterns, Weave-it Weaves can be downloaded here.

Mary demonstrated weaving on the inkle loom. She told me that her husband had made this  in hardwood for someone who then decided they wanted it in softwood. Thereby Mary inherited this by default and had to go to the library to learn how to use it. I think she’s mastered it well!

Anne showed us how to weave on the Zoom Loom

Can’t remember the name of this modern version but we used to do it on a wooden cotton reel with four nails stuck in the top, sitting in front of an open fire, listening to the wireless…..oh, those were the days…….. and it was called French Knitting then!

Just a few of my more rustic ones

After a busy morning and lunch, some relaxed knitting and spinning whilst others carried on weaving.

If you decide you want to get your own pin loom, they are easy enough to make. If you do decide to buy one, be selective- some look very nice but are expensive, others are more basic/rustic but work just as well. If you want to join an online group, there are many. I joined this facebook  group and also got my loom from Julie Kernow who is Admin on that page. She has some for sale now.

Here are just a few things I found online that can be made from pin loom squares- there are many more inspirational items out there. Click on an image for a slideshow.

Just a few more photos from the day.Click on a picture for the slideshow

If anyone wants to look into small looms further, here is a link at aLoomaNation with downloadable manuals and patterns.

*Reminder that the 21 June session is ‘Show and Tell Equipment’. Please bring your unusual, or handmade, or exotic, or strange, or even weird equipment to show us!

**Unfortunately, we have to limit the Dyeing Picnic in July, and the Nuno felting in September, to existing members only.



Mapuche Weaving


A couple of weeks ago we saw Liz Beasley of Ananuca visiting us at the Guild to show us how to do Mapuche weaving. Quite a few of us do weave but this was something quite different.


She started by giving us a brief background to her involvement with it and the people of S. Chile

Some of you might have seen them in action last year at Wonderwool:…/2017-show-events.html

I particularly like the handmade looms- they just pop into the forest and cut down suitable branches! Spindles are handmade often with clay, potatoes as the weight as strong yarn is needed for weaving their blankets, rugs and ponchos. They spin sheep’s wool and use plant dyes.…/mapuche-weaving-from-chile/


We first warped up our looms- an old picture frame-


Plastic tubing-


Another picture frame-


Two small willow wands were cut to divide the shed-


String heddles were made-



Then the weaving began-




Those of us used to working on rigid heddle looms found that with Mapuche, the weft needed to be pulled tight across the warp in order to create a good pattern. Some of us rigid heddlers started a new weave to achieve a better pattern.  Mapuche weaving patterns are warp based. Most of us worked on a simple pattern like the last photo. Some were more adventurous like the first few. Liz showed us some source books with the most intricate designs and like a lot of indigenous peoples, many communities have their own designs. They often tell a story and spiders (natural spinners and weavers!) feature strongly.

Liz gave us a comprehensive set of notes on  all the processes of mapuche weaving she had covered in this workshop- warping up,dividing sheds, creating string heddles, preparing the weft, creating a shuttle, weaving using the sheds, creating a fringe and for those who might be more adventurous, How to Build a Mapuche Loom!

Below are just a few pics of Liz’s weaving.


We want to thank Liz for a great session and would recommend anyone to take one of her workshops.