Category Archives: Guild

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.

 

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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.

 

 

A weaving workshop

As a Guild, many of us weave. We don’t necessarily bring looms to meetings, and we don’t always have weaving workshops – though there have been a few lately. Our most recent meeting was one, and this time looms were not needed. We were weaving bags on boxes.

The boxes had to be quite substantial because – as you can see – they had to withstand the pull on the warp….

Wine boxes – or in this case, a rum box – are ideal!

Then, once warped up, you can begin weaving.

There were quite a variety of approaches:

and everyone had a distinctive take.

There’s a lot to get done in one day, and hopefully some finished examples will be brought along to our next meeting, but here are some which were finished beforehand to demonstrate what can be achieved:

and how about this cutie?

(And apologies for the delay in posting, caused by a perfect storm: a combination of work, illness and computer problems, and huge thanks to Ramona for taking the photographs….)

Spinning in the new year

As is traditional now, our first meeting after Christmas is a spinning and weaving session.

ready to go

Of course, it’s also a catch up with friends session too… It’s great to see everyone again after the break, and several of us were delighted to return to spinning after the break too (the more diligent ones had never stopped).

starting out

We had some new faces come along too, which is lovely. This is some first spinning from one of our new members,

starting

which – we all tried to convince her, because it’s true – is a really good start, and it is impressive. She’s not going to have any problems.

Here’s another bobbin, whirling around this time, with an interesting blend on it:

blend

Our externally tutored workshop for this year is on blending – details are on the events page – which should be really exciting. We’ll be using drum carders, like this one

carder

which one of our members had at the meeting. She was using it to prep some of the fleece from her own shetlands, but the workshop will feature all sorts of wonderments!

Do check out the events page. The meetings are on the sidebar, but there’s more detail on the page. And this year sees the All Wales Guild event in Llanidloes (October), plus we’ll be spinning in public at Greenwood Forest Park again in the summer. Possibly with dinosaurs again…

Our AGM is fun!

There’s a common feeling that business, something like an AGM, of any group or club is potentially boring. Well, ours is not. First, we only spend about ten minutes doing the stuff that just has to be done. Then there’s lively debate and discussion about what speakers and activities we’d like for the next year (and we’ve got some great ones lined up; watch this space). There’s a lot of laughter. And of course there’s the plated lunch…

We do something for charity, and this year it was making twiddle muffs for dementia patients.

twiddle muff 1

The idea is to have a double-sided muff which combines texture and colour and three-dimensional objects and which can withstand commercial washing. These were spread out, and they were delightful.

twiddle muff 3

with a real feeling for design (twiddle muffs can sometimes seem madly random and a bit worrying – not these).

twiddle

Then there’s the competition, in memory of  one of our notable members. This year it was for a book cover, and there were some impressive entries across different crafts:

lace panel

We vote for the winner, hence the ‘Q’ label. And here is that winner,

book cover 2

Well, the winning book jacket, obviously. This is our winner:

winner!

(and note the beautiful garments worn by both women. What talent!)

The new schedule for 2017 will go up here, as soon as it’s all finalised. In the meanwhile, our next meeting is 12 January, for a spinning and weaving session.

The wisdom of knitters

Our February meeting, sneaking in at the end of the month, was a knitting one – an ‘open forum’, led by one of our members who is a sensational knitter:

knitted lace

It was full of tips and hints and suggestions. And reminders: like when you are working with handspun, don’t just knit a tension square (we all do, don’t we?) but wash and block it too.

  • For a neater buttonhole, one where you have to cast off stitches on one row and then cast them back on when you come back, use the ‘backward loop‘ cast on. It makes a neater finish. It’s also useful where you have to cast on stitches elsewhere in the body of whatever you’re knitting, too.
  • Are you running out of yarn, want to avoid joining more in the middle of a piece and wonder if you’ve got enough to get to the end of a row? Spread your knitting out, gently put the yarn round the whole thing twice, without pulling. If it reaches, you’ve likely got enough.

socks

  • How about socks? knitting them from the cuff down? Cast on with a larger size needle; it gives a bit of extra stretch on a cuff which could easily be too tight.
  • Also, try casting on one stitch more than the pattern says, and when you come to that point on the next row, k2tog. It gives a smoother edge, or you can knit the tail in with the first stitch of the next round. Both of these help you avoid the ‘little step’ effect.

And then we had a mattress stitch refresher. Our forum leader advised using the half-stitch method; it certainly gives a smoother finish (on both sides – if you follow the link, it’s the second of the two examples). Needle in, up two, then across: someone said that ‘ladder stitch’ would be a better name.

matress stitch

There were so many new ideas, reminders of techniques we had once used but had fallen out of the habit of doing, interesting tips and tricks. Then we were asked when we started knitting, and how. Almost everybody, except one, had learned to knit as a child or a teenager (that was another one only); five to eight was the general age bracket. Four people were even taught at school. One of our longest-serving members knitted socks during the war for sailors, and recalled going to collect the yarn. She remembered it very clearly: the wool they had to use made her hands sore. And her grandmother had knitted for a living.

It seems appropriate to be publishing this post on International Women’s Day, especially in the light of the reminder that so many British women in the past knitted for a livelihood, not for pleasure. We are lucky. And lucky to have had such a lovely day, talking about it.

patchwork

January (re)solutions

Our January meeting was a spinning and weaving and knitting and chatting one, and these are great for problem solving.

Problems like this:

fleece

part of a Teeswater fleece which had been meticulously combed and spun into fairly good singles. Plying was the problem, and soon many members became involved in offering help and suggestions.

It was just uneven:

ergh

with some parts barely plied at all, and other parts pretty good. In the end – once it had been established that the wheel (a new one) should have been going in the opposite direction, and once a little bit of fleece had been put under the bobbins on the lazy kate to stop them running away with themselves – a much more consistent result was produced.

better

It’s all about the rhythm. It really is. Rhythm and counting.

This is a perfect illustration of why the ‘spinning days’, as they are generally known, are such a great idea. They might not be as exciting as a workshop on which you can learn all sorts of new things, but they are every bit as valuable.

The next meeting is on 25 February, and is all about knitting, led by one of our talented members. Check out the events page for more details, including what to bring along.