Category Archives: monthly meeting

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.

 

 

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Lichen Dyeing Talk

On the morning before Cathy O’Brien from the Gwynedd Guild of WSD came to talk to us about lichen dyeing, there was some bantering about the pronunciation of the word: was it ‘litchen’ or ‘like-en’. No consensus was reached it has to be said, both sides stuck to their guns!

We had been looking forward to her visit and were not disappointed.

First we were given a brief historical perspective of dyeing including the Romans and the manufacturing of the very secretive Scottish ‘cudbear’, plus the term ‘crottle’ which is a Gaelic name for lichens. Here is a link if you wish for more info about cudbear.

She led us through her own journey in researching lichens and dyeing after a visit to Tenerife  where she learned of the role of that island in exporting lichens for use in dyeing. One of the ones that grows there like a weed is roccella . Unfortunately for us it doesn’t grow here in the UK (unless you know better!)

Lots of examples were on display, both fresh and dried and Cathy  talked us through recognition, collecting and drying before explaining the different methods of extracting the dye: boiling method, ammonia method, together with photo-oxidising dyes. This was accompanied by photos, notes and examples of yarn she had dyed.

Cathy is still on her journey experimenting with lichen dyeing but was happy to let us join in and share her knowledge. If anyone decides  to have a go at this a reference book and magnifying glass are recommended as some lichens look very much alike and others are protected.

You can find out more here

Pamphlet guide info here and here 

 

Thanks to Cathy for an inspiring talk!

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Showing and telling

Our February meeting was a bit – well, plagued by the weather, and in a different venue to normal due to redecorating. But some intrepid members managed to battle their way through the storms and find the alternative location and bring some lovely things to show us. There was no unifying theme this year, just ‘bring something that has been completed recently, and that fits into our crafts’.

There was a piece of Saori weaving,

Sue's weaving

which the member concerned has just started doing. She’s done some more traditional weaving in the past, and thought she’d have a go at the more relaxed, informal Saori style. On balance, though, she thinks that she prefers the traditional approach.

This is part of a throw – one that you throw over your shoulders rather than over a chair.

throw

It’s a sampler, really, of various stitches and natural colours. The member who made it was also wearing a jumper in a similar style, but in indigo.

Next came two things from the same person, a knitted and felted bag and this beautiful fine lace shawl which was knitted in some fine Shetland wool bought in Lerwick, and dyed back at home:

shawl

In complete contrast was this cushion from another member,

Cushion

(apologies for the slighly fuzzy photo). It’s been made on a peg loom, in natural handspun fleece. You can do some really interesting things with peg looms; it’s worth experimenting.

And taking in yet another textile craft, there was this rag rug.

rag rug

It was made using the hooking technique, rather than prodding, and took about six old jumpers and T-shirts, plus some bits. The fabric for the border was dyed to match the central flower, and a blue T-shirt was overdyed with onion skins to get the green. It was worked freehand – not on a frame.

Apologies if your items didn’t make it onto this blog post – but what a range of textile crafts we covered, and huge respect to the members who braved the storm!

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.

Dyeing with leaves (and all sorts of weather)

The dyeing picnic this year was – um – let’s just say that we had every sort of weather possible except snow and thunderstorms. It really didn’t look promising at the start,

weather

as a few intrepid dyers gathered under the gazebo (the slightly less intrepid sheltered in the house for a bit). Our theme this year was dyeing with leaves, and there was a selection of leaves and a few prepared extracts for us to play with:

dye materials

Many had to be chopped, and soon we were all busy either chopping

chop chop

or attempting to shelter the stoves from the wind, which was blowing a hooley and seemed determined to blow out the gas burners. It did not win!

Yarn was soaking and soon the first dyepots were on: gorse with a copper solution, tansy with no mordant (and no picture, either) and fuchsia with vinegar as a modifier:

They were followed by privet with copper, blackberry leaves with alum, dock with copper, birch with alum, birch with copper, and finally, comfrey with copper and iron, from solution. We also had some crack willow in solution.

There were signs that the weather was improving and, dyebaths bubbling nicely, we broke for lunch. Lunch and the meringues from heaven:

yum

They’re traditional, honestly. You can’t dye anything at all without meringues. Really.

So what did we get, apart from sticky hands? The weather had indeed improved enormously; the sun came out, waterproofs could be dscarded, and though the wind hadn’t dropped, it did perform one very useful function: drying our skeins really quickly!

a few skeins

The pink, incidentally, is the fuchsia, and those are handspun skeins. Below are some commercially spun ones, which took the dyes differently (more thoroughly, generally, which is probably down to commercial scouring – but fuchsia here turned out khaki).

browns

It was a lovely day, weather or no weather. Here are some more images.

Thanks to Ann for her hospitality, and to Jean for the workshop, for all the hard work and the inspiration.

Workshops work

Our April meeting involved a show and tell, where members brought in some of the things they had either done in the workshops over the previous year, or which they had gone on to create after being in the workshops.

Many people had a go at weaving a beret (it was something a member had been seen doing at the dyeing picnic, and she was inundated with requests to demonstrate, resulting in a workshop). Here’s one, in pinks:

beret

The focus on weaving – a bit unusual for us, but it shouldn’t be – had continued with one of our regular ‘spin and weave’ sessions deliberately focusing on it instead of spinning (well, as well as spinning, of course – details in the previous post). There was lots of inspirational work, and among which was some purple saori-style weaving… well, here it is, off the loom and made into a jacket, incorporating felted panels as well:

wow

There was more weaving, too, of a more classic style:

IMG_4892

Let’s have a closer look:

IMG_4893 IMG_4894

as well as knitting:

IMG_4895 IMG_4898

and felting, reminding us that the next workshop is on felted landscapes. The felting workshops are always very popular, and there’s a list of what to bring along on the Events and Meetings page (click on the menu at the top). So here’s some inspiration:

gorgeous!

That’s 19 May, in case you were wondering how long you had to decide which landscape you were going to immortalise in wool!

 

Bring your looms!

Firstly, apologies for the delay in this post – deadlines, deadlines and work, work, work.

For our March meeting, which was a ‘spinning and weaving’ session, we decided to focus on the weaving. After all, we are the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and many of us have looms which we barely use, don’t use as much as we’d like, or are unsure of how to use. So we decided that it would be a good idea to encourage people to bring along their looms.

And they did! We had everything from a small, school-style loom,

small loom

to an assortment of planks which, when assembled, turned out to be a ladder loom:

ladder loom 1

One member was doing some almost saori-style weaving,

purple haze

while others were taking a more classical approach,

orange delight

Here are some more pictures from the day, including progress on the ladder loom; just click on an image for a slideshow. oh – don’t forget that the May meeting is an ever-popular felting workshop; there’s a list of things to bring on the ‘events’ page.