Category Archives: weaving

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….)

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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:

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Let’s have a closer look:

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as well as knitting:

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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.

 

 

 

Berets, spinning, knitting and repairs

Our September meeting was one of our ‘spinning and weaving’ sessions, and for once we had some people weaving (usually people just bring wheels rather than looms) – finishing off the woven berets from our August workshop. Some were finished:

and some were still works in progress:

(There was another finished one, but the owner/creator said she was wearing it once only, and could not be persuaded to put it on for a photograph – off, it just didn’t have the same impact.)

Meanwhile, many of us were spinning, and colour seemed to be the order of the day, from orange

orange fluff

in fluff, and in spun form:

spun orange

to blues and violets, both spun and plied (and ready to go):

blues

The emphasis on colour seemed to have spread to the knitting members brought along as well:

wow

though some of us were also working in natural fleece colours.

One of the great things about the Guild is that it is a wonderful place to sort out problems, whether they involve techniques, useful tips which can help find a solution or straightforward running repairs…

repairs in progress

Next month’s meeting is the ‘Spinning to the Crimp’ workshop, which should be interesting. Don’t forget that you can check out the events page for information on what to bring along!

Inkle looming

We haven’t had a weaving workshop for ages – but that changed on Thursday 23 April, when Fiona Nisbet came over to lead a workshop on inkle loom weaving. Lambing often means that out spring workshops are a bit lighter on numbers than they would otherwise be, but there were still a good number of keen weavers or potential weavers. Fiona has led workshops with us before, so we knew it would be good!

First, we were introduced to the basics of using an inkle loom.

inkle loomSeveral members already have their own, but others were either completely new to weaving or had not used an inkle loom before. Though they only produce comparatively narrow strips of woven fabric, these are ideal for things like bag handles:

inkle woven stripas here, where the inkle strips make a long handle on a handwoven bag and add to the whole in a most attractive way. But Fiona also introduced us to other, wilder, ways of using an inkle loom – for instance with wire:

inkle loom wire weavingwhich was something of a Marmite technique, with some people absolutely loving it and others feeling just as strongly the other way.

But this was all very well – how about working? Fiona gave us a great tip about colour selection, which would also help with choosing colours for stranded knitting – wrapping the colours round a piece of cardboard, secured with sellotape. For weaving, you can also use this to work out the relative amounts of each warp thread, the balance between them and the pattern you want to make:

IMG_1959Choices were made, and people soon got on to the fiddly process of warping up:

eekThe choices people made were so varied, with all sorts of yarns – the smoother the better, due to the extra fuzziness which can be created by the up and down movement of the warp – in use, from cottons to ribbons to ones with sequins:

IMG_1984Then Fiona explained how to actually weave on the inkle loom, creating the shed,

starting to weaveand we got down to it.

weaving(Admittedly this was from one of our experienced weavers, but the rest of us can catch up at home!)

Here’s a gallery of the day with some of Fiona’s lovely examples to inspire us, as well as our own work. Just click on an image for a slideshow.

 

And our next session is on bags (a show and tell, with spinning and weaving and knitting) which is a perfect follow up. Our show and tell meetings are really inspirational, so bring along as many types of bags as you can and tell us all about how they were made – wonder how many will have inkle-loom-woven handles?

Showing and telling

Our Thursday meeting recently was a show and tell session – we had one a while ago when a speaker couldn’t attend and it was a huge success, so we thought we’d have another. The first ‘show and tell’ was actually more of a problem-solving exercise following a natural dyeing disaster, but we soon settled into looking at people’s work. First up was this tea cosy,

teacosy

knitted in the early days of this branch of the Guild, when we had a cold room and a giant teapot. The panels cover all the stages from a sheep to a dye plant to a dye pot to a peg loom – and eventually back to a spinning wheel. It’s topped by a Dorset button, which gave us the idea for a workshop…

Then Mary showed us some adult slippers she had felted, following on from suggestions made at her very successful felted baby bootees workshop,

bootees

There are some refinements she wants to make, but they are already lovely.

We had weaving – from a floor rug and a peg-loom rug made from handspun local fleece,

peg loom

to a couple of fine scarves, one turquoise –

scarf

and one a deeper blue. The weaver was marooned in her remote old family cottage, and without a car or most of her equipment for five days. She’d put a warp on her loom and wove the turquoise scarf in a day – but then what? She’d no warping frame, nothing she needed, but she did have a little four-shaft table loom. So she searched about and found some wool and used a big stool, turned upside down, to do the warp. She cut it up, laboriously threaded the loom and wove another scarf. As she said later, ‘the fun I had doing it!’ – sometimes improvising can be just as enjoyable.

Next came an impressive Nuno-felted long jacket in shades of red,

jacket detail

and it had also been adapted and altered to make it work, though this time the improvising wasn’t down to a lack of resources but a ‘pattern’ which didn’t work that well in practice. It certainly does now.

There were a couple of knitted sweaters, both so beautifully spun that they looked like commercial yarn – except they had mcuh more life in them, of course. And one member brought a couple of gorgeous knitted shawls, one in plain undyed handspun Shetland (from her own sheep) and one

shawl

in some dye sample colours, bought from a supplier at the All Wales GWSD Event a couple of years ago. On the subject of which, the All Wales Event is coming round again – on October 5.

green manWe’ve been making a autumnal green man for the inter-guild competition, and now he’s assembled he is really impressive.

Here he is – let’s keep him nice and small in case of idea thieves – and most of us have added something. There are crocheted flowers in hand-dyed handspun, needle-felted leaves, knitted brambles, little acorns, a scatter of tatted leaves – even some fruit made out of small balls of handspun yarn. Details?

detailed man

That doesn’t give too much away!

How to test your willpower – sampling with Wingham…

The weather forecast for Thursday was not good – the return of winter was predicted – and we were to host a sampling day with Wingham Wools. Not only did they have to get to us from Yorkshire and return home safely, but we also knew that spinners were planning on coming from other North Wales guilds. Happily the worst of the weather was delayed, which was just as well…

We can use two rooms in the Penygroes hall, which meant that Winghams had plenty of room to spread out their goodies,

oh dear

and the spinners had plenty of room to set up their wheels or twirl their spindles.

wheels

There were over 30 wheels in the end, and quite a few spindle-twirlers.

So what did we find to play with? Plenty:

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like these merino/silk blends, with very helpful samples of them spun and knitted up – thanks, Ruth.

Or how about buying yarn for dyeing,

IMG_4708od3

or extending your range of equipment?

od4

or trying out different fibres, from yak to crab to milk protein?

od5

(Putting your hand into the cashmere / silk blend was like touching clouds. Only dry.)

There were all sorts of added extras – books, needles, embellishments, threads:

od7

and some yarns, such as those made from recycled sari silk.

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(And not just for knitting – what about unwinding these and blending them with other goodies on a drum carder, or using them in felting, or embroidery?)

Then you could make up your own blends of merino, or select colours for felting or just enjoying:

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The colour range was an incentive to try something new and different. Most of us gravitate towards particular colours, so why not try autumn hues if you usually choose pinks, or vice versa?

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And if you’d rather work with undyed fleece, there was plenty of choice of that too. Gotland, Shetland, BFL, Herdwick – plenty to fondle and decide upon.

But in the end, the huge advantage of a day like this lies in what it really is, quite apart from an exciting retail opportunity. It’s a sampling day, and boy did we sample.

sampling

And spend. Well, once tried, some things just had to be bought. Really!

Thanks to Winghams for such a lovely day; to our visitors and people from other guilds, notably Gwynedd and Abergele, and Dolgellau Sunday Market Spinners, for coming along; to all the members of our own guild who helped make the day such a success – and to the weather, for holding off with the return of winter for just long enough!

(And by the way, the Abergele Guild are having a friendship day on 14 April – all welcome, check out their blog: http://abergelewsd.blogspot.co.uk)