Tag Archives: Guild events

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.

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The end of the year…

Well, that’s it for 2015. We’ve had our last meeting, the AGM, at which we all discussed what we wanted to do next year and came to some conclusions…

There’ll be a big workshop with an outside speaker (hopefully on freeform knitting and crochet, we felt like a bit of a change from the fabulous spinning and weaving ones we’ve had recently). There will also be several with internal experts (as it were – experts from among our membership, not gastroenterlogists), including another of the ever-popular felting workshops with Jean and another on weaving a bag on a box. Then there’s the dyeing picnic in the summer, and our version of Spinning in Public Day, which will be in August instead of the global date of September (September’s just too chancy weather-wise, and there are more people about in August). Details will be firmed up by the next meeting, which is 14 January.

Here are some of the things we got up to in 2015, very briefly…

As usual, there were spinning and weaving days, where we spin, crochet, chat, solve any problems we’re having among ourselves, chat, spin, weave, knit, chat…

sw1

One of our talented members led a crochet workshop:

sw2

and we learned about inkle loom weaving  (and had such fun choosing the materials, as well as doing the weaving):

sw3

We had a show and tell session on bags, which included several that had been knitted and then felted in the washing machine:

felted bag

and, of course, there was the dyeing picnic!

IMG_3095 IMG_3135

Then came a workshop on beret weaving,

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and many of went and spun in public at GreenWood Forest Park, a fabulous day which we are hoping to repeat – dates to be confirmed.

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Recently, we learned all about spinning to the crimp – fascinating, if daunting – and packed our bags and went down to the biennial All-Wales Guild Event in Llanidloes.

An inspiring and eventful year. Wonder what new things we’ll learn about next year? Watch this space!

 

The All Wales show, 2015

Saturday 31 October wasn’t just Halloween – it was also the biennial exhibition of the Welsh Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in the Minerva Centre in Llanidloes.

This is always a really inspiring day out – each Guild participates in a challenge and has a display area to show what they’ve been up to (and there’s a trade fair, ahem, ahem). The challenge was not easy this time – we had to somehow illustrate the 60th, diamond, anniversary of the GWSD. Several Guilds decided to use sheep as their theme, but we settled on a spinning wheel with a sparkly wheel made of diamond shapes in various techniques…

diamond wheeland for our display we used some of the shawls that members brought along to our ‘shawls, shawls, shawls’ show and tell day last year:

IMG_3997The Guild displays are always fascinating, so here are a selection from some of the other Guilds as well. There were more, but it was so busy that photography was not easy!

Here’s a quick gallery. Click on an image for a slideshow, and you’ll also see a caption telling you which Guild they belonged to. Lovely, lovely work.

Our next meeting is the AGM – when we decide as a group what we’re going to do in the meetings next year. Come along with all sorts of exciting ideas! Oh, and a dish for the lunch, and a wrapped present for the raffle…

Spinning in the green

… well, in GreenWood Forest Park, to be exact. Don’t know quite how to describe it, but let’s just say that if you’ve got kids it’s a wonderful place, and urge anyone who has never been on a people-propelled rollercoaster or done a barefoot trek to check out their website.

They also have crafts for visitors to investigate. Including ours, earlier this week:

starting spinWe were pleased to be invited to go and spin, and were even more pleased that it was a lovely day and that we were very comfortably ensconced in the craft area – we’d have been fine even if the weather had been less than lovely.

No sooner had we started to spread out our examples and set up our wheels than people started stopping and chatting – the first family had angora rabbits and were very keen to know if they could use their combings, and how. Drop spindles were produced, and it went on from there – one family of four took to spindling as though they’d been doing it for years. Wonderful!

natural spinnersThey are all going to take it up when they get home – mind you, we are probably responsible for several unusual present requests this winter too; enthusiasm extended to wheels and looms.

So it wasn’t just the drop spindles:

spinning wheel naturalsQuite a few teenagers instantly got spinning on a wheel (so envious) and were spinning beautifully within minutes of being shown how.

Adults, of course, got a look in too,

the drafting triangleand quite a few of them became proficient very quickly, as well.

Even those who wouldn’t have a try (and there were many who weren’t so brave) were very happy to stop and have a chat. We seized the opportunity to spread the word, and make people think a bit – about, for example, how every single thread in every single piece of fabric, from pants to ships’ sails, would once have been spun by hand.

first spin

That’s another person who’d never spun before. Look how even the thread is. See? Naturals.

We’d laid out a table of samples, everything from locks of different sheep breeds’ fleeces to finished garments and works in progress, and they also proved a great focus for discussion. We talked to everyone from grandmothers knitting for their grandchildren to a crochet-addicted mum and a daughter who had been collecting the bits of fleece that get caught in fence wire. It wasn’t just the women, either: we had men who were fascinated by the history and the simple but effective engineering of a wheel, and though we couldn’t persuade any of the men to have an actual go on a wheel, plenty of boys did. Come on, chaps – we all know male spinners, but they generally spin in relative privacy. Get your wheels out…

By the end of the afternoon, we were all quite tired and hoarse, but very, very pleased with our day, spinning in such an idyllic (and very friendly) setting. As the visitors began to drift away from the Park, we were able to assess the day – fabulous.

end of the dayPhew.

Here are some more photographs from our lovely day, spinning in public if not on the official September SIP day and taken in a few snatched moments, in between chats and demonstrations and setting up wheels and casting on knitting to show that yes, you can knit with handspun yarn, the finish is just a bit different. Hopefully, GreenWood will have us back. Fingers crossed!

A good start to the year

It was a bright but cold day when we gathered for the first time to spin and natter and catch up on everything that had happened since our AGM in November, so working with wool in the warm was highly appropriate. And there were some lovely colours being spun up, too – just the thing to cheer up January:

yum1This is one of the Wingham’s merino / silk blends,

and this is another:

yum2(It’s rather overspun, but your blog writer can be critical in public because it’s her own, and she is still recovering from hand injuries. It’ll sort itself out in the plying. Hopefully. )

Much better spun was some lovely alpaca:

alpacawhich is part of a marathon project. So very, very soft…

Here are two different approaches to some pastels:

Delicious.

And of course we were observed by a variety of stuffed sheep:

sheep 2though tying this one down with a strip of woven braid does seem a little cruel – but then one of the other wheels has a small stuffed sheep hanging from it by its neck. Possibly best not to comment.

The ‘spinning and weaving’ sessions are great places for new spinners to come and get started, to ask questions, receive help,

helpingand get to grips with the almost-unbreakable mechanics of a spinning wheel – here one of the Guild’s very straightforward Ashford traddies.

It’s also a perfect place to learn why you should never throw away old tights:?!It’s not pretty, it leads to odd looks from non-spinning members of the public (but so does carrying a spinning wheel about), but it works.

The details of this year’s programme are now up on the Events and Meetings page (as well as on the sidebar). See you soon!

 

Crafty books

It’s just as well that our February meeting wasn’t a week earlier, when the weather went a bit mad and treated us to hurricane-force gusts. As it was, most of our members made it to the meeting though some were bogged down with lambing – something that always crops up at this time of year. Anyone would think we like sheep…

The focus was on our favourite craft books this time – a show and tell, and afterwards we put our books out so that people could have a good look. It was interesting how many brought along some real old favourites – a fantastically useful 1970s book on crochet, for instance, or some classics on spinning (Mabel Ross – wonderful).

books and sample

The yarns in the pic above were spun following instructions in The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin, incidentally.

book1The older books attracted a lot of attention, particularly The Colour Cauldron by Sue Grierson on natural dyeing. Some of us had heard of this book but not seen it, so we had a good browse and made a mental note that we wanted it.

Unfortunately it was self-published and copies are not easy to find – there’s one online at a bookshop in Seattle, but that seems to be it at the moment. It covers all sorts of potential sources for dyes (including lichens, which are out of bounds unless they’ve fallen on the ground, but the rest of the book is so very inspiring that Seattle doesn’t seem that far away).

Another member brought her notebook from her days in Australia as well as some others  – she was the one who brought Mabel Ross along – and it included an interesting example of knitting with fleece:

notebook

This has to be tried!

There were books on the history of wool and textiles (The Book of Wool / Textiles of Wales); books on spinning (‘I wish I’d had it when I was learning, I’d have got off the ground much more quickly’ – that’s Anne Field’s Learning to Spin) and weaving. For some reason craft books in welsh are rarely produced, and one of us brought along Sampleri Cymreig by Joyce Jones, a book of Welsh embroidery patterns.

Creating Felt Pictures by Andrea Hunter also attracted a lot of attention – several of our members have seen her work in the flesh (as it were) and described it as ‘stunning’. There were quite a few others on felting too, from specific ones on particular items – bags, for instance – to more general ones. This jacket was inspired by Felting Fashion (Lizzie Houghton); love the colours.

jacket detail

And along the way we picked up tips. One member had brought a book on card weaving, but had been unable to find her cards. Another gave her a good alternative: beer mats.

Our next full session in March is a felting workshop. There are details of what to bring along on the Events page – and of course the Sunday Spinning is happening on 2 March. Do brave the weather (we can be fairly certain it will be doing something unpleasant, but we might be lucky) and come along!

All-Wales Gathering…

We do have a busy time in September – October: there are normal guild meetings, a Sunday spin, the Worldwide Spinning in Public Day and, every other year, the All-Wales Guild Event in Llanidloes. This was an every other year.

The Welsh Guilds get together, and each guild puts up a display of its work. This necessitates a lot of hammering and finding ladders, but we’d rehearsed what went where, so constructing ours was quite straightforward.

guild

Our display included a felted coat:

coat

which seemed to be the largest felted garment there, as well as handwoven (and handspun, but of course) items like this rug, and a couple of delicate Shetland shawls:

rug and shawl

There were also some cute felted bootees – we love our bootees.

bootees

There is also a Guild challenge, for which our Guild created an autumnal Green Man (mentioned a couple of posts ago), but the displays from the individual guilds are really inspirational. Oh, and there are also various traders selling everything from fleeces to dyes, books to batts, wheels and all sorts of spinning and weaving kit. But none of us went anywhere near that (much).  There is a great raffle, a trading area where items are sold to raise money to support the event and, in the afternoon, a speaker.

This year’s talk was wonderful – from Jim Gaffney of Textile Traders on collecting along the silk route – well, in Uzbekistan, Khirgizstan and into western China. Not only was Jim a fascinating speaker, he also had a superb collection of slides and some marvellous examples for us to pass round and examine. And these were not just the classic ikats of Central Asia, but beautiful embroideries and marvellous Khirgiz felting.

It was a lovely day out with like-minded people, so here’s a montage of some of the work from other guilds which attracted our attention. Lighting wasn’t brilliant for photography, so many images we’d have liked to include didn’t come out well (and apologies if something isn’t assigned to the right guild). This is a taster – the next one is in a couple of years time, so start getting ready now. Just click on an image for a slideshow (and click on the cross, top left on most browsers, to come back to the blog when you’re done).