Sunday, 28 November 2010

Give Fleece a Chance Knitathon

This was very successful! We had spinners and knitters and the flock was increased significantly with more sheep on the go, including mine. We had two press photographers, one of them Mike Kinsey who as well as doing great photos is also half of the great husband and wife team who run the Oratory B&B, Highly recommended by friends who have stayed there.

We had a visit from Sally Vincent,, who keeps Whitefaced Dartmoors and is very supportive of the Campaign for Wool. Again and again we discover that instead of being a small, eccentric group of wool worshippers, we are part of a huge network of discontent over the woeful state of British wool: but the stopper is out of the bottle now, and we hope to make some real progress so that farmers, makers and consumers can have the benefit of a fair price for excellent fleece, cutting edge creations and the satisfaction of reducing carbon footprints by using what is locally available.

Right, off the soapbox and back to the loom!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Give Fleece a Chance!

Just a reminder to anyone out there within easy reach of Duchy Square, Princetown, that tomorrow is the Give Fleece a Chance Knit-Athon at DS Centre for Creativity. It is also Textile Friday - you can never have too much of a good thing!

On Monday, Claire Crompton and I went to visit Sandy Gilbert, to see her studio and work. We had a very enjoyable afternoon looking at sheep, angora goats, yarns, fibres and finished goods. Yummy!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Another week over and another week nearer Christmas! We have had some appalling weather and that may be responsible for the virus I've been suffering. It caused me to miss some exciting textile related jollifications: Women's Wellbeing Day in Sidmouth and KnitExpo in Exeter. I was supposed to be present/represented at both but in the end made neither.....

I'm inspired by Laverne Waddington's blog entry: and the fabulous weaving she has just seen in Peru - so many ideas, so little time!

I am experimenting with doubleweave pick-up at the moment and am getting more and more excited. I am also becoming infatuated with the idea of a drawloom....

Dying has been going well and this batch of yarn has really delighted me. The colours are Madder, from Coleur de Plantes, Cutch Waste and Dhak from Pure Tinctoria, mordanted with alum and cream of tartar on a 70% alpaca, 30% Blueface Leicester yarn from John Arbon: Glorious yarn and the dyeing has been fantastic.
I have some more in a different colourway but the skeins need tidying up before I photograph them.
The other really exciting thing that is happening in the dyeing part of my life is that I am going to ISEND next April. This will be a fantastic event and I am lucky to be going with several colleagues and friends - that always helps!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Another busy week has come to an end and I look back at all the things I promised myself would be done, and haven't!

On Thursday afternoon I went with Philippa and Laura, colleagues from Duchy Square,, to be interviewed on Radio Devon. Our interviewer was Fitz (David Fitzgerald) and if you should be interested, you can listen again online until Tuesday. We talked about Duchy Square Centre for Creativity, what it's for, what it is like being there and I got in a plug for using local fleece.

On Friday I ran a morning workshop for some of Peter Tavy Guild's weavers on how to read a weave draft. The discussion generated over the yummy soup and rolls lunch provided by Hilary, has resulted in our forming a weave study group. Striking while the iron is hot, I turned up at the Guild the following day with a challenge!

We are going to weave a minimum of 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8) samples, using only straight entry and black, white, grey and one colour for the warp. If all 10 of us do our bit, we shall have 80 samples to inspect in January. It will be really fascinating to see how different they will all be.

Tomorrow I am going to teach Lucie Ponsford ( natural dyeing. Lucie is a fantastic designer and she upcycles old clothes into the most fabulous new creations. Wednesday I am going to help a friend put up her new-to-her loom, Thursday a meeting with Claire Crompton, knitwear designer par excellence and creator of the Give Fleece a Chance ( project, Friday is Duchy Square Christmas Fair in the evening, and then on Saturday I will be in two places at once....I will be in one and my presence will be represented in the other as I have yet to master the ability to split myself in two.

I hope to find time to experiment with some delicious steel yarn I was given, so watch this space!

Monday, 1 November 2010


Well, Duchy Square Textile Fair has been and gone and was a rip-roaring success! We had some wonderful stalls, including Handweavers Gallery: , Fiery Felts, , KnitExpo, and many others - google Duchy Square Textile Fair for a complete list.

Now I have to get on with the work that has been piling up, including some weaving samples for Giles and Joanna of Avocet Alpacas, a double weave blanket in natural dyes for me - probably! - more dye experiments, work for the Christmas fairs that are rapidly coming up, and planning for the Fleece First exhibition that is being curated by my good friend Isabella Whitworth and will be held at the end of next year at Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

2011 will be a great year - the regular teaching visit to The Netherlands with Alison Daykin, Amanda Hannaford and I and next time we are delighted that Helen Melvin is joining the team. Then ISEND in La Rochelle in April, then the Fleece First exhibition in the autumn - all wonderful opportunities.

So rather than sitting in front of a computer, I should really do some work!