Friday 16 August 2013

It's been a busy few months, with a talk on silkworms for the London Guild, a Natural Dye Workshop for Tawe Guild and a week teaching Designer Spinning at the Association Summer School, held this year in Carmarthen.

 My students and I spent a wonderful week designing yarns from inspirational pictures that each one had brought with them and we also managed two group projects. Students chose either to select fibres that related to a blue picture, or fibres that related to an orange picture, made a giant batt of the fibre selections then divided the batt between them and spun the yarns.

The Blue Yarns

The Orange Yarns

In addition, the students all produced wonderful work from their own inspirational material and we explored many spinning techniques to produce the huge range of yarns produced. Among the techniques we tried were:
hand carding and long woollen draw refresher; core yarns; coil yarns; cable yarns; wraps; boucle; entrapment yarns using fibres and fabric; bead yarns; snarl yarns; blended  batts; Navajo ply; all sorts of insertions, including washers and press studs.......

I am extremely proud of Ineke, Jane W, Joanna, Carolyn, Sue, Jane S, Helen, Carol, Christine and Hilary and I hope they are proud of themselves!

Below are images of their work:


Saturday 15 June 2013

A Busy Week...

Last Friday I had the pleasure of teaching two workshops at the Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey. They are only two hours so one can't expect to achieve a lot but what a wonderful set of students!
The first was 3D weaving - those amongst you who are weavers will understand that this is a concept that has limitless potential but I confined myself to two options.
The first was to use a cardboard tube (the inside of a tube of wrapping paper for straight sided pots and cardboard cones from weaving yarns for pots with narrower bottoms than tops) used to support the warp whilst the tapestry technique was employed to produce a weft faced fabric.
The second option was to use willow prunings to create areas of fabric in the spaces between the branches.
Willow branch in progress
Finished branch
Pot in progress

Finished pot, though the ends still need to be clipped

The afternoon session was the perennial favourite, indigo dyeing

We made a vat, stronger than I would normally make but in two hours there isn't much opportunity to hang around!
We clamped, stitched and tortured cloth in various ways, wetted the pieces out, then dipped them in the indigo. Then came that 'Ahh..' moment when the cloth started to turn blue, the stitching was removed and the white patterns on blue revealed.
Cloth emerging from vat and just beginning to turn blue as the oxygen returns to it
The star of the show! Anna, the felting tutor, had this example of nuno felting with devore to show her class. It was a pale orangey/yellow and she bravely put it in the indigo. It is just glorious!

Some of our results

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Anne Field

Like the rest of the spinning and weaving world, I am so sorry to hear of the death of Anne Field. She was an inspirational teacher, a wonderful craftswoman and a lovely person. I saw her last about 14 months ago in Christchurch when she took me on a tour of that devastated city, taking care to show me the positive things that were emerging from the chaos. She was cheerful and looking forward to her teaching trips overseas. Sadly, this wasn't to be and the cancer she had fought for so long returned with a vengence. I will miss her and treasure the memories of that last visit to Christchurch. The textile community has lost one our heroines

Monday 27 May 2013

Happy New Year!

I realise of course that the end of the May is hardly an appropriate time to wish people a HNY, but it seems that for some reason I haven't posted here this year!

I have been busy with lots of things, including working at the wonderful Leewood, , teaching spinning, weaving and dyeing. The course dates are on the website under Textile Diary, but do check with me about the costs....

My first batch of silkworms are hatching, though they have slowed down now the weather has turned wintery again and I wonder how my dye garden at Leewood is faring. We are growing woad, weld, tansy, saw-wort, soapwort, Japanese indigo, madder, golden rod, achillea, dark red dahlias and more.
Pictures sooner rather than later, I hope!

On the weaving front, I am working my way through the samples that I started with Ann Richards last year and learning a lot, even that Ashenhurst doesn't necessarily have to make your brain hurt!
I have just designed a yarn for Yarnmaker but you'll have to wait for the issue to be published to find out about that.

Next on my list is the work I need to do for the course I am teaching at the Association of GWSD Summer School, in Wales in August.

Highlights since I last blogged have been the Spring Course in The Netherlands, at and the birth of a little black Wensleydale at Leewood - I bagged the fleece within minutes of her birth!