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Friday, 27 November 2015

Helmshore Xmas Fair-happy and yet very, very sad......

Tomorrow, Saturday 28th November, is the wonderful Xmas Fair at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, with around 40 stalls, festive entertainment and great food.

However, sadly this may be the last such event at Helmshore, at least for the foreseeable future, as drastic financial cutbacks by Lancashire County Council have meant that the mill and Queen Street Mill in Burnley are due for closure early next year.

A campaign has been started to try to find investors, to fundraise and basically explore every possible avenue to keep this vital part of our cultural history alive.

Show your support by visiting the Xmas Fair and signing the petition, becoming involved as a volunteer, writing to your MP and anything else you can think of.

I shall endeavour to post updates as soon as I know what is due to happen next.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Kendal Wool Gathering

I had a fab time at Yarndale-my most successful selling event to date! It was great to see so many familiar friendly faces and make contact with customers new and old. There was also a lot of interest in the September weaving course at Waddow next year. I need to update my website and get organised.
After a few days enjoying the sun in a camper van in Scotland (yes we really did!) next on the horizon is Kendal Wool Gathering in 3 week's time.
I need a couple of weeks to recover first.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Fresh from the loom....

Getting ready for Yarndale in a couple of weeks...I have finally finished weaving the double weave windows scarves and they are waiting to be fringed, washed and pressed. Also finished is the iridescent double weave scarf in Tencel and colcolastic. Just labels and packing boxes to do and I will be ready....I will be on Stand 31 so come and say hello!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Return to Double Cloth Windows....

After a couple of years away, I am returning to my first love of double cloth, and weaving two block/two layer double weave windows in 2/2 twill. If you do the maths, you will see that this requires 16 shafts! The yarn is 2/48 wool sett at 80 ends per inch-40 per layer-and 80 picks per inch-so progress is slow. The reverse will be equally interesting but we will have to wait until the first scarf is off the loom before I can post of photo of that.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Follow the Thread 2015!!!

On Saturday and Sunday the 13th and 14th June, it will be the third Follow the Thread  event at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum! I shall, of course, be there again, demonstrating weaving and selling Estonian yarns, batts and pencil roving.....together with lots of other textile enthusiasts, including knitters, crocheters, spinners, embroiderers and others. There will also be alpacas to admire and opportunities to try your hand at a number of wonderful textile crafts.
See the website for more details!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Weaving in the Dordogne

I have just returned from a wonderful week in France, where I took part in a 3-day weaving workshop led by Marian Stubenitsky, based on her book "Weaving with Echo and Iris".
We focused on 8-shaft designs using network drafting to devise a threading in four colours, trying out a range of tie ups and lift sequences to create a variety of single and double layer fabrics, each one of which showed iridescence in a different way.
It was a fascinating, challenging and above all enjoyable few days in a beautiful Dordogne setting-with a great teacher and a group of like-minded weavers. Oh and not forgetting the excellent food and accommodation provided by our hosts, Gail and Mike Smith!

Monday, 30 March 2015


Well, it should be getting warmer but today there is a bitterly cold wind. In an attempt to brighten things up, I have some 16-shaft twill throws on the loom, in Estonian wool. The warp is red and I will use a different colour for the weft in each throw, together with a contrasting twill design for each throw. I wanted to add a contemporary twist by using some bright colour combinations.
On Sunday April 12th I will be at the Knit and Stitch show at the Rheged centre in Penrith so I had better get weaving!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

An Exciting New Product! Wool Pencil Roving!

I have not seen pencil roving like this for sale in the UK before! When I have visited the yarn factory in Estonia I have seen these beautiful multicoloured rolls of what looks like unspun knitting yarn and wondered what they were used for. Well, it seems one can use them in almost any textile craft there is, and they are widely used in the Baltic countries. Basically, the roll consists of a pencil thin length of washed, dyed, carded wool. The wool can then be rolled up into a ball, as in the photos, and knitted or crocheted as it is, or can be combined with a ready-spun yarn and knitted or crocheted, or used in all sorts of felt making, both wet and needle felting, to add fine detail. Moreover, the roving can be spun on a spinning wheel, again singly or in combination with other fibres and/or yarns to create original yarns, and used in the weft for weaving and tapestry weaving. So in effect it would seem to be a highly versatile item! I am starting to put together some samples which I hope to incorporate into my work and my teaching, and will be demonstrating its use whenever I get an opportunity. It is available in a wide range of single and mixed colours.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Why don't we have a UK-based weaving magazine????

Well, now I have decided to investigate the feasibility and possibility of publishing a magazine aimed predominantly at UK weavers and English-speaking weavers around Europe. There really is not anything available which contains weaving projects using yarns, materials and equipment widely available in the UK.
The Journal is certainly a fine publication for weavers, spinners and dyers but does not often contain projects and guidance for weavers.
Handwoven magazine has its merits but the ads are all for sellers in America or Canada and the yarns used in projects are often incompatible with those we use here in the UK-or at least, the terminology used to describe them often differs from the familiar usage over this side of the pond.
So, I am looking into it-I am putting out feelers, speaking with self-publishers and weavers-if any of you have thoughts, ideas or words of warning on this issue, please do let me know!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Nearly February already......

Where has January gone???
I have been weaving samples for some new cushions, preparing for the forthcoming Waddow Weekend of Weaving next month and generally finishing off items for an Online Guild workshop-UFO's, or "Unfinished Objects"-a great idea for a new year project before embarking on new ventures.
So, here is a picture of my newly finished socks, including a nice shot of Tess's paw-she would not move out of the way-what a poser.

Exciting things planned for this year:

On February 7th I will be teaching another felt making workshop at Bridie's shop, Fine Yarns in Horwich. It is fully booked with a waiting list, and another date will soon be decided upon. This time, we shall be making a three-dimensional felt bowl.

My application is in for Woolfest, and I should hear in couple of weeks whether or not I have been selected this year.

20th-22nd of February is the Waddow Weekend! I can't wait! A reunion of last year's group together with a few new faces.

In May I am off to take part in the Weaving with Echo and Iridescence workshop with Marian Stubenitsky in the Dordogne for a week-well, somebody has to do it you know....

It will be the third Follow the Thread textiles event at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in July and there are a couple of other workshop opportunities in the pipeline over the summer.

In September I take over the tutoring of the Loom Weaving course at Alston Hall. Scary but exciting!

Lots of other plans too, plus my usual weaving classes in the weaving shed.

I feel like a really bad penpal who is only just getting in touch after a long silence!!