Monday, 28 December 2015

2016 programme

Our programme for 2016 is built around the theme of colour, from working with colour theory to our Guild challenge project.  We've put together a schedule of events including Guild skillshares and workshops to allow us to explore, learn and play with colour.  Full details of our programme are available here.  Meeting notes are also available for members.  If you would like a copy, please email us.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Farewell to 2015

This week saw our end of year party, where we saw off the year in traditional Guild style.  Our programme for next year will be finalised at the next Committee meeting and ready to roll from January 1st.  There will be lots to look forward to, with a themed programme of events and meetings to take us through 2016.

Watch this space for more detail.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Tapestry weaving workshop

with Jane Freear

Our final externally tutored workshop for the year was on Tapestry Weaving, tutored by Jane Freear.  We were lucky to persuade Jane to come south before the weather turned.  Our first workshop held in our new home at Flitwick Village Hall, where we certainly had room to move around. 

Jane packed an awful lot into a fairly short space of time.  At the beginning, Jane said that after a day weaving, she would be worn out.  By the end of the day, we all agreed. 

Everybody learned something from blending colour to create depth to texture techniques.  As usual, cake and goodies were in constant supply, along with tea and coffee.  Much needed, as concentration was the order of the day.

Click on the image below to see our photo gallery from the day.

Click the image to see photo gallery

Monday, 16 November 2015


Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
The Association acts as a clearing house, a central coordinating body. The objectives of the Association are the preservation and improvement of the craftsmanship in hand weaving, spinning and dyeing for the benefit of the public and the promotion of public education in such craftsmanship.  See website.

British Coloured Sheep Breeders Association
Helps to promote members' sheep and their products and aims to improve the wool quality and colour. They also publish the Coloured Sheep and handspinners fleece directory (£3.50 non-members) and a quarterly newsletter. (Subscription £12.50 pa including newsletter and directory). See website.

British Wool Marketing Board
Offers a range of fleeces have been specially selected by the British Wool Marketing Board to cover a wide range of hand-spinning requirements. Contact details here.

UK Fibre Related Events

Some dates for your diary ....?

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016 - 18 & 19 March
A celebration of all things related to yarn, wool, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving and felting - in Edinburgh, Scotland! A fantastic market place with around 100 selected vendors and workshops and wrap it all up with other attractions.  See website.

Wonderwool Wales 2016 - 23 - 24 April
Exhibitors and trade stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning & crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished product.  Demonstrations and a selection of fibre animals on display including sheep, alpacas and angora rabbits.  See website.

Woolfest 2016 - 24 & 25 June
Woolfest was founded to provide a showcase and a celebration of the best of wool and wool crafts. The event is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours and skilled craftsmanship.  See website.
Fibre East 2016 - July
Fibre East is held annually in Bedfordshire, a two day celebration of all things wool (and fibre) related.   Fleece producers and fibre processors,  plant dye suppliers and spindle-makers,  equipment makers, rug-hooking kits and knitting kits. Timed for the start of the school holidays, Fibre-East is a family event, with refreshments and parking on site.  See website.

Bristol Wool Fair 2016 - 2 - 4 September
Bristol Wool Fair will be a fabulous three day festival celebrating wool, in all its glory.  See website.
Yarndale 2016 - 24 - 25 September
Described as a creative festival celebrating all things woolly and wonderful, Yarndale plays host to an impressive selection of talented and passionate exhibitors.  See website.
Shetland Wool Week 2016 - 24 September - 2 October
Shetland Wool Week is a world renowned celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands.  See website.
Bakewell Wool Gathering 2016 - 22 & 23 October
See website.
Kendal Wool Gathering 2016 - October 29 - 30
Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town’s wealth was built. Stands and stalls representing all aspects of commercial wool products, including carpets, looms, spinning wheels and crafts will be on display at the Lakes Outlet. Outside, there will be livestock, walks and talks. Linked fun events take place throughout Kendal. See website.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Fare thee well (for now)

Early in November, we waved farewell to a dearly loved member who was going travelling for a while.  Members of the group had been working in secret to not only organise a surprise party, complete with buffet, but an awesome cake and group gift as well.

Our cake maker extraordinaire did herself proud ....

with a themed cake that raised many smiles.

Many of the group had been working on the top secret project for quite a while, each square spun, knitted, crocheted or woven with additional yarn for the border as well. 
This was followed by a hardy volunteer putting the blanket together, crocheting for England.  The result was a beauty, and we knew that it would be treasured in it's new home. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Guild Skillshare - Focus on alpaca

One of our activities in October was our Guild skillshare on alpaca.  This followed closely on the heels of our visit to the alpaca farm, where we saw the fibre in motion!

Understanding how to select the right fleece for the right project is a skill best learned by handling the fibre, whilst having different attributes explained in detail.  That was exactly what this session achieved, providing a depth of knowledge on different types, grades and uses.

Our committee and helpers had sourced a variety of alpaca fleeces, from the very good to the best put in the bin category.  This was a real boon to our newbies, as the more inexperienced often don't know how to tell what is good, average or poor other than price. 

Our volunteer tutors went through how to select a good fleece, how to prepare it and then onto some spinning to see what we could make.  A 5ft table covered in alpaca fleece is not to be sneezed at, unless of course, you're inclined that way.

To finish off, we were all allowed to take some samples home to play with at our leisure.  Hopefully, we'll get to see what all the fluff turns into in the near future.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Guild Skillshare - Spinning Techniques

There is a wide range of skill within the Guild, some of us are relative newbies, with more enthusiasm than skill, and others are professionals or have many years of experience to share. Whilst we share skill and experience, as well as a few giggles and cakes at every meeting, our Guild skillshares are hosted by an experienced member bravely volunteering to host a more formal session.

This September, we held a spinning technique session, hosted by one of our highly skilled spinners.  Our tutor had done a lot of preparation and didn't seem at all fazed by the sea of eager pupils.

Everybody came away having gained something valuable from the session - its all too easy to get stuck into a rut - so our tutor's idea was to teach us to spin what we want. 

Our tutor showed us several ways to draft, spin and determine the thickness.  We would be shown a new technique, with lots of questions answered, and then sent off to play.

After spinning, came plying,  Again many different techniques to get a different outcome.

Below a before and after from one of our newbies ...

Two ply - thick and thin
Navajo ply - a firm DK/Aran
We only tapped into a little of our tutor's knowledge, so we're hoping for another session in the near future to expand on what we learned.  Hint, hint ......

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Lazy August Days

August seemed to be our month for getting out and about.  Firstly, our visit to the alpaca farm, kindly hosted by the farm owners.  For some, this was the first time they'd seen the fibre on the hoof.  For all, I think it was a lovely evening to be spinning in the late sunshine, surrounded by countryside and some rather curious alpacas.  Many thanks to our kind hosts for allowing us to come and play.
Our second outing was to our Guild friend's farm, where we got to ply and play in a lovely farmhouse. Anytime our host would like some house sitters, there is a list ....  thank you for having us.  Everybody brought goodies to eat at both outings, so we went home well rested and fed.  Speaking of which, what first appeared to be Tutankhamun's packed lunch turned out to be some natural dyeing in progress.

Friday, 31 July 2015

2015 Fibre East

also known as "a River ran through it"

The Guild was out in force this year for Fibre East.  As we have for the past couple of years, we manned a stand in the Have a Go tent to demonstrate what the Guild does to the public at large.

Our stand was a collection of work by the group, thoughtfully arranged by the stand team.  Each year we have a wide range of beautiful things created by the Guild to display.  Much thought goes into planning attendance at these events, from what we will display and how, to manning the demonstration and have a go area.

Both days were very busy with queues at points with folk waiting patiently to have a turn or to speak to one of our members. 

The centrepiece for our display was our group project, this year a shibori dyed kimono.  Rather like putting the display and demonstrations together, there was a lot of work done behind the scenes to get this ready to roll.

Click here or on the image below to see our photo gallery from the day.

Fibre East 2015 gallery

The floor here isn't shiny, that is the small river running through.  The weather was against us, particularly on the Saturday.  At the end of each day, everyone was glad to move about to warm up.  Despite this, the two days were a great success!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Out and about

Bletsoe Village Fete

A small contingent headed off to the village fete this year, not only setting up a very good display but gamely demonstrating for the public all day.  Good weather helped to make a very enjoyable day.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Guild Skillshare - Dyeing Workshop

Natural, Synthetic and Solar Dyeing

In May, we held a Guild skillshare with a focus on dyeing. Drawing on the depth of experience and skill available to us within the Guild, our tutors prepared a full programme for our session. There was lots to play with, looking at dyeing reds, indigo and synthetic dyes, as well as setting up solar dye jars.

Our volunteers had put a lot of work into preparing the day, from creating dyes and samples, to our attendees making mini skeins to dye.  We had three natural red dyes, madder, buckthorne bark and cochineal.  We also had an indigo dyebath to dye the shibori squares for the kimono, but then we were let loose on this as well.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

2015 Guild Project

The Shibori Kimono

This year we decided to do a collective project to make a kimono using shibori dyeing.  Our first session involved learning the preparation involved and different techniques for creating resist for the dye. We learned how to prepare squares for shibori, folded, tied and sewn, in preparation for indigo dyeing at our May meeting  when we are having a Dyeing Workshop.  There was even homework available for anyone who wanted to do more squares at home, in the end we had about 26 ready for dyeing.

The range of ideas came out in force as you can see from this sneak peek of the end product.  After all our hard work, kind volunteers took our efforts away to create the end product.  

An awful lot of work went into creating the final kimono.  Perhaps a good way to judge the end result was by the number of volunteers who were willing to "look after" it. :)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Silk Painting Workshop

with Lynn Carden-Matthews

We were very happy earlier this year to host a silk painting workshop by tutor Lynn Carden-Matthews. It was a really enjoyable session.  Our attendees started out a little tentatively, after all, silk does make you think that you have to be ladylike with it.  After a short while, you could see inspiration starting to flow, along with the paint.

By the end of the session, everyone had two lovely scarves ready to go.  You can see the variety in our photo gallery, no two were at all alike. 

Click here or on the image below to see our photo gallery from the day.

Silk painting gallery

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Guild Skillshare - Weaving for a Garment

The first Guild skillshare of the year was Weaving for a Garment.  There is a huge range of skill and experience available within the Guild, not least of which covers all forms of weaving. 

Our tutor kindly volunteered to lead weavers in planning, preparing and then weaving for a garment or similar project.  The idea was to be able to accurately plan the final product and then go through all the steps that would lead to the desired outcome.

Our weavers found the session very useful and began to work on their projects.  Weavers will continue working, with the expert advice of our tutor available to them.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


1st Tuesdays (7.30pm - 9.30pm) - 3rd Saturdays (10.30am-4.30pm), Flitwick Village Hall, MK45 1HP. More info under Find Us.  Get in touch: