Friday, 9 December 2016

Season's Greetings

Members of Bedfordshire Guild send Seasonal Greetings to all!
Especially those members who were not able to to get to the Christmas Party on Tuesday. Not forgetting our life member Jenny Dean and other members of The Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
A toast to everyone made with Claire's festive punch.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Fun and Laughter

    We had a great meeting on Saturday.  November saw us gather together to do our own work.
    As the year draws to a close we have started to pull out out woolly things, from hand knitted socks to an arm knitted scarf,
    We learned about arm knitting, how Kinder Eggs are the thing to have and that we can eat an alarming amount of chocolate brownies.

    We also found the answer to this riddle:-
What can you do with a kinder egg that you can't do with a salad spinner, Kenwood food mixer(other makes available) or warm tumble dryer and a little soapy water?
Answers on a postcard please (or even an email.)

The answer is in one of our photos!

Some photos from our Open Door session earlier in the year

Our next meeting will be our end of year party - bring a plate or similar .....

Sunday, 13 November 2016

November Meeting

Hi there,

It has been pointed out to us that there is a mistake for the date of the next meeting on our Programme.

It is on Saturday, 26th November not the 19th as listed.  Calendar now amended!

Hope to see lots of you on the day.

Monday, 24 October 2016

October 15th Weaving and Weaving Narratives

Last Saturday was our meeting specially devoted to weaving and it was great to see how many members took part.

 In Flitwick Library, very close to our meeting place the village hall, a group of people who had taken part in a project called 'Weaving Narratives', organised by the Bedfordshire Archives, were having an exhibition of their work.

So, we took the opportunity to invite the participants of the project, as well as those members of the public who visited the library and viewed the exhibition, to visit the guild, discover what we are about, the work that we produce and partake in tea and cake specially brought for the occasion.

Several members brought some of their work to show the variety of skills and projects achieved in the last few months.

   We, in turn, went to look at the interesting fruits of their labours.

    This piece called 'Silver Street' was created by one of our members, Helen. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spinning, weaving and interesting talk

Our month of visits is over and business returns to normal in September, with our monthly Saturday meeting at Flitwick Village Hall.

As well as member's carrying out their own work, there was advice for a new weaver who had just finished her first scarf.  One of our members walked her through taking the weaving off the loom and various finishing options.

In other news, we saw samples from the Solar Dyeing skillshare held in the summer, ranging from a soft yellow to a darkish red.  Talking around the results led our conversation from there to indigo, to recent finds in Peru, East Anglia and the history of textiles.  There aren't many afternoons one gets to spend eating cake, doing something you love and having an interesting conversation!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Fibre East

After cold and running rain last year, when woolly items were in danger of being hoiked off the display to be worn, this year was an about face. The weather was positively tropical and fairly relentless in terms of heat.

We had a new home this year inside the main buildings with the other Guilds, which collectively made a great entrance, giving inspiration to everyone for shopping.

Our display team had worked hard behind the scenes to get everything organised, with little time to setup, it all came together beautifully.  Members were, as always, very kind in donating their time to demonstrate on two looms, spinning wheels, blending board and drop spindles.

We had lots of visitors through the day - one of the great things about belonging to a Guild is the passion, support and knowledge that is freely shared.  Visitors old and new got to play, advice on everything from processing fleece to warping looms, and a warm invitation to come visit if they are in the neighbourhood.

Our display this year was based on our Guild theme - Colour.  Members brought in work they have done in workshops, own work and home work!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Willington Dovecot and Stables

Yesterday (Sunday June 26) Maggie and Su represented the guild at an open day/crafts event at a National Trust owned property in the county.

The Dovecot and stables were built in Tudor times when the owner Sir John Gostwick, wanted to impress visiting Henry VIII.

They are magnificent buildings. The dovecot can house 1,500 pairs of doves.

Check it out on this link because it is surely a beautiful place to visit.

One of the Trust volunteers asked the guild to join other crafts people on this month's open day and very pleased when the invitation was accepted.

All crafts people were inside the stables, showing and hopefully selling their wares, the guild there to advertise it's existence and encourage the public interest in our crafts. The beekeeper that Su met previously at Bletsoe fete was also there, but thankfully outside, in what turned out to be a dry if not too sunny day.

A great deal of interest was paid to the solar dyeing as well as the different fibres in the sample skeins of yarn on the display, wool from various breeds, alpaca and silk.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Art yarn and Bring & Buy sale

Today we held a talk/ hands on squishing session about art yarn, in preparation for our art yarn skill share later this year.

Members brought sample art yarns , both hand made and commercial, that we examined to see how they were constructed,  colour balance, and texture.

Our bring and buy sale was well stocked with some of us disposing/acquiring goodies and the Guild getting a small proportion. This all helps the Guild in making purchases on behalf of members.

As well as our usual mix of spinning and weaving, one of our members was busy making lace. Beautiful work.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Solar dyeing

went a slightly different route and rather than the what grows from the garden approach, I went through my dyeing suppliers and opted to investigate using Brazilwood powder in a Solar Dye as opposed to a dye bath.


For 50g fleece, this is home grown fleece from my flock (see willing volunteer), I used 50 gms of brazil wood Powder and ¾ tsp of chalk. 


I wanted red, I think I have got red.  And through the jar I can see variations ranging from a rust orange to a pinky red, so will leave it be for the next month and then see what the fleece looks like.


Monday, 13 June 2016

A different perspective

I went to the last Guild meeting expecting to be mildly interested in the solar dyeing session that was on offer.  I don't do "natural"dyeing; if I must dye I prefer "chemicals" so there are no surprises, good or bad, and I'd sent apologies to our chair person for my lack of interest....

Having fought through pouring rain to get to the meeting there was a reward in the shape of weaving samples from Angela and Brenda who had done a weekend course in advanced techniques, much gnashing of teeth here, I was booked to do it but was dragged away for the weekend instead!

Meanwhile Maggie had set up two tables with enticing things on them:

As you can see from the basket, she has a range of samples dyed with plants from the garden, and the stand up card shows how some of them look when treated afterwards with modifiers such as citric acid.  The range of colours was a surprise to some of us!

She demonstrated how to set up a solar dyeing jar using pomegranate skin (it's very warm in her garden!!!) and to our amazement it began to work immediately.  I was so impressed that I immediately dashed off to the supermarket  to buy 2 pomegranates, and my solar dyeing jar is now set up  -  in the pouring rain.

I have since discovered however that I am missing a major ingredient for solar dyeing, at least in our climate, and that is patience.  I am itching to get my fingers on that wool to see how it looks, but I suspect I have at least 2 weeks more to wait - I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Solar dyeing - Guild skillshare

We held a session on solar dyeing this week.

Here is a list of readily available dye materials, some you may have in your store cupboard, especially if you're like us and throw little away and find out of date stuff on the shelves.

You need equal weights of plant material to weight of yarn or fibre.

Jenny Dean's book is a great reference.

  • Used Tea bags—golden brown
  • Old kitchen spices—saffron—yellow
  • Turmeric roots—yellow, green
  • Avocado Skin and Stone—tan
  • Pomegranate Skins—yellow/olive green
  • Daffodil flowers—yellow, green
  • Ivy—greens, slate/grey
  • Hawthorn Blossom, berries, leaves and twigs—yellow, green to dark navy/grey
  • Fruit tree bark when pruned
  • Willow leaves, bark and leafy stems
  • Dark Hollyhock Flowers
  • Birch bark—pink
  • Elderberry leaves—greens
  • Nettles—lemon to green, depending on time of year
  • Staghorn Sumac leaves—green
  • Rhubarb leaves and roots
  • Dahlia flowers and leaves—orange/yellow and greens
  • Eucalyptus leaves Tan/orange to maroon
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Red cabbage – blue
  • Honesty flowers - greens
  • Buddleia flowers - greens
  • Primula and pansies – darker flowers
  • Onion skins – yellow to tan

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Our annual dyeing day

The first such session at our new venue Flitwick Village Hall.

This was, as usual, a busy, vibrant, productive meeting. Some members, like our visitor, had not done any acid dyeing before but all were keen to achieve success, learn and produce attractively dyed yarn for their, mainly, weaving projects.

Apart from getting our project yarns dyed, protecting the laminate floor was an aim of this event, if we were ever to be allowed to do this again.

With this in mind, preparation began some time ago, saving newspapers and sorting out protective sheets for the floor and table tops.

The first stage, after preparing the area, was to mix our dyes from our own supplies or those bought for the guild resources. The dye shade cards produced a couple of years ago along with ‘The Guild of Long Draw Spinners’, came in useful when deciding the proportions of colours to mix for a required shade.

Oh Dear!!!!! Where was the fixative? It was there each times the equipment boxes to be brought on the day were checked. Two searches revealed no sign of it! Embarrassed chairperson!

Dianne to the rescue. Dianne, thankfully had a whole new pot, more than she needed for her own project. Face saved, time to get on! Such a relief!

We had been given saucepans and steamers by one of our members, sadly unable to come, others brought their own. A cooking range full of these utensils meant that we all got our dye colours set in two 45 minute sessions with time for a quick rinse before transportation home.

There was time left to relax and spin, knit or natter and look at what the non-dyers had brought.
Su had dyed her tops at home and brought them along for us to see (wonder what they will become?)

Hopefully, the dyed dried yarns will be revealed at our next get together.

What became of the missing fixative?

It was there all along….migrated and invisible, obviously feeling more comfortable in a tray of containers similar to itself, rather than with those messy, smelly dye powders.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Colour workshop with Jill Sheperd

Saturday saw our spinning with colour workshop, hosted by Jill.  Starting off, she took us through the history of colour at a brisk pace, whilst keeping us entertained.

Colour theory was more practical as there was a sea of fluff to play with. Jill took us through practical excercises to get us to not only step outside our comfort zone but also understand tangibly how colours work together.

Amongst other things we were shown how to create batts based on our inspiration cue, ranging from images to music.  It was interesting to see that no two were alike.

This was followed by punis from a drum carder, art yarn and much more.  All the workshop participants had a good day, going home with their dream batt to spin. We're looking forward to seeing how they all spin up.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Guild Skillshare - rigid heddle weaving for Beginners

One of the great things about belonging to a Guild, other than the lovely people and cake, is the generosity of members in sharing their time and skills to help others learn.

This was in evidence on Saturday with our Skillshare on warping and then weaving on rigid heddle looms.  Our two tutors gave up their day to help the newbies, and I suspect from the output since have successfully started them on a path they will get lots of pleasure from.

In other news, a weaver was busily sampling ...

Members had kindly brought in some inspiration to fondle and admire...

And lastly, we discovered Mary Poppin's basket, that is always full of nice things.