Thursday 8 December 2011

Weavers in the UK

I have just discovered a new UK website for professional handweavers, launched this week: The Weave Shed at which is sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Weavers and Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design.  The information is a bit limited at the moment, so I've just sent them a list of some websites of professional weavers that I have links to, and weaving tutors, and let them know that their contact details for the silk suppliers Gaddum & Gaddum are out of date.  Maybe some of you can also contribute information?

Saturday 26 November 2011


The month of November is drawing to a close, however, it is not over yet and not too late to draw your attention to WOVEMBER - started by Kate Davies and Felicity Ford who are calling on everyone to:

Wear 100% Wool this Wovember and help celebrate that REAL WOOL comes from REAL SHEEP.

There is a petition on their website calling for the word WOOL to mean wool - real wool, from real sheep - and for new standards in labelling garments.  This is a link to the petition - if you care, please sign!

They also have a Hall of Shame to expose mis-description of garment composition by well known retailers and a competition for a photo that shows 100% wool, see the Gallery.

Congratulations to Kate and Felicity for taking the intiative, let's support them!

Sunday 14 August 2011

Hands that weave

Meg put up a post on her blog, 31st July, "Calling all Hands".

I remembered it today, whilst making an alteration to my inkle loom warp.  This is what Meg said in her post:
"Anytime on Saturday, August 13, take a picture of your hand/s; spinning, knitting, weaving, baking, reading, holding your child's/grandchild's/long-time-love's hand/s, whatever. It doesn't have to be craft-related...."

Above is my inkle loom, originally made by Michael Crompton (best known for his tapestry weaving) but recently modified to make the tensioner and pegs stronger.

Below is the warp, which was slightly more assymetric than intended.  I wanted to put in two more of the darkest green threads.  I have found that starting off with three little sticks in the warps helps to spot problems before I start weaving (acting like the header row on my floor loom) and also enables me to bunch the warp threads tight so I start weaving the band at near to the width I want.

Tying tight knots for my inkle loom warps is a little tricky, I use one finger to hold a slip knot, whilst manipulating the threads for another to make a knot that will hold tight, and then I tighten the second knot without shifting the finger that holds the first knot from slipping.  I'm lucky to be ambidextrous, but having double-joined digits doesn't help.

Today there was someone else around to take photos (thank you Bob!) so you can see both my hands.

I'm happy with the way this band is weaving.  I drew the edges in a bit tighter in the first few inches, when it is finished I will take out the first two inches of weft (possibly then using the free warp ends as tassels).

Resting in/on the warp you can see my homemade thread bobbin and separate shuttle that I use only as a beater.  I can't work as fast or get as neat results without the separate beater.  I used to wonder if this was because other people are better weavers, or more practiced at working with the shuttle/beater.  But today I had a new thought - is it because other people are not ambidextrous?

Meg asked for some words too:
"Also, give me a title or description of yourself; whatever best describe how you saw yourself as at the moment the photo was taken, i.e. "Mama, Yarn collector, Weaver, Neighborhood Weaving Teacher"."

A description of me? I don't know how to do this. I was so absorbed in what I was working on, there was just me and the threads and the loom.  So quite simply:

Dorothy, weaving a linen inkle band on her 44th birthday.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Drying fleece in the summer sunshine

 Today, I washed some alpaca.  I have three full fleece, around 1 kg each, and I'm washing just the amount I think I can get dried each day.  As the weather is good today I washed a couple of trays full, and put them out in the sun.