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February 4, 2018



Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2017

We had our December meeting a couple of weeks ago and exchanged hand made Christmas Cards. Everyone made a card and then we did a lucky dip so everyone took away a card.


It was lovely to see such a variety of techniques! It seemed very early to be exchanging cards but Christmas comes up so fast that it’ll be January before we know it and we’ll be into the Spring Term and planning our Four Corners workshop in February.

Autumn Update

November 19, 2017

We’ve been busy doing things this term, we started back in September and had a great meet up and shared all our current projects. Then we had a couple of talks from our members past and present, Sheila gave us a presentation on the Stirling Tapestries, which she had seen being woven and again in situ. We learned an excellent potted history and many had photographs to look at.

Susan gave us a talk on Norwich Red dye – an important process developed by Richard Stark as it dyed wool and silk the same shade of scarlet red, one to be used in the warp the other in the weft. She told us about her experiments in trying to recreate this lost recipe, with more information on her website.




We’ve also been out visiting, both to the Stotfold Steam Fair weekend, and more recently Festiwool 2017. Thanks to everyone who stopped to chat to us as we were busy spinning/felting/weaving away.


Liliane Design Studio



As ever we’ve been having our monthly Crafting Together sessions – with a little game of guess the fibre:




Any guesses? Answer: 90% Persian cat, 10% wool. Very soft!

Term is not quite over yet, we still have a trip to London next weekend and a Christmas party to look forward to!

Summer goings on

September 3, 2017

We’ve been visiting places over the summer break, the Kimpton Folk Festival, which was much enjoyed by those who visited.

Fibre East which we loved as always, shopped lots and ooh’ed  over strange new wheels:


This Ettrick wheel was at Cat and Sparrow Fibres – a great find!

Plus the Ashwell Show where we had a baking hot day – always welcome on the Summer Bank Holiday! It was so busy they filled the car park – huge congrats to the organisers.

Now we’re getting ready for the Autumn term, the new 2017/18 programme is up and ready and we’re looking forward to seeing old and new faces on Thursday 7th September at 7:45pm!

If you took part in the solar dyeing then bring it along for Show and Tell, after all we all like yarn…



Becoming Henry Moore Exhibition

June 22, 2017

It’s now June and we’re winding down for the year, only one more meeting to go before our summer break. Over the summer we’ll be at Kimpton Folk Festival on Saturday 1st July, Fibre East on the 29th/30th July, and the Ashwell Show on Monday 28th August. Behind the scenes the committee are feverishly sorting next years programme.

One of our members has recently been out and about and saw the new Becoming Henry Moore Exhibition at the Henry Moore Studio and Gardens at Perry Green. Here’s Madeleine’s review:

“I had an amazing time at the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green recently. To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Foundation there is a special exhibition there until October. Called Becoming Henry Moore, the exhibition charts the artist’s creative trajectory from 1914 until 1930 and gives an insight into the influences at play in the mind of Britain’s most famous modern sculptor.

Should you decide to spend a few hours exploring at this delightful open-air exhibition and the various barns housing yet more exhibits, the Aisled Barn is must. The 16th century building houses remarkable and unique tapestries – based on original drawings – which the Moore foundation commissioned from West Dean College. The weavers worked with Moore’s original drawings and photographs to dye the wool accurately and achieve the precise colours and effects of his different drawing media. To get an idea of how they created similar tapestries have a look at this Youtube video of the process.”

If you’re inspired to go see the exhibition it runs until 22nd October 2017.

Spinning Wheel Speed Dating

May 12, 2017

Our first meeting in May was a fun evening called Spinning Wheel Speed Dating – essentially a chance for everyone to try everyone else’s spinning wheel.

The guild were under strict instructions that if they had more than one wheel to bring along a wheel no one else had. Thus instead of a roomful of Ashford Traddy’s we ended up with only one – which belongs to the guild anyway!

We had all these lovely wheels to try out:

Ashford e-spinner:


Ashford Joy:


Ashford Kiwi 1:


Ashford Traditional:


Ashford Traveller (double drive)


Ashford Traveller (scotch tension)


Kromski Sonata:


Lendrum DT:


Heavy on the Ashfords! We also had a Haldane Shetland which we were having trouble with (and didn’t get a picture of).

We moved around the room trying the wheels and inviting the non-spinners to have a bit of a lesson at the same time so they could see which wheels suited them.


The e-spinner was interesting, so hard to not move your feet at the same time as spinning, but really good once you got used to that. Certainly one to keep in mind for when the treadling all gets too much!

We all learned something from the experience, some found the height of the Traveller suited them more than the lower wheels, some found that no they still didn’t like single treadle wheels. We all had our favourites (that would be our own wheels of course!) however there was near universal approval of the Kromski Sonata – very smooth to treadle!

Our next meeting is the AGM, we’re probably not going to be conscripting for the committee so it’s safe to come along and eat cake!

Solar Dyeing experiments

April 17, 2017

For our last guild meeting before Easter, we got the mordanting pots bubbling (well simmering on an induction hob) to try out some experiments in solar dyeing with natural dyes.


The plan was to make 10g mini-skeins of yarn, mordant them with alum, place the skeins in jam jars with 20g of dye stuffs and then put the jars on sunny windowsill / greenhouse / conservatory for at least six weeks, but probably some months and watch as the heat of the sun drives the dyeing process.


We set up a production line with half the guild making the mini-skeins of yarn, and the other half weighing out dye ingredients, with Susan as always doing the technical bits with the mordanting pots.

We had ordered a selection of dyestuffs to try. For the non-mordanted skeins we used various barks hoping that the tannin present would act as the mordant and the heat of the sun would help the dye to release from the plant and fix into the fibre. We used cutch (brown), birch bark (pinky tan), buckthorn bark (gold/yellow).


For the mordanted skeins we used elderberry (purple), madder root (red) and persian berry (yellow).

Some members brought along their own dyestuffs: Madeleine had logwood which she used sparingly – only 10g – to try and get a nice purple:


The evening went very quickly and thanks to everyone pitching in we all went away with armfuls of jars to take home and watch change colour


Note the drip tray – required if you don’t want your windowsills to change colour too if there’s some leakage. It’s also suggested you open the jars outside when you choose to end the process in case of pressure build up and possibly mould!

Early results suggest that the mordanted skeins are doing better at dye takeup, and that the skein with the birch bark hasn’t taken up any colour yet despite there being colour in the water. It’s early days however and these ones will be staying put till September. Here’s hoping for a good summer with plenty of sun.