I can’t believe how long it is since I last posted here. Life has been non-stop this last month or so with little time to indulge in handicrafts. Since the middle of last week however I have had the pleasure of some time to myself and I decided it was time I got on with some weaving. I confess that having undone so much of my Green Man weaving previously my confidence has taken a bit of a bashing and I have been avoiding it. But I have now been telling myself “you can do it” and although I still undo sections from time to time, it has progressed a little. I keep reminding myself not to worry too much about the fine details in the cartoon but just to use it as a guide. The photo shows the result so far.
Some time ago I mentioned that a friend had given me some fleeces. They came from relatives of his who were new to sheep keeping and the fleeces had not been stored very well. I think also our friend must have left them in his porch during a spell of wet weather before delivering them to us. When they arrived they were quite wet, in fact two of them were absolutely soaked. We spread them out in our barn to dry but some time later it was obvious that the two soaked ones were beyond redemption so these were thrown away. The other two are now dry and waiting to be used. In the bags with the fleeces were also the ‘daggings’ and I decided to salvage what I could of these in order to practice spinning with a spindle again. They were very dirty so I washed them first. They are also quite felted but there are a lot of useable bits.
My ‘Lord and Master’ has been away for a few days, hence having time on my hands, so yesterday I decided to watch the Canadian Grand Prix on his behalf, but not wishing to be idle I got out my carders and the fleece daggings and started to make some rolags. By the time I had had enough for one evening the basket in the photo was full, but I still have plenty more to go at. The rolags are a bit lumpy and still have a few bits of straw and other rubbish in them but I think they will be good enough for practising. Now where did I put my spindle?
I have not done any knitting for a while but I recently bought a large cone of cream lace weight wool from a charity shop, it is a lambswool/angora mix and I am trying to decide what to do with it. The first plan was to make another lacy cowl like the one pictured in my last post but I think now that, as there is quite a lot, it might be nice to knit a lacy shawl or wrap. I have discovered a wonderful knitting resource website, which I highly recommend, at http://www.allfreeknitting.com, which offers lots of free patterns and I have printed one off which I think I will use – more of this another time. First I must finish my Green Man!
I mentioned a while ago that I had been offered some fleece (see previous post here) but I didn’t know what it was, well it turned up at the weekend – three jacobs fleeces. I’m thrilled to bits, even though it now means I’ll have to hold good on my self-promise to get out my spinning wheel. Two of the fleeces were a bit damp and one was quite wet so I have spread them out to dry in our barn. This is not a problem as I doubt I will have time to do anything with it before Christmas. I did however collect up the dagged ends that had been stuffed in with the fleeces. This I have washed and put to dry in my dayroom come weaving room. I hope to use it to practice with my drop spindle but if it is not good enough I can always use it for needle felting!
I haven’t had time yet to do any more to my Green Man weaving but I will take it with me while we are away during November and hope to get some done then, but as we will be visiting various relatives on our travels I’m not sure how much time I will have. having had to undo the first effort it is always difficult to get motivated again but I’m sure I’ll get in the mood soon.
This will be my last post until we return from our travels but meanwhile here are another two events that might be of interest to you, the first here in the UK and the second one for my friends on ‘the other side of the pond’:
Katie Russell Tapestry Weaving exhibition – Russian Arctic Convoys 26 November – 6th December, Dumfries and Galloway at Castle Douglas Art Gallery, Dumfries & Galloway. The exhibition is a collection of tapestry weavings on the Russian Arctic Convoys, inspired by accounts from veterans who travelled on these convoys. The gallery is open 10am – 4pm each day. You can see more on Katie’s web site: http://katierussellweave.com/
World of Threads Festival in Ontario,Canada, 1st – 30th November: Corridor Galleries, Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre, Oakville, Ontario. http://www.worldofthreadsfestival.com/exhibitions_menu.html
I have now undone the little bit of my Green Man weaving but so far have not had time to redo it, which actually I think is not a bad thing as it gives me time to consider ‘Textile Ranger’s’ suggestion regarding colour scheme – see comments on my last post – a suggestion I fully intend to take on board. The reason for the lack of progress is, as I mentioned, due to an extremely busy month. I have now completed editing my magazine and it just remains to proof-read it and then get it to the printers, but I still have other October tasks to complete.
However, I did managed to go along to my local library for a couple of hours earlier in the month to a spinning demonstration. It is more years than I care to remember since I last used my spinning wheel and I felt I needed a refresher course. I am now all fired up to try spinning again – when I can find some time. The elderly lady doing the demonstration told us she learnt to spin as a wartime evacuee, doing all her early spinning on a drop spindle using hedgerow fleece gleanings. It was apparently many years before she got a wheel. I have some hedgerow gleanings my daughter collected for me which I intended to use for the ‘core’ of some needle felting projects but now I am tempted to have a go with my drop spindle before returning to my wheel.
It’s curious how things happen; out of the blue a friend of my husband phoned a few weeks ago and asked if he knew anyone who would like some fleece (he knows I weave) – I’m expecting it to turn up and day now!
Meanwhile some of you might be interested in the exhibition below (no, I am not exhibiting). I am sorry it is rather short notice:
Colour Block, The Textile Show: 9th-12th October. St.Leonards on Sea, East Sussex
For more information visit http://www.hastingsartsforum.co.uk/colour-block-9-12-october
Watch out for my next post in a few days time when I will be listing some other events that may be of interest.
It all began with a book, “Weaving and Spinning”, first published by Marshall Cavendish in 1975 as part of “The Encyclopedia of Crafts” and which I bought from a Library sale some 20 or so years ago. It has chapters on various types of weaving, including tapestry as well as on spinning. At the time we were living in Kent and I was learning to spin. My husband used the instructions and diagram in the section on spinning to make me a couple of drop spindles.
I noted the section on Tapestry Weaving, which illustrated a lovely black and white sampler measuring approx 28 x 16 inches, together with instructions for making a ‘nail frame loom’ to weave it on, but at the time it all seemed too difficult.
Several years later, having moved to Staffordshire, where we now live, I took out the book again and thought I would like to have a go at the sampler so my husband offered to make the loom.
I decided to have a little practice while I was waiting so I took out my daughter’s old ‘Spears’ children’s loom. I used crochet cotton for the warp and some 4ply crepe knitting yarn for the weft and did a couple of small weavings to try out weaving shapes (see photos). My daughter and I also took a trip up to “Fibrecrafts” at Ambleside in the UK’s Lake District to buy the warping yarn and the wool needed for the project. (Incidentally “Fibrecrafts” was later taken over by George Weil and is no longer there.)
I waited…and waited…the loom never materialized!