Saturday, 14 July 2018

Natural dyeing "show and tell".

Bryn writes:
"A brilliant display of natural dye plants, sample cards and fleece was set out by Val on Sunday. Shirley's ice dyeing samples of yarn and textile, and Edith's fleece and yarn completed this large exhibit. 
   Val took us through the choice of mordants, methods and selection of dye vessels. Solar pots of walnuts, and ideas for fomenting vegetable prunings in buckets of water were described. This was an all-inclusive talk by a very experienced Dyer.  
   Thank you Val, it was not to be missed."

All images copyright 2018

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Ice dyeing

We are having a dyeing "show and tell" at our next Sunday meeting, but had a taster in advance at our  Sunday meeting on June 10th.  In view of the weather we're having the moment, ice dyeing seems a really good idea.
The full method is given below - thanks to Shirley for all of this.

The dye+ice on fabric

The results!

Shirley writes:

Materials Needed:  A range of natural fabrics such as cotton and silk.  I did use some synthetic and they came out well too.
I used plain fabric except for a couple of pieces that were left over material from curtains.  Experimenting is part of the fun of it all.

Equipment:  One rack (as used in baking but note that once used with dyes cannot be used with food again), a cat litter tray or an old washing up bowl.
A bag of frozen ice (much easier to buy from the supermarket).  A vessel such as a bucket to hold the soda ash.  Dylon cold water dyes (easily accessible in Wilkos, Stermat).  Gloves.  Spoon.  Soda Ash.  
A suitable tool (old wooden spoon or a stick) to stir the soda ash into water.  A mask – wear when mixing the soda ash and applying the dyes as they are in powder form.

Method: Using gloves and wearing mask put 1 cup of soda ash into one gallon of water, stir until dissolved. 
Place the fabric into the soda ash water and soak for 30 minutes.

Place the grill on top of the bowl/cat litter tray.  Take the material out of the soda ash water and wring out the excess.  Then fold or scrunch the material as you please and place on top of the grill.
How you arrange the material is up to you and it is good to experiment.

Now cover the material with ice.  Then using the spoon take a half teaspoon of one colour and sprinkle over the dye in a way that pleases you.  Go on to your second colour in the same way.  Use as many colours as you would like.  Best not to put too many colours in one area as it will turn to a muddy colour.  Some say it is best to use three colours.  I can’t remember exactly how many I used but I did keep them separate though it was nice to see the colours blended where they met.  In the pictures you will see how I covered my fabrics with the ice and dyes.

Stand back and wait until all the ice has melted.  Then, using gloves, rinse out the material until the water runs clear.
You can then use this material for projects – such as book making or a needle case and as a base for machine embroidery.

Have Fun.

Abergele Hospital FĂȘte, June 23rd.

Val writes:

A very pleasant afternoon of spinning and talking to the public was enjoyed by Jenni, Betty and Val on Saturday at Abergele Hospital Fete. This was in aid of The League of Friends. Our host was Mary Lyneham. 
This is a popular annual event and was well attended. The glorious sunshine and a relaxed atmosphere was enhanced by the music of the Silver Youth Band. They were very interested in Jenni's spinning when they came over for a chat. Plenty to see including ample cakes,  excellent variety of plants for sale, local crafts and also vintage fire engine.

Photographs copyright A. Hill 2018

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

How to be in two places at once?

Our recent Sunday meeting in Betws yn Rhos coincided with a gig demonstrating spinning and weaving at the Rhosesmor Heritage day.  Those of you who know the area will realise that Betws and Rhosesmor are about 20 miles apart, but our Guild has expanded in number recently so being in two places at once is perfectly possible.
Ten members met in Betws and had a good day doing their own textile-y thing (photographs, anyone?), or so I'm told.  I was in Rhosesmor with Val, and we had a really good time.

Rhosesmor is a small village in the hills above Holywell, with houses scattered widely across common land overlying the old lead mines.  The Heritage Day was the culmination of a National Lottery-assisted week at the primary school, with events for the local schoolchildren and public.  Ysgol Rhos Helyg is well appointed, as they say, with gardens, allotment and a timber round house complete with stockade - this week it was also home to a fascinating Celtic (Iron Age) living history demonstration.  I could have spent all day there.....
The Abergele Guild "pitch" was in the school hall with the Heritage collections (horse brasses, memorabilia, model farm to name but a few).  Thanks to Val we had a fine display of naturally dyed items, which generated a lot of interest.  We did a lot of talking to the public, of course, but managed to get quite a bit of spinning and weaving done as well.  We were also well entertained by the history videos, the children's choir and a group of local folk singers who rounded off the day in fine style.
"Thank you very much" to Penny and her team for inviting us (and for the free cups of tea!) - we hope to see you all again next year.

Alison caught standing to attention after limbo dancing under the table to put up the  insurance certificate.

 Val looking very relaxed, waiting for the crowds.
A somewhat overexposed shot of the dyeplants and samples...

...and a much better photograph of the table.  Thank you, Val.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Navajo plying and fancy yarns workshop

A very brief note as I'm a bit pushed for time (if anyone wants to add to this, please feel free - just email me at the Guild address with your comments).
An amazing day on Sunday, May 13th., with Chris Jukes and Anne Campbell learning some foolproof ways to produce a bit more than your average 2-ply yarn.  Not only 3-ply chaining, but 4 and even 6-ply - useful for our own handspun and also for jazzing up commercially spun yarns.  And then learning how to do a straightforward wrapped yarn.
Loads of people doing yards of spinning, lots of new members, cake...... what more could you ask?

This is from Di Bruce:

“As a relatively inexperienced spinner I gained both practical and inspirational skills from Chis and Anne’s workshop. I learned about the benefits of using navajo plying to quickly produce yarn with only one bobbin, as well as how to produce funky art yarn from core spinning and wrapping techniques. I became immersed in experimenting with colour and texture like never before in my spinning and came home with samples that are already urging me to raid my own stash with more confidence and creativity. Many thanks to the providers and organisers for making this possible. No more drooling at the yarns on Etsy....instead I will produce my own!

My only regret is that I didn’t circulate to view the lovely yarn produced by others from the varied stash we were offered during this most enjoyable workshop. 

For me the sun shone both outside and in this Sunday.”


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Friendship Day, April 8th. 2018

Our Friendship Day dawned fine and sunny, and grateful thanks are due to all the people who gave up the chance of a day in the garden to come and visit us in Betws yn Rhos.  We were delighted to see so many visitors, and particularly pleased to welcome several new members.
The hall was a hive of activity with spinning wheels whizzing and portable looms.... looming.  Once again, Chris Jukes-Bennett brought her stunning collection of drop spindles and demonstrated her supported spindles.  She also gave some useful tips on chain plying (a.k.a. "Navajo" plying) - I for one had never thought of trying it with a drop spindle.  We are looking forward to a full workshop with Chris in the near future.
Our display of work was bigger and better than ever before, with an emphasis on weaving.  The Guild Challenge on the theme of "triangles" attracted a modest number of entries, but the standard was very high.
A  new feature this year was a table displaying artisans' books, including Bryn's work for her Certificate of Achievement, which was universally admired.
As usual, there were plenty of opportunities for some retail therapy - from our own stash-and-equipment sale to the professional trade stands.  Thanks to Kath and Annie of Mam a Mi, Krithia of Anvil Pottery, Barbara Ennis and Kathryn Parry for providing such lovely things to tempt us.  And of course there was Jenni's now-traditional Tombola, which attracted a lot of business - one very lucky young lady won three prizes!

Many thanks are due to those who worked so hard to make sure the day ran smoothly.  Special thanks to Bryn and Jenni for all their hard work beforehand, during and after the day,  and - on the day itself - to Margaret; to Val and Edith on the sales table; Alan, Betty and Di in the kitchen, and all those who stayed behind to clear the hall and sweep up.

Before the crowds arrive...

Display of work, including Triangles.

.. and the usual Cake Picture.