Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bookings for Silk Spinning Workshop are under way

Notices have gone out to North Wales Guilds and
beyond with booking details and a list of requirements
to bring on the day. Bookings are still being taken!

A reminder now that payment is requested beforehand
to secure a place. Contact abergelewsatgooglemail.com
or llysfaenbryathotmail.co.uk.   A map of AGWSD location
can be attached to an email reply or posted on request.  

Friday, 25 March 2011


Here are some events you may be interested in attending over the coming months.  Further details are usually available from the relevant organisers:

Wonderwool Wales Royal Welsh Showground, nr. Builth Wells. 9th. & 10th. April
Woodfest Wales: Kinmel Park, Abergele. 28th., 29th., 30th. May.
Woolfest (Cumbria)   Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth,  24th., 25th. June. http://www.woolfest.co.uk
All Wales Meeting:  Minerva Centre, Llanidloes. 8th. October

Thursday, 10 March 2011

New Zealand Flax weaving with Judith Ferns

...or, The Tale of a Bag.
We had another enjoyable evening meeting last night:  Judith Ferns came to teach us how to weave with New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax).  This useful plant has great spiritual significance for the Maori, but in mountainous North Wales we're lucky if we can get it to grow at all.  It does, however, grow down on the coast in the "banana belt", and supplies can be scrounged from friends.  The leaves are split along the "grain" to yield strong strips for weaving, and fibre can be peeled out of the leaves as well.  Judith brought several bags and vessels made using different weaving and plying techniques and materials.
We learned the basic technique by making a bracelet - once the principles are learned you can, in theory, make anything you fancy...

Phormium tenax (it doesn't actually grow in black bin bags)

A long wide strip wound around itself twice, and secured with a peg, and the outside layer split into 3 along the length of the leaf.
A thinner "weaver" passed round and round, woven between the "weft" strands and secured with another peg.
The finished article, showing the weaving.
Many thanks to Judith for trekking all the way from the other side of Chester.
However..... when it was time to pack up, and after Judith had left (in the pitch dark and high wind), we discovered a handbag at the back of the hall.  It contained all the usual, important things like money, spectacles, mobile phone - and a Co-Op card for Mrs. J. Ferns.....   Eventually we managed to call Mr. J. Ferns and leave a message for Judith, and yours truly went home (in the pitch dark and high wind) promising to take said bag to its' owner in the morning.  However... my lane is being resurfaced, and there was a temporary step down from the road to the slippery verge where I usually park.  To cut a long story short, in the pitch dark, I managed to wedge my car between the step and a grit bin, whence there was no escape.  So Judith and Jim had to come all the way over to pick up the bag, when Judith should have been packing to go to a Basket Makers' Event in Oxford. Judith had to walk the last bit, as the road crew were busy in the middle of the lane, but the bag is now home again.
All's well that ends well, and the resurfacing gang pushed my car free this afternoon (it took four of them -so thank you to Conwy Council Highways Department.)  They have also turned the step into a ramp, so I shall be able to get in and out again soon.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A little late for St. David's Day

Our afternoon meeting this week was the day after Gwyl Dewi Sant (St. David's Day).  No daffodils out yet in LlanfairTH, and a vicious frost overnight.  In fact, not all the snowdrops are in bloom yet...
Snowdrops glowing in the gloom,
daffodils thinking about opening, but perhaps not yet...
and pussy willows on Salix irorata - don't know if it yields a dye, although the bark is a purplish red;
..but Spring is nearly here.

However, JM has already been busy dyeing:  the amazing orange was achieved with eucalyptus leaves (the yellow is from the "exhaust", i.e. the colour left after the first dyebatch).