Friday, 30 November 2012

Floodwater on YouTubeg

Thanks to Bryn for the link to a video on YouTube.  You can see from the debris on the road and the tidemark under the Black Lion Hotel windows that the waters had already receded - and were downstream in St. Asaph causing havoc.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Llanfair Talhaearn - disaster area

I have just accidentally deleted a whole post about the flooding in Llanfair Talhaearn, and will endeavour to remember what I wrote.  No idea how that happened!

I am sure everyone will have realised that Llanfair Talhaearn was badly flooded earlier this week.  
 Residents were awoken at 4a.m.on Tuesday by fire sirens, as the Fire and Rescue service alerted  the village to the news that flood water was rushing down the main street.  The River Elwy, which is in a flood plain, was bursting its' banks as it often does (see previous posts!), but the flood defences had kept most of the water away from the village.  However, a "small" tributary of the main river had overflowed its' culvert in the village and had been contained on the wrong side of the flood barriers, eventually filling the carparks and flooding buildings to a depth of several feet.  At one stage water was flowing so fast down the street that sandbags and large chunks of Tarmac were being carried away.  Residents had to be rescued by boat or ferried across the water in the bucket of a tractor.
No-one from the Abergele Guild lives in Llanfair village, but one member who lives in the valley downstream had water lapping at her door, and another was busy in the very early morning taking in distressed neighbours and their dogs.  I live on the hill above Llanfair, and was spared the worst, although I too had water in unwanted places in the house and studio.
The damage in the village is heartbreaking, but thanks to the hard work of the emergency services, residents and helpers, and professional cleaner-uppers, Llanfair is beginning to recover.  We have electricity and the phone lines are being restored.  The mud is gradually being removed from inside buildings and from the roads and carparks.  At one point, The Black Lion hotel was flooded to within a few inches of its' ground floor windows;  our Community Centre is just across the road, and the damage can easily be imagined.  Photographs below...
Obviously we will not be meeting here in the foreseeable future, although the Community Council is confident that the hall can be re-opened soon.  In the meantime, all Abergele Guild meetings are cancelled until further notice.   Members have kindly offered to host afternoon meetings, and news of these will be circulated privately.
The waters subsided rapidly in Llanfair, but passed down through St. Asaph, bringing yet more devastation. Our thoughts are with all of those in the Elwy Valley who have been affected by the flooding.
Alison Craig

Floodwater in the Elwy Valley, Tuesday 27th. November.  The houses visible in the foreground are well above the flood plain.

Close-up of the white water flowing over the A548.  The double line of the hedge can just be seen - the water has torn up large chunks of hedge by the roots

Community Centre Car park, Tuesday morning.  The River Elwy is on the far side of the embankment, where it should be!

no comment...

The front entrance of the Community Centre, midday Thursday.  The tidemark can be seen on the wall on the left hand side.

Inside the Community Centre.  The water came up to the top of the black box in the corner. I have rescued the stuff from our noticeboard, but the bottom row of notices will have to be thrown away, as will our tea and coffee from the cupboard in the kitchen.

Frenetic clearing up activity, Wednesday

Mini-digger in the carpark

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Spinning Sunday, and our Guild Challenge


...and concentrating.

A chance for members to borrow magazines from the Guild library
Our first winter Sunday meeting (on Remembrance Day) saw a good turn-out - a chance to spin and catch up with the news, and an opportunity for newer members to glean some useful hints.
Ready for the Guild Challenge

We have reintroduced our Guild Challenge: each member has a bag of fibre to spin into a hank (or hanks) of yarn in any way she wishes.  We then plan to have a "show and tell", comparing the results and learning from each other's experiences.  Jenni F. has kindly provided some beautiful crossbred fleece from her flock.
Thanks to Hilary for the photographs - I have kept back the one of a Christmas present in the making so as not to give away any secrets!
Our next Sunday meeting, in December, will be a weaving workshop with Clare Minty.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Community First and National Wool Week

We have had a really great afternoon with a group from Conwy Council Community First, in honour of National Wool Week.  A whole minibus full (10 adults plus Jennifer from the Community Development Service who did the organising) arrived to sample spinning and weaving.  As usual, several people took to the craft like ducks to water, and the whole group went away with big smiles - which was very gratifying.  The Guild members had a good time too: thanks to Bryn, June, Pauline and, of course, Fred.  We hope to be able to keep in touch, and, who knows, perhaps we may have some new members in the fulness of time?
Decks cleared and ready for action...

June and audience.

Pauline showing how to thread the yarn

Star pupil (one of several)!

Concentrating on the drop spindle.....

Team photo with genuine Campaign for Wool umbrella.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Corn Dolly Making, Wednesday October 10th.

Bryn's Harvest loaf
We celebrated the approach of autumn with an evening of corn dolly weaving, traditionally made from the last sheaf of corn gathered at the end of the harvest.  Corn dollies have their origin in our distant, pagan past, and each region has its' own particular designs. Expertly led by Jenny P., who grew up in East Anglia, we completed a "Welsh Fan" without too much trouble - a testament to Jenny's excellent teaching and efficient planning.  We used Maris Wigeon wheat, specially obtained for the workshop as modern wheat varieties are too short and pithy for corn dollies. Having "graded" our stalks of wheat we quickly picked up the plaiting technique required, weaving in new stalks as we progressed down (or up) the structure:

Jenny's Welsh Fan: something for us to aspire to.

Add caption
Those who chose not to make dollies passed a pleasant couple of hours spinning and chatting. 
Many thanks to Jenny P for her time and trouble, and thanks to Jenni F for the cake!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thorough flood but not thorough fire...

(With apologies to W. Shakespeare)
Three intrepid people came to the afternoon meeting yesterday, and those of us with spinning wheels got a lot done without any chat to distract us! The Community Centre is nice and warm at the moment, and the floodwaters on the River Elwy are subsiding fast.  Our new programme is being finalised, and we are looking forward to some Winter Sunday Meetings, which will save us having to travel in the dark evenings.  Look out for an update to the successful Olympic and Paralympic Woolsac project shortly.
The waters are going down in LlanfairTH...

...but waterpolo may have to replace football for a while.

Spinning hands.


Monday, 6 August 2012

Interesting problem?

An interesting email has arrived in my personal inbox this morning:  some poor soul has apparently been troubled by multiple copies of comments posted on this blog after ticking the "notify me when new comments are added" box.  This is a bit odd, since we haven't had any comments posted for months (and haven't put anything on the blog for a while). There is also an inviting link to click on in the email, which is a bit suspicious, and Blogger has put it into the Spam box - which didn't stop it being emailed to me anyway!
So, "Anonymous", if you're a real person with a genuine Google-related problem I'm really very sorry.  These things are extremely tedious, but  I think you will have to fix this yourself (by unticking the box?) or by contacting Google directly. 
If you're not a real person, you're not reading this anyway, so no point in my commenting further.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Woodfest Wales/Gwyl Coed Cymru 2012

Thanks to the hospitality of the Woodturners Association we were able to attend this year's Woodfest despite no longer having a tent!  Thanks also to Rosie for the pictures:     (A.C.)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Abergele Guild Friendship Day

A good day was had by all at our Friendship Day on Saturday, May 19th.  Although several of our own members had prior commitments (you know who you are.......), we managed a respectable turnout, and were delighted to welcome many of our friends from other Guilds.  Thank you to all of them for making the effort to travel to LlanfairTH.  A special thankyou to  "Mam a mi" for bringing gorgeous dyed fibres for sale.
We all enjoyed the opportunity to spin and chat, to catch up on people's news and to pick up useful tips about fibre crafts.
Unfortunately no-one from Abergele Guild has a working digital camera at the moment, so we're waiting for Kath to send us her photographs - and here they are:
Kath's stand (well, she did take the pictures for us!)

AC demonstrating "arm knitting", as taught by Louise of Woolfish


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Rush baskets

A Wednesday afternoon with a difference:  Mandy Coates' rush basket workshop, postponed from an evening earlier in the year.  As usual, Mandy gave excellent tuition:  using rushes gathered from the waterways of Bedfordshire and with a baked bean tin as a template, we all came away with a little basket (although not all of us have quite finished the handle!).
Many thanks to Mandy, and to JM for the delicious flapjacks and shortbread.

Busy weaving

The raw materials, wrapped in a damp cloth to keep them flexible.


Heritage spinning wheels with Val and David Bryant

Thank you very much indeed to the Bryants who gave us a fascinating illustrated talk on the history of spinning wheels last Saturday.  David Bryant makes furniture & spinning wheels, and restores vintage/antique wheels; he and Val are experts in the field having spent many years researching the subject in depth.  Val worked for many years at Styal Mill (Cheshire) and family holidays were spent quartering the country in search of historic spinning wheels.  Eventually, with the aid of a Pasold research grant, she was able to give up the day job and she and David now have a substantial database of information about wheels in the UK.  These range from humble cottage wheels to exquisitely made "boudoir" wheels for ladies (who probably didn't do much actual spinning, but liked to show off their handiwork and spinning wheels to envious friends). 
Val and David are now sought after by museums for advice about restoration and display, and have worked with the Jane Austen House (and also, see here ), the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Collection.
In addition to many excellent "slides" (or whatever the digital equivalent is) they brought two beautiful antique flax spinning wheels, and Val (who has been spinning since she was very young) demonstrated both her skills and those of David, who restored the wheels to full working order. 
One of our members brought in her own antique wheel, which has been duly measured and added to the database!

(photographs to follow)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Wednesday evening, 11th. April.

Ready and waiting...

Although the evening sky was very black to the west, it didn't rain.

Hard at work
Back to our Spring and Summer timetable, and the evenings are definitely much lighter!  We had a quiet meeting on Wednesday, spinning, sorting fleece and knitting. We are looking forward to our "extra" meeting this Saturday, when the Bryants are coming to talk about historic spinning wheels.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Spinning Art Yarns with Ann Campbell

A full house on Sunday for Ann Campbell's wonderful session on spinning art yarns! 
There was a good attendance by our own Guild members, and we were pleased to welcome lots of visitors who were drawn by Ann's fully deserved reputation as an excellent teacher and textile artist. 
Ann brought a delicious selection of dyed merino and silk fibres for us to choose from, and showed us how to create colourful and textured yarns.
We used drum carders to form batts of wool and silk in our choice of colours; spun them "thin and thick" and then plyed them with spun silk caps. We also created an "insertion" yarn with twists and knots of silk, and plyed this with commercial yarn - a great way to use up all those bits of fibre or yarn, and those cones of yarn which seemed such a bargain when we bought them.... 
Ann's useful tip to counteract the unwanted twist in an unbalanced yarn:  soak the hanks in very hot water with a tiny amount of detergent, spin gently and dry with a little weight at the bottom.
We were so busy that, once again, no-one took any photographs! (I promise to add some once my yarn is dry enough to photograph.)
Many thanks to Ann for her inspirational teaching.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sunday meeting, February 12th.

Another good turn out for our last "unstructured" Sunday meeting of the year (we have a Sunday workshop coming up with Anne Campbell).  We all got a surprising amount of work done!  It was good to see one of our ex-members, Kath, and her daughter Emily as they passed through on their way West.
Thanks to Hilary for the photographs.
Hilary's wonderful "stole" (probably),  in commercial bouclĂ© yarn

A selection of spinning wheels...

lunch and carded batts

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sunday, January 8th., 2012

Another successful Sunday meeting, with a good attendance (on a drop-in basis!).  Jenni had a successful Woolsack event, stuffing cushions for the Olympic athletes (see our Woolsack page link here)