Tuesday, 17 November 2015

All Wales Meeting, Llanidloes 2015

Another minor miracle - like bring-a-platter buffets which turn out to have just the right
ingredients without there being a plan - Abergele's display had a good selection of yarns, colours
and techniques. Although I didn't, Jenni did have a plan and the flow of textiles across our space represented a mountain range. Compliments were received! So, thank you everyone who put their work in. Fewer members of the public this year but guilds were out in force. Displays included a little black dress, woven boxes, unusual fibres such as yak. Ours was the only one to go Roman and use LX for 60 years on our Challenge board.


Monday, 9 November 2015

Masterclass with Ann Campbell, Sunday Nov. 8th.

Another well chosen "workshop" on Sunday: Ann Campbell shared her extensive knowledge with us in a Masterclass. 
Ann is one of North Wales' most experienced textile artists, specialising in handspinning and dyeing.  She started our day by explaining and demonstrating the technique of long-draw spinning, which was completely new to some of us:  thanks to Ann's expert help we were all able to produce a lovely lofty yarn in double quick time. (Our newest member "got" the technique in a trice, and was whizzing away as to the manner born within minutes!)
General busy-ness.  Note the long draw spinning!

Thereafter Ann gave us all individual tuition on any topic we asked, from the preparation of wool and cotton to the plying and finishing of hanks of spun yarn.  She also showed the whole group new ways of blending fibre using blending boards - simply made by fixing a large piece of carding cloth onto a bread board.  While not suited to the preparation of large quantities of fibre, a blending board has the great advantage of taking up far less space than a drum carder, and it costs a fraction of the price.  We rummaged happily in Ann's boxes of gorgeous hand dyed fibres and were soon able to produce attractive multicoloured punis  for spinning at our leisure, using the techniques of art yarn spinning Ann demonstrated on her own wheel.  She brought some beautiful examples of her own spinning and knitting to enthuse us, and we have resolved to use up all our bits and pieces of yarn and fibre, and Make Something.


....and after the Abergele Guild had been at the boxes.
Purple tops and hand knitted foot covers (with apologies for the unflattering viewpoint).

More busy-ness.

All in all, this was a wonderful day with a warm and positive atmosphere inside the hall, contrasting with the bleak weather outside.  To crown everything, we were treated to a wonderful soup-and-bread lunch by Val, our catering suprema. Other members chipped in with some bits and pieces, including delicious cake, and the result was a real feast.
So, many thanks to Ann for her generous and expert tuition and to Bryn and Val for the organisation.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sunday in LlanfairTH

Working from left to right:  Yvonne's new wheel; Val spinning in a very smart knitted jumper;

Hilary busy making lace; Edith spinning a beautiful dark red yarn;

Kate and Bryn suitably dressed for the occasion.

First class work on the peg loom by Kate's 4 year old daughter (joined together by Aunty)

And finally:  The Cake Picture.  Bara brith on the left, and Val's delicious orange malt loaf on the right.

Our first meeting in LlanfairTH. for a while, having had to cancel at short notice in September.  Not a huge turnout, but those who managed to come had a good and productive day.  The weather is turning colder, after a late blossoming of summer weather - we look a bit spread out in these photographs, when perhaps we should have been huddling together for warmth.  The clocks will have gone back before our next meeting.

Friday, 14 August 2015

A nice day with books and wool.

A small group of us this Sunday, but some interesting pieces for our "show and tell":

Yvonne's Mรถbius loop scarf, made with yarn from Katie Weston's fibre blending session:

Jenni's peg looming - going to be a nice warm seat cover:

And Alison's locker-hooked seat covers:

Both sets of seat covers show excellent ways to use spare yarn or fabric; as peg looms produce a weft-faced yarn, they certainly get through the yarn!
Bryn was busy knitting pieces for a "free-form" jacket, but didn't take any photographs of them.
We had the usual tea, cake and chat - mostly about books, for a change.  Some of us read on-line, some prefer real books, and some read so much that we need both virtual and paper pages.

(By the way, does anyone know how to post photographs direct from Gmail or Google Drive to Blogger?  It seems illogical to have to download to a PC and then upload them again. There doesn't seem to be any way to get the various bits of Google to communicate?????)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Another busy day.

Lots of busy-ness at our regular Monday evening meeting in Abergele. We were pleased to welcome a new member and a visitor, as well as a returning member - croeso i bawb!
Photographs of spinning wheels get a bit "same-y" after a while, so here are some shots of Jenni's peg loom weaving (made from a mixture of hand spun and commercial yarn).  Nice and thick and comfortable for a seat cushion.

See you in Llanfair in August!

Friday, 24 July 2015


Well, I suppose it had to happen one day. 
My apologies to anyone who received an alert about a new Abergele blog post, and came to the page only to find nothing new.  I accidentally posted my own artist's blog update on this page.  I have now cut and pasted it onto my own page.  Sorry for any inconvenience.
(I could send you the link to my post if you want!)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A Sunday in July

A dull and muggy day in the country saw 11 spinners and a visitor meeting in LlanfairTH.  Everyone was very busy, taking advantage of the chance to have a whole 6 hours of uninterrupted spinning.  Once again, we managed to get a lot done despite the distractions of tea and chat.
We also had the opportunity to catch up on the news from Woodfest at the end of June.  Unfortunately, it sounds as though the Friday team drew a very short straw indeed and did not have the space originally allocated us - with all the hassle associated with moving at short notice.  However, Saturday and Sunday went off much better, and teams 2 and 3 really enjoyed themselves.  They had such fun, they didn't take any photographs.  The Sunday team had the added pleasure of being given hand-made drop spindles by a kind woodturner.

Thank you to all who took part and shared the crafts of handspinning, weaving and dyeing with the public.

Back to LlanfairTH today, and the usual eclectic mix of fibres and spinning wheels:

Bryn - brave soul - is working towards the National Association's Certificate of Achievement, preparing and spinning a variety of different fleece.  The current task is Gotland:  beautiful to look at, but not so beautiful to comb and spin. The yarn is turning out to be rather hairy and coarse.

Shawl gallery:  Yvonne and Hilary.

Yvonne modelling her shawl.

Hilary's beautiful "random" effect woven shawl.

See you all in Abergele next time.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sunday Spinning, June 14th.

A fibre sampling day.  Bryn kindly organised little bags containing 10gm. each of a variety of fibres:  Blue-faced Leicester, Manx Loaghtan, Herdwick, Lincoln Longwool, Cheviot and Corriedale. The challenge was to spin and ply each of these, and comment on its' properties.  The Lincoln Longwool was popularly thought to resemble a horse's tail.

Some of the samples were woven into triangles on Kate's pin loom, and will make a nice start for our contribution to the guild challenge at the All Wales Meeting in October.


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Being in two places at once...

Today we were in two places at once, 7 miles apart.
Jenni F. and her Gazebo Gang were at the Gwrych Castle Fete in Abergele, survived the cold and probably met the best part of a thousand people.  Val's husband provided refreshments from the campervan and earned the title of Guild Roadie. (Pictures to follow, I hope.)
A select group of less adventurous folk came to LlanfairTH and stayed in the warm, with cake, and got a great deal done. Several full bobbins and some finished weaving between us. (Pictures to follow, once I work out how to upload them from a tablet computer.  The eventual solution: email the pictures to myself, and then upload them from the P.C.)
First of all, the Cake Picture - affected badly by the red heat lamps

More amazing fibres from Katie Weston - these are a very dark plum colour with touches of peach

Jill's colourful weaving on a Kromski knitters' loom.  This is a rigid heddle loom designed to take knitting yarn; it has a neat warping board incorporated into the base and folds up neatly with the weaving in situ.  Jill is weaving red merino on one shuttle and red merino plied (plyed?) with recycled sari silk on the second shuttle.

Quiet concentration on the other side of the room.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Friendship Day, 2015

Thank you very much to all who helped to make our Friendship Day such a success on Sunday, April 12th. The weather was, quite frankly, terrible:  windy, cold and wet, and we were very glad to be inside.  Despite the poor travelling conditions our visitors came from all over the area, and by lunchtime the hall was a veritable hive of activity; spinning, weaving, braiding, knitting, crocheting and more.
As usual, our "Stash table" provided a way of getting rid of unwanted stuff, before restocking with gorgeously dyed fibres from "Mam a mi.  Jenni Frost brought some prepared fleece from her flock of Shetland sheep (and didn't take much home). 
Our request to bring a plate of food" turned up trumps, and people brought a brilliant variety of goodies, from home made bread and biscuits to exotic chocolate traybake, with all sorts of savouries and sweets in between.  We had lots of unsolicited help with the washing up, too, which was greatly appreciated.

Waiting for the rush...

Mam, ( "Mam a mi") and some very tempting packets of fibre.

Jenni's Shetland stall.


busy, busy.
So, that's over for another year, but there are lots of other opportunities for us to meet like-minded spinners and weavers over the next twelve months, starting with the Clwyd Guild Friendship Day in Llysfasi next Saturday.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Another month almost finished..

..and another evening meeting in Abergele.  Fortunately the roadworks finished today, and access to Capel Mynydd Seion is now unimpeded.  As usual our members had brought a varied selection of fibres for spinning, and we all managed to spin a yarn (or two).
And thanks once more to Val for the cake!

Busy hands no. 1:  Helen and her own natural-dyed fine fibres.

Busy hands 2.: June knitting basket stitch.

Bryn spinning Shetland fleece for her Certificate of Achievement.  The fine, fluffy short staple is quite a challenge.

Hilary spinning a luscious green mix from Hilltop Cloud fibres.

Activity on one side of the room

and on the other side, too.
See you all at our Friendship Day next month.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Our Winter Tour: Part 1

Our thanks to Bryn for volunteering to host the first day of our Winter "Tour", if that's the right word for it.  As it can be cold and miserable in North Wales in the winter months, two members of the Committee have kindly invited us into their homes for our Sunday meetings.  On February 8th. a goodly number of us journeyed to Bryn's house and had a lovely day spinning and chatting.  After a bitterly cold, foggy and icy start to the day the weather turned sunny and clear, apart from a persisting black haze over the hills in the distance. Bryn generously made two delicious kinds of soup, and other members brought cake. Despite the temptations of the latter we all managed to fill bobbins - many of them using the gorgeous colours we produced with Katie Weston last month.

Monday, 12 January 2015

More amazing colour blending with Katie Weston

We had a brilliant start to 2015 with another excellent colour blending workshop with Katie Weston.
Building on skills we learned during her visit last year, we produced even more sophisticated hanks of yarn, with some amazing variegated effects.
Firstly, Katie showed us how to make "punis"/ mini-rolags of blended fibre, taking a wispy but uninterrupted length off the drum carder using a dowel (to which the wool sticks) and a knitting needle (which slips out of the puni easily, so that the dowel can then be removed).  With a bit of practice, and not too much bad language, we all produced mini-rolags, ideal for using with a drop spindle.
Our next task was to make a tri-coloured fibre blend which can be spun to make a yarn with gradual colour changes.  Using Katie's gorgeous coloured fibres, we blended three separate batts of wool, silk, bamboo, Angelina...... and then teased them out to three thinnish slivers which were drawn onto the drum carder so as to make a single batt with vertical stripes. Then, working down the batt in the direction of the fibres, we "Z-stripped" it into a long sliver which clearly showed the change in colour along its' length.
Finally we made another three-coloured batt and took it off the carder using a diz.  Like puni-making, this requires practice, and a certain amount of non-Sunday language could be heard as the fibres fell apart and fingers were stabbed on the carding cloth.

Katie shows how to make a "puni" - a tiny rolag of fibre wound between a dowel and a knitting needle
And now a larger batt...

.. which comes off the carder in one piece, with three distinct areas of colour (looking from left to right),

and is then separated and "chained" into one long piece with the three colours running separately along the length.
Supporting the component fibres on a chair prevents them falling apart and thereby avoids grief and gnashing of teeth.

Stripes in the making.
Everyone produced large quantities of luscious fibre, and rushed home to start spinning.  We can't wait to see the results - (an idea for a Guild Challenge, perhaps?).
Very many thanks to Katie for her patient and expert tuition, and to Bryn for organising the event.
We take a break from Llanfair during the depths of winter, so our next couple of Sunday meetings will be in private houses. (Probably just as well:  driving past the hall this evening I noticed that the playing fields at the rear are flooded, and the river is very, very high). We are meeting as usual on the fourth Monday evening of the month in Abergele and will be back in Llanfair TH in April for our Friendship Day.