4 Corners Workshop

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports

I didn’t manage to get to this workshop, but it looks as if it was a really good day! There was a festive theme, with participants making batts from red, green and white wool, fleece angels, and coiled gift baskets; the fourth corner was designated as “social” and gave an opportunity to carry on with one of the earlier activities or just chill. Below are two reviews and some pictures.

Here’s a review of the Angels and Baskets corners, written by Kathleen:

It was a lovely day when we met for the November corners workshop at the community centre and I really enjoyed the day too. I think there were about 12 people at the workshop (not including the tutors), so we all split into small groups of 3 or 4. I took part in 2 of the 3 corners.

Firstly I went to the tassel angel corner where Bryony and Jane taught us step by step to make little “woolly” angels. All the materials were provided. You can create your angel with a variety of spun wool and unprocessed fleece. There were different types of fibre available in different colours, some fluffy yarns or sparkly threads. You do not need much equipment, a couple of bits of card, a pencil and a barbed felting needle and sponge and scissors. It doesn’t take long to make one and we were soon able to hang our little angels on the twigs alongside the ones Bryony and Jane had created earlier. I managed to make 2, complete with a halo. My first angel had sparkly wings, the second was a bit more wild.

The second corner I went to was the Rope baskets, taught by Inga. (This corner was the one I really wanted to learn about as soon as Inga had shown us her blue rope basket at one of last year’s meetings.) The only equipment required was a size 4-5 crochet hook, some “rope” and some wool to crochet with. Inga had prepared several small coils of pulley rope all ready started so we could grasp the technique of crocheting around the rope with the wool before we started to create our own basket. Ruth Black had helped Inga to create lengths of rope with tweedy fibre so we all got to choose a colour we liked and some co-ordinating or contrasting wool, then the slightly tricky part began. we had to crochet along the rope for an inch or two then coil it around to form a spiral and continue to crochet in the spiral, increasing the number of stitches as the size of the spiral increased, to build the base for the basket. Once we reached the size of base we wanted for the basket we slightly adjusted how we did the crochet stitch to build up the wall of the basket. You can, with some practice and concentration create vertical walls or sloping ones that make more of a bowl shape, or even keep it as a flat disk if you wish to make a coaster for a cup or a mat. The overall finish will depend on the sturdiness of your rope and the colours you choose. The tweedy rope was quite soft in comparison to Inga’s original basket.

On both these corners, once you know how to create the item you can create your own unique items by varying the materials used and the colours. I had taken along a few shop bought bright balls of wool and used these to make a contrasting rim on the first basket, then after lunch I decided to make another basket using bright wool all the way up the walls. (I chose not to move on to the festive batts as I was enjoying the rope basket and wanted to see if I could make a second one. I had been to a previous “daft” batt workshop using a drum carder so wanted to concentrate on my 2nd basket)

And before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. I thoroughly enjoyed my day and am sure I will try to create more angels and baskets.

And a review of the Festive Batts corner written by Henriette:

Mary, with support from Aileen, showed us how to prepare special and individualised batts for spinning. Mary let us choose one of three main colours: green, red or white, which was just beautiful in view of Christmas. In red and green Mary had prepared hand dyed fleece. On a tray we arranged a substantial amount of fleece and roving together with ‘fun bits’ of different types of silk and/or Angelina. Then we chose one of the drumcarders, different in width and carding cloth. To feed the drumcarder we first opened up the fleece, ideally keeping the locks still recognisable and feeding them in lengthwise. The fleece was mixed with roving of the same colour, opened up as well. We kept an eye on the licker-in which showed us whether the wool was opened up enough and not to overfeed areas on the drum.

Then the artstic fun started. We chose between two options: leave the batt on the drum and add small amounts of specialities directly to the drum while we turned it or we took the batt off the drum carder, opened it up again and fed a “sandwich” into the drumcarder which carried bits of silk roving, throwster’s waste or noils and/or Angelina in its midst. Both options of feeding could also be combined.
We could experience various amounts of “ingredients”. Practice also showed what would work or get stuck at the licker-in. And it was a separate decision on how well combined or how fluffy and knotty we would like to have the appearance of the batt. Each batt could get sparks of another colour as much as texture.

I went home with three batts and look forward to the outcome when spun.