Spinning wheel for sale

Karen Buchananfor sale0 Comments

Avril Clarke has a spinning wheel for sale, £60.
This is a double drive spinning wheel, in working order. It comes with four bobbins, one which has a bit missing but is still usable. Also included is an attachment for holding bobbins.
Contact avrilcclark@gmail.com

Louët Drop In

Karen Buchananevent reports0 Comments

On 20th May Pam and Dave dropped in to see us at Strathpeffer on their current UK and Ireland tour. Hailing from Canada they had worked for Louët North American distribution arm but are currently based in Holland knocking the European end into shape.

A dozen members looked in with assorted wheels and looms, all of which Dave gave a good look at and made minor repairs and adjustments at no cost. We got to try out their new e-spinner which is at advanced prototype stage and to offer feedback. Those who have other e-spinners were impressed by its smooth running. Watch this space!

Regarding Louët distribution in Scotland there is now only Jaine Mahon at Skye Silks (who many will remember from a lockdown zoom workshop) – https://www.jainemahon.co.uk . Do contact her for supplies or go direct to Louët for customer service.

Thank you to those who came – especially to an amazing turnout from the NORTH!

Last Minute News – we have been given two ‘lisa’ small frame looms by Pam and David. These will be raffled at the June meeting so please bring extra pennies!

Open Day at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre

Karen Buchananevent reports

Though I always enjoy our regular meetings at Strathpeffer, I found I was really looking forward to going somewhere new for our May Guild day.  I was not disappointed!  We were allocated a large room with ample space for twenty plus of us with our wheels and looms, and for members of the public visiting the centre to look at our display and talk to us about our crafts.  The staff were very welcoming and helpful, the sun shone, and, another big plus, there was a great café!

The reason behind holding an occasional open day away from our usual venue was to make the journey easier for those who live further away, so it was good to see people from the south and west who haven’t been to a Guild meeting for a while.  Lydia, Sadie and Linda were all tapestry weaving, Sue had brought a rigid heddle loom as well as her wheel, everyone else was spinning.  A lovely relaxed day!

Report by Stephanie Hoyle

April Open Day at Strathpeffer

Karen Buchananevent reports

April Open Day at Strathpeffer

About 20 people enjoyed the April Open Day, most spinning either with wheels or spindles. One newish member was being taught to spin by Sue R.

Another, taught by Sue V at Dornoch, was doing impressively well with a spindle.

Sadie had offered to help anyone with queries about tapestry, and had set up four small looms. Several people had a go during the day. Sadie herself was weaving a sample echoing the marks on a stone.

Linda had also brought along the landscape tapestry she is working on.

And the sheep were there with their field – two more than at Dornoch!

Longstanding members of the Guild were remembering Serena Mason, and there was a minute’s silence for her at the beginning of the EGM, which took place in the middle of the day.

Following the election of Linda as Chair and Sue R as Treasurer, Sadie outlined the workshop programme she is working on – a lot of things to look forward to there! Our May Open Day will be at Dundreggan Rewilding Centre, near Fort Augustus.

Anna Champeney Talk

Karen Buchananevent reports, Reports, weaving reports

Anna’s talk to guild members on Saturday told the story of her weaving life from the year 2000, when aged 30, she and her partner moved to rural Ribiera Sacra in NW Spain, until the present day. “Madness” is how she described this decision, and bold it certainly was… without any weaving skills she set out to revive what was becoming a dying tradition in this sparsely populated, mountainous area in Galicia.

Over the next hour, we saw how Anna developed her weaving practice into a successful business; initially as a weaver dyeing her own yarns, then as a teacher in her rural studio, and on to developing her business as she worked with the big fashion labels. Today she heads up a postgraduate course in Applied Arts at the Massana Art School in Barcelona. 

It was Anna’s approach to solving problems by learning new skills as they were required (weaving, dyeing, design, branding and marketing) that was inspirational. She applied herself to fund-raising, seizing opportunities as they arose seeking out local expertise to help her on her journey.  After Anna left the call, we continued to discuss design and sources of inspiration for our work, and noted how Anna had used other arts and crafts, such as jewellery makers, along her creative journey. “Food for thought” as one attendee commented to me afterwards. 

Visit Anna’s website here.

Quiz January 2024

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports, Reports

Serena started the quiz tradition during lockdown.  This year committee members set the questions, giving Serena a chance to take part.  As usual we were all made aware of how much we don’t know about spinning, weaving and dyeing!  We had historical questions, technical questions, almost impossible anagrams, Latin terms, pictures of animals and weaving and spinning wheels to identify etc.  About 20 people took part, and about half of us got about half marks!  A fun morning, ably chaired by Sophie. 

Here is a copy of the quiz, with the answers highlighted!

Dornoch Show 2023

Stephanie HoyleReports, shows

I was a complete newbie both to the beautiful town of Dornoch and to its annual allthings-fibre get together. At just a stretch too far for an easy day trip I stayed overnight not least to see Joan Baxter’s extraordinary tapestry weaving exhibition and to chat with her while she worked. A weaver of international reputation in the back room of the Dornoch Social Club! This is the kind of highlight that makes this festival very special indeed.

The various stalls were spread through two venues and these offered a large selection of fibres, accessories and knowledge. I doubt any came from much further than fifty miles away proving what a wonderful array of businesses we have now in the Highlands. An extra stall of interest for me was the Stashbuster selling on behalf of contributors and taking a cut to raise some funds for the festival. I covered the costs of new purchases (husband not convinced this was the purpose…). The Guild had a presence in the Hub which, if there hadn’t been classes on there, I think would have been a little out of the way, being separate from the stallholders. Around a dozen members spun, wove and blethered away showing off displays of dyeing, spun skeins and woven pieces across the two days and new interest in the Guild was definitely generated. I’m looking forward to doing it all over again next year perhaps with some kinder weather.

Linda Henderson

Some of Joan Baxter’s work:

Black Isle Show 2023

Stephanie HoyleReports, shows

The Black Isle Show is on the Wednesday and Thursday after the Nairn Show, and opens to the public at 4pm on Wednesday, so we got there about 1.00 to start setting up.  A good thing we were early – no tables or chairs and slightly less space than last year!  A phone call solved the first problem, and we managed to reclaim a bit of space from the fleece competition!  Our location near the sheep show and the shearing competition is good, and draws in interested people, but a good year for the fleece and crooks competitions means a lean year for us in terms of space. 

This year we had display boards, provided by Alison Roddham, with information about our core crafts.  Alison also brought along a selection of inkle looms, including two old box types, one original, one reproduction, a tablet weaving loom, and a peg loom; Henriette was weaving colourful patterns on her 8-shaft, Fergus set up his upright loom, and I had the SampleIt, so weaving was well represented.  Catherine Freeland, who wasn’t able to be there, sent two baskets of luscious dye samples. Spinning wheels whirred, spindles twirled and the display included articles made from handspun, and Sue’s skeins of fancy yarn, and skeins from different types of fleece.  Meanwhile, in a tent far away (at least on the other side of the showground!) Sadie was introducing children to tapestry weaving and helping them to make woven tree decorations.

Two good days; the weather was reasonably kind to us and we had a lot of visitors, many of them genuinely interested in our crafts.  Lots of people had a go at spinning and at most of the types of weaving on offer.  We met old friends – Deborah Ilett was there with three of her grandchildren.  And Sheila won two trophies in the craft competition!   Thanks to everyone who took part.

Nairn Show 2023

Stephanie HoyleReports, shows

This year we were provided with a new tent, more spacious than the gazebo we had before, and sited near the horticulture tent.  We were facing the show jumping arena, so had something to watch in quiet moments!  We also had a view of a little group of alpacas, which were at a stand next to the horticulture tent.  We were steadily busy all day, with quite a few people genuinely interested and wanting to have a go, and a couple of people wanting to buy things from the display!  Hilma created a lot of interest with her peg loom weaving in bright colour with a lot of texture.  Margaret, Christine, Fiona, Ada, Kathleen, and Jenny were all spinning; Sasha was weaving on an inkle loom; I was mostly weaving on the Guild SampleIt loom, but did a bit of spinning too – I handed the SampleIt to Sasha when she finished her inkle band.  Weatherwise it was mostly hot and sunny, with the odd sharp shower. 

The Show has a craft competition with a class for “An article in own handspun wool, knitted, crocheted or woven”.  Frances won with her lovely woven bag, my teddy was second, Rossie’s jumper came third, Fiona’s hat fourth and Gill’s tunic fifth.  Kathleen wove a bag (her first weaving) for the WRI stand and got a third. 

A good day – exhausting, but very enjoyable!

Open Day December 2023

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports, Reports

Around 20 people attended our December meeting at Strathpeffer Community Centre, most with spinning wheels. There was a lot of chat as usual, also mince pies and chocolates! Some took advantage of the opportunity to browse the library books and the equipment, now stored in a cupboard in the room we use, and securely locked when we are not there. There was also a stash buster sales table.

Open Day and Warping Demo October 2023

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports, Reports, weaving reports

After an unexpected change of venue, the day got off to a start with Stephanie demonstrating how to wind a warp using a warping mill. The principal is the same as using a warping frame. She explained “the cross” – you wind so that in one direction the thread goes over the second last post, and on the return it goes under it – this keeps the threads in order. You need to put ties round the cross before removing it from the warping mill, and it is sensible to put tight ties round the warp in several places so that it doesn’t slip and get messed up. Once the warp was wound Stephanie and Sheila showed how to dress a loom; Stephanie working on the new Guild loom (Louet Erica), and Sheila on her own Louet Jane. Several people had a go at threading, and, when Sheila’s loom was threaded, at weaving.

Open Day September 2023

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports, Reports

Highland Guild Open Day, 9th September. Stephanie Hoyle
Our first meeting after the summer break was on a lovely sunny day, which enabled us to take advantage of the outside space on the hotel terrace to spin and chat. This was a good thing as we’d been accidentally locked out of our usual large room and only had the small room where the tea and coffee is! I missed a number of meetings in the spring, and was beginning to feel semi-detached. It was good to be back.

Fleece Day at Glachbeg Croft August 2023

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports, Reports, spinning reports

Glachbeg is a great venue for this kind of event, many thanks to David Spooner and his assistants who had done everything possible to make the day a success for us, there was plenty of car parking and the weather was kind with lovely sunshine throughout the event. The day was planned by Terry Williams, and she and Alison Munro did a great job of setting up and working behind the scenes to make sure everything went well.

The morning was a workshop on choosing, sorting and preparing fleeces led by Alison Strange of
Bunloit Woolery and the afternoon was a sale of fleece. Eight took part in the workshop where Alison showed a range of fleeces both good and bad, including a couple of Black Isle show prize winners. She talked about the joy of crimp, explained about fleeces cut above and below the rise, second cut, characteristics of different kinds of fleeces, and showed how to skirt a fleece.

Other members were also present, and we were very pleased to welcome Carol Crowdy from the
Berkshire guild holidaying on Skye, who came over for the day. We broke for lunch and were treated to a wonderful range of delicious home baking made by one of the people from Glachbeg. We had a good chat with Carol over lunch as she organises the fleece day for her own guild so we got some good ideas for future fleece days if there is sufficient interest to hold another. In the afternoon, anyone who was interested in buying a fleece unrolled it on the table so it could be viewed and the lessons of the morning were put into practice as people decided which fleeces to buy.

All in all, a successful day with lots of learning and laughter – a good time was had by all.

Dye Workshop May 2023

Stephanie Hoyledyeing reports, event reports, Reports

What a wonderful day! The weather was kind, the venue perfect for our needs, and the workshop both fun and inspiring! This was our first time at Glachbeg Croft, where we were made very welcome. We set up for the dyeing in an open sided barn – outside, but undercover, and with an earth floor. We also had use of a modern building which is used for workshops etc, where we could sit down for tea or coffee and eat our lunch.

Susan started us off with shibori. We tore up old cotton sheets so that everyone had two or three pieces of cloth to dye. Then Susan showed us how to fold and tie the material tightly to exclude dye from some areas – she had brought small blocks of wood, buttons and pegs to include to make different patterns. Once the fabric parcels were tightly tied, dye was applied liberally to the exposed parts, then after a quick whizz in the microwave, they were left to set. We were using Procion fibre reactive dyes, with sodium carbonate as fixative for cotton and other cellulose fibres – no heat is needed to fix the dye, but a minute in the microwave helps to get the process started. Those who had used anything which included metal to make their patterns couldn’t microwave, but the results were just as good when the pieces were unwrapped later. After everyone had tied up a couple of pieces, we had a tea break and Susan introduced the idea of stitching then drawing up the stitches tightly, as another way of excluding dye from some areas of the fabric.

Once dye had been applied to the stitched samples, Susan introduced something new to everyone: Jacquard Solarfast dyes. These were applied to the fabric in the darkest part of the barn, then objects (leaves, coins, etc) were arranged on top, and the pieces of fabric then set out in the sun. We left them while we had lunch, then carried them into the back of the barn again and quickly removed the leaves etc and washed the fabric as thoroughly as possible to remove any residual dye. This is important as any dye remaining will react with the light and the pattern will be lost. The initially pale colour had darkened where the fabric was exposed to the sun, but remained pale where it had been covered, leaving an imprint of whatever had been laid on top.

By this time everyone was curious to see the outcome of the shibori experiments, so these were unwrapped and admired. Some had worked better than others, but all were attractive. Those who hadn’t used the stitching technique before mostly found that their stitching hadn’t been pulled tight enough – a learning point for next time. The fibre reactive dyes can take 24 to 48 hours to fully set, so participants were advised not to rinse their work till the following day at least.

In the afternoon Susan introduced the use of acid dyes on wool. She gave everyone pre-soaked tops in white, grey, brown and black, and a little piece of fleece. These were to be dyed with the same solid colour to show how the end results varied. She then introduced rainbow dying – playtime! Lay a length of pre-soaked tops on clingfilm, add splashes of different colour dyes at intervals, squish to blend where the colours meet, roll in the clingfilm, closing the ends, and microwave! The wool needs to be pre-soaked so that it takes up the dye effectively, but should be squeezed out before applying the dye. The fixative for wool is lemon juice or vinegar, and the dyes need to be heat fixed, so the microwaves worked hard for the rest of the day.

At the end of the day everyone had a range of samples, and a lot of ideas for more experiments. Thank you, Susan for a great day!