The new year sees a new term of Weaving at Coldharbour Mill and I’ve never seen the workshop so tidy! Thank you all who put time in last week assembling looms, moving looms and tidying the yarn store. The last weeks before Christmas saw a flurry of cutting off of warps. Here are just a few:
Currently all three weaving classes are full, which is wonderful and I’m looking forward to seeing what the spring term brings.
Hot off the loom, this is the latest scarf collection. Both warp and weft have been hand dyed with the exception of the fine worsted stripes. As you’ll see some are in a waffle weave structure and some are in twill. Once again I have used the 2/7.5 exmoor/bluefaced leicester yarn spun for me by Fibre Harvest, which took the dye well and promises to wash to a very soft yarn indeed. Now to mending, fringing, washing and I’m all ready for Made by Hand at Tredegar House!
I write this as the exhibition is drawing to a close, but once again the weavers have excelled themselves. The exhibition showed what a diverse bunch they are from sturdy, colourful floor rugs to delicate, precisely structured table linen. I’m one proud tutor at the moment!
This weekend is the last weekend of Somerset Arts Week, so is the last chance to see the Blackdown Hills Artists and Makers (Bhaam) exhibit work on the theme of Sheds. I always find exhibiting with this group exciting, there is always something new to see or a new way of looking at things. And this show is no exception there are about 18 different artists and makers exhibiting work, including potters, painters, installation artists and dancers. Surely something for everyone? I am showing two new shawls inspired by galvanised iron – one new and one rusty. There is a moss coloured one on the loom at the moment to be shown over Christmas.
I don’t feel as though I’ve stopped this summer!
It started with The Contemporary Craft Fair at the beginning of June. I won the Selvedge prize for best textiles! (My work will be featured in a future issue!) I’m still giddy about it really and all together it was a brilliant show. The weather wasn’t fantastic, but the people were. It’s such a friendly show and I always end up having lovely chats with interesting people. I even indulged in a beautiful pair of hand turned wooden salt and pepper mills by Louise Hibbert.
At the moment I am weaving at every available opportunity to finish the next collection of work I want to show at The Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracey, Devon.
At the moment I’m working on a series of wraps for those late summer evenings when it gets a bit chilly. The inspiration comes from faded velvet and I’m using two twills to imply the faded areas. That and a hand dyed, randomly space dyed warp. I’m hoping that once off the loom and washed the exmoor/bfl wool will shrink and cause movement in the worsted yarn to add texture.
I’m enjoying playing with the warp and weft faced twills so that colour shows in different places and I think this ‘faded elegance’ theme will lead to more and more designs.
So should you be in Bovey Tracey between the 10th and 12th of June, pop along to stand C55 and say hello!
The Spring Term at the Weaving Workshop has flown by with the Summer term starting this week. We’ve had quite a few people cutting off their first warps this term, which is always quite exciting. A ‘Cutting off Ceremony’ has evolved where a piece of weaving is cut off and unveiled to a round of applause, ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ and ‘How did you do that?’. Here are a few:
I am currently weaving 100 yards of Lleyn wool fabric which will be made into curtains for The Corn Barn; a new wedding venue near Cullompton. It’s a really beautiful venue and I’m looking forward to seeing swathes of this fabric framing the windows. It’s also extra beautiful as the yarn came from the sheep kept by Ian and Yta at the farm. There will also be a certain amount of blankets available as a souvenir of your wedding at the Corn Barn.
It’s really exciting to be working on such a large scale. Instead of a 12 metre warp – I have a 115 metre warp. Instead of winding end by end, I had to think in terms of 6 inch sections, hence the image of 120 cones of yarn all stacked neatly on the creel. There are so many more calculations to do before you begin, so no changing your mind halfway through the warp!
The next job was to tie on the 1320 ends to the old warp, so they could be pulled through the heddles and the reed. This really is quite a job, it takes days and can really make your back ache if you’re not careful. All fingers were then crossed as the knots were pulled through, thankfully only a dozen came undone, so that was quite easy to fix.
Then it’s just a matter of tying onto the front cloth and tentatively weaving a few picks until the warp tension is settled before letting the shuttles fly! Watch this space for more images
Recently I spent an afternoon galloping around a field with my work trying to get some more images for publicity, in particular for madebyhandonline.com. I’m really quite pleased with them.
Many thanks to my brother for the photgraphs and to my friend who modelled beautifully!