Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Weaver's Shed - Gigg Mill

 On one of our winter trips across to the mainland we visited The Weaver's Shed at Gigg Mill in Stroud

 I'm fascinated about the history of weaving so it was great to see one of the old power looms as well as old hand looms, along with many items of equipment needed to weave such as shuttles, winders and bobbins.
 I'm really interested in hand looms and this lovely old floor loom was in use and to me simply beautiful! Time, age and wear lived in its wood and heddles but it still weaves a cloth of gentle blue.
One day perhaps I'll have the space to take one on...

 All weaving needs a warp and a weft, threads are woven over and under each other to make a fabric, so once you understand the method it becomes natural to you. Then you can look at a loom and begin to work out how to use it, discovering how each style and make of loom wants to be worked to weave its cloth. 
 There was a talk, demonstrations and a chance to have a go on a 8 shaft table loom.

Okay so we didn't complete all this patterning in one short visit, but its rather nice isn't it?

I'm looking forward to visiting the other mills next time and seeing the Dyers garden in bloom.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

In Search Of Colour

                                                           Basket of Hand Spun Yarns

                                                         Hand Dyed Batt of Wool Fibres

January finds me searching for colour. With foggy cold days here on the Island I yearn for the sunshine and blue skies and a little warmth in the air. I am a sunshine girl at heart and I’m looking forward to any signs of Spring
This month we are busy doing some painting and decorating around the home, certain rooms are in need of a lift and so it seems a good time to get on with the chores. I do enjoy choosing and planning room colours, textures and re designing a space. A lovely new carpet is being fitted as I write, so once it is down I will be able to style the room. Of course it is a very good opportunity to do a de- clutter and sort through what needs to stay and what needs to go!
I’m working on some small knitting projects at present but will be warping up my loom once I have my work space organised again.
This year I shall be experimenting, discovering and developing my skills with dyeing my own yarn. I have been doing this for a number of years but I really want to delve into this discipline of wool creativity with gusto!!
Taking a  fleece , preparing it for spinning; dyeing the yarn to my own colours either before or after spinning it. Then knitting and weaving with it, is so thrilling and the sense of achievement is immeasurable.    
So I’m in search of colour, colour in my garden to grow some plants this year that will add to my natural dye pot stock, colour for my wools to lift the spirits, cheer the heart and lots of colour, texture with  design  to add  individuality to my weaving and knitting projects.
 I create my hand knitting and hand weaving, using combinations of colour and yarn types  producing unique cushions, bags, table runners, throws and small rugs.
I also make hats, scarves, warmers and socks; which are colourful, soft and practical.  This year I shall be adding my hand spun, hand dyed yarns to my online shops along with a small collection of  woven clothing.
 Casting on and casting off is going to be lots of fun this year, hope you will pop in to see how my colourful creations work out.   

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Thank You

It was another great week at Quarr Abbey, thank you to all. Christmas is nearly upon us and the end of the year approaches.
  It's been a busy 2016, there has been so much I didn't get around to blogging about! Rather than some festive photos I thought I would share these three pictures with you:
Picture one - some Black Welsh Mountain sheep under a huge tree at Woodchester Park near Stroud. A super place to visit for a good walk there's a lovely flock of Jacob sheep in the grounds too.
Beautiful wool and wood.
 Picture two- looking forward to "some more views like these", at the helm sailing in Greece

Picture three- exploring the Greek Isles.

Thank you for reading my blog.

I will be Casting On and Casting Off  in  2017 
Hope you will pop back to read more of my woolly tales in spinning, weaving, knitting, natural dyes and salty sea tales of sailing days.

Merry Christmas and very Happy and Peaceful New Year.
Sending Good Wishes to you all,
love Sue


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Keeping The Balance

Balance stones

 Sometimes it's just good to take time, slow down, live in the moment and enjoy this beautiful life.
With our sailing season drawing to a close, we start to explore our Island on foot. We have so many different places to visit here from Downs, woodlands to coastlines and countryside.

 A sunny Autumn day brings us to Freshwater Bay. With its beach of pebbles, small rock pools to discover and clear calm waters. A day to absorb the sun's rays and dream of good things.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Weaving Baby Blankets - Follow the Process Part 3

 Here is the final part of my "follow the process" to show you a little of how my hand woven blankets are created. The above photo shows me winding a bobbin ready to go in the boat shuttle, this is what I use to weave the weft - the thread that travels across the warp to form the fabric.
 As I weave there is a rhythm to my work.
I press the right treadle/ pedal to open the shed - the path for the shuttle, pass the shuttle through and gentle beat the weft in place. I press the left treadle/pedal, pass the shuttle back through the shed and gently beat. The above photo shows the cloth roller which is turned as I weave to store the new cloth.

I work the colours in as blocks and stripes, enjoying the different effects and blends it creates.
When each blanket is woven the cloth is then ready to be removed from the loom and the exciting reveal is at last on view! 

I then twist the ends into colourful tassels and wash the blanket to set the fabric, this "fulling" completes the process and gives a wonderful soft finish.

Two sweet baby blankets, unique and special just like their new owners.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Weaving Baby Blankets - Follow The Process Part 2

 Summer has taken over here, it has been a busy one with plenty of sunshine for sailing and woolly adventures. But first I must get back to a project I have been "Showing the Process" of (back in May) so here is Part 2 of my Baby Blankets woven on my Saori loom.

Once I have threaded the reed it is time to thread the heddles

This task is very satisfying as I start to see the warp colours take shape and spread out across the loom.

Beaming the Warp

The ends are tied to a tying rod which is attached to the roller

  I need to wind the warp through the loom, towards the back, over the back beam and check the tension ready to weave.
The roller holds the warp neatly and every few turns I insert some card to make sure the warp doesn't develop any tangles.

At the front of the loom the warp is then ready to be attached to another tying rod and clipped to the front cloth roller, again I need to adjust the tension and of course check that all the heddles and reed threads are correctly set.

Now I am ready to weave.
I chose to weave different colourways on the weft, which makes each blanket unique.

Part 3 will show you the weaving and finishing process for the completed blankets.
I will be back very soon!