Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers 12th February 2011

Today it was our monthly Guild meeting.  It was an Open Morning where members old and new share their crafts and experiences all washed down with tea and cake perfect.  (I took the plate of Love Heart Cookies).  This morning the room seemed a positive hive of activity. Experienced members were teaching newer members to spin on a wheel, they were experiencing the common issues for beginners 'Like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time'.  Not put off they went home with a variety of fleece and fibre to experiment with, and will undoubtedly produce some unique lumpy, knobbly, springy yarns that will be much loved. 
There were also some members spinning on drop spindles.  The spindles were of all shapes and sizes, including distaffs.

I took along my Kiwi wheel and my Ashford Student Spindle.

I had more success today with my drop spindle, I practiced on a different spindle which I have to admit seemed easier to use than my spindle for 'Students', but with help and advice, finally I got it together and realise what it is I have to practice to spin a yarn on a drop spindle.  I am pleased that 'The Penny has finally dropped!'.  It is a good feeling to learn something new.  I will try and get the spindle full of singles and at the next meeting or two see if I can learn how to Navajo ply.
I am always fascinated to see Navajo plying on a drop spindle.

Others were weaving on square 'Weave It' Looms and inkle looms.

There was also the usual knitter nattering going on.  In all some beautiful work being created.

     In the afternoon there was a talk 'The History of String' by Ruth Gilbert.  This was an educational talk about the history, evidence and techniques for making twine, string and yarn.
There was an interesting slideshow of pictures and photographs to accompany the talk and a table with samples of various twines made from bark, grasses, plant roots and stems and also some modern twines and recycled plastic bag twine.  My favourite was a sample of a bag woven in New Guinea out of plant fibres.  Like the one below.

We looked at methods including twisting in the hand, spinning on a stick, spinning on a hooked stick, supported spindle, rolled on the thigh e.g Navajo, rotation of the spindle in the hand, grasped spindle, supported spindle - twirled in a dish and the use of the suspended spindle.  We considered  'Weaving is older than History', to weave there must have been yarn/ fibre that was handspun. The talk was certainly thought provoking.

I enjoy mooching through our Guild's Library and this month I borrowed two books:
Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman, I have been wanting to read Elizabeth Zimmerman for a while as I believe she is considered a controversial writer, by some a knitting Guru and by others patronising pain in the posterior.
Knitting with Dog Hair by Kendall Crolius and Ann Black Montgomery I am sure my dog produces more fibre annually than a sheep, I sweep and vacuum enough of the darn stuff daily!  When I groom her I can literally harvest it by the bag.

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