Busy Weekend

19-20 August 2023

This weekend was extra full of crafts and fibre-y goodness.


On Saturday, my local Guild of spinners, weavers and dyers had their annual garden party. This involves a fleece sale, raffle, shared lunch, quiz etc and the usual society business and sales table. As a bonus, a work colleague of mine came along for her second visit to the Guild, and I gave her a first lesson spinning with a drop spindle. She did amazingly well considering the fibre I had to hand was some combed Gotland with a long staple length which wasn’t the easiest to handle. After a quick introduction to spinning wheels back at my house, I’ve sent her on her way with a spare spindle, some books, a bit of fleece and prepared top so hopefully she’ll catch the bug and be inspired to keep spinning.


I bought 100g of alpaca fleece at the Guild meeting for £1 (bargain), in a lovely rich toffee colour. On Sunday I had a go washing a small amount but my usual hot soak and rinse wasn’t very successful in getting rid of mucky tips so I will reassess and try a different method [Update – washing smaller amounts worked more successfully and passing them across a carder when dry helped to remove the scurf]. At the Guild meeting I also picked up a lovely Portland fleece as I wanted to try this breed and to have some more white wool on hand for dye experiments.


On Sunday I harvested some more dyers chamomile flowers, and weeded some ivy, rose canes, crocosmia as well as some long dandelion stems and dried bluebell stems from a friend’s garden where I help them out every few weeks. I’ve not heard of bluebells being used in crafts before but they seemed similar to the dandelion and may work well for a twining material. We’ll see. The bluebells are the non-native Spanish/hybrid bluebells and were from a friend’s garden rather than my own, so I was careful to pull off any dried seed heads just to make sure I didn’t accidentally spread this invasive species anywhere.


Then… I processed the rose bark into strips for cordage (I’ll keep the robust stems for future basketry experiments) washed the alpaca fleece (see above), spun some Corriedale for my jumper project, made some cordage with crocosmia leaves, and finally spun some tweedy ‘art yarn’ for a weaving project.


Phew! All in a day’s work.

The crocosmia leaves ended up in a coiled basket (my best yet)

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