Friday, 30 May 2008

woolcraft log 30-5-08

Who came along today?
Anna, Flora, Mary, Ruth, Sarah,

Anna started to weave the second part of her pegloom cushion, now perfecting the rolling-folding method via a chin clasp Laryna had shown her.

Flora and Mary brushed the fire side fleece rug we felted last week, and it hangs now displayed over the stylish wooden bench in the foyer waiting for customers! So far it only attracted admiration, though.

Sarah started to knit another gauge with handspun wool and has a good look at the books with knitting patterns Ruth brought along, and made some photocopies for potential projects (simple pieces for baby wear and blankets). She plans now to buy some wool, as knitting with the precious handspun wool proves too expensive for a first project (apart from the fact that there is not that much choice of colours so far).

Ruth, Flora and Sarah washed a couple quite messy (full of grass and thorns) Blackface fleeces from Gravir (Lewis) to possibly felt as whole pieces. Sarah's first experience of washing and handling raw fleece, she took to it with flying colours, learning the gentle but firm touch too.

Towards the end of the day, when Issy came in to have a look at the patterns and knit a bit of the swatch for the single thread with the Jacobs chunky wool - and when Ruth tried to learn one of the Spinning songs, a bunch of people came through the bothy who had been practising their filming skills by filming Galgael today (help! not another one of them!), and wanted to film Ruth singing (even more HELP!) and telling about the Hebridean Sheep. Issy then let herself be persuaded to demonstrate plying on the spinning wheel, but Ruth made a good old mess of setting up the wheel and it took ages - all the while being filmed and hating every second of it! - before Issy finnally got her chance, yet another one I should say, as the movie star she deserves to be.

Remember: there are more photos here.

Friday, 23 May 2008

woolcraft log 23-5-08

Today came Anna, Anneruth, Flora, Laryna, Mary, Ruth, Sarah, Verene

Part of the team got on with wet felting the next Hebridean fire side rug. This time we did not prefelt the part-patches (thin places in the fleece) first, but went straight into putting soap over the whole fleece, and then rolled it up into 2 windowblinds (thanks Anna, for bringing your window blind along!) for the 'The fulling with the feet' part of the action.

Young Shaun had a look at how a fleece rug looks after it has been through the mill so to speak!
Here he finds that the half size one is just right for a good beard. :-)

We were also looking at some beaded jewelry Verene had made and plan ahead to explore felted jewellry next time ;-)

Mary had a go of trying out our Kromsky spinning wheel - and she got it to work for her!

As there was lots of white wool left from the event last week, and as the wool was a different white than the first rug on the big frame, Laryna started a new raw fleece rug with her well proven method of preparing the strips of wool from the batt. To her great surprise she really enjoyed weaving on the frame, as previously she had thought she would find it boring as she is used to the big foot pedal loom to do the fleece rugs in Germany.
The new rug is thinner in texture now than the one Anneruth started. It is good to have different types of rugs to show.

(see more picture of today's action as part of the May photoalbum)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Event participation at Pearce Institut Govan

We had quite some fun at this event at the Pearce Institute in Govan
which served us as trial run for future events.

The event feedback and evaluation can be viewed here

and more pictures can be viewed here

Friday, 16 May 2008

woolcraft log 16-5-08

This week we were preparing all day for having a stall and demo at Hammy's "re-schuffle" event at the Pearce Institut, Govan. Writing signs, selecting display materials and demonstration projects for kids and adult alike.

Verene, Anna, Flora, Sarah and Sarah-Jane were washing white fleece (the good quality Blackface) and teasing and carding all the other B'face wool still left from the last wash. 6 or so batts! Now the people can come to do some pegloom taster sessions tomorrow!

Sarah-Jane was having a go at the spinning again, and especially trying to work out the tricky tension part of it all, so she could be demonstrating it well tomorrow.

Jackie brought the doll along she is making from the brown shetland wool.

And then Jackie and Ruth did the packing of things so they were ready go to th PI (Pearce Institut Govan) this afternoon.

Friday, 9 May 2008

wool craft log 9-5-08

This week, on Thursday, Issy took to the wheel again with some dark blue wool given to her from the dear lady from Aberfoyle who had been visiting Galgael on a Monday when Mary Craig is weaving on the Clyde Tapestry and Laryna was spinning. Issy here is plying it with some fine dark red wool from another Trossach's Woolen Mill Anneruth had been giving to our woolcraft pool. Now Ian Bogle is getting his hopes up that Issy finally will be knitting him his jumper! Well there better be lots of more plying, and winding and washing and knitting to be done. Good that Tawney is lending a hand :-)

On Friday, Sarah from the Eastend came to join us for the first time, and Anna & Laryna introduced her to the first stages of wool processing: teasing and carding (for the rug weavings).

Anneruth had brought the Hebridean Fleece she had washed in the glorious weather of last week, and so everyone (by now also Mary, Flora and Jackie) could remind themselves of the differnt stages of the Hebridean fleece rugs: the loose stage after the first wash, the sewing and needle felting stage (there is one big one still in that stage) and the final touches after the big fulling. Our half rug (from last week) in that stage still needed some needle felting, but with all the hands new to needle felting, we decided to simply practise a bit needlefelting and especially the sculpting side of it. Sitting in the front (the daylit foyer) again, we took over the shop yet again, pushing the poor guys to the side with their lunches...

whilst mice and beavers and owls appeared under our hands, and Jackie was in creature sculpting heaven!

more pics on

Jackie took more needles and wool now home to knit gnomes and dolls. We can't wait to see them!

also of Verene's purple hat finally taking final shape with a cheaky and stylish felted flower. Now Verene is looking for ways to felt a button for the top for the last final touch.
How good we did not bin this historcal beauty when the shrinking after the felting last year seemed to have lost the look!
But look now:

Monday, 5 May 2008

gleaned events from the east

Here are 2 things worth a mention from the east of Scotland, at the flanks of the Pentland hills, which Anneruth chanced upon:

A lamb is born

First of all, at one April Sunday, on the 28th, to be precise, when those who know about it celebrate Celtic Easter [.. and boy was it so much more of an Easter feel that day, compared with the winter feel of the roamn Easter, end of March !], Anneruth went to see the Easter sun rise from Castle Law (an old ford on the Pentland hills). The air was gentle and so was the breeze. There were sheep on the field, grazing in the morning dew. But low and behold, what was that between fence and wall in a very tight spot? A ewe in labour! Anneruth had to pluck all her courage to urge the writhing sheep between the posts and the stones long to where the wall was broken. There the ewe finally could lie down in the field and give birth... to an Easter lamb all right.. It was very shakey on its wee legs, and when Anneruth came back later with the camera, the farmer had already marked it - and it was laying still with her mum pawing the ground...

A felting exhibition

Last weekend Anneruth chanced upon an exhibition of felt-craft works in the Penicuik library.
see pictures via link below:
It was really inspiring to see such big and varied in technique and style tapestry pieces and other pieces, and to see that it was funded through arts in health.
This is the website of the centre. Would be interesting to hear more about the project: who done it with whom and how...

Friday, 2 May 2008

wool craft log 2/5/08

Flora brought back the 3 neck wraps she has knitted: a white one from the good Ullapool Shetland fleece, and two black ones with different highlights from the Iona Hebrideans.
Jackie got quite inspired seeing this handspun wool knitted and took the rest of the wool home to knit a few gauges to see what she can make with the wool.

Today we decided to wet-felt the half fleece of the Hebrideans. Flora, Mary, Anneruth, and Jackie were gathered with just enough time for this shorter rug felting project. Later Verene and Sarah-Jane joined up, too.

The first bit of the wet felting - trying to bolster up the thin bits - did not go too well today: first Anneruth rubber gloves caused the wet wool to stick to the netting - and then (after the whole felting was done) we discovered that the most wool we had felted on painstakingly was coming off again because it had not bonded, even with all the firm fulling we did (= the rollling). The reason for that seemed to be that the wool on the underside of that fleece was more wirey than the previous fleeces had been, and thus wouldn't felt properly, even though we had carefully used selected soft wool for the wet felting part here. This now means that we will have to do some stitching up or needle felting again as part of the final touch.

The felting process this time was very community building again :-)

The workshop was quite empty as the trainees were out on a boat trip. But there were a few guys about who were being hauled in for the waulking part of the job. See for yourself
on the new picture uploads
or on youtube, as here are the links to a few video clips of the felting action today:
hey hey the felting is on: for the rolling bit we had Sarah-Jane with us trying to learn with us a Hebridean waulking song (the un-traditional way: from a song sheet!)
guys can have a go at the felting, too: young Shaun ges a surprise how strong we women are, and so do...:
senior guys can have a go at the felting, too : see the old guard sweating (and they thought it was easy!)
and here are Sarah-Jane and Verene taking their shoes off and get rolling, and then Sarah-Jane opts for the singing and Mary is taking a turn

Verene and Sarah-Jane then washed the flelted fleece out and we laid it to try in the yard over the new wool drying stand, which Davey done for us!

It is so great to have more knitters on board - it inspired Anneruth over the weekend to experiement with Heather country wheel to card and spin the Jacobs wool (single; for chunky knitting or weaving) and spin & ply chunky Blackface wool from the Pentlands: