Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Riverfest fever: preps day + much more!

Riverfest fever filled the bothy today... a Wednesday afternoon!

Sorry, no camera at hand so your imagination will have to fill in the gaps :-)

Naomi brought in not just one but 2 crochet hats from the single ply chunky spun Jacobswool. One larger 'garden one' (done with the big wooden crochet hook with the small hook!) and one with a smaller size hook. The heads of all present had to sport them - and clearly Eileen's head stole the show! But the hats are already sold at material cost, the handspun wool, to Naomi herself! But we will still display them at the Riverfest with sign 'sold' on them.

Anneruth and Flora refreshed themselves on how to flat felt. But Anneruth (typical!) never had time to finish hers! Flora did a nice wee piece that looked like a sea scape.

Hazel came in with a felted bead bracelet she made and embarked on needle felting a 'what's it' (sheep?) as well as showing Lynsey how to wet and needle felt round and long beads, and needlefelt a 'what's it' (mouse?), and then doing another bracelet.

Lynsey had finished stringing the little loom, which proved to have a 'what's it' of a different sort: the little heddle-plate would not fit into the gap it was made for ! Nevermind, one can operate it by pushing it up and down with one hand whilst operating the shuttle with the other. She took it back home again for experimenting with yarns to get a good weave set out of it.

Mary was not only plowing her way through the whole basket of white Texel-Cross, but also phantastically brushed the Hebridean fleece, the small half one we felted ages ago, to get it ready for a possibe sale on the weekend.
Good that Mary brought her handcarders in! Has anyone seen the red tube bag with Anneruth's carders and the Merino rainbow wool in it? :-(

Eileen did a great job first of cleaning the drum carder from the Blackface Kemp, and then tackled the Texel on it - it is a nobbly kind of wool and kind of refuses to get streamlined! It is good to have a few batts now to get us started on the weekend, with the rest probably getting hand carded by Mary on Sunday.

Anneruth had set up (at home) her rigid heddle loom with the red woolen mill yarn as warp, in a loose weave, as the little loom is struggling with its warp beam comig out of the glued joint at the wheel plate. Weft same as warp, it is an experiment now for a shawl, where the woven cloth is going and brushed. Let's see what will come of it!
She also brought back the washed Blackface first rug. Still damp - as the thickness of the wool takes ages to dry (that was it for 2 days outside in the wind!). It will not be sold, esp as it has many imperfections (the edges are not neat and it is not evenly woven with so many hands having been invloved on it), but used for further experimenting with, such as needlefelting a Celtic knot onto it.

Naomi took the finishing off of the woven little pouches on, which proved (as these things) more tricky than thought at first sight. Handspuns and chunky wovens are just so different to handle from factory fibre or fabric and make the finishing off part of a product a little more challenging. But with Mary leading the cord making it is heading into the right direction, and Naomi again taking homework away with her :-)

The Riverfest Rota is looking good now with everyone putting in a shift or two, before and after and on the days. Now we must keep our fingers crossed that we are getting the space we need to do the various demos and kidscrafts. It would be good if we could take the drumcarder safely with us, too! It is such an important piece of the wool processing!

Still so much more to do, though: stringing the big frame; making the labels, carding wool for the weaving demo on the big frame, plying more red wool for the weaving on the rigid heddle loom..

Which reminds me: Davey and Jack made these long shuttles for it - and are now waiting for a Blackforest Gateaux as a reward!

Then there were two more happenings today:

Four staff from the Bridges Programmes Project came to link up with us again after we had met two of the senior staff, Zuki and Elio, at the Reschuffle in May in the PI. They are working with Refugees to help them find jobs. (See their website for more details.) We talked about possibilites how we could be involved together in projects, esp with women and with youths. Some good ideas were passed round - so watch this space to see what transpires over the next year or so! First step: for us woolcrafters to have a stall at their AGM/Stakeholder event end of August in the PI. Wider vision: partnering in our 'The Unbroken Thread' idea, with using traditional song and dance to make a craft-sharing session a real must to go to! More leads for funding to be explored (especially for that portable foot pedal loom!) as well as seeing whether Galgael can manage to open their doors on a Thursday eve, as nothing is more inspiring to be in here.

In the evening Flora and Anneruth met in Aziza's (shame Laryna was off duty by then!) to discuss the Plantation Felting project. We are ready for the taster session, and have also the framework for the 8 weeks sessions. The finer details of the 8 weeks will be set once we know who signs up on or after the Taster day on the 30 July.

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