Birmingham Weavers, Spinners ​and Dyers

Blog for Birmingham & District ​Guild of Weavers, Spinners ​and Dyers


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Sandwell Park Farm Wooly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

A few Guild members spent a sunny Friday demonstrating at Wooly Week at Sandwell Park Farm. The farm is located in a restored Victorian farm, with walled kitchen gardens, a tea room, and a number of rare breed animals.

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Shearing demonstrations were taking place throughout the day, and Guild members were demonstrating carding and spinning to attendees.

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week

Sandwell Park Farm Woolly Week


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A Trip to Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds

On Bank Holiday Monday, six members of the Guild took the opportunity to visit Harcourt Rare Breeds. The Harcourt flock is split over two sites, with one of those sites relatively local to  Birmingham Guild in Market Bosworth, and the other in Harrogate.

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds

The Midlands flock is housed in fields behind the house of owner Shaun, so it was very kind of Shaun to welcome members of the Guild into his home for a generous lunch, and into his garden to meet the sheep.

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Suitably enough, to reach Harcourt Rare Breeds we traveled through the parish of Sheepy, which contains the villages of Sheepy Magna and Sheepy Parva. As you can guess from their name, Harcourt specialise in rare breed British sheep; Border Leicester, Leicester Longwool, Portland, Hebridean, Coloured Ryland, and Greyface Dartmore.

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Harcourt Rare Breeds sell both fleeces and prepared yarn. The spinners amongst us purchased fleece, and two Guild members bought skeins of yarn. Shaun also gave each of us a goodie bag of fleece! The photos below shows Leicester Longwool fleece, alongside prepared yarn from the flock.

Harcourt Rare Breeds

There are quite a few lambs in the flock currently, and one came into the house to visit us to our delight.

Harcourt Rare Breeds

Shaun will be attending the October 2016 Guild meeting to talk about Harcourt Rare Breeds, and will be bringing fleece and yarn for sale.


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Exploring A Year in Colour Exhibition

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

During 2015, the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers ran a year-long natural dyeing project with Winterbourne House, a local museum. The Guild regularly collaborates with Winterbourne, including demonstrating our crafts in the house on the forth Tuesday of each month.

Each month during 2015, the gardeners at Winterbourne provided plant material (flower heads, bark, leaves, etc.) which guild members tested for their natural dye properties.

To explore the varied colours that can be achieved through the use of mordants and modifiers, eights small skeins of wool were treated with each dye (the first seven of which were pre-mordanted with alum):

  1. basic colour;
  2. light fastness test (kept by a window after dyeing);
  3. acid modifier (vinegar);
  4. alkaline modifier (diluted washing soda);
  5. iron modifier (created by soaking rusty nails in water & distilled vinegar);
  6. Over-dyed with madder;
  7. Over-dyed with woad;
  8. copper mordant (in place of alum)

The results of the project are on display in the Coach House Gallery at Winterbourne until 25th April.

The dedicated project blog provides more information, includes the results of each month’s dyeing day.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Alongside skeins showcasing the colours achieved from each plant material, the exhibition contains a selection of projects created by Guild members. These projects showcase weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting and felting – and the wool and silk used in the projects was also largely dyed with plants from Winterbourne garden.

Wet Felted Seed Pods by Gill Ambler

Made using shetland sheep fibre dyed with liquidambar styraciflua and chamomile from Winterbourne garden.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Hitofude Cardigan by Wendy Simpson

Made with wool from the Welsh Wool Museum, which had been combed and carded on an old machine. The wool was spun by Wendy and dyed using plants from Winterbourne garden, plied with a metallic thread. The colour scheme was based on a photo of Autumn leaves in a local park. The knitting pattern used is by Hiroko Fukatsu, and the name means ‘single brush stroke’ in Japanese. It was all worked in one piece.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Winterbourne Sunset by Sarah Cage

Weaving, and machine and hand embroidery using naturally dyed yarn and fabrics. The silk for the flowers in the foreground was dyed using plants from Winterbourne garden.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Chamomile Flower Cascade

Winterbourne houses the national collection of anthemis (a genus which includes dyers chamomile). Yarn dyed with chamomile from the garden was used by Guild members to knit and crochet the flower heads below. The knitting and crochet patterns used were also designed by Guild members.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Woven Rug by Kate Batchelor

Rug made with roving, dyed with plants from Winterbourne garden.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Knitted Seed Pods by Carolyn Arber

Wool dyed with plants from Winterbourne garden. Each ‘pod’ is knitted in one piece to form a three-dimensional shape.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Visitors to the exhibition have been leaving some lovely comments in the visitor book. One visitor, Val, even composed a poem about trying spinning on a wheel while visiting the exhibition:

Thoughts on joining a Spinning class ! ..or.. Is this what they do at the Gym ??

I wonder …if I learn to ‘spin’…
Will it help me to get thin?!…
I tried to ‘treadle’ as fast as I could…
on the foot plate made of wood..!!
The wheel whizzed round and round and round…
Then changed direction and slid o’er the ground!!!
And ‘Drafting’ required such concentration…
WHAT happened to my co-ordination???!!!

Is the Gym as cold as that ‘barn’….or…
Were you just spinning me a yarn.

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

A Year of Colour Exhibition by Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

You can visit the exhibition for free in the Coach House Gallery at Winterbourne until 25th April.

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Textile Tasters

The April meeting of the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers was a textile tasters day, with Guild members sharing and demonstrating their crafts.

Crafts on show included bobbin lace, tatting, Japanese braiding, crochet on a knitting needle, inkle loom weaving, spinning, and button making.

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day

Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Textile Tasters Day


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A Year in Colour Exhibition

Between January and December 2015, Guild members dyed yarn with a range of leaves, flowers, roots and bark, from the gardens at Winterbourne House.

The results of the year’s dyeing experiments are being displayed in the Coach House Gallery at Winterbourne between the 1 – 25th April (with take-down on the 26th).

Entrance to the gallery is free. Opening hours are 10:00-5:30 weekdays, 11:00-5:30 weekends.

Read more about the project on the dedicated project blog.

A Year in Colour Exhibition Flyer


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Birmingham Guild Open Day

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Last Saturday was the annual Open Day of the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers.

The open day includes an exhibition of items produced by Guild members which have been woven, spun or dyed, a few of which are pictured below.

Dyeing

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Weaving

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Spinning

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

The open day also included a teacosy contest for guild members, with tea cosies needing to contain a woven, dyed or spun element. The first and second place winners are in the top two photos below.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

As at all Guild meetings, there was plenty of homemade cake and tea available.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

And, temptingly, there was a sale table where you could buy items made by Guild members, including dyed roving and yarn, knit and woven accessories, clay buttons and yarn bowls, and wooden looms.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Open Day 2015

If you live locally, the Birmingham Guild 2016 programme has been announced and is looking good, with upcoming spinning and weaving workshops, plus there are guilds across the UK.


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Association of Guilds Trade Fair

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Last week the Association of Guilds held their annual summer school. As part of the summer school there was an open day, where visitors could drop-in to shop at a trade fair and to view the work of summer school attendees.

The work on display included work by students on the Certificate of Achievement, which has been run by the Association since 1989, the syllabus of which includes weaving, tapestry weaving, spinning, natural dyeing, and synthetic dyeing.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Work by students of the summer school courses was also on display; the results of the shibori class are pictured below.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

There were also gorgeous things on display at the trade fair. A few of the vendors are listed below.

Beautiful weaving yarns from Weavers Bazaar

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Garments and covered buttons woven by the three UK Saori weaving studios. Saori is a Japanese style of free-form weaving.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Beautiful fibre, ready for spinning, from Hilltop Cloud.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Natural dye supplies and felt and slate buttons at Fiery Felts.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Ceramic and wooden buttons and beads by Stitchwort Handmade, which is run by a member of the Birmingham Guild.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Wool, fleece and knitted socks from the wonderful John Arbon Textiles.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

Textile Traders, based in Shropshire, who specialise in handmade fabrics from Asia.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

The Nepalese Textile Trust were selling textiles woven from the Himalayan giant nettle.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015

In addition to the main trade fair was a fleece fair run by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Summer School 2015