Birmingham Weavers, Spinners ​and Dyers

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


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Textiles from along the Silk Road

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

The April meeting of the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers included a talk by Jim Gaffney, ‘Along the Silk Route – from Khiva to Kashgar‘, about the textiles and textile traditions witnessed by Jim and his wife Diane visiting countries along the historic Silk Road route. Jim and Diane run Textile Traders, selling textiles online and in their store in Bishop’s Castle, South Shropshire. A few examples of textiles Jim displayed during the talk are below.

Embroidery using naturally dyed silk thread from Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered costume from Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered cover from Urgut, Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Woven silk from Laos:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Batik silk:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Felted and quilted yurt floor covering from Kyrgyzstan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered jacket from China:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk


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A Visit from Harcourt Rare Breeds

At the October meeting of the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers we were joined by Harcourt Rare Breeds, whose flock are split between Market Bosworth, in the Midlands, and Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

The Harcourt flock of native traditional and rare breed sheep, come from the Portland, Leicester Longwool, Border Leicester Greyface Dartmoor, Hebridean and Coloured Ryeland sheep breeds.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Guild members heard from Shaun of Harcourt Rare Breeds about his flock, and took advantage of the opportunity to buy yarn and fleece.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

There was also lots of spinning, knitting, and a little lacemaking, taking place.

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers November Meeting


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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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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