Been a manic few weeks in the run up to Christmas so apologies for another medley post.
My new antique spinning wheel is up and running and not in small thanks to some new bobbins. The Cellar Project is a Yorkshire based charity which helps people with mental health problems back on their feet and into work, not least through ‘skill shops’ where service users can participate in woodworking, horticulture, IT, conferencing and catering. The woodworkers make and sell garden furniture but they also make bespoke items and as every spinner/weaver knows, their best friend is a good carpenter. As well as reproducing the bobbins for my wheel they’ve also made me a warping board (which you can see hanging from the wall below) and all at a great price; we used this plan, it took a bit of tweaking but we got there in the end. They’ve also done me a spool holder although I could do with a bit of a proper creel, perhaps in the new year.
There is some possibility that my wheel may be related somehow to those made by recovering soldiers after World War I; although astoundingly useful such ‘therapy’ is not so fashionable as it once; The Cellar Project is one of the few places where it still goes on – the workshops give people an opportunity to get some practical skills, start rebuilding their confidence and see a palpable result at the end of a day’s endeavour. I should just mention in the interests of full disclosure that I am one of its trustees and very proud too!
I’ve also paid a visit to Don Porritt’s studio in Menston (alas no website) and treated myself to some shuttles and a new reed for my four-shaft table loom; it was lent to me by a friend but it did need some doing up and the reed was too rusty to save, so I’m looking forward to getting it going and doing some more experimental textiles. Don really was terribly friendly and helpful and it’s nice to know there is someone so close for all the bits and bobs one needs. He is the main supplier for Texsolv and I got some anchors and they have been life changing – no really! I never wanted to mess around with my tie ups too much as it was such a faff but they make it so much easier. I was worrying needlessly that my loom’s treadles and lams were too worn to take them.
I don’t know if this will work or even makes sense, but one of the hardest parts of weaving for me is keeping track of where one is when treadling, however many post-it-notes I plaster around. For some reason I got it into my head that a cribbage board might be the answer. I can attach it to the beater and stick the treadling plan down the centre of the board and move the peg down each time I beat – well we’ll see, I haven’t tried it yet!
I’ve also updated my blog theme and header – something a bit more cheerful, some painted pegs I’ve made for a Christmas present for some friends. It seems a bit odd to give someone a bunch of pegs, but they have been going down very well and are a great deal of fun to make.
Anyway this is what I’ve just taken off the loom, the second of some designs inspired by the interior of the United Reformed Church here in Saltaire. It’s the first time I’ve taken something concrete and turned it into something abstract so I’m feeling quite smug with myself. It helped browsing through the Saltaire Daily Photo blog as she has some great pictures that really helped me see differently what is, after living here seventeen years, so familiar. Anyway I am now bursting with ideas for the coming year.
2012 has been an amazing year for me and that’s down to the support, belief and friendship of some amazingly talented designer-makers in the Yorkshire area as well as those of you who have been kind enough to check in, comment, or get in touch. I’m really looking forward to 2013 and have heaps of plans and can’t wait to get started. So, Merry Christmas one and all, and very best wishes for the New Year x