english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


7 Comments

AGWSD Trade Fair, Where I May Have Bought My First Fleece

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

As I’ve mentioned previously, I recently joined the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Last week the Association of Guilds held their annual summer school. I didn’t attend the summer school, but I did attend the open day held last Saturday, where visitors could drop-in to shop at the 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. I love the shibori cat lavender bags.

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 even more gorgeous things on display at the trade fair, and I did arrive home with a full shopping bag. I’ve listed a few of the vendors whose stalls I photographed 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 which I’d love to try.

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. I bought some ground madder which I’m looking forward to trying out for the first time soon.

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 my guild. I bought some white and blue ceramic buttons, which I have already put to use on my refashioners2015 project;)

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, who operate out of a mill in Devon.

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. I bought a couple of small pieces of fabric which I’m planning to use to embellish garments – perhaps as a yoke or sleeves.

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, where I bought 1.5 kg of Blue Faced Leicester fleece.

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

My fleece is pictured below. It was recommended to me as a good choice for a newbie to carding and spinning. It could be a very long term project, but I’m excited about working through the various steps to turn this fleece into a finished garment. I’m not thinking about what finished garment it might become at this stage, as I want to see how I get on and how much usable yarn I can produce.

Blue Faced Leicester Fleece

In order to turn this fleece into yarn there are quite a few steps that I need work through: washing, carding, spinning, dyeing (optional, I fancy dyeing it, but I’m also interested in seeing the natural blended colour I can achieve through carding and spinning ), and finally knitting. I’ll be blogging my progress as I go along.

Blue Faced Leicester Fleece

I’ve made an initial start on washing the fleece. It’s not obligatory to wash a fleece before carding, but I didn’t fancy carding it without washing as I didn’t think it would be especially pleasant. The fleece was quite greasy (a mixture of lanolin and sweat), contained clumps of dirt (or worse…) and lots of twigs, and – unsurprisingly – smelled really strongly of sheep!

At the suggestion of a member of my Guild, I’ve tried a traditional method of washing fleece in rain water (known as the fermented suint method). The fleece needs to be left in rainwater in a covered contained for 5-7 days, ideally kept lukewarm. If the method works successfully a scum appears on the top of the bucket and it apparently smells very strongly of sheep. I’ve split my fleece between two buckets and popped them in the bottom of my grow-house, where they will hopefully get a bit of warmth. If I’ve had no luck in a week’s time (or if it comes out looking no cleaner than when it went in) I’ll try washing it with some gentle detergent instead, but I thought the traditional method was worth a try given how gloriously simple and natural it is. Wish me luck (and clean fleece)!

Blue Faced Leicester Fleece

Advertisements


2 Comments

Craft Fair Makes

I had my last craft fair of the year last Sunday at the MAC. I lucked out as I got a nice pitch which came with its own bench (good for wrapping items on as well as sitting) & was in the perfect position for watching what was happening in the centre.

Craft Fair Stall at MAC Christmas 2013
I made a few new items especially for the stall. I had a few items left over and finally managed to time it right to get enough natural light to take some photos today. The worst thing about winter is definitely the limited opportunities for getting enough natural light to take photos!

Small Mouse Lavender Bag:
The little mouse design on this lavender bag was printed using a small stamp I carved in lino. I stuffed it with a combination of lavender & polyester stuffing to get a nice shape.
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag

Tweed Door Stop:
I used the same little mouse design to decorate door stops I made up in a lovely pink tweed fabric.
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse

And as it was a Christmas craft fair I had to make some Christmas items!

Robin Stamp:
These little stamps are carved out of lino & then attached to a plastic base.
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp

Heart Bauble with Robin Design:
I used one of the robin stamps myself to decorate these heart-shaped baubles, made in cotton & decorated with a Christmas ribbon.
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble


Leave a comment

Christmas Craft Stall

Phew! I’ve had a busy few weeks. Amongst other things I’ve travelled abroad for work, prepared stock for the two Christmas craft fair stalls I have booked, and am currently on holiday in Spain. The day before me and Phil left for our holiday was the first of the Christmas craft fairs where I have a stall booked. Here’s my stall, looking busy!

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

I tried to broaden my repertoire a little for this fair, so amongst the items I regularly sell on Etsy (such as panda toys & door mats) were…

Fabric baubles with a lino printed robin design (printed by hand)

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade lino stamps featuring the same robin design

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade doorstops in a lovely pink tweed fabric. The doorstop on the left features a mouse design printed from a lino stamp I made.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Mini sewing kits including handmade pin-cushions and handmade clay buttons

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

And some cloud cushions.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

P.S. If you’re ever in Seville make sure to visit Calle Francos (not far from the ‘Flying Waffle’) which has a number of fabric shops (both expensive & very reasonable). I picked up the fabric below on sale for 2 euros per metre from Almacenes Velasco.

Fabric - From Seville


7 Comments

My First Craft Fair

MAC Contemporary Craft Fair August 2013

Last weekend I had a stall at a craft fair for the first time, at Midlands Art Centre. I’m not used to having to make up so much stock, as I only make the items I sell on Etsy when I receive an order. I have a stall booked for a couple of Christmas craft fairs so it was a good practise run at laying out a stall and testing what would sell. I was visited during the fair by my friend Jo, and my family which was very nice:)

MAC Contemporary Craft Fair August 2013

As well as selling a few items, I also came home with a couple of lovely things.

I traded one of my plush Geek Chic Panda for an amazing necklace by a fellow stall holder Working Clasp. It’s my new favourite necklace and is going to get worn with EVERYTHING!

Working Clasp Necklace

I also bought some awesome handmade oak buttons from Against the Grain. I picked a small-sized button as I’m going to attach them to a skirt or blouse as soon as possible. Sue, the artist who makes them, can make buttons to order for specific sewing projects. Tempting:)

Against The Grain Wooden Buttons


Leave a comment

Renegade Craft Fair in London

Renegade Craft Fair London 2012
This Saturday, me and Phil popped to London to visit Renegade Craft Fair. It was the second Renegade fair in London, but my first. The fair took place at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, conveniently located right by Brick Lane market which also features some cool craft makers.

I love the flyer produced to advertise the fair:

Renegade Craft Fair London 2012

Of the makers selling at the fair, I particularly liked Lovely Pigeon. I treated myself to a Mr Pigeon Badge (pictured below) as well as some other goodies. I also loved MANOLO’s beautiful engraved wooden brooches (I might ask for one for Christmas), Debbie Greenaway’s illustrated badges and cards, and Custom Made.

Mr Pigeon Badge by Lovely Pigeon

While at Renegade me and Phil also made friendship bracelets with the Make Lounge (I got told off for later re-braiding Phil’s).

Outside of Renegade, in Brick Lane market I spotted a couple of interesting artists, definitely worth checking out.

Hormazd Narielwalla is a collage artist who creates new works of art from tailoring patterns. I really liked his prints on acetate.

Tsomo is a Korean artist in paint, textiles, and clay. I picked up a card featuring one of her paintings, but also loved her little pottery dolls and cats.

Below are a few pictures of Renegade and Brick Lane.

Renegade Craft Fair London 2012
Renegade Craft Fair London 2012
Vintage Clothing Market, Brick Lane, London
Graffiti Brick Lane London


Leave a comment

Works in progress for a charity craft fair

I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately, but I haven’t neglected crafting. I’ve been busy making items for the charity craft, cake and plant fair that me and my colleagues are organising to raise funds for two cancer charities. I’ve also set up a second (temporary) blog for the craft fair to showcase the lovely donations we receive or make. You can find it here: uobcraftfair.wordpress.com

As well as ourselves and our colleagues making items to sell we’ll also be holding a raffle, and have been lucky enough to have some lovely items donated already and hopefully will have more to come. Some fabulous companies and independents including Lou Rota, From the Wilde, Famille Summerbelle, Teapigs, Emma Bridgewater, Fred Aldous and Cox & Cox have already been fabulous enough to donate.

I haven’t actually completed an item for the sale yet (oops) but I have started quite a few, including the two textile works in progress pictured below. Unfortunately these are currently on hold until I purchase the required craft supplies to complete them – so that’s a job for this weekend!

Felt Elephant Brooches - in progress!

Felt elephant brooches (work in progress)

Fabric Doll - in progress!

Fabric doll (work in progress)