The traditional UFO workshop to kick off the new year is back. Those of you who have joined the Online Guild in the last 18 months might not be aware of what this workshop is all about,
so I’ll give a brief explanation.
Most “crafters” work on more than one project at a time and whilst this satisfies our busy, creative mind and hands it does mean that sometimes, (maybe often?) the odd project gets left behind and languishes in one of our workbaskets whilst we are busy on something new and exciting.
Does that sound familiar? Well, the UFO workshop was created to help us reduce the number of our unfinished “objects” or projects.
How does it work?
Working with other like-minded persons enthuses us and encourages us to “fish” out those unfinished, and neglected projects, discuss them if we are so inclined,
ask advice if we need it, and because working with others is always stimulating and fun most of us will clear the decks, or at least complete some of those UFOs.
There will be two of us “hosting” this unusual workshop, Alice van Duijnen, from the Netherlands, and myself from Western Australia. We will be supported by a member of WPSG team Teresa Cabellos from Spain, so quite an international team!
In this workshop we will explore a variety of ways of making flowers through hand felting - mainly traditional wet felt making, but needle felting can be used for further embellishment when the pieces are dry. We will be exploring ‘real’ flowers and their structure and colours, with the aim of producing a naturalistic or ‘fantastic’ bunch of flowers by the end of the workshop.
In the first session we will consider how we lay down the fibres, including carded fibres and mixed fibres for a painterly application. The first piece will be ‘flat’ and then moulded into shape by judicious shrinking and manipulation into a simple bloom. Over the sessions we will use a variety of making methods to develop more complex shapes through the application of a resist within the fibres to make a hollow / self-supporting 3D form. The making of stems and leaves will also be included to compliment the flowers when gathered together in a posy
Choice of materials for the workshop - It is advisable to use merino wool fibres for the main structures as this will help ensure smooth flowers rather than hairy ones! Silk, Blue faced Leicester, Wensleydale and embroidery yarn can all be used in the decorative layers; in fact, pretty well anything can be trapped into the form including open weave fabrics, and even plastic vegetable netting - depending on how outlandish we are feeling.
As this is a winter workshop photographs and drawings maybe useful if favourite flowers are unavailable in February; similarly spring flowers maybe a focus, ready for the celebratory season.
The goal is to have fun exploring making flowers from wool, with the scale and scope of the project up to each individual, from petite nosegay to profuse floribunda!
Louise Mumford-Senior Conservator, Archaeology, Museum of Wales, will talk about the Llangorse textile. This small fragment of fabric was found buried in mud in a Welsh lake. It was painstakingly restored to reveal an early medieval masterpiece of weaving and embroidery.
This workshop is an opportunity to investigate the simplest of all block weaves: Ms and Os. This weave structure is traditionally associated with domestic table linens, however it can also offer the possibilities of many different fabrics by varying textures, colours, weft sequences, sett or weave repeats. The workshop aims to offer opportunities to learn about the role of ‘blocks’ in weaving with looms with 4 shaft or more. Practical outcomes can include a series of fabric samples showing how to be creative with one weave structure (useful if you are thinking of tackling the AGWSD weaving certificate)., or, the opportunity to use your woven samples to plan and make a longer length of fabric for a scarf, bags or table linen.
The workshop assumes that you have access to a loom with four shafts or more. Information will be given in a form suitable for table loom weavers as well as those using floor looms. A single-coloured warp made from a smooth, reliable yarn such as 8/2s cotton, cottonlin or plied wool would be a good choice to begin together with as wide a range of weft yarns as you wish.
In the Andean highlands of South America braids have been used for hundreds of years to make slings for fighting, protecting crops from birds, and by herders to guide their flock and protect them from dangerous animals. Today slings are still used by herders but other slings embellished with pom-poms, tassels and fringes are used in dances. Instructions for making these Andean sling braids using either cards or a marudai (Japanese braiding stool) are available, but I prefer to make them as they would be made in the Andes with the yarns held in my left hand and manipulated with the fingers of my right hand, and in the workshop I will be explaining how to do this.
Sling braids are not the only type of braids made in the Andes and I will also be featuring some woven braids. From Bolivia there are some narrow flat braids with patterns made by finger manipulation of the warp threads before passing the weft. These small braids are sometimes used as an edge trim for a small carrying cloth or shoulder shawl with the weft being used to attach the braid as it is being made. Another braid, this time from the highlands of Peru and Bolivia, is a tubular one known as Ñawi Awapa (Eyes on a Cloth) in which warps are crossed and diverted to produce colourful diamonds in a ‘snake-back’ effect. This is another braid that can be woven either as an independent band or attached to the edge of cloth by the weft as it is being made.
In 2018 we had the weaving design challenge and in 2020 came the spinning challenge and, inspired by the high-level of participation and the enjoyment expressed by the participants, we are pleased to offer a dyeing challenge in 2022. These challenges encourage us to break out of our usual thinking patterns and open up new design possibilities while having fun and working within the boundaries of the “hand” we are dealt.
If you complete one challenge you may request another.
A time of evaluation for the Online Guild. This week features an open discussion in which all members are encouraged to participate.
Spinning wool from a well-prepared fleece brings so many pleasures and advantages over spinning predictable and somewhat bland industrially prepared top with which we are all so familiar. If you have fleece and need help getting it ready to spin this is the place to be.
This workshop will focus on washing your fleeces - those beautiful, exciting bags of wool we all fall in love with but which all too often sit alone in their bags in a shed because we don't know how to deal with them. Different fleeces from different breeds offer lots of challenges and we want to be able to make the right choices as we go.
We will also look at selecting, skirting and sorting fleeces prior to washing, as well as drying, opening and getting ready to card or comb those beautiful, now perfectly cleaned locks. This workshop will ideally be hands on with people working directly with their fleeces. The overview will be about general principals and the workshop will be participant led so we can drill down into the specifics as they arise, ideally supported with your pictures. if you have not got fleeces yet hopefully you will leave the workshop with a better understanding of what to seek out and what to leave behind.
In this series of talks we celebrate 20 years of the Online Guild and look at its past, present and future. We share the journeys taken by Margaret and the first members of the guild to establish the OLGWSD. Founder members tell of their crafting background and what the guild has meant to them as well as describing memorable workshops from both tutor and students’ perspectives. The talks include insights into behind-the-scenes activities that keep the guild running smoothly and finish with thoughts on ideas and challenges for the future.
This course aims to guide you, step-by-step, through my process for using handspun yarns for weaving projects.
We'll begin by learning to spin a worsted or semi-worsted yarn of specified, consistent diameter and twist. This will be suitable for both warp and weft. I suggest that participants sample and practise with different fibres, which could include longwools, silk, alpaca, Tencel and fibre blends, with at least one 'end project' in mind - either a finished item (ie. a scarf) or a length of fabric.
We will learn how to measure yarn, estimate sett for different weave structures, calculate the quantities of warp and weft yarns required, and sample efficiently for the intended project whilst minimising loom waste.
Other effective uses of handspun yarn in weaving projects will be discussed - fancy yarns as accents/supplementary warps, singles yarns to create textured 'collapse' fabrics, handspun in combination with commercial yarns.
An opportunity for members to upload Festive Greetings, created by any means, to a dedicated photo album.
2022 is the 20th Year of the On-Line Guild
The topic for this year’s challenge is TWENTY
Interpret this how you wish. Create 20 samples, use the letters, link twenty to a year, a colour or the trucking phrase “where’s your 20?” Maybe you live in the village of Twenty, yes, there really is a village called Twenty, in Lincolnshire. Or a twentieth anniversary is linked to china, platinum, and the colours emerald and white.
At least one of our core skills should be used.
The deadline for submission is 30th September 2022.
All submissions completed by this date will be included in a dedicated eBook. Late submissions can be added to the 2022 Annual Challenge photo album.
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