I have just been weaving two wool and alpaca scarves. For the warp I used soft grey lambswool from a small mill in Aberdeenshire and for the weft, my favourite alpaca yarn from Devon. Take a look at how the weaving progresses.
First I warp up the loom, threading the wool through the heddles and tying it to the front beam.
Then I weave the weft yarn and the scarf begins to grow, slowly being wound around the front beam.
The second scarf with different colours.
Once the weaving is finished, the scarves are cut from the loom.
I am now in the process of finishing the scarves, which involves washing the cloth to sett the fabric, tiding up the ends and making the fringe. In the next blog I will be able to show you the completed scarves ready to put in my shop.
Craft Scotland are holding a Meet Your Maker event from 7th to 8th September 2013, to show case contemporary crafts and makers at work in 8 different locations across Scotland over the same weekend. I’ve been asked to attend the St Andrews Museum event here in Fife, which is open between 10 and 5pm each day.
Craft Scotland say
‘The event will give a ‘behind the scenes’ look at craft, so you can see what is involved in being a maker: from the design process, skill, commitment and creativity involved into the range of techniques that makers employ in their work’.
If you are in the area, do pop in, it would be great to meet you!
Check out their website: www.craftscotland.org
Simon Caplan came up from Bristol today to take some professional photographs for Heritage Crafts Association. This was for the weaving activity I submitted for their Teachers Resource Pack, but the brief also included images of me at my loom and some of my work. We had great fun and I highly recommend him.
Check him out on www.simoncaplanphotography.co.uk
I look forward to seeing the finished images but until then, here are some shots I took of him!!
Some of my scarves in a setting arranged by Simon.
In 1815, French prisoners from the Napoleonic War were used to drain the bogs of central Fife and more profitable crops were introduced. Supplies of flax now had to be imported, initially from Russia and then later from the Netherlands. In 1838 it was estimated that there were 85,000 hand looms operating in Scotland, of which 26,000 were from linen production, mainly in Fife and Angus. The late 18th century saw the mechanisation of spinning and it’s transformation from a cottage industry to be based in factories in Dundee, Glasgow and Kirkcaldy. Initially change was slow. The Industrial Revolution started in 1780 and continued until about 1880. This period brought the development of the power loom mills. The Fife county town of Cupar had 3 power loom factories by 1870 and wove locally termed ‘brown linen’.
Gateside Mills 2013
Gateside Mills in Fife, originally manufactured linen, but by the 20th century the mill was producing bobbins and shuttles and only proved work for about 80 people. It was built on the River Eden like so many mills in Fife and a water wheel provided the power for the machinery. The mill is now a centre for small creative businesses. (My son has very good guitar lessons there!)
The textile heritage of Scotland continues to fascinate me, drawing me closer to the people who used to live here in Fife and elsewhere across the country. The factory based textile industries were concentrated into different areas and I am gradually visiting more and more of them, (watch this blog space for further developments!). The cotton industry was based in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Glasgow. The Woollen industry developed mainly in Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire, but also in Perthshire, Stirlingshire and the Scottish Borders. The linen production, based mainly here in Fife and Angus had it’s centre in Dundee. By the 1861 census the city and it’s surrounding areas employed nearly 50,000 people in mills and at hand looms. The silk industry, although small, was based around paisley in the middle of the 19th century. There is so much to explore!
I live in a weaver’s cottage. Not long after I and my family moved in, we began to notice a strange smell in one particular room, whenever we returned from a few days away. The smell was very intense and only lasted for a short while, but it happened repeatedly. When I bought and installed my new loom in that very room, the smell disappeared and never returned. It was as if the cottage was more content now a loom had returned.
Whenever I am weaving, I can feel the history of this cottage and often wonder who it was who wove here before me. Perhaps one day I will find out.