Niddy noddy

Friday, September 29, 2006

Shed string Part Two

This is some of the summer collection of Mandy's gorgeous hand-spun "string". Based on raw hemp, it incorporates all sorts of other fibres, fabrics, bits and pieces - lace, even feathers.
(Click here for the "Spring collection"!)

Do click to enlarge these pictures, this needs to be seen as close up as possible, its just scrumptious.

This is twisted into hanks.

And below - teased out a bit to show the yarn in more detail:

This would make wonderful birds'-nest baskets and cornflower and cow parsley bags!

And its just occurred to me that it could be knitted, as well as woven..... watch this space - I want to have a go too.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Textiles classes

My weaving/spinning class started up again yesterday, hurrah!

I'd wrongly assumed it started the same week as schools in the borough,  so I've had 2 weeks feeling deprived. It was great to be back.

However - no details yet of fab. textiles work going on in the class. That will follow in my next post.  (including some more pics. of Mandy's gorgeous hand-spun shed "string" - from her summer collection).

Before that - a piece of shameless advertising.

Numbers on the textiles courses have dropped over recent years.  (Like numbers on most courses in further education - especially general interest courses).  This has a lot to do with cuts in funding.

Numbers this year are looking pretty critical - we need more students to keep these courses running!  There are very few classes in spinning and weaving in London - if this course is shut down, it will probably never start up again, which would be a tragedy.

Are you living in London and interested in learning to spin, weave, dye, make felt .... do other textile related things? ...  tapestry, braids...  Do you know someone who might be interested?
...rugs, blankets ..... belts, straps, hats .....

The classes are open and suitable for learners - absolute beginners welcome - or for more experienced people too.

There are textiles courses on the Thursday - morning and/or afternoon  (most of us do both, 2 hours just isn't long enough!) - also on the Wednesday - an all-day course.  The Thursday class is most in need of numbers, our teacher is simply wonderful, its a really nice friendly class.  Some of the students at the Wednesday class (I think) do a one year City and Guilds course, tho' you don't have to join up for that.

You can come with specific ideas of what you want to learn or make - scarves, cushions, bags etc. are really quick and easy or you can come and get ideas and guidance from the tutor
who will set you up with some projects, if you don't know where to start.  You don't have to have any of your own equipment or supplies - everything you need is there!

Join up now and theres plenty of time to make some Christmas presents.

The course is run by Greenwich Community College - in Greenwich itself, on mainline trains into London, also on the Docklands light railway.  Most students are fairly local to south London, but we've had students coming from North London too, as there are so few weaving/spinning classes around.  website:

Costs of the courses vary depending whether you live in the Borough or not, whether you are on benefits, retired etc..... - full info. on the website.

There is also a 2 day weekend workshop coming upin October  on paper spinning, which looks great, I've just signed up for that too.


here are some phrases designed to catch googles:

learn to spin
learn to weave
textiles classes
spinning course
spinning class
weaving course
weaving class

... have I missed anything?  can you think of other ways for us to advertise this course?

If you are going to the Knitting and Stitching Show in October - please tell anyone you can about our courses!

Keep your fingers crossed for us, it would be so bad for all sorts of reasons if any of the courses are shut down.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tassels again

I will now always associate tassels with my mother - which is kind of nice but also sad. They have been a perfect activity for my hands while I've been visiting so much, during her illness.

The tassels I posted earlier were mostly very quick tassels. These took somewhat longer! and I'm sure I would never have found so much time to spend on them if it weren't for being with her.

These first 2 are made from some superb waxed linen I bought at the boot fair. Lovely stuff, but not too easy to work with, as it has a mind of its own.

The second of these has Victorian/Edwardian boot buttons attached to the ends - I was so happy to find such a nice use for them.

This one has a really satisfying weight because of all the beads - some of which are old bone toggles inherited from a grandmother or great aunt.

And these are made through an entirely different technique - basically just tying little bits of knotted string together, and fraying the ends. Its a victorian tassell making technique, and can make little dainty tassels

or - even more fun - big rude shed tassels.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Button Swap

Lovely buttons from my swap with lovely Donna.

Unlike the buttons I sent, these were beautifully packaged, and came with a lovely card picturing vintage fabric.

I'm so pleased with them, what a great idea. And below are some of my favourites.

Beautiful mother of pearl

Some great vintage plastic, bakelite, flower etc. buttons, big and small

And these are my favourite, very little ones.

For more great vintage swaps, see Tat's new Vintage swap site.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


As promised (... for a while now...) TASSELS!

Tasselling (in my new [innovative?] use of this word as a verb meaning the making of tassels - rather than embellishing with {- not half so much fun, I shouldn't think!}) was part of the short course where I learned how to make buttons (see earlier post) - I think I enjoyed the tassels even more than the buttons.

Lots of pictures here of tassels made last weekend with a friend who was visiting, and LG (my daughter). We made more than I've pictured here - they are very easy to make, and mostly very quick (not so much the one with wire and stones.... Dizzy made at least 6 tassels in the time that one took!) [pictures should all enlarge if you click]

These are some of Dizzy's tassels:

Not a very good picture here, but these are lovely and esp. the one on the right which is made of lovely soft shiny ribbons.

And these are just gorgeous, aren't they?

She was very creative - and prolific! she made more than this, but for some reason I didn't get pictures of them all.

These were my weekend tassels:

I think this one would be good on a larger scale and used as a chandelier.

(very satisfying to find such a good use for beach-finds of pebbles with holes and sandwashed glass.)

The following were some of these following made by LG, but posted with her permission here on the understanding that I refer to her as Demon Child, rather than Little Gem. Tch!
Some of them will make great Christmas decorations

And this carrot tassel is my favourite of all

I have pictures of more ... didn't want to get too carried away here! ... and can post them and/or instructions if anyone is interested. They really are easy peasy.