Meet the Trader – Woolcraft with Wensleydale

This week we meet Julia from Woolcraft with Wensleydale (

Label for Woolcraft with Wensleydale Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

Woolcraft with Wensleydale came about through breeding my pedigree Black Wensleydales, sharing knowledge and skills with other equally passionate Wensleydale Breeders and combining my love of animals and nature with Fibre Art of all kinds. I am also totally committed to the passing on and exchange of  Heritage Skills based on Rare Breed fibre through the former  Sheep to Shawl Project, Open Studio Days, Group Visits and so on.

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

There will be naturally coloured  Wensleydale supplies of locks,  combed tops, worsted yarns, finished products, e.g. designer handknits with our own patterns, and some semi-felted wallhangings using hand-dyed fibre.

Semi-Felted Wallhanging -= Chiaroscuro - Dark and Light

What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

The biennial exhibition is a wonderful display of talent of all kinds in the East Sussex Guild, and so it attracts a dedicated visitor base. It also gives the opportunity to exchange ideas with people – and it is beautifully run!

See you in October, Julia!


Images in this post courtesy of Andrew Weekes


Meet our members – Jenny

I have been interested in textiles from an early age, having been taught knitting and dressmaking by my mother. I learned to spin on a weekend course at Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre in North Yorkshire in 2006, having found the course on the Field Studies Council website whilst looking for the tatting course which ran at Juniper Hall, my local FSC centre.

The result of that weekend was that I came home with a second-hand Ashford Traditional wheel and Lazy Kate. I had been told about the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers whilst on the course so when I got home, I looked for a local guild. OK, so Croydon in Surrey is not very local to Lewes, but having been born and bred in Eastbourne I’m a Sussex girl at heart and the East Sussex guild had the best programme in the south east. So, at the beginning of 2007, I joined the guild.

What I like most about our guild is the range of the programme and the skills of its members which they are always willing to share. If you want to know anything about our three crafts you just have to ask anyone and if they don’t have the answer they will point you in the direction of someone who can help. I particularly enjoy the workshops. From dyeing to basket weaving and various spinning techniques with a range of fibres, I’ve enjoyed them all and learned so much from excellent teachers.

A skein of silk Jenny has spun for this year's silk scarf raffle

A skein of silk Jenny has spun for this year’s silk scarf raffle

I don’t seem to find much time to spin but I have spun enough yarn from merino tops to knit a waistcoat. It was going to be a cardigan but once I started knitting I realised there wasn’t enough yarn for sleeves so it became a waistcoat. I’ve spun a Texel fleece but haven’t yet knitted it up. There are various fleeces in the spare bedroom waiting to get on my wheel. My ambition is to spin a Shetland fleece fine enough to knit a ring shawl!


Weaving silk scarves for our 2015 raffle

Our weaver members are still hard at work creating their handwoven silk scarves for our 2015 raffle. Today we meet Dot, who is one of the weavers in our silk scarf team, and gain an insight into her weaving process.

Dot weaving close up

Dot first learnt to weave at school in Australia. She took up weaving as a serious hobby 30 years ago and is “still learning”. Dot has been a member of the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers for 15 years; she also spins and, during the Summer months, can be found dyeing wools and silk in her garden.

Handspun silk ready for the loom

Handspun silk ready for the loom

Weaving silk scarves is Dot’s favourite weaving item and she especially enjoys the planning of a new project and redeveloping ideas and processes. Over the years, Dot has woven a few scarves for the ESGWSD Exhibition and keeps keeps copious notes to see how the project works out and believes this is very important.

Here, Dot has used 64grams of silk for the warp on her scarf. The weft used is silk (60/2 times, 2 different colours). The pattern used for the weave is “Plain Weave” at 20 ends per inch (epi). The scarf edges on the warp are the same colour and the rest of the warp is threaded randomly, she uses a floating selvedge to give a neat edge to the scarf.

The loom set up and ready to go

The loom set up and ready to go

Starting to weave

Starting to weave