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 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
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
Starting to weave
I have been spinning for about two years. I have been knitting and crocheting since I was little but began to become more interested in where my yarn came from and the actual process of making yarn a few years ago. So, I saved up, bought myself a folding spinning wheel in the summer of 2013 and set about teaching myself to spin with the help of some books and YouTube videos. I am now totally addicted! I have also recently begun to experiment with dyes, particularly natural dyes – as a keen allotment owner, I have grand plans to grow my own dyestuffs some day.
A freshly-spun blue-faced Leicester and silk blend single yarn on my spinning wheel
I joined the Guild in February 2014 to meet other spinners and like-minded craftspeople. I really enjoy being part of the Guild and promoting our traditional crafts. I have learned lots of new techniques and have been inspired by many members’ creations at our monthly meetings and have had the opportunity to try spinning some different fibres, thanks to the fleeces that are sometimes sold at the meetings by some of our members who are also sheep and alpaca breeders.
A baby hat knitted with yarn hand-dyed using madder root
This year, I have taken on a bigger role in the guild as part of the committee organising the 2015 exhibition. I have been mainly involved in organising the publicity for the event and have been busy combining traditional craft skills with social media skills by tweeting and blogging!
I work part time as a Countryside Ranger. This year I am part of the team that is putting together this year’s exhibition. I joined the Guild after the 2011 exhibition as I had always been a keen knitter and crafter and I wanted to know more about raw materials and techniques.
I started spinning on a drop spindle and progressed to an electric wheel. I have recently got a small travelling spinning wheel which I haven’t yet mastered. I do some of my dyeing at work, demonstrating with all the plants in the woodland and garden, and have attended courses locally to learn new processes. Being in the Guild helps you discover many talents you didn’t realise you have and expands ideas you have into beautiful creations (well, not always!).
Collecting flowers for the dyepot
Dyeing the yarn
The finished, natural-dyed yarn
Some of Trudie’s hand-dyed and handspun creations