February 2018 – Off loom weaving

We met upstairs in the Jon Cousins Room, for the first time and appreciated the inbuilt kitchen area. After the business and show and tell parts of the meeting we all joined in with the activity. Janet described how this mini workshop had come about and how the idea had been developed for Diss Guild. She talked us through getting as far as a half warped loom and then we took over with our individual looms. To save time these had been started for us and members enjoyed weaving them with the yarns we had taken. At times you could hear a pin drop with the concentration. Towards the end we were shown how to finish of the basic ‘little bag’ and ideas were given on adding a cord or closure of we wished. Some members used Mackintosh inspired colours enabling them to part of the Open section for the National Exhibition.

As always the show and tell section is inspirational, including this time, other items for the Open section. We are hoping for a significant Diss entry this year.

January 2018

Many of us have met twice this year already. Many Thanks are due to Jen for hosting the ‘before 12th night’ Guild lunch. We had a lovely time and besides the great food Jen’s Christmas Tree was an unexpected treat with its unique decorations.

The January meeting was well attended. There was quite a bit of ‘arranging’ related to our various invitations during the year to demonstrate our skills and exhibit items at events.

We had our own ‘show and tell’ of completed items and textile related Christmas presents which as always spans a wide range and is always fascinating.

Pauline’s spinning of dog coat:

We also had home made cake during a brief interval in proceedings.  Anne gave a brief introduction to the Japanese Art of Kumihimo (the making of braids) accompanied by a boxful of wonderful examples. There is an opportunity to attend a workshop about this at Maker’s Month. Diss Guild has workshops on Tuesday afternoon (March 27th).

Just some of Anne’s braids.

The five Norfolk Guilds will be at the Forum from 26 March to 31st March, each day there will be demonstrations and bookable workshops. This is part of Maker’s Month at the Forum Norwich which has a vast number of different activities  on offer between 12th March and April 6th. Do look at their website.

October 2017 – Shibori: Laurel Jinks

Laurel gave us an inspirational presentation about Shibori. She began by discussing the roots of the technique before explaining the different methods involved and particularly their used in Japan. She had brought many examples of her own work in Shibori and was able to show us the end product of some of the work. In the question and answer session that followed her expertise in this topic came through. It was nice to see lots of books that could be purchased to get one going with Shibori. Anne had brought along examples of woven Shibori and a visitor had us in awe over a quilted hanging she had produced, whilst Janet showed how the technique could be used with fine Nuno felt. Laurel offered to run a workshop for us, which from the reaction will be sooner rather than later.

September 2017 – Spinning Linen: Lyn Bennett

At the AGWSD 2017 Summer School, Lyn attended a course entitled “Flora not Fauna”; this was a chance to learn a little more about plant fibres, and have a chance to spin and experiment with them. Lyn spoke about the course and encouraged members to consider going to the Summer School in future years. She had brought along many examples of plant fibre spinning, plus examples of the various stages of preparation in the spinning of linen.

Members had a chance to try spinning linen, definitely not as easy as might be imagined. There were many questions, particularly about the linen, and Lyn showed us her beautiful Turkish drop spindle, an amazing and beautiful gadget, which neatly stores the spun thread in ball form ready for plying.

August 2017 – Ply Split Braiding: Anne Dixon

Anne began by explaining the technique was particular to a comparatively small area of North West India and Rajasthan where it was used to make strong camel girths. Four ply cords are made and then these the cords are worked together by splitting the ply and threading through one another.

Anne demonstrated how the cords were made, either self coloured, or a mixture of colours, and how the ply was spit and passed through.

Anne had many  examples of items made by ply splitting; bags, jewellery and small decorative items of many kinds.

July 2017 – The R34 Airship: Basil Abbot

In 1919 the R34 Airship took off from East Fortune in Scotland in an attempt to be the first aircraft to make the double crossing of the Atlantic to the USA and back. This they achieved but, for not completely explicable reasons, they did not return (as planned) to East Fortune but landed at Pulham near Diss. At the time, the celebration of this remarkable feat didn’t in any way reflect the enormity of the achievement.

Basil Abbott, Diss Museum Manager, is planning a centenary celebration in 2019, and has invited the Diss Guild to create craft items that can be exhibited as part of this celebration. His talk and slide show provided background information and inspiration for the creation of these items. It is impossible not to be enthused by Basil’s projects, and Diss Guild have risen to the challenge!

May 2017 – Inkle Weaving: Anne Dixon

Anne gave a most interesting and beautifully presented talk. She brought along a comprehensive collection of inkle weaving equipment, hundreds of examples of beautifully patterned inkle weaving, plus craft items made from inkle ‘braids’. She prefaced her talk with a fascinating history of the weaving of inkles, tapes and ribands, highlighting the ways in which the weaving terms have become part of our modern language. There are some great pictures on our facebook page.

April 2017 – Weaving Tools and Tips

Anne Dixon led the meeting on the topic of Weaving Tools and Tips. Anne gave us a whistle-stop tour of the weaving process from warping (demonstrated on her warping mill) to fulling the web into cloth, and there was a selection of weaving equipment on display. Sue Brooks brought along her Saori Piccolo loom, upon which it was possible to illustrate both technical terms and techniques, making the whole topic interesting and informative to both weavers and non-weavers alike. Even experienced weavers learnt a thing or two, whether it was the use of hairspray and/or combs to deal with those sticky warp threads, or filling a 35mm film canister with baking beans to act as a weight for loose warp threads.

This proved to be a most useful forum where members were able to exchange tips and ideas, comparing techniques and asking questions.

March 2017 – Spinning unusual animal fibres

Today we met at our new venue in the Methodist Church Diss – it has much more and much easier parking and, for £1, you can have as much tea and coffee as you like! We welcomed a visitor from Pembrokeshire, and a new member who Pam got started with spinning. Once all the new housekeeping and business was over (which was quite extensive as our exhibition is at the end of May) there was the opportunity for ‘spinning fine’.

The mini-workshop at the meeting was Spinning Unusual Animal Fibres, led by Janet Major. Janet showed examples of some of her fine spinning – reaching down to 0.15mm (measured with a micrometer scale and microscope!). She then demonstrated and briefly discussed some theory on ‘wraps per inch’ (w.p.i.) and ‘twists per inch’ (t.p.i.) and encouraged members to gradually spin finer. Fifteen packs had been prepared and at the end only one was left!

Attendees had a pack of exotic fibres to try:

Look at the concentration:

Lots of members were surprised at how fine they could manage. This is some of Pauline’s spinning from the day:

A great start to the new venue.

February 2017 – Silk bowl

We had a mini-workshop, led by Janet Major, in which we made silk bowls:

    1. At first the silk looked like this:
    2. Before the workshop it was dyed blue (one of the colour choices):
    3. After the workshop and home to dry:
    4. A completed bowl!