Zoom meeting April 2021


    Our volunteer  for the proposed flax spinning demonstration was, unfortunately, indisposed.  Ann (our programme secretary) stepped in at the last minute and organised a macramé workshop.  We hope to be able to present flax spinning at a later date.


    Thank you very much to Ann for patiently taking us through the basics of macramé. Demonstrating from her ‘Studio’ in a spare bedroom, Ann managed to set up her phone so we could see what she was doing with her hands, and also have her laptop going simultaneously so she could see us. We were aiming to make three simple plant pot holders, which took longer than expected because we spent a long time measuring cord and getting to grips with the basic knots. Ann had the working cords looped over a hook hanging from a bunk bed, whereas I looped mine round the knob of a chair. She had already sent out comprehensive notes with clear diagrams of basic knots, and I found it very helpful to have half an eye on the notes and half an eye on Ann’s demonstration.  I was particularly pleased with my second plant pot holder which was the perfect size for a sturdy jam jar which I’m going to fill with flowers. It’ll look very pretty hanging up with some bunting (made from my extensive stash of material) for my sister’s 60th birthday celebration in our garden.

    Those members not wanting to take part in the macramé workshop carried on with their own projects and had a bit of a chat, so we passed a very pleasant day with a lot of good humoured banter.


    Text: Liz Carrington

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    Spinning Workshop March 27th, 2021


    Those of us (11 in total) who took part in Fiona Nisbet’s spinning workshop on Saturday had an entertaining and informative day. Fiona began by asking us what type of wheel we all had and what fibres we were going to spin. We considered whether we had a project in mind or whether we just enjoyed spinning for fun.

    Carding was first on the agenda, with Fiona demonstrating and explaining about blending. We looked at the staple length of our fibres, discovering that if we wanted a worsted yarn, we would use a long staple, taking out any short bits to reserve for a decorative yarn. If we wanted to blend short fibres with longer ones (eg. Throwsters Waste) we could chop the longer fibres up.

    We discussed the various stages when fibres or yarn could be dyed, with Fiona commenting on the subtle colour variations achieved by dyeing Jacob fleece. We then looked at the mechanics of our different spinning wheels, with Fiona giving us an excellent explanation of whorls and ratios, particularly emphasising the importance of producing an evenly wound bobbin.

    Having made a selection of rolags, we were ready to begin spinning. We tried the “pinch, pull, slide” method for spinning a worsted yarn, and “pinch, pull and let go” for a woollen yarn, experimenting with moving the position of the pinching to add texture.

    We had an excellent day, covering spinning Tops, Worsted and Woollen spinning, Short Draw, Extended Draft, Long Draw and Plying for Art Yarns. Fiona had some lovely ideas for using coarse fibres, including making crochet baskets and bags. She is a very patient tutor, having a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips, and she was as helpful as possible with our novice spinners, despite the restrictions of Zoom. She gave us a lot of useful tips, such as tensioning our Lazy Kates with a cord going over the bobbin whorls for easier plying.  There was plenty of time to ask questions, and Fiona very kindly offered to give us any extra help we might need as a follow up, and I would highly recommend as a tutor for both the experienced and beginner alike.


    Text: Liz Carrington


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    February 2021 Hannah Elizabeth Jones Biomarble


    We had a real treat this Saturday when Hannah Elizabeth Jones gave us a talk on her Biomarble Fabrics.

    She gave a super talk which was both fascinating and thought provoking. Currently doing a PHD in

    Manchester, Hannah began experimenting with waste products as a student, starting with installations

    created from rubbish collected in Rusholme. She then collected waste paper from Manchester School of Art to make large, thick pieces of paper, dyed with food dyes.

    Keeping a diary helped to improve her techniques to develop a paper with bubbly patterns to create Biomarble, for which she now has the patent.



    She makes large sheets which are cut into geometric shapes which are then stitched together to produce sizeable installations


    Hannah is particularly concerned with authentic sustainability and stepping away from synthetics. She keeps meticulous sketchpads



    and has experimented with local plants for dyeing. She uses no mordants, preferring to let colours change in the sunlight.

    She has worked with Bentley with a view to using layers of Biomarble as an alternative dashboard material, and as part of her PHD, she is working on the science of naturally waterproofing Biomarble.


    We look forward to following the progress of this exciting development


    Much more information on Hannah's website:


    Text: Liz Carrington

    Pics: Hannah Jones

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    Weaving at Frodsham

    A group of our talented weavers enjoyed the opportunity of attending a Double Weave course tutored by the renowned weaver Riitta Sinkkonen Davies who had travelled from her home in Pembrokeshire.

    You may remember Riitta being the guest speaker when we held an Open Day in September 2014.  Her description of her work with linen was fascinating and included details of her many commissions including the weaving the fine linen cloth used to make the rochet worn by Rowan Williams for his ordination as the Archbishop of Canterbury.


    More details of Riitta’s work may be found here:


    Some of the group also attend Lostock Weavers organised by Jane Flanagan.  Jane is a well known North West weaver who is a regular contributor to the British Fibre Art magazine.  There is a feature in Issue 12 (November/December2018), available in our Guild library, about the ‘Bountiful’ Exhibition held in October 2018.  The article contains photographs of work by our Guild.


    Lostock Weavers Group meet at Lostock Parish Centre Tempest Road Lostock Bolton BL6 4EL.


    Mandy will tell you more or contact Jane Flanagan direct:

    note the won't remember!
    Judy, some of the pockets filled with hand decorated paper
    Mandy's work incorporates pockets to hold shuttles and uses up yarn from a previous project (see right)


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    Journeying by the Sea

    At our March meeting we were delighted to welcome the textile artist Patricia Greaves, who is now predominantly a feltmaker. Patricia takes much of her inspiration from the sea and coast, particularly enjoying her ‘local’ beach at Ainsdale. 

    Patricia has developed her ideas into exhibition installations and displays including a ‘walk-through’ installation.  Initially a painter, her exhibition and display pieces feature ’etching’ on perspex, printing on aluminium and during her ‘white phase’ working on brown paper with pastels and crayon.

    We were certainly given plenty to think about including the use of technology to produce panoramic pictures (on your phone) and wonderful photobooks.  Most gadgets have a simplified version of Photoshop these days (or you’ll find an app to do it!) with which to edit and enhance your photographs...give it a go.

    As well as a photographic presentation we were treated to a display of Patricia’s work including large felt panels, a triptych and a creation from painted and folded fabric. Her work includes several felt disciplines: nuno, gossamer, needle-felting and 3D work.  She hopes to develop her inspirations into woven pieces.

    Patricia is a member of Merseyside Guild and gives workshops in the area.  Many more examples of her work may be found on her website  and on her Facebook page.

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