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Here we go again!

Eight years have, somehow, have passed since my last post! Time seems to go by so quickly.

Anyway – what have I been doing? In a word WEAVING! My joy for this craft have not waned, I love it! About 3 years ago I joined an on line course. Jane Stafford Textiles, brilliant course and I have learned so much as well as being inspired to try new things and developing my design skills. I started using just plain weave. This gave me the chance to explore different colour combinations. Something I have always loved doing.

Tea towel woven in 8/2 organic cotton.

Now to get up to date. These are my latest pieces. This was a name drafting exercise. You take the letters of a name or phrase and assign each letter to a shaft on the loom. By repeating and/or mirroring the sequence a pattern will emerge. Fun stuff!

I chose the letters of CHAMPS ELYSEES. This was a song written by my husband over 50 Years ago and became a huge hit in France and,for some reason, Japan.

I have also started, once again, to teach. I do so love sharing my joy of the things I am doing. Eight years ago, however, it all became too much and I stopped giving all talks and workshops. This meant I had more time in my studio to develop ideas and just enjoy doing! Now I am ready to get out there once again.

One of the first workshops was with the Dorking Creative Textiles and Stitch Group. A band of very talented ladies all keen to have a go at something new. What more could you ask for as a tutor. We had a great day first doing some Japanese braiding using Kumihimo discs and plates. I then introduced them to Backstrap weaving, a really fun way to produce woven bands with very little equipment.

A very productive and enjoyable day was had by all.

Brilliant day, excellent tuition, explicit worksheets and all materials provided – thank-you Helen”

Another new toy!

My new toy – an Ashford blending board. A great piece of equipment for blending fibres to create wonderful ‘art” yarns. It is like mixing paints but with fibre. 

blending board

The first thing I did was to try and create yarn using a piece of fabric as my inspiration source.

Fibre choice 2Picture shows just the wool bits but I also added silk and some sparkle

Fibre on board2Then you just put the fibre on the board. Keep on adding layers until the board is full – i.e. the teeth are covered. The fibre is brushed down between each layer, just like you would on a drum carder.

Rolags madeThen you take off the fibre in rolags. They are a bit tighter than rolags as you use sticks to roll them., so more like punis

Rolags spunI then spun up the rolags. Here are three hanks. The one on the left I kept colours together in strips on the board to make a striped yarn.

There are some good instructional videos on YouTube. I like the one from Ashford, Kate always makes everything look easy

I am still playing at the moment, doing lots of samples. It is good to see exactly what a finished yarn looks like when knitted or woven. Eventually I intend making enough yarn for an actual project! The trouble is I just love playing and experimenting.

By the way for my friends in other hemispheres Spring is coming very slowly but the signs are there which are so welcoming after a rather dreary winter.


That’s all for now. Helen

Long time no see

Here are some of the things I have been up to lately.

Firstly I was given a wonderful book for my birthday last year.IMG_0331.JPG

It is a really good source of information. I have now got her video and Sarah Anderson is certainly now one of my spinning idols. She has experimented with spinning yarn for socks, then wearing said socks to see which one gets a hole first. I call that real dedication. Anyway, one that did well was a three ply yarn with two plies going Z and one going S. Then plied S.

Here are my results.

P1030411   Legs knitted in normal three ply  

The sock is being knitted in said three ply and the hank is 

a normal three ply which was used for the leg.

The next pair are going to be made from cabled yarn which will have six plies, so a fair bit of spinning to do.

Signing off now but there will be more


Things are changing – part 2

To continue the weaving story. The first thing that had to be done was to build my BabyWolf! Thanks to my good friend Linda de Ruiter we did it in an afternoon ( that is if you count 8 in the evening afternoon!




Here it is in all it’s glory. 







I just love it so had to make it a cover for those odd times when not in use. 


It folds up very easily and is then able to be wheeled about.






Now to start weaving. I download a really good video course from Craftsy. A great site for tutorial videos. I used ‘Floor Loom Weaving’ by Janet Dawson. I chose this video as Janet was using a Baby Wolf loom throughout the course. I followed al her instructions, learned an enormous amount and ended up with three cushions.








I also got some great videos from Interweave which helped me understand and try other techniques.

Block weaves with Madelyn van der Hoogt.          

Double Weave Basics with Jennifer Moore


I have also tried out other techniques.


Overshot.                         Lace 









Log cabin                                                                A try at a bit of Ikat








I also attended a super weekend workshop with Janet Phillips  who showed us how to do pleats. Where will this all end?

Enough for now – more later.

Things are changing!

I have recently put a new app on my iPad which means I can write a blog wherever I am. Hopefully this means I will blog more! We shall see…

Anyway, the main thing that is changing in my life is that I am now doing less shows, talks and workshops. This gives me more time to spend at home doing my own thing.

That ‘Own thing’ at the moment is weaving – I just love it and I thought I would share my experiences so far.

It all started Christmas 2011 when FC  brought me a Rigid heddle loom. Fantastic!

I got it from

Ruth, as ever, was very helpful, setting me on the right track.


This was my first scarf using some hand dyed Soliloquy yarn from Tall Yarns










I then realised that I wanted to take weaving a stage further and seeing an old Ashford 4 shaft loom on E bay I decided the time was right to move on. With the 4 shaft I could experiment with twills etc.






I also tried a bit of warp  dyeing – sorry about the picture!




As with so many things I soon outgrew the 4 shaft table loom – I was just so eager to do more!

I managed to sell the Ashford on E bay  to a lovely weaver in Edinburgh – Fiona Daly

Having seen so much about Schachtt looms and it was so near Christmas I decided to go for The Baby Wolf. Bought from the Threshing Barn in Leek. Janet Phillips was so helpful and encouraging. Textile folk are sooo nice!

I will sign off now but the story will continue in the very near future – promise!




January 2012

I am ashamed to admit that I failed to keep my blogs going last year.

But guess what? I am going to give it another shot this year. My feeling is that the time to worry is when you give up firstly, making New Year Resolutions and secondly, truly believe you are going to keep them. For years I really thought I would keep my desk tidy – never did and I’ve nearly given up on that one.

Anyway back to more important things – what did I do in 2011.

One of the most important things was that I got my cataract fixed. A couple of hair-raising days when they removed the old lens and then couldn’t get the new one in! I was sent home feeling very sorry for myself but two days later they managed it and all was well – phew! What a difference, Colours looked much brighter – I even thought my husband had cleaned the windows.

In June I opened my garden as part of the Secret Gardens of Grayshott weekend. We decided to have a quilt show as well which was great accept for the rain – Sunday was a complete wash out. We all huddled in the studio and spent the day drinking tea and eating cakes – such fun!!!


I knitted a hanging basket for the occasion. This was one of those projects that I did wonder why I had ever started – but in the end I was delighted – and it doesn’t need watering.

Michael and I went to Australia in September and I was delighted to find that my grandaughter, aged 8,  is  fanatical about knitting and sewing – wonder where she gets that from.

I am still spinning and have now acquired a loom – watch this space!

’til the next time Helen


January 2011

Here we are in a new year and I have a new web site which I promise to keep up to date! That is one of my New Year resolutions – let's see how long I can keep this one.

Anyway, this is my first blog and as it is at the beginning of a new year it would seem appropriate to tell you about 2010.

In January I started spinning having been inspired by my friend Joanne in Australia. What a joy spinning is although I am still working on my technique!

I also visited a lot of woolly shows this year – what a great new world.

The main event of the year had to be Fashion Sans Frontiéres. After a lot of hard work the evening turned out to be quite spectacular.


For more pictures go to

Fashion Sans Frontiéres 


In September Michael and went on our annual  trip to Australia. This year we did a house swap and joy of joys there were two alpacas living next door. I had packed my spinning wheel – of course! – so I had great fun spinning their fleece. 

As I write this Christmas has come and gone for another year and I am looking forward to making more pots and baskets (from wool naturally!) and also look forward to seeing many of you at the shows this year.

In the meantime Happy New Year and keep stitching, knitting or what ever you like to do with your hands!