Dear John

John's weaving
John’s weaving

Sonya , our roving reporter, is bringing you John’s story this week. It has been great to have weaving looms up and running again. As someone who is self taught he has shown us the value of methodical, regular and planned learning.




You’ve only been with us a month or two but you are quite indispensable!  Such a tall strong and muscled up man, (and handsome!) you single handed set up our heavy trestle tables and dismantle them again at the end of our day. And you have given validity to our name Spinners and Weavers. After a lapse of some years we have a weaving group! You have inspired and taught Peter and Marina the ancient and seemingly complicated art of threading up and working their loom. Peter’s outstanding weaving has quickly materialised, impressing us all. What a tribute to your teaching, John.

Here is his story.

When I was pensioned off from the mining industry someone asked me to make some weaving tools, which I did. From that time I started repairing weaving looms .It then occurred to me that I should actually know how to use weaving looms, so that I would know better how to repair them or make parts for them.

I went to the Weavers’ Guild and was told that Bev Bills, one of their members, had been weaving for many years. I learned the basics from Bev and then plodded along on my own. I read a lot of weaving books!

I’ve now   got 4 shaft, 6 shaft and 8 shaft looms. I also have three Inkle looms (they are used for making bands, belts, handles etc.)

What used to be our lounge is now my weaving room! Fortunately my dear wife doesn’t object to that. She does bobbin lace making, but as yet isn’t into weaving. I buy my yarn from various sources. I got some from the Hills group at Littlehampton and it was there that I met Peter and Marina. They said ‘why not come to Seaford Spinners and Weavers.’ Good promo thanks Peter and Marina!  Heard of that group but didn’t know where it was. Now, thanks to them, I found where it was and here I am. Currently I am using a loom that used to belong to this group. I fixed it up a bit and now it’s done the full circle.


Dyeing workshop

Christies Beach 4th February 2019It was a beautiful 22 degrees and a perfect day for dyeing out on the veranda ! We opened the glass wall doors and let the light breeze and sunshine in. We should all like to thank Hilary for being so good at organising another dyeing workshop this year because those of us who participated had a lovely time and achieved what we wanted. Jan1, Hilary and Alexis all helped us with how to get the best colours and results. Rubine was a popular colour but we were just having fun trying to work out how to get the colours we wanted. Some were dyeing carded fleece, others just washed fleece and Cathy tried some rose fibre. We were using Earth Palette cold dyes and so the dyed fibre was going to go home to sit in the sun in a black bag for the day. Dyeing a skein of wool had to be thought out carefully so that it would knit up in an effective pattern. This is where the experienced people could be very helpful to the beginners. We’ll be bringing our dyed fibre back next week for show and tell and so we’ll be able to see how it all turned out. It’s a process which really makes you think and then you have to just do it!

Christmas Lunch

Christmas lunchChristmas lunchAt our last meeting we celebrated the end of our year with a lovely Christmas Lunch. Marjorie and Pam ensured everyone was properly served. John, Christine and Sonya made sure the dishes were done and then people like Wendy and Margaret made sure it was all running smoothly. Peter and Marina took photos. We all pitched in where necessary and it was a truly cheerful, Christmas event. We stopped to gather around the big table to eat lunch together and to chat. Not that we ever stop talking. One of the great things about our group is we are full of ideas and information to share and so it never stops. We were happy to get back to our wheels and creativity afterwards. Our Kris Kringle presents had had to be something we would use to do with our yarn arts and crafts and there were some lovely ideas and people brought along thoughtful presents so everyone was a winner. Nothing like something new to play with. Christine had brought her little electric Eel Wheel to spin on and we still love it. She had also brought along the most interesting folding stool which was easy to carry, easy to put up and then, as she showed us at lunch time, could double as a solid little table as well. How convenient 🙂

We have had a good year. We have run some very successful events to fund raise for charity and we have had some successes with our things going into exhibitions and shows. Our workshops have been inspiring and we have produced some really creative items this year. We had plenty to celebrate and look forward to another good year next year.

Needle felted poodle

We have watched Alan needle felt this poodle picture from the first piece of fibre. It has been an interesting , creative journey. Alan  put a lot of thought into how he was going to create the poodle. He has used an unusual fibres mix for the body . He had to think about the face and features. One of the things Alan does is get our input and then feedback online. That’s something we can all do these days: put our things online and garner peer review and support. For him , it was all helpful and so he could finish this lovely picture very confidently.