Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weaving, spinning, dyeing

Yesterday was the third Saturday of the month, so it was the regular day for the Edinburgh Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers to meet. This was my third visit...on the first visit I ended up making a needlefelted head, on the last visit I did some spinning, knitting and chatting and on this visit I did a basketweaving workshop. Never tell me it`s a dull life in a spinning Guild!

This is Liz our tutor (in butchers stripe apron) plus some of the other participants including our youngerst member, eleven year old A who comes along with his mum.

He`s an incredibly competent craftsman already as he spins, knits, felts and everything else on offer at the Guild as far as I can tell. He`s also got amazing good concentration for his age, in that he doesn`t wander off and want to play football halfway through a workshop. (My lad would be off in half an hour...or less.)

We were making frame baskets, which, as the name implies, is a traditional way of building the basket onto a hoop or frame that you construct in advance from willow wands.

It apparently is an easier method for beginners as you don`t have to worry too much about making the basic shape of the basket as you weave. This was good, because, as I found out, I needed all the help I could get. I decided to make a trug for carrying vegetables in the allotment, so I needed to make a large half rugby ball shape.

The last time I tried weaving a basket was when I was eight, so don`t laugh at the following pix of my efforts.

I`m quite pleased with it, really, because though it`s pretty rough and ready in the weaving and end finishing and the handle is awful, it`s still very strong and practical. I like the colours too. Total coincidence that they go with this tablecloth btw!

I enjoyed this workshop and think I want to learn more about basketmaking. There`s a course run annually at the Poldrate Mill where the Haddington Spinners meet, soI think I`ll sign up for that once Mairi starts school in August. In the meanwhile Liz let me take away several of the willow offcuts from yesterday and I`m going to start a willow bed down in the allotment. I`ve plenty of space and I think it will be great to grow my own materials for basket making even if I do just use it for rough and ready plant supports or basic baskets.

I`ve had plenty to blog about in the last week and even have a backlog of pix to post...but I`ve also had a stinking head cold and PMT. Plus never let anyone tell you that you can`t get PMT and perimenopausal symptoms in the same week! It doesn`t seem logical, does it? You`d think you`d get less PMT if your reproductive bits were slowing down, no? Apparently not. You get more, sometimes. Scunner, eh?

One of the many disadvantages in being female, I suppose. I`ve never envied men for anything much and never wanted to be one (except when I`ve needed to pick up something heavy or reach something high) but I do think being able to live life without all these annoying hormone swings must be useful, don`t you?


sal the spider said...

Cool basket! :-) I'm off to my first Guild meeting next month, here's hoping we get up to some interesting stuff there too!
Sal x
Still haunting the wheels on ebay but all a bit dear at the mo. Waiting for guild meeting as someone there may be selling I s'pose.

Spinningfishwife said...

Guilds are a good place to find second-hand wheels, yup. Or you might be able to borrow or hire a travel wheel.
I`ll keep my eyes open for one for you as well..

Alison said...

I think your basket looks great! and nice and robust for the allotment.
We have planted some onions! Our veg patch is really a veg patch now! We are excited, TT stood and weatched his daddy put them in, then stood for a bit longer waitng for them to grow, then got bored and wandered off.

Zippianna said...

What a great vegetable basket. I'm impressed and encouraged to take some of the backyard weeds into something useful now. We can't collect reeds anymore at the nearby lake. It sounds like you had a great time at guild. Some day I might break down and join a guild but the polarity isn't right in my town. ;-)

rho said...

love the basket - and the long handle is fantastic - for when you have lots and lots of veggies in it.

Hate to say it but for me menopause has been like one neverending PMS. With Hot Flashes to boot.

Kathleen said...

Hiya, thanks for commenting on my blog. Got to catch up on my reading here.

gourdongirl said...

Love the basket, I don't see anything wrong with it. I actually liked the handle.