Bradford and other travels

Posted on 23 August 2012

Apologies for the huge gaps in posts. I know I promised I would be better at this blogging thing, but it’s been a hectic few months.
First of all I should have a quick mention about my trip to Woolfest. A group of us from the Guild and Once A Sheep invaded Cockermouths Travelodge at the end of June so that we could get plenty of time to wander around and enjoy Woolfest. The weather was very wet and we did get a tad soaked just walking across the road to get in. Thankfully, once we were in we were surrounded by lots of wool, fluff, fibre and sheep that made us instantly perk up and bounce around. I managed to meet up with a couple of tweeters who I’d meet through Twitter which was really nice, and also my tutor for the Certificate of Achievement as well. It was a fab weekend and I was very good and only spent the money that I had with me which got me all of this:

knit 1 girl 1's Woolfest 2012 st

knit 1 girl 1’s Woolfest 2012 st

There’s a lot of fluff there that will be spun into lovely things, including some British Sheep breeds that I’m hoping to turn into a natural graded blanket. I couldn’t resist buying a skein of yarn and fibre from EasyKnits. Their stuff is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what they want to become. Also in there is a weaving kit to make a colour gamp scarf. I’ve been wanting to do one of these for ages and there’s talk of doing it as a weave along with some of the other weavers in the Guild.
After Woolfest I was busy with Thom finishing school for the summer and shop sitting for Old Maiden Aunt whilst at the same time preparing for our first family European holiday. We went to the Netherlands for a week and it was brilliant. I usually can’t cope being in landscapes with no hills as I get twitchy. I had no problems with this in the Netherlands for some reason as there’s lots of trees to break up the horizon, and it’s a beautiful country. We did a fair bit of exploring to the coasts, European Space Agency, theme parks, and the local countryside. I can’t recommend it enough for somewhere to go on holiday and we’ll definitely be back.
I had 12 hours from getting back from the Netherlands to then get on a train to start the very exciting thing that’s been in the pipeline for a couple of months. I’ve been accepted onto the HNC in Contemporary Constructed Textiles at Bradford College.
This starts off with a 10 day summer school and is then followed by 3 day teaching weekends every 3 months. I missed the first 2 days as I was in the Netherlands, but I dived straight into colour wheels and painting once I got there.
We had to use some organic materials to use as inspiration for our weaving. I chose to use shells as I love them, plus they’re very easy for me to get hold of some.
It was a real mental struggle for me to do the artwork in my sketchbook at first for this as I ran away from art at school at the first available opportunity as I wasn’t much use at it. However, I’ve found that doing the type of painting and art that is needed for my sketchbook to be really nice and soothing and it’s turned on a huge light bulb in my head as to what I can achieve.
It was an intensive week at Bradford as we were working from 9am to 6pm every day. We started off with choosing colours for our warps based on our artwork. There’s nothing more fun than choosing from a huge stash of yarns at the college. Then we warped up the looms and wove away. I was the only one to use DK and Aran weight yarns. This wasn’t through any design reason, just that was what the colours I wanted to be were in. Everyone else had finer yarns and I was dying to use some finer yarns as I’ve not really done much weaving in them. By the end of the week I had 2 samples done and lots of different techniques tried out for ideas for more samples. Here’s how they look just now.
Knit 1 girl 1's first work at Bradford

Knit 1 girl 1’s first work at Bradford

I’m so excited that I’m doing this course as its giving me an increased confidence in my weaving and opening my eyes to what can be achieved over time. The other girls on the course as well as my tutor and the tech guy are also great, and it’s lovely being in such a creative atmosphere.
I did also have to buy some yarn whilst I was there. We had a trip to Texere Yarns which was fun, and I’ve also got some gorgeous fine silks that I can’t wait to have a play with.
I’ve not had time to do much weaving since I got back as I wanted to spend time with Thom during the holidays. We did manage to get to Stirling Castle with my gran (she’s on of the main reasons I’m now a yarnaholic) to see the tapestries there. They’re amazing and it’s really worth going to see them being woven before they’re finished next year.
Thankfully Thom is now back at school and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. I’ve been playing with the warp that had been kindly left on my loom from the Weavathon project. My table loom and my Knitters Loom went on holiday there so people could have a go at weaving. It’s set up for double weave so I’ve had to have a go at doing some double weave. I’m quite happy with this little bit:
knit 1 girl 1's woven apple

knit 1 girl 1’s woven apple

It took a lot of head scratching and messing about with rulers, but it’s got me thinking of maybe doing some pixelated stuff in the future.
That’s it for now and sorry for the huge post. Well done if you’ve got this far and I really will try and get back to posting more regularly.

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