Industrial Revolution, Spinning Jenny…and Why fairies need scarves

DSCF2634DSCF2633DSCF2638DSCF2637DSCF2635

So, after a lot of family drama, we eventually made it over to England to visit Hannah’s great-granny Violet,  meet up university friends whom we’ve  not seen in almost 15 years, and then up to the north, to see Matt’s parents. “Too much (non-relevant) information” for a weaving blog? Well it turned out to be more of a weaving trip than I’d imagined.

To start with – “old uni friends” – Claire Silverthorne and I went to Winchester School of Art together, and became good friends. Both of us specialised in weaving, and while I always went a bit mad with colour and technicalities (give me 36 shafts and I’ll still want 2 more to put the selvedge on), Claire was the master of subtle designs and delicate colours. She can work magic with 2 colours and make it a full palet. Not to mention having had more of a clue how to use the Jacquard! Claire’s now married with two beautiful wee girls, and when we met up she returned 2 scarves I’d made a very long time ago. One (pictured here), Claire described to Poppy as “a scarve for fairies” towit Poppy repied “why do fairies need scarves?” A lesson to all of us not to get too airy-fairy in our naming policies or what we think we make! There’s always a 4 year old around to help bring you back down to earth!

And then there was the trip to Arkright’s mill, 10 minutes from my parents-in-law’s house…

PICT1567DSC01272DSC01271DSC01269PICT1563PICT1561PICT1559PICT1558PICT1535PICT1556PICT1554PICT1553PICT1551PICT1543

2 weeks later I get back to finish this post –
spinning jennies and water powered mills –
My parents-in-law live in Derbyshire, about 10 minutes away from Arkright’s first mills – “Masson Mill” and “Arkright’s Mill” at Cromford. If this means nothing to you, then it’s time to read up on your weaving / spinning history.
Arkright “Father of the Factory System”, for better or worse, was one of the men who changed the course of spinning/weaving history and brought it into the industrial age – to the cost of traditional weavers and spinners. There is a lot of debate if he and men like him, were forces for good or ill for spinners and weavers, but as Hemmingway said, you cannot stop an idea whose time has come – so maybe it was just that Arkright had the ideas first and it was all going to happen anyway.
Unfortunately the state of the mills right now is a bit sad, and although there are working looms, carders and other machinery to see in Masson mill they seem to only be churning out deck-chair fabric, while Arkright’s Mill is infuriating-ly a “Weaver-free” zone.  The photographs above are from Arkright’s mill (the weir, sluce gate and out buildings), and the internal photos are from Masson Mill museum – about 10 minutes away from Arkrights mill.

For a real treat on a working mill and the conditions of those who worked there “Quarrybank Mill” is excellent – but that’s another story – and day trip – entirely

I did some Googling to find out a bit more about Arkright, Cromford and Masson, and found some interesting links by more knowledgeable people than myself. 
 
http://www.arkwrightsociety.org.uk/
http://www.massonmills.co.uk/
http://www.derbyshireuk.net/mills3.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromford_Mill
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7382107@N04/3815664870/

Advertisements

Silky silky…and the baby-buggy flipflop

raw silk
raw silk

When we were home a few weeks ago, my sister gave me some raw silk which she’d picked up in a wool shop in Cavan, where she lives. It’s beautiful, and I’ve been trying to work out what to do with it that will do it justice, but there’s an irony here; The silk was bought in Ireland, and is produced by an Irish yarn manufacturer (Tivoli)…but the label says the silk is originally from Spain…and now where is it? Back in Spain!

I’ve been a shameful blogger and just as bad an Etsy-ier recently. I have only got around to putting up a table runner I made 3 weeks ago on Etsy, and I have another scarf I need to put up and I have to send off one which was commissioned. I have a beautiful linen warp that sits languishing and a lot of ideas running through my head about what to do with it, AND what to do next…So…what have I been doing rather than my beloved weaving???? mmmm, looking at prams (or “push chairs” / “strollers” / “baby buggies”…whatever you call them in your part of the world!)
This is a dangerous subject I’ve discovered. Some people think dropping a grand is “de riguer” for a pram that will last 3 – 6 months, weighs 15 kilos without the baby, needs to be ordered 2 months in advanced to get the colour you want and costs another 2 or 3 grand to get all the extra “bits” that go with it. And then there’s people, (like my husband and myself), who are not sure if, after spending 3 grand on a pram, it also comes with an anti-nuclear bunker, built in wide-screen tv and a lifetime guarantee that your baby will never get a scratch on him/her, AND grow up to be a doctor / lawyer / accountant, who will support you in old age…
mmm, I’ve gone off on one, but you get my point.
After a great deal of research and listening to a load of old cobblers we seem to have settled on the practicalities and reliability of a Maclaren. We still can’t really decide between which of the 3 “new born” options we should go for, but at least the major deliberation is over, and I can get back to weaving! (The next drama will be finding where to buy the exact one we want in Spain. God help us!)

PS to this…I think we’ve settled on a Maclaren “4 Seasons” Woohoo!!…Aeronautically engineered baby buggies meet Vivaldi…now, we just need to find where to buy one in Spain.

The latest Project (and the best excuse for not doing the ironing)

It’s not that I get around to doing the ironing more than once every 2 months anyway, but I’ve currently got the “Leaning Tower of Ironing” hiding in the wardrobe and after receiving a small commission on Friday evening, it’s probably going to need to be rewashed before it gets anywhere close to an iron.

So, my wee commission.
I’ve been asked to make a scarf for a lady in Ireland who is about to turn 70 and has a preference for shades of green and brown (earthly, mossy colours). I’ve spent this morning rooting through kilos of home-dyed cotton and my diminishing hoard of raw silk. The resulting hues look like “The Mournes in Yarn”, (or Cooley), but as that’s where this lady hails from, I think it will be fine.
Gold and Green on the warping frameGold and Green

See what I mean?!

Carlingford Lough from the Flagstaff - view of Mourne Mountains and Cooley Peninsula
These were taken last October, from the top of the Flagstaff, looking out onto Carlingford Lough. On the left of the lough you see the Mountains of Mourne, and on the right you see the tip of the Cooley Peninsula