January 2022. Happy New Year!

Another year of the dreaded covid, but we are all still learning to adapt and do our best not to let it ruin our plans. Meetings have continued successfully since August 2021 and the census opinion is that we continue into the new year. We have a healthy amount of new members and an endless supply of enthusiasm to kick-start our fibre related hobbies and we begin the year with a talk on ‘Ikat Weaving’ in addition to the usual ‘show and tell’ and general meeting. This years programme also includes a flax weaving workshop, spinning and blending with ‘pointy things’ and an addtional workshop with Amanda Hannaford. Any requests for subjects for Wednesday evening Zoom meetings are always welcome too. We shall look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our January meeting.

September 2021 News

So, we finally did it. Our first face to face meeting happened on 21st August 2021!!!! Over 30 people attended, including many new members, which was brilliant to see and also, a record 11 items of equipment were loaned out.

Our next meeting will see workshops on indigo dyeing with Mary and a workshop on achieving consistency in spinning with Sue Macniven. There are still some spaces available on both workshops. Talk about coming back with a vengence.

We are also delighted to annonce that York Guild have ordered the book ‘ Traditional dyeing in Bhutan – The natural way’ by Kencho Dekar. Kencho is trying to keep the ancient art of natural organic dyeing alive in Bhutan and in order to help to preserve the knowledge he has written this book, distributed it around all the local schools in Bhutan and has now made it available to any interested parties around the world. The techniques in the book are apparently nothing like our Western techniques, but we are told that with a basic understanding of natural dyeing, the process can be followed quite easily. There is also a video preview of the book with Kencho giving a tour and basic overview of some of the processes and finished products as well as a Q & A session. https://youtu.be/UtHKcPW2QwA.

Latest Update

Well, monthly updates were getting a bit monotonous so I have left it for a while. Blame Covid, everyone else does … or the Suez Canal, whichever you prefer!!!

Finally, it looks like we may be able to start planning for face to face meetings once again. We are currently aiming for Saturday 17th July 2021, all being well, and many members showed keen interest to attend, following a survey to gauge interest. Discussions are taking place with the museum regarding numbers, spacing, masks and other precautions, but I’m sure by now we know the rigmarole.

The new committee has plently of fresh ideas for the Guild, which we hope will also benefit the museum, (which is under new management) and will result in us being able to work together more. We will look forward to sharing these with our members in July, fingers crossed.

February Update

Well, it has been a year since Covid hit, but it most certainly has not held us back. On the contrary, our Guild has flourished during the past year and it is safe to say that we are offering the most for our members than ever before. The introduction of Zoom meetings has actually allowed more members to access us who previously may not have been able to and has actually served to attract a not insignificant number of new members. It is also that time of year where our AGM is around the corner, committee members will change and membership renewals are also due. Due to the current situation we have decided on a couple of options for members for the coming year and this will be announced in the newsletter very soon. What we have pretty much decided on is that even when we are able to re-commence meetings in person at the museum, that we will continue with Zoom meetings in between as they have been a valuable way for members to keep in touch and maintain inspiration during lock down. They have also enabled us to have focussed discussions on specific subjects as requested by members and for members to ‘Catch up’ on meetings if they are unable to attend on the night. New members can also access previous discussions on our ‘members area’ on our website. Finally, don’t forget our Facebook page where we all love to see photos of your creations or indeed assist with any technical issues along the way.

December/ January Update

Well, to start on a positive note, we can officially say that our Christmas party was a huge success!!! Our 60th Anniversary mugs were sent out and we received many positive comments about them and a toast was held to our members. The party hosted fancy dress, a slightly easier quiz than last year, handmade hats and scarves (with the collapsible witches hat being crowned the star of the show), tales from past Guild members and the unveiling of the 60th Anniversary banner, designed by Dot Seddon.

After Christmas our spirits were soon dampened by the third lock-down, however, it appears that the extra time at home has once again allowed many members more time to dedicate to crafting. Our Zoom meetings are still going strong, check out our meetings schedule on the website for the up and coming subjects. If there is a subject you would like to see covered then please get in touch with the committee on the Guild e-mail address as we are always open to suggestions.

Members Fame

One of our members, Laura, who came to us in Autumn 2019 as a pretty new spinner has made it into the Yorkshire Post following her success of producing peg loom rugs from her own flock of sheep. As a Guild we are extremely proud of her achievement, especially so as Laura had only begun spinning on a drop spindle a few months before meeting three of our members at an open day at Sledmere house last September. From there we roped Laura into the Guild where she has found her wings and positively flown with her new found knowledge and skills. Please read the full story here (You may need to Register with Yorkshire post to read the story). Pictured below is one of Laura’s first peg loom rugs made with Leicester Longwool Fleece.

Leicester Longwool peg loom rug LC

November Update

I think I can honestly say that we are all actively embracing technology and the potential it holds to keep us all in touch and to maintain the creativity we all get from our usual Guild meeting at the museum. The focussed Wednesday evening discussions seem to be proving popular, even more so now that they are available for members to watch on our new Guild ‘Catch Up’ Channel in our members only area on our website.

We also had our first external speaker at our Monthly meeting on Saturday 21st November, Lesley Horden of Skyrack Angoras who gave us a talk on the history of the rabbit and the angora fur trade as well as basic care of an angora rabbit. This was a first for both the York Guild and for Lesley and her talk was very well delivered and received. Hopefully, Lesley will now be able to offer talks to more Guilds further afield than before as well as promoting the sale of Skyrack angora fur for spinners to have a try at.

In addition, the weaving group are holding two meetings per month and the dyeing group are holding discussions via e-mail. If members wish to join either of these addition special interest groups please get in touch on the Guild e-mail address and we will put you in touch with Linda or Mary accordingly.

Our 60th Anniversary mugs have been dispatched and should be arriving with members very shortly in time for the Christmas meeting. Despite the lack of celebrations in person, we are determined to mark the year somehow.

We are extremely pleased to have two new members join us, despite us still being unable to meet in person. We hope that they will feel the benefit of membership from our newly adapted ways of sharing knowledge and information.

September/ October Update

I think we are all resigned to the fact that we will not be getting together for a good while now so decisive action has been taken by the committee regarding plans for our Zoom meetings going forward. Following a survey of members opinions, we have decided to continue holding our monthly meetings on the third Saturday of each month and maintaining the balance of a speaker one month and general discussion and show and tell the next. In addition, we are also holding weekly meetings on a Wednesday night which will focus on more specific topics. So far, quite a few members have hosted a talk and the response has been extremely positive. This meeting format will be reviewed at the end of the year.

It seems that the new trend is ‘challenges’ with members undertaking specific projects with a theme via the Online Guild as well as challenges set by our members. For this years Christmas meeting the challenge is to produce a scarf that will be worn and shown at the meeting and it seems some members are well underway with this.

Our upcoming meeting topics include; spinning a fine yarn, natural dyeing, weaving software, using your hand-spun, blended fibres and spinning equipment. Feel free to join us with any questions, comments or suggestions as these themed meetings have yielded some very interesting, inspirational and educational discussions.

August Update

At August’s Zoom meeting we were joined by Dr John Parkinson of ‘It is Not Over Until It Is Over’ (IINOUIIO) to give us an update on his wool textile recycling (shoddy) business. ‘Shoddy’ is basically the result of shredding unwanted wool items to produce fibres that can be spun or felted in to new items and was very popular during the war as a way of producing low cost items. John has now re-visited the idea due to an increase in demand for recycled and sustainable materials. He visited our guild back in February to give out samples of shoddy for our members to take away and experiment with and give feedback on the results. Check out his website for more information http://www.iinouiio.com.

Several members have been looking in to the issue of diversity and how we can make our meetings more accessible to all. Areas covered include accessibility, accommodating the needs of people with various disabilities, access for children and those with potential childcare needs and investigating potential barriers to minorities such as men, LGBT and people from other ethnicities and religious backgrounds. Again, we welcome feedback from anyone who may have ideas as to how we can improve on any of these areas.

Of course we have not forgotten that this year (the year that cannot be mentioned) is our 60th anniversary and we are determined to celebrate somehow. Members have been working on the ‘Dot’s Diamonds’ pattern for the anniversary diamond themed piece and Dot is now in the stages of putting it all together……watch this space.

As ever, there was an array of members creations with many people taking advantage of the extra time on their hands and pushing their creative boundaries.

As it appears that meetings cannot re-commence any time soon we are welcoming ideas for our monthly Zoom meetings from members. The Bradford Guild have invited York members to join their Zoom meetings and to contact their chair on the e-mail address in the newsletter.

July 2020 Update

So, as yet, there is no sign of us being able to resume meetings any time soon, however, the Zoom meetings have continued, for monthly meetings, the Wednesday evening study group and for committee meetings. A Zoom meeting and group e-mails are being used by the weaving and dyeing groups to keep members in touch too. The embracing of social media and technology is amazing and is playing a big part in keeping people in touch and enabling the sharing of ideas and creations.

For our July meeting Cherry Hardy kindly gave us a sneak preview of her full talk on different styles of Sari’s from India, with information on the materials used, the construction as well as the different occasions that various styles would be worn.

Members are still being encouraged to produce items with a diamond theme for our 60th Anniversary exhibition …… which is now looking like it will be a 61st anniversary instead, but hey ho, better late than never.

We are now also able to offer set days where equipment and books can be borrowed from the museum, this is by prior arrangement and with social distancing rules in place (of course).

Finally …… we cannot ignore this completely accidental pile of fleece which has an uncanny resemblance to the wig of a well known president… you’re welcome.