Pam Austin's Spinning School http://www.spinningschool.org Learn to spin long draw Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:34:14 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 https://i0.wp.com/www.spinningschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-pam_s_logo-124x1241.png?fit=32%2C32 Pam Austin's Spinning School http://www.spinningschool.org 32 32 Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/12/dyeing-with-complementary-colours/ Sun, 31 Dec 2017 20:47:21 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5881 Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop takes place at Knuston Hall on Wednesday this week. Dyeing is always fun and doing something different even more fun. This new workshop is a chance to find or discover a few things for yourself. - see Events  If you can't [...]

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Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop

Dyeing with complementary colours a new workshop takes place at Knuston Hall on Wednesday this week. Dyeing is always fun and doing something different even more fun. This new workshop is a chance to find or discover a few things for yourself. – see Events  If you can’t make the date the workshop can be repeated for individuals and small groups in my studio – use contact form.

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Riding with my granddaughter http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/riding-with-my-granddaughter/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:07:26 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5860 Took my youngest granddaughter out on Nola last Sunday. Granddaughter is 12 and Nola is 25. All three of us had a lovely time. She posed for this photograph to show her friends - probably on Instagram or some such thing - I could imagine a picture caption 'Riding my Gran's horse' ....my horse - [...]

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Took my youngest granddaughter out on Nola last Sunday. Granddaughter is 12 and Nola is 25. All three of us had a lovely time. She posed for this photograph to show her friends – probably on Instagram or some such thing – I could imagine a picture caption ‘Riding my Gran’s horse’ ….my horse – but not my house!

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Twill weave http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/twill-weave/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:58:16 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5857 Twill weave, my house-pigeon must like twill weave - here he is inspecting two of my oldest rugs dating from the late 1980s and still going strong. I have not seen pigeon for several days now - nor found feathers or remains in the garden so hoping he has made a success of his bid [...]

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Twill weave, my house-pigeon must like twill weave – here he is inspecting two of my oldest rugs dating from the late 1980s and still going strong.

I have not seen pigeon for several days now – nor found feathers or remains in the garden so hoping he has made a success of his bid for freedom. I don’t think it will have much effect on the local pigeon population – there seem to be more than there used to be.

I noted Pigeon Breast  was on the menu at The Falcon hotel  in Uppingham when I went there with two of my grandsons recently. One of them chose it and said it was very good. I’m vegetarian.

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House pigeon – things you do for your friends http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/house-pigeon-things-friends/ Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:57:53 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5841 House pigeon - things you do for your friends. This poor old scraggy pigeon  spent several months in a cage recuperating from a nasty accident. Thinking he needed to be able to fly, my friend  released him  in with her hens - who attacked it mercilessly as hens do. He was left looking a bit [...]

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House pigeon – things you do for your friends. This poor old scraggy pigeon  spent several months in a cage recuperating from a nasty accident. Thinking he needed to be able to fly, my friend  released him  in with her hens – who attacked it mercilessly as hens do. He was left looking a bit like a vulture with no feathers on his neck. So he had to go back into his cage in the kitchen: ‘I don’t know what to do with him” she said wistfully. I’m not particularly fond of pigeons – what with all that cooing and pooing they do… but I’m quite fond of my friend so took him home with me and planned to release him into my garden where I have ultrasonic rat, cat and fox repellers. At least he would have a chance.

I started the release program in the greenhouse where i could check whether he could fly or not. He could fly. On day 2 he made a bid for freedom when I went to change his water – straight out over my head and down onto the terrace flying at about three feet altitude. He came to rest and  sat looking in through my sitting room window. Obviously a house bird. Next thing he’s in the hall checking out my ‘Sand rug’. He took off, one wing down and flew into the window taking an 

other nasty blow. I found him sitting alongside the Aga – obviously knows where to go when things are not going well. On Day 3 he was perched on the bird bath and looked quite perky. My sand rug was made in 1991 and has been in use ever since- it is in handspun Jacob with a cotton warp. I separated out the brown and white fleece for spinning and then plyed three different combinations. It was woven on  a four shaft loom using twill weave so as not to let the cotton warp show. The design was the best I could think of to use the three yarn combinations and ended up looking like surf breaking on a beach. – hence the ‘Sand Rug’. The warp fringe wore away a long time ago, luckily the inch of starter warp/weft continues to hold it together. 

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Nature’s best http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/natures-best/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:07:27 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5816 Nature's Best Nature's best things are virtually free - this plateful was picked this morning.  I planted the Conference pear tree at the millennium along with a vine and a Brown Monkey Turkey fig - they continue to give me free harvest every year and every year the bounty seems to be more plentiful. What better [...]

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Nature’s Best

Nature’s best things are virtually free – this plateful was picked this morning.  I planted the Conference pear tree at the millennium along with a vine and a Brown Monkey Turkey fig – they continue to give me free harvest every year and every year the bounty seems to be more plentiful. What better than fresh figs, pears and grapes to go with some mature cheddar (from a truckle) for breakfast. Just like wool – you get a new crop every year at virtually no cost – a more pleasurable arrangement I cannot imagine.

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Mohair locks and Blue faced Leicester top http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/mohair-locks-blue-faced-leicester-top/ Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:23:38 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5810 Mohair locks and blue faced leicester top went into this yarn made by Jane who attended my lBeginners Long Draw day at  Knuston on 6th September. "Inspired by your session at Knuston last week, I made a skein using the lovely dyed curls carded  into some blue faced Leicester top. After spinning, I plied using [...]

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Mohair locks and blue faced leicester top went into this yarn made by Jane who attended my lBeginners Long Draw day at  Knuston on 6th September. “Inspired by your session at Knuston last week, I made a skein using the lovely dyed curls carded  into some blue faced Leicester top. After spinning, I plied using a glitter/gold fine ready made yarn. Am quite pleased with the result, for first effort. please see attached pics. The colours are really autumn garden colours.’

I dyed the mohair locks – from Angora Goat – with Ashford’s yellow, blue and hot pink dyes. Rainbow dyeing is the topic for my  group meeting at Knuston Hall on 7th November see Events.

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Spinning Retreat at Knuston Hall http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/spinning-retreat-knuston-hall/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 07:00:15 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5806 Spinning Retreat Spinning retreat at Knuston Hall ends today. A huge success for spinning and Knuston Hall which was so fully booked there was not enough room in the newly refurbished dining room -  the second time spinners have dined in the library in a week. 11 ladies from as far apart as Bradford and [...]

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Spinning Retreat

Spinning retreat at Knuston Hall ends today. A huge success for spinning and Knuston Hall which was so fully booked there was not enough room in the newly refurbished dining room –  the second time spinners have dined in the library in a week. 11 ladies from as far apart as Bradford and Essex have had a quality time together this last few days. I took a blending board, e-spinner, dressed distaff and wheel, drum carder and a load of fibre and sparkles  for spinners to use and had a lovely time with like-minded people.

Spinning at Knuston Hall is on the up and up. My spinning group – see events – is getting to the point where booking  will soon be essential to limit numbers ; Celia’s spinning retreat started three years ago records a growth of 30% year on year. And Knuston Hall is busy too – good news all round. No better place to spin.

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A moment of enlightenment http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/09/a-moment-of-enlightenment/ Sat, 09 Sep 2017 10:13:16 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5799 A moment of enlightenment. I bought some new picture lights and decided that I would put them up myself - but will stick to the knitting in future…  I did put one up - it was not easy, I needed three hands and being up a step ladder that was a bit wobbly gave me [...]

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A moment of enlightenment. I bought some new picture lights and decided that I would put them up myself – but will stick to the knitting in future…
 I did put one up – it was not easy, I needed three hands and being up a step ladder that was a bit wobbly gave me a hot flush that steamed up my glasses. And I couldn’t find the right screw driver so ended up with an old fashioned tiny thing that was woefully inadequate. Dropped the screws several times. Up and down the ladder like a yo-yo, then had to change the position of the ladder because to put pressure on to screw the fitting would have pushed the ladder over. Fetched out an extending job from the greenhouse (!)and put it up against the wall. Then had the ladder so close I couldn’t get the screw driver in. Decided to call it a day with just one light successfully installed and leave the other until I’d recovered – like  tomorrow perhaps .
But alas. The main trip switch wouldn’t stay up – tried isolating the offending ring main but the trip would not listen to any of it – the only way the trip would stay up was if all the fuses were switched off – ALL of them! And Id only been fiddling with one ring out of 12 or more…couldn’t get my head round it, so had to phone Liam who is an electrician (but not house type – commissions housing estates and industrial units) ‘ Hi Granny, you ok? No! I need help!
He was here within half an hour with beautiful girl friend in tow: It’s earthing – lets have a look at the fitting seeing that’s the only thing you’ve changed. He scaled the ladder in two strides with a state of the art, multi-coloured, magnetic, rubber covered, elongated screw– driver. ‘There’s the problem look  – your neutral has come out and is touching the casing -(which was an elegant high-conductivity copper casing! ) And the earth is common to the whole system, hence you  couldn’t isolate the problem – but don’t worry it wouldn’t have killed you even if you were in the bath! not with a trip like this’  
 I felt a chump.
‘Ill put the other fitting up for you now ‘ he said and everything was sorted with good humour. My daughter Angela and husband Ron arrived too and witnessed their son’s moment of glory. I poured them all some wine and made tea and thought how lucky I am. Both lights  done, even the pictures were re-hung to the correct position under each light, tested with a spirit level  – high tech – magnetic job that was spirited out of the snazzy toolbox! All is now looking lovely and pictures and lights perfectly level, so best not go near them again.
Think I had better stick to what I know in future…not as young as I was…or maybe I could buy myself one of those fancy screwdrivers.

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Life changes http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/08/life-changes/ http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/08/life-changes/#comments Fri, 25 Aug 2017 16:36:53 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5772 Life Changes Life changes and change is about the only certainty in life - and with bereavement comes massive change. And unexpected pleasures. I commissioned this headstone from the Cordazzo Kindersley workshop in Cambridge. It was fixed in place on Monday 21st August. It brings me enormous pleasure.  The stone is perfect, my final act of love. It is [...]

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Life Changes

Life changes and change is about the only certainty in life – and with bereavement comes massive change. And unexpected pleasures. I commissioned this headstone from the Cordazzo Kindersley workshop in Cambridge. It was fixed in place on Monday 21st August. It brings me enormous pleasure.  The stone is perfect, my final act of love.

It is about six months since a spinner friend with an interest in church memorials, suggested I contact the workshop; ‘Would you do a headstone in Stoke Albany church yard in Leicestershire, or is that too far away?’ I asked. ‘We cut and fix stone all over the world’ came the calm, confident and smooth reply. I didn’t know it at the time but this was Hallam, the eldest son of Lida who would eventually cut the letters on Bob’s stone. Together with Fiona who cut the cross, and her son Vincent they fixed the stone on in the churchyard on Monday morning. Bob’s daughter, my three children, four of my grandchildren, my brother and a Benedictine friend were all there to see it, which made the occasion even better. One of my daughters had done a flower arrangement for the grave which was nice  surprise. We all shared a ploughman’s lunch in my kitchen afterwards.

Lida is a woman with a mission to cut stone and is truly a master of it. When we first met at the workshop she showed my brother and I around, and  explained what they would need to know from me, before we could proceed. But I had no idea what I wanted. The only thing I was sure of, was that I had met the  person who was equal to commemorating  the great love Bob and I shared.

I remember there were two people cutting stones where my brother, Lida and I sat having nice coffee at our first meeting. There were no electrical tools whirring, ‘Everything is done by hand here’. The only mechanical sound was a great big grandfather clock with a brass face. It stood at the bottom of some stairs. Watching. Ticking its life away, in a timely nod to timelessness.

The only chatter was from metal tapping metal  – it takes nearly 200o taps to cut just one letter! But the workshop was quiet –  no radios or mobile phones. Even the cutters seemed part of the stones they were cutting, totally absorbed in their work. Although lots of work was going on,  it did not feel busy. It was ordered work, everything neat, clean and tools placed almost reverently on workbenches. Lots of natural light falling on beautiful things. ‘We do the cleaning ourselves – every Friday afternoon – even the windows.’ I wanted to touch it all, especially the finely chiselled letters with beautiful fourishes. But Bob was not a man for flourishes…

I had not realised I would have to make so many decisions. One was the design – I liked a photograph I had seen in one of Lida’s many books –  a York stone with a traditional rounded top. I thought this would look right in a country churchyard.  Lida talked about cutting stone and prompted me to talk about Bob. I felt we had plenty of time and a rapport, because I am a woman with a mission to spin long draw. ‘No need to take decisions in a hurry. Just let things develop as we go.’  There were many things to consider; he was called Bob, but his name was Robert, do we use one or both? Is the actual date of birth and death important? Or just the years of arrival and departure from this life? Father? Husband? Is it a double grave? if so, will I want space for my name on it when the time comes? Yes! That was something I did know!

She suggested I take the time to discuss what should be written on the stone our children, Bob has two and I have three. These things take time too. They  all agreed that to Bob, being a Benedictive and Licensed Church of England Reader, were the significant things in his life and should be recorded. Then Lida did a sketch, estimated time and cost, and we agreed her workshop would apply for a permit which is like obtaining planning permission, but from the Ecclesiastic authority rather than the Local Authority. But we were not quite ready to apply because there were questions I had not even considered yet. Needed a bit more time.

When I saw subsequent drawings I decided against the text; ‘Love bears all things’ on the stone – it is a quotation from Corinthians that popped into my head when I first went to the  workshop. It felt too fussy. Time had changed things. The words needed to be simple, but I had not known that at the outset. So more time went by.  I remained happy with the idea of a York stone, so that was sourced. My next visit was to see the stone with a drawing on paper laid over,  to give an impression of what the final words and cross image would look like. The stone stood about six feet high and looked enormous, but a third of that ends up under the ground when it is fixed in position.

When I had decided on the words the next task was to draw them out in beautiful lettering directly onto the stone. This is done with a very sharp, elongated pencil point. Cutting is then done from the bottom up to save rubbing out the delicate pencil marks. When all the lettering was cut I made another visit to discuss how the Readers Cross as there were several options. Thinking in three dimensions  downwards from one surface is completely beyond my comprehension. I tried, but just could not understand the technical implications of  it. I simply took Lida’s advice in the end – I was way out of my depth!

Out of my depth is a good analogy as to where I’ve been for the past two years, treading water and just about keeping my head above it. When Bob died on 24th November it was like waking up on a beach after a shipwreck; I was gasping for air,  and could hardly stagger about. But that has changed now.

I am becoming accustomed to a different psychological landscape. And the landscape in Stoke Albany is changed now too. For in the churchyard, reassuringly outside the remit of local planners, there is a perfectly cut stone that commemorates the love of my life. We are complete.

 

 

 

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Socks with meaning http://www.spinningschool.org/2017/08/socks-with-meaning/ Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:56:48 +0000 http://www.spinningschool.org/?p=5750 Socks with meaning make delightful gifts and now is the time to start on knitting unique Christmas gifts. These socks are called Meadow and knitted with my own art yarn. All yarn has basic elements which can be used in the design process; these are fibre, spinning method, colour and yarn structure. The fibre choice [...]

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Socks with meaning make delightful gifts and now is the time to start on knitting unique Christmas gifts. These socks are called Meadow and knitted with my own art yarn. All yarn has basic elements which can be used in the design process; these are fibre, spinning method, colour and yarn structure. The fibre choice was merino, silk, some angelina fibre and polyamid to give strength. Socks come under huge pressure in wear – unlike any other  knitted garment – and the choice of spinning method is important here. A worsted draw is stronger and more smooth than a traditional woollen draw, so the obvious choice. The colour is called Meadow – inspired by a wildflower planting near where I live – and reflects the sky, fencing and grasses as well as the more striking floral aspect. the yarn structure is a simple two ply because I wanted the socks to be fairly thin, thick socks are no use if you can’t wear them in your shoes.

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