Sunday, 24 January 2010

Learning Day out and about

Sorry for no posting yesterday, it was a long day.
On Saturday I went out and about with a coach load of ladies from the college. Most were fashion students or teachers.
In the morning we went to the Whitchurch Silk Mill.
Some of the silk being woven on the antique looms.
one of the looms being threaded up.
A design board showing the design for silk curtains which was developed for a cafe at a heritage site. The colours were chosen from the bespoke wallpaper sample.
The designer with a Firework silk design she developed from start to finish, including the weaving. Most of the time she works on the process of the design and thread layout for the warp. you can see the equipment at the back onto which the thread is wound from the thousands of bobbins. The thread is very fine. This link shows the process the thread goes through from the bobbins to the woven fabric.

The fabric they make is very expensive. This reflects the time needed for all the processes on the antique machines. Some of the equipment is powered by the watermill, but that is very slow. There are parts of the process which could be faster in mills where the looms are mechanised, but this mill is run as a Heritage and Educational site. They provide silks for Historical Dramas as well as for heritage sites - castles and palaces.
This photo from their website shows the bobbins. There were a few on sale in the shop, so several of us bought included!
The shine is lovely and they will be great to look at, but I am going to try to use some to sew with. Because it is so fine, I may run several threads through the needle at once.

In the afternoon we went to the Bozedown Alpaca Farm. Joy Whitehead gave us an excellent talk which covered the whole process of choosing alpacas who will produce good fleeces to the parts of the fleece which are the best to the various processes to make the fleece into fibre and fabric. We drove past the fields in the coach and saw the lovely animals. Joy and Ken had hired the village hall for the talk as they felt the weather would be too cold and unpredictable to stand around in a draughty barn!
photo from the Internet
I think I want an alpaca. But, I need a bigger garden and more than £3000! So, I may just go visit them sometime instead!
The fabric is dear, too, but well, maybe I can save up for some. It is sooo soft!

1 comment:

Jasmine said...

Those alpaca's are cute. Your learning day out sounds wonderful.