"Beautiful location. Excellent instructors" - Alan (Burford, Oxfordshire)

 

Wool Weaving - Beginners

28th November 2015 | Northleach, Gloucestershire
| £59
Course Provider: Cotswolds Conservation Board
A practical insight into the traditional Cotswold craft of Wool Weaving

 

 

Course Description

 

On this course you can expect to learn a range of practical skills relating to the traditional craft of wool weaving. Trainees can expect to;

 

- learn how to weave woollen cloth on a 2 and a 4 shaft loom

- discover the techniques for weaving on several types of loom, from the primitive back-strap to a floor loom where you use your feet! 

- explore the limitations and possibilities of different types of loom

- gain practice at setting up or ‘dressing’ a loom, including the parts of a loom and their role in weaving fabric

- learn how to make a warp for your loom

- learn about weave structures - going beyond plain weave

- practice the different designing techniques for wool weaving  

 

History of Wool Weaving in the Cotswolds?

Many of the stone cottages that cling to the steep sided valleys of the Cotswolds were homes where weaving was done. Clean fast flowing water was vital in the many stages of changing fleece into cloth. Rural communities would process fleece from the local Cotswold 'Lion’ sheep and weave cloth in their homes for local use. Over time, weaving cloth became a useful source of family income; the Clothier delivered a ‘chain' of wool, spun elsewhere, to the weaver at home and he was paid on the number of picks (wefts) in the cloth he had woven. In an attempt to standardise and produce large quantities of cloth, Clothiers moved weavers with their hand-looms into a ‘mill’ building. In 1840 Gloucestershire recorded over 1000 hand-loom weavers in such ‘factories’. The West of England Cloth, woven in the Cotswolds was a thick heavily felted, plain cloth used in uniforms and heavy outdoor clothing; demand for light weight, patterned cloth, industrially produced in Yorkshire was the death knell for woven cloth businesses elsewhere.

There is one sizeable company remaining weaving cloth (for tennis balls and biliard tables) but successful small studio weavers are dotted throughout the region responding to the resurgence in the appreciation of hand craft skills.

 

Course structure

 The day will be held at The Old Prison, Northleach, the base of the Cotswold Conservation Board and the Rural Skills Programme.  The day runs from 10am to 4pm with a short break for lunch. Each topic will be introduced with a view to participation wherever possible at a level each individual student is comfortable with. The aim is to build on your skills throughout the day whatever level you start at. A variety of looms will be setup ready for you to weave on at the appropriate time, these will be for shared use, however everyone will be able to take home something they have woven from one of the looms.

It is hoped that there will be longer courses scheduled for 2016 for those who have had a taster and would like further practice and to build on their weaving skills and knowledge.

 What you need to know and bring, whats provided

 This is a taster day, for the absolute beginner or those who have tried loom weaving but feel they have gaps in their understanding.

We will provide yarns, tools and looms. The focus is on weaving with wool, so if you have some wool yarn, bought or hand-spun you would like to try out, bring it along. A pair of small sharp scissors, a tape measure and a notebook will be useful, but will be provided if you do not have them

Refreshments will be served on arrival and mid afternoon. Lunch and ‘extras’ can be purchased from the excellent on site cafe or bring a packed lunch, bottled water etc.