Monday, 31 March 2008

A complete basketcase!

Finally, the basket weaving course, after the long wait, yes it was worth it. Basket making wasn't a craft I'd done before and I wasn't alone in that, but even though it was a mixed experience group Lois coped admirably. Displaying her skills as a weaver and communicator, to her advantage and ours, as we got to grips with the willow.

Another whole new vocabulary to learn, new uses for a marlin spike and a copper soldering iron!
How do we do it? go look in the photo pages!

I hope some one's got a picture of the birthday cake, if so send it in!

Mean time this is a pic of some of the baskets we made. Thanks everyone, see you all soon.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

New Pages for the Tawe Guild Blog!!!!

Our home page was getting difficult to read. So I have made new pages.
Look in the "Find out more" box for them, they are all linked, ie. we have a mini magazine!

New EQUIPMENT SALES PAGE- Let's move that STUFF folks !

New WHAT'S On - Now more printer friendly!

Useful links also have a page of their own too!

I'm also contemplating a Sales Gallery page, where you could advertise your wares!
Contact me if you're interested.

I'm off-line now,
need Tea and bikkies to recover!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Invitation from Cerdigion Guild to go to their Friendship Day

In the Snail mail post today, an invite from Cerdigion Guild to go to their Friendship Day.
Saturday 12th July, at Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron Secondary School.

Bring fleece, yarn or whatever and spend the day with them. They will provide tea coffee etc but bring your own lunch. Also have sale table - 10% goes to their Guild

RSVP June 6th to

Doggy plea via Val!

In our email from the Assn:

This came to me recently and as Sylvia lives in the Cardiff area I am hoping that you may be able to help.
Val Thorne, Correspondence Sec.

I posted a question on the Laughing Hens site, asking if anyone knew how I could get hair combings from my Afghan Hound spun.
I had a reply> suggesting I contact your guild.
Can you help please and put me in touch with someone who would be willing to spin dog hair?
Sylvia Lees.

So girls if anyone can help, then let Nell or I know and we can give you Silvia's email!!


NEWSLETTER NO 43 March 2008

From the Chairman

The National Exhibition, ‘FABRICreATIONS’ is getting closer, and I am much looking forward to seeing all the work your Guild will be submitting for selection in July.
Your Guild Secretary will by now have received detailed instructions about submission procedures at guild level, so do ask about them. Check when you will have to bring your work to a guild meeting for preliminary selection, so you can be sure to finish it in time. There is no quota dictating the number of pieces each guild may submit, but no member may submit more than two pieces in the main category. There is no limit on the number of pieces a member may submit in the two additional categories (Miniatures and those submitted in CD cases) as the displays need large numbers in order to make an impact.
However, we are appealing to the guilds to be really rigorous in their selection of the work which goes forward. If possible, a selector from outside the guild should make the choice. The work submitted by each guild will go to their allocated Collection Centre between 7th and 14th July. From there it will be taken to the University for the final selection, which will take place on Sunday 20th and Monday 21st July. All work submitted will go through the same selection process. Hanging the exhibition will take place over the next three days, and the Private View will be on the Thursday evening, 24th July.
Details of the Collection Centres and the codes for both Centres and Guilds will be given out at the AGM. If your Guild is unable to send a delegate, these details will be sent to your Secretary as soon as possible after the AGM.

Books of raffle tickets will also be given to each Guild at the AGM. Since it is so hard to get funding for our regular events, we are very dependent on the sale of raffle tickets to help with the expenses involved in mounting a National Exhibition, so we ask all the guilds to do their best to sell as many as they can. We are extremely grateful to suppliers, guilds and individual members who have donated such tempting prizes to the raffle. We now have a variety of prizes to appeal to both makers and non-makers, so the tickets should be easy to sell.

Details about the residential Weekend Workshops have also been sent to your Secretary, and the booklet can be photocopied and distributed to anyone who might be interested. The University has a Press Officer who is dealing with publicity in the media but we also depend on all of you to distribute posters and leaflets to people and groups in your locality who might like to visit Liverpool in its year as Capital of Culture.

Information will also be on the Association website ( and extra posters, flyers about the weekend courses and raffle tickets will be available at the AGM, or from me on request. My contact details are on the papers which have been sent to your Secretary.

As my spell as Chairman comes to an end at the AGM in April, I would like to thank you all for your help and support for Association events over the past five years. Most recently, I am extremely grateful to the volunteers who came to Liverpool to help at the workshops for the students at Liverpool Hope University. Everyone who came along agreed that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and their enthusiasm communicated itself to the students, who much appreciated their help. I hope very much that other guilds, or groups of guilds, will give serious consideration to setting up similar collaborations with educational establishments in their area. It is a very positive step towards keeping our crafts alive.

If any of you would like to be involved in helping with the exhibition in any way, I would be very glad to hear from you. I look forward to talking with many of you at the Conference and the AGM next month.
Hilary Turner

GPC Matters-

Treasurer’s Report

Chasers have been sent out to 28 Guilds who have not paid their affiliation fees, reminding them that they are not covered by the Association’s insurance. They have been given until the end of Feb. to pay their fees; another letter will go out then to any who have still not paid.
Valerie Thorne will collect the affiliation fees later this year and the form will be posted on the website. Guilds will be requested to provide only one set of contact details and will be asked to ensure that they send fees to the Assn. under the correct Guild name to avoid confusion and possible problems if they have to make an Insurance claim.

Secretary’s Report

Publicity material, for the Association, written by Valerie and Dot had been sent to a new online Magazine “Giddy Limits” ( aimed at the over 50’s. The information that had been sent to them had been circulated to the GPC before the meeting.

Speakers List

Following the recent review there are more ‘NR’ [no reply] Speakers than there should be. The last time a review was carried out a lot of time was spent in trying to get in touch with some listed speakers. All speakers this time will receive a copy of the list. Those Speakers who did not reply will have NR after their names. As the list will be on the Assn CD, hard copies will only be produced, on request, for guilds who find that there isn’t one of their members who is able to access the CD to print off information as and when required.
The CD’s will be available at the AGM. Although the number of Speakers on the 2008 list has only increased by 4, there are some quite significant changes. First, several of the ‘old’ speakers have added new topics, or changed their contact details so it is important not to just look at the names when scanning through the list. Nine speakers have decided to bow out gracefully this time. On your behalf I have passed on our grateful thanks to all of them. There are 13 new speakers who between them cover lots of topics – including subjects that haven’t appeared on the list before. Almost half the new speakers are based in the north of England or Scotland. Hopefully that will help to refresh parts that some Guilds have felt have not been reached for some time!

Following the changes in the way the List is made up, there are several folk in the Probationer category. The Association needs to find out what Guilds think about all speakers / tutors and it is particularly important to give some feedback on those who are in the new category.
Forms to comment on speakers / tutors and to recommend new ones will be on the new version of the Association CD. Please return the Speakers and recommendation forms to Norah Ball.

Association CD

CDs will be produced and distributed to the guilds at the AGM. Those not collected will be posted. Any spares will be given to Valerie Thorne and may be purchased by guilds for a flat fee of £5 to include postage.

Liverpool workshops.

5 out of 6 workshops have taken place and have been successful. The students have been enthusiastic and numbers have increased. The helpers have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have also learnt a lot, many volunteering to come back and help at other sessions
Summer School 2009

An insurance question arose whether the tutor's responsibility was/was not included under the Association insurance policy. Having clarified with the Treasurer that it was not, the tutor's contracts have been issued as "self employed, carrying appropriate insurance..."
A short list of insurance agents was included as a starter (stating others were available) in case anyone did not have insurance.


Details of these and other events are listed on the AGWSD website:

Voluntary Arts Network

During February, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport conducted its first ever national survey of amateur arts groups in England. The survey aimed to focus attention on the wealth of amateur and voluntary arts opportunities enjoyed by millions of people across the country every day - often with little publicity. The research has the potential to be very useful for arts groups, who will be able to refer to the findings when applying for funding, and for policy-makers, who can use it to look at how amateur arts groups could be better supported. The results will be published in the summer.

The 98 Lace Group is holding a 10th Anniversary exhibition "Beguiling Time", an exhibition of innovative hand-made lace inspired by music and poetry at the De Morgan Centre, 38 West Hill, London SW18, 22 March - 31 May 2008; Opening hours: Tues - Wed 12 noon - 18.00, Fri - Sat 10.00 - 17.00.
For further details see: Website: or Tel: 020 8871 1144.

AGM / Conference 2008 -
11th – 13th April, Tulliallan Castle, Kincardine, Fife
Further details and application forms available on the Association website:

Wonderwool Wales 26th & 27th April 2008 at the Royal Welsh Showground.
For more information contact Lee on 01982 552224 or

AGWSD National Exhibition 25 July – 22 August 2008 at The Cornerstone Gallery, Liverpool Hope University, Everton Campus, Haigh Street, Liverpool L3 8QB. Open Mondays to Fridays 9.00 – 5.00 but closed at weekends, except for Saturday and Sunday, 9 & 10 August.
Selection starts on 21 July, and submissions must be received between 7–14 July. The guidelines for submitting work can be found on the Association CD given to every Guild last year.
Paddy still has leaflets and posters for sale, also badges. For further details call Paddy Bakker on 01823 325345 or email

Change of Secretary

If you are no longer the allocated contact for your Guild, or if your contact details have changed, please let Trudi Thompson know so your details can be updated in both our contact list and in the Journal.
If you have any queries concerning anything in this newsletter please contact:
Trudi Thompson, 2 Mount Rule Cottages, West Baldwin Road, Braddan, Isle of Man IM4 4HS. Email:

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Spring has Sprung!!!!

This Spring we have had 535 visits ( I haven't counted me or Nell, cos I'm always faffing about here), 298 individual visitors popped in more than once, 168 visited during Spring for the first time and 70 were old pals who drop in frequently and who started visiting us last year!

Yippee, regular readers.

Don't just lurk!! Send us an email, tell us who you are! Perhaps we can feature you!


Tawe Guild Newsletter - March 2008

Easter is almost upon us. Just remember that all that chocolate can be worked off by spinning at double speed for 30 minutes!!

We had a very successful workshop in February – Indigo Isabel taught us some wonderful things to do with this dye. Please have a look at the pictures on the blog site to see the evidence.

Debbs has done a wonderful job on keeping that updated. Who would imagine that all this internet stuff was started off just a few months ago by Sian! Just look at how far we have all progressed. Well done everyone!

Those if us involved in the Woolbox project have been working hard to find sources of funding for that and for the development of the Guild. Gill, Debbs and myself attended the Funding Fair in Carmarthen last week. There was a lot of interest in our ideas and what the Guild was trying to promote as part of its aims and objectives. Classes are at the heart of our Guild and we seem to be almost the only Guild, nationwide, who offer them. They contribute such a wealth of knowledge, experience and inspiration - not only from Norma, but also from other class members- on a weekly basis. They provide an ongoing base for those wanting to experience the joys of our crafts without having to, initially, purchase expensive equipment.
These classes are expensive to provide, therefore funding is required to ensure their future.

At the funding fair, we learned a few hard facts which I need to share with you.
The buzz word within charities and not for profit organisations at the moment is “sustainable funding”. This means that we have to move away from depending on grants and get our income from more diverse sources. We also have to PLAN, long term, for our income generating activities. One very useful session at this fair, was delivered by Sara Carroll and Nicola Llewelyn from the WCVA. This outlined 3 steps to sustainability.

Income diversification – reducing dependency on a single source of income, being aware of funds available, exploring those funds and accessing the skills in the group to apply for those funds.
Organisational skills – identifying the skills in the group, not only the fundraising skill, but those skills which are at the heart of the group – the spinners, weavers and dyers. Everyone who can, develops a shared approach to sustainable funding, but we all work as a team to keep the Guild going.
Effective planning – this really means that as a group, we need a business plan to manage the income generation.

A lot to take on board folks, but we came away from that fair thinking that we were very lucky as a Guild to have the classes and the skills that we already have, but that we need to protect and nurture that core feeling – the love of yarn in all its glorious forms. To achieve this we will need to ask our members about their skills and what they feel they can give to the group. Some of us give our knowledge skills and experience of spinning, weaving and dyeing. Some of us have some business skills which can be given to the group. Together, as a team I am sure we can move forward. If anyone feels they can help with the latter, I would love to hear from you!

On to lots of other matters!

The Autumn exhibition, which was planned for the Waterfront Museum, has had to be moved. Liz, Gill and I went to the Swansea Grand Theatre to evaluate their exhibition space. We have booked the White Room from 22nd September until the 4th October. All items for this exhibition MUST be with the Guild by the end of August and all must be clearly labelled as regards fibre content (Trading Standards), washing instructions, who made it and how, and either marked not for sale, or with a price. We can access the Grand’s card machine but note that they will take 20% commission, so please reflect this in your prices. We will be able to lock away our wheels etc at the end of each day and I hope we can provide opportunities for our visitors to have a go at spinning and weaving.

Future workshops:-

March – as those of you who put your names down to attend this workshop, you will know that it has had to be postponed until 29th March. I did stand outside the door until 10.20 just in case anyone turned up, but the Guild grapevine seemed to work just fine! Any names for this new date to me/Eirean asap so that accurate figures can be given to Lois.

April 19th Silk dyeing – what to bring will be on the blog site or on the class notice board.

May 24th Show and tell. We will also use this day to have a “shop” for our items which we want to pass on to other members.

Wonderwool Wales 26th and 27th April at the Royal Welsh Showground. Hilary Miller is asking for volunteers to man the Association stand. Any one who can, please contact Hilary on 01248 713160 (evenings and weekends)

Thinking about the Navy Days - 24 – 26 May – I came across an article about knitting hats for The Sailor’s Society. Have a look at the website – Do we want to support this as a group?

Anybody interested in another day at Tesco’s??

Happy Easter to one and all
01792 830106 mobile 07977 538086

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Unavoidable date change, workshop now to take place

Saturday 29th March,

All other details remain the same. By now Nell will have
at least attempted to reach everyone on the list but, if you can't make it or, if you would like to stand by in case there is a spare place, let us know. Probably best either to:

or ring Eirian direct see last couple of posts!

Saturday Willow Weaving

Things to bring on Saturday;

Yourself and as usual, a lunch contribution,
a set of secateurs,
a pair of comfortable gardening gloves,
an old iron file or heavy flat bar of metal 1/4" x 1" x 12"for pounding willow between uprights (not a tyre iron must be flat not round, honest that's what Eirian said !),
a spray bottle to mist the willow,
an old towel to wrap willow - i.e. to keep it damp,
and lastly a bag of 2lbs pebbles/stones -

Monday, 10 March 2008

The Regional Funding Fair!!!

Gill, Nell and I 'did' the funding fair held at Carmarthan.

I came away drained and with mixed feelings about the whole day!

The "Woolbox" sub-committee will convene soon, when we hope to mull over what we all thought and will fill you in coherently, perhaps through Nell's next newsletter.


Basketmaking with Lois UPDATE

Please leave your name on the list at The Cross by Tuesday lunch or if needed contact Eirian by phone ASAP regarding attendance. Eirian must give accurate no.s to Lois by Tuesday. Correct no.s = right amount of materials!!!

More about Lois here

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Plug for fellow wool artist

with Fiona Hutchison
For beginners and advanced students

Weekend Workshop, 15th/16th March 2008
Week Workshop, 7th to 11th April 2008

Workshops will give you the opportunity to explore colour, texture and surface of tapestry weave.
Classes are held in the artist’s studio
at WASPS Studio, Patriothall of Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 5AY,

For further information and booking
E. mail.
tel.0131 555 2337