I am a Spinner, Dyer, Weaver, Designer, Knitter and free thinking fibre junkie living and ‘working’ in the beautiful South Gloucestershire countryside. My interest in anything fibre related is relatively new although I was taught to knit and crochet by my grandmother at the tender age of four years, but there was never any chance that I could make a living using these skills. Many years later my interest in these crafts was re-stimulated by my PhD research. The Rise and Fall of the Wiltshire Silk Industry: the social and economic impact of the silk industry on small towns in the south-west of England, 1750-1900, explores the impact the introduction of an industrial process carried on in a factory had on small rural communities.
So I decided to look into the processes and skills required to produce yarn. I began by weaving, as this is what the threads were produce for – the raw silk was twisted into thread which was then woven into intricate patterns by artisan weavers. Silk is thrown, the term comes from the Anglo Saxon word ‘thrawn’ which means ‘to twist’, in mills, where the silk filaments are twisted, doubled and twisted again and combined with other threads to produce a strong thread. It is the amount of twist determines the type of thread, singles, organzine and tram. Silk thread is still produced in this way, but in much larger quantities than in the nineteenth-century.
Since then spinning, dyeing, weaving and knitting has taken over my life – I am hooked….