Makers' Month, The Forum, Norwich, 9 to 24 Feb 2019

The Makers' Month at The Forum, Norwich, is now a well-established event which gives makers the chance to exhibit their work and demonstrate their skills, and gives people the opportunity to try a variety of crafts. There are different activities each day, here is a programme.

Seen here are members of the five Norfolk guilds of Spinners Weavers and Dyers.
The star of the show this year is a knit/crochet diorama featuring Yarmouth's Golden Mile, set in the '70s. There are so many memories here, from the Joyland snails to the acts on Wellington and Britannia piers. It was made by Margaret Seaman and friends. She has made it to raise money for a palliative care charity. There is a wonderful video report here on the ITV news site.


Many other works are on show, including the Norwich Castle Tapestry Project, which aims to create the story of East Anglian rebellions in the style of the Bayeux tapestry.
 This was the first time that I'd seen tablet weaving in real life, I found it fascinating and was pleased to be allowed to have a go. This is something I'd love to do at home. Part of the appeal is that the tools are very simple and can be home-made.

Spinning alpaca fleece

I've been spinning like a demon this week, partly to use some alpaca that has been in the stash for such a long time that it's a miracle that it hasn't become home to something nasty. And partly so that I can have a knitting project started in time for a trip.



   For speed I decided to run it all through the drum carder and either make that into punis or put handfuls over my finger and spin from the fold.
Neither of those methods worked out. The best way seemed to be tearing off strips, pre-drafting a little and then just spinning from the end of the strip. This made a very smooth and close-packed yarn (as worsted as it was going to be from carded fibre). As you can see it spun very fine, and I needed to 3-ply to get a yarn with any thickness.
 I have three colours. The black is the best, very soft and very black. Not dark chocolate but inky black. The white is also fine and soft but after washing, not quite white, I've got to accept that it's more of a creamy or off-white. The grey is a blend of black and white. It was made from a bag of fleece that was terribly short, almost all of it was like second-cut. I doubted that it would be possible to card and spin, but with equal parts  of a better white fleece, it did card and spin very well and has produced a nice yarn, although more prickly than the other two colours.

That's about 500g altogether, of something between fingering and sport, I guess.  Ready for knitting!