Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Open studio visit

I met Michelle last September when I started upholstery class at our local college. Michelle is a weaver and a couple of weeks ago opened up her weavery as part of the Norfolk Open Studio project so I had to go along.

Fabrics fascinate me and I love the idea of making my own. Michelle is so enthusiastic about her craft that it's difficult not to be swept along. When she said she was selling this loom (don't worry, the amount of looms she owns runs into double figures!) I had visions of my own weavery in France, hidden amongst the streets of a medieval town....

Loom mechanics

Now the first thing I said was "it looks very complicated" but Michelle & Andrew (who I had taken along) both chorused "no!" Andrew can look at equipment and know instinctively how it works. I on the other hand have to read the manual several times and take copious notes.

The bit that sets the pattern

But I think I could learn if this was the end result.

Demonstration weave

The studio, in fact the whole house, was full of gorgeous yarns. Michelle and her daughter will often dye wool to get the right shade. I was in heaven as I was free to touch everything. Yarn can be made from all sorts of stuff. I expected the kevlar (used for bullet proof vests) to be rough but it was soft, as was that made from crab shells!

Hand dyed skeins

I could have this as art
Gorgeous colours
Michelle uses her fabrics to make a whole range of items and I coveted her cushions.......

Would suit my sitting room
and her throws..............

Wrapped up against the cold with a single malt
or perhaps a hanging behind the sofa?

Reminds me of sunset over water

Michelle was kind enough to let us have a go on her teaching loom. She said I produced a nice tight weave, I think she was politely saying I was a bit violent when I pulled the 'thingy' back.

She does teach weaving. I'm very tempted.

Andrew on the beginners loom
You can follow Michelle's blog here or take a look at her website Handwoven Textiles. You could commission a unique piece for your home.

Until next time



  1. That loom does look wonderful. Although I can see they're related, so different from the terrifying clanking monstrosities you see at any textile museum. Great fabrics too. I'd love to have seen(and touched) them

    1. You are right Margaret, Michelle's warm & cosy weavery was nothing like the industrial Lancashire mills. And I bet they didn't get a decent coffee and a chocolate biscuit!

  2. Pure textile porn, Sharon! I always salivate over the hand-dyed wools here on the market - such beautiful shades, all made from natural dyes. I just know I'm going to come home one day with some indigo mohair. What I'll do with it then, heaven only knows - I can knit, but I've never been known to finish anything. Ever.

    1. It isn't that they're not finished Kalba - they're still work in progress. I have about three unfinished quilts stuffed in a drawer, in fact I turned one into a headboard for the guest room. I can knit (just) but while we were sailing discovered crochet and finished - completely finished - four afghans (throws). mmmm indigo mohair throw in a white washed room.......