A Weekend In The Woods

I was searching around for crafty and knitting related courses and stumbled upon CELT who are based down in East Clare near Lough Derg. Last weekend was their big summer event called the weekend in the woods where they run loads of environmental and sustainable living courses. They had a Weaving, Spinning and Natural Dying course so I booked in for that. On friday I packed up my tent and headed for the woods.
On saturday morning we began the course, Suzanne Anker our tutor said we'd weave a little bag over the weekend so we started that.

First we picked some wool from her stash of lovely hand-spun, hand-dyed wool. Then we started weaving on a cardboard loom. I've always liked weaving, as a kid I made a proper little loom from ice lolly sticks and cardboard and made a belt on it.

After a nice lunch in the Rustic Restaurant which had been set up for the weekend we were back to start learning the basics of spinning. First we carded up some fleece.

Then we tried some spinning on a drop spindle. This was pretty hard to get the hang of but you could see how with practice you could make wool this way. Then we also got to use the tutor's spinning wheel. This was a little easier to get the hang of than the drop spindle but to get good at it would take some time. It was very cool to turn fleece into wool.

On sunday morning we started dying with some plant dyes. We used onion skins with two different mordants to dye some head-scarves and a little bag.

The dye came out really well and we got a leaflet explaining what other plants to use in what seasons and what mordants they needed. I must try some more dying!

Then it was back to weaving and finishing off our bags. They turned out really well. I also crocheted an edge onto mine to finish it off. Mine is the bottom left hand one in the picture below.

It was a great fun weekend and I learned a lot. I'd like to do more spinning and learn a bit more about it. The natural dying was great as well and I'd like to dye some plain wool with plants. The weaving was fine, I've done it before so maybe that's why I wasn't as crazy about it. There are also faster ways to weave than a cardboard loom. Saying that I love my little bag. Definitely worth doing!

5 Responses to "A Weekend In The Woods" (Leave A Comment)

Iamreddave says
July 15, 2008 at 5:06 AM

Dont forget you can do man courses there as well. Stone wall building and bow making. Hear me roar

Anonymous says
July 15, 2008 at 1:25 PM

This sounds like such a great time! My friend dyed some wool using red onion skins and it turned out this gorgeous green colour!

It looks so relaxing. I miss weaving-- maybe I will try the cardboard idea.

Katie says
July 15, 2008 at 3:37 PM

Wow I would have loved to have done that is it a yearly thing ?.. so going !!

The Beer Nut says
July 16, 2008 at 3:38 AM

David, do they teach gutting and skinning as well? Otherwise I don't see the point of the bow-making.

WorstedKnitt says
July 27, 2008 at 10:31 AM

That looks like so much fun. I'm very jealous! Hope I can find something like that in Germany.