My sister, who lives in Devon, has recently taken up felt-making. A few weeks ago she asked if I would be the taxi driver for her and a couple of friends so that they could go to the Wingham Wool sale at Praa Sands which was held yesterday. Wingham Wool http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/ are a mill based in Rotherham who specialise in fibres for weavers, spinners and dyers. These are made from all sorts of things; even milk powder and soya bean pulp, but a lot of the products are merino and other wools. They do both dyed and natural fibres and you buy them by weight.
It was very interesting for me to go to this event. I realised that there is another textile community out there who work in fibre/wool. The community hall was full of bags of glorious coloured fibres which you buy by tearing off chunks. There was a group of women spinning in the corner and in addition to the fibres, there were Australian natural dye powders and parts for Ashford spinning wheels. It was good for me as I was not really tempted to buy anything. However, there was a small bin containing thread made from recycled saris. I know I can buy this in Penzance but there was a sample of a bag made from silk heavily couched with sari thread so I succumbed to a skein. In the same bin there were strips of knitting and 'skeins' made from torn strips of 'glossy' fabrics. There was a display of wooden needles beside it. I immediately realised that I could try this technique with the bridal fabrics I have still not used ten years after acquiring a huge box of offcuts from a specialist dressmaker. So I bought a pair of needles and will have a go. I couldn't really photograph the samples but here is what I bought.
I did not think to ask my sister if I could photograph her purchases so I shall have to take some photos when I next see her. If you are interested in Wingham Wool's products they are currently doing a roadshow in the South West. Details on their website.