Sunday, 11 September 2011

Day 4 - September 2, 2011

Heriot Watt University, Galashiels, Scotland

This morning we went to Heriot Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design to participate in two workshops. We were split into two groups with 12 in each group.

In the morning, Janet Renouf-Miller taught us how card wool, make rolags and spin on a top whorl spindle.She had several of her knitted/dyed pieces on display.

This shrug was knitted mostly with handspun and hand dyed yarns. Different thicknesses of yarn were used including: bamboo, wool, alpaca, silk and camel.This cabled sweater was first knit with natural yarn then hand painted.I was able to spin and ply about 13 yd of the Texel fibre I was given. I learned the technique to use my hand like a little niddy noddy in order to create 2-ply yarn with the spindle.
I didn't crop this group photo of our morning group to give you an idea of the size of the classrooms at the School of Textiles.
We then went on a quick tour of the facility.

This is a huge ink jet printer through which entire bolts of cloth are run. The tartan samples on the wall may look woven but, in fact, they were printed on the Textile Jet.
This shop had 40 looms in it.
Here is the yarn cupboard. Beautifully organized in rainbow order.
This was a machine knitting lab. The woman working on the back left was fascinated that we were a touring group of knitters from North America. She wanted to do a demo for us but we were really short on time.
This Shima Seiki machine from Japan is the 'Rolls Royce' of knitting machines.This sampler lace scarf was on the swatch pile to the left of the machine.
Here are some closeups of the scarf.
In this lab, various techniques are used to paint onto fabric (silk screening, photo imaging, etc.) or to remove colour from fabric (chemical processes).After lunch, we went to the dyeing lab. We were able to select a colour from this colour card that had been created from varying amounts of red, blue and yellow dyes.Here is the recipe chart for each colour:
We then went to one of the stations set up for us where we mixed the dyes in the correct amounts along with vinegar and a mordent, submersed our fibre and heated the mixture to boiling.We then transferred the beakers to hot plates to maintain the temperature for 30 minutes to set the dye.
I after dyeing my bit of fibre, I chose to dye the little hank of yarn I had spun in the morning. just went around and dipped parts of my hank in others' beakers. I bought a spindle from Janet and practiced my spinning on the bus on the way back to Peebles from the workshop. The natural skein on the left is what I was able to get spun and plyed on that trip back.After our dyeing workshop, we were taken through a couple more areas.

There was an enormous laser cutter in this shop. Here, it is cutting out on a sheet of paper intricate shapes that had been previously programmed on the computer.
It also had etched this image of the Melrose Abbey on wood. In another area, hanks of dyed yarn were drying on big racks. Each hank is 500g.
Here's a closeup of the tag.Laurie (centre) posed with our two dyeing instructors.What a wonderful day we spent in textile academia. There are several colleges and universities in the UK like this. What a treat to be able to get a Bachelor of Arts in Knitting or Weaving.

And it wasn't over yet! That evening a few local ladies joined us for a 'Knit 'n Natter' at the hotel.
My new knitting friend was a local midwife. Several of us were surprised that her friend who sat across the table from us, a 7-month pregnant family physician, enjoyed a rather large glass of white wine. It's the first time I've seen a pregnant woman drink alcohol in decades.
Moy Mackay dropped in to say hello. She's the brilliant artist who uses fibre to paint her pictures. (Pat was knitting away in the foreground)
I came very close to buying this print of one of her pieces. I delayed enough that someone else bought it instead. I know she'll always love it as a cherished memento of our trip.
Here's an original that was also on display.The gal who sat beside Marion was making these delightful little creations with felted bits, ribbons and buttons.

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