Wool board visit

Dumfries & Galloway Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers visited British Wool, Galashiels, 28th September 2022 – Sue Macniven (President) has written up the experience

Our long awaited visit saw 11 members taking to various cars for the 2 hour trip to Galashiels, some of us (me) got a little lost in Galashiels! However we all arrived eventually without too much delay and were treated to drinks and biscuits before heading out into the vast warehouse space to see some grading of fleeces being done. We split into groups and moved between work stations where we were told how the grading was done, how individual farms fleeces were tracked throughout, and how the farmers got paid. The various grades of fleece were then baled and core samples taken for auction where potential buyers could bid for as many tons of fleece as they require. The auctions are held mainly in Bradford every 2 weeks.

It is astounding the amount of wool being graded by such a small number of workers, there are only 12 full time employees including office and managers.

We were shown the storage warehouse which is a short walk away where sold bales are awaiting collection and some waiting for purchase. It is truly gobsmacking how many 1000’s tons of wool there is stacked up.

Organic wool bales are kept separate and an extra premium of £1.00 added to the grade price.

We were served lunch of filled rolls and drinks to give us energy to rummage amongst the many bays and bins of fleeces available for us to purchase, It was good that I had cleared my boot of fishing gear in anticipation!

The Galashiels depot is moving to new premises in Selkirk which will mean a more efficient system will be possible and a new warehouse will be built. We have been invited back when they are settled next year, so anyone who didn’t manage this visit will have another opportunity.

We were made very welcome and with lunch etc so we decided to send a tub of chocolates as a thank you.

Dumfries Show

After a long break (thanks, covid!) it was lovely to get back to the first Dumfries Agricultural Show since 2019 this weekend! We had demonstrations of spinning and weaving, and visitors young and old had an opportunity to try their hand at using a peg loom, scarf loom, or weave a wee decoration using sticks as a frame. It was great to chat all things wool and crafting, whether that was with local producers or agricultural students all the way from Texas!

If you were inspired to find out more, we also have our general meeting next weekend (Saturday 13th August) – details of where/when to find us are here.

July 2022

Our July meeting is coming up on Saturday 9th! As well as our usual crafting and chatting, there will be a workshop with Ruth Ashton-Shaw on making felted fleece seat pads. (Workshop places are booked through the treasurer). You can see more about Ruth and her flock on their website.

May Association newsletter

The May newsletter from the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers has a lovely write up of our triennial exhibition as well as lots of other updates. You can find the full version here.

If you didn’t manage to get along to the exhibition (or just want another look!) here’s a selection of the fabulous work on show:

May 2022

Janet is running a Fairisle knitting workshop at our May meeting. The workshop starts at 10am (general meeting begins at 11.30). If you have signed up for the workshop there are a few things you will need to bring with you…

3 contrasting colours of yarn in either double knitting or Aran weight (one or the other, not a mixture).  The contrast needs to be distinct – treat this as a learning exercise rather than trying to get three subtle tones. The yarns should be a little bit grippy/fuzzy like Shetland yarn rather than smooth like Merino. Each one should be a single colour rather than self striping or multi-coloured yarn.

geometric colourwork knitting with the chart pattern in the background

for DK yarn – 3.5-4mm needles
for Aran weight – 4.5-5mm needles 
Try and bring both sizes to see which works best for you

notebook, pen and pencil

Happy Crafting!

Programme 2022-2023

Our programme for the year ahead has now been released! Find all the details here

Castlemilk moorit hand dyed yarn

There’s also still (just about) time to catch our exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre – the last day is Saturday 7th May