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One of the wonderful things about guilds is the opportunity they offer for learning.  Kennet Valley Guild hold a biennial residential weekend workshop for both their own guild members and other people who wish to come (obviously subject to numbers) on 19 – 21st October 2012.

This year, the workshop is being held in Wokefield Park near Reading.  There are four tutors: Alison Ellen – knitting, me – weaving, Alison Daykin – spinning and Anna Yevtukh – bookbinding.  I am going to be teaching weaving for texture, using 4 and 8 shaft looms and exploring woven shibori, overshot and stitched double cloth to create textural fabrics in many different ways, using threading drafts that will be familiar to most weavers.

These workshops are something I love to do.  Not only do you get to meet enthusiastic weavers, but you get to spend time exchanging stories, examing samples, sharing information and contacts, and generally having an exhilarating fibery time!  Honing my skills to the 4 and 8 shaft looms is something that I also love.  It’s comparatively easy to experiment on multi-shafts and get carried away with fancy patterns.  It’s another thing to distill the information from those multi-shaft samples into something that works well on 4 and 8 shafts.  In developing the workshop, I have been having a huge amount of fun and learning loads myself.

Another lovely thing is catching up with the other tutors.  I’ve known Alison Ellen several years, mostly meeting up at various shows such as the Landmark Textiles Fair.  Her work is inspirational and she has written at least one book on handknitting.  Her cardigans and hats are beautiful!  Alison Daykin is a spinner and weaver, and lives not far from me in Derbyshire.  She co-wrote a spinning book, ‘Creative Spinning’ with Jane Deane and will be teaching techniques from that book.  The third tutor is someone I have never previously met but am really looking forward to meeting.  Anna Yevtukh is teaching a subject that several people of my acquaintance are really into.  Bookbinding is a subject that is gaining in popularity as people are wanting more and more contact with physical hand-made objects, and what could be more personal than a book bound by hand?

The workshop co-ordinator is Lorna Goldsmith (  As I mentioned before, these courses are open to non-Kennet Valley members, if there are spaces remaining, and Lorna is the contact if you want to come and join us.  It promises to be an exciting, and lively, weekend!