Sunday, 16 December 2012

Old Year - New Year

Nearly Christmas, nearly 2013. And it's been another packed year - things going amazingly right, life throwing unexpected twists and challenges (as always!), that summer that never quite made it to a summer. And not to mention all the national events.....

We've had some great shows this year and met some very lovely customers - it's all been so encouraging, thankyou all.

We were runners up in the Organic Textile Awards back in the spring with our Wensleydale knitwear, and  at the beginning of this month we were very surprised to be given the National Trust Award for 'Best Maker from Wales' at Made by Hand, Newport. We have also gained Cambrian Mountains branding for the Wensleydale knitwear - more about this in a separate post, along with a woolly tale about the sheep and their shepherdess at Ystrad, Brechfa. The photos on our website were taken on the farm, so many thanks are due to Juliet for that, and to Ginevra for modelling. (Ginevra owns the most beautiful and fun wool shop in Abergavenny - The Wool Croft, so she deserves a bit of a plug too!)  Having some pieces in the October fashion shoots in Country Living magazine kept us very busy through the autumn, especially with Tailcoats, one of which was depicted in the magazine on location at Gifford's Circus. Was a great picture!

Maintaining our position of 'designer/makers' has definately been a challenge but one that we are determined to meet as best we can; the lovely Camille has stepped in at times of need to help with sewing, and I hope to have found someone to do a bit of knitting, but bridging the space between 'craft' and manufacture, couture and something a little more affordable is where we're at. Working on such a very small scale has serious limitations at times, not least when it comes to cost of materials, but we are finding more and more that the personal approach and the connection between suppliers/makers/end customer is important. And this is what we aim to build on as we go into another year.

The spring should see our knit studio up and running in Mydroilyn, Ceredigion, and this will have a little 'showroom' for our work. We'll also be developing workshops here for knit and pattern cutting. If you'd like to be kept in touch please fill in the mailing list form on the  web site . (you may have to scroll down a little to see it) The studio is the former stable and little milking parlour at the side of the miller's house. Across the yard is the old watermill itself and the original, traditional single roomed building, typical of Welsh cottages of the area. We hope to start some work on these buildings next year too.

In the meantime - we wish everyone lots of love and happy times for Christmas and the New Year: hope to see you at one of our events in 2013!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

And here's Autumn!

Can't believe it's September already! I guess it's because we've all been waiting for summer to arrive that the year has flown by - or maybe it's because we have so much happening!
July and August are usually our quiet time - after all, not many people are interested in wool in the summer. But then, maybe the lack of summer has been in our favour. Today though - in fact much of the past week - has been glorious! That sort of weather that has warmth in the sun but a refreshing cool edge to the air. The sedums in my garden have been absolutely smothered by our bees and the most butterflies I've seen all summer. Tomorrow is honey extracting day from our two hives - watch this space! In the meantime:

You can now find Llynfi hats and mitts and skinny hand dyed scarves in the shop at The National Woollen Museum of Wales at Drefach Felindre ( ). Well worth a visit if you're over in that part of the country.

More of our collection is available to see and try and order at The Black Sheep shop in Tregaron, Ceredigion. Tregaron is a tiny town at the foot of the Cambrian Mountains and has a long history of textile production; it once was a centre of stocking knitting and several local mills produced woollen cloth and blankets from Cambrian wool. There is also an excellent pub just round the corner from the shop.....

15th - 16th September sees as at Hay Fayre at The Globe in Hay on Wye, then at the end of the month it's all stops out for Llandovery Sheep Festival. We'll be sharing the space with our friends at Ystrad Farm and you'll also be able to find out about our joint Organic Welsh Wool Cloth project.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Jubilee Weekend

Wonderwool was wonderful; lots of people came despite the very cold weather - never been that cold at Wonderwool before and we've been going since it started. We had a lovely response to all our work and to the Organic Welsh Wool Fabric project that had just kicked off in conjunction with Ystrad Farm. More about this in a seperate post. For now, here's what we have planned for the long Bank Holiday weekend:

2nd & 3rd June you can find us at BWA Design, playing shop in the front room. It's in Castle Lane in Hay on Wye and that's the first weekend of Hay Festival. Castle Lane is just off the market place and there'll be signs out. At the SAME time:

We'll be opening up our little studio in Talgarth - 8 miles or so out of Hay, towards Brecon. We'll be taking it in turns at shop and studio. On the Saturday and Monday, Emily will be in the studio doing some screen printing, sewing, new design work, and on the Sunday and Tuesday I'll be playing on my knitting machines (never get enough time just to play around with ideas so Open Studio is ideal!)

There's a poster here: or email us: for more details.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Come and See Us!

This coming weekend - 28h/29th April - it's Wonderwool Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells. We'll be sharing a stand as usual with Ystrad Farm and this year it's no. F2, titled 'Organic Textiles Wales'. We'll have our wool knitwear and flannel clothing with some new designs, and Ystrad will have beautiful Wensleydale curls and yarns, and also 'Best Welsh' - greys and cream yarns and carded fleece from Hill Radnor crosses.
Also - there'll be information about a new joint project: Welsh Organic Wool Fabric.

Looking ahead, at the start of June for the long Bank Holiday, we'll be working flat out with Open Studio and a Pop-Up Shop. The Open Studio will be part of the Crickhowell Art Trail. We'll be working on our dressmaking and knitting machines on alternate days, and doing a bit of screen printing with our natural dyes.
At the same time, we'll be opening up 'shop' in Hay on Wye in the front room of WBA Design, The Byway,  Castle Lane in Hay. It's also the first weekend of Hay Festival, which is celebrating 25 years this year. (I remember when it hadn't long started, and was held in the school tenuous connection: being one of the Brecon Cathedral ringers for Peter Florence's wedding)

Even further ahead: there'll be Llandovery Sheep Festival, The Globe's Hay Fayre, Cardiff Fashion Week (!), Made by Hand at Tredegar House, Pop Up at Talgarth Mill.....a busy autumn. More about that lot nearer the time.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Workshop Update

 Last Saturday we held our first 'Llynfi' workshop at Talgarth Mill. Up in the Granary space, under the eaves, it's a great little room and just right for half a dozen people to work in.  Emily had been taken ill at the start of January so it was touch and go whether this day would happen; the posters didn't get put up, and extra promotion didn't happen, but four 'students' made it viable. And it turned out to be such a lovely day after the start to the year! Two sets of friends made for a great atmosphere. Measurements were taken and plotted, and points joined up on sheets of paper to make a simple sweater shape; we looked at design ideas and calculated stitches and rows.

 I hadn't lead a 'class' for quite a few years and forgotten just how inspiring it can be, teaching others. We're looking forward to making some more days: the postponed skirt pattern cutting day will now happen at the end of March, and we'll run another basic knit design day probably in May. Colour and texture is another subject and this may take the form of a 'play day' for grown-ups! Let us know at if you would like to be kept updated with workshops.