Wild Chalk: a celebration of the natural world of the South Downs

The South Downs are home to the Southdown breed of of sheep, the wool from which can be used for hand spinning. So to support the local Shout Downs national park and sheep farmers I joined several other members of my local spinning group, Woolly Umbrella, and took my skills (basic as they are) along to Wild Chalk. This free event, organised by the South Down National Park Rangers, was held in East Brighton park. Our part was to demonstrate spinning wool and encouraged people to have a go. I took along several drop spindles and a sack of washed fleece. Others brought along a spinning wheel, drop spindles and needle felting to share, plus an exhibition with some beautiful examples of naturally dyed, handspun wool. Most people were spinning the local Southdown fibre but mine, to my shame, was Texel cross Southdown.

As you can see children and adults alike really loved to watch, and most of them tried spinning from fleece to some extent or other.

I practised with a newly acquired Turkish spindle and using the Andean Plying technique even produced some reasonable 2ply.

On becoming a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters

I was admitted to this company last month in an ancient ceremony at Goldsmith’s Hall in London. The Worshipful Company is one of the 108 Livery Companies of the City of London which evolved from the medieval trade Guilds which came about through the natural inclination of men in the same trades and occupations to join together for friendship, support and protection.

The website explains the history in full, but this quote explains some of this:

“The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters had its origins in 1589 when William Lee of Calverton in Nottinghamshire is credited with the invention of a machine for knitting mechanically. It was incorporated by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, on 13th June 1657 and was re-incorporated and its privileges extended by Letters Patent of His Majesty King Charles II on 19th August 1663 with the style, “The Master, Wardens, Assistants and Society of the Art or Mystery of Framework Knitters of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Kingdom of England and the Dominion of Wales”. Image

me outside the Goldsmith’s Hall

Waiting in the Goldsmith's Hall
Waiting in the Goldsmith’s Hall

 

See http://www.frameworkknitters.co.uk/ for more info