Who We Are
We are a small family business, consisting of a weaver, spinner and a wood turner, which travels around the country demonstrating weaving, spinning, felting, knitting and crocheting, while also selling our handwoven products, and craft supplies.
We run an unofficial spinning and weaving help centre at shows, offering information on purchasing and maintenance, advice for beginners and intermediate learners and short lessons during the day with longer one-to-one sessions in the evenings (if the showground is open at that time).
I am a weaver, using a table loom when demonstrating, and a countermarche loom when at home, with both using man power and no mechanical assistance, so everything is totally hand made. I make scarves, snoods, cushions, blankets, rugs, bags and purses from upcycled wool, which I usually sell at markets and shows.
Many visitors have never seen a loom, let alone a working one, and we give history lessons of looms through the ages, and how the ones they can see transformed to the mechanised Victorian models that many people learned about at school. They can see the different patterns that a simple 4 shaft loom can create, with variations in colour, heddle configuration and the changes made by the shaft handles.
We give lessons on a small 4 shaft loom, which is small enough for children to use, and can create complex patterns to be enjoyed by any age. We offer advice for learners, such as how to keep your tension even throughout your project, colour help and information on selvages. We also give information on buying looms. We tend not to sell looms ourselves, as they are usually large and we do not have the space to store them, so we give information on where to look for looms online, companies that sell spare parts, books to use and how to maintain or fix any older looms.
We also make peg looms, weaving sticks and inkle looms which show weaving on a much smaller and simpler scale. We can offer workshops for all ages, though they are especially good for children, with peg looms to make cushions, scarves and rugs.
We refurbish spinning wheels with the aim to provide fully working wheels to learners. When you decide to learn to spin, you need a wheel to learn on. Unfortunately, because of your lack of knowledge, you don't know what to look for in a wheel, or how to know that it is working. We hope to take away that uncertainty for learners by giving them a working wheel, all of the accessories that are necessary for spinning, as well as a lesson to get them on their way.
At shows we offer short lessons to anyone who is interested, always free, and give lessons on the history of spinning. Again, many visitors have never seen a spinning wheel and don't know how cloth is made. By having spinning wheels of all shapes and sizes, we can explain the whole story from sheep to clothes.
We also give any help and advice to learners about tension, fleece types and how to buy them, how to find your local Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild. We also offer advice on skirting a fleece, washing, drying techniques and problem solving with your gages of wool.
We also sell carded wool batts for spinners to use. These are either common wool which is dyed, either with natural of synthetic dyes, or natural rare breed fleece. We try to support rare breeds as much as possible, giving information sheets about the ones we have fleece available from.
We give workshops and information on dry and wet felting. We give lessons and demonstrations in making wet felt flowers, these are usually for adult learners. By the end of the session, the visitor will have made their own felted flower out of 100% wool that we have dyed. We also do needle felting (or dry felting) lessons where visitors can make their own small picture, made entirely from wool.
We give information and advice on wool types, colour and technique to anyone learning how to do this for themselves.
We also sell all of the supplies needed to take away with you to create your own designs in wet or dry felting, including needles, sponges, and carded wool in a variety of colours and from various breeds of sheep.
Knitting & Crocheting
We make socks, gloves, scarves and hats on a 1920s cast-iron vintage knitting machine which is entirely man powered. We give demonstrations on setting it up, knitting with it and the history of knitting machines.
We also sell supplies for hand knitters including straight needles, circular needles for hats, Fairisle jumpers and seamless garments, sock needles and needle gauges. All of our needles are made from bamboo, which not only comes from a sustainable source, but is also excellent for knitters who suffer from stiff wrists or arthritis.
We sell crochet hooks in complete sets or singly, with thin handles for saving space, or larger handles for those with stiff wrists.
We offer advice on knitting with handspun yarns, which can offer further challenges, including understanding their gauge, with wraps per inch (wpi) and skeining with a niddy noddy. We also give knit and natter evenings when we are at a showground that allows late entry, offering an impromptu community of wool lovers.
The Woolly Wyvern
www.fb.co.uk/woollywyvern (formerly www.fb.com/dragonsbeaconjewellery )