The Journal for Weavers Spinners and Dyers

Private View - Old Church Studios

Linda More, York and Online Guilds

My workspace is a long-awaited purpose-built room situated in the corner of our garden within the curtilage of our Grade II listed small village church. Acquiring the planning consents ten years ago to convert a redundant church with subsidence into a modern eco-friendly home was a rollercoaster. Hence the eight year wait before we tentatively applied for planning permission to construct an eco-friendly cedar-clad, glass-fronted garden studio.

The requirements were many – an area for dyeing, space for looms, sewing cabinet, desk room and most importantly, from my husband’s point of view, storage for the myriad of textile and fibre items that were slowly dispersing and settling throughout our living spaces.

start to finish
The start of it all (top) to the finished studio — snug in the corner of the garden waiting for Spring 2020 All Photos: Linda More

Looms

I have two 90cm Louet floor looms, a 12-shaft Spring and a lockdown acquired 16-shaft computerised Megado – part of my future-proofing plan, as there will be a day when I can no longer get down on the floor to tie up treadles. Both looms sit on gliders allowing me to pull them in and out for easy access when dressing them. The Spring faces my wonderful opening wall of glass; as as long as it’s not raining or too cold, I simply open up the doors to gain access to the back, or to weave in the fresh air.

 

loom view
Loom with a view – sitting at the Louet Megado

Storage

The rear wall and half the side wall are given over to storage. My sewing cabinet opens to reveal a large fold-out work area with plenty of storage, and fits snugly against the rear wall with an inch to spare. Strong open shelves make up the rest of the storage. I’ve opted for clear plastic boxes in an attempt to consolidate and organise my stuff! However, I still struggle to contain those bits and pieces – odd ends of handspun, the mass of dyed fuchsia silk that tangled when the swift collapsed, half-spun bobbins, plus a collection of spindles that have yet to find their place. Not to mention the innumerable partly wound weaving bobbins that surface in the most unlikely places.

Messy Play

One of my best second-hand finds was the butchers' block which forms part of my dye area. Not only is it a useful mobile work area; removing the solid top reveals a two-hob electric stove – heating and storage sorted in one fell swoop. For small dyeing batches and sampling, I use a tiny slow cooker, found in a charity shop, that sits on top. The sink – another small ad find – is located next to the door so I can spill out onto the decking and garden, especially useful when washing fleeces.

Not all is neat and tidy - the messy corner
the dye area
The dye area with bargain sink, butchers' block and slow cooker
magnetic knife block
A magnetic knife block keeps weaving essentials close to hand
Two hand-dyed, handwoven brushed mohair blankets sitting in the sun

Best Buys

Each of my floor looms has a magnetic knife block attached to the castle. That way I always have scissors, needles, sley hooks and other items to hand. It also acts as a holder for threading patterns and the post-it notes that I use to remind me of where I am in a weave. Complex or long treadling patterns are written out on a note, and I use a pin stuck in it to remind me of where I am if I get interrupted. I’ve also added strip lighting under each castle to aid visibility.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my play room with you – if you are ever passing please come in and share the fun.

About the author: Linda More is an ex-journalist who now spends most of her time investigating the centuries-old traditions of handspinning, dyeing and weaving, creating modern interpretations using luxurious silk, sustainable wool or practical linen. Linda is a member of the York and Online Guilds, and the Journal's Feature Editor for dye.

 All Photos: Linda More www.oldchurchstudios.co.uk

cover

This article appears in edition #276 of the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

The Journal is published on behalf of the Association of Guilds of Spinners Weavers and Dyers. It covers a wide range of textile subjects, including articles on historic textile techniques and cutting edge modern design.

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