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Wool Scouring – & Boreray

“19 April  1814 Markets all agree are very flatt. Mill as full of wool as it can hold & men as saucy as the Devil.” [Diary of Joseph Rogerson of Bramley, woollen mill-owner]. NB: If scouring raw fleece for the first time – read this right through before starting. Equipment needed: 1 or more large […]

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Timbertops Lonsdale Spinning Wheel

This past few days I’ve been playing with my “new” spinning wheel; a Timbertops Lonsdale in oak, bought from a fellow Raveller at the weekend. Timbertops are renowed as the Rolls Royces of spinning wheels. That is so true.  They are now made by Woodland Turnery in Wales, who have just gone into production with […]

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Swaving – A Load of Old Pony

I prefer to take my information from the horse’s mouth. Other folk go to the opposite end. And some of the misinformation coming out re. ‘swaving’ is, frankly, a load of old pony. Let’s see what Dalesfolk – who saw it – said ‘swaving’ was.  Then see if you can find any reliable/accurate demo of […]

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“Those infatuated creatures calling themselves Luddites”

“A tribute to the merit of Captain Raynes, of the Stirlingshire militia,  was paid on the 4th … as an acknowledgement of … his indefatigable and unabated zeal in bringing to justice a number of those infatuated creatures calling themselves Luddites.” [Caledonian Mercury, Monday, November 30th, 1812]. In 1812, Yorkshire became the fulcrum of a […]

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Knitting with the Brontes

        In this month’s ‘Yarnwise’, I took a look at the knitting sticks in the collection of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, here in Yorkshire.  And came to some interesting conclusions about the knitting sticks, and the Brontes’ experience of knitting. One conclusion I came to was that at least half of the […]

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“The Murmuring Wheel”

Two weeks ago today, we were privileged to spend the weekend doing living history at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, where William Wordsworth and his family lived from 1799-1808. Wordsworth was a revolutionary; writing about ordinary people going about their everyday lives; finding poetry in the mundane and his environment. He wrote about beggars, leech-gatherers, the disenfranchised, […]

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Stonebreaking, Picking Oakum or… Knitting?

For those of you looking forward to the forthcoming TV drama,  based on Kate Summerscale’s brilliant book, ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’, here’s a little something I stumbled upon. Knitting hasn’t always been a genteel, calming pursuit for nice ladies round the fireside. At one time, it was considered punishment. At York House of Correction: […]

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High-end Spinning Schools

Not usually much of one for princesses – to the point I throw up at first sight of a Disney princess – but this is one who had her own spinning school!  Got to admire a woman with her own spinning school! I’ve been researching much lowlier spinning and knitting schools of the 18thC and […]