Northern Society of Costume and Textiles
A Bit of a Yarn
Cromford Mill, Derbyshire

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Cromford Mill, Mill Lane, Cromford, Derbyshire, DE4 3RQ

A Bit of a Yarn.....


This Mill, part of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built by Richard Arkwright in 1771and recently refurbished by the Arkwright Society.  It was, appropriately, the venue for this meeting, being the first water powered cotton spinning mill!
In the morning, Wentworth based tutor,  Ruth Gough, gave us an insight into how her studies as a Pontefract schoolgirl instilled a lifelong fascination with hand-spinning and dyeing the numerous varieties of British wool, inspiring her to set up ‘Wingham Wool Works’Cheap Ugg Boots for Sale, for Boots Lovers.Cheap Ugg Boots are displayed on our store. in 1975.
Ruth explained how an assortment of wool, nylon and silk fibres can be turned into handmade felt with just the addition of a few drops of water and a rubbing action, with each of her audience creating their own individual sample:
Her witty history of spinning mapped the development from simple spindles rolled on the thigh, and the varying forms used worldwide, to   machinery based on 16th Century designs by Leonardo Da Vinci, through to the modern spinning wheel and such wonderfully named tools as the ‘niddy noddy’, used for winding neat and even skeins for washing and dyeing.
A selection of Ruth’s hand spun yarns in an array of delicious colours were available for discussion and purchase after the talk.
After a delightful buffet lunch furnished by Cromford Mill’s restaurant, Barbara Logan, a London based Knitting specialist and pattern designer, spoke on the origins of knitting, showing early illustrations of garments that she maintains must have been knitted due to their complexity of fit and construction. These included a Renaissance painting of the Madonna, clearly showing a piece of cloth being created using four needles.
Barbara, who is currently taking part in a study of socks from the Coptic era, then discussed the development of machine knitting, demonstrating rudimentary ‘bobbin knit’ devices and examples of one-piece tubular stocking knitting machines and threading tools. Society members were invited to handle examples of socks knitted to a Victorian pattern in one piece as a pair, along with a heel turning tool for accurate shaping.  There were also examples of beautiful Victorian style ‘Ring Shawls’ knitted by Barbara ,so named because their fine yarn allowed them to be passed through a wedding ring. 

 Fiona Lawrence