Author Archives: julz

About julz

weaver, knitter, photographer, with lots of experience of all kinds of crafts. I sell craft supplies and specialise in spinning, weaving, felting and fibres and yarns - the links to the sites I sell on are below.

Sheep Shearing in the UK

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Following on from my previous post – the video of shearing a shetland sheep in USA – I thought I’d add a couple of my old photos of sheep shearing, taken about 30 years ago!  I can’t remember where I took them – somewhere in South Wales.

 

 

These are scans of the A6 sepia postcards I published of the original photos – which is why they aren’t very sharp.  The sheep were being sheared in a field, and they were penned to make it easier to do the shearing as quickly as possible.

I did a search for shearing in the UK, to get a bit more info on when shearing is done here, and found this useful piece, oddly enough, published under the name of Sheep Shearing in the UK by Indie Farmer.

 

 

These are a couple of colour photos from that site.

And this is the first part of the blog – written in July 2014

The sheep shearing season in the UK (roughly mid May to mid July) is pretty much finished now, so farmers will be pleased that one difficult and time consuming job is over for another year, and the sheep will be happy to have got rid of their thick fleeces in this hot weather.

Shearing requires both skill and a lot of hard, physical work in hot summer conditions.  Some farmers shear their own sheep but many, especially those with large flocks (anything over a few hundred sheep) hire specialist shearing gangs to do the work for them.  Shearing gangs typically have three to eight members, and travel the country going from farm to farm, shearing every day during the season.  It is a hard life but pay can be good, about £2 a sheep and a good shearer can shear 200 sheep per day.  When the UK shearing season is over, the shearing gangs often travel to other countries where the shearing season is at a different time of year, in what is known as ‘the shearing circuit’, travelling from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Falklands, New Zealand, Australia, and pretty much anywhere that you can find plenty of sheep!  It is a very tough, hard working and hard drinking lifestyle, but it’s a good way to see the world, have fun and make some money.

Wool used to be where the main profit was in sheep farming, with meat as a useful sideline.  Many of the great Cathedrals and castles of the middle ages were built using the profits from the wool trade.  The Lord Speaker in the House of Lords still sits on a ceremonial Woolsack to represent the importance of wool to the economy in former times.  Now, however, sheep farmers make their main profit from meat, with wool being a very minor sideline.

It’s always useful to know a bit more about where your wool comes from!  Especially for spinners who are carding and spinning the raw fleeces!

PS. PLUG!

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pair of standard hand carders – 72 pt

I sell hand carders that can deal with raw fleeces and all types of wool fibres – and also are quite useful as brushes for sheep and other animals if you are tidying up your stock for Agricultural Shows.  The current listings can be found if you click on the links below.

Listed on julzcraftstore.com here

USE THE COUPON CODE  customer10%off  at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

Listed on etsy here

Listed on ebay here

Sheep Shearing Video

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Just thought you might like to see how sheep are sheared – for those of you who’ve never seen it!  Shearing is done very fast, and doesn’t hurt the sheep, if it’s done by an expert – and the fleece is rolled up to be processed and, hopefully sold.

This video comes from a farm near Niagara Falls, New York, who actually specialise in Shetland Sheep.  Shetland Sheep are the smallest of the British sheep breeds. They are bred for their wool, which is very soft and fine, a delight for handspinners. Shetland Sheep are very hardy, and easy to care for. They are ideal for families with smallchildren, handspinners and breeders.

The original post can be found HERE.

 

Some ‘British’ Gift Items, and Garden Ornaments

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It’s been lovely weather this last week, and I’m afraid I have been spending all my time in the garden, and haven’t been thinking about posting anything particularly craft based.

And, of course, I watched the Royal Wedding on TV on Saturday!

There are loads of ‘souvenirs’ on sale for the event, and it reminded me that I hadn’t got around to listing some of my new stock on julzcraftstore.com, where I also sell an eclectic mix of gift items.

Some of these are just for fun – and altho’ none of them specifically relate to ‘The Wedding’, I have a few ‘Union Jack’ bits and pieces that fly the ‘British flag’ and are often bought by my international customers.

You can find them listed in the ‘British Category’ of Julz Craft Store – HERE

I also sell a few garden related items, and have recently re-ordered some of these rather lovely small garden ornaments.

Prices range from £12.99 – £17.99 – and you can see the full information HERE

How Industrial Weaving gave us the Computer

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This is a short video produced by the BBC Future Series – worth a look!

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180423-how-industrial-weaving-gave-us-the-computer

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Punched card pattern for a jacquard loom. Artist: Dorothy Burrows

“In the early 19th Century, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a remarkable machine that reinvigorated the fashion industry – and ultimately led to the modern computer.”

 

Recycling Paper – into yarns for weaving!

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I found this post on YOURSTORY – about a woman in India who is making items from paper yarn – and have just copied it here.  Its a great idea!

She’s weaving a sustainable future with yarn made from paper

Teja Lele Desai     posted on 17th April 2018

pic1Neerja Palisetty’s Sutrakaar Creations combines paper with post-consumer waste to promote fair trade, craft empowerment, zero-waste, and ethical fashion.

 

Neerja Palisetty has always been passionate about paper.

“Paper is considered to be very fragile by the common man and I want to change that perception. Once woven, paper has immense potential; it’s a very strong and versatile material,” she says.

“But,” she adds, “Pulp (and paper) is the third largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil and I wanted to help avoid this,” she says.

That’s the reason she started Jaipur-based Sutrakaar Creations, which focuses on eco-textile creations made from paper and natural materials as a step towards a sustainable future.

But perhaps it was destined to be. For Neerja was born into a family of weavers in a small village in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. Ponduru is known for its fine khadi and cotton weaves, and almost every other house had a loom.

Growing up, it was no surprise that she gravitated towards weaving: she wove her first piece of yarn when a teenager. “I was in Class VII or VIII when I first wove jute and cotton into yarn for a school project. I ended up making a small pouch for pencils,” she says.

Neerja says her father, who had graduated as a textile designer from the first batch of NID Ahmedabad, was a huge influence on her life. “Influenced by him, I studied clothing and textiles during my graduate course at MSU Baroda. Later, I pursued a post-graduation course in higher education from Nottingham Trent University. Now, I have an experience of over 17 years working in the fashion industry and education sectors. But I owe all the textile design knowledge I have to my father,” she says.

 

After her education, Neerja did various jobs – she worked as a merchandiser at Tirupur in Tamil Nadu and as a design professor in Coimbatore and later Jaipur.

But Neerja lets on that through it all she remained fascinated by the art and technique of paper weaving. “There are references to paper weaving in Japanese legends. I wanted to emulate these techniques in the Indian context to promote our traditions and create livelihood opportunities for weavers,” she says.

Her own weaving studio was always a dream, even while she presented research papers on sustainable design and sustainable textiles at various international conferences. “I had the weaving studio on my mind from the time I graduated. However, life had different plans and my dreams took a backseat,” Neerja recalls.

But two years back, the experience she had garnered in these fields gave her enough confidence to pursue her dream. And Sutrakaar Creations was born.

It is a studio focused on eco-textile creations made from waste paper, recycled paper, and natural materials.

“Our products are 100 percent handmade and handcrafted, and with minimal use of electrically operated machines,” she says.

“It is also an open space for experimental weaving and I have collaborated with a few international artists and designers to create artworks and installations,” she adds.

At Sutrakaar, her weavers cut waste paper into strips of 2-4mm, twist and hand-spin them over the charkha to make thread-like strings using adhesive. This is used as the weft; the warp is either cotton or Ahimsa silk, both recycled industrial waste.

Palisetty works with weavers, four looms (two big pedal looms and two smaller ones), and women for cutting and trimming, at her studio in Jaipur. “I get more weavers if needed,” she says.

Most raw material is sourced from paper export houses and kabadiwalas.

 

The “80 percent upcycled” waste yarn is fashioned into accessories like pouches and handbags, gifting items such as diary covers and photo frames, and home decor accents such as lampshades and room dividers. Prices range between Rs 850 and Rs 10,000.

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“The idea is to juxtapose crafts with post-consumer waste so that we promote fair trade, craft empowerment, zero-waste and ethical fashion,” Neerja says.

Neerja now takes orders over Facebook and worldartcommunity.com, a peer-to-peer online marketplace. She also displays and sells Sutrakaar products at exhibitions.

Speaking about how Sutrakaar Creations has grown over the past year, she says the growth has not been tremendous, but it has been steady. “I am able to provide employment to housewives and local weavers. I started with one weaver and today I have three weavers and five housewives. People in India and abroad have heard about our products and are keen to understand the process,” she says.

She says the experience has been very positive. “When I explain to people on how we create what we create with an entirely unheard-of raw material, people are keen to understand and learn more.

The recycling and upcycling of paper

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With people – especially millennials – becoming environmentally conscious and keen to help save the earth, interest in environmentally relevant brands is at an all-time high.

“Our brand provides a one-of-a-kind solution; not just our products, our process is also eco-friendly and sustainable,” she says.

In an article on an online portal, she wrote: ”My dream is to educate more people globally to follow a sustainable lifestyle. My husband has now joined me in my work. This is our contribution to saving the earth for future generations.”

Neerja states she and Sutrakaar remain committed to driving change by designing socially and environmentally conscious products that embody vibrant, edgy, and smart sophistication.

“We ensure that we protect traditional techniques by incorporating them in contemporary designs. A few of our products are 90 percent biodegradable. And through our creations I can see we have created a small ripple in this ocean and hope to create a gigantic wave,” she says.

Where did the lanterns go?

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LANT52_001You may remember my original attempts to sell this lantern direct on this blog – see these posts!  My first attempt –   and the result!   Well – it didn’t work!  For a time I did list this one on etsy, and sold a couple of them before someone reported me to the administrators, who took the listings down.  It was a fair cop – smile – because I sell craft supplies in my etsy shop, and whilst they allow some of my gift items to be listed, they are really there to promote people who make craft items – and these are obviously not made by me!

It was another reason for me to create my own site – which by now many of you will know is JULZ CRAFT STORE.  The link is actually to the search results for lantern (it doesn’t work if you put ‘lanterns’ in the search box, because I didn’t use that word as a tag), and if you go there, you will find all the details you need, including the prices.  They range from £19.99 to £44.99.

These are the one’s I’ve listed, and I hope you might like to have a look and maybe even buy one!  They can be used indoors and outdoors!

 

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