In 1811 a millowner in Newbury bet a local squire a thousand guineas that his workers could start with fleece at sunrise and have a fitted coat finished by Sunset. He won his bet and the original is in Caughton Court, a local stately home. In 2011, Kennet Valley Guild was prevailed upon to do a reenactment which was pure unadulterated hell. But we did complete it and the local MP wore it at the end of the day.
There was a lot of yarn and fleece left over at the end and someone decided the Guild should make a coat for a ten year old with these leftovers. The idea was to take it into schools. However I ended up with weaving and I laid down conditions. The most important was that the fleece should be spun and plied. The 2011 exercise used singles because it would have taken too long to ply it. And of course that made the weaving murder. We had two looms and between three and five people at the back of each, mending breaks as fast as they could.
So first we got someone ( Jean McVeigh) to work out a new pattern. I believe she made a toile from it and tried it on her grandson who is the right age. I was given the dimensions of fabric needed last February and a spinning team under Sue. Davies and Yvonne Withers and Janet Dunbar was created. They spun lots of yarn and plied it to the size requested. This has all been delivered to me and dyed and wound up and tied on a dis now a warp on my Megado. I am using the leftover yarn from 2011 for the weft as that does not matter being singles.
Hence the Small Newbury Coat. And I have woven 1.5 metres of it.
I am in Ruth's house today. I have been into London today to see a bookbinding exhibition of which more tomorrow when I can unload my photos. I walked back to Waterloo station over Blackfriars and stopped to admire the Thames. Lots of boats. Lots of people. Who needs the Åland Islands when they have London and the Thames?