I was the first customer there, waiting for the Mill to open at 10:30 prompt, and dodged the showers for my tour which started in the Gift Shop with a 5 minute video. This was very comprehensive and showed the intricate and time consuming labour involved in the weaving process.
The grounds and buildings are immaculate - a real credit to the folk who run the Mill. I can imagine on a fine day it would be lovely to sit in the gardens and watch the ducks with the River Test rushing by.
Some interior shots showing exhibits, the winding machines, the warping frame and miscellaneous weaving items.
The size of these waists were ridiculous, I could have got both hands around them they were so small. The written commentary told of all sorts of terrible diseases and death that women suffered from wearing such tight corsetry. Internal bodily organs were crushed and moved into totally the wrong places!
One of the two full time weavers at work at the loom.
I was especially interested to learn how silk moire is made - the sort with the lovely watermark in the weave. This happens when a silk warp and a cotton weft are crushed under pressure from heavy rollers, hence the lovely marks.
Some of the silk was very fine, and in the gift shop I bought a small sample pack, some of which is destined for my Mum's dolls house - she's just finishing a dress shop which is her latest project, so I'm sure it will make a fine garment.
I could have run amock amongsts the gorgeous colours of reeled silk that were dotted around the place. This cabinet full for instance ....... I'm sure they wouldn't have noticed me heaving it into the back of my car.
My next port of call was the small town of Alton. I'd read in the latest issue of Simply Knitting that they had a good wool shop - Alton Knitting & Woolcraft.
The lady had just started to relocate from 17 High Street to the Alton Sewing Centre next door at 15a. Now there are sewing machines, dress fabrics, haberdashery and yarn all under the same roof. A real haven for creativity.
I made off with a small haul of bargain odd balls of Rowan and some bag handles.
It was on the way out of town that I spotted a road sign...... "Jane Austen's House"