The Softbench Project

The Soft Bench project was devised by the artist Trevor Pitt.

Janet got involved with this project in September 2009, when she volunteered the Guild of Long Draw Spinners to spin 5 Hebridian conservation sheep fleeces to cover a bench.

The hebridian sheep are owned by a local grazing manager who works for the local wildlife trust. These sheep spend their days managing species rich grasslands in Northamptonshire.

The Guild collectively spun most of the fleece during the October, November, December and January meetings - and Janet did quite a lot of spinning at home during November and December too!

We spun directly from the fleece on the first spinning day but this was a bit tricky so we had a drum carding workshop and drum carded a lot of fleece in the next meeting. We also decided to let some of the ‘vegetation’ through the process - allow some grasses and seeds to be incorporated into the spun wool to symbolise the nature conservation grasslands in which the sheep grazed.

Abi Jackson has co-ordinated the project and organised a group of knitters. Some of the photos show the launch meeting 17th October at the Fish Market in Northampton where the knitting of the bench began.

The idea now is to commission ten new soft benches to use for a mobile Knitting Salon. The salon could be hosted by various organisations and events. The benches would be inviting knitters to come along and sit, knit and chat.

More up dates to to follow…..