Friday, 20 January 2017

The Lament of the Makars

I have completed the Double Weave version of the Makars' Lament. Pleased to have finished it but it is not good enough to submit to the Society of Bookbinders, too many  small mistakes. And you cannot correct them in this version .

The two fabrics are woven of space dyed Tencel. The scheme and idea all worked but you cannot go back. So I shall try a cover for Duke Bluebeard's Castle. I have an idea but must try it out on Photoshop first. Now to put in some effort on the draft for Complex Weavers.

I go for walks in the woods around here and take my camera. Yesterday I managed to get a decent photo of the woods themselves.

Monday, 16 January 2017

More Endpaper Practise

Today I have been practising with screen prints. Overprinting in multiple colours and generally experimenting.

I would be happy to use the first two as endpapers, not sure about the last two.

I have also set about the double weave book. Years ago (I think 7 or 8) I thought that, if I wove a two faced fabric which was 6 inches wide and changed over every 6 inches, I could insert pieces of board to stiffen the pockets up, print on them and have a concertina book. I made sample of 4 pages first and that worked fine but the method broke down when the producer of the transfer paper went broke. Also I did not like the design. So it all got shoved in a cupboard. Recently I have sorted out all the problems and finished the textile (woven of Tencel), including cutting board to size, inserting it and sewing up the pocket and am now ready for the transfer. I have practised and it all seems okay. Lots of layout in Photoshop. Tomorrow I start on the ironing.

The other (very odd) thing I have been doing is attending an online University course on ancient Japanese bookbinding. Very salutary. The room echoes to cries of  'I did not know THAT' . The data rate is high. And it is free. It lasts three weeks and you get to through to

Sunday, 8 January 2017


I think it was Kipling who said 'In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.' I feel a bit like that. I gave a half day course on concertina books yesterday and felt I was only a step in front of the students. In addition I am giving a day's course to bookbinders, making your own endpapers on which I spent the whole of today in preparation.

Originally the course was on screenprinting endpapers but I reckon there is about two hours in the that. So we will be doing wood block printing and transfer dyesas well as stencilling/screenprinting/thermofaxing on both paper and fabric. To which end I have spent today producing lots of samples for the class. I am very pleased with a lot of them but need to write up notes so I take the right things to the class.

I did take some photos of sheets I would be happy to use myself. The criterion is can I bear to give the sheet away?
 Here are a few samples.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Being ill - well having a nasty cold

i have had a heavy cold for ten days. It got so heavy that I spent two days in bed feeling very sorry for myself. Not flu, I should add so not really ill, just miserable. Anyway, I have prepared for the mini course next Saturday, cut all the paper to size, made new samples and put everything needed in a plastic crate. I have progressed with the Megado and even started on making a bomber jacket in blue and brown lightweight tweed.

What else? Well I have signed up for an online class on the history of Japanese bookbinding methods. That is not what it is called but that is why I have joined. It starts next Monday and I cannot wait to see what it is about. I will report.

Oh and I have organised the travel for a photography course I am attending in April. I came across the photographer at the West Dean summer school last year where everyone had to attend a different class for half a day. I chose photography although I was not sure about her but I was very wrong. She was such a good teacher that I asked if she ran courses and ended up booking onto this Greek course. Did I say it was on a Greek island? Anyway I have to organise my own travel I have never been to Greece and have to change at Athens. So I will stay there for two nights and spend time seeing Athens. I had it all organised by a local travel firm.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Old Year, New Year

At the end of every month, I do the accounts of which there seem to be a lot since I do the joint accounts as well. Apart from a mysterious enormous amount out to iTunes, everything was okay. On investigation, the iTunes turned out to be a subscription to the Economist on iPad. I like the Economist and I knew it was pricey when I organised it but had forgotten. However the point of this blog is that I also update an Excel file where I list all projects and progress on same. Since we are about to move into 2017, I reviewed the year and set up a new file for 2017. I have accomplished a startling amount in 2016 but not under the heading of weaving. There has been a lot of dyeing and even bookbinding. I seem to have repaired books for lots of people and am left with only four books in the cupboard waiting for attention, all of them stinkers. Two are text blocks I bought from the Old Stile Press which goes in for commissioning illustrations for its books. The texts are poems by John Donne and the libretto of Duke Blue Beard's Castle. I was surprised to realise that I know the libretto off by heart. But never mind that, what am I going to do for the cover? I had ideas for a Lino cut but I am worried that anything I do will not be up to the standard of the text illustrations. Perhaps fancy lettering is the answer. I need to go for a long drive. That is when I have my best ideas.

I have started on a draft for Complex Weaving and boy, is it difficult! I think I will get there in the end. I have had an idea or two on how to make sure I get it right. The Megado fabric is looking more dark red than dark brown now and is quite pleasing. I am having a number of broken threads. Mostly the thread just pulls apart. I am gradually replacing the edge threads with dark grey cottolin and have gone on to using a stretcher rather than weights hanging off the edges which are difficult to use on a Megado

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Concertina Books

Christmas has come and gone leaving plastic bags full of shiny paper and bits of tinsel. I have tinkered with the Complex Weaving draft, not finished yet. It is complicated and I have trouble getting my mind round it. No other textile work has been done.
I am giving a short course on concertina books in ten days, doing three different styles. So I have practised, found previous examples and cut the paper to size for seven people. It looks okay although I wonder if two and a half hours is enough. Oh I will know the answer soon.

One example - a Turkish map fold opened out.
Tomorrow we go into London to see some exhibitions in the British Museum.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Pre Christmas

I have been ill - tummy bug or food poisoning, we suspect the latter. The result is that very little has been done.

One thing I have done is to sign up for the Complex Weavers book which they are issuing as a celebration of their 40th birthday in 2017. There are big problems with the way they set it up which only a twisted mind like mine would see.  The draft has to be based on a 8 shaft starting point and there are a number of options. At this time all that has to be done is to say you are going to submit something but you do have to say what kind of draft you are submitting. The draft clearly will not exist for a lot of people (e.g. me) and I want it to be something I am interested in and anyway suppose I create a draft and it looks awful when woven? Well I took a deep breadth and put in something that I had a go at once before and had a terrible time setting up the draft and eventually abandoned.  But you have to specify what yarn and what sett. I think they should get rid of all this detail. I suppose it is to make the editors' job easier since otherwise they will not know until the final deadline (June 1st 2017) what they are getting. Photos only are required. And another thing!!!! In the details before you start on filling up the form, they seemed to me to be saying only yardage but in the 12 page form(!!!!) there is a long list of items you can submit, jackets, bags, towels etc and yardage.

Having said all that, I have started on my draft. It is on 16 shafts and I am not telling you what 8 shaft draft I have used as a base. I have the threading done and can see it is correct but the tie-up is only half done. Indeed I have not yet decided exactly what to do.

So not entirely a wasted week. I am off this afternoon to Leamington Spa for Christmas. May you all have a Happy Christmas.


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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.