Thursday, 8 December 2016

More Bookbinding

I finished off the slipcase for Alice - not perfect but it will pass. So I decided to do another one immediately and took the next one from my project list, which was two volumes of Jules Verne's '20,000 Leagues under the Sea'. I bought this as two textblocks from  Volcano ART, USA and bound them some years ago. I have now put a slipcase round them.

Jules Verne on the left, Alice on the right.  The second one is much better. Outside folds and finishing very much better. I need to find another to do pronto.

I spent some time correcting and dealing with my EXCEL spreadsheet for projects. I was surprised to see how small the list is. This means I have been steadily completing projects. The only list not seriously dented is the one headed Sewing. The warp tying is progressing. It is a very uncomfortablr position for any length of time and I can only do an hour at a time. I am tying on a warp 5 metres long. I wish now I had done 20 metres. I intend to tie on a third warp when this one is completed and that will be lots of  metres. I need to turn the stash out before I can do that.

Monday, 5 December 2016


I have been finishing off bookbinding projects and starting out on new ones. I finished the album made last Sunday. I have put together the box for Alice and it looks okay but needs covering in bookcloth - which has just this minute arrived from Hewitts of Edinburgh. I want to bind and album for my grandson before Christmas and, of course, discovered that I really needed to paper back some fabric. This was sorted out yesterday. Eights pieces dried over night and I took them off this morning
The fabric for Alex's album has owls on it.

I did eight pieces. The hardboard had been used before and, while it can  be used twice, it was ready for paper removal. That takes lots of water and a scrubbing. Now eight clean boards are drying and I feel virtuous,

I have managed to do more tying on of the merino warp. I would like to do a spot of weaving.  Maybe next week.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Definition of a smidgeon

I spent today in Malvern with my bookbinding guru, being taught how to make a box to put my new copy of Alice in Wonderland in. And making a mess of it. The trouble was eventually diagnosed. I was told the size of the back and front was the length of the book plus four thicknesses of board plus four thicknesses of bookcloth plus a smidgeon. Being an engineer, I defined a smidgeon as about 0.1 mm. Investigation when the book did not fit into the box deduced that the tutor defined a smidgeon as 1 to 2 mm. So useless and the box has turned into a slipcase. I think I will make a box this weekend to make sure I get it right.

Yesterday we spent the day in London, visiting two exhibitions. The Caravaggio one at the NationalGallery and the Opus Anglicanum one at the Vnd A. Opus Anglicanum is English mediaeval embroidery which was highly thought of between 1200 and 1500. The.  V and A has a huge collection of these, copes and mitres and other bits of church garments.  Stunning.

The Caravaggio was pretty good too.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Project or Two Completed.

I have finished off two scarves for Rosie Price in green and beige. I am definitely off weaving twill.

They are very soft. I have no idea what the yarn is.
The other project I completed is binding three address books in text block form.

They have nice matching endpapers. The outer two are commercial fabrics while the centre one is cotton space dyed with Procion MX by my sister.

I now start on a round of hectic travel and  courses. Saturday is a Weaving Study Day, Sunday is making an album with the bookbinders, Monday is a trip to see two London exhibitions. Tuesday is another bookbinding course, only this one is to make a box to house my special copy of Alice. This all seems to involve a lot of driving and I will spend Tuesday night in Leamington Spa catching up with gossip in my daughter's family.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Designer Bookbinder Exhibition

Monday was very odd. The exhibition was odd, very cold, and lots of lovely books. Some are shown below. As far as the cold was concerned, I had taken a thermos of tea. Good for survival.

I took the photos but the books are (top to bottom) by Alice Adams, Theresa Wedemeyer and Kaori Maki. All were technically outstanding and sometimes very unusual.

I spent some time designing a cover for a text I have of the libretto of Duke Bluebeard's Castle with illustrations. I have had the book for 16 months without having any idea of how to bind it but I have now. Definitely a few lino cuts will have to be created. But first I need to bind some textblocks as Christmas presents.

When I got to Paddington to catch a train home, I found mayhem. There had been serious flooding in the West Country and, apart from delays, some trains were stranded in the flood waters. So, when I reached the station, No train was going beyond Swindon and there were one or two going as far as Swindon. At this point, the powers that be starting bringing in more coaches and making 3 coach trains into eight coach trains (I fear they had small engines attached. I learnt a new phrase 'full to standing'. It means even pushing hard, they could not get more people in the train. This announcement was always followed by 'the train has been closed'. I wonder how they did that.  I waited for 90 minutes for a train I could get. If the train was going to Swindon by way of Reading (my goal), forget it. They were not letting anyone on except those with tickets to Swindon. And the train was extra long with an under powered engine. 

Actually the railway staff have to be congratulated. Noone snapped or lost their temper dealing a mob of hysterical customers who could not see why they could not go home. Certainly someone had full-scale hysterics by my train.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Chinese Thread Box

I spent the weekend being taught to make a Chinese Thread Book by Lori Sauer. Great Fun despite the worries about flooded roads in Wiltshire

The bits decorated with roses are the twist boxes. Intensive work. All the heavy paper has to be cut accurately and then decorated.

Today I am off to London for the day to steward a book exhibition. Should get some good photos from the day.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Processing photos

It took a long time to sort out the photos of Japan. There were more than 400. The first thing to do was to unload them from the camera to the desktop and put them in date folders, one for each day. Then go through everything and weed out those out of focus, duplicates, and mispositioned. That operation got rid of a hundred. Later I will go through all that remain and check for errors. I will get down to about 150 in the end. Then pick the 30 best and put them in a separate folder. This is for showing to family and friends. I reckon people get bored after 30 photos.

Lots of tidying up has been done and I have warped up Rosie Price's Regent Street project. It needs checking for errors and then I  can start weaving. That ought to be today.

I have been looking at the two pieces of silk I bought in Kyoto. I am aiming to reproduce a version of those which I reckon feasible. The first one will need a spaced dyed warp.

The second piece needs shaded dyeing and I am not sure I can get this good enough..

I have also turned photos of shutters into a black and white drawing. This is because the photos were taken through a bus windows and bits of the view were obscured.
I have created a simple draft for the shutters but it wants all 32 shafts not the eight I have used.


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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.