Friday, 23 June 2017

Driving round Britain

Yesterday I drove to Leamington Spa by way of Worcester which is far from direct but my accountant works in Worcester and I had an appointment with him. He said several things of interest and I ended up at Anne's house in time for her to give me last minute instructions. Then they were off to Glastonbury while I prepared to drive Alex to a party.  But the postcode was wrong and we ended up in the countryside with nothing visible but fields and cows. So we were both miffed and went home.

Today I drove back to Malvern to see people and fight with banks. All of the battles were won -- by me. Then I drove to Castlemorton Common where I inspected the black poplars. These are centuries old and were pollarded for many of those centuries. Now they have thickened trunks which have rotting bits, in other words, very interesting. But a number have died. I was delighted to see that someone has planted twelve small black poplar trees. They are now about ten foot high. Whereas old ones are 40 to 50 foot high. I took a large number of photos.

  




This evening taxi drive was okay in that I got Alex to his swimming class and home again without incident.

I have been thinking. I am keen to do some Lino cuts and have some good ideas for two or three colour prints. The truth is that I have gone off weaving. It is a lot of effort to warp up the Megado. For what? In 2006, I suddenly went off antenna design. No new problems. I had done everything before. Boring. So I was not too bothered when I retired two years later. I suspect the same is happening with weaving. I know what I create a draft for is going to work, so why bother. I can see trouble ahead here!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Freya Jones

Today I drove over to Wendover (in the Chilterns east of here). I will pass over the drive which was plagued by closed roads and single track roads. The objective was to join a friend and her daughter and go round some of Buckinghamshire Open Studios. Well I am jealous. How can they manage a wonderful show when West Berkshire cannot? There was a bookbinder (mostly Japanese style but a few Coptic style), several jewellers, glassblowers, metal workers, textile people (yes really). And some painters, printers, makers of textile pictures. About 10 in an old poultry barn!! and a lot were in a church but some were in individual studios. Great stuff. I bought cards and Christmas presents.

The biggest find was Freya Jones who had a shop, full of spinning and weaving materials and tools. For examples, Toika raddles in various sizes, Venne cotton, Maurice Brussard bamboo, both for weaving. I have never seen Brussard in Europe before. He is Canadian - and good. Colours lovely. I was very tempted. And lots of spun and unspun materials.

Top, a wall of boxes. Lower, space dyed by Freya herself. She also weaves on an Ashford rigid heddle. Scarves mostly. She has a good colour sense and goes in for weaving with multi-coloured knobbly yarn.

Details are Unit 1, Layby Farm, Old Risborough Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 5XJ.
website www.freyajones.com

I resisted the temptation to buy some of the bamboo but the others bought what I thought were Christmas presents but back in Wendover, this turned out to be them buying for themselves. And there was I feeling virtuous!

One good thing about visiting that sort of exhibition is that my mind is buzzing with ideas. What if I did that? Or maybe it would be better in red and grey? Or - - - -

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Dress making

Life has been very exciting over the past few days. I went to the Social gathering at Moulsford on Thursday and managed to wind a warp of light mauve 30/2 silk, five metres long. I have had a three shaft warp on the Meyer and decided to resley it from 36 epic to 24 epi. I wove one scarve with the altered warp and intend to tie on the silk warp. The use of a fine silk warp with a much thicker weft, will produce a fabric whose colour is dominated by the weft and I have some very suitable wool. The objective is to provide scarves for the Guild exhibition in September this year. The organisers want a rainbow wall of scarves. I have enough of a fine Swedish wool which has been spaced dyed.see photo.
Bobbins of space dyed wool. All bobbins are numbered and have to be used in reverse order.
 I have already made one such scarve with some of the same wool yarn but a different colour way. Black/charcoal/white/red but actually there was very little red. I do not know what I am going to do with this. It is very drab. The Moulsford meeting managed to provide good company and lots of gossip, harmless of course.

Anyway I intend to take the Meyer loom  and my warp to Leamington Spa next week when I look after Alex and the house while Anne and Derek go to Glastonbury. I ask you, at their age!! My main function is as taxi driver!

But back to now. I set off for Malvern on Friday morning for a round of appointments and visits. But ending up turning round and getting back home by 10 o'clock. I had been sick all the way. Collapsed into bed with a very high temperature and left poor Dorothy to ring everyone up and cancel everything. So now I am trying to reinstate everything.

But I made good use of the extra two days I suddenly had free. So I took to dressmaking. A top out of Dorothy 's printed cotton and a shirt out of a pile of printed batik fabric bought at Tampa Bay Convergence which was 2008! I have been doing gardening before 10 o'clock because it is too hot later. The garden looks and better.

New top. Looks a bit unironed after being worn for two hot days.

Bramble flowers are very pretty.




Monday, 12 June 2017

More Tidying up

I suspect this blog is going to ramble a bit. It cannot be interesting for anyone to read a list of completed jobs! So what I want to talk about is photography. This is changing from something I do to record completed textiles into something closer to an obsession. The countryside I drive through or train through, I see it in terms of potential photographs. Crop the right hand side? A bit more sky? A lot more sky? No sky? And the White Balance? Buildings in the city? The same.

I have now done enough courses that taking the photo is a dawdle but composition is where I fail. Although I have suddenly realised that my very best photos are of wildlife! In one article I read today, the author said that once you knew your camera backwards, you would slowly come to realise what topics you liked best. Basically my likes are trees and markets with lots of people. All this photographing foreign parts is actually rather boring when I look at them back at home. And I know it is composition I am bad at. Another thing I have learnt from my many online courses is that the answer is not to buy another, even more expensive, lens but to keep at it with what you have got already. Although I admit to buying a few, cheap, items. A bean bag, a polariser. 

An interesting fact. I have been doing online courses with Craftsy, several in fact, concentrating on landscapes. There were three I found most useful. Two were ever so good at the technicalities and showed you how to get their effects. These were both men and their landscapes, although okay, did not have the Wow factor. The third was a woman, not so good about the technical side but her photos, oh boy, did they have the Wow factor. I have learnt a lot just looking at her photos. And I intend to rewatch this course next week.

Why am I doing this? I suspect it is because I find drawing and painting too difficult, that is photography is a substitute for art. My hands are no longer steady enough for drawing and painting. I can see me going on to a remote control for the camera in another few years.

So what have I actually done in the last few days? Lots of gardening, a euphemism for weeding on my knees. Finished a scarf, which has not come out as I expected. The warp is a fine white cotton, slewed at 24epi, should be 35 to 40 for a balanced weave. The weft was a fine Swedish yarn but a lot thicker than the warp. It was space dyed and in a ball when I bought it in Stockholm. I misjudged it. Although space dyed, it is black, charcoal, grey and a teeny bit of red so it is a very sombre scarf. Definitely a man's scarf. Started making a cotton top with some lovely created by Dorothy. I have ironed the pattern pieces and cut out all the parts. More tomorrow.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

No Dorothy

I have managed to complete a lot of jobs, although they are a bit boring, like accounts.

Yesterday I turned out my studio, putting cones away in the right drawer, collected a lot of stuff to get rid off. Today was a busy day. I have volunteered to help out at the National Needlework Archive. I am transferring handwritten notes to the computer and scanning in hand drawings. A number of people there so coffee and lunch are very sociable. Then to my music class where we listened to 19th century opera. Rather nice to sit through six excerpts of one's favourite operas. 

Ruth and Anne trying on things at Bicester Village


And a handsome iris from last Saturday.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

A Busy Saturday

I have had a busy day. I got up at six to see Dorothy off to Scotland where she is visiting all her friends. Then I spent san hour and a half potting up seedlings. Left them all soaking outside the greenhouse. Then to Salisbury to the first lesson from Lori Sauer. I am rebinding a book of 1897 by Ruskin. I bought the book half repaired at a bookbinders sale, not because I wanted to finish the rebinding but beacause I wanted the book! I wanted to rebinding in leather which I am not good at and so this morning was spent, practising paring leather. Then I drove to Wisley gardens to see a Show by the British Iris Society. Not very good and not much of it. After which I took my prepared list of plants I wanted to buy to the garden centre and tracked down a lot of them. I can see I will have to get up early again tomorrow morning.

 

 
Our garden at 0630 am
 And a very nice iris at Wisley.

Tomorrow I am off to Bicester village with my daughters. Then on Monday. I will return to work by turning out the studio.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

More Wall

We have seen lots of Wall, walked beside lots of Wall and done two spectacular museums. The Roman Army Museum is quite small but very good with lots of recreations. The other was Vindolanda which is overrun by excavators and archaeologists. While we were there, one of them found a shoe. The museum has thousands of shoes and probably more important, thousands of writing tablets. Bits of wood which have been preserved in the boggy ground. And they contain all sorts of info from 'I am sending you two pairs of socks'.  to posh invites to a birthday party. And there is the best part of a large dinner service which arrived broken and was thrown in a ditch unused. Very beautiful. It must have been for the CO and I bet his wife cursed.

In amongst this we have stayed at really luxurious B and Bs and the standard of food has been high. The standard of my walking has not been so good and I had to abandon the walk on Sunday when I saw what I was supposed to tackle next. I knew I could not make it up that steep hill. Has not stopped me walking several miles a day though.

 
  Entrance to fort strongroom where the soldier's pay was stored.

 
Sparrow building a nest 

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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.