Monday, 26 October 2009

History of Looms and Silk

In the last six weeks I have given two talks, one on 'Silk' and one on the 'History of Weaving and Looms'.

A chance remark in the Cambridge History of the Roman Empire 100-300 AD, set all this off about three years ago. The author was talking about Palmyra which is in Syria and is a ruin but was a very great city from 0 to 400 AD as it was at the end of the Silk Road. The book said that Palmyra was dominated by very wealthy merchants and, to make more money, they unwove the silk from China and re-wove it. Really? On a warp weighted loom? So I started investigating because I believe you have to weave on a horizontal loom to get the tension even enough for fine silk. In 0 AD, the Chinese had had drawlooms for 1500 years and been weaving silk for longer. There is  evidence that drawlooms existed in the Sassanian Empire (Middle East after the Romans declined) and it is thought that they must have been in use by 300 AD. My view is that it must have been earlier.

I keep alert to any documentation around and I have been reading two books over the last few days which have ended up in cries of triumph. The first book is 'A History of Mechanical Inventions' by  Abbott Paysson Usher, published in 1929 first by Harvard College. My edition is a Dover publication copy (ISBN 0-486-25593-X). A fascinating book overall but the relevant pages are p258 to 267. He says quite casually (seen it no where else) that Palmyra and its sister cities used the best silk from China which is the whitest and finest in the sense of thinness and evenness but also used wild silk from India  which can be identified and explains why the sums never added up right. In other words, there must have been a lot of Indian silk used because the records show that what came in in the Silk Road caravans was not nearly enough for the known trade in silk with Rome.

The author refers to another book in French ' Textiles de Palmyre' by R Pfister, published in 1934 and I found this in the On-Line Weaving Documents Website . So I down-loaded it and read it. Wow!! It deals with the fragments of textile found in two tombs at Palmyra. One dates to 83AD and the other to 103 AD. There are scary chemical analyses which show the bodies were wrapped in textiles and then smothered with what they think was myrrh so the textiles were preserved. And what a lot of data!

They identified textile fragments in wool which had been dyed with Murex shellfish to get purple. The Chinese did not know about Murex so these must have been done locally. And there are fragments of Han Chinese patterned silk. The photos are dreadful being in black and white. So the next question was 'where are the actual fragments now?' and the answer is in the Syrian National Museum in Damascus!! There are several samples shown.

Here is one. According to Pfister, the thread count is between 60 and 100 epi which is a silk count of 90/2 to 120/2 NM.

So the original remarks about the silk being rewoven have to be regarded sceptically. Certainly, you would not unweave something with that kind of pattern on it. Maybe they did some reweaving. I have seen a wall painting from Pompeii which shows a Maenad who clearly is wearing the flimsiest of silk dresses but it is plain, no pattern. I wonder if they wove the Indian wild silk into plain silk cloth. After all the caravans took years to do the Silk Route and plain cloth weighs the same as patterned cloth so why not export the most expensive cloth?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Artistic Decision Time (3)

Progress is being made. Every time I sit down at the Megado, I think 'This is it - the final version'. But it is not. Here is Vale3, as off the loom with Winter at the left and  Autumn at the right. There are faults in Autumn which are due to the shuttle I happen to be using for purple. The said shuttle has rollers and a low nose and, as my beloved Bluster Bay shuttles do not give this problem (they never give any problem except that other weavers keep wanting to borrow them 'Just to try out, you understand'), the roller shuttle has been abandoned. Also there are a few errors in the draft in Autumn too and Winter is too long.

The machine embroidery of leaves for Summer has worked

and the flowers for Spring look sufficiently Spring-like.

Here are Summer and Autumn.

So I am off to correct the draft of Autumn and then start on Vale4.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Artistic Decision Time (2)

I have corrected/shortened all the drafts carrying out all the decisions  for the four sides of the Vale of Evesham. But I thought Side 3 Summer could do with improvement and fattened up all the leaves. 

It is still a bit lacking so I machine embroidered a few leaves on it. If you look carefully, you will see two leaves embroidered in the same green as the background leaves. These were done first  and the thread selected as a good match for the silk weft. Instead of toning nicely, they are invisible. So I used a different green. Still not enough extra leaves.

The number of leaves embroidered on is up from six to twelve. Better but not good enough.

Now the number of extra leaves is eighteen. And I think this is acceptable. So off to weave another four sides.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Artistic Decision Time

In addition to my attempts at Annuals with double stitched cloth, I have been working on a similar theme but devoted to the Vale of Evesham. We live on the edge of the Vale which is a famous fruit growing district, particularly for plums. This is because the River Severn has been bringing down silt for millenia and dumping it in the Vale, so the soil is very rich.

What I have done is to imagine fruit trees throughout the year.

Side 1 Winter - three cordon fruit trees in the snow. Well, the snow is very grubby round here.

This is acceptable. I'll stick with this.

Side 2. Spring. The cordons are in flower but only the cordon framework is being woven. There are two versions shown here. The upper one has  a black weft on a warp painted green and brown, all a bit dark and not spring like. The lower one is on a white warp. The trunks are in mid-brown now and the branches are various colours of brown/green. The variation of colour was done to see which colour would be best but I like the effect of the variation so I will stick with this.

And this is with the flowers laid out on top. I still think the flowers are too big. They have a diameter of an inch and the width of the cloth is only 5.25 inches. I will wait until after my lesson next week to decide on this. But it does not stop me weaving the next version since, whatever happens, the flowers are being applied after weaving. The flowers shown were cut from a ribbon which I dyed various shades of pink. I was a bit surprised that the ribbon dyed so well with acid dyes. I have no idea what the material of the ribbon is and thought it would be viscose so was expecting the colour take-up to be poor. As I wanted a pale pink, I didn't mind. Instead the first batch gave me a good bright red! And the lace ribbon, used in Annuals, has never turned out remotely pink but is dark red. No use for plum blossom. And yes I do know that plum blossom has five petals not six

Side 3 Summer with leaves everywhere. This shows two versions, both with brown trunks. One has three cordons and one was only one cordon which is a mistake. To me, it looks like nothing at all. So three cordons it is.

Side 4 Autumn. Three cordons carrying lots of plums - Early Orleans by the colour. You do not ask for plums in the green grocers around here, you ask for 'Pershore Eggs', or 'Marjorie Seedlings' or 'Early Orleans' or  - - -. What you do not ask for is Victorias as they are considered an inferior variety suited only for export to the rest of the world. Or possibly fed to the pigs.

Well, that is a few artistic decisions taken. Now I have to get the dimensions right. The Annuals series  had a 'frame' of brown broken twill which was lined up with the edges of the box. Here I do not mind if branches break through from one side to the next. But currently the length is 22 inches and it needs to  be 20 inches plus 3/8th of an inch. So the drafts need adjusting.

For the record, it takes me 2.5 hours total weaving time  to weave a complete set of four sides plus the run-in for the seam.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


In 2008, the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers held its Biennial Exhibition and one of the classes was 'an item which fits in a CD case and is inspired by a song'. The next three months were spent driving round the UK, muttering 'What a stupid idea' and trying to fit something in the way of weaving to an (any) opera aria. Until one day - I suddenly saw how to fit to 'I'm Gonna to Wash that Man right outta my Hair'. See the South Pacific series for what happened over the next few months. I ended up by entering 6 different items in CD cases.  They were all exhibited at our recent Guild Exhibition and admired by a Mayor. The private view was full of chains of office and I never worked out who was which town.

My favourite is 'You have to be properly Taught' which is a startling anti-racist song given when South Pacific was written. In the weaving, each pillar of colour is a different race and the pink/grey dominates all the rest.

 The warp was often painted (SEKA silk paints) on the loom with two different colours, one for each cloth and cloth interchange was used. The weft was often space dyed.
The basis of the weaving was a stitched double cloth in 60/2 silk which means 90 ends to the inch. The back cloth is a twill on Shafts 1 to 4 and the front cloth is a point twill on Shafts 5 to 32. Have I said this was on my 32 shaft Megado? I have been thinking about this for the last year and decided to try again (only more ambitious). In 2008, each piece fitted into a CD case, so it was a single 'picture'.  This time I wanted to weave four different pictures together, turn the cloth on its side, sew the ends together and slide the loop of weaving over a 5 inch square Perspex box. The warp is now horizontal. At one time, I thought of weaving four separate pictures and sewing them up each edge so that the warp was vertical but decided that it would be too untidy.

It all turned out to be much more difficult than last year's ideas. Firstly I have to get all four sides right in the same piece of weaving and secondly having the warp horizontal is quite restricting. Thirdly the shapes were done in 3 and 1 twill while the background was in 1 and 3 twill to start with. The colour contrast was poor (3 to 1) and so there was a lot of experimenting with colour. Also, while the twill background was okay in the South Pacific series, it dominated in Annuals so I changed it to a broken twill. It is VERY much more difficult to see an error in a broken twill background in the draft but any error sticks out when it is woven. I work with Fibreworks and, for these weavings use a liftplan which is extensively edited.

The first series is 'Annuals'. Side 1 is Seeds (black weft) on the ground (warp painted in swirls of different browns. This is for winter. There were various experiments with colour but this turned out best. I 'framed' the pictures by putting a strip 10 mm wide of brown broken twill between each side.

Michael painted the inside of the box top with several coats of black acrylic paints  for me and then glued the box to its base. 

The second side is Seedlings, green weft on a warp painted with swirls of green. Apart from experimenting with different shades of green, there were no problems here.

The problems started with trying to weave the third side, Flowers. I tried all sorts of colours including some spaced weft I dyed myself. That came out as very pronounced stripes. I also tried some silk thread from Oliver Twist. That was too thick and also too stripey.  In the end, some dark red and brilliant purple Shantung silk from Fibrecrafts was best. But still a dull picture. What I wanted was lots of flowers of different sizes, colours and types.

I investigated various additional techniques which are shown here. On the left are the striped dyed wefts, then to right, the woven flowers are purple. On top, there is machine embroidery, collaged blue cotton flowers plus embroidery and some pink flowers put on with paint on a toothbrush through a stencil cut in stiff card.  The collaged flowers were best but I could not make a good job of them at a smaller size - I thought these were too big. The width of the warp is only 5.25 inches and these blue flowers are an inch across. The machine embroidery was quite good but I am not an expert at this and it was all a bit uncontrolled. I am going to a private class on machine embroidery next week so I might go back to this. 

Another option was to interlace leaves and flowers and then stencil pink flowers on top. I applied gold paint as well. The pink painted flowers are less than an inch across and are not strong enough.

The best so far has been to dye some lace ribbon, cut it up and sew the flowers on by hand. There are two sorts of lace flowers here.

And now for the last side which is Petals and consist of a weaving of broken flowers and petals. This is painted with pink and gold and is not bad.

This one has dyed ribbon flowers cut up and sewn on and some lace flowers which are dyed a brown/red.

Not sure about this. We now have two versions put where I see them a lot and I am thinking about it. I have put on a 20 m white silk warp using my AVL warping wheel and a sectional warp beam and have used about less than 8 metres so far. So there is plenty left for more experiments.

There is another series called ' The Vale of Evesham' which is coming on really well and I am much more pleased with that. But more of that series another time.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Why Purple Donsu

I belong to  a group which studies Japanese textiles. In the past, I have even been into the V&A Study rooms to look at a book of Okinawan samples and subsequently  wove a piece of silk as a replica of one sample.  My version is in silk at 60 epi but the original was 90 to 100 epi.

My current interest in donsu was  stirred up by the group leader, Rod Byatt, from his remarks on  Meibutsugire. This Japanese word seems to translate as 'Famed Fabrics' or perhaps 'Named Fabrics'. These are small pieces of precious fabric which have been made into containers for the precious articles used in the Tea Ceremony. I was taken with two types of  woven fabric.

These are two pieces of KINRAN which have been used in Buddhist ceremonies. It is a type of woven inlay but not like Theo Moorman technique. On close examination, the gold paper thread about 1 mm wide, is laid right across the fabric from side to side. Where it does not show in the pattern on the front, it just disappears behind. A friend is getting me some gold paper thread from Japan and I shall have a go at this.

The other type is DONSU. A trawl on the web will not get much that is helpful on donsu. It  originated in China and it is a small repeating pattern of polychrome damask. It is used as surrounding mount for pictures.  I do not own a piece - yet! But I have feelers out. This means I do not have any photos of my own.

There are photos in the following books

  1.  Meibutsugire (Kyoto Shoin's Art Library of Japanese Textiles, No 19).
  2. Susan-Marie Best, ' Meibutsu-gire. Fabrics in the Japanese Tea Cermeony', P136ff in  “Silk and stone: the art of Asia” (1996, hardback, ISBN10 1898113203).

    There is also what sounds like a useful article in Chanoyu Quarterly, Issue No 17, 1977. The article is by Kitamura Tokusai and is 'An Introduction to Donsu'. I will try the British Library.

Japanese Tea Mart RIKYU sells tea containers and, in some cases, the shifuku or fabric covers, with them. The fabrics are not categorised so I am guessing that they are both donsu.

The striped one does have areas which are 'drawloom-like' and that seems to be quite common in the higher class of donsu.

So that explains the donsu. The purple comes from my favourite which is gold weft on a purple warp and is Figure 12 in Reference 2 above.

Friday, 16 October 2009

More on Black Jack

I managed to replace every lurex thread with a blue dyed thread (Debbie Bliss) and it is weaving up nicely. Now there are six plastic film canisters  dangling at the back of the loom, weighting these new threads. I use the canisters weighted with glass marbles,  winding the spare yarn round the canister, then trapping the thread in between the body and the lid of the canister. I have only once had a problem with this method which occurred when I was using a fine wool lace weight yarn as warp. The lid of the canister just cut through the yarn. The advantage of this method is that it is easy to alter the weight by adding or subtracting marbles. The disadvantage, at the moment that I have used up my stock of marbles as weights on the warp-weighted loom.

The hemming at the start is visible. This is done according to the Nancy Walker method which  I learnt during her course on linen weaving at the Denver Convergence in 2004. Very effective since you don't put any tension on the weft threads, only on the warp ones.

A comment on the Debbie Bliss pure silk yarn which is sold for knitting. It is expensive but it takes acid dyes beautifully and weaves up well.  It has an attractive high lustre and does not pill or shed fluff. I use it sparingly and this blue was some I dyed when experimenting about a year ago. I have shoe boxes (all labelled) full of 10 gm skeins of experiments in dyeing and I like to use them up.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Black Jack, Lurex and Bright Colours

Now for the second task - the demo. The weavers in our Guild (Kennet Valley) hold a 'Black Jack' project every now and then. It works out at about one every 8 months. This comes from Ann Sutton's book 'Ideas in Weaving'. One of us (Rosie Price) holds a stack of cards and each weaver is issued with two cards, then goes away and weaves what it says. You are allowed to exchange a card if the two cards are totally incompatible like 'bright colours' and 'black and white'.  After three months, every one come comes back with two samples not more than A4 size plus a page of notes. The member concerned keeps one sample and the other sample plus a copy of the notes goes into the Guild weaving book to be consulted by everyone. I scan all the samples and every one gets a bound copy of all the scans and all the notes.

The next deadline is December 2009 and I have drawn 'Use bright colours with a white background' and 'Use Lurex'. Also I was doing a demo on Monday this week at the Guild Exhibition and I wanted something on a small loom to demo next Saturday so I decided to combine all of these and put a warp on the Leclerc Voyager which is my portable loom. In addition, being a mean Scot, I wanted to use up a whole lot of 60/2 silk I had dyed in brilliant colours and then decided they would not do for the current Megado project (of which more another time). But I did not feel enthusiastic about weaving 60/2 silk on the Voyager as it would be slow and might discourage people at a demo. Sooooo -

I decided to do a double cloth in white 8/2NM silk from Fibrecrafts (Japanese spun silk) at 12 epi using 8 shafts. Stripes of bright colour could be included in one cloth only   which I could swop from front cloth to back cloth thus giving me squares of bright colour. This way I could put lurex in the warp along with one of the colours. I put on a warp of 3 metres  for a width of 0.25 m by winding a warp of the 8/2NM and also wound a warp each of orange and scarlet and two warps of pink space dyed plus lurex. Each of the small warps was for a one inch width (sorry about swopping units). I warped up the Voyager from front to back. I do prefer to warp up from back to front but the Voyager is too short between the shafts and the back beam (its only defect). The first nasty problem is that I was warping up using 8 threads of 60/2 silk through each heddle and it was easy to get in a mess. It took a long time to wind on the complete warp - like 6 hours on Sunday. The second potential problem was the Lurex which I have never used in a warp before but I was very careful and had no problems.

The weft is a white 60/2 silk. The coloured squares are an inch on a side. You can see the Lurex on the outer side of the pink rectangles. And what you see is the sample for the Guild because the Lurex unravelled on me! A real mess. I only managed  a length of 8 inches. So the moral is only use Lurex for weft.

I spent Monday evening replacing all the Lurex threads with some Debbie Bliss silk which I had dyed in light blue some years ago.
I have changed the draft as well to provide some more interchange between the white sections of the front and back cloth. I have yet to check the threading and weave a little  - probably this evening.

The 8/2 silk from Fibrecrafts is very soft and has a good lustre but does shed fluff and I wonder whether everything will clog up before I weave this off. I hope not as it looks rather nice.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Kennet Valley Exhibition

Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is having its 30th birthday. To celebrate this, the Guild has organised an Exhibition which is being held at Greenham Arts Centre (South of Newbury). It opened last Thursday (October 8th) to fanfares (there were a lot of chains of office around as well as Buck's fizz and vanilla slices) and closes on Saturday 17th October.

A wider range of 'things' is on show than you would have thought possible.

The exhibition includes a display of 100 spun skeins of wool, each one from a different breed of sheep in the United Kingdom. Really interesting. For instance, Herdwick is hard and Blue-Faced Leicester is lovely and soft and there is one which like a Brillo pad. This has all been created by the Chairman, Linda Scurr over several years. 500 hours of spinning, she says.

This wheel of skeins of wool dyed with nature dyes was created by Ros Wilson, the Guild dyeing guru.

I like the madder variants at 7  o'clock

This wheel was also created by Ros Wilson and is of wool dyed with acid dyes under the tutoring of Martin Weatherhead. About 12 Guild members took part, all cooking up different dyes outside  in a heat wave. We all went home sun-burnt and with a complete set of samples while Ros collared the remnants to make this wheel.

Some of the Guild wove their own fabric and then went to Gill Arnold in Birmingham for a crash course in how to make a perfectly fitting waistcoat.

And then, of course, there are the things you know you would never start, never mind complete. This is a lace weight shawl knitted by Gill Cross. Of course, there are hundreds of things on display and this is just to whet your appetite. Go and see for yourself.

The organisation of the Exhibition is rather good with two people demo-ing all the time plus two stewards. I was there today with my small loom doing double cloth (of which more in another blog). The only problem was, with warp and weft interchange going on, stopping to tell visitors about weaving and discussing different sorts of loom meant a lot of thought and many errors when I started weaving again. I spent more time unweaving than weaving. Shades of Penelope. The really surprising thing was that there were a lot of visitors on a Monday morning.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Replica Looms

In writing a talk on the History of Looms, it occurred to me to wonder what working with an early loom would be like so I built three.

Loom No 1

 is the simplest of frame looms. It is made from a canvas stretcher and the warp is just wound round it. This means there are two sets of threads, one at the front and one at the back. In 7000 BC, this would have been four branches lashed together with 'string' which might have been the stem of a twining plant or an animal sinew or fine strips of leather. The height would have been five to six feet and the width 3 to 4 feet. I used handspun wool dipped in indigo for the warp and weft.

The warp is wound in a continuous thread round the top and bottom struts.

A gap is left between the front threads (Threads no 1) and the back threads (Threads No 2) which is the width of the strut at the top.  Thus putting the first weft thread in is easy. You just slide the shuttle (a piece of straight stick with the weft yarn wound round it) through the gap between Threads No 1 and 2 and beat the weft thread down. The tedious bit comes next, which is getting the weft thread behind Threads No 2 and in front of Threads No 1. The only satisfactory way of doing this seems to be to thread the shuttle in and out which is slow and boring. When the shuttle has made it through to the other side, the weft thread can be beaten down. I can see why Neolithic woman got browned off with this and moved on to

Loom No 2. This is like Loom No 1 with the addition of a lease stick which is the horizontal piece of dowelling about one-third down the frame. This has a continuous length of string which loops round each thread in the rear and then round the dowel. The yarn is natural black handspun.

When you  yank hard on the dowelling, pulling it forward, Threads No 2 come to the front, leaving a nice large gap to insert a shuttle. This is a vast improvement on Loom No 1 and weaving can be quite speedy. I had to experiment to get the lease stick right, both in the looping round the back threads and how much string to allow in the loops. I re-did the lease stick four times before I got it right!

Loom No 2 has some defects. Firstly the length of the warp is fixed by the loom structure and is limited. Secondly it is quite difficult to keep a uniform tension with this way of putting on the warp. But the loom, often called a frame loom, was used a great deal and would have been about the same dimensions as Loom No 1. The Ancient Egyptians wove fine linen on frame looms used horizontally (Meketre's tomb) and I have seen a horizontal frame (1990s) used over a dug out pit in India to weave a single blanket at a time. The example that weavers will be most familiar with is the Navajo loom. I am indebted to Sally Orgren of the USA for these two photos.

The lease stick is visible as is the 'weaving sword' which is the curved length of wood nearest to the weaving. This is inserted  into the shed and turned on its edge to provide a bigger shed.

Here is the completed Navajo rug

Loom No 3

 solves these problems but, of course introduces its own! This is a Warp Weighted loom. The warp can now be as long as you like.  Threads No 1 are placed in front of lower crossbar and weights are tied to them. Threads No 2 are placed behind the lower crossbars and have weights tied to them. Lease sticks are used (the horizontal dowel) and you weave from the top down.  The warp threads are secured and spaced correctly by preparing a 'headband'.

General view of Warp Weighted Loom. The lease stick rests on two supports (M8 studding with wingnuts on the end. Well, neolithic woman would have preferred Radio Spares any day). This device supports the lease stick when weaving with Threads No 1 in front. The weights are plastic bags full of glass marbles and each weighs 100 gms. Originally these were stones with holes drilled in them or baked clay lumps with a hole through them. After a fire, the rest of the loom which was of timber would be destroyed but archeologists can see a row of stones or clay lumps with holes in them, which indicate that a loom stood here. The Museum in Edinburgh has stone weights from Orkney which show the characteristic wear pattern of grooves.
Lease stick in operation, The lease stick is yanked forward and parked on the wingnuts to hold Threads No 2 forward.

Showing how the headband is attached to the upper crossbar. Holes have been drilled in the upper crossbar.

Headband. The warp runs horizontally and every third weft is pulled through in a long loop which is fixed round a post clamped some distance away. This would have been done in finger twining techniques or using tablet weaving or an inkle loom,

The lease stick took some sorting out. Because Threads No 2 hang vertically downwards and Threads No 1 go over the lower crossbar, there is much more distance between the two sets of threads. You also have beat upwards since you start weaving at the top. The big mistake I made here was in the choice of yarns, the brown and yellow yarns are handspun quite tightly plied and tied with natural dyes. The white yarn is very loosely spun and one thread was not inclined to pass another without giving it a hug.

When enough of the warp has been woven, the top crossbar was untied, the woven cloth was wound up round the top crossbar and then it was retied. This removed the length restriction on the warp. Weaving on the warp weighted loom was developed by the ancient Gauls and Germans who made much use of twill and natural dyes in their woollen clothes. In the Textile Museum at Neumunster, Germany, there is a fine replica of the 'Thorsberg mantle' (found in a German bog and dated to 200 AD). This has a checked pattern like tartan but done with woollen yarn dyed with three shades of woad.

This loom was the work-horse of European weaving for many millenia but was eventually superseded by the horizontal loom with shafts and heddles that we have all learnt to love. A lovely example of a warp weighted loom is shown on a black and red Greek vase of 560 BC in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Starting Up

There will be several threads to this blog but mostly they will be about weaving. I have three looms, a 15 inch wide 8-shaft Voyager for taking to courses and demonstrations, a 70 cm wide 8 shaft Louet Kombo which is theoretically portable but in practice has four beams, a stand and the ability to mount a fan reed, and a Louet Megado. This has 32 shafts, a sectional warp beam, a second warp beam and is computer controlled. I have recently bought an AVL warping wheel and got rid of the 72 bobbin creel and the tension box. I have nothing but praise for the warping wheel although I did start on it by drilling holes and insert brass pegs to allow me to have a cross in the warp.  I recently put on a 20 m warp at 90 ends per inch and it went on beautifully.

However I have three strands of textiles going at the  same time - this is a bad idea. The three strands are

- three looms which are sort of replicas of early looms - these are finished now. Just as well because I need them for a lecture next Saturday on 'The History of Looms'
- a complicated warp on the Megado for making pictures
- a new warp on the Voyager for a public demo next Monday - that will go on this afternoon.

Each of these has had problems.

 No photos this time but there will be in future blogs.

In the past I have created various articles on a website. These include

an article on  textiles in Malaysia
an article about a silk farm in Cambodia
an article about using a fan reed
an article about  space dyeing using acid dyes


Blog Archive

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.