Sunday, 28 February 2010

Artistic Choices

Michael came home on Thursday and I have been getting used to looking after him. We do have carers coming into for the same purpose - I have been surprised by how many of them are interested in looms and weaving!! We have one pair who had a degree in Fine Art and one in Graphic design between them. I find this distressing.  Michael seems to have got a lot stronger over just the last two days. Maybe just happier at home but perhaps the exercise he is getting. He hops into his wheelchair for several hours each day and joins us for meals and well as examining the computers, updating bits of the Linux system and throwing away unwanted emails.

Apart from that I went to the weaving course yesterday (Saturday). It has reached the stage when the beginners have finished their first piece of weaving which was warped up for them and are on to designing their next piece. So lots of colouring squares on gridded paper and calculating lengths and weights. They are all, so far, doing scarves, though they are wildly different, one of subtle coloured silk noil, one of ditto cotton and one spectacular black and red colour and weave stole. The 'improvers' are heads down. Chris Wright has finished the samples for her husband's stole. It will be white goose-eye twill in 30/2 silk with a gold cross at each end. The samples have come out just as she intended and she spent the class winding the warp for the final version. I forgot to take samples of shuttles and my felt tipped pens but we never got round to even stopping for coffee, never mind a chat yesterday.

Dorothy and I are going to dye my Tencel on Monday and I dug out the Tencel I have bought from Just Our Yarns over the last two years.  On the left is the 20/2 yarn I bought. I have 2 skeins of each. The current project involves using the two right hand colours . They will be mostly the lower one ( I will be using all of that colourway) but there will be three one inch stripes of the bright pinks. These are the warp and you can see that the weft is going to be a problem. I need a plain colour which does not detract too much from these wonderful vibrant colours. So I will use a 3 and 1 twill which will make the two sides very different. And Dorothy has some fuschia-pink which we will use  although toned down.
I found the Tencel crate has a lot of lovely yarn in it including these skeins of bamboo and cotton. It has a lovely feel. Why did I buy so little! I don't see that I can use all of them in the same piece of weaving. I must give this some thought.

I have lent my warping wheel to a student and will not get it back for 2 weeks but intend to get on with a number of small jobs. I need to put the buttonholes into my Linton tweed jacket. I need to do some book binding including preparing the contents of a Japanese style book for binding. And a thorough tidy up in the upstairs workshop would be a 'good thing'. But today's job has to be finishing winding the 20/2 Tencel skeins for tomorrow's dyeing.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tendonitis (2)

Here is the 'official' photograph taken under less pressure this morning. Outside with an overcast sky as recommended by Stacey Harvey-Brown. It works too. The colour balance comes out right. The only weakness is the folds. The fabric is so light that the only way to get a plane surface would be to pin it to a board. This one and the one  with the fabric crumpled up have been printed out  using the Inkjet on Photo Glossy Paper II. Forms are filled up and envelopes addressed. That's it - for now.

Last night my shoulders were really sore. This morning, they have gone away!! Aren't osteopaths wonderful? 

Michael's hospital bed arrived this morning. It was not as large as I expected but still there is not much space left over. The District Nurses have to come and put the finishing touches to it. So we are (nearly) all set for tomorrow.

My sister, Dorothy,  has arrived from Scotland to help out with Michael for a week. As she was a GP, that help is more than welcome. She has brought all her Procion dyes. My immediate (textile) task is  wind the Tencel skeins ready for dyeing.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

And Tendonitis Came Too

Well, Reflections is off the loom - three yards of it. Ends finished and stray threads dealt with. The photos were taken outside - and it started to snow! I took one shot with the fabric crumpled because I put it down immediately after cutting it off the loom and liked the effect. Because of the snow flurries, I had only time to take two shots which are both here. If you expand the lower one, you can see the snow flakes.  I will have to try again with the photos. It really needs ironing. Given the deadline, it will not be washed for its grand photoshoot.

The colours come out well taken outside. Maybe I will be able to repeat the exercise tomorrow.

I went to see the osteopath this morning with aching shoulders and pain across the back of the neck. At the end of the session, I had an alarming dissertation on tendonitis and fibralgia (sp?). But when I told him that I have been weaving like mad and showed him the position, he said 'Give it up at once'. But he has abandoned ideas about me developing strange diseases! I admit to weaving four feet in length on the Megado on two successive days. At 60 ppi, that's a lot of shuttle throwing and catching. I need to catch my breath before I do anything else.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Deadlines (2)

Yesterday I turned out the bed linen cupboards. I have discovered some spare linen for the spare room beds! I had wondered where that had got to! I have been a bit ruthless. Some of it will be  used for textiley projects, like using the old pillow cases to  store textiles in. Some (unused) will go to St Richard's hospice shop (aka McMillans). They cared for my best friend in her hour of need and they are being magnificent about Michael. There are some high-class Swiss cotton square pillowcases which I shall offer to my sister for her quilting. They are hardly used  and the material is so very good. A lot of very elderly towels will be used as floor cloths.  All in  all, I have finished up with spare capacity on the linen shelves. And that includes the addition of all the linen I bought for Michael's hospital bed.

The picture is a scan of a German pillowcase bought in Munich many years ago. What is interesting is that, barring the fine white pattern, I could have woven something in this design. I looked at it and thought that it was a familiar type of fabric!! So my tastes have not changed over the years. I think this is probably a bad thing and must think about it some more.

Added after doing  a bit more weaving. The colour palette is very similar to what is on the Megado - see Reflections - 2. Which accounts for why the pillowcase looked familiar. Now did my sub-conscious do this or not?

Today I turned out the bathrooms and two other rooms, tidied up generally and will start on weaving now. Yesterday I wove four foot of fabric. I estimate I have between 6 and 8 feet of warp left.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


I admit I made a mistake! The closing date for entries to the Association's 2010 Exhibition is March 1st and, only on Thursday, did I work the timescale backwards. Michael comes home from hospital next Thursday afternoon and I can't see me doing anything textiley for a few days after that. So the entry has to be posted on Thursday morning at the latest. Which means it has to be photographed on Wednesday and off the loom and washed on Tuesday. To get there, I need to be weaving at least a yard a day. Well I managed a yard yesterday (Friday) and it may be seven in the morning but the loom computer has been switched on and I am ready to go.

The selvedge is good which I think is due to much practice and getting a rhythm going. It is
- throw shuttle under floating selvedge on entry, over it on exit
- bring beater forward to fell-line
- change treadle
- push beater back to rest

This is novel to me as I do not often change treadles with the beater on the fell-line. Another which affects the selvedge, I think, is that I only weave three inches before winding on. The Megado has 18 inches between breast beam and reed and it is a temptation to weave 6 or 8 inches before winding on but that is a mistake. The end-delivery shuttle helps as well.

I am reminded of a message in Weavetech from Tien Chiu about getting a rhythm going.

I have taken delivery of large pieces of equipment for Michael and realised then what is involved. So am madly trying to do as much as possible before next Thursday. I have guillotined lots of brightly coloured spills 9 mm wide for the drafting class on March 6th. I must do a bit of house cleaning today as well as sorting out the linen. I have bought quite a bit of bed linen.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Books covered in Silk

I have finished one book with a silk cover. It is a very fine fabric (60 epi) and liable to fray, even though I ironed fusible lining to it. So the corners of the corner had a smidgin of PVA applied which makes the book look tidy and should hold the silk in place. The paper is watercolour paper. You can just see the blue marbled end-papers that Michael made.

I have another identical book which is half finished but will not be able to do much more until the next book-binding class. It was half-term this week.
What I must concentrate on is the endpapers for the Omar Khayyam book. The problem is gluing the endpapers on to a backing sheet. They get all wrinkled. I have been reading Ikegami's 'Japanese Bookbinding' and came across a different technique for glueing two sheets of paper together for end-papers. I will try that at the weekend. It needs a visit to the cellar which means going out into the snow!

It started to snow at 1100 hours and already it is  piling up. The forecast is for this to continue until 1800 hours. By which time I shall be snowed in!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Reflections (2)

I choose dusky pink. I would have selected the blue but realised that, in a length of the fabric, there would be a very dark and wide strip towards one edge. The photo shows one repeat of the pattern which is about eleven inches.

Last night I drove to Basingstoke, stayed with Meg Crowther and talked about textiles happily all evening while eating rather good venison stew!! Drove back this morning and attended a 'Discharge Planning Meeting' at the hospital for Michael before lunch The rest of the day was spent rushing about, organising things, ringing people up and counting pillows and pillow-cases. When I returned this evening from visiting Michael in hospital, I decided I would go crackers if I didn't something a bit more productive. So I did the last gluing on a book (photos tomorrow when it comes out of the press) and settled down to weave. I feel a lot calmer.  

Monday, 15 February 2010


This weave has the same threading as I used for my Convergence yardage entry. But the draft is now completely different, although still based on an advancing twill. I got very interested in this drafting scheme when attending a course in Chesham by Bonnie Inouye on 'The Big Twill'. The piece is intended to be submitted for the Association Exhibition 2010 which has the theme of 'Kaleidoscope'.  My plan was to have four sections in the weft, each repeat of 160 picks being in a colour which was used in the warp. The weft colours are shown on their pirns and are, from the bottom, silver grey, light green, dusky pink and dark blue. The weave shown also runs from light grey at the bottom to dark blue at the top. If you look carefully, you can see that there is a pattern reversal between the grey and green and between the pink and blue. Hence my saying it is a 'Kaleidoscope'. My objection to this weave is that you can hardly see the difference between the grey and the green and the reflected pattern does not show up well  in those two colours. I also have to say that the idea of yards of this stripey stuff fills me with horror. What would one do with it? Making cushions is all I can come up with.

I have changed my mind completely. The draft stays the same with the same pattern reversals, it is woven in one colour only and is called 'Reflections'. The trouble is that, while I was weaving it, I thought the dusky pink was really good and, while I was weaving the dark blue, I thought that was best too. What I have to decide is which I would prefer if I made a shirt out of the final yardage. The pink would be exciting, the blue elegant. If I am going to weave yards of this stuff, finish it and take its photograph before March 1st, I shall have to decide in the next day or two. I shall print out the photo and pin it up somewhere so I see it often. Any opinions will be gratefully received.


This is our most advanced clump of snowdrops. Michael's  bunch expanded fully in two hours by hjis bedside and all the nurses exclaimed over them. When I listed what was in flower to Michael, he asked after the hellebores. They live behind a trellis and I forgot them - but they are getting on well.

When we moved in 24 years ago, there was one hellebore plant and rather a lot of  self seedlings so I let them get on with it. They started behind the trellis and have been left there since they like there. Occasionally I remove a plant which has really poor flowers and they get a few handfuls of bonemeal once a year plus some spadefuls of homemade compost.; Did I say that I am a compost freak? Even the output from the document shredder  goes on to the current compost heap. I had a compost place built - two bays 8 ft by 6 and 4 foot high. It provides enough compost to top dress the garden every year.

And this is as far as Cornish Snow has got. Not a single flower out yet. It is at least six weeks late.  But this looks as though two or three days of mild weather will bring out the whole bush. I inspected the other camellias and they are all well budded. I love camellias and I have to walk past garden centres with teeth clenched muttering 'I have enough. They get too big.' So we have Donation (semi-double pink, sprawls all over the place, very untidy but I forgive it for the flowers), Lady McKinnon (red double, tidy bush with glossy green leaves about 6 ft in all directions),. Francis Hanger (white semi-double, seen at Exeter University and hunted down. Only three years old) and China Clay. China Clay has huge fully double pure white flowers which are so large and heavy they face downwards.  I have measured one at six inches across. The plant is now 12 foot high and eight foot wide.  A piece of serendipity is that we planted it by the front door but 6 foot lower so you walk out of the front door and look up at the flowers. This was a garden centre buy.

As to textiles, the Megado is working and I have woven about five inches of silk - which I am unhappy about. I do not like the colours. I will weave a full 12 inches and then discuss it here.

Peace is disturbed by the pneumatic drill on the doorstep - yes I mean it. We are having the front door step replaced by a ramp for Michael's wheelchair. So the builder is taking up the step first. Means I can't get out of the house without being a nuisance

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Guru has Spoke

I explained my problems to the guru - in his hospital bed - and he asked a lot of questions. The relevant one was 'where exactly did you plug in the network?' We use a mains network system so we have a connection plugged into the mains supply in the office and another plugged in to that in the loom room.  But I had plugged it into the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) in the loom room - whence it sees nothing! Move it to an ordinary mains outlet and Houston, we have lift-off! Watch this space for photos.

Woe is Me!

I have the bookbinding pieces laid out on the big table in the work room and have slowly been glueing parts up. In some ways it is better than my class because I don't have hang around waiting for things to dry. Instead I can do some glueing, put under pressure and come back the next day. Progress is slow but sure - except that I am too short of PVA for the next major task. I'll get some more tomorrow in town.

The woe is caused by the Megado - or rather its computer. I reinstalled the computer and all the network links this morning and repaired a couple of threads in the warp. Then switched on. The computer is fine - but the network link is not. The computer running the Megado is an old one - surplus to requirements and installed beside the loom. I do drafting in the office on another much newer computer and the Megado computer reads the draft files directly across the network. Not today. Apollo is not speaking to Vulcan. (Michael decided a long time ago that each computer's  name would be that of a Greek or Roman god who appeared in an opera!! Well it is an improvement on a British cheese which one large organisation uses). Anyway Apollo is not speaking to anybody and, when I investigated, Vulcan was not speaking to anybody either. After poking about,  Vulcan is speaking to everybody except Apollo. At this point, I copied the wanted draft file onto a diskette and Apollo refused to read it. 

I gave up and went for a walk on the Common. It was lovely and sunny and a fine view of the Cotswolds across the Vale of Evesham. When I got home, I inspected the garden for flowers. Not a lot compared with February last year. No camellias, not even Cornish Snow which usually starts in December. No sign of any peach blossom.  There is mahonia, snowdrops and cyclamens and the daffodil spikes are about 5 inches high so it will not be long before spring is here. I have picked some snowdrops to take into hospital for Michael. In the hopes that he will be sufficiently pleased to tell me how to cure my computer woes.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Waffle Weave (3)

The waffle weave towels went through the washing machine okay. There was a lot of shrinkage. Length went from 42 to 36 inches, width from 14 to 11.5 inches but it is not truly a shrinkage, more that the threads are tracing 3D  paths. I did not want to hem them as it would be too bulky. Each end had 3 rows of tabby to which I applied a raw edge hem, then zigzag stitched down each edge on the tabby section. I am intending to use these and it will be interesting to see what repeated machine washes do to them. They are very soft and absorbent.

Returning to the lining of Uchishiki 1, I wrote to Ichiroya asking about the lining  fibre and have had a reply from them. They think it cannot be linen because linen is rarely used in Japan. They suggest it could be cotton or ramie but more likely raw silk.  And I could distinguish between these by applying a burn test. AARRRGGGGHHH!!!   After I had recovered form that suggestion, I  applyied the burn test to some cotton fabric - it went up in flames, then to some silk - which charred. Then to the lining edge - which went up in flames!! So according to Ichiroya, it is not silk. It could be either ramie or cotton. He suggested looking at the material under a microscope. If the fibre is short-staple, it is cotton, if long, it is ramie. I looked at a piece of cotton and then a piece of linen and the linen staple is much longer which is correct according to Wikipedia.  The lining staple seems long but it is difficult to tell. The 'threads' are not spun but laid down in parallel bundles with the warp threads having many fewer individual threads than the weft.  The feel of the fabric is quite soft unlike linen which is harsh and I assume ramie would be the same. but I can't be sure. My microscope is only Magnification x20. I have written back to Ichiroya but won't get a reply now until Monday.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Tidying Up

Yesterday, the builders finished off inside. There are things to do outside but that won't happen for a week or so and won't (I hope!) impinge on the inside. I put everything back into the loom room and had a clear up/out at the same time. The most important thing was rationalising my holding of paper.  I went through everything, put like with like and found folders to hold them, labelled them on the outside and put the whole lot on one shelf. This might help me to remember what I have and where I can find them. Why have I got several packets of papyrus? And all this coloured card? Not to mention some sheets of stuff that looks like a plastic version of silk paper.

I did find enough coloured paper to prepare my course on drafting which is in 3 weeks time. For a beginner, it is quite daunting to get a hold of what a printed draft mean. A few years ago, I had them all using gridded paper and coloured pencils but clearly not everybody grasped this. I had obviously got the explanation wrong. I had a long think last year and remembered that someone talked on Weavetech about weaving with paper. So all the students got A4 sheets with a draft printed on it. The grid is on a centimeter scale  and cut so that paper strips hang down (see photo) . The students were also suppled with coloured strips of paper slightly less than 10 mm wide (makes it easier) and told to weave the draft. Not one of them failed to grasp the method and some of them raced off to infinity and beyond and use the method for checking on their own drafts now!!

There is plenty of coloured paper for the 'weft' though guillotining it is going to take some time. All the preparation is done, thank goodness, and all that needs to be done is to print out ten copies of everything.

I have managed to do the accounts, pay the bills and finish the waffle weave towels off, currently in the washing machine. The Voyager has to be warped up at once because on Saturday we teach the class how to find errors and put them right. This is done by warping up correctly and then putting errors in, demonstrating to them and putting everything right, putting in some more errors, then saying 'Right, you have a go' to the nearest student. Last year's class was a bit surprised to be shown how to mend errors using needle weaving in the finished weaving. I was told that 'it doesn't say that in any books'. Doesn't it? I am sure it must.

What I would really like to do is to warp up the Kombo for the fan reed but I don't see time free until Sunday.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


In a previous post about purple donsu, I mentioned that I had two pieces of Japanese weaving called 'kinran'. One job on my long-term to-do list is to write these up as pieces of weaving for the Japanese Textile Group of Complex Weavers. Since the builders stopped me doing any of the things on today's list, I thought I would dig the two pieces out and start the write up. This involved examining them through a microscope and counting threads per 5 mm. The orange piece has a warp of 150 epi in orange silk. Each warp 'thread' is 6 to 8 single filaments laid side by side - no plying, no twist. The weft is similar but thicker and is woven at about 60ppi. The weaving of the background is in orange silk every where and is a 2 and 1 twill. The pattern wefts are thicker and there is a silk paper thread which is 0.25 mm wide. The wefts in the photo are running diagonally lower right to upper left.
You can see the tie-downs are quite far apart compared to the background orange weave. The tie-downs are just some of the warp threads. The pattern threads go right across the fabric and when they are underneath the fabric, they are also held by some of the warp threads (see second photo). I think this has been woven on a Japanese type of drawloom.

The biggest surprise was when I came to examine the off-white lining which I assumed was a fine cotton (as the second one is). Not a bit of it. It is woven at 100 epi and is not cotton. It has a white-on-white pattern of flowers and leaves. The steel ruler is in the photo to give scale but also to focus on. It was really difficult to get an image. Scanning was no use at all and I have cheated with Photoshop on the colour to bring out the pattern. The real colour is off-white. It has the appearance and high gloss of old much-washed-and-ironed linen like a 1920s linen tablecloth I have. The Japanese use hemp, ramie,   linen  and  other vegetable fibres. To me, the lining seems much older than the silk kinran which is probably post 1930s. The more I think about it, the more I value the lining! The seller (Ichiroya) did not mention it. You could spin fine enough linen for this but I do not know about ramie or hemp.

The other uchishiki is done in much the same manner but has a  brown warp of 100 epi and a balck weft of about 80 ppi. It is difficult to make out because of the colours in the background but I think it is a 3 and 1 twill. And the lining is a fine but dull white cotton.

So that's one job done. The article needs to have its spelling checked and I need to check on ramie and hemp.


Yesterday I had to go to Worcester Royal Infirmary to have my heart monitor examined. While stuck in a traffic jam getting there, it occurred to me that I needed some bone meal to spring dress all the bulbs and Webbs, the best garden centre in the West Midlands, is only just up the road from WRI. And Webbs hosts a Hobbycraft and I could just drop in - - - -. Just checking stock you know. 

Well, of all things, they had printed Japanese washi paper at three A4 sheets for £4.99 which is a lot less than the large sheets I have seen on the web for sale. It can be used on coverboards and as endpapers. I bought one of each of three different packs. Just beside these packs, they had some fancy papers in packs of 20 which are made from undyed cotton waste and have inclusions, like aster petals or soya leaflets. Astonishingly, the packs are labelled as suitable for inkjet and laserjet printers. Another pack was of cotton wove only and is only for laserjets. I can't wait to try these out. A good trip!

My intention today was to do some work (as in get paid for it) and then get everything back into the loom room as I have finished cleaning the carpet. What I did not allow for was the builder who is finishing off the bathroom. That is in the middle of the house and I clearly would be in the way if I spent the morning walking up and down the main corridor. So I have done some odd job sewing and been out to M&S for a present for my step-great-grand-daughter, Isabel. That makes me sound about 100 but the give-away is the 'step'. We acquired two step-grandsons when my youngest daughter married their father and there is an extra 10 years in there somewhere.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Paper Problem Solved

Having decided to use Michael's roll of Chinese paper, I asked him what I could do with it. I do not want to make a blank book so what could I do? I did point out that using Chinese ink or Chinese watercolour was out. There are only so many minutes/hours/days available. He thought oil pastels or watercolour pencils would work. On thinking it over afterwards, I realised that we could be back to caladiums! How about stencils based on caladium leaves and use oil pastels? I can see the book in my head already. I sometimes wonder if the other patients thinking we are crackers given the topics of conversation between us!

Last night, I scrubbed half the carpet in the newly painted loom room. I covered up the table with its American cloth and lots of newspaper  and boiled up some flour paste ready for this morning when I looked at my glued end-papers for Wednesday afternoon. They have been under weights for the last four days. One set is fine - that is the blue marbled paper. The other set is a disaster - note the  nasty water marks on the central horizontal fold.  In passing the blue marbled paper was made by Michael at West Dean a few years ago. 

The brown paper with gold bamboo foliage was lovely but it was very thin. I am sorry I have wasted it. I chose another paper, also thin but took the precaution of gluing the whole sheet to bank paper to start with and that has worked well. It is yellow-brown with inclusion of leaves and small leaves.

The pieces of silk for the covers of these two books which are made of sewn watercolour paper had already been ironed and backed with fusible lining. I have glued one piece to bank paper and that has worked well. So I will glue the other at lunch time.

The Omar Khayyam endpaper has also been spoilt - there is a smudge on the white endpaper and I will have to redo it. Glueing up at home has advantages.  Plenty of room to spread out and plenty of time to wait. No clock watching.

When I was at the Guild on Saturday, Debbie Fisher (about to relocate to Tripoli!!!) gave me a large box of what she said was silk remnants. I was busy collecting money for courses and did not rummage through this till I got home. Flabbergasted. Beautiful pieces of silk just crying out to be made into book covers.  I will prepare them all and use some of them for a class I am running on Japanese-style bookbinding later this year. (But there is one piece I am too greedy to share!!!). Thank you Debbie, you are making a lot of people happy.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

End of Books

I have finished! There are two more full shelves above what you see and more full shelves on the right hand wall. I was out yesterday at Kennet Valley Guild and decided while driving home that I had to have the table back by tonight as I must glue up some bookbinding endpapers and silk covers and have them dry and pressed flat by Wednesday. This morning, my daughter gave me a hand with the highest shelves which require me to stand on top of a step-ladder. Next thing to do is to clean the carpet  before I go to bed tonight so that it is dry by tomorrow morning. After that, I can return all the 'small' things at my leisure. 'Small' things means the AVL warping wheel, my reed and stick holder, the chairs and not forgetting the pictures.

In between times. I have been thinking about paper. I have been rereading Kijiro Ikegami's   'Japanese Bookbinding' and thinking about using Japanese paper which is very light, 30gsm to 80 gsm. The proper stuff is made from mulberry bark and other vegetation and it is very expensive here. It seems to run at £7 a sheet upwards and that is for one sheet 50 by 70 cm. Not the sort of stuff you want to make a mistake about. However when I was in Kuala Lumpur in April 2009, I bought Michael as many different kinds of Chinese paper as I could find and, when I looked at these last night, they are the right sort of paper and weight. They are Chinese but apparently the Japanese think quite highly of Chinese paper so I am going to start with the two sorts I have. There are three sorts in all and Michael says only one is what he wants. Besides I can always order my KL family to bring me some more back!!

I have a long roll and ten packets of 20 sheets each - that should do for a bit. The packets cost the equivalent of two pounds each. The paper is not something you can easily write on as it is intended for Chinese watercolours or inks and is very flimsy. The photo is of a cock done by Lian Quan Zhen, a gifted Chinese artist. It was done for us in the front of a book I bought from him.  Very cheering.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Still books

I am grudging the time spent on putting the books back. Now that 30% of them are back, I have taken to putting books into categories on the floor. But there are always books that don't fit into categories.  Skunkworks? - the history of Lockheed. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Taking things to the extreme, I wonder if using the Dewey system would be a good idea. And I have a pile of unwanteds and duplicates - 2 copies of Five Towns by Arnold Bennett for example.

Yesterday I did more work on Kennet Valley courses. The Spreadsheet is up to date and sign-up sheets prepared for today. The Guild missed a meeting in January. Personally I was snowed in but the meeting was cancelled anyway. So there has not been a meeting since late November and I have added details of four new courses this week.  We have Isabella Whitworth doing a two day course on 'Working with Wax' - on silk scarves in June.  Jan Shailes is doing Fancy Spinning in September. I heard mention of feathers and beads. There is the annual day on acid dyeing and doing fancy dying on warps in October.  And one on Japanese-style book binding in November.  What with the residential weekend in May, that is 2010 fixed!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Books Books

Books everywhere!! The builders have finished that room and will complete the bathroom next week. All I have to do is put the books back. Oh and polish all the book shelves first.
So here are the books and behind are the polished shelves. When I told the builders that they needn't bother keeping the books in order, I had no idea just how mixed up piles of books could get. I thought I would start at the top shelf and work down. It has become more of a 'roughly where does this book go?' and then re-sort later. There are shelves to the right of the photo and most their contents are piled just out of sight. I need to say that this picture does not contain any textile books/journals which are upstairs nor does it contain any art books which have migrated to the office (all six shelves of them).

Some shelves have been filled. The Megado has surfaced from its plastic sheeting and the step ladder to get at the highest shelves is visible in the back ground. The little bit you see took me an hour to do. I can see this is going to take some time!

It is at moments like this that I wonder if a tent in the desert might not be a preferable way to live. Why on earth does Michael want a pile of copies of 'The Catgut Acoustical Society'? And whose are all the mathematical books on topology? They are quite interesting - but if I stopped to read all the interesting books, I would never get finished. I also came across two PhD theses - a bit out-of-date!!! Early 1960s.
Who would be a Guild Course Secretary? Last night, the people doing a halfday course and a talk at the Guild next Saturday cancelled their visit. The rest of the evening was spent in a rescue operation and two Guild members have gallantly undertaken on the course which is on Spindle Spinning. The talk is being replaced by a member, Meg Crowther, talking about the History of Spinning which, I am told, is very good and very professional.

The other bit of Course Secretary work which I have been doing all this week is the arrangements for the Guild's residential weekend near Reading on 7th-9th May 2010, culminating in this morning spent creating a huge spread sheet. So I now have a spreadsheet which tells me who has signed up for what and how much each person paid so far. We let members pay in installments but it does mean keeping track of all the payments. Oddly enough I feel a lot happier. Take up is good but then we have four first class tutors Margaret Roach Wheeler (Designing the Mahotan Way), Pat Johns (Tapestry), Lorraine McClean (Experimental Knitting) and Shirley Berlin (Fixings and Fastening for Braids).

In the 2008 residential weekend, I attended Lorraine's course which was about designing textiles, not specifically knitting. Story-boards and so on.  It was great but I remain unconvinced that Storyboards are a good idea for weavers.  Do other weavers use Storyboards? I am not sure where my ideas come from. I find I have an idea or see things and chew it over. Currently I am mentally designing donsu (polychrome damask) and I know that shortly I will settle down to Fibreworks to try things out. I also have an idea for rooks. Yes, I did say no more woven pictures but you know how it is. That really meant 'No more woven pictures  until I have another idea that refuses to be sat on'. This one about rooks is a real nagger. I have started working through Alice Schlein's book 'The Woven Pixel' using Photoshop and find it is much more difficult that I thought when I read the book. But I will plugging.

The decoration was completed yesterday and today, the builders put all the book shelves back. The room is 20 by 13 feet and there are bookcases to the ceiling  (10 ft) on one long wall and on part of a short wall.  A lot of the shelves are kit-like (Ladderax) but the upper ones are Spur shelving. The builders pencilled notes on everything and have spent the morning trying to work out what their notes meant. Why might you ask do we have a model of Whitby lifeboat circa 1935- three foot long and lives on one of the shelves? Because it was made for Michael whose grandfather was instrumental in raising money for Whitby lifeboat. I can't help feeling it should be in Whitby museum.

The builders ended up with 2 spare brackets and they have just (triumphantly) found out where they go.  Now all I have to do is to put all the books back. But actually I am going out to lunch with friends first.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Trip to London

Monday 1st February, the builders arrived and spent the day, shoving the furniture about. The Megado they did not move but wrapped up in plastic sheeting. By the end of the day, all the cracks in the ceiling had been repaired and there had been a lot of making good. I spent Tuesday in London and got back late to find all the electrics had been done in the bathroom  and the new light installed in the kitchen. The first coat of paint is on so it begins to look civilised.

The trip to London with Rosie Price went off very well. Train to London, coffee in Paddington, Rosie arrived from Reading only a few minutes after me, Tube to Handweavers Studio. This is the first time I have visited the new shop and have to report that it is light and airy and full of desirable goodies some of which I had to bring home. The largest white kops are tencel (30/2 and 16/2) which I am going to dye and then, at long last, weave up some of the lovely yarn bought from Just Our Yarns. The difficult bit is going to be selecting a colour to dye the yarn and dyeing with Procion MX dyes. My sister, Dorothy, says she will help when she comes down to help with Michael's coming home. On the right is some more 2/10 cotton (green and yellow) which I need for Margaret Roach Wheeler's course in May. The spools on the left are (from left to right), blue filament silk, ecru Z-twist tencel, blue and aqua Como silk (for binding Japanese books), black high twist wool (52/2). The two fat spools at the front are fancy glitter yarns. I bought some of these years ago when they were at Alexandra Palace and have used it all up weaving fabric for Christmas cards. I have always wanted to try out Z-twist/S-twist weaving. They did not have any matching S-twist but I remembered that I have some 120/2 silk which will do. We spoke to Wendy Morris there who said she had hopes of sourcing some Z and S twist of the same weight from Japan.  So the whole exercise has added several projects to my lengthy list!! Rosie spent a lot of time trying to match yarns and found some really nice yarn.

After an hour (or two) there, we got on a bus, sat in the  front seats upstairs and admired London. unrolling before us.  What a higgledy-piggledy collection of architecture! Got off at St Pauls and walked across the Millenium Bridge to Tate Modern. I had not realised that Rosie was a member so we got into the members Lounge on the 6th floor and ate lunch while looking at the view

How's that for a view from a sandwich bar!!! And yes it was grey and murky.

The building on the left is the one at the extreme right of St Paul's photo.

After rest and recuperation, we viewed some of the galleries. I had not realised just how much there was in Tate Modern, Braques, Picassos, a Dufy (very cheering up), a room full of Andy Warhol, a room full of one oversized table and two chairs. The chair seats were about six foot off the floor. We saw the Thirty Pieces of Silver which is 30 circular collections each of 30 pieces of silver which have  been steam rollered flat and then suspended from the ceiling. It is well-lit from above and so casts very clear shadows on the floor. The silver is cutlery (forks cast nice shadows, teapots, a trombone, silver cake plates, a toast rack. They had trouble flattened a candle stick and clearly abandoned the idea.  Each circle is suspended so it is plane. Must have taken a lot of time to get everything suspended just so.

Rosie realised that we were cutting things fine for me to catch the 1722 home so we scuttled back across the Millenium Bridge - doesn't sway - what a pity. I will admit to sleeping on the train. Got home at 2000 hours.

Today I must try to get through some odd jobs but I have bookbinding this afternoon and the first job is to sort out what endpapers I am going to use and back a piece of my woven silk with fusible lining ready to use as a book cover.

There has been an interesting discussion on Cally Booker's blog about what constitutes publication and whether a blog is publication. I disagree with the HGA ruling that blogging is not publication.


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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.