Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Tied Weaves

I have created a 'unit' which I think will go into 8 shafts. The photo shows a two by two version in Biederwand and yes I know a lot of people count Biederwand and Lampas as double weave but I don't see why. Anyway this is on 8 shafts. 

I have had a great time generating drafts in various forms of Summer and Winter. I don't see any point in putting the drafts here. It will be much more interesting to put photos of the samples here when woven. I have worked out that some threadings will support several different treadlings. So I will warp up in a solid colour over 220 ends and rethread when I have exhausted the possibilities. A four meter warp should be enough.

In the meantime, I am progressing quite fast with the scarf on the space dyed warp.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Fancy Weaves for Caladium Leaves

I have been thinking about caladium leaves again and, in particular, something Bonnie Inouye said some weeks ago about my using a 3&1 and 1&3 twill for caladium leaves. She would use Biederwand.

At that time, I tried using Fibreworks to generate such a draft and failed, ending up with too many shafts, like 60. I was in a hurry then and decided I would go back to it later and simplify the base drawing - as well as inserting a better central section for the leaf. So the photo shows the four drafts which I can do on 32 shafts. I could use other settings for these weaves but only at the expense of simplifying the drawing still further. The weaves are

Top Left Biederwand
Top Right Biederwand Half blocks
Bottom Left 1:4 Lampas stitched
Bottom Right 1:4 Lampas stitched Half Blocks

I like the solid colour on the left. On the other hand, I like the 'wriggly' centre sections on the right.
One good thing about this is that the left hand weaves come from the same threading and the right hand weaves come from a different threading but the same for both types of weave. The left hand weaves take 160 threads while the right hand ones take 95 threads.  So you could have a big leaf if you warped up  the LH ones with cotton at 24 epi. With 90/2 silk at 60 epi, the LH width would be 3 inches!!! Wouldn't that be great?

I certainly do not understand these weaves yet but have set myself the task of doing so over the coming winter. The Voyager will be off on loan to a beginning weaver next week and the Megado has a tencel curtain warp waiting for me. So I will warp up the Louet Kombo on 8 shafts and start sampling soon on some simple rectangular shapes.

Remember this is just aimed at perfecting weaves of caladium leaves!!! But I see improve-ments!!!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Results of Dyeing Day

This is the silk square scarf which I machine stitched then put in the indigo vat. It had just been ironed before the photo but looks as though that had never happened! I will wash it again and press dry when damp.

These are possible covers for books. The two lower ones are calico which I like for book covers - a nice stout fabric. The one on the right was dipped in the indigo vat for 30 seconds to provide a pale blue background rather than stark white. Now I see the results, I prefer the white.

The two calico pieces were crunched into a tight ball and tied up tightly with raffia  before being immersed in indigo.

The cotton piece at the top was pleated and then tied up - not nearly so interesting. I am thinking of machine embroidery on top of this. Perhaps I can do something with it at the Bournville class which starts next Friday. Annette Lucas (she of the outstanding millinery) is running the course on 'Creative Textiles'. It may be that the emphasis is wrong for me but I am working on the assumption that, if I learn how to organise a sketch book like hers, the course will be useful.
These are five skeins of tapestry wool dyed for 2 minutes, 4 minutes etc. They have come out much darker than the lot done at the start of August. In fact everything has come out darker. The Friday dyeing was done with natural indigo and Spectralite whereas the day at the Guild was done with synthetic indigo and sodium dithionite. Why change a winning formula, I say. I will stick to natural indigo + spectralite in future.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Coptic Book IV

Here is a book bound in Coptic style with end bands. It does make the book much sturdier and the pages still lie flat when opened. It is not perfect. The proportions are not right. I think the holes in the cover for the end bands should have been 5 mm nearer the top and bottom edges.  The height of the book is 140 mm. And it is untidy inside because you can see where I have finished off the thread. I must re-read Keith Smith's books and see if there are any hints there. But on the whole it is not bad seeing that I did it from a single photo of a finished book. The cover is of Japanese printed cotton.

All the dyed yarns and fabrics have been washed and are drying. I am glad to have completed those two books this week as I must warp up tomorrow.

Friday, 27 August 2010

A Day for Dyeing

We held a dyeing day today in our garage. An indigo vat was present and a lot of acid dyeing was also done. Here are some results. The two pieces of cotton on the left were done by Linda Scurr who brought the fabric along all tied up ready. I like the one second from the left which was pleated, then folded, then tied.

The yellow skeins on the right are Rosie Price's skeins dyed with Yellow Ochre acid dye to go with some lovely space dyed mohair she has. A jacket is intended.

The calico pieces in the middle are mine - more pieces for book binding. I put the rightmost piece back in the vat to get a pale blue background rather than white. It came out a fraction too dark when done but I can live with that
This is Linda standing by her dyeing and looking pleased with it. The top rail of the drying rack holds the tops dyed by Jackie Prohnert. All she has to do now is spin it all up!

Linda dipped a number of identical skeins of wool into the indigo vat for different amounts of time. This shows the wide range of blues which are possible.

And this is a square silk scarf which I machine stitched and gathered up in pleats. It is semi-transparent and the wire rack is showing through which spoils the picture a bit.

I have got some other items dyed in indigo and also some acid dyeing. But it is all locked up in the garage drying. Tomorrow I will wash everything and by Sunday I should be warping up.

It was a great day with lots of laughter and far too much food. We had a bottle of champagne for lunch.  A lovely day.

I will keep the indigo vat and re-use it in another month or so.

New Japanese Style Book

This is a new Japanese style book. The paper inside is khadi  handmade paper bought from Art Van Go at the Festival of Quilts. The cover is cotton fabric dyed by me and the binding thread is variegated silk from Oliver Twist. This is the Tortoise Shell pattern for binding. I usually put the holes into the book using a bodger or brad awl which gives a good fit to the needle and thread but not when there are so many threads going into a hole. Memo to self - Drill the main holes out next time. It was a real fight to get the needle through the hole and  the thread broke when I was nearly at the end.Hence the tails outside the book instead of inside.

The garage is very clean, floor swept , things put away. The indigo dye solution has been made. When I did this last, I used chemical indigo and noticed that I had no trouble with mixing it. This time I am using natural indigo and  it is very gritty. I remember using an indigo vat at someone's else studio where the vat was gritty at the bottom and finding that I got small spots of intense blue if the yarn picked up one of these little gritty bits. If it is no better this morning, I will strain the indigo dye solution through butter muslin.

I have a Coptic binding ready to go but want to include a endband. This is sewn on top and bottom of the spine and helps to stabilise the book. Unfortunately I can find photos but no instructions even though I spent some time searching the web last night. So I am going it alone! But not till tomorrow. Today is a dyeing day with friends.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Tidying Up

Tha garage has been swept clean of spiders and there has been a substantial trip to the tip with cardboard boxes and the like. I have even phoned up Worcester NHS and asked them to come and take away some of Michael's equipment which he no longer needs. The Calor Gas stove is up and running but I have to re arrange the equipment to make it more convenient to access. And the floor needs sweeping. The indigo dye solution needs to be made up.

The entries for EXOTICA at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens have had hanging dowels inserted. Each dowel is slightly shorter than the pocket it sits in and has a metal eyelet screwed into each end. This idea came from Sandra Rude. It is hardly visible and the suspension wires or cords go vertically. The organisers also wanted a label sewn on the back and a separate label on a piece of string. The trouble with this exhibiting lark is that every organisation has a different set of posting/packing/labelling requirements.

So today's jobs are
  • finish off in the garage
  • make up the indigo dye solution
  • finish off the last example of Japanese book binding. The paper and the covers are ready
  • finish off a Coptic bound book. Again the papers and the covers are ready but I may try a fancier form of stitching
That should do for today!

Monday, 23 August 2010

These are two bucket bags for the loom bench with the Megado. They are intended for parking shuttles et cetera. The Megado is a bit short of places to put things. The top of the castle is large but small things tend to bounce off after a long session of weaving. The fabric of the bags is the network drafted trials on the end of the Caladium Leaves warp. Both use the same draft but one weft is yellow and the other dark blue.

The handles are wide ribbon from the ribbon stash.

I have been preparing for a day's dyeing next Friday. I had some yarn skeined up for the indigo vat ten days ago which was not used and I have prepared another 5 section warp to be space dyed in blue and green. I have a lot of fine merino indigo dyed which will do nicely as a weft. I have also started on a tidy up in the garage. I think getting rid of the spiders and their webs is tomorrow's job.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Printing with an Arabesque

So this is it printed. It is sized for an A5 book so that one motif appears on the front cover and one on the back. I printed the right hand one first, then got the mirror image by folding the cloth about the centre line and using the excess ink on the image to get the mirror image. I did another piece of cloth first and got the centreline wrong - not showing that one.

This is a larger piece of cloth for an A4 book. I printed the image on both front and back, being very careful about the position. Then when it was folded in half to take the second printing, this  image appeared. It looks as though it was carefully planned - it was just serendipity.

The three pieces of cloth are drying at the moment while I catch up with the tidying up. I have not even got things into the right room yet!

I have decided I am displeased with the indigo scarf and will do another one immediately with acid dyes. I see that I have entered the indigo scarf for the Royal Berkshire Show at Newbury next month and actually mentioned it was indigo dyed. I wonder if they will notice if it turns up acid dyed? I think I would rather be disqualified than enter something I was ashamed of.

I have realised that I have a lot of merino which was dyed in the indigo vat for use as weft so I am thinking of a green/blue space dyed warp. Memo to self, the weft always tones down colours so space dye using really dark blue and green.

Yet More

This is my 'improvement' on the prison bars. I drew a shape on white paper, cut it out, scanned it in and used Photoshop to place the image on a photo. Added a mirror image and then changed the colour - several times. I am not decided about colour yet. Possibly red/brown, possibly purple. This shape will be suitable for two pieces of fabric which are sized for  A5 books. The third piece of fabric which needs attention is bigger and suitable for an A4 book. I am not sure this motif is suitable. 

The indigo-dyed scarf was finished last night and I have wound the fringes and finished it off. It is not yet washed. The warp reversals are visible. I am coming to the conclusion that this technique would be better done with an acid dye space dyed technique.  And I might just do another one as I intend to do some dyeing this week. I must just think of a colour combination which is not orange/green/yellow/brown for space dyeing. I need to wind a warp first. 

In any case you can't wear an indigo scarf as you might end up with blue marks on your neck.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

More on 'THE' Course

Here are a few of my pieces. I threw another two away although I tried to wash the paint out, it left too much mess. So I have ended up with eleven pieces, three of which need 'improving'.

Here is the fish stencil. I used this two years ago to paint on a white silk warp but firstly the silk paint wicked and secondly it was very feeble in colour when woven. I like this - but unless I can think of some way of dealing with the plain white background, it won't do for a book. Wrong size and shape. Over dye it in pale blue and green?

The upper half of the photo on the left is what came home from Birmingham. The green bits were stamped on to the fabric and are very unnoticeable. So I used a fabric crayon in green to strengthen the green patches of colours (lower half of photo) and that has made it more interesting. I might use it now.

This is the one I like best. It will look good as a book cover - used the other way up.
The ones I am thinking of improving are three with what Michael calls 'prison bars' across them. Perhaps a large arabesque screen printed on in red? I will try that out tomorrow. Now I must go and get ready for this party we are goign to.

Even More Amazing

Above are a few samples from the class (9 in all) tutored by Rayna Gillman at the Festival of Quilts. A deal of screen printing, creating our own screens, stamping, painting. The crucial point is that lots of different techniques are used on one piece of fabric so there is a layering effect.
Here a few pieces by my sister, Dorothy.
Finally a load by me. The one at the top right has been painted with gold paint, as has the stencilled fish at the bottom right. I will be ironing all my pieces today to set them and will post pictures of a few then. I must have about 10 pieces of fabric - but I gave three or four to Dorothy because she likes spares to practise on. Everyone have produced a similar kind of number.
Rayna is a 'Show' teacher, that is, you get to see what she means rather than being told in words. She is the kind of teacher who appears at your elbow when you have just decided you don't know what to do next. And there were great class discussions on single works.

Friday I went to two lectures, viewed the quilts and did a little shopping, bought a lot of paper! But gave up at 1530 and went home through some bad traffic and sat around till betime telling Michael all about the week.

I never even unpacked last night so that is today's job. In fact a general clean up is required.

Oh and we are going to a party today.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Class with Rayna Gillman

Yesterday I got to the NEC in record time. Since nothing but a few classes were on, there were 4 cars in the carpark!! I had managed to get everything in our gigantic wheelie suitcase and so arrived at the class before 0930!! The class started on Tuesday and so there was lots to see. I fear I was so busy during the day that I took no photos but Rayna Gillman has some photos from Tuesday on her blog.  I will be away over night tonight so won't post again until Saturday when I promise to post some photos! Yesterday's outing has had one great advantage - I was so physically tired last night that I slept very well. Maybe I need to dig up the garden in order to get some sleep!!

The documentation for Annette Lucas's course on 'Creative Textiles' has come. Plenty to think about before classes start in September. She wants the class to think about designing a garment  as 'Wearable Art'. Is this an opportunity to use some of the yardage from the Kaleidoscope Exhibition? The idea of cutting up my Convergence 2010 yardage is anathema as yet! It has, by the way, returned from the States this week.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Well! How Amazing!!

I went to the one-day class on Orthodox Binding today taught by Anne Yevtukh who is Ukrainian. I did wonder how we were going to get binding one book in 6.5 hours. The answer is the tutor does most of the work! The materials on the left were what was ready for us when we arrived  at 10 o'clock - note the book block cut, sewn, backed and corded, not to mention having had its back rounded.  

And this was what I finished up with. As I have said already, 'How amazing!!'

There were 5 in the class where all were keen on bookbinding and eager to learn more.

And here are a selection of books made by the tutor. Your can catch her here on her site.

Monday, 16 August 2010


All of the above has to be taken inside the NEC in Birmingham for the three day course and I know the car park is miles from the class room so I have to get everything into a wheeled suitcase. And I don't see how!!! Well, that is tomorrow night's problem. The course on Orthodox Binding is tomorrow.

My sister, Dorothy, has been here and we spent a lot of time sorting out and looking out things which we might take to the NEC class. This afternoon we went to Stonehouse to see an exhibition of quilts at Abigail's Crafts,. She agrees with me that the choice of fabric available there is exceptional. Of course I acquired some more!! This one was a present from Dorothy. She knows what I like!  If I size the books right, I should get two book covers out of it.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Wiltshire Guild

Yesterday I went down to Bradford-on-Avon (the South side of Bath) to see the Wiltshire Guild Annual Show - and to see Jackie Prohnert. The Show was held in the West Barn right beside the famous Tithe Barn. The West Barn would count as quite large except when seen next to the Tithe Barn which is enormous. The photos show the exterior and interior of the West Barn and some rather nice dyed silk which I bought. There was plenty to see, a lot of silk scarves, and woollen rugs all woven to a high standard. A lot of handspun mostly knitted up in cardigans, jumpers, hats, mitts et cetera. There is a sales table packed with small items like teddy bears, felted brooches, braids, skeins of handspun. With 70 members in the Guild, I find it difficult to see how they can keep this up year after year!! And I was told that they don't like items to be submitted two years running. They like everything for sale to be done in the last 12 months.

All very interesting and I guess a lot of work. There were at least four members of the Guild present when I was there and there must have been one or two upstairs teaching spinning. The Show is on from Tuesday to Saturday.

After that, it was time for lunch in a cafe at the Tithe Barn which was good and conversation with Jackie which was better. We had a discussion on guilt which I have been thinking about. I always thought this was my Church of Scotland in the 50s upbringing but not so. I now wonder if it is women who worked and are of a certain age group. Really I should have stayed at home and looked after husband, home and children - in that order. Now the habit of guilt is ingrained.  Michael goes to the Hospice on alternate Fridays. What happens if I am away and he wants to come home early? Shouldn't I be at home to receive him just in case? And in any case, what right have I to enjoy myself when he is so ill?  You can get in a real intellectual mess quite quickly.

I suspect that the one thing that keeps me sane is textiles. I can think about them without leaving the house. And do them of course. The indigo dyed warp is a real treat and will be threaded and sleyed today. 

The other thing that has kept me busy this week is becoming editor of The Shuttle which is the Newsletter of Kennet Valley Guild. The major problems are to do with me not being good at WORD. We always use FrameMaker here which is a much superior package for publishing and I can deal with that in my sleep. I could translate everything into that format and just do it in FrameMaker.  But a problem will arise  when someone takes over from me because FrameMaker is an expensive package with a steep learning curve. So I have gritted my teeth, allowed myself to swear, and done it in WORD.   So far so good albeit with a lot of swearing at midnight.

Friday, 13 August 2010


I have read two interesting books recently.

The first is 'The Art of the Islamic Garden' by Emma Clark (ISBN 978 1 84797 204 0). I expected this to be a historical description plus quotations, plans and pictures. To a certain extent it is although there is far too heavy a reliance on the gardens of Alhambra. But mostly it is about designing an Islamic garden for the UK and in particular the Prince of Wales's garden. I don't particularly want to do that.  The whole book feels not quite right  somehow but I can't identify what I find disturbing. It is well written and has lots of quotes and photos.   I'd have thought this was a minority interest.

The second is 'Doubleweave' by Jennifer Moore which has just been published by Interweave (ISBN 978-1-59668-179-8). I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. She does concentrate on floor looms with treadles but what she has to say is clear and well illustrated, lots of close-up photos of woven examples. The book contains a number of projects which would be very useful if you were starting out on double weave. I gave up trying to design calladium leaves in double weave but, because of her explanations, I am encouraged to try again.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Course with Rayna Gillman

This is a scan of the bundled-up cotton which I tie-dyed in the indigo vat on Saturday. Now washed and ironed, the structure reminds me of ice crystals.  It will make a great book cover.

Next week is the NEC Quilt Show in Birmingham and my sister, Dorothy, is coming down to attend lectures and a 3-day course on 'Creative Cloth' with Rayna Gillman who wrote a fantastic book on that topic. Dorothy knew I thought highly of the book and persuaded me to attend as well. So I have started collecting the things I need to take with me - all laid out on the garage table. I decided I would take the two pieces of indigo-dyed cotton to do further work on and also three pieces of the cotton I space dyed some weeks ago. 

These have been ironed and rolled up round a cardboard tube. I managed to find 'the fish stencil', which I bought years ago. I would love to use it again. It is about 12 inches square. But the only way of getting all this stuff to the class room has to be a wheeled suitcase!

In addition to all this next week, I am going to a one-day class on Bookbinding at the local Technical College. This is about 'Orthodox  Bookbinding' as in 'Coptic Bookbinding'. I am not even too sure what the distinguishing features of Orthodox bookbinding are.  I have an image of a carved ivory book cover or one made of carved wood  with painted gesso additions! I'll report further when I know more!!

I have started warping up the Voyager with the indigo tie-dyed wool. The wool is really nice quality - 2-ply from Texere. I need the scarf completed by the September Guild meeting  and, in any case, I have to warp up for a course on Network Drafting with Alice Schlein near the end of September.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Indigo Dyeing

Five skeins of 4-ply wool from Texere dyed in indigo by Mary Jarvis. She very kindly did this for me last Saturday. All five skeins were dipped for one minute, taken from the vat, one laid aside then four dipped for 1 minute and so on. The colour gradation is very gentle. I have another five skeins of a different wool to do for Michael (this is all for tapestry). But he thinks a greater gradation would be good. I am thinking of another indigo vat in a week or two as there are several items I did not get round to.

Everything I dyed has been washed and dried. Yesterday I tidied up, winding balls and so on. One big problem was a skein of cheviot whose ties disappeared and left me with a pile of curly stuff. I did get it all wound on to bobbins. I wonder how it will weave up. Will it be a collapse weave?  I hope to put the tie-dyed warp on to the Voyager soon. 

I took over being editor of the Shuttle last weekend and need to get the next issue to the printer in the next few days but of course I could not access the Shuttle email and could not read previous versions of the Shuttle - due to not having a truly up-to-date Vista version of WORD. With Rachel Marsh's help (the previous editor), that was all sorted out last night and I stayed up to past midnight editting and wondering where the content was going to come from. Got up early this morning and worked on the photos in Photoshop but am not finished. I must get on!!!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Alan Plater

We have always been keen on Alan Plater and Michael recently bought 'The Beiderbecke Tapes' on DVD. We are watching one episode per evening - I had forgotten it was so funny. Now all I have to do is to lay my hands on a copy of Trinity Tales, Alan Plater's take on 'The Canterbury Tales'

I have in our cellars the technical files for 26 years worth of engineering work and decided that they will have to go so today a firm came round and removed 10 sackfulls for destruction - and I have only got to 1989!! I am going to be at this job for some time.

But between these pastimes, I have wound several skeins of Tencel on to cardboard cylinders ready for warping up the Megado. The warp is stripes of two different space dyed yarns from Just Our Yarns. The weft is a lurid pink Tencel (dyed with (Procion MX by me). I have decided that the pattern will be a 3 and 1 broken twill so that only a little lurid pink shows on the front surface. In preparation for all this, I assembled the roller temple yesterday and set out to mount it but found that there are problems. The position of the Megado breast beam and its supports is different when under tension with a warp!!! So I will put the warp on and then mount the roller  temple.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Madder.Weld and Indigo

Complex Weavers has a different piece of weaving on its introductory page every month and I keep an eye on this. It was quite aback-taking to open up the website last night and find myself staring at Bali H'ai, one of my South Pacific series!!! Well, well.
Yesterday was 'Dyeing in the Churchyard at Kennet Valley Guild. Here you can see, on the extreme left, the Burco boiler in which I brewed up an indigo vat, two spindriers , a rack of indigo dyed pieces and a grave stone.

I don't do an indigo vat often enough and suffer from severe fear each time. 'Will it work this time?'. I made up the indigo solution on Friday and took it with me in a sealed container. There was 600 ml of the stuff and the container travelled inside a bucket wedged in the boot of the car.  I got to Newbury at 1000 hours, started boiling up at once and inserted a cotton strip at 1130. Not many people had used indigo and a circle of dismayed faces looked at this pale green cotton strip when I took it out. It turned blue before our eyes and there were gasps. After that there was a queue. The shibori cotton fabric (from Sue Hayes) took indigo very well and turned a very attractive dark blue. 

Most of the dying was of skeins of silk or wool but there was some fibre (lower left) and some pieces of cotton fabric. At the upper left of this photo, there is a very dark skein of wool which has been dipped four or five times.

This is 100% cotton, rolled up roughly into a tight ball and tied very tightly with raffia, then dyed, only dipped twice. This is for book covers. I am wondering about overdying the piece on the right but I may feel different when it has been washed and ironed.

And this shows some of the results from the natural dyeing which was also going on using madder and weld. The dark green was the result of weld followed by a dip in the indigo vat. That dyeing was done by Ros Wilson.

I have brought home lots of skeins, some were not dry and are hung up in the garage. Today I will rinse everything and hang the lot up in the garage.

Verdict on day:- lots of people went home happy. But while the Burco boiler was fine, it was very large and I had only made up enough indigo for 8 litres of water. That really was not deep enough. I need to make up 16 litres. Memo to self. Indigo dyeing is not really that difficult and I should do it more often. I have all the necessary gear (not the Burco boiler!!) and, in any case, I never got round to dyeing everything I took with me, so there are prepared skeins.

Rosie Price has returned from the States after Convergence 2010 full of stories and bearing several things for me. A skein of lavender tencel/merino from Giovanna Imperia to go with the two I got in Tampa Bay. I have a great project for these three skeins. Peggy Osterkamp's new book 'Weaving for Beginners'. I hear great things about this. And various CD/DVDS including one about tapestry weaving by several individuals in New Mexico. I have not had a chance to hear all her stories yet. And when I got home, there was a package from my niece, Cally Booker who has also just returned from Convergence 2010, sending me a catalogue of the miniature tapestries and some really nice cards. 

A happy day. In addition to all this, the Kuala Lumpur lot are staying with us and today (Sunday) we have a conference call arranged to a travel expert in KL to organise a trip to North East Malaysia when I visit in November. Air tickets have been bought, and upgraded to Club class, day by day itinerary planned.  Last time I went to KL, I had to beg for a half day off to have a rest. This time will be no different. I must try to find out if there is any handmade paper about in Malaysia. 

At the moment, there is nothing on any loom!! I will put the indigo tie-dyed warp on the Voyager but intend to take advantage of Robin (son-in-law) being here to install the roller temple on the Megado today. Then the tencel curtain will get woven.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Japanese Style Books (4)

The last two Japanese style books. I created some graphics based on plum blossom and printed them on labels to do a proper style of label. The idea is that you write the title in your best calligraphic hand on the blank part of the label.  The book at the top left is covered in cotton fabric with red Canson Ingres inside . The book itself is various handmade papers. The lower right one is paper - I know not where it came from but the sheet was a very odd size.

Inside the cover is a very nice red-brown paper with small sprays of flowers - again no idea where it came from.
I had a collection yesterday and located as much paper as possible but I am still missing some. Where for instance, is the paper which is an old map of Virginia? A precious piece did surface after several years of being missing. That was bought in a wonderful shop in den Haag and has rows of cocktail glasses on it. - nearly full size. I am waiting for the perfect book to use that - not a recipe book. A travel journal for a visit to New York? 

 I have not mentioned the garden for some time. It has been getting on with things - like the biggest crop of soft fruit since we moved in here and a huge of crop of pears on the way. These are now wrapped up against the birds/squirrels. They can have the cobnuts but not the pears or red currants. The fuschias have been very good this year and the hibiscus is doing very well. This is only half-hardy and so is tucked into a south facing corner. Despite the very cold winter, it is doing well. It is quite a young plant - we had flowers on it last year for the first time. As you can see, it is thriving.

A close up is below. Lots more flowers to come

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Japanese Style Books (3)

Now that I have fabric pasted to paper in a satisfactory manner, the Japanese style books can be made up. Various styles of binding are shown 3, 4 and 5-hole as well as a 4-hole Kangxi which is the brown one with gold silk binding thread standing up at the back. These are blank books made of handmade paper except for the red cloth one on the left. The next one is also covered in cloth while the other two have paper covers (Canson Ingres). I need to do some labels.

Another view of the bindings.

This is the one with the red cloth binding. The paper is Chinese water colour paper which is so lightweight, it has to be folded so that the fold is at the fore-edge of the book. The drawings are all stencils of caladium leaves done in oil pastels.

I have two more to do. The covers are made and one set of contents is ready. The last one needs some paper. I have prepared some paper for a Coptic binding too.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

SHEEP 2010

Today I had a great time. The Sheep Show is held in Malvern at the Three counties Showground every few years and it is a serious affair. There are not many hangers-on about. Lots of sheep, collies and shepherds. To give a flavour, here is the list of talks in one of the marquees. It was packed out when I stuck my head in.

Lots of people selling sheep pens, fencing (there was a fencing competition under way too), medication for all sorts of unspeakable diseases, people selling software to record your crosses, shears, things for doing their toe nails. Even someone selling spinning wheels.

Here is Linda Scurr at her stand with 100 skeins each of a different breed of British sheep. There was a steady stream of inquiries, even wanting to buy the felt portrait of her cat. We enjoyed the ice-cream stand (almost next door) whose unique feature is that all the ice-cream is made with sheep's milk.

A few of the attendees.
And two skeins of Leicester Longwool space dyed pink. How could I resist?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Five completed cotton pieces on to bank paper. I have had mixed success with this procedure previously so this time faithfully followed the method shown in this link. Except that I used wheat starch paste and bank paper and not methyl cellulose paste and kozo paper. It went off very well.  I found that, by the third one, I had got a lot more efficient. Now I need to make some books up!! I have had paper waiting in piles, folded, cut and pressed for at least 6 weeks so some time soon. One of the piles has a whole lot of artwork on it.

But today is still a tidying up day. I have written up the caladium leaves/birds/network draft with copies of drafts, samples of yarns et cetera. There is a lot on this week and I must get my yarn ready for next Saturday's Indigo Vat. I promised Michael I would do some samples of tapestry wool for him, skeins have been wound, five each of two different yarn types. 

The last thing to be done is to wind a warp or rather five identical small warps with a cross at each end. These will be tied together and  tie-dyed for indigo. After it has been dipped to a nice mid-blue,  half the ties will be undone and the whole lot dipped again until the first dipping is dark blue and the second mid-blue.  When dry, the bundle will be undone, and two of the small warps reversed and then it all will be warped up. I tried this method before but found that it did not look very inspiring because I had made all the tied sections about the same length. So how to see before hand? I used EXCEL to generate Random numbers which added up to a length which was appropriate - 56 inches in this case.

Then coloured in squared paper with two shades of blue, cut the paper lengthwise into 5 equal widths, reversed two and Voila! It does mean the tying up has to be done from the centre of the warp or it will not reverse properly. So I am off to wind five warps.

By the way, this page came from my day book. First time a page has ever been transferred from that to my blog. 

Did I say I have done all the accounts over the weekend? In particular, since I stopped work last October, I have come off the VAT system but there was a final round of paperwork to finish that off. All done and posted. Now all I have to do is get rid of 25 years of paperwork! Might just send for a shredding company.


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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.