Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Yardage Completed

The yardage is off the loom. It is not yet washed and felted. The section on the left of the photo shows the reverse of the fabric. There is quite a lot of it and I will have to lay out a pattern to see whether I can get a coat out of it.

Yesterday I was exhausted at the end of the day.

1) I completed the special issue of the Shuttle and emailed it to the printer. He raised two queries and I changed those and emailed it back. Since then silence.

2) I set about the Exhibition to be held in October/November. This meant typing out lists of  entries for the Rainbow of Scarves and the cushions, realising that I was short of complete data and emailing everyone to get it. A lot of people have replied but not everyone.
3) I selected photos of the looms at the Newbury Coat event. Linda Scurr is writing two articles, one for Handwoven!! Fame at last.
4) I created a new A1 poster on the topic of the Newbury Coat in 2011

The Guild seems to have taken up a lot of life recently. I did see to the Diversified Plain Weave draft for the next thing on the Megado. The draft is done but tonight I need to check through the calculations of how much yarn I need. I am off to Oxford in a few minutes to visit teh Ashmolean so the ordering cannot be done until tomorrow anyway.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Natural Dyes

I used to think of natural dyed yarn as being sludge green, sludge brown. sludge yellow. Not in the hands of the Guild's resident guru, Ros Wilson.

When I had finished weaving all the cushions, I looked at what was left and decided I had to use it now. Otherwise it would disappear upstairs in the stash and never be seen again. I had a ghost warp on  the Megado for the cushions and used that and designed the stripes according to what I had left!! By itself, the warp is very rich and dark. The weft is undyed yarn and lightens the fabric a lot. Click on the photo to see a closer view. I intend to put the fabric through the washing machine to felt it but only a little! I will have a little less than 4 metres and the width will probably be 19 inches. I don't think that will be enough to get a coat out of. It is weaving up very fast and I must stop and consider the Diversified Plain Weave Project so that I can order up yarn tomorrow if it is needed.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


This is Compton Verney, where the Capability Brown exhibition is currently on  and this is a Capability Brown landscape, park land with old and large conifers, winding lake, bridges.

Perfect of its kind. So why was I disappointed in the exhibition? I ruminated about this all the way home (80 minutes) and decided it was because I had expected something quite different. Many years ago, I went to an exhibition about Humphrey Repton. Repton presented his clients with a leather bound book - landscape format - which contains drawings of the estate as it was plus  fold out overlays which showed what it would look like if his suggestions were accepted. It was fascinating and obviously a good piece of PR.  And that was what I thought I would see. But Brown did not work that way and, as far as I can see, wrote a letter to each potential client describing what changes he would make. He had a reputation for fulfilling his commissions so I guess he was trusted.

The exhibition did have some maps but they were hung way above my head. Mostly it was portraits of his customers. By far the most interesting part of the exhibition was the collection of surveying instruments of the time, a theodolite, a real chain.

Progress is good on the cushion-making front. I have now done nine with two to go. This  one was not woven by me but by Dennis Walker. On which topic, I got ticked off about that by two Guild members. They said (quite correctly) that, if they had asked me to make up their cushions, I would have told them how to do it and said 'get on with it'. 'You are only doing it for Dennis because he's a man'. Quite true but he did not ask. I asked him if he would like me to make them up. I don't think he has a sewing machine anyway. Sort of reverse something-or-other. Nice bit of weaving though.

I need to get the last two done this afternoon as I want the  table back to wind the next warp on. And the Shuttle issue for the Newbury Coat has been proof-read (Thank you , Bob Shepherd). I need a corrected page from Linda Scurr and can put it to bed.

I had a big shock yesterday when I got an email bringing to my attention the fact that I have a deadline of October 15th for some weaving. Yes I have created a draft, yes I have thought about. No I did not remember!!!  But I can double up and get some pieces for turning into cards at the same time. A bit of careful design is required. It will have to be done by the end of September before I leave for Japan.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Newbury Coat - I'm Dead

The Newbury Coat issue was finished and despatched to Linda Scurr for checking. So that was done last night and I spent the next couple of hours, changing things and filling in the gaps. I got it all done and emailed it out to someone who is going to proof read it (he used to be a proof reader). So today will be my own and I think I will go and see the Capability Brown exhibition as the weather is set fair.

I I made up five of the cushions yesterday and this morning. These are the ones with a mid-blue indigo warp and various natural dyed wefts. I still have five more cushions to do! Two have a dark blue indigo weft. Although I have some matching cotton for the cushion backs, I have no matching sewing thread. So they will have to wait till I get to a suitable shop. I also have three cream/natural warp ones to do and will set about them later today.

Now the Newbury Coat issue of the Shuttle is about finished, I have been thinking about the exhibition in October/November and realised that I have a bit to do there. Mostly emailing everyone about labelling and collection. But also Chris Fletcher and I agreed to make cards up for sale and I intended to weave some more DPW  which I wanted to do on the Megado. It will be practice for the entry for Small Expressions but it needs to be done soon!! So it is time to put the last bit of the cushion yarn onto the Megado. I have designed it, just have to wind the warp and get it on. Isn't it strange how you set out on a project and work backwards through the things that must be done first and end up with having to turn out a couple of cupboards or similar?

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Newbury Coat - Not dead yet.

I have spent a lot of this week putting together a copy of the Shuttle which is a special issue devoted to the Newbury Coat. Yesterday the text was declared (by me) to be finished and I started on the photos. This morning I got up at 5 am and finished at 10 am without a break of any sort. The photos had to be selected, cropped, adjusted, have the image  resized. In some cases, I did a Photoshop amalgamation of 3 or 4 photos on to one page, wrote text on each photo crediting the photographer. At 10 am, the postman appeared at the door and there was I still in pyjamas, unwashed, uncombed, unkempt, unbreakfasted and un-rubbish-collected. I forgot about that. The rubbish sacks  have to be on the street before 0830. Bother.  And I have a page too many. So I shovelled the responsibility onto Linda Scurr and gave her a choice of  what to eliminate.  

Add to that a request to produce artwork for a poster in short order. Well I suppose now is as good a time as any. But I have spent 6 hours with Photoshop and don't feel like sitting in front of a computer any more today.

I was thinking of going to an exhibition on Capability Brown today as light relief but it is raining hard  and rain is forecast to continue until tomorrow morning. And what is the Met Office doing predicting snow tonight? I do not feel like driving for more than an hour each way  through rain. So maybe tomorrow afternoon.

So I shall make up the cushions today. And if I have time warp up the Voyager with the high twist yarn I have. The new heddles came yesterday and I installed them. Amazing how easy and trouble-free it was without a warp on!!!!  

Yesterday I had someone in to help me clean the house. This involved me working hard in the morning getting things put away. And working hard in the afternoon as she washed her way through the kitchen cupboards, exclaiming at the number of things years past  their Best By date. She was quite triumphant when she came across a bottle with Best By 2004 on it. 

Whatever happens now, I need a rest!!!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Last Two Cushions

I have tied on the dark indigo warp to the ghost warp and woven two cushion fronts for Ros Wilson, our esteemed natural dyer who dyed all 33 cushion wefts to order. She choose to have a dark indigo warp and a madder weft and I was very dubious about the colour choice . It seemed like a very dark combination. I take it back. It has ended very classy. The above  photo shows it unwashed but that will be done today. 

I have so much dyed wool left that I have decided to tie on yet another warp and weave enough for a long jacket. I intend to felt it more than I felted the cushions. I had a nasty moment when I could not find my cone of undyed yarn to use as weft but eventually tripped over it in the upstairs room - partially under the desk. Which tells you that 6 weeks of not being here or paying attention to textiles has left the upstairs room full of stuff to be put away. So I did put everything away and surfaces have re-appeared. I have done some calculations on how much yarn I need for the warp and will wind that as soon as the Newbury Coat report is completed. My Mayday call to the Guild has produced lots of nice inputs and my job for today is to put these all together.

Yesterday afternoon, I washed out the cold frame with Jeyes fluid. The metalwork was gleaming at the end. I did not rinse the Jeyes fluid off as sitting overnight has to be bad for the bugs! So today I will wash it down and reassemble it. The poor thing was been much neglected over the last three years. I want it ready to take plants if we have another bad winter. In the meantime, I do feel virtuous.

The other job for today is to add more heddles to the Voyager. I needed more heddles on Shaft 2 and attempted to do this with a warp on. A very bad idea. I ended up with fewer heddles on Shaft 2, not more. So I bought 200 heddles and will take the thing apart and and make up all the shafts to the same number of heddles. I have a warp prepared for it which is an experiment. S and Z twist and high twist in black and white. I have read about the effects you can get and am curious about this.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Another Completed Project

Some weeks ago I showed a piece of batik which I had done under my sister's supervision. It has been pinned up on the board waiting for mbe to think of something to do with it. I thought the white lines where the soy wax had been washed out needed something doing to them. So this morning, I quilted it!! A first for me. I quilted through the sandwich of backing/wadding/cottonbatik  with green and red thread where the wax had been. That means the outline of the leaves and the stems and veins. I shall use it on the dining room table. It is 15 by 25 inches. The next project is to tie on the dark indigo warp to the ghost warp on the Megado.

I got up early and editted all the contributions for the Newbury Coat document which have come in since I sent out a general MayDay call yesterday. I have two or three more promised for tomorrow.

I have been carrying out Jette Clover's (tutor at the NEC FOQ) idea of doing a piece of collage every morning. I have selected three different sorts of coloured paper and have out them plus a load of postcards (cut from a cheap TESCO watercolour pad) into a wire basket. Every morning, first thing, a create a new postcard sized collage. They are turning out interesting. The first few days were different arrangements of the same components. But I find myself having thoughts about during the day and the last two are much improved. One of them I would be happy to turn into a piece of fabric. Interesting. When the month is over, I will take a photo of the lot and show it here.

Monday, 22 August 2011

No Projects Again Today

Today has been devoted to preparing the next issue of  the Shuttle, the quarterly Newsletter of Kennet Valley Guild. It is an issue with a  single topic, the Newbury Coat weekend.  So there was much revamping of formats, re-ordering of material and finding out that, while I have a lot of material, there are obvious lacunae. Much telephoning and fawning emails. Especially since I have to have the proof ready (and that means proof-read) by next weekend. I have not started on selecting photos yet as  I thought it better to get the text together. And in the middle of all this, I get an email forwarded by my niece, Cally Booker, from Handwoven who want to do an article about said Newbury Coat. Fame at last!  Actually it turned out that they wanted to do an interview. So I hastily 'persuaded' Linda Scurr who organised the Newbury Coat  weekend that she needed to do the interview and returned to my grovelling emails.

I spent the afternoon sorting out the warp of a student weaver. The loom arrived with a tangled mass of cotton attached and left with a nice neat tied-on warp ready for weaving.

No textiles at all today unless I start now but I feel more like a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

Last night I went with a friend to the Malvern Theatres Complex to see a High-Definition  Live Showing of an opera, The Turn of the Screw, from Glyndebourne. The screen was enormous and you really had the impression of the stage being right there. It was a fantastic production and performance. Michael thought that it was all in the governess's mind but I never thought so and last night it was played for real, as real as a ghost story can be. My friend, Joyce, was bowled over and admitted that she did not like Britten but thought last night was wonderful and has changed her mind. I must get her to Billy Budd or Peter Grimes.  I have persuaded her that she needs to go to Glyndebourne next summer!! In addition we have signed up to go to two further performances of opera done the same way, this time from the Met.

Now for that cup of tea.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

No Projects Today

No textile work at all today. Instead a massive tidy up in the Megado room where it is now possible to do some work since there are now a few cleared surfaces!**** The problem is that I have been away or had visitors for 6 weeks and it is telling on the house. The other thing I did was catch up with the post which took much longer than I thought. Including an incomprehensible letter from the bank about the safe deposit. It only holds documents but I can't work out quite what I am allowed to do with them from September onwards. Other than that, the In-tray is empty!

I have picked a lot of peaches, a  washhand basin full, and now have the problem of dealing with them. And I am going out this evening to see a live broadcast from Glyndebourne. If I get back early enough I will think about the peach problem then. Options are

- freeze some of them
- stew some of them
- make peach icecream - have I the ingredients?
- make peach sorbet. Never done that but I do have the ingredients
- eat some of them. While this is a  desirable option, it doesn't get rid of them fast enough.

 Did I say that the peachtree is still carrying a lot of fruit?

 And if all that were not bad enough, I had hoped to start work on the document about the Newbury Coat but that has not happened either. Now I am going to sit down and have a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

**** Wonderful joke which creased Michael. Some friends were extending their house by converting the garage and were using an architect. Janet is a state-of-the-art space person of some importance and the house is always full of teetering piles of documents. I have actually seen the ironing board with four piles of paper on it each carefully labelled. When they were preparing a brief for the extension which is going to hold their bedroom, Mike wanted to include 'There shall be no horizontal surfaces' in the specification for their bedroom.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


In keeping with my current ambition to complete a few projects (heard that before?), I have completed a bag which I started on my last day at the Bourneville class before going on holiday. Annette wanted us all to take a botanical theme and make something. She brought in a  load of books and photos and I found a nice Lalique piece of jewelry which has been translated. The bag is a bit strange because the base fabric is from a sample book of upholstery fabric and I had to take two colourways of the same design. The same design is on the other side but the leaves are all green.  I did get round to using bondaweb to put all the leaves on before I went on holiday. Since returning, I have machine embroidered and hand-sewn and couched! And made the lining and the handles from a piece of my sister's batik. I am quite pleased with this and think it is going into the collection of possible Christmas presents!!

This morning I went through to Ledbury to do some food shopping and to see the Malvern Makers Exhibition at the little Gallery there. There was some incredible stumpwork including one of a set of allotments which includes a man watering his cabbages with a hose pipe.

I have thought further about making something for Small Expressions using Michael's enamels. I cannot hope to be able to weave an exact replica of the designs on the enamels. I have tried drafting using Diversified Plain Weave but am not happy. If the weaving designs can't be an exact copy of the enamels, should I put another completely different design in? I don't think so, mainly because the only unifying thread between the three enamels is that Michael made them. So I have to do a simplified version of each. Oh well, that's one decision taken.

Tomorrow I must deal with the post and then start on editting the Shuttle for Kennet Valley Guild

Friday, 19 August 2011


I have been thinking about 'Longitude' which is the yardage exhibition for Convergence 2012. One possibility is to use the fan reed on the Kombo. I would definitely do this in as thick a cotton as I could get away with because weaving with a fan reed is SOOOO  SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.  I am currently thinking over how I could replicate my ideas before setting out to weave. I might take a photo of a fan-reed fabric and use Photoshop.  Otherwise it will have to be a large sheet of paper and acrylic paints. And there is a long warp of double weave 30/2 Tencel on the Kombo so that will have to be  finished soon.

I was musing to my sister, Dorothy, last week about Small Expressions which is also a Convergence exhibition. I have always wanted to enter for that and indeed two years ago designed and wove several versions of an item intended for entry but I decided the quality was not good enough - mainly because it relied on hand stitching up one edge. You can see one here.  It was very difficult to get the faces to exactly the right dimen-sions. I made 5 or 6 of these and, although I could have done one after that, I was very bored. I still have the damned things lying around the house. Well some of them. I managed to give 2 or 3 away. 

Dorothy suggested the existing multiple weave with Michael's enamels.You can see that here.    I wouldn't want to use that but I do have a few more enamel samples - the three shown on the left. These are bigger than the previous lot. The last one was three layers of, cloth one grey silk to hold the enamels in and show them off, one black cotton to back each enamel and striped cotton which comes to the front elsewhere. It occurs to me that the black cotton and the grey silk only occupy  4 of the Megado 32 shafts - so suppose I made two additional layers each of diversified plain weave and wove motifs to echo those on the enamels? Or could I get away with one tabby and one DPW? Interesting. The last time I got Michael to produce a watercolour painting on very heavy (300gsm) watercolour paper and did a practise run. I only had to weave two versions, the paper one and the real one.  It will probably take longer to warp up than weave. And there is a queue for the Megado. However the Megado has to be used because it has the most space  between reed and breast beam. This project does not roll up on a cloth beam!!!!

Last night I joined a chatty group at Moulsford and enjoyed it enormously while managing to wind two warps. I must go and tie on the dark blue indigo warp.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Back to Textiles

The family have all gone away and I am back to dealing with a very large pile of partially finished projects. I like the term UFOs which quilters use. It means UnFinished Objects. I have updated my weaving records and finished off ends on the five cushions. It is now waiting to be washed. I have prepared two more warps to be wound and will do that tonight when I go to meet up with a group of friends. 

A great many computer bits and pieces have gone by way of the Malvern Freecycle website and I have found a good home for the high class hi-fi system with my eldest grandson. That will go in a week or two. This is all part of a gradual down sizing. If I do it a little at a time, I will get there eventually! This does NOT, of course, include downsizing the yarn stash! Which I intend to weave my way through.

There is a lot of wool yarn left over from the cushions and I am thinking of designing a fabric that I could felt and turn into a coat. When I have woven the last two cushions, I will have a better idea of how much yarn of each colour I have left.

This is the completed piece of Indian Applique which I started at the Festival of Quilts. I am not sure what to do with it. Applique it to a calico shopper? In which case I should do a matching piece for the other side. I could do another design on the other side.

I have the piece of bark from the Festival of Quilts pinned up at the end of the corridor (my version of a 'design wall') and, after walking past it for several days, have decided it does not need any more doing to it. Again I need to think of something to do with it.

The Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) has announced the rules for the yardage competition for the 2012 Convergence. The topic is 'Longitude'. Well!! I ask you!!!  What does that mean? I have been thinking hard and may have come up with something. The trouble is that it involves the fan reed and that is slow weaving!! I will keep away from 60/2 silk and use cotton. But it is beginning to take shape. I am also thinking about Small Expressions.

So plenty to get on with. This afternoon I have to go round to the travel agents. Next Easter I am taking two grandchildren, Chris and Madi, to Australia for 2 weeks - Sydney, (they get to surf on Bondi Beach), the Blue Mountains and the Barrier Reef. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. What with going to Japan in October this year and getting to Australia next year, what to do after that? The Silk Route!!!

In the meantime, a cupboard calls to be cleared out.

Monday, 15 August 2011

First Five Cushions Finished

I have finished five cushions from yarn, indigo dyed warp (mid-blue) and natural dyed weft. I have created two patterns on the same warp. I prefer this one. The other is shown below.

 The backs will be cotton - purchased from Doughtys of Hereford last Monday. I have to warp up with dark blue indigo now and weave another 2 or 3 cushions.  I am going to use the mid-blue warp as a ghost warp. I have a lot of weft yarn left and am wondering whether I can arrange the colours in the warp to get yet another 2 or 3 cushions!

Interesting that there were no broken threads at all in the mid-blue warp, indeed no problems at all. It almost wove itself. 12epi and a balanced weave so very fast for the Megado. The draft is based on one in Strickler's book -  a book the guild has got very keen on over the last year.

If there are no weaving problems, there are plenty of computer problems. Michael has left no instructions for the computers, of which we are now down to 5 + 2 laptops, having thrown out 5 machines yesterday. The major problem is with the two machines which run on Linux of which I have no experience. I can do you a program of 200,000 lines of Fortran on Mr Gates's system but on Linux, nothing. So I have called for help from an expert. I suspect that two of the computers are doing nothing and one of the Linux machines is dying. So we should be down to less than five in total shortly!!

And yes, in 50 years of marriage, I had never recognised that Michael was a hoarder. I gave away 5 keyboards and 6 mice yesterday but I still have four keyboards in their original boxes, never unpacked as well as similarly still-wrapped mice and switches. I suppose it takes having someone else in the house (my son-in-law) to say 'You don't need all these. Get rid of them'. In a way, it is getting permission to throw out some of Michael's stash  - that is what it is - a stash. It is however very depressing. Why couldn't he have left some notes?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fashion Show

The Festival of Quilts held a fashion show last Thursday evening. I try to keep hostility out of this blog but have decided that the occasion deserves flak. It was organised with 4 Irish, 4 Russian and 4 UK designers who each produced an item of daywear, evening wear and 'wearable art'. And the clothes were worn by the designers. To summarise, the Irish clothes were best, the Russians had more oomph on the catwalk and the UK were jokey. The brief to the UK designers had clearly been different from everyone else's.

However there were terrible problems inflicted on the poor participants by the organisers.  The catwalk was the standard T-shape with each person entering at the centre of the top, walking right and left , then down the leg of the T. There was mad coloured ornamental lighting over the centre section of the catwalk which made it difficult to see the model at all and, if you could make her out, the lighting was changing colour and strobing so that you had no idea what colour(s) the model was wearing until they were at the extremes of the T. To add to that snatches of pop music were played, different for each model so that I had just identified one tune/song/whatever when another started. The faces of the UK and Irish models were frozen in  terror. The whole thing took place in a hotel and you had to pay.

All I can say is that 'Sewing for Pleasure' manage to build an arena in the NEC and use youngsters as models who looked at home on the catwalk. That show runs several times during the day and it is free to everyone attending the Show.   Convergence also manages the whole thing much better.  Bah!

Today I have woven another two cushions, taken five computers to the tip (after destroying their hard-disks), got rid of 6 keyboards, 5 mice and 75 CD cases through the local freecycle website and have a further two rubbish sacks of computer cables which I will put on the site soon .

I feel very virtuous.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Festival of Quilts

A lot has happened this week. I took my sister to Hey-on-Wye to see the bookshops and she was bowled over. There was a moment when we came out of Richard Booth's shop (my favorite) and I was carrying all our purchases. I was about to say 'We have got to go back to the car - I can't carry this lot for any distance' when Dorothy said 'I think we should go home now. I can't afford to buy any more books.' So we went home and read each other's purchases. We had taken in Doughtys of Hereford on the way there so that I could buy heavy cotton to match the cushions I am weaving.  So that was a successful day out.
 On Tuesday we went off to the NEC at Birmingham where the Festival of Quilts was held. We both attended a class by Jette Clover 'Design Using Collage' The photo above is black and white and all paper. Later we got round to fabric see below, although even this is mostly paper.  It was an interesting two days but I could see that what I was doing looked just like her work. I don't think that style is for me. She was a very good teacher and had a really interesting take on practice. Her argument is that, if musicians practice scales, then textile artists should practice design and she does. At the beginning of each month she puts in one place a selection of paper and fabrics and uses these first thing every morning to create a postcard sized collage using only those materials. She laid out two or three month's worth and it was very interesting to examine these. I can see the point she is trying to make.

 This is from a class in Indian applique by Jane Davies. It is not quite finished I would do more of this.

And the third course was with Elena who was Latvian and taught us Mola work using designs based on bark. We tried out all sorts of techniques. This piece seems to be  more like the things I usually produce whereas the previous items seem to be me copying someone else.

Of course we looked at the quilts and shopped - not too much. And got home on Friday evening. This is now Saturday. Dorothy has gone home to Dundee. Robin, my son-in-law, arrived this afternoon and already we have dismantled five computers and thrown out a pile of cables, keyboards and mice.  Tomorrow we will have to go to the tip before we can put anything else in the garage!! The mice and keyboards were advertised on the Malvern Freecycle website this evening and have gone already. 

In amongst all of this, I have woven two more cushions. One more to do on this warp and then I need to wind a new warp with a very dark indigo yarn.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Indigo and Exhaustion

On Friday Rosie Price and I took the train to London and 'did' three exhibitions

- Miro in Tate Modern. I had always thought of Miro as 'decorative'. Not any more. When you see wworks from the whole of his life, you realise that his work is mostly a scream of rage at the treatment of his beloved Catalan countryside.  Not to mention General Franco
- then by river boat on beautiful sunny day to Tate Britain and the Vorticists. Rosie was not impressed. I had thought of the movement as being much longer lived than it actually was. The core was 1914-1916. At the end of the exhibition, I realised that the pictures of all the artists were very samey. Very educational though
-then 'Watercolour' also at Tate Britain. Very good indeed. A review of the usage of watercolour, running from Tudor miniatures and maps through Turner and Cotman and botanical/zoological paintings. There was a first rate botanical painting done in the 21st century for Kew Gardens which was nothing but beans. It must have been all the leguminosae that Kew knew about!! Absolutely stunning. I wouldn't mind a copy. There was an excellent section devoted to the tools and materials used in watercolours through the centuries including Turners travelling paint box.

After that we collapsed home in an incredibly packed Friday-night-is-going-to-Plymouth  train where poor Rosie stood all the way to Reading.

Saturday was Guild Day, Dyeing in the Churchyard. Because we have changed our venue, we have a new churchyard, well actually it was the concrete base of a building which was abandoned. Much more convenient. Ros Wilson was cooking up weld and madder and brazilwood while I looked after an indigo vat which was the leftovers from Newbury Coat dyeing. And here I made a dreadful mistake. I organised that we should dye the woven shibori samples and there were 45 plus of them. Nine people 5 each plus a couple of extras at the end of each warp. We need these for the Exhibition in October/November. Nothing wrong with that but other Guild members brought stuff they wanted dyeing and some of then turned up with bucketsful. There was just far too much. It did all get dyed but I was exhausted at the end. The problem is that I could not walk away and leave the vat. No matter how often I told people that you need to insert the fabric/yarn/fleece into the vat slowly and carefully, I still caught people chucking their stuff into the vat when my back was turned. Oh well. You can't win . At least I can't. The only consolation is that the woven shibori all worked a treat and everyone involved is very pleased and that I think everyone had all their stuff dyed to the depth they wanted. I drove home and went to bed. 

I did untie my own woven shibori, wash it and hang it up to dry. It looks nice. I especially like the 8-shaft Monk's Belt. I had hoped to get enough of the Overshot to do the front of a waistcoat but I ran out of warp. It was not planned but a thought as to what to do with the end of the warp. Rosie Price (being a person who DOES think ahead) warped up 4 yards of silk noil and did that as woven shibori. Silk noil takes dye better than unmercerised cotton and the colour is stunning. She intends to make a jacket.

I have one unusual left-over from yesterday - a very blue right hand. I was wearing large Marigold gloves but lost a skein of yarn to the bottom of the vat and put my right hand in thinking the bottom was closer than it was - the dye poured over the top inside my  glove. My hand is very clean, that is, it has been washed a lot but it is still blue and my finger nails are a lovely blue purple. I wonder if they will have to grow out.

I have finished my first cushion on the Megado and have started on the second. I am going to have a lot of weft yarn left.  My sister, Dorothy arrives at lunchtime today and I am hoping to get another cushion finished by then. I do need to tidy the house up first.  

Rosie has also reminded me that I need a piece for the next Guild meeting where the theme is lines. I may do the S and Z-twist piece I have had in mind for some time. It will do for the Exhibition as well.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Madi's Efforts

My grand-daughter, Madi, has been here for two days and one thing she has done for me is to turn a large number of skeins of wool into balls. These are the weft yarns for seven cushions, one ball will do each cushion. All  are natural dyed by our dyeing guru, Ros Wilson. Madi also did the same for a lot of yellow Borg wool I have - I intend to weave a double width blanket on the Megado as soon as I have finished the cushions for the October Exhibition. And I have actually got the cushions warp onto the Megado and started weaving.

Here is the first cushion. The warp looks greyer than it is. It is more mid-blue. Madi was a great help here. Sectional warping is fine with the Megado and can be done by one person but warping up by yourself in the ordinary way (not sectional) is very trying and a second pair of hands (Madi's) was an enormous help. It weaves up very fast. It is, after all, 12 epi.

This is the completed yellow and purple scarf for the Exhibition which is a great disappointment to me. The yellow sections are actually log-cabin in two different shades of yellow. But it is hardly visible. It's a perfectly nice scarf but it id not how I envisaged it! Howls of despair.  The two shades of yellow should have been far more different.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Common in High Summer

I have been checking on the Common since I returned from the Far East These are just a few of the flowers. When I was there on Monday, I came across a lot of campanulas. Yesterday I found none, walking a different way. They have been cutting paths through the foliage which I rather like. You walk on a 6 foot wide track cut through the waist-high grass, bracken, everything. They don't collect the cuttings, just leave them. It is high summer here. The brambles will have a good crop this year. I am told the plum crop is enormous this year. Certainly my pears and apples are overdoing it.

Another flower on the Common.

And lastly the poor chestnuts with chestnut blight. I am sure this is much less bad than it was last year when they looked as though autumn had come in July.

I have Madi, my grand-daughter, staying with me for a few days. She is going to help me with a lot more throwing out. Also the valuer will be here today - at last. He is holding up probate on Michael's estate. It would be nice to get everything sorted out. Some of the family wants a few of his things and I will be able to get that dealt with.

On the textile front, I have finished weaving the log-cabin piece on the Voyager. It has been cut off, fringed, tidied up where needed and washed. When it is ironed, I will show a photo. The next thing on the weaving list is the cushions for the exhibition on Oct/Nov this year. I have seven to do on two different coloured warps. I will put on the five, weave them and then tie on the warp for the last two cushions. 

In preparation for Guild Day on Saturday which is 'Dyeing in the Churchyard' day, I need to make up some indigo.

My sister, Dorothy arrives on Sunday for six days. On Monday, we are going to Hey-on-Wye and, on Tuesday, we are off to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC to do some courses. No, I am not a quilter but I find FOQ run interesting courses on colour and dyeing. This year we are both going to Jette Clover's course on transferring images to cloth. Then there is one on Mola work and one on Indian applique. These two are short courses, less than a day whereas Jette Clover's class is two whole days! The house has piles of stuff in odd corners which are supplies to be taken to these courses. I have not finished yet. Let's get this valuer out of the way.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tidying Up

Today I tidied up the photos, discarding the useless ones and editting some. Then I stuck lots of receipts, tickets and photos into the journal I kept of the holiday. I have cut out quite a few pages so that the spine of the journal does not bulge too much but the book still bulges!! I am going to some courses at the Festival of Quilts and have decided to do a work on Taiwan. So there has been much printing out of photos. The journal is covered in cloth and says Malaysia. It was a Christmas present to me from KL in 2009 and I have been saving it up. I have used about half of it. I shall use the other half for my Japanese trip. Did I say was off to Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa later this year? Very exciting.

On the textile side, I need to fetch my sewing machine back - it is being serviced. And I have started warping up the log cabin scarf on the Voyager. I have done this before but it seems awfully difficult to keep track of things this time. Partly because it is in two shades of yellow. Any errors will show up badly and I will have to rethread. I should have it finished today.


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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.