Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Wraparound Case (Japanese)

The above is the inside of a wraparound case for one of the latest Japanese books. Note the bone fasteners at the lefthand end. I was sent the two tiger prints along with the text blocks and thought it a pity not to use them, so used them as linings. The paper they are printed on is like tissue paper and the coverboards show through. The central section has a lining of chiyogami paper which is the same as the cover of the book itself.

This is a photo of the case closed with the book inside. Note the bone fasteners which are in place, securely closing the case. The book cloth is printed cotton which was already backed with paper. I will try to get the wraparound case for the other book done tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A Few Finished Projects

This is the turned four colour double weave off the loom, washed, ironed and photographed. It took me from 0930 to 1530 to get satisfactory photos. Anyway the entry form and sample are on their way and that's it till someone decided whether they want it or not.

I have finished the second Japanese book which is bigger as I trimmed it differently. The next thing on that front is to make the cases which I might start on soon.

This is one of three books I am repairing for my son-in-law, Derek. This was awful, the spine was gone, the covers were derelict, the endpapers torn to shreds but the text block was fine. So the spine was repaired and much reinforced, new endpapers (1930s design since the book is 1934) and new covers, made of millboard, not grey board for extra strength. I managed to rescue the lettering from the front cover and reuse that on the new front cover but made a new label for the spine as there was nothing left. The binding is now much more solid than when I received it.
This is the second book, nearly finished. When I got it, the covers were off, there were fragments of spine hanging off the covers and lots and lots of torn pages. The tears have all been repaired. The spine was sewn over with tapes and the hinge strengthened. The leather covers were reused. The marbled endpapers are red and black and, although damaged a bit, were reused. I could never get any marbled paper to match it in style well enough. The spine uses brown bookcloth, all tidily tucked into the leather. That's an unnerving job. I used what I could of the original spine but it is just glued onto the bookcloth. I will get some lettering done in the upper half. I know what it looks like, I have the three pieces it fell into! I also polished the leather and was surprised at how well it came up.

The third book has had its torn pages repaired and the beautiful ornamented front cover stripped down to be reused. That was unnerving too. Put the cover on a tray and cover it with a damp teatowel. Leave overnight. In the morning, take a scapel and free the bookcloth from the cover round the edges, slid the scapel under one corner to separate the bookcloth and the cover and then pull the cloth off the cover gently. This will be glued onto the new cover. That has no spine cover either. The spine has been oversewn with tapes and strengthened. The next thing is to put in the new endpapers and then make the new covers. I should be finished in two weeks. I have a really nice illustrated copy of Omar Khayyam to repair which belongs to my sister. I am very jealous of this and will try to make a really good job of it.


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Replacement T shirts

One of the results of the Silk Route trip was that I dumped a lot of Tshirts on the way. When I returned home, I bought some MandS white cotton Tshirts (much recommended for dyeing). Last week I had a lot of leftover Procion dye from the silk chiffon so I made these. The blazing white on the red one is real. I think the purple one is better and it looks good at the back too. I must do some stencilling on teh other Tshirts.

Yesterday was the weaving class. Only two of the class have not completed  their warping up. The rest are madly weaving and there are some really nice overshot patterns appearing. I also acquired two looms. Not for me but for Cally Booker. They are still in the back of the car. I await someone tomorrow to help me get them into the garage. One is a Harris floor loom and the other a large table loom. We have yet to organise how they get to Dundee.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Back to Bookbinding

But first a photo of the space dyed silk chiffon. This is for a course with Liz Clay on felting.

The Convergence fabric was stiffish when dry so I consulted with the guru on silk noil, Rosie Price, who puts hers through the washing machine.  So I prepared a 12 inch square and did just that. Much improved but it is not quite dry yet.

The other job eating time today was scouring Malvern for a pedal bin not too large to go under my kitchen sink. In the end, I worked out what capacity I was looking for and ordered it from Amazon.

But mostly the day was spent making a proper Japanese book.

It is a copy of a Japanese design book of the early 19th century by Futatsu Yanagi Mabuchi. It is printed on proper Japanese paper and I have bound it properly too. You can see that the paper is very transparent. Two pages are printed on the same sheet and it is folded so that the fold is at the fore-edge. The book reads from (our) back to front and the top photo which looks like our back cover is actually the front with the title attached. Very little gluing, mostly folding. There is no board in the covers which are of Japanese chiyogami. As it stands, it is fairly fragile but I will make a Japanese cover for it when I have made the other book. That way I can make both covers together. The cover has got board in it and should be covered with a fabric which makes it quite robust. I will have to see what I have already in the way of suitable paper-backed fabric.

One extra sheet of Japanese paper has a lovely large tiger printed on it, nothing to do with this book. I need to think of a use for it. If I store it, it will just get ruined because the  paper is so fragile.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Convergence Yardage

I finished 3.5 metres of yardage for my Convergence entry last night and looked at my stash of Japanese gold thread. The problem, immediately obvious, was that the gold thread is on white paper and therefore the yardage will look different on both sides. Not acceptable so bang went that idea. I looked out some Lurex and some other fancy green yarn and went off to bed with a painful back from too much weaving.

I woke up early and rethought everything. This is supposed to be yardage and not a wall hanging. If I had gone on with last night's ideas, it would have been another Castlemorton Common. So I abandoned all the fancy yarns and just wove another half metre. Then I cut it off the loom. It was now 0930 am. It did not take long to tidy up a few loose ends but another problem appeared. The fabric was very stiff. I remember Rosie Price saying that silk noil needed a good wash. The rain had stopped and the studio was bright so I set about taking the photographs which are called for in the entry form. At 1530, I stopped taking photos. I had started indoors (colours not right), moved outdoors (sun came out and stayed out), moved to garage ( rotten background), moved into the garden and constructed a shade of black material anchored down with lead pots. I used all the garden furniture in the assemblage and eventually got some passable pictures. In passing, I snarled at everyone who phoned up and gave up answering the phone as being more polite.

I washed the yardage and it was very dirty or the brown dye was coming out. It took four washes with Woolite and four rinses together clear water out. What is now worrying me is whether the colours are now different and the photos inaccurate. Maybe it will be drier tomorrow.

The good bit of the day was a email saying the Early Music Shop has sold one of Michael's instruments and they owe me lots of money. And the silk chiffon I dyed yesterday in Procion MX has worked fine. I am going to a class on felting in 10 days and the list calls for silk chiffon. There are two shiboried Tshirts in dye at the moment and will be ready tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Anyone who has read my blog for more than a year will know of my enthusiasm for calladiums, those wonderful variegated leaf plants used as bedding in Tampa, Florida. I have woven and grown them but getting them in the UK has been impossible for the last three years. I opened up a Blom's Bulbs catalogue a few days ago and there were calladium tubers - four different gorgeous varieties!! The implication in the text was that you should treat them as dahlias over winter, that is, lift the tubers and keep them in sand till next sping. Otherwise a nice sunny spot will do. So I have ordered three of each variety. One of each will live on the studio window and the rest will be arrayed round the patio. I can't wait!! The colour patterns are different from anything I have seen before. Now I wonder. When I finish the Convergence piece, I should have a bit of warp left. I feel a new draft of Calladiums coming on!

Last night, Rosie Price and I spent several hours on the computer and intermittently on the phone to each other, buying air tickets for Convergence. The prices have rocketed in the last two years. British Airways wanted £1,700 to take me from Boston to Stockholm. Well thank you but no. I am going Aer Lingus with a stopover of 1.5 hours in Dublin. Rosie and I are flying together (seats next to each other!) from Heathrow to Boston. My one-way ticket on the same plane was more expensive than Rosie's return ticket and that was expensive enough. So I am feeling very poor this morning and will need to transfer money around. Fortunately the rest of my trips in 2014 and not expensive.

But the thought of the calladiums still makes me feel cheerful.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Malvern in Mist

Malvern in Mist sounds better than Malvern in the Fog. I get a good view through the leafless trees of the Severn Valley but not today. Looking that way which into the valley below, I can see maybe 50 yards. Looking along the hills is shown above. Very Japanese with conifers half visible. Over head, the sky is blue and cloudless.

It is coming up to 10 am and I have already woven 0.25 m on the Megado. It has to be completed by Friday. I am hoping to get another 0.5 m done today. I should have done some yesterday but, after the family left, I did not feel like it and attended to a bit of Japanese bookbinding. I have it all laid out ready to sew up and will get that done today too.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

What Grannies Do on a Sunday

They build a spider's web in the garage with a grandson's assistance (Alex). We twisted several cords last night and used these for the long supports and the radials. The spiral was in one thickness. Black acrylic 4ply wool used throughout. Acrylic is unaffected by being in the rain. This is the first of two intended for tha exhibition at Nature in Art. I have ideas for adding clear beads to be raindrops. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Finished a Project

This is two yards of four colour double weave on a warp which was set up a year ago. The loom has been passing round the students and came back to me two weeks ago with quite a bit of warp left on it. After all, I did put on 11 yards. It is a Guild loom and it is needed for another project so I brought it home and have been weaving it up as fast as I could manage. The trouble was I had other things to do. So I decided I would weave until late on Thursday night and, after that, any remaining warp would be taken off. This morning I had an empty and dusted loom. I have warped it up, woven my sample and arranged to hand the loom on tomorrow at the first weaving class. I am thinking of using some of the fabric to make a Gladstone bag like my niece, Cally Booker, constructed at the Summer School.

Tomorrow we are starting on a course of six weeks of overshot. I know that most students have selected their pattern and warped up. It will be interesting to see all the different patterns.

Oddly enough I have done so much weaving lately that I am a bit off it and am thinking of bookbinding. I did start a Japanese book, much more complex than usual and I will go and see where I had got to. If I cover the table with it, it might encourage me to do some more to it. Mind you I ought to be thinking about the Convergence yardage deadline.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

London, Exhibitions, Gardens, Rain!

I went to London for a couple of days. The main reason was to return to the Victoria and Albert and see the Chinese painting exhibition again and also to try to find out what is happening about the Textile Galleries. The exhibition was worth the return. The Textile Gallery is a farce. It has been completely relocated to the Clothworkers Study Center in Hammersmith. And don't even think about dropping by. They require an appointment to be made - with a list of what you want to study. I ask you! If I don't know what they got, how can I list what I want to see? So I will write a detailed email (not too inflammatory) and see how that goes.

This morning I visited Saville Gardens on my way home. Lots of winter colour. Birches, maples, cornus. And camellias, mahonias and hamamelis were in flower. But it was very muddy and I stuck to the hard paths.
Baby daffodils or Narcissus bulbocodium in one of their alpine troughs
And waiting for me at home was this iris. There are lots of them this year.

I got on with weaving on the 12 shaft loom at once. This needs to be completed tomorrow and a new warp put on Friday.   On Saturday the Guild annual weaving course starts. Next week I must get back to the Megado as the Yardage entry date is 2 weeks away.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A New Year and a New Shuttle

At the Guild meeting on Saturday, we had a talk from a small firm which makes inkle looms. The experts tell me these are quite something. There were even floor inkle looms. They make various other wooden items, including the shuttle shown above which is 12 inches long. I bought one as it is a bit shorter and thinner than the roller shuttle (Glimakra) that I am currently using on the 12 shaft Meyer for turned overshot. It works very well indeed. I have never used one which was curved like this and I think it makes weaving on a table loom easier and faster. It has a nice feel and is well balanced. The Megado has a shuttle race and Bluster Bay shuttles are ideal for that. Two of us have ordered up a shuttle of a different sort which is wedge shaped in cross section to deal with places where the shed is a trial. You can see these  shuttles at the Rob Dunster website which shows a lot of their products. There is a photo of four shuttles and my curved one is at the top.

From which you may gather that holidays are over and weaving is back in vogue. Yesterday was a Kennet Valley Guild day - we were busy preparing for the spring weaving course which starts in two weeks time.  I had a long 12 hour day starting from Dorset before 7 am and driving through floods, lost traction at one point. The motorways had surface water on them so I kept the speed down. Reached home just after 7 pm, unloaded the car and gave up.

Today I cleared up but only a bit. Lots of paperwork and lots of weaving, including a session on the Megado. I can do 0.25 metre in one hour and hope to get 0.5 metre woven per day. The forms and feeling piece for Convergence have to be in the post in just over two weeks so I should make it. I have 1.25 m done so far. I have also woven a bit more of the turned overshot. I have padded out sections of the warp to sort out the tension. I am about halfway through this project which I need to complete so that I can move onto teh Guild's 12 shaft with vthe last of the four colour double weave warp from last spring! We need the loom in order to weave the Kennet Valley Guild entry to the National Exhibition. Three looms have already been warped up and have gone to weavers to complete their own section and then be passed on. I need to get this last one warped up to be passed on in 13 days time. I could just have cut off the four colour double weave warp but I like it too much!! It will allow me to do some more playing about with colour  and drafts.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Back at Lulworth Cove

We were smitten with Lulworth Cove and returned there today. The sun shone and I made it to the top of the local coastal path albeit with a few stops on the way. After that we had a picnic on the beach. But then the weather had changed and it was raining. So the day ended with yet more rain. The forecast is terrible and  an emergency alert has been issued. Anne has just checked and we are going to a pantomime at Bournemouth tomorrow. Only the theatre is at the end of the pier. Gives a whole new meaning to Dame Wishy-Washy - it is Aladdin after all. There are forecast to be thirty foot waves.

I have been remiss reciting my dealing with the Open University. I started a course on Listening to Music in October. Not my kind of thing at all. I do not need telling over two or three weeks that different orchestras and conductors make the same piece of music sound different. So I abandoned them. I have just finished reading John Eliot Gardiner's book on Bach which is much more my kind of thing. Really first rate. But it did make me realise that Michael was not interested in Bach. All the CDs we have were bought by me. What Michael liked was chamber music, especially quartets and especially Haydn and Mozart. Which accounts in a way for him playing the viol in quartets and quintets.

Anyway I spent the very wet afternoon, tracking down what Radio 3 Building a CD Library had to say about different versions of Bach's Passions and making notes. I spent a lot of time listening on the iPad      to various versions. A happy time. Next week will be spent weaving on the Megado to meet the Convergence deadline.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year to All

I came down to Winterbourne Houghton, Dorset, last Saturday to help celebrate Ruth's birthday. So far there has been a lot of eating, drinking and cooking. On Sunday evening, we played the Murder Mystery Game which involved everyone dressing up in 1920s clothes.
We also walked all over Lulworth Cove. The cliffs were very steep and eminently suitable for so done getting fit for walking the Camino Compostela. 

I have thought about textiles but mostly I have been reading books about Miniature Books and looking up details on the web. All very interesting. Perhaps I should try that but it would involve getting to grips with letterpress.


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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.