Monday, 29 December 2014

Recent Doings

I have been living a complicated life (what's new? do I hear someone mutter?). On Sunday, I loaded the car with luggage and went to stay with Anne overnight. On Monday the Caudwells plus Granny entrained to London and met with grand daughter, Madi, at Yo Sushi in Piccadilly. After lunch, we took the under ground to the Barbican and viewed an intellectual exhibition about architecture and photography. Or maybe it was the other way round. We then made our way to Covent Garden where we had dinner and then viewed Verdi's opera, Il Ballo in Maskerade. Very good. The reviews were rude about the scenery, which was dismal and mostly grey pillars but the singing was good. Then we walked round to our hotel. The result of this plus wearing not-sensible shoes was very sore feet.

On Tuesday we returned to Leamington Spa and I drive off to Birmingham Airport and very nearly missed my plane due to the traffic about. But very nearly is okay and I made it to Edinburgh where my sister met me and now we are back in her house. So that Is it till after Christmas. Service will recommence in a few days.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Sir Patrick Spens - At Last

I reckon it takes two years from first thought of a book to finally producing it. I see from my records that I started on Sir Patrick Spens in February 2011. So longer than usual but then I had to design and create the lino cuts, 13 in all and get the cover dealt with by a calligrapher (Elizabeth Beattie).

There are two verses to every double page and an appropriate lino cut on the opposite page. The text is set in Bodoni MT. The paper is Bockingford inkjet which is 190 gsm. The thickness is such acceptable to the printer and the new printer has made a decent job of the printing. The last printer skewed thick pages which was very irritating not least because the paper is so expensive. The book is concertina - sort of  or, if you like, my take on concertina. The inside pages are folded in half and glued at the forward edges to their neighbours. Then the cover is folded - twice to allow for the thickness  of the text block, wrapped around the whole book and glued at the forward edges. It has worked which is the important bit. This is the first book. I wanted to see if would go together as I imagined. It does and I have the printed ingredients for another three books. The job for today is to print all the lino cuts. I am quite pleased with this - I get there in the end!

Friday, 19 December 2014

And Another Bag

A shopper. Outer fabric bought somewhere in the East. Velvet tartan ribbon bought in Taipei City rag market.
Inside lining dyed using Procion MX by me. Wrapped up and given as a Christmas present.

Now making the last lot of Christmas presents - printing off two copies of Sir Patrick Spens on Bockingford Inkjet paper. Tomorrow there will be lino-cut printing!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Second Ta-Dah

Mallory Volume 2 without any title. That will be done when Volume 1 is in a similar state. Now off to look for the materials for another bag - needed for tomorrow!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


I did say I wanted to finish one project per day. Well I managed one and a half today.
Some of you may remember Cally Booker's bag in  the Journal. Well this is made from the same recipe. The fabric is a yard that I did at the end of a warp for the 'Chanel' jacket. It has a Gladstone bag opening which is very wide.
If I were making this again, I would make the pockets out of the lining material. The outer fabric is a bit too tweedy to be used inside the bag. On the whole. successful.
I had not got a photo of the other TA-DAH as it is all wrapped up carefully with a weight on top. It is the first book I have completely covered in leather and it does look nice. Cords on the spine and all.  But I will take a photo tomorrow. This only coun ts as half a project because I have another volume to do.
Tomorrow I will make another bag, quite different design.  

Monday, 15 December 2014

A Very Senior Moment

About four weeks ago, I had the Mondeo MoT tested. Today I decided to do a bit of filing and found the bill for the test (noted as having been paid) and various bits of paper saying what tests had been carried. But no certificate. So I finished the filing and considered the matter. I must have misfiled it but first I rang the garage. Yes, Yes, it had passed the MoT and the certificate would have been on the passenger seat along with the bill. Well I had clearly got the bill so where had I put the certificate? I hunted through all the likely files and some unlikely ones and decided to finish winding the linen warp and see if I could think of where to look next. I had just decided to call for the garage, admit to a Very Senior Moment and ask if I could have a replacement certificate when the garage called. They grovelled in apology. It was entirely their fault. The final paperwork had not been done. Would I mind dropping round and it would be sorted and yes I had paid for everything. The point about this story is nothing to do with the garage being wrong but everything to do with me being paranoid about forgetting things. It is getting old and being scared of going dolally that bugs me. How will I tell if that has happened? So I am a bit shaken. And have decided to file papers immediately instead of heaving them all into a wire basket and having a blitz later.

And I did finish winding the linen warp. I am finishing projects at the moment and have the ingredients for a Gladstone bag laid out in the kitchen. One project must be finished each day.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Finished Coptic Bands

I have finished the Coptic Bands. The outer ones are the 'right' side and the central one shows the reverse. Now to warp up the seamless garment. I will do it on the Megado although I only need 8 shafts. This is going to be interesting and I hope I have got it right.  I need to worry about getting it wrong so will add a meter to the warp length, in case I need to rethread.  All I have to do now is to find where I stashed the fine linen yarn I bought a few weeks back!
I am still in the business of finishing off projects but had better concentrate on finishing off the remaining Christmas presents!! These consist of several books and two, preferably three bags.
Last I went with some friends to see The Mastersinger transmitted from the New York Met. A very good production although some of the caste could do with being thinner! Six hours long. It was shown in the local cinema which has just installed very grand bright red seats! They are more like armchairs than cinema seats. We discovered that Mr Turner is being shown again shortly. All of us missed it first time round so we are going to see it soon.  

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Coptic Bands

Given that I am hoping to move in a few months, I am madly trying to finish half done projects. So yesterday, I lined a dust jacket. You could be forgiven for wondering why but this is an important book. It is THE book by Berenson on paintings of the Italian Renaissance and it was given to Michael in 1953 as a school prize for winning an Open Scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Which is, I might say, quite something. Anyway the dust jacket was falling apart and Clare Prince taught us how to line a dust jacket with Japanese paper. I have never done this before but it worked fine. It should stand up to wear for another 60 years.
I also got started on the Coptic Bands.

The above photo is from Caltech and shows a woven wool band from the 3rd century in their collection with the remnants of the linen garment still attached. The band would have had a wool warp and a wool weft with the pattern done in pick up. 

The above photo shows my take on this. It has a fine worsted warp. The weft has the same ground but a thicker pattern yarn which is 85% wool, 10% cotton and 5% silk but I can be forgiven for that. It is a two-tie weave on 22 shafts. No pick up for me! I do not have time since I need to weave 3.5 yards of this in one week.  It is coming on nicely although it took half of Sunday and all of Monday to get there. I started by tying on to the remainder of the previous warp which was warped up in  a point twill on 32 shafts. My idea was that it would be quicker to wind on the warp, using the remnant as ghost warp, and then rethread and resley. That was a bad idea because the sett was far too close for the warp and I was in trouble as soon as I started trying to get the knots through the heddles so I cut it off. As soon as I had it free, I started warping up from the rear and it is all on nicely and weaving up well. I have done two complete patterns so far, each is about  14 cms long so 8 complete patterns will make up one band.
The studio is littered with half done projects, not to mention the office. I lie in bed when I wake up each morning saying , ' Now today, I must - - - '. Actually today I must print off all the Christmas cards I need and prepare and post the foreign ones. I must also start on paring the leather for the Mallory volumes. One piece is nearly done. I need to finish the other by next Tuesday. It is the kind of job that you do not want to do continuously so, if I set it up, I can do 30 minutes every now and then. Setting up involves clamping the leather to a marble slab which in turn is clamped to a stout table.
As above with the paring knife waiting for use.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


I have finished the pleated scarf woven in Tencel and spent some time sewing in ends and tidying up.

There are pleated sections at each end.

Like so. An interesting technique but I don't care about it enough to try it again. I have a bit of warp left and so I will weave up a sample with different sizes of pleat. But The tension adjustment is a real pain and it is not worth the hassle.

Well yesterday's euphoria has turned to today's 'oh well'. My house buyers withdrew from the sale. They knew the house was in a conservation area but had not realised exactly what that meant. It means you cannot cut the trees down without good reason and improving your view is not held to be a good reason. So back to the drawing board as my estate agent said.

However I am still throwing things out and the car is packed with stuff I am taking to my daughter, Ruth, for her and for her son as well as lots of goodies for the Guild Sales table. I have done most things that I ought to the Guild meeting and I hope to start on the Coptic bands this evening.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New House, New Location, New Life?

The last few weeks have been full of drama and incident which I have not bothered to report but the moment has come to tell all.

I am exchanging this Edwardian (1903) house - note the hills off to the left for

this Victorian (1900) house in Mortimer, just south of Reading, Now it is up to the lawyers to get in on the act! This house is bigger than my current house but with a smaller, less intensive garden. I am buying it jointly with my sister. She already has a life of train trips to London to see exhibitions mapped out. Mortimer actually is on a main line with the next stop being Reading which is a big hub for trains only a few minutes away.
We have the house parcelled out already. The station for the Megado is decided as is the position of her Horn sewing cabinet. It has a lovely conservatory. Dorothy insisted that the spec include a conservatory as she has one now which she loves. I have never lived in a house with a conservatory so it is going to be interesting.
On the textile front, I am steadily weaving the pleated scarf and hope to be finished today. There are errors in it due to warp problems. I have completed mending the maps I started at the workshop last Saturday and have yet to do a lining for a dust jacket. If the telephone would only stop ringing, I would get more done but then the house business is more important than anything at the moment.


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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.