Friday, 30 January 2015

Imperial Press

This morning I drove over to the PrintShed and finished off printing all the linocuts for Sir Patrick Spens. I am pleased. I have four complete books plus a complete set of printed linocuts minus the verses which I will scan into Photoshop and place with the text of the verses, then I can  print off a copy when ever there is a need.
 This is the vertical press, an Imperial Press dated 1834. You can see the inked linocut (black) on the platen. The paper is placed on top, then covered with a sheet of felt and then with several sheets of card to get the pressure right.
And here is the press closed, with platen moved forward to underneath the vertical press. To bring down the top on to the platen, you take the wooden  handle sticking out to the right about one third of the way down the photo. This is brought right across the press until it sticks out on the left side. Then you put it back in place, move the platen back to its starting point and extract the printed paper.

That all took up most of the day. The only other thing I have done is to retie the double weave Tencel on the Louet Kombo and weave the first couple of inches. Tomorrow I have paperwork to do which will occupy the morning. Bah!!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

More on the Malory

Putting leather bindings on a book takes a long time. I have at last finished one volume of Malory.

Here is a view of the endpapers. The leather for the other volume is all ready and the covers are laced on. I hope to finish it off next week.
Today and yesterday I have an exhaustive and exhausting blitz on the weaving records. I have even cross-referenced the samples which are too big to go into A4 plastic envelopes and be included in the file. I have spent the time since lunchtime in a chair in the sittingroom, toying with the idea of getting on with the Megado but no. I have done another couple of small jobs and now intend to finish off on the Louet Kombo and put another scarf on. Wool and silk mix, space dyed by me and intermingled with stripes of blue with a plain blue weft.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

At Last or Happy Bunnydom

There are two reasons for being a happy bunny this morning.
Firstly I had sprats for breakfast. I am very fond of sprats and they appear on the fish counter very rarely ( I am even fonder of whitebait but they never appear here at all). There is something which smacks of forbidden indulgence in having sprats for breakfast instead of Sultana Bran or whatever other cereal is around.
Secondly I spent yesterday afternoon at The PrintShed and printed out a lot of Sir Patrick Spens. My problems were that the local College has a roller press and that was not producing good results. Lino experts told me that roller presses are not suitable and you need a vertical press. So I tried my bookbinding press but that did not work either. Hence the trip to The PrintShed which is an hour's drive away. I took all the tools I had used with me to see if they were causing my problem. Diagnosis. The ink is fine, the lino cuts are fine, the roller was not good and my press was to blame. It is true that I cannot get the pressure on my press that you can with Victorian monster in The Printshed. I took four books printed out on Bockingford inkjet paper plus a load of spare paper. Each page has two verses on the right and a lino cut on the left.
Here is some of yesterday's printing laid out in my studio just to make sure they are dry.
And here are four samples.
Because it took some time to sort out what was wrong and set everything up, I only printed seven of the pages. I am going back on Friday to finish the rest.
And the Megado is slowly being sleyed up.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Chemise for SEAC Cartoons

I have been sleying the Megado which is a very long job. Every now and then I go away and do something else and, having found all the missing sub-directories, put some stuff on ebay for sale and collected and filed all the documents about the house, I set about making a chemise for the book of SEAC cartoons.
'Chemise' is the technical bookbinding word for a protective wrap around cover! 15th century apparently. First I had to find a piece of card, thin but stout, which was big enough to use. Then there was felt to find, again thin but stout, and then a suitable patterned paper to cover the unfelted bits. Since each step in  the making needed a 20 minute wait for the PVA glue to dry, it has taken all afternoon.
Outside of chemise covered in a nice green bookcloth. So that's another job done. Now I have to make a box for it. Last time I made a box it was not very good. Try harder, Pat.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Still on Records

Firstly I have finished threading up the ghost warp. This has been such a marathon that I am thinking hard of other projects to use it for. Now I have to sley it and look for errors and try it out. I still have the first warp, reversible tweed, to wind. Oddly enough as I was driving back from the weaving class, I had a sudden revelation of another different pattern. So much so that I am going to have to try both.
Which gets me nicely on the Guild weaving class. I have 11 students this year and the topic is tweed. I have issued comprehensive instructions on weaving the samples and how to wash them. They are not allowed to proceed until the samples have been finished. (Yes I am horrible to them).  Yesterday two students appeared, beaming from ear to ear with treated samples and everyone crowded round and exclaimed over the difference between untreated, lightly treated, and thumped to not quite bits treated. All the designs are very different and they are all lovely. There is one lightweight tweed which is clearly intended for a man's jacket to be used in the Highlands when hunting deer!  Most people are using 28/2 which means the result is not too thick. One of the great pleasures in life is seeing all these wonderful fabrics.
And also time has been spent on the weaving records. I did four books last night and have a long list of things I cannot find. I will try to find these today. Reasons for not finding them? The name on the computer files is wildly different from the name in the Lever Arch file, that particular topic is included under another topic because it was done on the same warp, it was done in a class and those are filed separately( not any more) and so on. Anything I could have done wrong, I have.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Not Finished Yet

I am still threading up the Megado but I have done six repeats. Only two more to go! I should have it finished by Sunday. Today is clear for threading, Saturday I teach at the weaving class. This year we are doing tweed and there are real high class pieces.
In between times, I have launched out on the records. I decided to do the following
1) create a subdirectory for every year
2) file each of the existing subdirectories according year of start
3) rename each subdirectory, adding the Lever Arch file number to the end
I started at the present and worked backwards and have got to 2008. Need I say that I found all sorts of discrepancies which have been put right except for one file which is named Handspun Cushions. and actually contains photos. But can I find the corresponding computer file? Oh well. I am working on the assumption that, when I have finished, there will files left over which I can match up.
I had comments from several people but no-one described their own filing system. Someone out there must a system of their own. I can't believe I am the only person who fusses about their filing system.
I have arranged to go over to the PrintShed next Tuesday and use their press to do some lino printing on Sir Patrick Spens. I hope I will be able to print off at least one perfect set.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Weaving Records

The threading up on the Megado is very slow. After all there are 2200 threads to deal with and the threading hops around all over the place, well over 32 shafts. I know, I have only myself to blame. But I am glad I decided to put on a ghost warp. At least the threading will be okay. I cannot bend over the Megado for more than 60 to 90 minutes at a time so, in between times, I have been considering the records problem, which is that it takes me a long time to find anything. Last week I was hunting for a draft and photo for a lace scarf I had woven in the past but exactly when? I found it in the end but only by running a global search for various things I thought it might be called!
I keep my records in two places except that I have recently added to this complexity
1) I keep the computer files (EXCEL, Fibreworks, jpegs of photos) in a subdirectory. So one project, one subdirectory, and these are filed alphabetically under a master directory, PROJECTS. Each project sub-directory is given a descriptive title, for example, BrownWoolLaceScarf.
2) The associated notes and paper work, a print out of the EXCEL file for example or handwritten notes on dimensions and what happened when finished. Also a woven sample where feasible but often these are too big to put in the file. These are filed in Lever Arch files with ten numbered sub-dividers. Each file has a sheet at the front which says what is under each number and the start and finish dates. So for instance P7 says Log Cabin Yellow scarf (NNA Exhibition ) 07/1/11- 16/01/11.
3) Most recent. I acquired a lot of A4 sized clear plastic boxes which are hinged and I have been putting the bigger samples in these.
My problem now is trying to find stuff. Record keeping started in 1977 and the current Lever Arch file is U. (Do not ask what happens when I get to Z)
I need to do something because firstly the clear plastic boxes are not properly correlated with anything else and secondly I am tired of spending hours trying to find things. One solution that might work is to rename all the subdirectories so that BrownWoolLaceScarf would become BrownWoolLaceScarf2014T7. And clearly every plastic box needs to be labelled with the name, Lever Arch file number and date.
Before I start out on this which will take some time, I would welcome inputs from others on their method of keeping records. Anyone who has been weaving for more than a year or two must have devised a system. What's your system?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Coptic Shroud is finished

I cut the seamless garment off the loom yesterday and spent today hemming the shoulders and sewing on (by hand) the shoulder bands.
The belt is not long enough and the ands are too wide. It would have been better if they were half the width but that is what comes of using a two-tie weave. The original would have been weft faced and pick up. I have said 'inspired by a Coptic shroud' and not claimed to have made an exact copy. The seamless garment worked!!
In between times, I have woven a second  warp. I have enough of the cream linen warp left to be one cloth of my next project on the Megado which is a reversible tweed in stitched double cloth. The yarn is a fine worsted and so I need 1100 threads per cloth. I am going to put on a ghost warp because I want to use the threading twice for two total different projects. The second warp is done from lots of oddments of cotton and cottolin. The most important aspect is the colour which must not be white or cream. The cream linen will act as one cloth and the multi-coloured warp as the second  cloth.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Seamless Garment

The Bookbinders AGM was on last Saturday and I am Treasurer so the previous days were spent printing out handouts, preparing for the Silent Auction and doing the other needed odd jobs. But in between times, I repaired an interesting book which belonged to my father.

SEAC = South East Asian Command. This was Burma in 1943-45. A Newsletter came out regularly which was not 'official'. It was full of cartoons and jokes. At the end of the war, they published the above book which was full of cartoons.
My sister, Dorothy, found this book while clearing out her bookcases and, as it was in tatters, handed it to me to deal with. That is what I have been doing over the past several days. Every single page was torn and the house was littered with mended pages carefully laid out to dry. Then I resewed the book. It had actually been sewn even though it had a limp cover. But the book only had one tape which had given way and a lot of the thread had rotted. So a complete resew was called for plus three tapes plus glue on the spine and (belt and braces) a strip of Fraynot glued on as well.  It had been my intention to reuse the cover as it stood after repairing the spine but I discovered this would not do because the book, with all its repairs in Japanese tissue paper was thicker than before so the limp cover became black book cloth and the original front and back covers were pasted on to the bookcloth. You can just see the black spine on the book in the top photo. It is not perfect but stout enough to last another fifty years.
On Sunday, I finished warping up the Megado with the linen seamless garment and checked the threading. Only one error, a pair of crossed threads. Then I started weaving. I have been worried about this because it seemed to me I could get the weaving very wrong so you must imagine me sitting at a desk, waving my arms and muttering 'Shuttle 1 left to right, Shuttle 2 left to right, Shuttle 3 right to left'. I started at the neck end because that was the difficult bit and I have to say it all went well.
The shoulders have two reversals of cloth to act as the shoulder seam. The sides are open between front and back for 9 inches to be the armholes and the front has a slit down the middle for the neck opening which is visible in the photo above. I am well past that bit now and am weaving a tube to be the body which only needs one shuttle. So it is going fast. I should be finished in a day or two.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Interesting Japanese Programme

Bonnie Inouye sent me a link to a really interesting Japanese program on stencilling g fabric. It is all subtitled in English so it is comprehensible. There is a cute introduction which only lasts a short time so bear with it and savour the story of what someone does with ancient stencils The link is
MoshiMoshi Nippon
Apparently MoshiMoshi is what a Japanese says when he/she answers the phone.

I progress with warping up the seamless garment. Most of it is tied on. But I must do some paperwork first.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Threading Up

The last few days have been spent threading up the seamless garment. As there are 1500 threads, this is taking some time. Apart from that, not much else except a visit to Worcester Royal for some brain tests. 'Just in case'. I had a CT scan before Christmas. Now that all the tests are done, I see the consultant in a week or so. The only point of note is that the room for the tests contained a Parker-Knoll recliner chair in pale blue leather!!!! This was in the middle of the room and that was it for furniture. But it was very comfy.
On Monday evening I went to see Mr Turner at the local cinema. Well worth seeing.

And this was the view from my bedroom window this morning. Now off to do more threading up on the Megado. I hope to finish today and start weaving tomorrow.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Small Newbury Coat

I was at Kennet Valley Guild on Saturday when we  held a mini workshop day. This means six or eight courses each 2 hours long. Half of the courses are in the morning, the others in the afternoon. I had a happy time learning how to warp up an inkle loom and how to produce a good selvedge. The rest of the time was spent gossiping and catching up with people.
One important event was that Jean McVeigh brought in the completed small Newbury Coat.
The coat is modelled by Wesley Crowley of Leamington Spa who is the brother of a friend of my grandson. And I am grateful to him and his parents for doing this. You will note that the fabric is not a uniform blue. This is due to the original yarn being from different fleeces and being differently spun. When I dyed several skeins together, they would come out different shades, though each skein was uniform. Bah! Oddly enough that did not happen when the full size coat was made in 2011 and that must be due to indigo dyeing which is surface dyeing whereas the small coat was acid dyed. I thought it better not to indigo dye as the dye does sometimes rub off and we intend to let school children try this on.
It is beautifully made, lined throughout and every hem handfinished. The fabric is quite thick and the collar is underlined with the lining fabric rather than being two layers of the wool fabric.
The poor quality of the photos is due to using the iPad!!! I will take some close ups  of the coat.
An i9ncredible amount of effort has gone into this small coat. Spinning, dyeing, weaving and making up. Thanks are due to everyone who took part and especially Jean McVeigh who has produced a masterpiece.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


I have eaten too much but I have also walked although this morning the temperature was -6 degrees. We went into central Dundee on Saturday and visited two of my favourite people.

Desperate Dan from the Beano
and one of his horrible little friends. You can see how loved they are by the polish on the bronze. Dundee is the home of the Beano and the City Fathers put these statutes up some years ago. They are life sized.

We went out to lunch and I could not resist taking a photo of Dorothy's pudding. I did steal a marshmallow. It is cold up here, definitely hot water bottle country. I am reading lots of thrillersd but also thinking about textiles. I must have trawl through unfinished projects when I get home. Two new projects have appeared already. Dorothy has found a very tatty book of SEAC cartoons. SEAC = South East Asian Commando = Burma War in 1940s and it was my father's book. I have undertaken to rebind it. Also an astonishing Christmas present was two Victorian leather bound books in need of some TLC!!
This was written on 29th December in Dundee but the iPad was not playing and so I had to rescue the blog on my desktop.
In actual fact I am now back home tidying up and deciding what to do next.


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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.