Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Getting on with things

Lots of irises in bloom. I deliberately excluded them from the things to be left. But I am picking and choosing which I take. So there is a large collection of potted up plants sitting on the forecourt.

A few of my Californian irises.
And the first rose. They are going to be covered with flowers. But they can be replaced whereas the irises cannot.
And I have got the Megado up and running. Weaving is a bit slow at 35 ppi but I will get there.

There is a shadowy pattern and yes the pattern does have short floats in it. They are very short.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Ah well. It's only money

I seem to have done little but spend money in the last two or three days. First I fixed a holiday in Madiera - a life long wish! Second, Dorothy and I went to the best nearby garden centre to buy an orchid as a birthday present and we looked around - the new garden needs a new garden shed and  I fancy a green house. We left having ordered one of each to be delivered in 6 to 8 weeks. Both are a bit bigger than I had envisaged.  We got a very nice orchid too.
In the afternoon we went to a smashing  birthday party held in a garden all sitting at tables with the family's best linen,  flowers, best china - and best cakes. And the sun shone!!
Third by devious means (Debbie Richardson actually), I learnt of a Louet 24 shaft dobby looking for a new owner. And it is going to be me!!!! Well you can't let something like that languish can you? So tomorrow, I drive up to Cumbria and fetch it. Yes, I know it is mad to buy it when it then has to move to Reading but - - 
And I have started weaving on the Megado. It is slow but it is working. I shall add a photo tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chelsea Flower Show

Ruth, Anne and I went to Chelsea yesterday. It rained off and on. It thundered and lightninged. It hailed. And we had a lovely time.

From the top
Two models in a dress shop in Sloan Square where most of the shops were dressed up in flowers
potatoes in the Main Pavilion
Thailand's exhibit
a 'jammy dodger' in flowers and three foot across!1 A jammy dodger is a kind of biscuit - part of a stand celebrating the Mad Hatter's Tea party
Another part of the same stand - note the teapot made of folded banana leaves and pouring out flowers.
All mad and very cheering.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Enviromental search

A most extraordinary document of 32 pages appeared from the lawyer on Saturday. It was an environmental search of the house we are buying. Nothing wrong. But what is interesting is what it covers. Is there any fracking within 4 miles of the house? Are there any old coal mines? Any other cavities, natural or manmade? Any oil rigs? Any radon? And so on and so on for 32 pages. The answer to everything is NO, so that's okay but it makes for interesting reading!! I had no idea the lawyer had to see to this.
It cheered me up when suffering from anti-Megado-warpitis. I got everything in the warp mended, started weaving and soon gave up. I admit to ignorance and not having done anything like this before. It is double cloth with two warps of very fine wool, each sett at 30 epi. This means 60 epi in total and it is sleyed at 4 per dent in a 15 dent reed. Basically the two yarns are hairy and cling together. It is impossible to weave. I thought nothing of it beforehand. After all, I have warped up silk at 60 epi often. But I cannot weave this. I considered just dumping it all but had a cup of tea and considered the situation.  I then examined the draft (in Fibreworks) and played with it and decided that it was worthwhile to throw away the two outer sections of warp and resley the warp as a single cloth without rethreading. It is that or abandon 6 yards of rather nice warp. Moral: be careful what yarn you use for double cloth. I have used 2 ply Shetland several times and that worked fine. 
I don't often dump a warp. I can think two occasions only in the last several years. One was when I was warping up a very fine black Z-twist. I could not see the threads  to thread up and so abandoned it. The yarn ended up with Cally Booker. I hope she finds it useful. The other was when I was given a white silk warp from Whitchurch Silk Mill. The silk had to sett at 150 epi. That never even made it onto the loom and I gave the warp away. Interesting that all three are very fine threads! 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Looking Around

I am conscious all the time that these are my last few weeks in Malvern. Apart from my own garden, the hills are in late spring and lots of shades of green show.
 My house faces onto Malvern Wells Common and is about straight through the tree on the left. The clutch of houses on the hills is at Wyche Cutting, a mediaeval road over the lowest point of the hills which is the Salt Road from Droitwich (salt since Roman times) into  Wales. It is also a Drover's Road. Cattle from Wales were brought into England for sale.
Another view of the Malvern Hills. We are already 600 or 600 foot up.
Yesterday I started on the Megado again. It must be a lot of weeks since I last touched it and time has not made it any less difficult. In fact something has happened which has never happened before. A clothes moth has eaten a hole in the warp. I am horrified. And I have six threads to repair. Several times it has occurred to me to cut my losses and give up on this warp but I have invested a lot of time in it. So 'ONWARDS' is the cry today. I still reserve the right to cut it off if it proves too awful to weave. 


Friday, 15 May 2015

Warts and All

I started on sewing velvet with the walking foot yesterday and that was fine and the waistcoat lining also worked fine. It is after all cotton. And then the trouble started. This pattern for a waistcoat was a big mistake in velvet or at least using a cotton lining with no give in it. It was extremely difficult to sew the velvet nicely to the cotton lining. I have managed something but it is not good. The pattern is one of the 'sew the made up lining to the made up outer, pull it right out through a shoulder seam, stitch up the sides and complete with hand sewing'.  Not a good idea. I had intended to use bound buttonholes and to practise on scraps of velvet but no way. 
What look like creases are not actually there, I just did not smooth it out enough before photography. I hate it. The only thing nice about it is the lining. The problem is the colour. This is a piece of velvet which I carefully dyed. What was I thinking about when I choose grass green?

But all is not lost because it has served its purpose well. Perhaps I should explain. Two years ago I bought some black velvet printed with an Art Deco design in grey and gold to make a jacket. I did not want to venture into velvet making on that lovely length of fabric so I decided I would make up the same jacket pattern in some remnant lengths of velvet I had. So I dyed the remnants red and purple (that is very nice) and then I thought that maybe I should make up something smaller to start with - hence the green waistcoat.

What have I learnt? That the walking foot is great for sewing two pieces of velvet together but that it is not a good idea to try sewing velvet to a non-stretchy fabric. And in any case it will be a bad idea to use a pattern for a very fitted jacket (my usual type of jacket). So my next job is look for a jacket pattern which specifically states it is suitable for velvet and make up the red jacket in that. Oh and use silk for the lining!

I'll get there in the end, though not wearing a green velvet waistcoat. I can't even give it away because it is too badly made. Bah!!

As you might imagine, nothing else has been accomplished today.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Jerkin Finished

The 20 inch zip arrived this morning so I inserted it.
 So knitted sleeves, woven body panels and some grey needlecord to make up the required fabric. Not the world's best piece of sewing but it does fit and it is very warm. This exercise can rightly be described as a displacement activity because it enables me to put off trying to sew velvet. Oh well, the jerkin is finished so I will have to get on with it.
The foreground trees are in my garden but the huge conifer (40 to 50 foot) is in my neighbour's garden. It is smothered in the pink flowers of clematis Montana. Interesting because I don't believe they can see it whereas we get a lovely view. In the background to the left you can just make out the Malvern Hills under low cloud.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Getting on with Projects

This week I am finishing projects. I have nearly finished a jerkin woven from the Aland Island yarn and with knitted sleeves. I had bought a front zip for it 22 inch long but there was only 21.5 inches of edge so I have ordered another one, this time 20 inches in length. I have set about practising with velvet, not nice to work with.

Lots of work has been done towards moving and the garden is still over the top. two or three years ago, I planted some seed of species irises, raised the plants and planted them last autumn. They are covered with flower buds and some are showing colour! They are all going with me to Reading.

In the meantime, a few fine plants currently flowering chez Pat.

In order from the top, my favourite tree paeony with flowers 8 inches across, A tree paeony from Japan, a viburnum,  the back garden full of hostas, a choisya ternate in a pot outside the front door

Sunday, 10 May 2015

London for the day

 Yesterday I started out from Leamington Spa with Anne, Derek and Alex for London. We went to the Courtauld  Gallery where, to my great pleasure, there was an exhibition of Goya drawings and etchings. Great though hardly cheering but one expects that with Goya. I have not been to the Courtauld for many years and I had forgotten what a wonderful collection it was, Dufys, Braques, the odd early Picasso, lots of Impressionists, a Berthe Morisot. 

Then we wandered round Covent Gardem, looked at the buskers. I bought Anne her birthday present yes I know it is not till August but it was too good to walk past. An Art Deco style handbag in black and white.

Derek and Alex left us to find a burger and go home while Anne and I went to have dinner at the Opera house (very good) and see King Roger. Sung in Polish. Not that the words made any difference. It was a typical opera plot, incomprehensible. But the music was first rate. Back to the hotel and this morning, a bacon roll at Marylebone and a train back to Leamington Spa.

What a nice day.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Samples Completed

The lampas samples have been finished, cut off, labelled and tidied up. All neatly seamed. I have written up the samples too - AND tidied up the loom, put it away, put away the boxes of yarn and generally been good.
A sample with several different thicknesses of pattern yarn. The warp is in 10/2 cotton. I would love to do lampas with satin in main and secondary warps but that will need the Megado and I am not progressing with that at the moment.
What I have done this week  is to get rid of three  single beds - and some of the associated bedding. This required two trips to the tip with the Mondeo stacked to the roof with 'stuff'. The garage got cleared out at the same time. Now I need to inventory the linen I have and get rid of some of it. That is next week's job.
From which you may gather that the house purchase, after several nasty hiccups, is progressing smoothly.
But this weekend I get off. Anne and I am going to Covent Garden Opera to see King Roger, complete with dinner in the restaurant there. We had thought of viewing the McQueen exhibition at the V&A in the afternoon but no tickets are available any time in May and availability is limited in June. Book now!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Garden - Again

The garden is outdoing any previous performance.
Some years  ago, this tree peony got very sick. Nothing for it but to cut off the slimy bits and burn them and then cosset it but since then no flowers - until this year when it is covered with flowers and looks very healthy

This is Rhododendron Bowbells - thirty years old and about four foot high. The photo above Bowbells is of one of our maples.
And apart from admiring the garden, all the garden pots have been washed and all the remaining business papers stacked in secure sacks to be destroyed. The cellar is declared to be 'sorted'. All that actually means is that all unwanted stuff  has been moved to the garage and you can hardly set foot in it. A massive visit to the tip is now called for.
I have progressed with the lampas samples and have got to the end of what I intended to do. I have 18 inches of warp left and will play with that today.

Monday, 4 May 2015


I have been ruminating about looms for the last week or so. This is caused by the Meyer not really being suitable for all types of weaving. The only criterion is that the loom I buy must have 12 shafts or 16. And is not a table loom. If Schacht made a more-than-8-shafts loom, I would have one like a shot but they don't. So there are AVL (I am going to see a 16 shaft in action which a friend owns), a Macomber (does anyone know of one in the UK I could visit?), a Louet (none of theirs seem quite right), Toika, Glimakra. I have not looked at the last two yet.  A folding Macomber is quite attractive. I do not have a proper spec yet. at the moment it is 16 shafts, floor loom, but weather computer controlled/dobby or treadles, I am swithering. I like the idea of a folding loom.  I will not be buying it until after we move although if I decided what to buy, and it had a long delivery time, I would order soon. I would be grateful for any comments/advice.

Apropos of moving, the purchase of the Reading house is not going well. Dorothy will be homeless by the 19th May and it looks like I will be too a month later. We have not reached the stage of searching for a substitute but I am definitely worried.

We had an American visitor, the Spinning Wheel Sleuth, at the Guild over the weekend. So lots of spinning talk. She gave the Guild a talk about ingenious US looms.

And now I must try to meet a few deadlines.


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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.