Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Convergence 2016 is at Milwaukee! Yippee and Hurrah!

I have been there and I will go again no problem. The reason? The city art gallery is to die for, both the architecture and the contents. It is built on the edge of Lake Michigan and looks like a huge seabird just taking off. In the evening to music, it slowly folds its wings up, tucks its head under its wing and goes to sleep till morning. The architecture is by Calatraves (Barcelona airport). But there was a Saarinen wing built earlier!

Apart from two or three rooms full of Georgia OKeefe, there are Braques, Picassos, Kandinskys (lots), a Rembrandt or two and an impressive photographic collection. 

So start saving! See you there! Never mind what the classes are!

Isn't it great?

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Living with Ruth

There is nothing wrong with living with Ruth except that I do not have my belongings with me. Rather more important, I do not know what I do have. Occasionally I am pleasantly surprised to find that I did bring something sensible.

Yesterday I joined a group of weavers, lace makers etc and had a very sociable afternoon. I wound a new warp. I have at long. Last finished the piece of Biederwand which was on the 12 shaft loom.

I will hem the ends when I have a sewing machine. But at last it is done. The wound warp is the multicoloured stripey piece of complex twill I showed a few days ago. 

Most of the family's efforts are currently going into THE PARTY. Anne is 50 and I am older so we are having a joint party, going up the Thames on a boat with a jazz band, party food and lots of friends. Oh and dressed in 1920s clothes! This is happening next weekend.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Madiera Day 2

This was dominated by Reid's summer party for which we all had to turn up in white - all quite something. Above are the dancers.

Our contribution! The food was fantastic. I never got past the starters! And there was a band, rather standard and eight dancers - fantastically good and all teenagers. And a lot of champagne. 

The next day we managed to crawl out of bed and take a taxi to the Botanical Garden. Like everywhere else here, it is on a steep slope, so we started at the top and wound our way down, taking in the cafe on the way.

You would not have thought the gardeners could find enough flat space for a glorious parterre!

The Santa Maria de Columbus returning to harbour after a day at sea. This is a complete replica of his ship. Except that in addition to sails it has an engine!

Late in the evening we sat on the hotel terrace looking out to the darkening sea and drank. -- Madiera of course.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Madiera Day 1


After a traumatic week in which all my worldly goods went into storage, three of us are in Madiera for a few days. I have always wanted to visit Reid's Palace Hotel and it is exceeding expectations. The three of us are my daughter, Ruth, my grand-daughters, Charlotte and myself. 

This is us having scrambled eggs and smoked salmon plus Buck's Fizz for breakfast at Gatwick. Charlotte starting as she means to go on. I had tea!

The hotel is at the upper left and the hotel pool is at the lower right. Everywhere means stairs.

A tiled picture in the hotel. There are tiles everywhere and flowers.

The hotel restaurant has  a terrace and we had dinner up above the sea cliffs looking out to sea. I am feeling more cheerful already.

Last Thursday Dorothy and Robin and myself went and inspected the  new house and made a list of things to be done. All looks good to me. Now off for breakfast down by the pool.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Removal, well partial removal

On Monday, four removal vans and a lot of men turned up at 0800 hours and stripped the house. They were gone four hours later leaving me to finish cleaning, lock up, deliver the keys and drive to Ruth's house. Tuesday was spent sorting out everything and visiting Rosie in order to cadge some orange 10/2 and 6/2 cotton as well as  bobbin winder. Mine are in store.then I sorted out the bank. Today was spent filling up forms for the lawyers which involved an awful lot of copying and downloading.

However I found time to look at a gallery's catalogue of Sonja DeLaunay and wondered whether some could be interpreted into weaving so I have spent time on drafts. The simpler ones work but the most complicated do not. I will continue because i am sure it an be done. Tomorrow Dorothy is coming down and we are going to see the house to measure various places. The day after I go to Madiera For a long weekend. Charlotte found out that the party of the year being held on Saturday. So we are going. I will take photos.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Halfway Through the Dismantling

The removal men were here on Friday and swept up all sorts of things. Mostly I got out and packed in the car what I need but I was not quick enough for some things, for example, the yarn needed to finish the weaving on the 12 shaft Meyer  and my bobbin winder. I shall have to borrow some from Rosie Price. I have already taken some stuff to Ruth's house and maybe it is there - - - but I think it is now in store in Gloucester. Half the house contents have gone and I am living in chaos for the weekend. Also they have packed all the rubbish in the garage which was to be taken to the tip!! I am living in two (untouched) rooms and will finish my packing today. I intend to put everything by the car early tomorrow so they do not pack that.
One entertaining bit is that the foreman was dismayed when shown round the house. I could not quite see why. It turned out that no one told him about the number of books we have. He had brought 30 boxes and it was not enough so he obviously phoned HQ and someone appeared with a van load of book boxes - 200 in all. When they left on Friday, which they had to do at 1500 hours because they had run out of van space, they had packed 150 boxes of books! And they were not finished. They have to be out by lunchtime on Monday so they are bringing twice as many removal men and two big vans!! I spent Friday keeping out of the way and will spend Monday the same way.
I had not realised that how awful it was not to have access to my books. Reduced to watching television!!
Today I need to pack my clothes. And collect the last pieces of paper. Then this afternoon I am going over to Anne's in Leamington Spa with some stuff for her. I meant to take her some wine but the men have packed all that. This evening I having supper with a friend.
Dorothy took her self, her luggage and the animals over to Northampton on Friday early and will stay there till we move into the new house which is really much better than the Reading house. We had discovered some weeks ago that the Megado would not fit in the house without occupying an entire room. As a result, we decided that we would have to build a room for it in the garden which was not cheap.  The house we are now buying is much bigger - 700 sq ft more space. It is more expensive but the cost is less than the Reading house plus garden loom room plus conservatory which we do not need now. And instead  trying to work the optimum room usage, we have two large rooms one above the other which we will have as studios, one each. They are 24 by 12 ft (downstairs) and 20 by 12 ft upstairs. And we still have four bedrooms, two reception and a whopping big kitchen/diner. The kitchen floor is ceramic tiles and is to die for.  The garden, by the way, is a reasonable size and smaller than the Reading house. It needs attention. The house did have tenants in it - who have left recently  and the owner had intended to send in gardeners but we told him not to waste his money because we would be altering it. So he is on our side already!
What else? It is on an estate and was built in the 90s. The main bedrooms are big and the two smaller ones are very respectable in size. The smallest can easily take twin beds. Because it is on an estate, it is much safer for the dogs and cat and there are a lot of copses and woodland near by to walk in.
I have not mentioned the desktop which cracked up on Thursday. The hard disk has gone to the great rubbish tip in the sky. Thank goodness for Dropbox. So I am operating on a laptop and the iPad. I have decided I need to take the defunct desktop with me - just in case. I have not managed to connect the laptop to the printer but I have managed to connect the printer to the iPad. So things are reasonably okay. I hope I survive another 10 years because I do not fancy moving again any time soon. I have to admit that every move I have previously done was a lot less traumatic that this one.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Moving day

Or rather, first moving day. I have to be out of here by 1400 hours on Monday. The removal men are in full residence and I am keeping out of the way. Every now and then, I suddenly remember that they might have packed an item I did not want packed and there is much searching in boxes. They have been here since 0800 hours and intend to do 70% of the packing by close today. Several of the rooms are now empty (1430). They were very dismayed by the number of books. I pointed out that I had shown the estimator round the house. Nevertheless they had to phone base in Gloucester and get someone to bring more boxes. I have put lots of stuff in my car to keep it out of the way. And there is more to  put in.

All sorts of things have been uncovered. There are very nasty stains on the sitting room carpet and they look to have gone right through to the back of the carpet. There is an unrecognised sheet of green glass which the removal men say came from a table. ?? Did it really? I remember no green glass anywhere.The Megado came apart yesterday and is packed in the van. The bookcases came apart eventually. The garden furniture is currently being packed up.

Oh and we had a serious problem with the big table. I have a very heavy oak table with extension leaves. We bought it for one pound more than thirty years ago and I had it professionally French polished. It seats twelve with ease. Well, the removal men started by taking the front door off its hinges. Then summoned me and asked how we got it in. We eventually worked out that the front door was replaced when we had double glazing put in. So they dismantled it by unscrewing bits. I only hope that it can go together again. 

It looks as though I am going to be living very oddly over the weekend!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

An Enraged Old Lady

To recap on the house saga, my sister and I are buying a house together. She has sold her house in Dundee and left it and has been living with me for the past 7 weeks. I have sold my house and leave here next Monday. Last Monday we were told that we could not have the new house until 13th August -  maybe. And we snapped. Dorothy went off and trawled the web for houses and found one which sounded promising. On Tuesday we went to see it in the morning. We asked questions and went off to my daughter Ruth in her new house and had lunch, returned to the estate agent who had all the answers and bought the house. He says 4 weeks to completion. I am assuming a bit more than that. Withdrawing the offer on the first house has resulted in all sorts of phone calls which did not improve my temper.
In addition Wednesday we managed to get both the Megado and the bookcases half disassembled which means the house looks awful and to add to our woes we have a serious wasp problem. The exterminator was here on Saturday but we still have a problem. We did manage to find another wasp nest yesterday and the exterminator returns today.
Ruth's new house is quite something. It is Grade II listed, Victorian red brick with twiddly bits, about 1850. The garden needs attention but the house is delightful, 3 floors and a semi-basement, a kitchen to die for. It has four ovens in a 2 by 2 configuration, one steamer, one microwave, two proper ovens. Balck marble everywhere and the fanciest opening cupboards and drawers I have ever see. There is a central island in white marble!
In the meantime my biggest worry is what to take with me next week. All my belongings are going into store and I need to be sure I take everything I need for trips abroad with me. I have made a huge list and need to collect everything together. I have bought one of these small metal filing boxes to put the files in. But I can see me turning up at Heathrow and some official saying 'where is your XXXX?' and me saying 'in store in Gloucester'. Clothes do not matter. They can always to bought but it is the paperwork that bothers me. The removal men move in tomorrow (Friday) and I need to have this sorted out by then.
I am taking the Meyer 12 shaft with me. I will need something to do in the next few weeks, apart from holidaying abroad. So I have created an interesting twill. selected the yarns printed out details and dumped the whole lot as well as everything for the Summer School at Ruth's house where I will be for the next few weeks.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Progress of a Sort

I wonder why other people write blogs. Mine started as a means of recording what I was up to in weaving and bookbinding, a sort of diary. But it has a turned into something more akin to the standard diary and I wonder if this is a 'GOOD THING'. We have at last got a date for entry into the Reading house - 13th August and we leave here on July 13th. And I have a raft of things to do before everything  disappears into store. There is actually a lot going on  in the next five weeks and I have realised that I have to be very careful about what goes into store. So immediately this will strike you as being a non-textile blog - but my excuse is that the problems resulting from this shambles are at the top of my head.
So yesterday I dealt with the Summer School. I am going to attend a week on Weft Ikat (hurrah) run by Martin Weatherhead for whom I have a great respect. I was pleased to get a place on the course. The Summer School is run every two years by the UK Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. It is residential. I attended the 2013 Summer School and was very annoyed. The access to my course room was through a room in which Martin was teaching Warp Ikat. And every time I walked through the room, I had to grit my teeth through sheer jealousy. Anyway this year HURRAH. I have done a lot of warp ikat and tried weft ikat myself in fine silk and it was not a great success. What I really want to do is kasuri, which Japanese warp and weft ikat simultaneously so you can get pictures. I have a piece of Japanese cotton with delightful sparrows patterned on it. Yesterday I  found all the course notes which had been sent out, searched for and  found some suitable yarn, worked out the details of the warp, wound it, would lots of yarn into balls and found all the tools called up. All of these are in a large plastic crate with a note on top to remind me I need to take the dyeing pot and the Calor Gas stove etc. So job done.
I wove a good bit of lampas on the Meyer yesterday. And I am wondering if I should wind another warp for the Meyer to occupy me in the weeks in my daughter's house. I have some more ideas for lampas but the problem is going to be finding time to design new drafts and get the warps wound before next Thursday! Sunday and Monday have been laid aside for an onslaught on dismantling the Megado. That will go into store along with the Louet Kombo and Magic Dobby. I have decided that I will not immediately reassemble the Megado when we are in the new house, but to wait and see if we can have a purpose built garden building for looms. I looked at photos of Debbie Richardson's garden building which looks good. And I remember Sue Dwyer had one as well. But it is a case of planning permission. My sister really wants a conservatory. She has managed to build one on to every house she has owned. We need to know if the local council allow us to build both. Oddly enough we are not in Reading District Council but in Wokingham! The boundary is about five houses further up the road. I do not know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Returning to the function of a blog, I cannot think why I am not designing drafts and there are things I want to say to my sister. I'll tell you something I have discovered. Husbands put up with being woken up early with 'Please get up. I've made you some tea. I want to talk you' but sisters do not take it well. 


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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.