Tuesday, 29 December 2015


Every year, the Foster family rents a house for a week over New Year and settles in to enjoy itself, play silly games, sit in the hot tub. This year there are 13 or 14 of us. There is a certain amount of coming and going. Anyway 12 of us went to the local pantomime in Tunbridge Wells Assembly Rooms. The script was dire, the acting sheer ham, the singing was not at all bad, the dancing startlingly good and the dresses fabulous. The Ugly Sisters had a new outfit on each entrance, I counted eight!! All different in style. And beautifully made. Very odd. Now last year Weymouth, if it was not Bournemouth, hired first rate actors and singers but no dancers and the costumes were poor. I suppose it must depend on local expertise.

I have several photos I intended to show but I have brought the wrong camera reader. bah! So they will have to wait until I sort this out. 

I have managed to wind 80%of the Convergence warp. More important I am running a class in Japanese style bookbinding in 12 days time and collected several pieces of fabric from students to back with paper. I looked at the fabric on Sunday and trimmed the pieces to size, just less than A2. Then on Monday morning early, I backed all ten pieces of fabric with paper. It all looks okay. But if it is not, I have time to take action when I get home next Sunday. It is the first time I have worked in the garage and I discovered some problems which we can get round. Also working in my studio, I have discovered things I cannot live with. Dorothy and I discussed this on Sunday and Monday and came up with a few ideas. I think we need to implement little 'corrections' one at a time and it will not be long before everything will be okay.  The main problem is storage in that some things are stored behind others and it is difficult to move the things in front. One point is that cones storage better on shelves than in drawers. However I must not get sidetracked when I get home. Convergence must take precedence. I only have three weeks. Am I going to make it?

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Day

The cooked breakfast has been eaten, the presents all opened, the wrapping paper tidied up. Anne and family are with me for Christmas and as much preparation as possible done yesterday.  In fact I am sitting around dipping into the books I received as presents. And dipping into a box of Turkish Delight which Anne brought back from Istanbul two days ago.

These have no relation to what is sold in the UK as Turkish Delight and are delicious.

May you have a Happy Christmas and your equivalent of Turhish Delight from Istanbul to please you,  not to mention a satisfying New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Getting ready for Christmas

We returned from Bilbao on Wednesday and set about preparing for Christmas. That really means a huge clear up of the house and trying to finish off the unpacking! So I have moved half the garage contents to the new garden shed while Dorothy shunted shelves about in the garage and tidied up there. We have finished up with a large amount of garbage for the recycling facility and  a lot of less garbagey stuff for the charity shop. I have also hung all the pictures we have space for on the walls and done one or two hours work in the garden. All bulbs have been planted and we had a lot of them. We bought a lot on October but, when we came to plant them, we could not find them so bought a second lot and guess what? The first lot turned up in a bucket with a lid on. I have planted a lot in garden pots. I have turned out the spare room ready for family over Christmas.

But far more important is that my son-in-law  came over this morning and finished mantling the Megado. I have to admit that the Kombo is no longer attached to its stand because we pinched a bolt from it but it is all functioning now. The computer is happily driving it and I am a happy bunny. Now to wind a warp a ila Laura Fry.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Third Day in Bilbao

A bit of a disaster today. We went into the Guggenheim. There was an exhibition called Modern Africa which is clearly today's art and that was really interesting though with a strong political message but the rest was not to my taste at all. Even the four Richters were black and white and not at all interesting. Nice cafe. Then back to the hotel to try to book into Convergence. Which I managed eventually and even got into all the classes I wanted. So I feel quite cheerful. 

After lunch, we took the tram all the way to the terminus and walked back. In the evening we went out to see if the Guggenheim was illuminated but it was not. I did get a nice photo of the large Xmas de orations at the Guggenheim.

That is all from Bilbao. Except that I have been cogitation get on weaving.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Second Day in Bilbao

Today's excursion included the old city where I bought a three-headed dragon and visited the cathedral (very plain) and the Basque museum. The latter was fun. To do this we took the tram which was an experience in itself. Then back to the hotel by way of a shopping mall across the street. In the afternoon we walked up to a big bridge over the river just beside the Guggenheim. And I was right. The view was much better.

A ham shop in the old city.

Just outside the Guggenheim. Note the person to give some idea of scale.

Guggenheim from the river bridge.

After the photo session we went to the Fine Arts Museum. The Roman and early Catalan stuff was very interesting. Tomorrow we 'do' the Guggenheim.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

First Day in Bilboa

I do not know what I was expecting to find in Bilbao but it certainly was not this. The sky is blue - no clouds, and quite warm. The city is full of very avant garde buildings and works of art. The hotel has more high class modern sculpture than anyotel I have seen elsewhere. And this sculpture business even stretches to the many public parks.

A few samples

The Guggenheim itself

A bit of sculpture

A piece of floral scuplture. A bit on the large side.

More of the Guggenheim. We had a good look round this afternoon but we are visiting it on Tuesday. Tomorrow we are going to the old city and the Museum of Fine Arts. It has lots of parks in the centre of the city and a river. A real elegant city.

Friday, 11 December 2015

End of Bookbinding Course

For the last five weeks I have been commuting by train into London centre to go to a bookbinding course. All I can say about the pricing system is that it is weird beyond comprehension. The class runs from 1030 to 1630. So the first week I took the bus to Reading Station and then a return to London. But cheap day rates and anything other method of reducing the cost is not allowed till after 10am. So it cost £50.50. Next week I got a lift to Theale which is 5 minutes in travel time west from Reading and was taken aback to discover a return to London costs £15.50. This includes global travel on London underground. The reason is that the cut-off time for cheap day rates is 0900am and it is only five minutes beyond Reading!! And another thing. The cost of a single ticket in the reduced period is £18.00. So it would be more economical to get a return and throw away the return half. How daft can you get.
I was attending a class on soft cover book binding which I was interested in. Today, the last day, I was particularly interested as we were doing Coptic binding.
All four of the books I made. The dark one, second from the right is leather, the other three are paper.
The leather book by itself.
The above is a photo of Books 3 ad 4 by the whole class.

I have decided what to do about Convergence. Firstly I have moved the Megado and when I get back from Spain next week, I will install a valet system and have it working so that I can start warping up after New Year. I will only have two weeks to weave five yards. To which end I am not using fine silk but 2/12 cotton. A lot can go wrong with this plan. I will try to get the warping up completed before Christmas.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Local Camera Club

There is a camera club in Burghfield Common which I have been attending. Usually 25-30 people are at each meeting which are held twice a month. One meeting is a lecture by a visitor and the other meeting is either a competition or a workshop on techniques. They hold four competitions a year. Considering myself a beginner, I did not enter for the first competition but when I heard the critique at the next meeting, I thought it would be worth entering just to get the critiques. So I entered three (the preferred number) as jpegs.

Marks were out of 10 and I got 9.5,10 and 8.5 making me the highest scorer in submissions as jpegs. As I have never entered a photographic competition in my life till now, I was very startled. In order from the top the photos were taken in Chichester harbour, Petworth Deer Park, and Mesa Verde. The caterpillar was a monster of about four inches long. I cannot get over this.
Life is progressing in the house. Most workmen have completed their tasks and gone and sent in an invoice which has been paid. Tomorrow a man comes to install a new loft ladder and on Monday several men appear to erect a garden shed. After that, we are done. I have done a spot more weaving and my frozen shoulder has been injected with a steroid and feels almost cured. I have started worrying about a submission to Convergence and am wondering if there is time available to warp up and weave 5 yards of material in time to arrive at Convergence by Jan 25th. I suspect not but I will try. The first time I entered, I wove more than 3 yards of fine silk (60 epi) in three days and was crippled for the next week or so. I have the yarn for this one and it will be about 20 epi so maybe it will be okay. The yardage entries are under the title `Ice Age` and I have created what I think is a really nice - and suitable - draft  for it.


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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.