Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Chaco Ceramics

I created a new draft based on Chaco ceramic designs for the remaining bit of the Megado warp and have woven it up. And I have decided what to do. I am going to tie on another warp, this time of 10/2 Tencel and create another Chaco design for it.

In the meantime, The washed and scrubbed wool yarn is dry and wound into balls and I will work on that which is on the Meyer. Two of us from the Guild are going to demonstrate one evening soon and I need to have the portable loom all up and ready. It should not take long (famous last words!)

Monday, 22 February 2016

The New House

Several people have asked for photos of the house and studio. Well I have got round to taking some photos and here they are. From the top, the back of the house and two views of the front. these show that the ground slopes away from the front of the house at an alarming rate.

And the studio

From the top, general view showing Megado and Louet Kombo with Fan Reed fitted. Behind me is a table with a 12 shaft loom on it. Then some of the stash and at the bottom more storage. So there you are. This is where I work and live.

And sometimes get it very wrong. Last year I attended an acid dyeing two day course where Martin Weatherhead came to the Guild. After the course I was handed a plastic bag with 9 small balls of yarn dyed in various shades of purple. Each ball would be about 8 gm so there was not much. So I wound a warp with all the colours carefully arranged but there was only 6 inches width so I added some other wool yarn which had been dyed in an indigo vat. It wove up very nicely  with no problems. The photo below shows the warp before tying on.

When I took it off the loom, I cut straight across the warp and washed the scarf. I was shocked rigid at the result. The extra blue yarn shrunk by more than 10% but the yarn dyed in the course did not shrink at all. The result is a curved scarf. It took me some time to realise that the indigo vat was probably luke warm and no stirring was applied whereas  the class-dyed yarn was taken up near boiling and stirred.  There is a moral here. Always wash any indigo dyed yarn thoroughly after it has dried.

And what am I going to do with the two metres of warp I have left? I am going to unwind the warp and replace the faulty yarn and rewind. And just to make sure, I have found some more indigo dyed yarn and have washed it rather thoroughly.

Thursday, 18 February 2016


It is half term this week so no classes  and we decided to go to Slimbridge. This is because a) Dorothy has never been b) I want to practise taking photos and c) I am taking my gradson there is a few weeks and wanted to remind myself of what it was like. It is not very far  from Malvern and so we visited several times.

So Tuesday started with getting up at 0630 and arraying myself in what I call my Silk Route clothes. Start with silk longjohns and longsleeved silk vest then fleece trousers and a thin sweater then my Goretex sweater, then anorak, hat and gloves. Oh and a rucksack full of camera gear. It did not take long to discover that a telephoto lens was needed . I was amused at the gear other photographers had. Lens 2 foot long!! I cannot imagine myself lugging that lot about. Dorothy and I discussed and decided a shopping cart would be useful.

It was a beautiful day, no clouds. And I discovered that while that makes for nice lighting, it is a pest because you have to look for 'back to the sun' shots.

I took 92 photos. I discarded 23 immediately I got home./ When I examined the rest in Photoshop (CS5 I will have you know, not Elements), I ended up with 22 and even they are not perfect.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Local Camera Club

I belong to the local camera club which seems to cover a circle of several nearby villages. We meet at least twice a month and twenty to thirty people turn up. Last night it was a competition of prints between eight clubs in the South and it was startling. Each club entered the same number of prints, presumably selected by the club. The standard was terrific, indeed rather startling high. Technically most of the prints were perfect but it was the composition which got me. Of the sixty or so prints, there were maybe five which I would not have given house room to. This was because I could not  work out what they were about. The judge called them 'abstracts'. Hmmm! Anyway it was very enlightening. I need to try harder but I doubt I will ever get to that level as I only have a Canon G16. I have no intention of getting anything better because I refuse to carry around a ton of camera equipment.

I have this week written the Guild Newsletter, tidied up the garage and settled down at last to working seriously on my contribution to the Fan Reed book. I have three sections to write, one on the way my mechanism works, one on history and one of what I have woven. I spent the whole of yesterday working on the mechanism, finishing at midnight. I got up this morning and my first thought was I have omitted a topic so need to go back and add that. Then do a section on what I have woven. The history is really difficult and I have been working on the topic for months. But information is difficult to come by. I may end up having to visit the States though I would prefer not to as I may be mistaken about where there is some data.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Textiles of the Silk Route

I went over to Surrey this morning and gave a talk on Textiles of the Silk Route. The title is very open ended and the talk ended up in three sections. History of the silk route, my trip and current textile making on the silk route. Going by the questions, the audience stayed awake during the talk so that is an accolade!

Otherwise I need to deal with the FrameMaker problem and do some more bookbinding and warp the Louet Kombo. We had a builder in yesterday and he installed two valets, one for the Megado and one for the Kombo. He did a huge number of odd jobs and the house looks a great deal more finished now. He is coming back next Monday to finish off the list. I have decided what to do about the Seven Lamps of Architecture which involves putting on a new dark brown leather cover. That was very exciting as I had to order my own leather. Up to now, I have relied on acquiring leather from a tutor or a friend. This time I did it all myself! I have not yet solved the endpapers problem and am wondering if I soak the existing covers in water, I could lift the endpaper off. I wonder.

Monday, 8 February 2016

A Warp and Two Books

I managed to warp up the guild 12 shaft with a Biederwand pattern and deliver it on Saturday at the Guild meeting. Yesterday and today, I repaired two books, one for me and one for my sister.

 The above is my siste5r's, The Favorite Wonder book. It is inscribed with the date 10/8/48 by my father. So it was a birthday present to her. It is full of stories, like Baron Munchausen. The spine had come off completely but the textblock and the covers were in a good state. Now back to together again.

The above was bought by me recently. It is called the Loom Book and is 1930s with loads of drafts. Clearly aimed at handweavers who had a treadle loom. But it was falling apart and the textblock wanted attention. New endpapers which are a copy of some 1930s paper. Rather nice all round.

We currently have a workman in to do odd jobs. The valets have been securely installed in the studio ceiling and now I can warp up the Louet Kombo w3ith the fan reed. But not till Wednesday. Tomorrow I give a lecture on the Silk Route Textiles to another Guild. There has been much searching for photos and even more searching for bits of fabric. 'I am sure I would not have given that away' and I had not, just put it somewhere very safe.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The bible is finished

Well the Bible is finished. Not perfect but much better than it was.
The crease down the spine came with the bits of the book. it is irritating but minor efforts to remove it did nothing. I was afraid to try major surgery for fear of splitting the spine.

And now it is on to the next bit of repair. I have three books to deal with, all of them I am pleased to say quite small jobs compared to the Bible. And I propose to start with the easiest of them where the spine has come off. The book itself is in excellent condition. So a couple of hours work. What I want to do is get all of these off and get onto some serious book binding of the sort where I design the book from scratch.

In the meantime, I have to warp up the Guild 12 shaft loom for the class to weave samples. I have designed some littles trees and a flower or two and they can choose what they want to do.
And now to wind a wap.

Monday, 1 February 2016


I have been busy but do not seem to have a lot to show for it. The Bible is very nearly finished

Here it is. Pages repaired A very secure fixing of the covers to the text involving the use of some stout linen as a hinge. The spine is ready to have buckram attached and then the old spine will be done. It should be finished today. The covers were dyed with drak brown leather dye and then polished with beeswax. Also done is a very odd little book.

I was given the book with its Fair Isle knitted covering by a friend and decided to make it into a needlebook which I need. So the pages are of felt and they are sown together like a paper book. The spine is just as normal for a paper hardback. But all rather satisfactory.

I have just inspected my diary and realised that I have a little more than a week to prepare a talk. So I will be doing that for the rest of the day.


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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.