Saturday, 28 March 2020

A Project finished

I set up a warp on the Meyer which was based on an 18th c draft altered by me. And it is finished. There never was much warp so, regarded as a scarf, it is rather short at about 1.20m. I like my scarves to be longer than 1.5m. Anyway the pattern is okay. I have tidied up and found more things to rearrange. But the next job, which will be lengthy, is to put the silk space dyed warp on the Schacht.  I am also getting on with book binding and have done a load of weeding this morning. My son-in-law says he has turned out their utility room and it did need it but I cannot imagine where he has put everything. I would have thought a trip to the tip was called for.


The only other thing of note is the tale of the abutilon. I like abutilons. I first saw them in full bloom in a Cotswold garden, about 15 ft high, pyramidal in shape and covered with lilac or white blooms about 3 inches across. I really fell for them and managed to lay my hand on some seed which turned into plants (too many) so all my Malvern friends had an abutilon in their garden. But they are short lived. Less than 10 years despite their size. When I moved to Reading five years ago. I got some more seedlings going but I promised Dorothy I would dig it up when 7 or 8 years old as she thought it would be a bit big for our garden. Last year, it got to 7 foot and had a few lilac flowers. Oh it flowers in May. Well first of all it has shot up over the last winter to 9 or 10 foot now. But what is more, it is flowering. Now!! and it is covered with flower buds. So I said to D that next year I would have it out and she said Oh no need for that, it seems to be getting along fine. Well I never!!!! Let us not argue!! I can look forward to a few years of abutilon pleasure.

Added later. I forgot. Last night (Friday) I watched the first of Covent Garden's free offerings to the public. Peter and the Wolf as a ballet. Done by the youngsters of the Covent Garden school. First rate!! It seems to be available for the next week. Next Friday they are doing Cosi Fan Tutte. I am looking forward to that. Lots of similar institutions are making similar offerings but none so good as Covent Gardens. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Lots of Dyeing

Given that I am confined to the house, I have done a lot.

Firstly I have finished the deflected double weave from Melanie Venes. See photo below.



Secondly I have woven some of the 18th c draft. It is on 11 shafts and on a table loom with a repeat of 16 weft throws. That is a pest, asking for errors which I have got but nice all the same. Big problem is that I used a two colour warp and I get only one showing up nicely, depending on whether the weft is lighter or darker than the warp.
The biggest project has been space dyeing a silk warp. I wound a warp from each ball of a Debbie Bliss cream silk- ten warps in all. And decided to use Procion dyes not acid.  See photos.



First red was applied to 5 warps, then after an hour, blue was applied. The other five warps were dyed, blue first, then red. The dyes leaked from one place to another and the result is not the tidy dyeing sequence I had planned but I do have ten multicolored warps in toning colours. I shall put these on the Schacht as soon as they are completely dry. The green comes about because the silk is Cornish cream colored, that is, a lot of yellow in it.


We are surviving the lock down. We walk the dogs in the local woods at 0630 am.  and try to get another short walk in later in the day. We have a small wood beside our house and our own gate into it. It has been a sea of mud recently but we thought it might be okay after the last few days of sunshine. And it was. That will make life easier for us.









Thursday, 19 March 2020

Battening Down the Hatches

We have been making sure we have all the materials we need to keep from going stir crazy in the next three or four months. Not so fussed about toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. My sister, Dorothy, gets supplies from a medical supplies (she was a GP all her working life) so  we have lots of the right stuff already. I found I was short of yeast though and went into Sainsbury to bu some. I was staggered to see that the many shelves normally full of flour held one pack only. Do not tell me the world is going to make its own bread. I do not believe you. I, on the other hand, have a bread maker and 90% of the bread we eat comes out of the bread maker. We both have a weakness for a certain sort of Sainsburys bread which they were well stocked with.

Everything I might have visited/attended in the next 3/4 months has been cancelled and refunds are following into my bank account. Oh well. The way things are going, there might be horrendous financial follow-ons after this is all over.

So what have we got planned. Dorothy plans to make some quilts which she has been brooding over. I have just finished warping up the Meyer with a pattern from Jeremiah Fielding`s book (only 'adjusted') and will probably start weaving today. The Megado needs a steady amount of attention and I aim to set about dyeing a whole load of silk. A month or so ago I wound all the silk (9 balls of Debbie Bliss silk) into 9 separate warps. Each will be dyed differently. And I hope for a jacket out of the fabric.

The original Jeremiah draft in its modern version is shown below along with my version of it.

Original Modern Draft


My draft (one unit)


Showing a few repeats










Thursday, 12 March 2020

Megado Sorted

Dorothy has pointed out to me that I never reported on the end of the Megado problem. A quote was indeed forthcoming from Louet. It was very large indeed. A substantial fraction of the cost of a new Megado. So Alan suggested he have a go at repairing it and came and fetched it one Monday. It was returned the following Sunday - working!!!!!. Apparently at some point in its life a repair had been done in the control box and the solder had given up with age. So he cleaned it up and replaced the solder and VOILA - one working Megado. I wove about six inches, wound on and discovered, to my grief that I had tied the warp on very badly so attempted to repair it and made the warp tension worse. I cut off the newly woven section, pulled through all the faulty threads, tied on again (VERY CAREFULLY) and wove a section again, then wound on. All is well. How stupid can you be! Quite is the answer if you are me!!

And he charged less than 10% of Louet's quote.

I also ought to say that my sick days seem to be behind us. I was sick for the day on average, one day in six or seven. The medication was changed. Not only do I not have sick days but I am much more energetic. I have completed all sorts of deadlines. I even found time and energy to go and clean up in the garden today. It feels good to have joined the human race again!

The Meyer - Problems

I have just had a very odd experience which took 24 hours to resolve. Later this month I am going to stay with my daughter and thought I would take my small loom, the 12 shaft Meyer, to occupy myself while the others were at work. So I designed a draft which used Bateman on 8 shafts, wound the warp for it and dug the Meyer out of its cupboard. I was quite shocked. It had a white and blue wool warp on it already and about 8 inches was woven in a  complicated pattern. I remember nothing about this and between us (Dorothy and me) we could not even remember when it was done - except that it was some time ago. I investigated  the threading - complex and on 8 shafts. No notes on it anywhere. In the end I tried tabby which looks okay but rather dull to weave. There is by the way quite a length of unwoven warp on the loom. So I retired for the night. Got up this morning determined to sort this out and eventually found the threading plus the rest of the draft in Melanie Venes handout of Autumn 2018!! And then remembered. Melanie came to do a two day course at the Guild and I did a sample draft from her selection of Deflected Double Weaves but I did not like what I had chosen and, when I got home, I cut off the sample, re-threaded with another draft and started out - and instead of starting a new entry in my notes, I wrote a few cryptic remarks in pencil on Melanie's handout!!!!. So all is now well. The only problem that I have now is that the weft is brown wool quite thick with some thinner blue. And I can see me running out of brown. Some where in the house is some more brown. I would not have started weaving with those colours unless I had enough yarn.



And on the topic of photos, our garden is showing signs of life. So I have been out with the camera.




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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.