Sunday, 31 October 2010

I have been attending a three day course in Creative Development at the Cotswold Conference Centre . This birch grove is just outside the window of our room - and it is a very tree-y place.  The Center tumbles down the steep hill which is the Cotswold Escarpment above Broadway. All the buildings are honey-coloured Cotswold stone (illegal to build in anything else around there).

The facilities are excellent, including the food. What more could you want? Well I could want to be better at colour.

The tutor alternately lectures to us and lets us get on with our chosen project. I thought that I might be the oddity among a lot of painters but not so. There is an Art Quilter (who does know about colour), a fabulous very young photographer, two people who have not picked up a paint brush for 15 years and some one who is designing a book.

The tutor, Samantha Field, is providing us with questions, like 'Why are you doing this? Who are you doing it for? and other equally perplexing questions. We have also done some role playing. As far as my project was concerned, She started me off by suggesting I should try every medium she brought with her to find one that suited me and the project. So I worked my way through oil pastels, watercolours, paintstix, crayons etc etc  and ended up with choosing to use though the crayons were pretty good as well. The example above was done with pastels on two sheets of paper, then each sheet was sliced, every second slice was inverted and the two sheets interleaved.  What I am trying to do is design a colour scheme for a warp which I can dye and my current idea is to wind two or possibly three multisection warps, space dye each and then reassemble them. Now the above looks okay. 

But when I tried doing it full size, it looks terrible - purple bricks on end. I think there are too many colours (8) and cut it down to 5 before I finished up last night. Today I have to get through four variants before lunch. We do critiques after lunch.

It has all been a bit of an eye-opener. One practical point is that doing one of these collages/maquettes/whatever takes maybe an hour and that is a lot less time than it would take to wind the warps, dye them, warp up and try. But it is clear that the stripes need blending.

The other thing is the answer to Why am I doing this? And in particular, why do I suddenly want to  weave fabrics which are so much more complex? I think I know now - or at least I have a plausible explanation.

All my working life, I have been an engineer. I started out as a physicist doing astrophysical research but found I was only interested in making the equipment work, I didn't care a damn about the Origins of the Universe. Still don't. So I went into industry and turned into an engineer. What I liked was solving problems. When it (whatever it was) worked, it could be turned over to the customer and I never saw it again. I never liked doing production because that was boring and again it's the same thing, no problems to be solved. About three years, I suddenly got very bored with work and looking back I realise now that it was because there were precious few problems left to be solved. It was mostly a case of digging out an old design and adapting it to the new specifications.

So my theory is that I have found something in weaving plus dyeing which is a real difficult problem and am enjoying myself immensely. Witness the fact that I have had lots of ideas of how to make the warp up and dye it. Also my current ideas are going to restrict me to short warps of say 5 yards max. And in teh long term that is not going to be acceptable. And I have not yet got a design I would spend time dyeing. Interesting that the warp on the Megado at the moment was done, seats of the pants, and I think has worked. But then the variation across the warp is much greater than along the warp. Whereas my pastel+paper attempts have got equal amounts of variation in both directions. Is this telling something?

More tomorrow when we have finished the course and had the round up.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Mutlicoloured Warp

This is a scan of sample wefts on the multicoloured warp. From the bottom
- A rust flecked wool mixture. Too thick to provide a 'square' diamond. I would need to sley at 16epi. Currently the warp is sleyed at 20epi.
- a Linton Tweeds yarn which is a mixture of three separate threads. Don't like this - too messy. Again thick yarn.
-a cotton crepe from Texere. Nearer square and the diamonds stand out nicely.

This is a photo of the samples. Same as the scan but there is more to see and there is a bit of 2/10 cotton at the top

Here is a longer piece woven in 2/10 cotton - ice-blue in colour. The strange edges are due to my operations in Photoshop trying to tidy up the background.

Now the question is what to do with the rest of the warp. I have more than two yards left. Michael asked me what else I needed to try and I am not sure there is anything.

The next question is what have I learnt.

The ghost warp has worked. All the knots went through the reed and the heddles with no problems. It has woven up okay with no tension problems.

The warp has partially worked in the sense that I have managed to  line up the colours along the warp - mostly. However the contrasts along the warp are over whelmed by the variation in colour across the warp. There is a question as to whether it is worth bothering with a space dyed warp at all.

But that does not affect what I have on the loom at the moment. I think I shall re-sley on a 8 dent reed and use the red flecked wool. The fabric is quite thick and would make clothing, cushions, upholstery depending on the weft. Anyway I love the final fabric colour.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Megado Warped Up

This is the calladium leaf trimmed and stitched to a backing piece of cotton (dyed by my sister, Dorothy). This was just to see if I could. It seems okay.

I have designed, using Photoshop, a pattern of calladium  leaves, to use in Mola work on a gilet. And I have dyed some pieces of silk velvet in what I hope are suitable colours.There will be three leaves in a vertical row on the fronts, mirror images but done in different fabrics. And one large leaf on the back

This is a silk scarf where I dyed the solid yellow background and Michael did the pleating, tying on a plastic pipe and applying the dye. It has come out well although I have to admit I do not like the colours at all!!!

What I have been doing is tying on hundreds of threads to the ghost warp and then winding the new warp on to the Warp beam of the Megado. I was a bit shocked by the colours. There is far too much eau-de-nil., about 16% of the warp. I think 5% would have been more what I had envisaged.And the space dyeing down the warp is not visible.

It is tied on and ready to be checked. I should be up and weaving this afternoon.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Caladium leaves - again!!

Just fancy! A caladium leaf in Mola work! Well, well, who would have thought of it!!

  1. This was made out furnishing remnants our tutor had to hand. I started it at the class and finished it off last night. Sufficiently taken with it to think of applying such things to some calico and making a gilet. So, since I was acid dyeing for Michael today, I space dyed some more pieces of silk velvet in suitable colours which are two shades of green, grey and pink.

Michael has made a rather splendid arashi silk scarf which is drying at the moment - photo to follow. I have done a clamped silk square which I don't think has worked but it is waiting to be steamed and still clamped up.

Don't think there is no weaving going on but there is a limit to the enthusiastic noises I can making about threading up and sleying. I have most of the sleying finished. The new warp has now got to be tied to the ghost warp and I think that will take several days.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Visit to Worcester

On the left, a whole object finished for the Creative Textile course!! What is interesting is that the fabric in the arabesques is so similar in colour to the lining and handle - but the lining fabric was dyed two weeks ago and the other was cut from a shirt which was at least ten years old! Is this trying to tell me something about my colour preferences?

Today I spent the afternoon in Worcester, having a hair cut, looking for sewing machine needles for leather (tried three shops before being successful) and visiting the Worcester Resource Exchange. This was my second visit to WRE and I learnt something very important. The turnover is very fast. Lots of things I saw the first time just were gone and there were lots of new things. I came home with some more plastic pipes of large diameter for arashi work, gold metallic foil, some strange bits of tough plastic to be used for clamping silk scarves, Thick rounds of  foam and several pieces of thick plastic mesh for using as screen print material.

Came home a happy bunny to put straps on the bag above and tidy up my stuff to take tomorrow. I hope to take in an exhibition of Utamaro prints touring from the British Museum after the class.

I have finished threading the ghost warp on the Megado and might just get it sleyed later tonight.

Oh and the plumber came and replaced parts of the tank and all is well. 'It's very old, Mrs Foster, practically an antique'. Well it has been here since we moved in 25 years ago. Anyway no drips.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

More Worrying about Colour

The builder comes to do the door on Friday 5th November which means I lose a Bournville class. Oh well, it is definitely in a good cause. And the plumber cometh today. We have had a leaking overflow pipe for months and now the weekly gardeners  are complaining about it and what with winter coming which the Met Office says will worse than last year - - - the time has come to have it seen to.

I bought two leather paring knives last week. Yesterday I put a leather handle on the English paring knife The French one (above in photo) comes with a beautiful wooden handle - why are the English so mean? I cut a strip of bookbinding leather 20 mm wide and practised wrapping the handle, then applied Araldite to one side only and carefully wrapped the handle so the strip had butt joints. Put it under a weight and it looks okay this morning. Th leather has discoloured with the Araldite but it will get discoloured in use anyway. I need to make sheathes for them but intend to machine stitch these which means new sewing machine needles. So they have cardboard sheathes for now. I will get the needles in Worcester tomorrow

A piece of the green dyed silk velvet has gone into this piece of Mola Work. The advantage of this technique is that once it is machined stitched, I can sit with Michael and cut out the sections.

I have managed to get 60% of the Megado threading done.  I hope to finish today. The new warp is sitting where I can easily see it from the Megado and I can't wait to see if this has worked!!!

I have been thinking a lot about colour. It is all very well knowing the percentage of each of 10 colours in an admirable photo but how can I use this information? Start with the assumption that I can match colours in dyed yarn. This is feasible for me with acid dyes and dubious with Procion MX as I don't have as much experience there. That is just saying I might be restricted in the type of yarn I choose.

To get the same percentage colours in weaving is not the same as counting pixels in a photos.  In a weaving, a pixel is the visible warp or weft thread at any point. Firstly a weaving has got a 3D aspect and the shadows, however small, will affect the apparent colour. Secondly a photo has patches of pixels which are the same colour close together but that is difficult to organise if you want to have 10 colours. Options are

1) Use space dyed warps and do a warp faced fabric by using a very fine silk weft with a much thicker warp yarn. Problem is I want pattern too! And a balanced weave.
2) ditto spaced dyed weft
3) Dye skeins of warp yarn in ten solid colours and have random stripes. Don't want stripes. Too samey all the way down the yardage and I want change/shimmer over 5 to 10 yards.
4) space dye the warp yarn in brighter colours than the 10 selected Use a very neutral grey weft thread. Not sure how I match the warp colours but this seems an option with potential
5) space dyed both the warp and weft with 10 selected colours. I can't help feeling this might be a mess.
6) If I do a long warp space dyed in the right colours, I could try out various wefts.
7) I could stretch out a warp in the garden and paint it.

So 4, 6 and 7. I can see a lot of experiments taking place.

The trouble is that I can see in my mind's eye what I want but the resolution there is not good enough for me to see detail never mind count pixels!  Am I being unreasonable? The jury is still out on that one.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Colour Percentages

With a lot of help from East Coast USA (Bonnie Inouye), and Silicon Vally (Tien Chiu), I have a got a pretty accurate method of producing colour percentages using Photoshop. It is a bit lengthy and not going to be of much interest to most people but, if anyone wants the method, I will put it in a pdf file for them. But I am very pleased and now have to decide what to do with this information. I was thinking of a space dyed warp but what about the weft. A plain neutral grey and up the brightness of every thing else? Space dye the weft in the same colour percentages on the grounds that I am producing pixels in weaving?

This has been Rabbit's Busy Day. It started by being Michael's birthday, went on to the builder coming round at 0830 am and rubbishing all my ideas, included a birthday lunch with family here, a man coming round to mend Michael's hoist and ended up with a rapid exchange of emails re Photoshop and colour percentages across the Atlantic.

It also included my grand-daughter, Maddie, helping me out with work round the house. She made up 48 packs of board and paper for the course on Japanese-style bookbinding. There will be 12 students and they ought to get 2 books made in the time available but I want to give them  choice in what kind of paper they use and I have four sorts - giving 48 packs. The four sorts are cartridge paper, sketch pad paper (140 gsm) and watercolour paper (160 gsm) as well as Khadi handmade paper. We looked out patterned and plain paper for covers and paper-backed fabric as well. Then looked out more fabric to be paper backed by me over the next weeks for the students. Then we turned out the upstairs work room and even found enough bare carpet at the end to hoover. So much rejoicing. I have turned out a lot of yarn which I will take to the next Guild meeting. I have so much stash that I ought never to buy any more yarn.

The builder came to do something about the door to Michael's room. It is very difficult for Michael to get his wheelchair into that room without a helper. There is not quite enough room by about 20 mm so I thought Mr Darke could plane the excess off. He pointed out all the defects in that, like the architrave is actually nailed on and how could he plane through that? So I asked if we could have a wider door and yes we can, 2ft 9 as against the current 2 foot 6 inches.  Needless to say the panelled door has to be a special and so we will have to wait for it. But he thinks less than 2 weeks. I am so pleased.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Help on Colour Percentages

This is me asking for help since I can't find what I want on the web nor in Photoshop and some one might have come across something suitable.  It is to do with weaving but off topic for Weavetech.

Suppose I have a colour photo that I like and suppose it is the colour palette  that is the attraction not the actual subject matter. How can I get at the percentages of each colour in the photo? In Photoshop CS, I can ask it to provide a N-colour picture (say N =10) and I can look at the ten colours the program selects. Internally the program must know the amounts of each colour to do this. How do I get at this information? Or does anyone know of any other program which would do this?

What I want to do is create a fabric based on the colours in a photo. I can guess pink and brown but Photoshop provides a range of browns and grey and I need to know how much.

Several Days of Textiling

I have not blogged since Thursday because I have been too busy textiling. On Friday, I was at the Creative Textile class and did some more Mola work in black and white. I have looked at pictures of Mola work on the web and it is two or three levels more complex. Done by hand and with tiny turned under edges. All the same, I quite care for the method which uses a machine zigzag stitch.

I have spent a lot of time dyeing in the garage. Making up replacement acid dye solutions as I had got very low on a lot of colours. I still have a few left to make up.

I did a lot of acid dyeing at teh same time. These skeins are for Patricia Collins who wanted some pink and mauve shades. This is what she is getting. Although I hope she wants purple!! There is only one mauve in that lot.

I dyed a sample piece of silk velvet. I thought it was a silk background and a viscose warp and was going to devore the dyed sample. But the whole thing has come out a beautiful pale green colour and I do not see much future in applying devore. It is a perfect colour for another piece of Mola work which I designed last night!!

And Michael has been dyeing too. This silk scarf was folded into a triangular shape and clamped, then  dye was applied with a syringe. He is unhappy because he thinks he was too generous with the dye. I think it is rather nice. I have dyed a scarf lemon yellow for him and he is going to do this technique again.

There has been a frost over night and the garage will be too cold for comfort today - especially for Michael in his wheelchair. On Friday, his work table arrived. This is intended for wheelchair users. The supports are at the back and the side, leaving the whole underneath clear. The table adjusts in height just by winding a handle. When he used on Saturday, it is clearly working for him.

And I managed to finish off the purple scarf yesterday. Last night, it was tidied up and the fringes done, then washed. It has been ironed this morning and I need to sew a label on it. Then it is ready for its owner!

So today's work includes starting on threading up the Megado.

I have reports that the colour gamp looms have moved to the next user. I rather think it is turning into a race between the two teams.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Injecting Dye into a Ball of Yarn

Maggie Mockeridge dyed three balls of yarn last Sunday by injecting colour with a syringe. When I steamed these three balls on Monday, I realised I would trouble getting them dry. Fast forward to Wednesday when they are just as damp as on Monday so I skeined them and hung them up. Dry this morning!! The colour does not show up well. Where the photo shows subtle variations in colour, that's real! Very attractive. The other skeins were all dry by Wednesday and await the next Guild meeting when I will return them to their owners.

I have managed to wind on the ghost warp on the Megado and it is all ready for threading up. As usual, the threading is not a nice repeat and so I have created a draft to help. This uses the threading as a liftplan so I can raise the next shaft and that's the one that needs the next thread. Works very well. Not an original idea. I read about it on Weavetech.

I have not done any homework for three weeks in Creative Textiles so spent the evening preparing for tomorrow. Cutting and Bondawebbing on to calico to make a bag. I cannot do any machining because the machine is being PAT tested (PAT = Portable Appliance Test). But it is looking good. I hope it will look even better after tomorrow!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Busy Busy Again - but back to weaving.

This is a piece of cotton dyed using Procion MX dyes and pole-wrapping technique. Done by Michael. My function is to wash the dye out and iron it! Interesting.

He has decided to do silk next as the other, more complicated examples, did not work so well in the cotton and a thinner fabric is called for. So last night I dug out all the remnants that I have picked up at Beckford Silk Mill over the years and washed them all. They are probably dry by now but I am not going out to the garage in the dark and my pyjamas. 

I managed to finish steaming all the work left over from Sunday before Monday lunch. That is all rinsed and hanging up to dry in the garage. In the 25 years we have lived here ,I don't remember ever putting a car in the garage!

There was time in the afternoon to tidy up upstairs and weave some more purple scarf.   I worked out what the new Megado warp would be and have half-wound a ghost warp.

The other major thing done yesterday was a lot of ordering. I had run out of a few acid dyes before Sunday and ran out of even more on Sunday so I ordered them up. The problem is that I use three different suppliers so three lots of postage. I had a lot of other stuff to get from Fibrecrafts anyway. I also agonised about hand made paper for the Japanese-style bookbinding course I am running in November. At the last Guild meeting, I gave a short talk to the students on what they should expect and showed samples of binding. They were all enamoured of the handmade paper. Well it is expensive stuff and I hadn't bargained for supplying everyone with that. So I have ordered some Khadi paper (Lokta is far too expensive!!!) and will have to charge anyone who wants to have some. Everything including some really nice Japanese paper and fabric is included in the course cost. I need to put some time into making up packs for the students and my grand-daughter, Maddie, is coming over to help me next Monday. I also need to see what fabric I have already backed with paper and do a whole lot more. It takes a good 12 hours to dry so I am only going to demonstrate how to do it at the course.

It is only seven o'clock and I am off upstairs to finish my ghost warp off.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Acid Dyeing

I had loaded the car on Saturday with everything needed to do a day's acid dyeing plus 2 Dorothy looms with the colour gamps on them and the paraphenalia for the looms. Set out for a drive of 90 minutes to Newbury.  We put down an enormous tarpaulin to protect the hall's wooden floor and got going. It was a lovely warm day and the photo above shows some results hanging out in the car park.. There is dyed fleece, a clamped silk scarf (red and blue), a yellow and green twisted and tied silk scarf, lots of skeins in various colours and some plaited and chained warps (see below).

Everyone went off with enough material to complete several projects in the next few months. It was a lovely day and we had lunch and snacks sitting on chairs amongst the cars and strings of dripping results.

Most enjoyable. Previous such days have been held in conjunction with a guild day and have driven me demented with so many people about and worrying about dye being split. Not that we ever did get dye on the floor but this was so much more restful (for me anyway). I brought home a few pieces which will get steamed today. My daughter, Anne will be here today and I intend to have a good clear up, finish up the purple scarf and settle down to putting a ghost on the Megado's second beam and warping for the first of Pat's new approach to weaving.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Working Hard

On Friday I went to my Bournville class and found they had been doing applique so I had a go. Rather untidy Mola work!! I will post a photo when Picasa stops playing up.

On Saturday I had a lot to do. I helped Michael do some arashi (pole-wrapping shibori) which worked sort of. In other words, one piece is splendid and the other two are not so good though he can see how to make them good. They are drying in the garage at the moment and I will post pictures when washed in the machine and ironed.

I managed to finish off weaving the colour gamp. Here is one of the warps.

And here is another. The guild does not have looms which are portable and wide enough to put all 12 colours on one loom and anyway we have two sets! So four looms are being used. I have warped up two with ghost warps and woven them. This is so that I can pass them on to two other members of the group today (Sunday).

Here is one woven up.  I am seeing some of the group today at Newbury because I am running a day of acid dyeing. Which meant I had that to do yesterday as well. I ended up making up fresh batches of colours at 9 pm and finishing off the colour gamp weaving at 1015 pm. I shall be prostrate tomorrow!

Thursday, 7 October 2010


I have been dissatisfied with my weaving lately. The conclusions are that

1) there has been too much tabby. This is because I have done a lot of yarn dyeing for class samples and to show off the colours (see 5-section warp for a scarf and Devore Autumn Leaves scarf), tabby is best.Not sure that is true in all cases.
2) I hop around from one weaving technique to another. Networking drafting, point twills, double stitched cloth, I have done them all. Jack of all Trades and Master of None.

Suddenly I would like to try out the same technique a lot, say, for a couple of years and get really good at it. And I would like to go on dyeing yarn for warps so that the final fabric has a range of colours in it. I have bought some yarns from 21st Century Yarns (cotton)  which are spaced dyed and I will warp up the Megado, using a ghost warp as the yarn is very expensive and I don't want to waste any. I will use a variant of the twill weave shown in this blog  which was on 8 shafts but has been extended to 24 shafts. I intend to do a 'Daryl Lancaster' on the space dyed warps and wind the warp so that the colours line up. Warping up will be slow. If this all works then I will dye my own warp yarn, probably a not too fine silk, maybe 20/2NM and tie on to the same ghost warp. Network drafting is also on the cards. The objective is to mix complex weaves with space dyed yarn. I want a shimmering fabric.

The problem, to which I see no solution at the moment, is how can I tell in advance whether I like my choice of colours. Doing wraps will not help since the warp will be space dyed. You might have thought I would get an idea or two from the London Guild Exhibition but I did not.  Probably just as well. I don't want to copy anyone. I am not sure what results will appear but I will know, when I see the fabric, if I am going in the right direction.

In addition, I am going on a 3-day course with Samantha Field at the end of October. She is my favourite artist/teacher. The idea is to make you solve your own problems with, I hope, some pushes in the right direction from Samantha.

This will occupy the Megado for the foreseeable future. The Louet Kombo is going to be busy with Tied Weaves which I intend to conquer this winter. I have joined the Complex Weavers Tied Weaves Study Group and the group mentor, Su Butler, has provided us with a starting point in Summer and Winter. Although I have done S&W with Margaret Roach Wheeler, I will do these exercises. And I plan to do the Christmas Cards based on Tied Weaves. 

Apart from that, I have completed one loom with its colour gamp, woven my section and am warping up the second. I do not like metal heddles and both are fitted with them. These are Guild looms.

And the Bookbinding class started yesterday. I am practising doing leather inlay and onlay. Photos when I have something to show.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

London Guild Exhibition

I  see I have not written anything for several days. Friday, I did not go to my Creative Textiles class because there was a lot to do at home. The most important thing was tracking some urgent drugs for Michael which had got lost between the surgery and the pharmacist. I got them after five that afternoon.

I was at Kennet Valley Guild on Saturday where a gallant team wound two warps and 12 bobbins for  the start of our Colour Gamp project which has 12 colours. Rosie Price bought two Colour Gamp kits from Lunatic Fringe at Convergence and 12 of us are going to weave these up. It has meant a headache with the calculations because the warps need to go on portable looms and we did not have enough that were right width. So it is on four looms with six colours on each. I am warping up two looms and am supposed to have my sections on these looms woven by next Sunday so that I  can take the looms to a dyeing class on that day so that they can be passed on.  I decided that I did not want to waste any yarn so would put on a ghost warp and tie the colour gamp on to that. I have got that done and am halfway through winding the warp on. I hope to finish the tying on and the weaving today and will start on the second loom tomorrow.

Yesterday (Monday) I went to London to see the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition of the London Guild. Passing over the fact that there was an underground strike and my train gets into Paddington and the Exhibition was at Waterloo, it was a good day, although short on food and drink. The photo above shows a selection of scarves, all very high class. The venue was well-lit, it had a high glass roof although a bit of an odd shape, it was basically a stairwell. What was interesting compared with Kennet Valley Guild's show last October was that about 50% of the exhibits yesterday were weaving and London had nothing like the major spinning/dyeing exhibits that KV had. The weaving was high class but then London Guild seems to have all the high class weavers in the country as members!! I was there to deal with the Complex Weavers Award and it was quite difficult. Some of the best scarves were not well finished around the fringe area which was a real pity. And two of the best pieces were tabby and didn't qualify! After all it was an Award for Complex Weaving. 

In preparation for this day, I have bought a good book on judging and jurying from Ontario Crafts Council. 'The Trials of Jurying' by Susan Eckenwalder. I read it from cover to cover twice. A very useful and helpful book.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Woolly Wales

On Wednesday and Thursday Linda Scurr (driving) Rosie Price and I went to South Wales to see a few weaving exhibitions. We started at The Welsh National Botanical Gardens where there were two exhibitions. One was on 'Exposed Textiles' which looked like you might imagine - damp, rotting and scruffy - except for this one which is plates of knitted teacakes where the decorated tops looked like auricula flowers because there used to be an auricula theatre on this spot. Definitely raised a smile in the on-lookers.

It was quite difficult to find anything even with a map. A few signs would have been helpful.

Then to the exhibition from the West Wales College of Art. I had to show this one by Kelly Jenkins. It is completely knitted and was about 8 foot high. Very subversive. We stood in front of it pointing out bits to each other and  giggling.

The Botanical Garden came in for much attention and I fear I have more photos of the garden by far than of weavings.

We stayed In Carmathen over night and the highlight was a meal on the Wednesday evening. Carmathen on a damp autumn evening reminds me of the Edinburgh of my youth. Dimly lit streets with noone else out and certainly not much sign of any where to eat. So Linda interrogated the assistant at a SPAR and we traipsed off to an Indian restaurant. Now you might expect the story to end in gloom and despondency. We entered and the man at the door said 'You'll have to wait'. So we did - along with various other people. In short, it was packed, Wednesday night or no, and the food was first rate. So if you are in Carmathen - try the Ginger restaurant.

Next day we drove to the Curlew Woolen Mill which Linda knew and were shown round the looms and the spinning machinery. They weave to order as well as weaving cloth for making up themselves. All very interesting. Then we took in a biscuit factory so that Linda could buy a whole carton of biscuits. After that we made it to the Welsh National Wool Museum and viewed an exhibition called Warp + Weft which covered the work of weavers who had gone from hand looms to commissioning production runs. This was all very interesting and it is grossly unfair to show just one photo but I have done. This is silk by Wallace and Sewell.
There is a production weaving shed on site and this is one of the 16 shaft looms . There were 2 16-shaft and 2 4-shafts looms which were working. I watched while a weaver tied a new warp on to a ghost warp. I must practise that. He was very fast.

And then back to Carmarthen to see one last exhibition at the Oriel Myrrdin

This was high class weaving from top class British weavers. Shown here is Ptolemy Mann  with the two boxes in the foreground and Peter Collingwood with the microgauze in the background. 
Everything was stunning but there was only one work per person. The photo shows about a quarter of the gallery so there wasn't much. There was a wonderful piece of double weave silk which had been woven in square sand rectangles a few inches on a side. The silk was very fine (120/2?) and so you could see Moire fringes as you walked around the hanging. Some of the pockets contained small feathers which gave rise to interesting disturbances in the Moire fringes.
A good two days, lots of jokes and laughter.

And as a fitting end, I have decided to abandon the Tencel curtain.  I have decided which way to go and will expiate further over the weekend. I think I might write a Mission Statement!!!


Blog Archive

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.