Thursday, 31 March 2011


November 2nd 2010

Saturday, 26 March 2011


Life has been dominated by Michael's illness. He is now in hospital with a multitude of problems. I don't have much appetite for doing anything so please excuse me if the blog is silent for a few days.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Japanese Book Binding

These are some of the books made by my class on Monday - in Dundee. They all got two books completed and seemed very happy.

Other things I did in Dundee included a visit to Twists in Newburgh (bought 5 skeins of Noro Silk Garden and some Welsh wool) and attending an Embroiderers Guild meeting. Pat Archibald spoke about her quilts - very high class. They also had a sales table with lots o fabric pieces including bundles from the wardrobe of Scottish Opera. My purchases are bound to come in useful for the Creative Textile classes.

Came home to find Michael not well and the last two days have been full of telephone calls and visits from medical staff. The goodness of my four days away is all dispersed.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Going on Holiday

Well until next Tuesday. I am off to Dundee to stay with my sister, Dorothy. Robin, our son-in-law, arrived yesterday to look after Michael. I have told everyone who needs to be told. So there has not been much textile work.

I have managed to dye the skein of wool/silk and it will be dry by the time I get home. 

I have also bound two more Morning Glory books and sewn up the seams of the haori. The hems on the sleeves and bottom have to be done by hand because sewing them by machine would produce white thread on brown fabric which would show up too much. I still have to put the collar on and make the sash but the rest is about done.

I may be able to blog from Dundee but I may be too busy. Dorothy has arranged a round of entertainment which includes trips to my favorite yarn shops.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

It Didn't Work

The multicoloured warp did not work. By that I mean that the Leicester Longwool will have to be replaced. It is a very sticky yarn and the shed had to be manually cleared every weft throw. But more important, when weaving it is too thick and the sett is too close. This may be due to the extreme stickiness which will not allow the weft to be beaten in properly. The rest of the warp looks fine. I do have some spare warp which is spaced dyed lavender/purple but I liked the effect of the pink and white. So I will space dye a skein pink and replace all the Leicester Longwool.

I don't intend to throw the wool warp away. My calculations show that I could get two scarves out of it if I used lambs wool as warp. The space dyed sections are only a few inches  long so I will not get a striped effect but more of  a (large) fleck. Add that to my list of possible projects!!

I have been binding more copies of the Morning Glory book. I got fed-up putting on plain brown covers and put on an ornamental Japanese wrapping paper which I think may be too thin. It is drying at the moment. I am hoping it has no wrinkles in it.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Tidying Up

I fell in love with caladiums at Convergence 2008 in Tampa Bay. The city fathers use them as bedding plants!!  Last year I created a concertina book where one side contains photos of caladium leaves placed on top of photos of Tampa Bay. The top part of the leaves has been cut away. The other side is views of Tampa  (all photos taken by me).

The book made in 2010 was given to my sister, Dorothy, who was also at Tampa Bay.

I have always intended to make another one for me and have now done so. I revamped some of the wording and re-ordered the pages and will now enter it for the exhibition 'Unquiet Words' here in Malvern.

I got round to mounting this piece. It will be in a class exhibition in June and I thought I needed to tidy up some pieces. I do not intend to glass and frame it. I still do not regard it as a good piece.

On the other hand, I do like this, done last Friday. I have interlined it and lined it and put a sleeve on and it is all ready to hang. At one stage, there was panic as I realised that eating chocolate biscuits and simultaneously hand-sewing on a white fabric were not compatible. I remember my mother always washing her hands and powdering  with talcum powder before starting out to knit. Maybe something in that. Anyway the smudge was washed out very carefully.

I ought to be starting to weave on the Megado. I have got as far as switching the power on!

Friday, 11 March 2011

A Change of Plan

The haori has a sort of Art Deco feel (I hope). There are layers of applied fabric in brown and yellow poplin and this pattern of circles applied using JetFX paper. The haori is sewn together to form a flat sheet and I applied these circles to front and back yesterday.  Today I intended to decide what to do about the sleeves at the Bourneville class.

Instead Annette Lucas, the tutor, sidetracked everybody by showing us some work she had done during the week. This was based on using a mask on a photo, selecting what you liked best and tracing it onto cloth, then painting it.  I have read about this but never done it. Like the rest of the class, I was bowled over. There was total silence in the class except for the occasional 'Anyone seen the dark blue?'

This was mine, traced on three times. After colouring in (definitely paint-by-numbers), I brought it home and spent the rest of the afternoon machine stitching over it.  It was taken from a photo of pebbles on a beach. 

You can see that the mask is not rectangular but has one curved edge. Annette supplied a huge number of masks, some of them quite complex curves. The results from these were wonderful - mind you - the class as a whole is quite adventurous.  So there we are. One happy day. I will probably frame this. And I will use the method again. 

We have an extra treat at the class. Annette has arranged for us to have a Study Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in early May. It is intended that we use the day as a basis for new projects. Actually I am running out of ideas of what to with caladium leaves! And my latest design of tied weave is a twining pattern over the whole cloth. However the Megado is calling and I must go and see if all my preparations for this warp have worked.

Kerstin of Spinnhuset  has described a really amazing way of weaving a Mobius strip scarf. Have a look.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The multicoloured warp is wound on to the Megado  but not quite tied on. I am worried about the pink and white Leicester Longwool. I have had three breakages already and will the yarn be so sticky that I don't get a decent shed? I could replace all three sections with lavender and violet yarn as I have enough yarn spare but I like the effect of the pink/white. I have taken such a lot of trouble over this warp that, if I have to replace the Leicester, I will space dye some wool/silk in pink. Lurid isn't it?

I have completed two copies of 'In the Event' but it needs photos taken today. More important my daughter, Anne, has arranged a weekend trip to Brussels in May for Ruth, Anne and myself. Last night she said 'You do have a valid passport?' From my face, she guessed the answer - no!!! I have not been on holiday abroad (or anywhere) for over two years when I went to Kuala Lumpur.  So I am getting two holidays in two months! Anyway today has to be See-To-New-Passport day.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Paper-backed Fabric

The paper-backed fabric had all dried out thoroughly this morning. The two orange/brown pieces are woven by Cally Booker. There is a slight amount of paste which has come through the fabric but fortunately it is at a corner which will be trimmed off anyway. The top right fabric is a Japanese cotton while the other two are dyed by the owners (Memo to self:- I must find out how these were done).  These are all for the Japanese bookbinding class in Dundee.

Text-books say you can remove the fabric from its board after an hour but I find that they are still damp then and,  when dried, they curl up. Hence leaving them overnight. They are all nice and flat.

These two pieces of fabric were done for my own books. Christmas Carol is at the top and the cover for my new Day book at the bottom. I did wonder if the last would work as the decoration applied to the green cotton  is quite thick. But it is all okay.

I can't see these these two books being bound for the next week or so. Time I had another blitz on completing projects!  But not till I get back from Dundee. I fly there on Friday the 18th. Robin, our son-in-law, will be here to look after Michael. They can discuss the world and what's wrong with it for five days without drawing breathe.

What I need to do in the next week is make sure I take everything with me for teaching seven people how to make Japanese style books. A bit of listmaking is required.

I have taken photos of a Morning Glory book ready for the entry form. In the Event will be photographed today. I am toying with the idea of doing a double weave book as well. I have till 31st March to complete it and I only need 7 pages for what I have in mind. I will just get on and weave it as I need it anyway.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


This teatowel says on it

Pinguiones del mar Argentino-Antartida
Tierra del Fuego USHAIA Patagonia Argentina

USHAIA is 'The End of the Earth'

A friend has just been on a seven week cruise round South America and brought this back. The printing is very plasticised and it is not very functional as a tea towel but, never mind, I think it's great and it is pinned up in the corridor for all to see.

I have finished tying on the multicoloured warp and started winding it on but stopped to have another go at making 'In the Event'.  This time it worked! The Bockingford will stand up by itself but can't be accurately folded and Fabriano Academia  can be folded but can't stand up by itself. So what to do? The original artwork is two A5 pages printed on a landscape A4. I printed out out these A4 pages on Bockingford and cut them apart by hand, trimming them all to be exactly the same size. The Fabriano was cut into strips 5 cm wide, trimmed to be exactly the same width and folded in half. I creased the fold with a ruler, These were then glued to the A5 sheets while lining the sheets up carefully in the book guide. Result is a nice four-square concertina book which is currently in the book press. Later today I will attach the black ribbon and buckle. I will make another one so I have two to choose from. 

This afternoon's job is pasting fabric to paper. It is sunny but bitterly cold and I am not keen on trying to operate in the garage because my hands will get too cold to be sure of doing things accurately. So it will be in the kitchen. After all wheat starch paste is hardly poisonous!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Multicoloured Warp 2

Anything Daryl Lancaster can do in the way of messing up a warp I can do better (and be even sicker - see 'Annie Get Your Gun'). This photo shows the ends of the dyed multicolour warp on the floor. Only the violet/lavender yarns have been dyed by me. The rest are all commercial yarns in 50:50 wool/silk. It does seem to be dominated by the Leicester Longwool in pink and white of which there is not a lot.  It is the only pure wool yarn in the warp.

This has all been worked out by painting a  master plan and the weft is all lavender which should tone it down.

This is the complete warp on the lease sticks ready for tying on to the ghost warp in the background.
Maybe it will all work.  This afternoon, I will start tying on.

Yesterday I was at the Kennet Valley Guild meeting.  Rosie Price brought along a large number of cones of silk noil from Winghams Wools which we pored (drooled?) over. I ended up with a cone of ginger colour and the promise of half a cone of burgundy. And I said I didn't need any more yarn!

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Michael has gone off to have a blood transfusion today. He was collected at 0745 so I have had the house to myself and have concentrated on book binding.

I removed the sample of the double weave book from the Kombo and re-tied the warp. Then
spent quite a lot of time experimenting with JetFX paper from ArtVanGo on scraps of woven Tencel and it works!!. The text was ironed on as shown and pieces of greyboard cut to size, inserted in the pockets formed by the double weave and I hand stitched the edges together with some of the weft thread. The weaving is done with JustOurYarns spaced dyed Tencel. Each cloth had a different colour way. The weave is a 3 and 1 broken twill. I made the two ends different to experiment. I intended to fold back the left hand end inside the pocket and stitch the end closed but that left a noticeable ridge so I am going for changing the cloth, weave 20 mm, change again for a couple of rows, hemstitch and have a small fringe. All I have to do is to decide how many pages I need to weave for the final version. I do know that I need an odd number.
I also examined 'In the Event' carefully and decided I have to go back to using Bockingford paper. As you can see, the Fabriano Academia  is all wrinkled  from the edge glued with PVA. I need to make a folding guide some how.

In between times, I finished another Morning Glory book. Nothing is ever perfect but I would be happy to see this one in an exhibition.

I have also glued endpapers on to Christmas Carol and my new Day Book.

A good day and it is only half past three!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I wound two lavender dyed skeins into 6 warps each of 40 threads. I took 4 of them, folded them in halves and half again, tied them tightly then space dyed deep violet between ties, steamed them and voila! The second bundle was 2 warps treated in the same way. To the right, you can see four skeins of lavender dyed wool/silk for the weft.

The warps will be dry by Thursday and I will start on tying up to the ghost warp. All the rest of the warp is laid out on the breast beam and it does look lurid. I keep telling myself that using a lavender weft through out will tone it down. Boy, does it need toning down!!

Since I had the warping mill set up, I wound the warp (3 colours, gold, ochre and violet) for a wool scarf in log cabin. It strikes me that there is a bit too much violet in my life.

Yesterday was spent at a Speed Awareness Course. My daughter, Anne, has been on one and said it was very social, lovely tea and cake. Not in Herefordshire. We had two ten minutes breaks in a four hour  course (which is not good practice to start with). There was no way 20 people could pour themselves tea and drink it in ten minutes. Most amusing of all. There were 5 women and 15 men. I do not recall ever seeing a queue for a male loo before. And there was not even a dry biscuit never mind high class cake. Clearly Warwickshire does these things differently (differently = more civilised).  

The other excitement for today was that booking opened for the courses at the Festival of Quilts. I am not a quilter but the FOQ courses are often about design or dyeing/printing and I have got on the two-day course I wanted as well as two short courses on applique. This is not till August so something to look forward to. Dorothy, my sister, has booked as well and will be staying with us. It is only an hour's drive to the NEC. 


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.