Saturday, 30 April 2011

Caladium Leaves Again

As any longterm reader of this blog will know, I have a fascination with caladium leaves. I have tried several different weaves in an attempt to portray them and am in the middle of yet another one. This time they are in 'Diversified Plain Weave' which uses a mixture of thick and thin yarns. That leads to questions about what epi to use and I got it wrong first time around!! 

 I am using 2/6 and 2/20 cotton so decided that a 10 dent reed would be perfect. Not so. - see photo on left. After weaving a whole pattern, I decided that 14 dents per inch would be perfect. I then discovered a 14 dpi reed in my reed stash which is long enough but is clearly old and not a Megado reed. It is not high enough. I wonder where it came from. 

I settled on a 15dpi reed and the pattern is a bit elongated but acceptable (see left).  I was interested in what happened if you mixed the weft colours. Not good! I think I have some  space dyed 2/6 cotton and will try that before I am through.

What with warping up and then re-sleying, I have been working at the Megado for a long time. I need to finish this length (5 metres) quickly and estimate it will be done by Monday evening. The Stroud Festival starts today and I am going over tomorrow to listen to a talk by Sue Hiley Harris. and see a few of the exhibitions. It looks like an interesting program this year. I find it a bit variable and some years have left me cold.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Ghost Warp Weaving Finished

The last woven section has been taken off the Megado and I will strip it down and clean it this afternoon. Above are shown the three different patterns in which the Tencel warp was woven. The left one is the original, isolated goose-eyes which was used for the previous two warps. The middle one has a long network drafted treadling. The one on the right has a shorter network drafted treadling which I prefer. I wove this one with a bright red/orange Tencel weft dyed by me in the hopes that the pattern would show up a little more but not so. Actually although the weft colour is vulgar and loud, the cloth is very attractive (in my eyes).

You can just make out the pattern which is as it should be. Now I have yards of this fabric and although it needs fringing and washing, I am not going to that until next week. I must get the next warp on!!

There are a lot of other projects I must complete and I will have a go at them when I have completed the current panic on the Megado.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pop-up Engineering

I have been away at West Dean doing a course on Pop-up Engineering. The tutor was Mark Hiner. He is a Paper Engineer who designs Pop-Up books and that is what we were taught to do. I had imagined that we would be taught how to make a few cards. Not a bit of it. Yes, we made samples but we then assembled our samples  into a hardback book as one would if selling an idea to a publisher and there was a lot of instruction on how to present the final work as something that can be mass-produced. In other words, you need production engineering drawings!! Been there, done that!!1

 As you can imagine, the class was very varied. There was an illustrator of children's book, Emily Gravett, (her books are smashing), two people who worked for publishers, an American who has written a PhD thesis on the history of Pop-up (!!!) and an assortment of interested parties. I have come home with a huge pile of samples and will have to find a box to keep them in. 

This was an early sample and has actually got two layers in it. The birds are on the rear layer  and they are completely out of scale with the sheep in the foreground.

These two hornbills are much better. You can see the rear layer more more clearly.

At the end we were taught how to design a card and then to draw up a master and then manufacture one. This means that I could produce a number of such cards

A birthday card for my grandson, Alex, who is crazy about bats.

I have come home with a huge list of actions and must get on with weaving. I did do more last Thursday and Friday but I will report on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

I am bored with this draft

I have had three different warps on the same threading using the ghost warp. I have woven enough for four large cushions in cotton, several yards in wool/silk and now a scarf in Tencel. All three treadling were only slightly different and I am distinctly bored with variants on goose eye twill. 
So here is the next piece with a networked draft in the weft and no change in threading. It gives a nice all over texture. If you look carefully, you can see the repeat pattern but it is quite long and difficult to pick out.  I have another network draft which looks totally different and will use it for the rest of the warp when this scarf is finished.

All this deadline stuff is good for me and stops me feeling sorry for myself. That will be the end of the ghost warp but I would use one again.

I have to weave for several hours a day and should have this warp finished in a day or two. I will wind the next warp (the really important one) tomorrow when I go to Reading. It is multicoloured and I have worked out how to warp up most conveniently. I will put the main colour on the sectional warp beam and the others on the second warp beam. 

Lots of paperwork is being done but I can't keep up with the lawyer's requirements. I came away from a meeting yesterday, depressed and wondering how much time this was all going to take. The question is really how much Michael's belongings, particularly his musical instruments, are worth. After much telephone conversation with family, I decided not to tackle this myself but get a valuer in. Now all I have to do is to find one who is knowledgable.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Warp 3 Woven

This is a section of Warp 3 woven up. The pattern is supposed to come and go and is probably best scanned in. A photo taken head on shows very little. This at least shows where the pattern is!

It is weaving up without too much trouble which is just as well as I want to finish it by Wednesday night.

Today I spent five hours writing the lawyer a letter, looking up customer numbers and scanning in invoices and statements. I see him tomorrow. But before that I have to search our safe deposit box at the bank to see if some missing documents are there. It bothers me that things are so complicated for me and I am not exactly your little old lady widow. I suspect a lot of people don't even know that they have got it wrong.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


This is the third multicoloured warp using the ghost warp. It is wound from two different space-dyed Tencel yarns supplied by  Just Our Yarns. The warp is Fibonacci striped and it has provided a gradation from one colour-way to the other. I did think about the stripe width when designing it but I do wonder if the stripes should have been thicker. Oh well, it is too late now. After the warp was on, I put the colour stripes into Fibreworks on the selected draft and I am sure would have noted the effect of the stripe width because it is quite obvious. Moral, put the correct colours and thicknesses into the draft.

The warp is tied on but I still have to check the threading. The Tencel pilled a lot and I have bust four threads in the winding on which I have to replace.

Today I went to a Braiding Society Day at Aldbourne. Very pleasant and I got on with my kumi-himo braid which has been around for too long. Back home across the Cotswold where the trees are out and England is clad in many shades of green. 

In conversation with various members of the weaving group, I have promised to work up a plan for us all to do woven shibori samples. So I came home and read bits of Catherine Ellis's book and am dismayed. I can't do any planning until I have done it myself. So the 'Weave some Shibori' project has just moved from the 'Maybe sometime' list to the 'Urgent' list.  First thing to do is to read the book from cover to cover and then sort out what yarn to use.

I found a young weaver, Emma Shannon, whose work is very much to my taste. My sister, Dorothy, who was subjected to a disquisition on the excellences of this weaver when she was staying with me, has been to an exhibition in Glasgow and met her and her work. She says it is even better than the photos!!! Do have a look at her blog.

I did a bout of paper work this morning before leaving for Aldbourne and felt  virtuous but I have an incomprehensible form from Michael's pension people. So I will have to see the lawyer early this week.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Forest of Dean

We used to live on the edge of the Forest of Dean and I loved it. So I took everyone there last Wednesday and we had a lovely lunch in a pub in Longhope and then walked in the woods.  The wild daffodils were still out up there.

Away in the misty distance, you can see the scarp of the Cotswolds across the Vale (Severn Valley to outsiders). There are a few daffs in the foreground but if you turn around - -

I took many photos of trees and bark. Thinking about a piece based on bark. Maybe. Later this year.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Everyone has Gone

They have all gone. My sister went off with Jake, the collie cross, at 0530. Robin and Chris (son-in-law and grandson) left for Heathrow at 0630. They will be on their plane to Kuala Lumpur by now.  And I have a new life to start. Though the old one keeps surfacing. A lot of time was spent this morning loading the washing machine and ironing. I then realised that there were none of Michael's shirts to deal with. 

Yesterday Robin and Chris helped to fill the last of sacks of paper to shred - this is old work stuff and nothing to do with Michael. This morning, the sacks were collected. I went to the charity shop (MacMillan's of course) with a carload stuff and the garage is beginning to surface. I have also done a huge amount of telephoning and paperwork. Now I  have been to see the bank etc and have made appointments for an interview.  The lawyer I talked to on the phone and then we had an exchange of documents and that's it for the moment. He has provided a check list of what documents he wants to see. Looks like a lot of work.  But I will tackle that tomorrow.

 The multicoloured warp (No 2 in wool and silk) came off the Megado yesterday. Here it is but not yet washed. The horizontal line is just a fold line. The fabric is very soft and I think will crease badly unless I use an iron-on lining.

I have cleaned up the Megado and resleyed the ghost warp from 16 per inch to 40 per inch. I have also created yet another draft.This one is better than the previous ones but I would not like to say it was perfect until I have woven a few inches.

I intend to wind a warp this afternoon.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Poking about the web as one does, I came across this blog by Emma Shannon. Lovely designs/drafts. Just my sort of thing. I have not investigated carefully enough yet to discover what she intends the fabric for. Looks like it could be upholstery fabric. Very desirable and a name to remember.

Today my sister is off to Cambridge to lunch with some old friends leaving Madi and me to look after her dog, Jake. Except that Madi is going home with her Dad mid-morning. Robin and Chris return here for two days this afternoon and Dorothy is back this evening. And if you think 'That's Piccadilly Circus', it feels like that occasionally. Meals vary between being for me and the dog and six or seven people. A major session with the washing machine is scheduled for Thursday after everyone leaves.

This morning before breakfast, I tied on the red/white wool/ silk to the ghost warp at the end  and I have about a yard of warp left to weave which I would like to finish today. I  have been upstairs to admire 'THE STUDIO'. It has definitely been promoted and is very pleasing AND I only have one empty drawer left now.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I promised photos of the garden so here is Iris Lilac and Lavender. It's about 9 inches high.
And this is Erythronium japonicum. I raised it from seed from Wisley many years ago and got six bulbs. Since then they have seeded all over the garden.
And here is a close up of the flowers.

I am getting on quite well with the Megado weaving. I can see the end of the warp. Should be done tomorrow.

My sister brought her dog, Jake, a collie cross, with her and Madi, my grand-daughter is staying with us and loves taking him for walks so we have been to all sorts of places on the Malvern Hills I have never been before. Madi's other function is to give me a hand to clear out a bit, especially work-related files. We have filled seven plastic sacks for shredding today and also bought some drawers for the studio upstairs and installed them. For the first time for weeks I can walk around upstairs as the floor is clear! And I still have four empty drawers!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A New Life

The tumult and the shouting dies
The captains and the kings depart

Well my king and captain has departed, taking with him the regrets of a lot of people. Lots of people I did not know turned up at the funeral - all people who knew him through his work.

And now I have to remake my life which all seems very odd. We (my sister, her daughter-in-law, her grand-daughter, Anne and her family) all met up at the Cotswold Wildlife Park yesterday and spent a very hot day there. We inspected the meerkats and the parrots and the reptiles and took a train ride and had a Mr Whippy cone plus chocolate flake.  No pressure to get back home or phone up to find out how Michael was. But a tendency to weep for no good reason.

The family is determined to keep me occupied. I have a feeling that this may not work but we'll see. Today Anne and family are here for lunch, my sister is still staying with me and my life is mapped out until next Thursday.

On reviewing the status of textile projects, I find I have to meet three deadlines by May 1st and there is another deadline on May 5th. So I have been working hard on the Megado. Except that I have had to unweave bits which have errors. I inspected all the shafts carefully but could see nothing wrong. After weaving a few more inches, I was exasperated enough to have another closer inspection and found a long length of thick cotton twined round the bottom of three of the shafts. There have been no further mistakes but I have only done about six inches. But I live in hope. I need to wind the next warp soon so that it is ready to tie on to the ghost warp on the Megado on Tuesday. My plan is to have it tied on and ready by Thursday, 14th and off the loom on Sunday, 17th I have ordered and received the cotton for the warp after that and need to wind the warp and have it ready to start on Monday 18th. Well we'll see, won't we. The time scale seems a bit ambitious to me.

So no pictures this time but the garden looks very fine. All the camellias are out and the magnolia too.


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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.