Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Newbury Coat Re-enactment (3)

Before I set out on last weekend's marathon, Joanna has asked what were the three SF books. They were

- Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon
- City by  Clifford Simak
- The City and the Stars by Arthur C Clark

All classics. I have a lot of SF in the house but there was a special Saturday section on SF in the Guardian a few weeks ago and I noted down those I had not got. There are another couple I must buy.

So here it is - on Sunday evening about 6 pm. This is Newbury's MP wearing the coat and standing next to the one made in 1991. At this point, the fabric was still slightly damp! Since then it has been dried and pressed thoroughly and is on display in Newbury's Department Store which supported the operation whole-heartedly. 

The level of support nationally and lcoally was quite surprising. The local paper produced a 4 page pullout on the re-enactment the week before and I am sure that contributed to the six thousand people who turned up to watch.

I wondered about putting in more pictures but decided against it. If you want to see photos, look at the website of the local radio station.

So what happened? The steps were as follows

Saturday, started at 1000 am
- sheep sheared
- fleece picked and carded
- fibre spun  (by 39 spinners)
- yarn wound in sections of 32 threads, tied with crosses and handed to
- the tiers-on who tied that section to the ghost warp on one of the two looms. The tying-on started 47 minutes after the start
- when all the yarn was tied on, the warp was wound on. There was 4 yards on one loom and 5.5 on the other.
- when woven, the broken ends were sewn in (this was Sunday)
- the fabric was then waulked in a tank in Newbury Market Square
- mangled
- then dipped in an indigo bath
- mangled again
- put on a tenterframe and ironed dry (well nearly)
- cut out
- sewn up by hand

The whole exercise took 14 hours and 44 minutes.

Winding on to the looms was difficult because we were dealing with singles which wants to wind itself onto everything in teh neighbourhood. Next time I would like the yarn to be plied, Although it would take longer to prepare the yarn, it took hours to weave because of the broken threads. What was surprising was that the fabric when it came off the loom looked very poor but after waulking, dyeing and drying, it turned into something respectable.

Every one worked very long hours. I was there from 0815 to 1830 on Saturday and 1030 to 1830 on Sunday. Slept like a log although I have to say that on Monday night, I had a horrible nightmare where I was weaving on a loom which was far too big and was having trouble because the loom bench was so high and the shed difficult to reach.

Now it is Wednesday and I think I have recovered!! 100 people took part in this operation. We have a lot of yarn left and it will be plied, woven up and so on, then made into a coat which will fit a child. Our Guild goes into schools a lot to demonstrate and Rosie Price who is in charge of the schools visits thought the children would like to wear a Newbury coat. So we will see what weaving with the plied yarn is like.

For a lot of us, especially the organiser Linda Scurr, recent life has been dominated by this operation. But it is time to move on.

On Monday I was in Birmingham by 0930 am to see the Bournville class's exhibition which I missed completely due to the Coat. The photo shows a small selection of work. None of it is mine. All very successful and some pieces were sold.

 Since Monday I have tidied up, well nearly. I have finished the last Lampas sample and written up last week's course. And have worked on a piece of fabric for Bournville. It is not quite finished and I will show all the pictures when it is done. I have one more sample of woven shibori to complete before Saturday (Guild meeting) but today is Bookbinding Day!!! Hooray!! I am going to start a Coptic book today. Also Anne, my daughter is coming this evening. I need to consult with her about a lot of things.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the titles! The coat looks wonderful and the speeds everyone must have been working at were astounding. 6,000 visitors - 1,000 more than reside in my home town...



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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.