Friday, 28 December 2012


Taken at the Weymouth pantomime. The Dame must have had a dozen outfits, all equally outrageous. It was the hats really.

We sorted out our belongings this morning and all went home. I have proposed that, if we do this again, we go somewhere by plane so we are limited in luggage. It took me several hours to unpack and put everything away. It is made urgent by my driving up to Dundee tomorrow to see my sister, Dorothy, in Dundee. I intend a 0630 start. So I am making sure that I do any urgent paperwork this evening and have decided to wind warps in Dundee rather than put the ikat warp on the Voyager. That's for fun and is not urgent whereas the warps are urgent. Panic is beginning to set in when I looked at the diary.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Boxing Day

We all went down to the harbour for the Bridport Boxing Day Wallow - which means the Mayor saying 'On your marks. Get Set. GO' and 100 swimmers running into the sea. Mad, if you ask me. It was very windy and very cold. The 100 swimmers included our two teenagers and they did go in deep enough to swim but came out quite quickly! And we all went home immediately.

The afternoon was spent with the family doing things to T-shirts. Charlotte went for shibori while the others went for stencils. Practice pieces of cotton  were provided and Tom was very dis-satisfied with this until I pointed out he could tear newspaper up to make the shape he wanted and then he was happy. Interesting that he was the most inventive. I was exhausted at the end. And they have to be finished off this afternoon.

I have just had a very interesting experience. Three of our four cars are parked in a hardstanding up the rouad - rather squashed - and someone wanted out. So I walked up the road in pyjamas, dressing-gown and slippers, moved my car (the last in) out and put it back. Various neighbours were peering out of their net-covered windows!!

I am going up to Dundee to visit my sister on Saturday and must think about what I need to take. I will drive home tomorrow and get there before lunch so that I have time to empty the car, put everything away and collect together what I need to take up to Dundee. I am hoping we have time to do a bit of stencilling/painting/fabric  treatment while there. I will take my warping mill and wind the two warps I need for the Kennet Valley Guild course. I am hoping to visit Cally Booker's new studio while there.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day

I fell out of bed early this morning as I had cooking to do for lunch. All done - including the fact that I forgot I had undertaken to make a vegetarian dish for Madi's lunch. We have managed to find approximations to the proper ingredients and all will be well.

Most people have had breakfast, including me and present unwrapping is next on the list.

The greetings are to everyone who reads this. Don't eat too much and go for a walk, if possible on a beach! The background is a draft for a four colour double weave 11 inches wide in 16/2 cotton for Kennet Valley weaving class!  I am quite pleased to have finished this. I have created four drafts on the same threading.

On Sunday we all went to the pantomine Jack and the Beanstalk at Weymouth - it was packed. It was a traditional version with the audience yelling ' Behind you' and 'Boo' at appropriate moments. There was a magnificent pantomine dame who had a different outfit (outrageous) every time she came on stage. Somewhere I have a photo which I will post when I have a suitable cable. Off to unwrap presents now.

Best Wishes to you all and happy weaving!

Sunday, 23 December 2012


I am in Bridport for Christmas with all the family. The house is rented and is enormous and very odd. There are two staircases and one of them is accessed only from two of the bedrooms, in other words, you have to go through one of the bedrooms to get access to the top floor where there are yet more bedrooms. Anne, my youngest daughter, is a great organiser and my slot for cooking was yesterday - which is good since it is now Sunday and I can sit back for the rest of the holiday!! Yesterday we walked round Bridport in the rain. There are a lot of antique stores - all really 1950s bric brac. So nothing beautiful - or worth buying. Today we are going to Weymouth to the pantomine. I think the intention is to have a fish-and-chip lunch.  

It seems a very sparse list seeing as how I felt busy the whole time. I admit to spending a lot of time doing sudoku. I have got Fibreworks with me and intend to create a few drafts. I did manage to write up Quigley weaves and circulate it before I left home. Quigley are tied weaves which allow you to produce a twill background. Very attractive. I have created a lot of drafts and have decided that trying to do 'pictures'  is a waste of time. Geometric patterns look better. To the extent that  I may put this warp on an 8 or 12 shaft loom. I need to work out usage on the looms. Only the Megado and the Louet Kombo have warps on them and both of them must be off by the end of January.

The projects are as follows
1) enamels on Megado - finished by mid January
2) Double weave on Kombo - finish by end January. This is intended to be submitted to Small Expressions in mid February.
3) warp up two 12 shaft looms by 3rd week of January for class to weave on (This will take a week to do)
4) Weave ikat on LeClerc Voyager (which reminds me that Bridport is not far from Dorchester and I will visit Frank Herring to morrow. Haven't been there since I bought the Voyager.) I am going to visit my sister in Dundee over New Year and can knock this off up there. In between doing some dyeing and stencilling with Dorothy.
5) Warp up something for Quigley weaves - Kombo? I am thinking in terms of a linen warp and a worsted weft - linsey-woolsey in fact. I fancy a waistcoat.
6) Warp up Megado with silk - I created a nice draft which looks like bamboo. I will do this in Uppinghams 90/2 silk. 
7) warp up Pioneer. This is my new loom and I have a great idea for  a complicated weave of weaves. I need some weaving 8 inches square for an exhibition by Midlands Textile Forum in April. The title of the exhibition is 'Stretching the boundaries'
8) Think about Nature in Art. MTF is having an exhibition there at Easter 2014 and they are very keen to have items outside. So I am thinking of weaving some rope!!  Finger-weaving?
9) Hana ori, needs the Megado - and the Swedish yarn. William Hall tells me it will be with me in mid January 

Other jobs which need doing? Well I have two lectures to give in the New Year and need to write both. So lots to keep me busy. I am still feeling very well and energetic - just as well in view of the above list. I need to create a time table. I have been trying to persuade some member of the family to cook me sausages and bacon for breakfast without success - so I am off to do it myself. I mean what's the point of going on holiday with teh family if they won't do a simple thing like that.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


I am still very perky. I was more energetic over the weekend than I have been for months with the result that lots of small jobs got finished and a very large job also. Because the hard drive on one computer went down and had to be replaced, there have been no back-ups (Tut-tut) for more than a year. On Sunday I installed new software, did a massive amount of file rearrangement and back up everything. I have scheduled this as a once-a -month activity. When I had a business to run, I backed up every night but there is no need for that now. This all took from 1 pm to 7pm!!! I do feel virtuous.

All the Christmas cards and parcels have been posted. The only untoward thing was that I went to Bevere Gallery to buy a Christmas present (successful) but fell for a ceranic vase and brought that home for me.

And here it is, installed on a shelf in my studio. Michael and I used to go round several times a year and every time we say as we walked in, 'We don't need any more ceramics', and somehow, something came home with us.

I spent this morning in a hospital having an internal inspection and yes, there's a mess in there but medication will take care of it. No need for the knife. Wah-hey!!!

I still feel energetic and so I have finished framing a picture and it has been sent to its new home. The new owner is delighted. I will finish off the other three waiting for me. I told you I am getting through the jobs. I even did the annual accounts for the local Society of Bookbinders.

Tomorrow is baking-for-Christmas day. I have corrected the liftplans for the Megado triple weave but not tried them out yet.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Practise Piece in Triple Weave

This is a practise piece for Michael's enamels on the Megado. It is triple cloth with warp and weft interchange. One warp is 60/2 grey silk which is the front of the pockets (one to a row) which hold the enamels. The back of the pockets is the second cloth and is  always black 16/2 cotton which nevers appears on the front. The third cloth has a warp of 16/2 cotton in blue, red and white stripes. While the warp and weft of Cloths 1 and 2 are the same, the weft of the third cloth varies. The above photo shows the first section which has a blue weft. There is also a black border on each side which was originally only woven with Cloth 2, the black cotton. It uses 20 shafts, 6 for each of the three vertical stripes and two for the border. The sett for all yarns is 24 epi and the ppi is teh same. This makes the grey silk semi-transparent.

 All sorts of things are wrong. The inclusion in the right hand pocket is  a fullsized copy of an enamel printed onto thick paper. And it looks okay BUT!!! If you look at the left hand edge, you can see a sliver of the grey silk behind the blue because the blue has a free edge and it is showing 'draw-in'. So I shall insert some 'stitching', that is, picking up the black cotton. I ran into this problem with the  grey silk but changed at an early stage to a liftplan which included the grey silk in the border. I do not want to include Cloth 3 weft in the border because I want a nice plain monochrome border to match the top and bottom so I will have to add in some stitching.

There will be three rows, each containing two woven plain rectangles of different colours and one grey silk pocket containing the enamel.

The other problem which is potentially much worse is that I cannot weave the final piece as I originally thought. The current practise piece has a bottom edge which is 2.5 inches of two cloths separated everywhere, that is, Cloth 1 and 2 have been woven in black cotton and Cloth 3 with a red weft. The idea is to cut short Cloth 3 and fold Cloth 1+2 over it, then machine stitch it to make a tidy  border. A dowel rod will go in an identical pocket at the top. Well maybe with paper in the pockets, it will but not with the enamels in. I am short of space between the reed and the breast beam for that. I cannot roll an enamel over the   breast beam. I think I can gain another inch or two by stuffing a towel over the breast beam. Whatever happens with the practise piece, for the final piece, the woven bit to start with has to be the top and the last part woven has to be the bottom. This is do-able - I think - but the bottom edge will not have a proper hem.

Weaving is quite slow as I have three shuttles to wield. It takes me more than one hour to weave the length of a pocket which is four inches. I have woven the second row and inserted the second picture. I want to put in all the liftplan changes and finish it off. I am not sure yet whether to make another practise piece, I might. I deliberately put on a much longer warp than I needed.

Life has got complicated by internal problems surfacing and I have not been sleeping well because of the pain. Eventually I was driven to consult the GP who provided some medication which has got rid of the pain completely. The result is that the last two days I have been livelier than for some months. The complication is that I am to have an internal inspection, which I hate and I just hope they don't find anything which calls for a stomach operation. I have had two of them and don't think much of the prospect of a third.  Not to mention the interference with my holiday plans for next year.

The last two days have seen all the Christmas cards finished and posted as well as the last presents wrapped up and posted. And lists of things to do before Christmas have been generated. Off to revise the liftplan

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Textile Weekend

First another 'flower arrangement' from my book of Pop-up flowers.

Second a practice length of finger-woven braid. This is Canadian finger weaving from Carol James 'Fingerweaving Untangled' (ISBN 978-0-9784695-0-4). It is a first class book. The illustrations and photos are very clear and helpful and there is quite a lot of how to correct mistakes. The only change I have made is that I anchor the start end with a knitting needle strapped to a piece of hardboard and that I also anchor the last weft thread to the edge of the board with a bulldog clip. I am dying to try the flames and arrowheads! This was mostly done at a day meeting of the Braiding Society at Aldbourne. It was also a Christmas lunch and a good time was had by all. Quite a lot of the Kennet Valley Guild attendf and it was a lovely opportunity to gossip.

Last Saturday was the last of the four sessions on 'Create your own Draft'. All about Profile Drafts and it seemed less difficult than the previous session. At the end of the second session, I left the class with some homework and they all came back with drafts. However at Saturday's session, Shirley Clarke turned up with her draft translated into a piece of gorgeous cloth in black and white cloth with a little silver lurex. Very classy. None of us had a camera so I can't show the cloth but I can show you the cloth from Fibreworks.
So here it is - only the cloth, not the draft. The draft belongs to Shirley. Talk about ending with a bang. And I was given a lovely poinsettia and a box of very alcoholic chocolates which I will save for the family gathering at Christmas.

I have only a few odds and ends to see to and then it is on to the Megado. I have not woven for too long.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

More Address Books

I started on these two address books on Tuesday by putting on the end-papers. Then on Wednesday I went to bookbinding twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon because I have missed so many classes this term. A serious application of effort saw them completed by the end of the afternoon. The papers used on the cover are both paste papers made in Steve Conway's class earlier this year. They look fine although the paper curled up when I applied PVA and it was a struggle to get the paper on to the cover and not attached to everything in the neighbourhood including me.  They need a final press and them they will be finished. All four have homes to go to at Christmas time. They are A5 size.

I am still tidying up and doing well. There is every chance that I shall see the top of the desk by the weekend! Off to do some more paperwork.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Address Books

I have stayed in the house  since Sunday and got on with things. Such as preparing for the next and last session on drafting. We are doing Profile Drafts this week. I also had enough energy to write a document on Huck. This was not well done at the last Session. Writing it all up and trying to make it sound sensible took some time.

I am actually catching up with jobs which is nice. Sufficiently so that I spent the afternoon and evening book binding!

Some months ago I bought some address books as text blocks. I started on them last week as they are intended for Christmas presents. I finished two off today and started the other two. They are in a half binding. There is book cloth round the spine and on part of the front and back covers and then a nice paper over the rest of the covers. I have used pastel paper for the end papers which is, of course, plain and is quite strong. This type of binding is a good way of using small amounts of nice paper. There was very little of either of these papers. Neither was big enough to get endpapers out of - not unless the book was A6 dimensions. I don't make books as small as that. They take just as long as an A4 book.

The book cloth I have in the house - part of the stash. I don't like the red-orange. The colour is okay but it is rather thin and plasticky. The pale blue is lovely. It is quite sturdy and has a leather-surface texture.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Trials - and books

Last week was mostly full of trying to get into England across the Severn. For 24 hours even the M50 motorway bridge was closed which left all of us living on the West side marooned!! Even more annoying on Saturday when I had to be in Newbury for a Guild Committee meeting, all the traffic websites said my nearest bridge was open - they ought to have  consulted with the police because it was very closed and I had to turn round and drive West and then South to pick up a dry bit of the motorway. The floods have been very bad this time. I cannot remember the motorway ever being closed for floods before. Fortunately being of a suspicious nature, I had allowed an extra 30 minutes 'in case of problems'. 

The Guild Christmas party went with a swing. We had three trophies to present , two for weaving and one, the Hawkridge Challenge Cup, for some thing made from Jacob's fleece only. The standard was very high. The weavers' trophy was for a monotone bag (white through grey to black) with one accent colour. Again a very high standard  with lots of inventiveness.

Today is my first free day in the house since last Sunday! Last night I started sorting out books. They have never been properly organised since the new book cases were installed. Apart from finding some things which had gone to ground, a file full of stencils belonging to ,my sister, a lovely copy of an old map of Virginia which was given to me to use as endpapers and has been missing for six years!!! Not to mention a lot of interesting books. Anyway I got into a mess with these. I went off to bed leaving a mess of books everywhere and got up thinking 'Right, first I must -- ' Only when I walked into a stack of books on the floor, did I realise that I had to clear that up, but that, before I did that, I had to do the shelves in the studio and before I did that, -- - You get the idea. By elevenses, the books were all organised, I had wrapped a load of Christmas presents and made a list of present shopping to do. 

 I even made a paperbag for my grandson's present which is too awkward a shape to wrap. I learnt how to make these at the Bournville class last Friday. One thing I do have a lot of is paper! And this is stout paper (actually printed cotton amalgamated with paper and  from Peter Hoes in Kuala Lumpur)  which has made up quite nicely.

I have put on a large pot of beef rendang which is cooking away quite nicely. After lunch, I shall make up some more Christmas cards and then (I hope) I will tie on the Megado's warp and start weaving. I have had a number of good ideas about this warp lately. I always put on more warp than I need and this one is going to be used up to the last millimeter! They are all hanging pieces. This is because the Midlands Textile Forum is having a travelling exhibition (!!!)  and there is a limit on width of 8 inches which I can do with the current Megado warp. They are a bit difficult to describe except that it is a triple cloth with  warp and weft interchange. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dovecot Studios Exhibition

On Monday I drove to Handweavers Studio in the middle of London to pick up a loom. That statement hids a multitude of sorrows. The first problem was getting away from Malvern and across the Severn. After an hour or so I was still within three miles of home having given up on going North and knowing that going South was under water. There is no where to go East as there are no bridges in that direction. So I went West and got involved in a very large traffic snarl up - possibly because that it the only way into England!! The bit of the journey I was not looking forward was in London itself but that was no problem at all. Neither was getting through the middle of London to fetch up at Ruth's house. It had taken from 0845 to 1340 to do a journey which ought to take two and a half hours. The loom was duly loaded at Handweavers Studio  and is now back here - by way of Compton Verney.

I drove up from Ruth's to the Gallery on Tuesday morning and met up with soem members of Kennet Valley Guild to see the tapestry exhibition. We hit it lucky - there was a conducted tour at midday and it was very good. So after that and lunch we did teh exhibition again and then the Folk Art galleries, then tea, then home. It was a great day out and I learnt so much more by having the tour. By the way as we walked into the Gallery we met four members of Berkshire Guild doing the same as us. 

I got home to find the above waiting. It is one piece from a Popup book - an early Christmas present. The flower arrangement is 12 inches across! The book is intended to be used as though each set piece was a flower arrangement - you can see the basketwork background. There are six different flower arrangements in th beook. All very clever. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Fancy Labels

At the Bourneville class on Friday, we made Christmas present labels out of fabric. These are the finished five I made. I added more ribbon when I got home . Lashings of Bondaweb used!! I have as a result looked at the Christmas present list and realised that I have dealt with the family and just need to consider all the friends. So I must inspect what is in the upstairs cupboard.

After the Friday Class, I went round to Sarah Cage's house. She is trying to reduce the pile of 'stuff' from her mother's stash. As I said to her as I left, 'I have 2 plastic bags stuffed full and it has not made for much reduction in the pile'. When I got it home, I decided I would do a good job if I washed and ironed everything. I have a length of lining to wash and iron but the rest has all been done. So a good job done.

I have been playing with Quigley drafts for the Complex Weavers Tied Weaves Study Group. I do not yet have the original document but I do have something which has a few drafts and photos.  I can get the cloth to look like the photos but am worried about excessive floats on the back. I can't see where I have made an error but I must have. somewhere. Worry! Worry!

This weekend I have to myself and have dealt with the post, the accounts, the emails. General feeling of burnished halo. Now I must nip out and get a few more ingredients for the mincemeat. At least I don't have to go far today and deal with the floods. The bridge at Upton is under water - well it does go over the Severn. What is very agitating is that the M50 is closed because of flooding. Closed!! In all my years in Malvern, I have never known the M50 closed for flooding. Life is very serious. Tomorrow I will have to go North to pick up the motorway to go South to London.  

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Abacus

I have just read an extremely interesting book The History of the Abacus by J Pullan. It is very odd the way one thing leads to another. I was reading a history of the Moors in Spain - after being in Spain. There was an odd paragraph at the end of the book about Arabic numerals and Roman numerals and a remark that the Exchequer in London was so called because they used a chequered cloth on a table as an abacus. What?? So I delved in Wikipedia and sure enough, they used to order up a new table cloth for the Exchequer twice a year (!!!) and it was said that the cloth looked like a chess board hence the name. We are talking 13th to 16th century here. Well nothing said in Wikipedia or any where else on the web actually told me how this worked. So I looked up Amazon and ended up with one book - by J Pullan. In Amazon's curious way, it cost 0.89p plus £2.80 postage. I thought I could afford that as a gamble - and it is a wonderful book. I now know how it worked. He deals with the history going back a long way.

The Darius Vase above shows someone manipulating the counters on the table before him with his right hand and writing the answer down in thing looking remarkably like an Ipad in his left hand. This is dated 330 BC. Quite extraordinary.

It is just as well there is something to cheer me up. My session on drafting today ran in choppy waters over explaining huck. I shall have to write a much longer explanation and see if I can do better.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Study Day at the Ashmolean, Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum is currently holding an exhibition of Meiji Textiles and ran a Study session there today which I attended. There were 12 people and it was held 'behind the scenes'. We were issued with gloves and a pencil and had all other bags etc confiscated. We were allowed to take photographs. The pieces we were introduced to were, of course, not those on exhibition but are from the same period. Most were embroidered but  a  few were woven or stencilled/dyed (yuzen). This is a fukusa (gift wrapping cloth) in silk with the light coloured cloth stencil led and the other parts of the motif embroidered in silk.

There were two pattern books which had samples stencilled on to paper. These patterns look like katazome where the stencil is used to put a pattern of rice resist onto the cloth which is then indigo dyed. All the patterns in both books looked like they were indigo dyed.
This piece is woven silk. The back is woven too and not left with a mass of long floats. Could it be woven on a Jacquard loom or was it done on a drawloom? Very attractive either way. This was about the only woven piece in the  11 pieces we were shown.

 This is part of a large embroidered hanging. The bird eating an insect is about 2 inches square. Beautifully done. But the panel is too twee in its entirety for my taste and that is true of much of the exhibition. A lot of the exhibition was made by Japanese workers for the Western market which may account for the degradation from earlier textile work. 

I had an exciting time with travel. It was bucketing with rain first thing and my train to Oxford was cancelled so I decided to drive to Oxford which took about 2 hours. All okay except that I got very wet getting from the car park to the Museum and then back again. On the way  home across the back lanes of the Cotswolds, I had to turn round in a narrow lane and return to Stow because the river was so high that it was too dangerous. Indeed I could not have tried it if I wanted to because a Mini was parked in the middle of this mostly under water. The owner and various people were standing around in the rain discussing what was to be done. So I drove home a longer way through Evesham which had the advantage of passing my favorite farm shop.

So if you are only interested in weaving, I would not bother with this exhibition and, as I said above, the designs are slightly twee. There is however a wonderful exhibition of Edward Lear.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Trial by (Rock) Music

Grandmothers should not  be taken to rock concerts even when their grandsons are singing. Too loud (Why aren't they all deaf?) The balance was dreadful - I was brought up to believe that a vocalist and the accompanying instruments should be a partnership, neither should dominate. In this concert, all the instruments played as loud as they could. Two hours with my fingers in my ears. Bah!!

That was Sunday. On Monday I had lunch with some old friends near Malmesbury and went for a walk in Westonbirt Arboretum afterwards.
  The maples were all over but there was still a lot of autumn colour - including this gingko tree.

Came back home and got to grips with the drafting session for next Saturday.  I put in a bit of time and left it. At 10pm I had a thought and took the presentation up again. I surfaced at 0130 which is a bit late for me and then stayed in bed until 10 this morning. I am not sure that it was a good idea but I have an awful lot of the work completed.

I have not done any weaving or textile work for what seems like weeks. And there will not be much opportunity to do any until Sunday. On Monday I am driving to London to pick up a new loom from Wendy Morris. Now I know bought a 12 shaft only a few months ago but this one is totally different.

My mind works rather oddly and I am quite liable to have an idea out of the blue and then I have to work out how to accomplish it. This idea was definitely of the technically difficult sort. Eventually I remembered that Wendy Morris had once bought a very odd loom from NorthWest looms which might be just the thing. Not at that time knowing the name of the maker, I asked Wendy - who turned out to be thinking of getting rid of hers!!So I am picking it up next Monday. It is apparently quite heavy so I have to drive into the middle of London to fetch it. At some point I need to decide what to do with the new 12 shaft loom. Trouble is, I have a use in mind for it with a class for the New Year, probably for several months. I don't want to get rid of it but I need to think of somewhere to store it. I will then have five looms. Megado, Kombo, Voyager and the two new ones and only the Megado and the Kombo have 'homes'. I am also storing the Guild's 12 shaft loom - needed for the same project in the New Year. Not my project. I am going to warp up both 12 shafts with a four colour double weave and let the 'improvers' loose on the two looms. I did this with one loom at the beginning of 2012 with Diversified Plain Weave and I could only get enough warp length on to allow every one a maximum of 30 inches. This time, they will get 2 yards each.

Going back to my Malmesbury friends who knew Michael through work, I told them about discovering that Michael had worked on the great Aircraft Control program - which I never knew until after his death and told them of the stories I was told when I inquired about this of Michael's work friends. Yesterday it turned out that they knew about this and made a great speech about how first rate Michael was and how much very high class work he had done in software. Some very flattering things were said. I never knew! Of course I knew he was very bright and it took many years for me to face the fact that there was nothing I could do that he could not do better if he put his mind to it. Fortunately he was a very tactful person. I remember a very strange meeting many years ago when a young man connected with work came round and I realised that the conversation was very peculiar - almost as if they were sizing each other up. Then I realised that the young man was as bright as Michael and suddenly I could no longer understand the conversation. They were off - somewhere else in the world of ideas. It must have been a very lonely life.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Eric Ravilious

I had a great treat yesterday, a Study Day at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Eric Ravilious. I have always liked his work and must have started about 40 years ago. In those days you could buy the Wedgwood china he designed - not from Wedgwood itself who stopped producing it in the 50s or 60s but from a replacement china shop near Manchester. So I own a Travel teaset. Later I bought a Coronation mug and a coffee pot  from Christies. My first foray into the world of auctions.  And of course I have lots of prints including a a complete reprint of the Submarine set done some years ago.  And I have bought every book that has been printed about him. I fear I found another three in the V and A shop!! But I got 10% off for being at the Study Day.

But  I learnt a great deal about him in the five lectures and thought it was a very good day. Good value for £35.00.

 This is Newhaven Harbour. Look him up on wikipaedia if you want to know more. When I get home I will post photos of the china I have.

Today I am with Ruth - and also have Alex and Maddie with me so they all went to Windsor castle while I was at the V &A and  liked it a lot. Today I think we are off to the Savile Gardens.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Studio Bling (2)

So here is a cushion with a sequinned elephant on it from Burma (courtesy of Dr Soe Min Tun!) and adding to the general blingness of the studio window seat. I have started having my breakfast there.

And here is a cock printed on cotton (courtesy of Linda Scurr who knows that I like chickens and cocks).

And here's a view of some of the window seat omitted the fan reed cushion on the right and three Lee's Surrender cushions on teh left. These are (l to r)
Katazome (done by me)
Mola work from Guatemala
Printed cock
Sequinned elephant
Multiple ribbons (made by me)
songket from Kuala Lumpur

And that's the studio finished.

I also finished the pink scarf and repaired a cookery book belonging to my daughter, Anne. Very odd. It is a newish hardback with properly sewn signatures and the text block is nearly two inches thick so it is heavy. But there are no tapes and no mull and rather thin end paper so the endpapers have torn away. I removed the brown paper on the spine, scraped as much glue off as possible, plastered the spine with PVA, added three tapes and mull and then considered the endpapers. I opted for some strange Malaysian paper I have which is cotton fabric bonded to paper which is thick and strong. No need to do anything about the covers and spine. At the moment, the whole book is glued and assembled and sitting under weights. I shall take it over to Anne today. 

Other news this week is that I made wholemeal bread, the first for over two years. Not quite as nice as it should but soooo much better than anything I can buy here. I intend to keep the bread making  up and no doubt the taste will be back to normal in a few weeks. The other good news is that a bookseller came yesterday and looked over the huge pile of music Michael left even though 4 foot of it has gone to the Viola Da Gamba Society. He inspected every item and I was astonished when he took most of it. I have a pile to go to V Da G Society next week and a few miniature scores left (he took 75% of them). The result of all this is that I have a cheque to bank today and an empty 6  foot metal cupboard. By the end of next week, all the music books and music will be gone and then I have to set about selling some stuff on ebay. I have already put a book on Amazon to see how that works.

I need to consider what I am going to do at Bourneville tomorrow. We are supposed to be stencilling. What am I doing next? 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Lichfield Cathedral

The pictures above are from postcards and are copyright to the Cathedral.
Yesterday I had to pick up some papers from Lichfield so I visited Lichfield Cathedral. The fact that it was cold, raining and grey made no difference to my cheerfulness after my visit. It is a little known cathedral and yet it must be one of the oldest in the country. The first one was built in the 8th century by St Chad and the two pages shown above are from the Cathedral's greatest treasure, St Chad's Gospels which are also 8th century and were probably ordered by St Chad himself. The book which is about 20 inches by 18 has the honour of being the oldest church book still in ritual use. New vicars have to swear on it and it is carried round the Cathedral twice a year in procession. The Vikings had a go at the Cathedral in the 9th century - hence the shattered angel which is 8th century. The Viking axe marks can be seen on the right hand side. Anyone who has read the Brother Cadfael stories will have read of the Bishop of Lichfield who had oversight of Shrewsbury. It was then and still is an enormous diocese, so big that the Bishop has three subsidiary bishops to help out! 

It is an odd place in that it is very large and has a huge end window but the feeling of not one of 'I am the greatest and you should be overawed'. The feeling is more one of ' why don't you sit down and rest' Which reminds me that the Bishop and others sitting near the altar have very modern armchair seating in some fruit wood with leather seats and it does look very comfy.

The other thing in the Cathedral which they don't bother telling anyone about is a fantastic collection of commissioned modern silver church plate. The earliest piece I could find was 1906 which was a pair of vases with Art Nouveau twining foliage and flowers in relief. But the more recent pieces are very avant-garde. I don't know of another place which has a collection like that. They are of course for use in the services, not just to look at. Most have the names of the donor attached. I have this vision of a Dean or similar who bore down on wealthy parishioners with a glint in his eye and the parishioner sighing and reaching for his/her chequebook! All in all an interesting place.

I am not a religious person but two religious places cheer me up, one is Lichfield Cathedral and the other is St Paulin's in Trier. Now St Paulin was designed and built by my hero, Balthazar Neumann, the great German Baroque architect. St Paulin is quite unlike anything else he did (and believe you me, I have inspected everything he ever did, even when it was a ruined wall or two). When you go in, the first thing that strikes you is the light. There are tall windows down both sides set in very thick side walls with rebates (revets?) and between the windows are half pillars, rather plain. The windows have clear glass and the walls are painted white and you look up and up and up and the tops of the columns blossom into half attached stone urns filled with pink roses and covered in putti (small children with wings). Some are in mid flight, some hanging on to the edge of the urn with one hand or clinging on to the roses  or falling off the urn. Above the ceiling is magnificently painted - but it is nothing like so much fun as the urns of roses.

I do not have any photos of the urns. I must go back to Trier. Oh well, I digress. Better go and deal with the Guild Newsletter.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

And another project finished!!

This scarf was woven on the leftover warp from Stacey Harvey-Brown's course last month. It is stitched double cloth with one side cotton and the other shrinkable wool. The idea was to shrink the wool and get texture, only I had already space-dyed the wool warp and it did not shrink (presumably it said, 'Been there, done that'). But the weft shrank so I got folds in one direction. There was a lot of warp left at the end of the course and also a lot of the space dyed warp, so I rewrote the draft and wove the scarf you see on the left, using teh space dyed wool as weft. The woolly back can also be seen and it is all rather pleasing. Oddly enough the reason for the baby pink (not my colour at all) is that I inherited a lot of baby pink cotton  and thought I would use some up but the combination of the pink cotton and the space dyed (purple, blue, red) wool is effective.

I gave the second lecture about drafting yesterday. Everyone turned up for a second bout of punishment and one student (Jenny Smith) even turned up having done her homework - and woven the result!! A very nice piece of repp weave in dark blue and white. It has made me think. I was talking yesterday aboue 'Unique' threadings which are ones where you can only use one tie-up to get anything sensible. And  said it paid to put on a warp where you could use several different treadlings. I have heard of someone who has not changed her threading for 20 years. She just ties on a new warp. Clearly if you are a production weaver, this is sensible. Though I might get very bored!! B ut this is really the reason why I have been playing with Diversified Plain Weave for the last couple of years. Because you can keep generating nice patterns. And I was quite disappointed when I got to the end of the warp. I don't like to think of tying on a new DPW warp though. 

The house was littered with things that needed putting away and I have resolved to tidy up at teh end of a project. I got up early this morning and tidied up the lot.  Now I must go and look at the cellar as a man is coming to inspect Michael's sheet music this week.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Another Project Completed

The Bourneville class was cancelled because the tutor is ill. Which left me wondering what I ought to do today. I considered a haori made from spoace dyed cotton and even looked out suitable cotton last night. This morning I decided to abandon this project. It sounds too awful to wear. And if I won't wear it, why should anyone else. So that is deleted from the project list. 

Instead I finished the scarf woven on the remaining warp from the Wokefield Park course. The fringes need to be done and the scarf needs to be checked over for errors which I shall do this evening.

Earlier this year I wove what I called Art Deco patterns using Diversified Plain Weave. I always intended to turn this into a bag and that was done today. I used all the squared pattern and most of the circles although there was not much of the circles anyway. The pocket lining and the lining inside was made from spaced dyed cotton in green and purple. The ribbon is from the USA and was bought to trim a white silk jacket but I bought more than I needed so had just enough to trim the handles (of black cotton) here.

When Gavin Davidge, the furniture maker, delivered my paperchest, I asked him if he ever had any off-cuts which I could make into the wooden covers of Coptic books and showed him what I had done before. The answer was yes, he had some bits which he has now cut and planed to the right dimensions. This afternoon, I collected three sets of book covers from him, all of black walnut. He recommends finishing them with beeswax. I did not finish the previous set and worry about stains. So I will try to polish one pair.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Where does TIME go to?

I got home on Monday. On Tuesday, I did a large number of small jobs, visiting the lawyer, sorting out someone to look at the cupboard full of sheet and bound music, ordering up prescriptions. I also went out for an Italian meal and then on to see Brecht's Mother courage. I have seen this several times but the production was astounding. Set in the near future 2022-2036. Incredible. Lots to think about.

Today, I cleaned out the garage which is now declared finished. In addition,  I have a room full of shelves laden with Lever Arch files. Anyone who knows me knows I file everything in Lever Arch files. The problem is that I can no longer read what the titles say about the contents, even with my glasses on. So I relabelled them all in VERY LARGE BLACK PRINT and I can now see what I have!!

I did start out on a new textile project only to abandon it an hour later! I thought that I would make a haori out of a kimono roll of bingata style fabric I have. This I would line with some cotton which has been space dyed. I used John Marshall's book to calculate out the sizes of the pieces I needed and, as he suggests, drew these out to scale on graph paper. Very sensible of him because I then realised that kimono rolls are designed for petite Japanese ladies (it is 14 inches wide) and not great big clumping Europeans who are five foot six. I cannot use the bingata without seaming the haori  in unusual places and I think it would look awful. So project abandoned. I am now thinking of making an unlined haori out of the space dyed fabric.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Andalucia - Ronda

On Saturday we ducked out of going to Seville as thunderstorms were forecast for the whole day and everyone else came home soaked. We pottered into Anteqera to see the museum and were delighted. It is in an old palace with a wonderful courtyard and the antiquities are displayed in rooms around the courtyard. There is a new four storied building at the back where all sorts of other treasures are displayed. But first the historic exhibits. There are several displays relating to the dolmens (2000 BC) including flint arrow heads and axes, and painted pottery. But the most impressive display is of Roman items. Cases of glass flasks, mostly whole, mosaics from villas, painted stucco from villa walls, some first class inscriptions in wonderfully clear fonts, sacrofagi - and The Ephebe. This is a life size bronze statue of a young male and it is very good indeed. The upper floors are mostly paintings but they have a Treasury which is really a bank vault! In there they show and keep the jewellery belonging to three Madonnas (three different churches) which the statues wear when paraded round town. The jewellry was very ornate, emeralds, rubies, diamonds. All very interesting.

After spending a long time there, we walked back to the hotel in the sunshine - not thunderstorms! In the evening there was a flamenco display which was not what I expected. I had thought of it as being like the tango but it is much more a display dance than that. At least what we saw was.

Today we went to Ronda in the mountains which is one of the white towns. Mostly on a plateau surrounded by a gorge over which there were three bridges, Roman, Arab and New (1750). The town is very pretty and nice to walk round which we did happily until 1300 when the wind got up and the rain came in. After that we had a very long Spanish lunch and came home! 

The Arab bridge at Ronda seen from the New bridge which crosses much higher up. The Roman bridge is round the corner to the right.
All the houses in Ronda have to be white washed once a year and have the wrought iron painted. This is a typical first floor balcony of wrought iron.

We were taken into  a private house which had a wonderful Moorish garden (but by this time it was too stormy for photos). But they had a good vase in the patio.

This book of ancient music was laid out in Ronda cathedral. I wonder if they sing from it. It seems unlikely.

As Dorothy saus there has been a dearth of textiles on this trip but just to show I have not been idle

Based on tiles in the hotel. This is four designs put together.  But I do not like this particular arra ngement and I have more complicated arrangements in mind!! I have a huge list of 'Jobs to be done at home' and am looking forward to getting home.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Andalucia - Cordoba

The Roman bridge at Cordoba with the mosque/cathedral at the far side.They cleaned the bridge a year or so ago and it is difficult to believe that it is nearly two millenia old.
The Jewish quarter, a maze of little streets and a lot of tourists. Not surprising when you see the flowers everywhere hung on whitewashed walls.

This is the mosque which has been converted into a cathedral. This is what you come to Cordoba for. Absolutely stunning and artistically wrecked by the insensitive insertion of a Baroque cathedral in the middle.
The mihrab - decorated by Byzantine craftsmen.

It is difficult to express how beautiful the mosque is - even with hordes of tourists.Photos do not do it justice. It is said that the pillars and the overhead arches were intended to represent an oasis of palm trees. You do have teh feeling of being immersed in a peaceful forest. A video might capture that feeling but a photo is static and can't do it.

After visiting the mosque with a guide, we were free to do what we wanted for a couple of hours.We walked all over the Jewish quarter again and then found the city centre where we sat at a cafe in the sunshine and commented on the passersby. Conclusion Spanish women are very elegant and their style is not that of the UK. 

We should be at Seville today but opted out. There have been thunderstorms there since midnight. They are forecast for the whole of today along with 10 cms of rain. I can do without that. So I am writing things up, making lists of jobs I need to do at home and will continue designing drafts based on Moorish tiles.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Andalucia- Anteqera

This photo is pieced together from several photos of a tiled floor in the hotel. Each tile has four squares on it. They are copies of antique tiles.

This is how they are laid out with a singlelton at the crossing. Very weavable and I have created a draft based on one of the squares. Question is, can I create more and wevae several in piece of fabric. I think I can if I work in liftplan as I have to for the Megado anyway.

Yesterday a friend of Dorothy's came to visit and we wandered around Anteqera. We had lunch at  a recommended restaurant. It was really good and, in keeping with the tradition of this blog, I thought I would show you the puddings - all very Spanish, I am assured.

Yesterday was All Saints Day and so a holiday. Very few shops, churches or museums open so we walked round the town and admired the architecture. Today we are off to Cordoba.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Today we were bussed to Granada and spent the morning in the city. The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel where Eleanor and Alphomao are buried are Baroque in gold and very ornate. After lunch we went to the Alhambra and had a guided tour. The number of steps did for my knees!
The Sierra Nevadas behind Granada - with snow on them. The amount of snow visibly increased over the day.
The world's most wonderful street lighting - Art Deco fixtures on the whole of the main street. A visit to Granada is worth it just to see these.

The pavements are decorated in this technique everywhere. It is a combination of yellow/brown pebbles and dark grey pebbles. This piece is about 8 foot square.

Then to the Al-hambra which is every bit as beautiful as everyone says. This is a doorway - just a little doorway, nothing special, not something the Sultan would use.

The fountain in the Court of the Lions. No two lions are the same.

And the view out of a window into a small courtyard. I have not shown photos of the intrictae decoration on the walls and ceilings. There was a lot of climbing up and down steps and my knees protested a lot. We sat for 20 minutes in a lovely garden at the end. There was silence on the bus going home as everyon snoozed. Where are the textiles you may ask. I saw a few in the Royal Chapel but nothing to catch my imagination. I would prefer to go round the places we saw today at my pace but this will have to do. Tomorrow we are meeting up with a friend of Dorothy's. The day after we have Cordoba.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Andalucia - El Torcal

Rocks and Limestone Pavement - on a large scale in El Torcal, a park not far from Anteqera. And yes it was very foggy. Visibility down to about 10 metres. What we (my sister, Dorothy, and myself) could see of the landscape was spectacular.

The central structure above is about ten foot tall and there were many such shapes about, some even taller. Lichen on the rocks and some flowering autumn crocuses growing wild in amongst the rocks which was very nice. We were taken up to th  top of this massif in a bus - hair pin bends and all - from Anteqera where we are staying for a week.  Then it was  down the mountain where we got good views once we were below the cloud level.
This is a view of Anteqera fortress, built by the Moors and strengthened by the Christains. The white houses in the foreground are the Old Town. The modern town is to the left.
 This is just on the edge of Anteqera and it is a 2000BC dolmen. You can see the scale of it from the person-sized date. It has a passage 25 yards long into a central section. Some of the stones involved weigh 70 tons. There was a video about how these were built which I found unbelievable since it requires an amazing organisation. So that's it for today. Tomorrow we are off to Granada and the Al-hambra.

We went round to a supermarket yesterday after eating lunch here - poor and very expensive. So today's lunch was cheese sandwiches made by us- good - and a Spanish mango which was marvellous.Dinner was okay-ish. Tomorrow we are going to try eating out in Granada although Dorothy is very dubious and thinks our cheese sandwiches will prove to be better. So it is my job/duty tomorrow to find a good place for lunch.

I should have said that we are with a conducted tour organised by Page and Moy. There are 32 people on it. It is the first such a tour I have ever been on outside the UK. I went on the Martin Randall tour in the Midlands earlier this year but that involved fewer people (11). The Page and Moy organisation seems rather better than Martin Randall. When they say ' we shall leave El Torcal at 1100', some how everyone is rounded up and on the bus and there is never any sense of pressure to swallow down the hot coffee.    

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Two Exhibitions and a Crab Curry

Yesterday I went through to Leamington Spa to spend the day with my daughter and her family - not Madi who is in Arizona. I must say she gets interesting school trips. The Grand Canyon and a dude ranch!! In the morning I went off to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery where there is an exhibition of art quilts 'Through Our Hands'. Even I recognise  some of the internationally known names. And it was all stunning. I talked about an exhibition at Redditch by the Kemshalls where I was not impressed. They had works at L Spa and they were very impressive. As were Elizabeth Barton's art quilts of mediaeval buildings at twilight. The windows lit up were done with tiny squares of fabric ( 1 or 2 square cms) in all sorts of shades of yellow and orange with spots of red and brown. Alicia Merrett had maps of villages. Linda Kemshall had two portraits in her quilt and the quilting made up the contours of the faces.There were 10 quilters in all. Anyone who canget  there should go.  It is on till 13th January 2013.

In the afternoon, we all went to Compton Verney to see an exhibition of tapestries from teh Dovecot Studios. They ran from a pseudo-mediaeval The Lord of the Hunt to pieces done last year by way of a large piece by Paolozzi and and a 1950 one based on a design by Bawden called 'Farming'. The first Archie Brennan was for Aberdeen in 1964 and was innovative in its use of different yarn types to get texture. There was a very 3D one designed by my hero Bernat Klein which included knitting, crochet and whipping. My favourite was 'Overall' by Harold Cohen.

'Overall' based on a design by Harold Cohen 1967. No photos were allowed so I have downloaded this from the web. Cally Booker told me about this exhibition when it was on in Edinburgh. If you can get there, do so.

The local Guild had set up a tapestry loom and if you go on Tuesdays, Thursday or Sundays, you can have a go. 

In teh evening, we went roudn to Kayal which is a good Indian restaurant and I had parathas and crab curry. All very pleasing and made a good end to a good day.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A Few Completed Projects

My grandchildren brought back two scrolls from China on which a scribe had written their names in Chinese calligraphy. There was a family discussion on how these should be framed and it was decided that I would mount them on nice paper and add a holder top and bottom. The children were offered a choice of anything from my paper stash. Madi chose an elegant Japanese chiyogami paper while Alex went for owls (not sure about this myself). Here they are completed and ready to go to them tomorrow.

Yesterday I had a good long session on No 2 Drafting session which is on twill. I think it is better. I have put it to one side for the next few days as I am away in Andalucia. I will mull it over while away. Another completed project is dealing with our glut of apples especially the windfalls. They are being turned into apple jelly as I write. 

And I created a totally different draft to use up the rest of 'Texture' warp from last weekend. The warp is tied on again and I have woven the header and a few inches. It is NOT to shrink. I am using the same wool in the weft as is in the warp - which did not shrink. It is an ornamental stitched double cloth. I have always liked the stitched double cloth shown on Page 173 of Ursina Arn-Grischott's book on Double Weave. I have woven 90/2 silk in stitched double cloth because it allows you to get the detail of a pattern on a very small scale while being a robust cloth. But I have a sneaking feeling that sooner or later I will weave a wool length and make a reversible jacket. Rosie Price and I had a long discussion recently about how you would do the seams. She thought a French seam. I thought bind every edge and sew the bindings together. We decided I should consult with Gill Arnold before starting such a project.

And on the domestic front, one of Michael's instruments has been sold. And someone on Freecycle wanted a microfiche reader. So I dug mine out, checked it still worked and offered it. It was snapped up by one very happy man who was not expecting a dinky portable one.


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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.