Saturday, 21 April 2012

Kuala Lumpur Textiles

This is the sum of my haberdashery purchases. Some nice thick silk yarn for braiding and at the right three lots of buttons with relief patterns. The larger ones are fully six cms in diameter and I shall use them as closures for books. Then there are strange shaped sequins and three packets of Chinese fastening. I wanted some of these recently but they are very expensive in the UK so I redesigned the jacket. Now I have enough to last me the rest of my life! They were bought in two wonderful shops in Chinatown.

Then there is this gold-stamped net. A metre of each which I shall share with my sister, Dorothy, and give a piece away to a friend. I was looking for fine silk with gold stamping but this is an adequate substitute. I also bought four metres of fine silk habotai. I could not walk past it at a price of £3 a metre

 This was bought in the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur. There is a specialist dealer in hand woven cloth and I had everything cotton out to look at.  It is 2.5 m long and you can see half of it in this photo. It is worn by men and is wrapped round the waist like a skirt with the centre section (at the top) displayed on one side. The flowers and the central section are woven with thick gold thread and is in the songket technique. I have a piece like this already but is has no gold in it.

I am going to use this piece as a table cloth.
This is a cotton piece similar to the one above but much grander (and it cost more). It has a gold border down each side as well as a very ornate central section (at the top of the photo. It will be added to the collection.
 This was bought in a shop specialising in carved wooden items. Mostly from Sarawak which is probably why they had a few of these. This was the most stunning. It is thick cotton in warp ikat woven on a backstrap loom. It is two metres long and cost me all of nine pounds sterling. The dyes are all natural dyes. I gloat over this. My sister says I should make it into a waistcoat from it - what! cut into it? never!
And this was bought from the first dealer. It is a cushion cover in true songket That is it is gold thread all over. This I am going to use on my new window seats when they are done. 

I have returned home to find the builder has piled stuff everywhere. On Monday he starts to rip the fabric of my house apart in order to put three windows in a blank South-facing wall.  The peachtree on the other side of the wall was moved last autumn and has flowered well in its new home so that's okay. The room was always called the music room when Michael was alive even though it held the Megado. But I have taken it over and it is now the studio.  My son-in-law in KL pointed out that the room would have to be decorated and had I got enough power sockets (answer yes) and was the lighting adequate (answer ARRRGGHH!! no, far from it). So I need to sort that out immediately. The work will not be completed until the end of May because they don't want to order the windows until  they can accurately measure the openings.

We removed  a lot of furniture before I went to Australia but on Sunday I must removed the small things  and also weave a metre of fabric on the Megado. After Monday, I will not be able to use the Megado for four weeks and hope to complete a lot of small projects. Yesterday I unpacked, washed clothes, put things away - and even made a rather grand shopping bag in the evening.

Michael was always of the opinion that the best bit of going on holiday was coming home and I am enjoying myself. On the topic of Michael, he would have hated Australia and would have strongly disapproved of the flight arrangements. Oh well. So did I when it came to it.  It has made me rethink the planned trip in 2013 to African safari camps with the last of the grandchildren.  A great deal of blue pencil is going into the travel agent's suggestions.

And one last detail of the Australian holiday. I had been warned about passport officers being sceptical about children travelling with an adult of a different name so I got each of the mothers to write a letter saying I had permission to take them on holiday. Well no-one ever fussed - until we got home to Terminal 3, Heathrow when the Border Control officer sternly asked Madi where her parents lived and had she got proof so I explained that I was the grandmother. He did not think a lot of that but, when I said, I have a letter from her mother with all the details, he wanted to see it and then was all smiles. So there. Be warned.

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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.