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. 


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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.