Monday, 29 July 2013

Finished on Meyer Loom

I have finished weaving the four colour double weave on the Meyer loom. The warp colours are sky blue and apricot and the weft colours are mostly maroon and brown silk noil. The stripe on the right hand side which is paler was woven with a fine green wool and the brown silk noil. I thought this would work well but it didn't. That is the fact that everyone has been astonished at - you cannot tell what will work and what will not without weaving a sample. There was not as much warp left as I thought but I do have a piece at home and will see if I can amalgamate these into a useful object. 

Cally Booker was round here on Saturday and took away the two sacks of yarn I brought up for her. She is into teaching weaving and a variety of yarn is a good thing for students. I have enough wool, cotton, silk and linen yarn to see me through for the next twenty years. 

What I also have is some new ideas. Dorothy has a large collection of design books which I have been dipping into. I have not done much design for several months and now have a few ideas which I must write down. For example, what would it look like if you warped up a four colour double weave in black and white and used black and white in the weft as well.

And could I paint the existing sage green warp on the Megado? I need to weave off another metre or two before I try that out. But I have enough warp to try a half metre sample. Off to do some writing up. By the way, I am still in Dundee.

Saturday, 27 July 2013


In which my sister is an expert.I finished making the sleeves of the Chanel jacket on Wednesday and decided it would be a good idea to collect my 12 shaft from south of Swindon. The reason is that I could take this with me to the Summer School. 

 I found myself involved in a major snarl up of traffic at Swindon. There had been a major accident on the motorway at 4am and they just shut the motorway until midday leaving a great deal of traffic stuck and including me. So it took forever to get home which ruined the rest of the day. I decided not to take the jacket with me to complete but take the 12 shaft plus, of course, lots of yarn to choose from. There   is a lot of warp still on the loom and it is four colour double weave and I cannot bear to cut it off and throw it away.

Friday was weird because of Thursday. Up at 5 am, put on washing, loaded mixture for black currant ice cream into the icecream maker, looked for yarn, found three lengths of white silk velvet (more on that below), packed case for six days in Dundee, packed car including two large sacks of yarn for Cally Booker. Then hung up washing, unloaded the ice cream into cartons and put in freezer, washed up and set about the last job - planting my seedling aubergines in four Grobags and watering all the pot plants. I left the house for Dundee at 0710 am and arrived there at 1345. Then fell asleep in the sitting room!!

The white velvet was brought here to be dyed using Procion MX in which my sister is an expert. So three lengths so between 1 and 2 metres each have been dyed. The bigger two are shown below.

This is all because I have a lovely length of grey velvet with an Art Deco design in black and gold printed and my jacket tutor advised me to make up a jacket in cheap velvet before trying on that. I just happen to have three remnants of white velvet bought cheap at Beckford silk mill.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Art in Action, Making a Jacket and so on

Art in Action was very hot and inside some of the marquees, it was stifling. But we, Maddie and myself, inspected everything. We even sat through a thirty minute demo of glass blowing which was notable for the demonstrator telling us why he did each action. Very well done in deed. We particularly liked the tent of International Art which included a Turkish outfit from Instanbul demonstrating Turkish marbling. Very skilled. Just look at the photo which  is not as good as it could be because the stall was crowded with watchers.
There was a man from Bokhara, Uzbekistan, selling susanis and small rugs, including cheap 'silk' ones. Not a patch on mine. Some highclass Russian goldwork.

There was a miniature painter from Rajasthan.
He was painting a border of flowers much like this finished one. Again difficult to get a good photo because of the crowds. The other marquees we liked were the one devoted to Calligraphers and Illustrators and the Print Makers.

Lunch cowering under a parasol and an icecream at the end. We did think of buying things but it was difficult to get attention so we abandoned it.

I have been to several events this year which I have intended to visit for years, the Antique Textile Market, the Royal Academy's Summer Show, Hampton Court Flower Show and Art in Action. The first two I would not worry if I never went again, the third well possibly but Art in Action - oh yes. A great day out. We were there for four hours and could have done with longer but the heat got to us by 3pm.

Then Friday to Sunday I attended a class in Making your own Chanel Jacket. This is very labour intensive and I came home on Sunday evening with the body of the jacket finished except for some handsewing and, since then I have started on the sleeves. Because I have been out of the house for five days, I needed to catch up the post, write a handout for a weaving class with another Guild this autumn, pick up Castlemorton Common from Redditch and write letters. But that's all done and today will be devoted to the jacket.

I am getting on quite well with the website and have finished another section. I have two more to do.
The weather broke yesterday evening with thunderstorms which continued through the night and I have heard the odd rumble this morning. Fortunately I took a photo of my hollyhocks early yesterday. I love hollyhocks but, if you try to buy plants around here, you can only get these ridiculous double ones which look like pompoms, So I grew mine from seed and they are large bushy plants with lovely large flowers. So far I have pale pink, pale yellow and a dark red which is almost black. That one is hidden in the photo below. The plant on the left is taller than me and I am 5ft 5inches.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Computers and Other Neccessary Evils

I have finally sorted the computer mess in this house and can concentrate on a few things on my project list. Since I have given up on the old maasdesign internet address, the weaving website has also gone. I don't think anyone read it anyway. So I have created a new website and am slowly adding sections on specific topics. See the side panel for the website address. And note the changes to the blog layout!

The objective of the blog is to provide more permanent discourses on technical topics. I will resurrect the topics covered in the old website plus new ones, like the mulberry paper factory outside Samarkand and what I learnt about weaving in Central Asia. There are a few sections completed.I takes me about eight hours to do one new section and I should have the website up to date by mid August.

Yesterday I have my grand daughter, Madi, here and she gave me a hand to sort through teh yarn stash. I have been very ruthless and am taking two sacks of yarn up to Cally Booker next week. What she does not want can go to the Silent Auction at the Association Summer School.

I have selected the yarns I am going to use for my course (Laura Thomas, Breaking the Rules'). It is a bamboo/cotton mix 30/70 and I have three not-going-together colours, chocolate, dark pink and light green. I don't see me using them under normal circumstances.

Last night I made the toile for my jacket course which starts tomorrow. I started at 8 pm and finished at 11 pm! Today we are off to Art in Action.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

MTF at Redditch

What with my trip to the Silk Route and the subsequent shenanigans with computers, I missed seeing the Midlands Textile Forum exhibition at Craven Arms. The current one is at the Needle Forge Museum at Redditch and comes down next Sunday. So I visited it yesterday. I thought it was the best exhibition yet. A very high standard of work. A few samples are shown below.
Brenda Marshall (zoom in)

Ann Brammer

Jenny Beasley

It is a bit invidious to select these three since all the rest were high class too.

Yesterday I did more tidying up and pressed all the woven fabric and lined it with fusible lining. My grand-daughter has come to stay and the first thing we did on arrival was to shift Dennis Walker's loom into the garage so that I can work on the big table. I still have to make a toile for the jacket and that will be done today.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Tidying Up

Having spent all last week wevaing and the weekend gallivanting, I had to spend yesterday tidying up. This involved all sorts of jobs but mostly answering letters and emails and putting things away and I did put away this.

These are not quilting cottons but heavy duty union from the local curtain shop. I was in there buying thread and cotton tape for my jacket, it being the best haberdashery in the district, when I spotted these and thought they would make first rate book covers. My only worry is about the houses fabric. The book will have to be quite large to show off the fabric well. I am part way through binding two books at the moment but everything has been put aside for the Chanel jacket course at the end of this week. One good thing about Gill Arnold's courses is that I know I will come home on Sunday with the jacket all but finished. So next week I have plans for a bookbinding blitz. But I have to say that, in looking for some wool yarn to finish the fabric weaving, I found a large bag of handspun which has been natural dyed. None of the colours are in your face but they are quite varied from a lime green to darkish brown. There is not much of each, about 50 grams,  but quite a lot in all and I think a few checked scarves would be a good thing. They would be quite masculine. 

Today however I still have some tidying up to do and I have to iron and line all the fabric I washed last Saturday.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Stratford and Hampton Court

Just to show the path we took to the Flower Show at Hampton Court. The head gardener must have had his lads working overtime to make sure he outshone the Show! It was very hot and stifling in the marquees but we managed to see everything!
including this oversized teaset made of fresh roses!
On Saturday evening we went to see As You Like It at Stratford. It is the first time I have been in the new theatre which is an apron stage whereas before it is a proscenium arch. They have lost a lot of seats in doing this. The play is not one of my favorites but was well done - more of a musical than a play. They must have had trouble getting Shakespearean actors who could sing. There was a live band on stage most of the time.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Started on the Finishing

The last few days have been very hot but I have kept at it and woven 3.5 metres of fabric on a table loom. It has been washed and will be ironed and lined in the next day or two.

The above is a closeup.The warp is 60/2 silk in moss green from Webs. Fabic A is two throws of cream alpaca and one throw of an eyelash yarn from Linton Tweed. I got 1.5 meters of this before running out of the eyelash yarn. Fabric B is the same but with another (non-eyelash) yarn in place of the eyelash. Then I ran out of alpaca. So I substituted a hand spun yarn of about the same weight and a little darker - there is 1.25 meters of fabric C and 0.75 m of Fabric B. Fabric B is in case of emergencies when I make a jacket out of Fabric A next week. I already have 2 meters of it.

The silk lining (from Suzhou) has been washed as has the cotton tape. So Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to making a toile and lining everything. But now I am off gallivanting. As You Like It at Stratford tonight and Hampton Court Flower Show tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Weaving Rather Slowly

This is the jacket fabric. Actually the colour is more oatmealy than yellow.
I got the loom warped up by Tuesday night and errors corrected (only one - a crossed thread). Yesterday was not totally devoted to weaving but I managed 50 cm. It is slow because I am using stick shuttles. I could speed things up by putting the alpaca onto a boat shuttle.
This is a close up.

Yesterday was a virtuous day. I summer pruned all the fruit cordons and thinned the fruit. We are going to have a bumper crop of pears this year. I also picked some goosberries. The blackcurrant crop is enormous as well.

The last of the root canal work was done yesterday. All sorts of new technology used which was interesting.  And I felt fine afterwards.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Winding a Warp

I brought home a large loom on Saturday from the guild meeting. I need to weave some more fabric for a jacket by July 20th but the Megado is busy so I borrowed a large table loom (thank you, Dennis). Sunday was a beautiful day and I needed to wind the warp (moss green 60/2 silk from Webs in the States) and was inspired. I set up the warping mill on the patio.

By midday it was impossibly hot so I retired under a parasol. There was not a breathe of wind and no noise at all in the garden. No-one mowing a lawn or cutting down trees or driving on the road outside. Even the birds gave up.

Today's job is to put this on the loom and thread up. I am aiming to start wevaing by tomorrow morning at the latest,

Friday, 5 July 2013

Plein de Grace

Rose Plein de Grace aka The Second Thug. The First Thug is Clematis Armandii.

A comment re going to operas in Europe. We booked Vienna last night. A Lancia Flavia was probably the cheaper option.

Tomorrow is Kennet Valley Guild day and I have not been for three months so the hall is piled high with stuff.

Also I signed up for Laura Thomas's weaving class at the Association's Summer School in August. I have recently had a set of instructions and I am to bring a warp wound from yarn I would not usually use. I have two or three large plastic crates full of that sort of yarn. If nothing else, I am going to reduce the stash mountain. The course is called 'Breaking the Rules'.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Children of Lyr

Funny how something gets sparked. I am in Leamington Spa after a morning meeting in Birmingham. Reason, Madi is performing in The Tempest this evening. Because I had a few hours to spare, I walked into town to do some shopping and walked through the park and crossed the River Leamy. And there was a swan, with its wings folded up and I remembered the Children of Lyr. I must have read the story when I was a child but I read a mention of it about a year ago and was sufficiently interested to check out the story on the web. And yes I had remembered it right. It has been haunting me ever since. When I saw the swan, I realised that I wanted to do a book. It will probably be illustrated with Lino cuts. But a bit of me says, 'Hold on, I could weave a picture as I did in South Pacific'.

I should do the book on Sir Patrick Spens first. That project has been around for over two years, because I tried to get Michael to do drawings and he refused. So I worked out how to illustrate it with linocuts. I even sorted out a font to use. Since it will take me a year to formulate the Children of Lyr, I will start on Sir Patrick Spens fairly soon. The big problem is whether to bind it cased in or Japanese style or even Coptic. The advantage of Japanese is that it takes little effort and I would be making several copies.

Currently I am binding books for Debbie and Ruth but they will be finished on Sunday. And I get Dennis's loom on Saturday and need to warp and weave several yards of fabric.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Very nervous

Over the last few days, I have been considering the change over to a laptop for the Megado. I bought the recommended cable (serial to USB) and installed it. Then what? Neither the laptop nor  Fibreworks had anything to say to me about this. I consulted with the source in Canada and it was pointed out that I needed a driver for the cable (well, there's a thing). So I got up early this morning, downloaded a driver and the manual, read the manual, took a deep breathe and got on with following the instructions. 30 minutes later, I was weaving on the Megado. (Still in a red woolly dressing gown I'll have you know).

The old computer has been dismantled and taken to the tip along with the monitor and the extra Microsoft machine which was hiccuping gently into oblivion, (meaning sometimes it was conscious and sometimes it wasn't). So I am down from 17 computers two years ago to one plus a laptop. I still have to go round removing unwanted routers from the house. I will not remove all the cabling. The next owner of this house can have that pleasure.

So there I am. I did not expect it to be easy to move from a Linux system with many computers to only one Microsoft computer but I have done it.

I was thinking about signing on for the Wednesday bookbinding class this afternoon but, by chance, I talked to the tutor this morning and Wednesdays are going to be 'Art' books while a new one on Tuesdays will concentrate on conservation and repair. I have decided I will go to the conservation and repair class as I want to work on leather. I have always been chary of this as it seems difficult but I would really like to bind books in leather.

Monday, 1 July 2013

More donsu

I bought 25 gms each of 8 colours of 30/2 silk, intending to try them all out of the donsu with a geometric pattern. On inspection, some would never do as they were too close in tone to the warp. So I started with the rust. This was so nice that I stuck with it and have finished off the 25 gms and ordered enough to do a waistcoat length.

Here is a close up.

And another view.

This is the result of playing around with distorted squares. But I will have to wait to try it out until the waistcoat length is complete. Now to wind a warp for the borrowed loom.


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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.