Monday 31 March 2014

More of the Same

I am still sorting out software but have also been preparing for the MTF Exhibition at Nature in Art. Lots of paperwork but also five African trees finished aqnd off the loom. I will be finishing these off during the week.

On Saturday, a friend gave me three sheets copied from a book of weaving drafts. This book is in a County Record Office. To say he (or she?) used shorthand is a euphemism. My problem is that I am not certain I know which is warp and which is weft. The three drafts looks plausible when I put them in to Fibreworks. But it would help if I knew what Dright meant. It looks like a capital D to start but I could be persuaded that it started with a capital P. It is in English. The titles are

- Velveteen Single
- Barragons (Comment on sheet 'two in a reed'
- Marorony Ore- -  (Comment on sheet 'Diced Thickset' and 'Tread them thus, then change'. Change to what?

Friday 28 March 2014


The new computer arrived on Tuesday and since then I have done little but get it up and running. The major problem was installing all the software which took 2.5 days. Fortunately we could read the old hard disk and apart from transferring files across, I took a note of all the software that had been installed on the old machine. The new machine is called ORION.

One thing that did not work well was the inkjet printer which refused to speak to any machine which had Windows 7 installed or have anything to do with this new-fangled idea of a network. It used to work on the old Windows XP.  But the inkjet is very old. As I need an inkjet desperately, I bought a new one which arrived yesterday and it speaks to anyone! So I worked till after midnight, getting everything done that I needed. Hence the photo below

This is the rebound Oglivies Encyclopaedia of 1894 for my son-in-law. The covers had to be replaced so this is now a fullscale library binding. It was originally leather bound but I have rebound it in bookcloth. I managed to get the front piece of leather off the boards without any more damage than was there already. As you can see, I trimmed it square and pasted it to the front. The back was plain and the spine was non-existent so I created a suitable title although the font is wildly different. Photoshop has lots of fonts but nothing like that on the front cover. The way in which this is applied is to print out a reversed title onto JETFX paper, then iron it onto a piece of bookcloth with a very hot iron . The bookcloth is then pasted to the spine, lining everything up, then a sheet of release paper, then a long bandage, wrapped round and round the book to hold it all together while the glue dries. This was done at midnight and this morning, the photo above was taken. It will last another 120 years.

I also did some text for Midlands Textile Forum on cotton which someone else needs. That was one of my deadlines. It needs to be delivered tomorrow.

Which reminds me to grouch. Everyone in MTF was asked which of several different fonts they wanted for the text and they all went for ARIAL. -- - - which I do not like. Very boring, no elegance at   all. But I gritted my teeth and did it in ARIAL and after midnight, it was all printed on decent white cotton. As you all know, I am fussy about fonts and once spent a whole week, deciding which fonts I wanted to use and then downloading them. That is a job I have yet to do for this machine. I may try and rescue them from the old hard drive which I can read on an external drive.

When Michael died, I was very ignorant of how to set up computer systems. I am not an expert yet but I get there in the end!

Today I need to deal with paperwork and also make a start on another African Tree. I have done the sand and have just printed out two trees. I need to trace these, then I can get on. I can see the next ten days being pandemonium, lots of midnights. This is because I need to make a bag for the National Exhibition before Saturday next. The Monday after that is hanging day for the exhibition at Nature in ART and I need to mount all the African trees. I have made the second spider's web and I need to do something about the knitted fishes. I do have a large piece of silk newly woven but it will take a bit of effort to mount and I have decided to show that one at the MTF exhibition in September. That will save me doing anything new for that exhibition. In addition, I am flying up to Edinburgh for a funeral next week. Oh well.

Monday 24 March 2014


The demise of my desktop has left all sorts of problems. I had to go up town last week and get some expensive printing done because I could not access my printer - but I can access all my files. Thank heaven for Dropbox! Saturday was spent at the last weaving class, lecturing on drafting and making the students weave strips of paper, admiring all the finished items in overshot and planning for the future.

On Sunday I went to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC, Birmingham with my daughter, Ruth. I bought material to use as lining for a bag and a length for a jacket from Linton Tweeds. I do not need a new jacket but I found I could not walk away from one particular length. My only consolation is that Ruth, who discovered the joys of sewing  a few months ago, spent far more than I did. She has never been to anything like it before!

So what with computer problems and gallivanting, the house is littered with hardly started projected. I have another African Tree to do. I am getting better as we go along and I have plenty of warp left. I only intended to make three but think there may be five in the end.

I got up early this morning (6 am) and sat on the edge of the bed thinking about what was in the rest of house. The biggest shambles was in the hall where I had skeins of handspun in piles according to colour. These are all for a handspun blanket. I decided that I had get on with this and

1) wound the ghost warp in 6/2 cotton 2 yds long
2) took each colour, weighed it , divided the skeins into two equal weights (with a little bit more in the warp pile), turned all the skeins into balls
3) wound six separate warps each 3 yards long with half the colour in each.

And it was after 1 o`clock when I finished.

This is to be woven double with the fold in the centre of the white strip. So what the photo shows is half the warp. When woven, it will be twice the width of the warp which is 38 inches. Next to put the ghost warp on the Megado.

I have ordered a new computer. A friendly expert discussed the status quo with me this morning and agreed with my analysis that it was dead. So the new computer arrives tomorrow morning and he appears in the afternoon to try to rescue files from the old hard disk. Oh well, it is very old for a computer, at least eight years. When I was a consultant engineer, I got a new state-of-the-art computer every 12 to 18 months. But to be honest I don't think they are improving at the rate they were in the 90s.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Another African Tree

A second African tree. The shrubbery has worked as has the sky, except that a two tone sky was a mistake. The shrubbery was done by painting dark green shapes on the warp. The sky was done by treating the warp as a true stitched double cloth with the dark blue uppermost. It needs handfinishing.

I have been continuing with book repairs and spent this morning on the Victorian encyclopaedia's library binding. In between, while waiting for the PVA to dry, I completed a small repair job for me.

This is a paperback Penguin published in 1952. I must have bought it about then. It fell apart, so it is now a hardback. The process is
- strip off the covers and, if they can be re-used, trim the ragged edges and lay aside.
- scrape down the spine. Sand it if needed, Cut four saw-cuts across the spine, spacing them evenly. The cuts must be deep enough to hold two thicknesses of stout linen thread
- take a length of the linen thread and do figure-of-eights in and out of the saw cuts. This is all done with the textblock clamped in a press.
- Paste the spine with PVA, then apply scrim to the whole of the spine and one inch on either side. Paste two layers of kraft paper on top of that and, when dry, you have a textblock ready to be cased in.
- I added some nice marbled paper as endpapers and did the covers in green book cloth. When it was all done, I added the original front and back and spine covers. And there you are. Good for another 60 years.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Ghost Warps

Sandra Rude's latest blog talks about the use of a single black warp which is very long and changing the treadling and colour of the weft. My last warp lasted through a lot of projects. The next three projects can be grouped together too. I have to weave two blankets from handspun and then a length of fabric from handspun. But if I put on a ghost warp in white cotton with a straight draw on 32 shafts, then I can check the threading and use it to weave a folded double cloth to get six foot wide blankets. I do not think it matters if the fabric is 72 inches wide rather than 36 inches. So I can start winding the ghost warp, now that I have decided what to do.

Today, I started on the second African tree. I have got past the sandy foreground and am about to do the background trees. So I have painted the warp green. Of course I had no actual green so mixed some. It looked fine in the pot but looks too blue on the warp. The weft will be dark green so I am hoping it will be okay. Now waiting for the paint to dry. This means returning to the table loom every ten minutes and wiggling all the shafts to make sure adjacent threads do not stick to each other.

Friday 14 March 2014

African Trees

Above is the first African Tree still on the loom. I scuttled to finish it because I wanted to ask Dorothy's advice about it while she is her and also discuss how to mount it. So when we had discussed it, I added some branches.
And this is it finished but not mounted. The colours are not accurate - taken in the dining room late at night and the light there is an odd colour. I have two more to do and have prepared the tracings. But today is to be devoted to printing/stencilling as I want to complete some silk fabric to bind a book for the Society of Bookbinding. Dorothy has brought all her stencills and stamps with her and we spent some time yesterday sorting out what might be useful. I do not have enough material to make mistakes with! Only enough to make two covers. So I made a mask the size of the complete cover, photographed it, cropped the photo and printed several copies to play with. Now all I have to do is clean up the studio before we start. Dorothy has things to do as well so it will be a fun day.

I put 11 metres of sage green 90/2 silk on the Megado months ago and have got out of it
- samples of donsu for the Fine Threads Group - about 40
- a couple of metres of copper/green fabric to make a waistcoat
- samples of donsu (different from the first lot) to send to the Japanese Textile Study Group
- a length using turned four colour doubleweave with a 30/2 silk weft to be used for the book cover
- yards and yards in silk noil weft for Convergence using the same draft
- another couple of yards for I know not what

Not at all bad for a 32 shaft straight draw.

Yesterday we both went to Dudley to an MTF meeting. Dorothy took some of her quilts and ended up in another room chatting to an avid quilter. On the way home we diverted to Wolverhampton (five minutes from Dudley) and I drove a new car home. So now a silver Mondeo is sitting on the forecourt - 27 days after swamping the Saab.

The other piece of news is that my entry for yardage at Convergence has been accepted. I was suprised. I thought it was not in-your-face enough. Cally Booker has also had hers accepted. So great rejoicing in the family.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

A Lot Has Happened

I see it is some days since I last blogged. I asure everyone that I have been here - and very busy. I have sorted out the car problem - I am now the owner of a Ford Mondeo estate automatic and take delivery on Thursday - two days time.

My sister is staying with me for a week and we have done all sorts of things including a day spent at Malmesbury yesterday. We have been meaning to visit for some years. It is very ancient. The abbey was started in the 7th century and William of Malmesbury, the historian worked there. Some nice illuminated books are on show
I had to take the photo at an extreme angle because of the glass case and lights everywhere . And there are some nicely bound 16th century books
The building itself has been much cut about. The transept and beyond are long since gone but the roof is still magnificent
This was taken in a mirror set up for the purpose.

On the textile front, the donsu is off the Megado and the Megado has been dusted, polished and hoovered underneath. I am currently working hard on the African trees and have nearly finished one.  Last week I also managed to catch up on paperwork.  I wish I could say the same about textile projects.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Book Repair

I was at Kennet Valley Guild yesterday (Saturday) and came home exhausted. We were preparing the Guild entry into the National Exhibition and this involved hard work and a lot of running up and down stairs. This morning I still felt tired so I lazed around until midday when I decided to start in on some bookbinding. I have several projects in the repair line underway and it is time they were completed.

This is an elderly Webster. The spine was in fragments and a lot of pages were torn. Every torn page has been repaired and a book cloth spine put on. The book was originally Morocco-bound (like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby). There was no need to do anything to the covers although they had to be removed and put back. You can see the lower half of the spine is the original spine glued back on to the bookcloth spine. The top part had to be replaced. The covers were attached using a library binding which means it is now very secure.

This is the spine of the Omar Khayyam which I am repairing for my sister. It has paintings by Frank Brangwyn as illustrations. The spine had been eaten!  The covers were still attached but not well and it had been badly bound in the first place with only two tapes, not five. I added another two tapes, which meant a partial resew of the book. The real problem was the spine. The covers are done in brown bookcloth which has been printed on. The front cover is very ornate in an Art Nouveau style. Since nothing remains of the spine, I scanned the front in and processed it in Photoshop, turning the front title into a straight line, then sized it, printed it on JetFX and ironed it on to the new book cloth (after a bit of sampling). Above is a photo of the spine bookcloth attached to the book spine and drying. When it is dry, I will tuck the bookcloth edges and the strengthening material which is below the bookcloth into a slot I have cut in the front and back covers.

At the same time, I am repairing a recipe book for my daughter, Anne. Again the spine has come off. But it is in a whole piece. I have another book to complete and then will start on an elderly Penguin which is in pieces. I suppose I could go and buy another one - I have not checked if it is in print but I have had it for 50 years and would like to rescue it.


Blog Archive

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.