Friday 31 October 2014

Scuplture at Gloucester Cathedral

There has been a sculpture exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral for some weeks and today is the last day. So I went with some friends yesterday and it was first rate. There is sculpture everywhere and hundreds of people looking at it. I can only imagine that heavy lifting gear was employed. And how they got some pieces into place inside the cathedral I cannot imagine. The photos below are a small selection. The range of styles was enormous from Damien Hurst's angel which is realistic and highly polished to an abstract piece by Anthony Caro.

A more than lifesize bull in the Cathedral Close.
My favourite piece. This was inside the cathedral in a side aisle. Made of laminated wood.
This was astonishing as it is a lion by Bugatti outside in the Close. Astonishing because I would have thought it was far too valuable to put where children could climb on it.

This is 'Reaching for the Sky'.

And last a warthog. I wouldn't have minded taking him home. There were many many pieces varying in size from two handfuls to the monsters shown above. I am glad there were so many people to admire the exhibition.
We had a nice lunch in  a tucked away corner. That is what comes of taking someone who knows the city - me. We used to live in a small town a few miles from Gloucester and Gloucester was our natural shopping centre. I have always thought the cathedral was under estimated. You might recognise bits of it. It was used for the Hogwarts films!!
I have nearly finished 6 samples of Hana ori. There is not going to be much warp left, thank goodness. I am very tired of it. The weaving is very simple and yet, if my mind wanders, I have to unweave it to get rid of errors.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Brighton and Purple

A very apt title. Brighton and purple go together nicely. However they are not connected.
I was asked to rebind this little guide book to Brighton. from 1950 The text, which includes fold out maps was in excellent condition and indeed it is a sewn book, in perfect condition. But the one piece cover had become totally detached. I had to remove the glue off the spine, glue on a strip of special cloth to the spine, making it 15 mm wider each side, wait till it dried, then glue the cloth on to the cover. The photo above is of the book repaired.
This photo is of the front inside. The white stripe down the fold is the special cloth and the whole seems very sound. I have been working on the two volumes of Malory. Endpapers done and attached, cover boards prepared. This is to be covered in blue leather and so the boards have to be laced on and the headbands worked. This is to be as good as I can get so I will create the headbands which is a sort of weaving! 
I have dyed the second knitted blank which was done differently. I painted the dye on, shading as I went and then steamed it. It all worked well. There is a good difference between the purple and the grey. The other major occupation has been weaving the Hana Ori. I have now woven five samples and need nine. I should be finished by Friday

Saturday 25 October 2014

Hana Ori Sample

I have to provide about eight samples of Hana Ori for the Japanese Textile Study Group of Complex Weavers. I originally thought I would weave each person a complete sample which is 24 inches long and takes me about three days to weave at 2 or 3 hours a day. This is altogether too much effort! I cut the draft down to show a few samples of the motifs and reduced the number of colours from 9 to 6.
This is the complete sample and it is 9.5 inches long. I managed to do one in just two hours so I will aim to weave one per day for the next week or so.
Today I drove to Amersham and back, a round trip of 250 miles. I was attending a committee meeting to organise the Association's Conference for 2018! Got home, after a stop at Anne's house, at 5 pm and started in on the Hana Ori shortly thereafter.

Friday 24 October 2014

Woe is Me

I have been making up a jacket for Anne out of handspun fabric. The toile was okay, the body was okay. Today I started out on pockets - which are inset into the fabric, not applied. Big mistake. The fabric, though backed with fusible interlining is a bit thick for little fiddly bits and the pocket looks awful. At one point I decided I was just putting in one pocket. But I have now decided to remove that front, cut a replacement and do without pockets. Just as well I wove far too much fabric. Bah.

Last night I started in on the inkle loom I have borrowed. It seems straight forward and I have woven quite a lot. Thank goodness for something that works.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Dyeing Knitted Blanks

Marion Proctor very kindly used her knitting machine to produce two knitted blanks for me Each is about a metre long and 24 inches wide. The idea was to dye these in a graduated fashion between red and purple similar to the colours of the Aland island wool I bought there (and which is now a warp of my Louet and looks good). On looking carefully at that warp, I discovered that the base colour was grey not cream. Presumably they are like Gotland sheep. But that accounts for the rich colours. So I started by dyeing both blanks grey.
Then I wrapped about one third of a blank with ikat tape, being careful to do it loosely at the start so as to get a graduation between red and grey and rigged it up in the garage.
With the wrapped section suspended from a clothes line.
The red has come out a lovely colour, almost chestnut and will fit with the warp well but the loose wrapping just resulting in two small ticks of red! I did not want to paint the blank and steam it because it is a large bundle to go in the steamer and I thought it might not heat through properly but I have decided to try it for the next blank which will be dyed violet. That might be done this afternoon. This morning I am stuffing envelopes for the Society of Bookbinders Conference next year.

Monday 20 October 2014

Knitting Exhibition

Last week I ended up staying with my daughter, Ruth, in Englefield Green and on Saturday we went into London and viewed three exhibitions! First the Nevinson exhibition. He was a WWII artist (etcher) and some of his work is very powerful. I don't think there are exhibitions of his work very often.  I can't say I enjoyed his work but it is very good. Then we went to the Fleming Collection which shows only Scottish art and looked at a photographic exhibition.
Then off to London Bridge to the Fashion and Textile Museum where there was a Knitting Exhibition. It covered 1910 to the present day. I had not realised that knitted clothes, as distinct from  hosiery, only came in about that date. They only allowed photos in one room
A selection of knitted dresses.
There was a high proportion  of evening dresses. I wonder if they just survived better because less worn. There was a whole display of Fair Isle pullovers which looked quite felted with multiple washings!
Then it was off to Anne's in Leamington Spa and, on Sunday, we went to Bicester Village along with the rest of the world. This is an Outlet village where you can buy last year's leftovers of (say) Alexander McQueen's designs. Well I didn't but I did buy a Missoni cardigan! The others bought lots of glamourous clothes but then they need to look smart for work.
To get home. I went home by train  which took me 3.5 hours instead of the one hour it would have taken by car. Oh well. Back to textiles today. I am hoping to do the first dyeing of the knitted blank today. I am off to do an hour or so weaving now as I need to get the Hana-Ori finished and will weave first thing every morning for a bit.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Hana Ori 2

In all the tidying up and throwing out, I have not done much weaving but I have managed to finish Section 2.

This section is okay, apart from needing a thicker red yarn. I am currently using a 16/2 cotton doubled and it is not thick enough. I dealt with the fancy yarns yesterday and have yet more bags to take to Guild. Most of yesterday was spent finishing off a job started months ago. I bought a clothes horse, probably 1930s for not very much money but its problem was that the seller had put a coat of white paint over  it and, to be honest, I think it was distemper. The last few months have seen me slowly sanding this all down and yesterday, I put on two coats of wood varnish. The screw knobs are a bit fiddly and need another coat but the rest is ready. So that is this morning's job along with having a flu jab at the surgery and shopping for food.

After that I need to start on Anne's jacket. I promised I would take it to her to fit tomorrow! I may be up late tonight.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Shock Horror

This is all Rosie Price's fault. We have bought a load of worsted yarn for the Guild weaving course starting January and we have had so many sign up that Rosie is worrying whether we have bought enough yarn. The whole story started when I said brightly. ' I have a lot in my stash. I will let you know what I have'.

So at 1430 yesterday, the saga began. I opened the window seats and realised that my list of wool and worsted yarn bore no relationship to what was there. A complete examination was required. I have now improved on the previous list system but I have yarn I had forgotten about. At 2130 I had finished the wool and worsted. And have not got enough worsted for my own needs never mind the students.

I slept very badly and had nightmares about searching all over the house for stashes of yarn, like in the gas meter cupboard which is outside. Today I have continued and dealt with the linen, cottolin, manmade fibre, yarn mixes. I still have to do fancy yarns which I have found all of and they are all together. I have to do silk and cotton but I know there is a lot of that and wonder whether it is worth bothering with a detailed list. Maybe 'eleven cones of silk noil' would be sufficient.

The result is four cones going to the tip tomorrow and a whole rubbish sack full of yarn looking for good homes at the next Guild meeting. Also some very nice yarn going out as Christmas presents And some nice wool waiting to be inspected by Dorothy who arrives this weekend. I definitely have a smaller volume of yarn now but I still have far too much. What is upsetting is that I have obviously been buying Tencel from Just Our Yarns without weaving much of it up. There is some glorious 20/2 space dyed Tencel. The Guild is having its biennial weekend retreat in November along with a silent auction. I think I might donate a couple of skeins of the space dyed Tencel.

I have had enough of cross checking lists for a week too and am off to the Megado. I corrected the first section draft and must now weave the secon section and check that.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Tidying Up

I have turned out the cellar this morning. I still have paperwork left over from I worked. The rule is it can only be thrown out if it is more than six years ago and there are still a lot of lever arch files left on the shelves. Nevertheless, I have a boot full of stuff for the tip, various people have collected things, there is a pile of stuff in the garage for my sister and both daughters. I have turned out the rest of the drawers with the fabric stash in it and taken out lengths of material I know I will never use. I have had the nasty habit (from the storage point of view) of buying fabric if I think it would look good as a book cover. The result is that there is far too much of it. So I have taken out what I know I will never use but it is not enough. Anyway Memo to self, 'Do not buy any more fabric'. I have found a surprise and where it came from I have no idea. I have a red silk sari with a small paisley pattern all over it and a very nice border. It has not got the section at one end to make a blouse from. So what can I do with that? Lining for a black jacket? 
Having said Do not buy any more fabric, I said to myself a few weeks ago 'Do not buy any more yarn'. Well. Two examples of rule breaking already! For the seamless garment, which is a Coptic shroud, I ought to use linen. My fine linen yarn is so old it has been thrown out and I bought a replacement cone a week ago. Rosie Price brought into Guild a box of Zephyr yarn from  Roderick Owen as he is downsizing. You can't expect me to ignore Zephyr yarn at halfprice! So I have purchased 2 or 3 balls each in four different colours.
I have been talking to, well corresponding with, two members of Midlands Textile Forum. I have not been happy but have realised on talking to them that they see me as a weaver doing a different technique to the others and that thinking of copying/competing with the members who are into mixed media is daft. That is not what I do well and that is not what they want me to do. So I shall be exhibiting lengths of silk! Or seamless garments! I am a lot happier.

Monday 6 October 2014

Hana Ori Started

I warped up for weaving Hana-Ori (Thousand Flowers) on the Megado some weeks ago but never started weaving it. I started on it a few days ago and is it slow!
This is one complete section, albeit with a couple of mistakes in the draft which I will put right. It took me several hours just to do this little piece which is about 9 inches long. The ground weave is tabby. The problem is
this. Eight shuttles!! I have never done anything with so many shuttles. On careful examination of my hana-ori sample (from Okinawa), the ends of each colour are carefully knotted together at the back of the piece so I will do the same but that cannot be done until the piece is cut off the loom so there are ends all over the place.  There are 5 or 6 yards of warp on the loom so this is going to take a long time.  The piece I am copying has the section shown above plus a second section with a totally different pattern. I will correct the first draft, then weave a sample from the second draft and check that. Then I will weave a complete copy. After all, it is samples for the Complex Weavers Japanese Textile Study Group. Then it will be a question of how much warp I have left.
I was at Guild on Saturday, unloading everything used at the Newbury Show ten days ago. But I ended up by bringing a lot of stuff home. Marion Proctor has finished knitting blanks on her knitting machine and brought everything in to Guild. Yesterday (Sunday) I sample dyed little skeins of yarn and have selected what colours I will use. I will be posting Marion's to her today for her to select what colours she wants. Great fun. It is raining very hard and the idea of working in the garage does not appeal so will consider doing my dyeing tomorrow. 

Friday 3 October 2014


Four years ago, the quince tree fell down. I had the gardener haul it back upright, cut off lots of branches and top growth and strap it vertical with nylon rope. This is the result.
One very healthy quince tree with lots of fruit on it.

Here is a close up of the fruit. They are larger than a large pear and weight around one pound each. The problem is there are too many of them this year. Yesterday I was in a new restaurant in Malvern having lunch and they had a quince tart for dessert. I asked if they were interested in some quinces and they were enthusiastic so I delivered 30 this morning and have been invited to take afternoon tea! I said I would bring them some more in 10 days. 30 is only 25 to 30% of the total! And I will take my sister, Dorothy, to tea there at the same time.
This morning was totally occupied with installing a printer/scanner machine which is A3. I have wanted an A3 scanner and printer for sometime and the Xerox printer is behaving even worse than usual (never ever buy a Xerox printer. They do not recognise the existence of faults or customers). I am very nervous of installations because they all have their own ideas about connecting to all other machines. Well not this time. You connect it, install the colour cartridges and the cables (you definitely need to read the manual about cable connections), insert a CD, say YES to it occasionally and then it says 'Installed' and it has too!! I could not believe it. It is just possible that I am about to have a pleasant relationship with this device. Mind you, I bought it because Dorothy has had one for some years and says it does what it says on the package and has been no bother. In case I did not say, it is a Brother A3 scanner/printer/copier/FAX machine.
I have not been doing too much textile work although I have designed the 'seamless garment'. It appears this might be exhibited somewhere rather grand so I vetoed doing it in cotton and have gone back to linen although that means buying more yarn.  And I have been reading up about Coptic shrouds and looking at the designs of the decorated bands on the shrouds. I have found two designs that are feasible on  an inkle loom. Mostly they have very grand patterns of winged cherubs and urns of fresh fruit!  
So off to weave and bookbind for the afternoon.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Cleaning Up

I decided a major tidy up was called and found all sorts of unexpected things. In particular some photos of the Newbury Coat.

These are two selected from the six I have, all of people working on the loom. I did not take them - they are too good for that! So anyone recognises them, please let me know.
I also came across a bundle of good photos of Guild happenings. Again not by me. I recognise the people but not the occasions. I will take these into Guild on Saturday and see if anyone claims them.
There has been a lot of throwing out of paper and I have also found a stack of weavging handouts which again are going to Guild on Saturday. What else? Well two boxes of Crinum Powelli bulbs will be going to Guild along with upteen carefully washed and ironed Guild tablecloths. And that's about it for today.


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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.