Thursday 26 March 2015


The Megado warp is tied on and I checked for errors, of which I fear there are many. But all of one kind. In tying on, I was aware that, if I let my concentration go, I tied on the wrong colour. Out of 2200 threads there are 22 blue threads among the brown ones and not a single brown one amongst the blue. This means replacing all those threads. The dark brown is difficult to see and I need a whole day with bright sunlight. Today was no good, too much going on and I did a few other useful jobs. 
Firstly I reviewed my presentation on Drafts for Beginners which I do once a year and it is on Saturday. I get the students to weave on prepared drafts with strips of paper and I had to check I had enough supplies for everyone. And remind myself of the talk itself. Now that's all done.
Then I did something about the fan reed. I cleared the Louet Kombo so that I could weave using the fan reed. But I needed to create a design. I turned out the stash and found some nice Tencel and wool/silk, both of  which are about 8/2, set to on Excel to calculate the yarn needed and then drafted what I envisaged - which did work.

This does not show the Fan Reed effect. What will happen is that at the 'bulges', the little Huck pattern will appear. Each colour pattern has the correct number of warp threads to fit into the Fan reed repeat.
This is the warp. You can hardly see the dark forest green yarn (2 threads) at every colour junction. These will outline the bulges. As you can see, the warp has been wound. Tomorrow, I will warp up on the Kombo. I will be out at the Committee meeting in the afternoon so I guess, it will be Sunday before I start on replacing blue threads with brown ones on the Megado.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Warp Tied On

I cannot remember ever taking a photo of a warp on the loom just tied on, that is, no weaving. But this is so pretty.

And the back is just as nice. The dark brown is underneath.

Now to see how many errors there are!!

Monday 23 March 2015

Tired Out

The weekend was very exhausting. Though the Jew of Malta was not as blood-boltered as I expected. Yes, lots of people died, swords, hanging, poisoned and dropped into boiling oil but there was no attempt as any physical signs on stage. people just lay down and squirmed once or twice. I could tell you of productions of Lear which were, quite frankly, sickening. But I don't think much of the play. Yes the language is magnificent but the characters all keep changing their minds and bumping off someone else, usually a former friend.
By the time I had driven to Halesowen and back on Sunday morning to deliver the Coptic Shroud, I had had enough and had the rest of the day off, doing very little indeed.
I made up for it today by doing lots of paperwork and preparing the documentation for the Guild Black Jack round which we did last November.  Not everyone has handed their write-ups and samples in but I have dealt with everything I have received. That took all day.
At 5 pm, I watched the second webinar from Daryl Lancaster. It was all about fit. It contained lots of tables about sizes which it was impossible to take notes on. I wonder if it would be possible to print out the Powerpoint presentation. We do get access to something on the web in a day or two. I must have a look at it.

Saturday 21 March 2015

Titled Book

The title is on Chris Fletcher's book - not done by me. I know my limitations. I think this looks rather smart.
I have had a busy two days and another busy two are in front of me. On Thursday, I spent the day getting ready for Friday for reasons which will become clear. On Friday I was on the road at 0815 driving to the NEC in Birmingham for the annual Sewing for Pleasure show. I met Ruth, my daughter there and we had a great time. Last year I went by myself and was commissioned by Ruth to investigate sergers. This year, we inspected every serger  in the show and had several demonstrations. We settled on a Janome which will be delivered in a few days to me!! It is a shared purchase but Ruth is off to Manila so I get it first.  I spent a lot of time looking for a suitable silky lining for some green velvet I am about to turn into a waistcoat. It is a yellow green and I could find nothing suitable. Then I realised that it did not have to be silky as there are no sleeves and I could use cotton and then there was no problem. I bought a substitute for JetFx which looks really good and will enable me to deal with the concertina book I have woven in double cloth. And other useful bits of haberdashery which were on my list. What was not on my list was the length of Linton Tweed I have fallen for. Oh well. Ruth bought lengths of cotton fabric for summer tops and a lot of lengths of Jacquard ribbon. Very nice. They came from The Cotton Patch who are in Birmingham.
Then home and getting ready to have a load of bookbinders round for supper. One of them brought round a copy of Gerard's Herbal!!!! An original which is 17th century!! The textblock is good shape but the covers are awful, very badly worn. You can hardly see the decorative tooling. I have never held anything like that in my hands before. Washing up late at night. Today I go to a bookbinding course all day and then race off to Stratford to see The Jew of Malta.
Tomorrow I need to deliver the Coptic Shroud so it can be displayed in the Coffin Works in Birmingham. As I said a busy few days. And in all of this, I have started knitting the sleeves on the Aland Island jerkin .

Thursday 19 March 2015

Final Coptic Shroud

The Coptic Shroud - finally. The wool belt is stitched to the linen tunic at the back and the whole tunic is stitched down to black foamboard. At the top of the back, a piece of wood is glued into which two eye hooks have been screwed. All ready for hanging. I will deliver it on Sunday.

In fact I have managed to finish quite a bit this week. The reversible tweed warp is wound on to the Megado and I just need to tie on. The warp looks nice. It remains to be seen how many broken threads I have created. The piece of fabric woven from the Aland Islands yarn has been cut up and sewn into a jerkin. Not quite finished as I have to knit the sleeves yet. By the way, I have discovered that Aland Island sheep are Finnish Landrace sheep.

On the bookbinding front, David Copperfield has been polished with neatsfoot oil - very smelly. And I have started on binding an album, commercially made with lots of guard pages.

Sunday 15 March 2015

La Donna del Lago

Or the Lady of the Lake. Last night I went to see this Rossini opera at the local cinema beamed from the New York Met. I had never heard of it before and it can't be done very often. It is based on a long turgid epic poem by Sir Walter Scott which I had to study at school. Dreadful stuff. However Rossini has taken the story and made a masterpiece from it. But it needs some fantastic singers - which the Met had. Juan Suarez and Joyce di Donato to start with and the other three main singers were their equal. Wonderful. But I am, still not a fan of Sir Walter Scott. That is the my last MET opera for the 2014-5 season. Definitely going out with a bang.
The theatre complex was heaving last night. They were doing something in the theatre which was clearly popular and there was a concert on in the arena. As a result they started the opera at 5 pm in order to spread arrivals, bar drinks and intervals. This meant I was home at 0845  and could watch the programme on David Hockney starting at 9. Very good.
Yesterday was a weaving course day. All the students are getting on well. Most of them have finished their first project  in tweed and are well on to their second. It is uinteresting how varied they all are. I have some photos but I have qualms about showing them in case readers think they are mine. I would hate to get credit for such good work which I have not done.  So I will not show them. Yes I know other teachers do. This is a grey area. I notice that Daryl Lancaster show her students work with the student in the photo - and sometimes in the garment. Maybe that is the way to do it.
On Friday I completed the Coptic belt. I need to wash it and tidy up after myself. Today's job is to complete tying on to the ghost warp. I am having second thoughts about using it a second time!! I am distinctly bored with tying on.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

A Victorian Book

Here at last is the Victorian bound volume (1878) of improving stories for Sundays. It is a family heirloom belonging to Chris Fletcher. I am proud of the marbled paper which was created for this book by Payhembury Marbled Papers. Among their  designs, there was one which was almost an exact match to the original paper but it was in the wrong colours. So I sent them a photo of it and asked if they could change the colours and they said yes. Being a belt-and-braces person, I bought two sheets  but have only used one. I did get the endpapers for David Copperfield out of the scraps left over. It is a very substantial book, being 12 inches high and 2.5 inches thick. But it is a library binding which should see it through another 150 years.
I am getting on slowly with the Coptic belt. It will be another day or two before it is done.

Tuesday 10 March 2015


On 28th March, the Midlands Textile Forum will be hanging an exhibition which will contain my Coptic Shroud. It has been pinned up at the end of a corridor for some weeks where I can see it often. I have acquired two sheets of black foam board for the exhibition mounting.  BUT - - -  I have been very dissatisfied with the shroud. I can see why. The belt is four inches wide like the clavicles, after all it was woven from the same warp and that is too wide but, more seriously, it is not long enough. So I have dropped everything and am weaving a new belt. The clavicles were woven on the Megado using 22 shafts and, as you all know, I am currently tying a warp on to a ghost warp so there remains the Meyer with twelve shafts. I realised that, if I wove only the centre pattern of the clavicles, it would be the right width of two inches and it would only need 12 shafts so that is what happened Sunday and Monday. I warped up with 3 yards of warp and started weaving yesterday. Of course with 12 shafts in play and every second throw a tabby, changing shafts is slow. In other words I am going to have to weave flat out on this to get it completed by this weekend.
The interesting thing about it is that it is much nicer looking than the clavicles! There is the difference of the looms of course but I think it is due to using a different  warp yarn which is more of a grey/cream than the first one which has a definite yellow tinge. And the new one is thinner. Whatever  causes it, it looks very much nicer.  
In between times for relaxation, I tie some more on to the ghost warp! I have promised myself that the next piece of weaving will be something very easy and in a medium thickness yarn, not an invisible one.

Sunday 8 March 2015

David Copperfield

David Copperfield is completed - almost. When I looked at the photo, I realised that the split at the top of the spine shows up and could be easily caught and torn further. So Japanese paper will be applied.
I added Victorian style marbled paper as the endpapers. The original was very stained and faded plain blue and this marbled paper is from the right period (mid-Victorian) and is in keeping.
On Saturday I went to Kennet Valley Guild and we had a very entertaining talk about the history of knitting and knitting patterns. I am almost enticed into going back to knitting. I tried to find a pattern for knee high socks but the only ones I found were in Fair Isle which is not what I want. I want white socks with black clocks on the side. However the speaker gave me a website to look up such pattern so I shall try that.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Several years ago (like more than 20), I planted a dozen bulbs of a species crocus under a small Japanese maple tree. The maple tree has turned into a middling size Japanese maple tree and the crocuses have seeded freely. The garden thinks that spring is here, daffodils, camellias, the spring heathers are flowering freely.

This is the library binding for Chris Fletcher at its current state. You can see the fancy double thickness boards and the clean and tidy spine. It is spending a few days in the press and then the last stage. Bookcloth and marbled paper of Victorian design will be wrapped round the cover. The book is 11 inches high and more than two inches thick.
I have just about completed a repair job on a 1866 print of David Copperfield. It is finished and drying but I am thinking of adding marbled paper to the endpapers. It has very nice covers which had become totally detached from the textblock. A little repair and strengthening of the cover spine and it has been re-used.
All of this bookbinding is taking place in the rests between sessions of tying on to the ghost warp. I am not far from the end now. I am cringing already at the thought of getting this lot through the reed and the heddles.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Malory is Completed

The two volumes of Malory are completed, title added in gold and generally satisfactory. This is the first leather binding I have done from scratch.
Note the cords!! The spine has cords integrated with the sewing and then the boards are laced on with the same cords. This is a very substantial binding.
The endpapers are also blue. I am nearly finished binding Chris Fletcher's book. Today the split boards were integrated and need to dry in the press. In a few days, the cover including new marbled paper will be put on. This is a so-called library binding because the book is so large and heavy. In between times today, I did a repair job on an old copy of David Copperfield. It is dated 1866. I have taken off the covers and spine which are in good condition - just not attached to the book! I have done a minor strengthening of the cover spine and removed all the gunk on  the textblock spine. Once all the glue has dried, I will replace the spine and then add the cover. Should not take very long.
I am working hard tying on the ghost warp but it is slow. I have done more than two thirds. It should be finished by the weekend. 


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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.