Tuesday 30 June 2015

Back Home

Back home and lots to do. The removal men arrive in 9 days time and a lot has to be organised. The plants are all organised to good B&Bs. We see the lawyer today to sign bits of paper. I managed to do a lot of paperwork last night but today is accounts day. And the first thing to do this morning  is to investigate the contents of the freezer.
Alex and I went to the bird of prey centre which is 30 minutes drive from here. We watched a flying display and I managed to get the occasional photo. more than half of them had to thrown away. These birds have a fair turn of speed and my photos were not such blurred, they were empty!

At least they are recognisable.

Sunday 28 June 2015

While staying at Leamington Spa, I have made great progress with the lampas. See sample below
There is a sleying mistake in this which I have corrected and am well on the way with a long piece. I can home for the weekend bringing Alex and I have created two more drafts and printed out the liftplans so that I can weave some more tomorrow.
I watched Laura Fry's new video again and this time made notes. For years I have been aware that I do not warp up economically and the latest carry on  with the Meyer has convinced me that I need to take steps. Firstly Laura Fry's demonstration loom is a floor loom which does not have a solid castle. Both the Megado and the Meyer have. The Megado now has lighting installed so threading is no longer such a chore but the Meyer is too small and too enclosed for that. What was interesting was that Anne's kitchen which is flooded with sunshine was a trouble free spot to warp up the Meyer. In other words the lighting needs to be carefully considered. When I had the big window inserted in the studio, I had spotlights, 8 of them, installed. They are not much good.  I have a 500 watt halogen which is floor mounted but it is difficult to get that angled properly. In other words, lighting in the new studio is going to receive some careful attention. Also instead of using a Louet-type raddle, I intend to get another Toika raddle. I hate Louet raddles and I have a big Toika raddle for the Megado. But I always finish up with lease sticks hanging off the back of the loom with string. Laura Fry has something called a lease stick holder which is clearly very functional. They come from Purrington looms in the States and I will send for one as soon as we move into the new house. And I am convinced that using a warping mill is not a good idea and that a frame is better. The  Leclerc one will do 13 yards which is enough. Anything longer goes on the Megado with the AVL warping mill. You might think that, at my age, all this is not worth it. But I reckon I have ten years weaving ahead of me. And this way, I will get more weaving done.

The news on the house front is that from 13th July we will be homeless and my furniture in store. Not sure when we will get into the Reading house. We have been looking at other houses but nothing suits so well as the Reading house. The major trouble looming is that I have various trips arranged between mid July and end August. And I have no intention of cancelling any of them.

One big problem is the plants. I took what I wanted from the garden (with legal sanction) and potted them up.
There are three groups of pots like this. One group I took over to L Spa a few days ago but the removal people will not put plants in store so another load goes with me back to L Spa this evening and the third load I will try to persuade someone to have in their garden. I have stopped trying to work out what happens to me. I am thinking seriously of going to France! The Beaune Music Festival is on.

Wednesday 24 June 2015


I am sitting in Anne's kitchen keeping out of the way. While those leaving for Glastonbury buzzing round me collecting things. Imodium, Savlon and cries for Ibuprofen. Anne has flowers in her hair, Madi has a very strange collection of clothes on and the pod has been mounted on the car.

I have brought over a loom and accessories, a laptop and drafts to be put into Fibreworks. I have pages of instructions to carry out. My duties include looking after caterpillars hatching into butterflies. This means feeding them nettles!

Yesterday I gave up on the 16/2 warp on the Meyer. The problem was that I could not see it no matter what collection of lights I assembled. So I wound a 10/2 warp and will try putting it on front to back. Anne's kitchen is full of sun shine and maybe it would have worked here but I am regretting selling my Voyager. The trouble is it only had 8 shafts and the Meyer has 12.

Monday 22 June 2015

Jeremiah Fielding

Still investigating Jeremiah Fielding. I have tasking Derek, my son-in-law, with investigating his details. He knows all about searching through historical documents. Of course the first thing he did was to demand more info. So I have scanned all the papers and sent him all I have that are relevant.
Apart from that, I was at Anne's on Saturday organising our joint birthday party or rather, listening to Anne telling me what she had organised. On Sunday we all went to Bicester Village for a spot of shopping therapy. Actually to buy Madi a suit or two. Her school puts the sixth form into suits.
And Anne just did a bit of checking on the latest fashions
Actually she bought a rather stunning Italian dress.
Today we go to see the lawyer. My buyer has been round twice in the last few days and tells me we are moving on July 13th. But the lawyer has not told me anything so far. Mind you, my lawyer does not believe in email. If I email her a fact or a query, she answers by post!!

Saturday 20 June 2015


I had a great time finishing the blue/brown fabric. I handwashed a sample, I put a sample in at 40 degrees for 2 hours (shrank to half size and is like a board) and I finally washed as wool at 30 degrees which shrunk it enough to make a nice firm cloth.
It will be put away, carefully wrapped up. I am currently warping up a 12 shaft loom with 16/2 cotton and making a bad job of it. The trouble is that I have not warped up much for 6 months. I need to do what I did years ago, one warp and one scarf woven every two days for 5 scarves. I was good at the end!

Today we took a day out and went to Bilston crafts gallery to see an exhibition of art quilts. Very high class with items from people like Elizabe5th Barton and the Kemshalls.

The top one is by Deidre Adams, an American, and the bird by one of the Kemshalls.

Once upon a time (about 30 years ago), there was a girl who was keen on music and she went to Glastonbury one year and kept going to Glastonbury until she went, 6 months pregnant, in a year which was notable for the depth of the mud - and fainted into the mud. The resulting hullaboo has become family legend. The bump is now 16 and has just finished her exams. Her parents asked if there was anything she would like to do as a sort of holiday, the school being casual about attendance at this time. She replied, Go to Glastonbury with you. Mum, Dad and Madi are going to Glastonbury leaving me (Granny) in charge of Alex for the week as his school is not casual about taking holidays in termtime. I am busy making lists of things to take to pass the time!!! 12 shaft loom, check, associated tools, check, laptop with Fibreworks on it, check, scanned pages from Jeremiah Fielding, check. You get the idea.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Jermiah Fielding

Some time ago I talked about a present of several sheets of old drafts and how I had turned them into modern drafts and imported them into Fibreworks quite satisfactorily. The owner agreed to let me borrow what she had from her father and the weaving draft book has turned up and it is not what I expected. It  is much much more exciting!!!!!!!

The drafts have been transcribed but only tidily written out, not turned into modern notation. it is dated 1775 and is by one Jeremy (or Jeremiah) Fielding. There is a hand-written note (1952) with it which makes  clear that the original had all sorts of peripheral stuff in it. And  although there is nothing in my transcription to indicate source or  locality apart from the name, the written note refers to the weaver Fielding  selling his wares in Manchester. I had thought this was just a copy of a printed book but clearly it is his private notebook. I can find no trace of him on the internet.

There are 60 drafts. The first 38 are on 3 or 4 shafts. After that the drafts are a mixture, mostly 8  but there is the occasional 10 or 12 shafts.

 I have it in mind, as a major project for Kennet Valley Guild, to produce a book out of this but we need to decide various things. I would like the samples to look  'unified' but maybe all that means is that we use the same sett and  the same grist. In 1775 it could have been cotton or wool or silk. All  the drafts have names (not that I recognise them) and maybe we can use the internet to identify what fibre would have been used.

I reckon it will take one or two years to complete this if we can persuade six or more weavers to take part. I think we will have to hand  each weaver a modern draft plus a note on sett, how wide, how long.

 And just to show I am not joking.

The first thing to do is to scan in everything and lock up the original safely!

Monday 15 June 2015

Railway Stations

I am sitting on Great Malvern railway station at 7 am, (high Victorian, brightly painted wrought iron platform) and listening to the announcer, I was close to tears. The familiar roll call of .Cotswold stations, Pershore (farms selling plums), Evesham (farms selling asparagus, the river, two spectacular large churches), Honeybourne ( a friend who raises irises), Moreton-in-Marsh(good pub lunches) and so on to Oxford which is not in the Cotswolds. I am leaving a life behind here.

I am off to London to see an exhibition at Tate Modern, Sonia deLaunay, whom I think highly of and then to Handweavers Studio - just checking on their stock, you understand.

I attended a two day class over the weekend where we did dyeing with an expert, Martin Weatherhead, and all came home with samples of colour ranges. Most of us also took home some of our own yarn dyed to match a colour. I have five skeins of fine merino died a rich chestnut brown. I have a scarf in mind, twill variations.

The rest of this week looks free so that I should get the blue and brown tweed finished and then the red velvet jacket made

Friday 12 June 2015

Megado cleared

The blue and brown tweed is off the Megado and in a heap waiting to be inspected. The Megado has been cleared of yarn but not yet cleaned and I got 35 samples off to Complex Weavers Fine threads group. I had to find the fabric, check I had enough for 35 samples, give it a good press and write up the handout whichy goes with it. I did manage to get it in the post to the States this afternoon so that is another job ticked off.

Thursday 11 June 2015

Dealing with STUFF

Yesterday I managed to sort out all the parts for the red velvet jacket. And the knots have appeared on the Megado yesterday. Today I have about 20 inches of warp left to weave. 

But I am feeling very virtuous because I have done all the paperwork for the accountant to do the Tax. My problem is that, to start with, I have eight different pensions and everything else is just as complex. I spent hours ringing up banks etc and extracting numbers from them. But it is all done, all documents have been scanned and I feel I have a polished halo!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

A Velvet Jacket

On Monday I went up to Birmingham to a day with Gill Arnold. She told me to bring a favourite jacket pattern that fitted well. I have a Burda pattern (No 8339) which I have used in various forms four times so I took that. But I was a bit mystified about exactly what I was going to do at the class. I soon discovered! What Gill got me to do was make a tissue paper copy of the parts that fitted me and then we worked on them to get rid of seams. At the beginning I had four patterns for the body, two front and two back. When I was finished, I had 2 body patterns. So when I cut it out, I will cut 3 pieces for the body, one back and two fronts and 4 pieces for the sleeves. And it still all fitted!
I brought up the problem of buttons and buttonholes. Gill is against buttonholes in velvet. She says it cannot be done without wrecking the pile. So I was shown how to do rouleau loops. But what I am going to do is a buttonhole band where the buttonholes are gaps in a seam.
I also took to Birmingham all the lining material I could find in the house and Gill selected suitable linings for the red velvet and the black. I am making up the red velvet length (dyed by me in red and orange) first and then I will make up  the beautiful length of black Art Deco velvet. I had hoped to use one of my Japanese kimono lengths but there is not enough give in them. 
I have decided I would really like to attend a weekly class with Gill and have asked to be put on the waiting list.
I am back to the Megado and the knots have appeared. Hurrah!

Sunday 7 June 2015


You would have thought that, with a house move coming up, we would be at home considering stuff. But no, I have been all over the country in the last few days. Today is at home or nearly so, tomorrow is in Birmingham. Only on Tuesday will I go back to weaving!
So what have I been doing? On Thursday we drove to Reading to measure/examine/consider the new house. The garden was measured and the roof space examined - which is enormous. All my yarn stash will go up there and then some. We took a paper template of the Megado with us and laid it out in various places. And found a very suitable place for it. Dorothy is very pleased. Everything is better than we remembered. We visited a local garden centre, took a bootload of stuff to Ruth and went home happy.
Friday I took a train up to London and met Anne. We started at the Wallace Collection. I have not been there for thirty years and it is much changed.  But the primary aim was the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition for which I had tickets to the Private View. The Times review the previous day said it was the best he had ever since - and it was. It started in the great courtyard with large metal trees, continued with the fabulous painted staircase and just got better inside.

The third one is the plan of Mexico airport!!! And the fourth one has struck a chord. I must do something about that. Oh and I bought a linocut. Dorothy thinks I should be getting rid of pictures, not buying new ones but there you go.
We had a very elegant lunch in Fenwicks and spent money in the hosiery section. At the end we walked up Regent Street looking in the shop windows. And Anne bought an elegant dress in Karen Millen. Then we went home - happy.
Yesterday (Saturday) was Guild day. A first rate talk from a member on ragrugs. And the audience demanded a course - at once! There was a great deal of interest. Earlier I disgraced myself by getting a bit cross. But there I am an old lady and a bit short-tempered. Which reminds me that one of our most stalwart members celebrated her 99th birthday with us yesterday. So we had a cake and sang to her. next year we will have to have a very special celebration.
Today I am going to a local show of irises and tomorrow I am going to an all-day dressmaking class with Gill Arnold. This is all to do with making up a velvet jacket. So I need to take the fabric and the pattern(s).

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Two metres woven

I can weave about 0.25 m on the Megado in an hour and then knock off to do something else. I have done a lot but there is more to do. In the meantime we took a trip to Redditch yesterday to see the Lace exhibition at the Needle Forge Museum. Very good too.


Apart from textiles, we wait (not too patiently) for our vendors to do something. Apparently they are in France which accounts for the total lack of response. We are going there to measure up on Thursday. I had a bad moment last night. I carefully enlarged the floorplan  and printed it on an A3 sheet. Equally careful measurement showed that the original floorplan was not at all like the quoted dimensions. So a great deal of calculation and checking to get it correct. I had to scale up one dimension by 30%. But we are going to have to remeasure a couple of rooms ourselves to make sure we can get in the furniture we want to. Of course the Megado is the biggest problem (in all senses!). Dorothy has suggested we cut out a paper template of the needed area for the Megado and take it with us on Thursday. The one thing there is lots of in this house is large sheets of paper!
We are very much living in limbo and Dorothy is very fed-up because all her 'stuff' is in store and she is bored with nothing to do.


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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.