Monday, 28 September 2015

Lurching Towards Jerusalem

The blog absence is due to unpacking. The good thing about moving stuff between the garage and studio is that I am definitely getting fitter - and thinner. These are bonuses. Shelves have been erected and books have been installed. The office is looking normal - except that the desktop computer is in intensive care. I started warping up the Meyer on Saturday but did not get far. But things are definitely improving.
And now I am going to relive the weekend in Aberdeen. I did not take my camera and so any photos in this blog are due to Anne and her trusty iPhone. We visited two castles and a crafts village and had a bit of spare time on Sunday evening before making for the airport. Oh boy has the airport changed. I recall it in the 60s before oil when the airport was a wooden shed on the edge of the runway and, when the three planes which came in per day were not due, the shed was locked up. Today it has the weirdest adverts I have seen in any airport. The biggest billboard on the way in, advertises refurbishing your oilrigs! Inside there are adverts for strange chemicals which do something for the machinery. Helicopter firms show off their wares and Chevron is noticeable by hogging lots of billboards. This is by way of introduction to our previous stay in Aberdeen. It was the first house we had ever bought. It cost all of £6000.00 and had central heating which cost us an extra £500.00. It was in Bieldside, West from Aberdeen along the river.
So I suggested that we could visit the house and see how it had changed. Bear it mind that it is 43 years since we left. I managed to find it and
here it is. Anne and I walked up and down the pavement, taking pictures. The house has not changed but the front garden has. While doing this, the owner spotted us and sallied forth. I started to explain when he interrupted and said, 'I know you. You are Mrs Foster. We bought this house from you'. I was flabbergasted and even more when he reminded me of how he had bought the house. Michael had been appointed Professor of Computing at Essex University and most of the estate knew this. He was looking for a house on the estate and a friend told him we must be leaving soon. So he knocked on the door and stood there and offered us £12000.00 Well it had not been put on the market, indeed we had not been to see the lawyer. So we went the next day and 24 hours later he had bought the house.

He insisted on showing us the back garden because of Sorbus cashmiriana ( a sort of rowan) which I had raised  from seed ( picked up from the ground in Westonbirt). When we left it was 7 ft high and had masses of white/pink berries.

Here is the same tree, 43 years later. I was pleased to see it so healthy.

And here are the two owners of the house. He said something interesting. I said that the place was perfect for children in our day and every house seemed to have at least two. He said that people had not moved away and it had become a very quiet elderly persons' estate.

It left me feeling good. The back garden was unchanged and they thought the shrubs I had put in were great.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

More on Moving House

My belongings arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday and we have started throwing things out, three toast  racks and four butter dishes? Dorothy has given away a basket work sofa and two arm chairs which came from her conservatory. My studio is taking shape. My plans look like they will work. We had one styming moment yesterday. Our odd job man was to put up shelves in my office but that meant getting the Dobby loom out of there and into the studio which could not be done because there was a whole lot of bookbinding stuff in the studio which could not be moved into its final resting place because that was full of stuff for the office. We did it all eventually and the studio now contains an assembled Magic  Dobby and the office boasts lots of shelves. Though it has to be said that the Dobby loom is missing all its beams. No doubt they will surface.

The biggest problem is that these rooms are on the first floor and there are lots of boxes on the ground floor. I am now quite scared of trying to carry them up because I am frightened of ripping my hiatus hernia apart again. So I think I will look for help next week.

At the moment I am in Inverurie, north of Aberdeen. We flew up last night to visit my step grandson and his family. I have two step great grandchildren of whom I am very proud. Anyway Robert, my step grandson, is one of my favourite people and I have not seen him for too long.

We fly back late on Sunday night. 

One of the problems of unpacking the house until just before I left for the airport is that I have left behin more than I brought. No anorak, no heavy walking shoes, no camera, no thick woolly sweater. Oh well! It is a splendid hotel. Scottish baronial in architecture and service style. My son-in-law had lovely black pudding for breakfast, I know, I begged a bit. And I had finnan haddie, smoked haddock to you. It is all very restful.

And we now have a landline and fast broadband. Dorothy is having a whale of a time searching the web for useful things like dogsitters. By the way, for all you weavers, her daughter is visiting the house this weekend. Her daughter is Cally Booker.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Designing for Weaving

It is a long time since I wrote two blogs so close together. This is because I have been mulling over `DESIGN`. I started some months ago by feeling that I could do with a course on Design and looking for one which was online and failing to find what I wanted. I have read some of Dorothy's books but they are Design for Quilts, Design for Machine Embroidery and so on. More recently I have been asking myself what I really wanted and this is an attempt to formulate an answer.
My original thought was to do mood-boards, start with a photo or drawing and progress through changes until I had something  I could weave. Recently I have asked a different question. How do I design now? Oddly enough I do have an answer or rather two answers. There is 'knock something out, anything,' stuff but there is also the weaving done with a very strict specification. I must use this handspun yarn and only this much because that is all the spinner has produced and it is these colours because the sheep were black, brown, grey and white and the spinner needs 7 yards of it because she has to make a cape from the yardage  when woven. The design bit sounds simple but it is not. You have to find out how much of each colour you have and whether the yarn is roughly the same grist throughout. Then design a cloth where the weave is balanced (I had to resley that one).
But others have been more exciting. One of the most successful weaves I did (in my eyes)  was a set of six small weavings based on South Pacific for an exhibition where size was paramount. In other words, like all good engineers, I respond best to an externally set specification. Well I could set the spec  myself, So I did. I have recently been given 11 small balls of wool which were dyed various shades or lilac, mauve, purple. Each ball weighs about 9 gm and contains 20 m of yarn. What to do with it?
The stripes are 3 threads wide, each stripe from one of the yarn balls and each edged with one thread of dark grey. The intervening threads are pale grey and the weft is also pale grey. This does mean doing a bit of acid dyeing but that is allowed. The draft is a sort of point twill. I am not at all sure  about  this design. I think it is bit dull and boring.
How about this then? I have not bothered to make the warp colours accurate but there are 11 colours and they are graduated from dark to light. I think this is much nicer but why I cannot tell you. I have tried the same colour arrangement in the warp with several alternate drafts and they are either fussy or bland.
Given the amount of each yarn colour, the dimensions are such as to give two scarves. So it would be a convenience to have a second different draft using the same threading.
So here is another draft. I could live with that. 
In the meantime I will leave you with a question. Have I 'designed' this fabric?

New House

It is sometime since I last wrote a blog. Life has not been uneventful. We moved into the new house at the end of August but all our furniture is not yet with us. Dorothy had hers delivered two days after we moved, except that they only delivered 60% of it. A bit more came a week later but not it all and she created such a fuss that they at least came back and took away the empty boxes. The rest is promised for next Tuesday. Which is not the most helpful of days as my stuff is being delivered that day. Dorothy's attitude is good, that serves them right. The problem that it is bookcases which have not been delivered.

Add to that some stupefying behaviour by BT which has left us speechless and minus a landline and broadband. They kitted us up with a landline, decided they could not give us broadband and unilaterally cancelled the whole package, saying I had commanded the cancellation!! Well we have transferred our affections to Sky.

We have got all the utilities okay and the TV is with us in time for the GBBO episode this week. But lots remains to be done and next week sees electricians, decorators and tree removers in residence.

I personally feel a bit bereft. I have plenty of spare time and nothing much to do. So I found myself designing drafts late last night. Not satisfied with it though so may rejig it.

I think this will be okay when we are settled but it may be winter before that happens. Whatever happened to summer this year.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The House

The last few days have been spent driving backwards and forwards between Ruth's house and our new house. Dorothy moved down yesterday and we went to the local supermarket and stocked up. Most of my time has been spent chasing firms, utilities, water, council, you name it I have spoken to them. Dorothy's stuff is arriving today. All the neighbours say that they will not get the lorry up the hill but the removal men have been told. I am going round to help - after a round of phoning!

We had a surprise visitor for Kennet Valley Guild who brought a cake with her!!!! We were delighted to see her (not because of the cake). What I found interesting was seeing the house through her eyes. It is a nice house. I have realised just how much storage there is. The house in Malvern was very short on storage - and extra bonus - the window sills are really wide. I do like putting plants and ceramics on window sills. It is going to be good to live.

The only defect is the approach road - and exit road. Yesterday I practised. The problem I  have is that I am still getting used to my new car and coping with the steep slope is a bit much.

Ruth and Robin offered lots of advice on Sunday and I passed it on to Dorothy yesterday. One thing is the front garden. Currently it is a square of bedraggled grass with no edges. and it has a nice patio behind it. We were thinking of gravelling the lot and using it for car parking but Robin disapproves and said if you make it into a flower garden ( no grass) you will have a nice view front the patio. Dorothy is very taken with this idea. Oh well. I can see an interesting life in front of us.

And now I must start on another round of phoning. Next blog there will be photos.


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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.