Monday 26 October 2015

Megado Trouble

Before I went to the States, my son-in-law came over for an afternoon to help ( in truth I "helped", he did) reassemble the Megado. We got it mostly together before giving up as we were missing some bolts. Later that day, I returned to the pile of bits and assembled every piece of it to see what else was missing and the answer was only those two bolts. So I asked at the local DIY shop and they had some but the wrong size and told me the shop to visit in Reading. Today we made an expedition into Reading to visit it. Visits into Reading are not undertaken lightly given the traffic. When we got there and showed a man one of the missing bolts, there was much sucking of teeth and shaking of heads. Anyway they did not have one that size. 'But you will get one on the web' Well maybe but it helps if you know what the thing's name is. After poking  around for an hour, I discovered its name and found photos of it so I knew I had got hold of the right thing. It is a 'M8 cross dowel barrel nut (offcentred)'  and I have bought 10. I feel quite triumphant. 

Sunday 25 October 2015

USA Day 10

I have been home since last Wednesday but tidying up and sleeping so writing a blog was low on the priority list. I have now recovered from jet lag and am feeling refreshed so can face the getting down to it procedure.
Firstly Day 10 turned into a Frank Lloyd Wright Day. We stayed in the Arizona Biltmore on Monday night. This was designed by Wright in the early 30s. He is definitely good as designing public rooms. It is a stunning hotel.

From the top, a stained glass window  (about 8 ft square) in the entrance hall, a view of the entrance and the corner of a large carpet. We had our last evening's dinner there, the best meal we had in the States. Then it was off to see his Western home, Taliesin West, which is only a few miles away. After that, it was one last archeological dig and home to Heathrow.
I managed to buy myself a telephoto lens before Saturday and got up very early on Saturday morning to be at Petworth Park by 0800 am. A group of us led by Steve Walby looked at and for deer. The males are busy fighting just now. With lots of good advice, I managed to take some good photos (for me).

 And now it is back to sorting out the house. This week, the electrician return to finish off everything. Next week, all the windows in the house are being replaced with double glazed ones - and the decorator is in residence too. The gardeners seems to be in permanent residence. They came this week and renovated an entire bed so it is ready for replanting. A mixture of daffodil and tulips will go in as well as some small shrubs, probably heathers. Planting is my job.

Ruth and Robin came today to see what progress we are making. This resulted in a disagreement. They agree with Dorothy that my bedroom is a mistake because it has a metal filing  cupboard in it. They say it looks as though I am camping out in an office. I admit, it contains  a desk, a computer and an A3 printer and some filing drawers and a lot of Lever arch files on shelves as well as the aforesaid filing cupboard. But my view is that , as long as I don't mind, it can stay as it is. All I am getting is flack from all sides. Bah!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

USA Day 9

Today was dominated, for me at least,  by my problems with a credit card. I have been unable to get cash or pay for anything. I failed for the last time in Flagstaff and then inquired where I could change sterling. There is only one place in Flagstaff to change and it is way off our route. At this point someone suggested I ring up Visa and after two or three abortive  attempts get through, I was passed to the fraud department. And they had put a stop on my card. The story, highly entertainingly if you are not personally involved is that two days before I left for the USA, I changed my address and telephone number to those of the new house - and then the next use of the card after several days  was at a tiny bookshop in the depths of Utah. So they stopped the card at once. They asked all sorts of weird questions to which, fortunately, I could remember the answers. Like what did you use the card for on such and such a date. Eventually, they unblocked the card though I have not tried it again. But it ought to be okay.

In amongst all of this, we went round Flagstaff Museum. I have fallen badly for Chaco pottery and searched without success for a book on it. When I was in the bus again, I searched the web. Nothing. I have great plans for weaving designs based on the Chaco designs. You would think they were done yesterday not a 1000 years ago. I have seen a handful of modern reproductions which are very expensive and based on containers modelled on animals - which I do not like. I like their plain bowls. So I will content myself by designing and weaving yardage. I think Lampas. Only a week or so ago, I put a large amount of unmercerised cotton in the attic. It will have to come down again.

I cannot wait to get home and set about Fibreworks.

I ought to say that tonight, the last night, we are in the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Frank Lloyd Wright designed desert resort in 1929.

Monday 19 October 2015

USA Day 8

We left early and got to Monument Valley at 1000. We transferred to two open vehicles and rackets round the Valley till 1230. I had no idea the place was so large. I loved it. So it is just photos today. No explanation is needed.

And the last photo is of the San Juan river. The young Navajo man with the triple flute was our driver and guide, told us about the Navajo legends and their way of life. I might say I have always been very taken with the Navajo way of living.

Tomorrow we start out for Phoenix, 300 miles away. But we have a stop at Flagstaff. 

USA Day 7 continued

We drove to the other end of Bluff Main Street which is all of two miles away from our motel, passing about twenty buildings on the way. But it has to be said that the trading post is the highest class we have seen so far. It mostly sold Navajo rugs(superb), jewellery, good, and watercolours, also good so we bought a few things and lunch at the cafe was excellent. We discovered the Bluff Arts Festival did not start till 1 pm so we got ourselves driven back to the motel and started out at 1400 on foot ,and had a great time. For a place as small as Bluff ,  there were a lot of stalls and a lot of people. T he standard was very high(not the weaving though). Bluff has a quilting bee and they were demonstrating. No nonsense about expensive long arm quilters. This was clamped to a big frame and several women were quilting by hand!! Then there was a woman who designed fabric using Navajo motifs and had them professionally printed and she made scarves, bags etc from them. I bought a length as a present. T hen there was some unusual and fabulous sculptures of sticks which might have been bought if they were not so big. British Airways could quite rightly jib at accepting it. And high class potters.  Where I did succumb. And I bought socks with Navajo designs on them.

A Union loom of the 1920s , only two shafts being used for rag rugs.

A gorgeous 1950s car. There were quite a lot of old cars about.

All in all a most enjoyable day. 

Saturday 17 October 2015

USA Day 7

The day before this we had tyre trouble and so lost time and had to skip a viewing of Aztec Ruins. So   on Day 7 we went there first thing. It was another Great House but much better organised than previous ones. We were issued with a self guide booklet and important points were marked and explained. The Great Kiva has been restored in the 1920s. That would not be done today but nevertheless it was very enlightening.

On the right is a corner of the reconstructed Kiva. There was a small but good museum, with lots of artefacts.

And that included some pieces of weaving. After that it was off to Teec No Pos trading store which was a great disappointment.

Skeins hung up for sale. I asked about this. Was it natural or acid dyed? Was it churro sheep? Was it local? The answer was that it was all bought in and she clearly knew nothing else. There were some  spindles for sale but she knew nothing about them either. I walked out having bought two books and nothing else.

And then to Canyon de Chelly. Pronounced Canyon d'Shay.  Quite beautiful and lived in by the Navajos. This is Navajo land.

We spent several hours here. Then on to the motel Desert Rose Motel where the staff are all Navajos and it is very comfortable although the address gives cause for concern. It is Main Street, Bluff. The trouble is that there is a road, the motel and a lot of desert. No sign of a town to have a Main Street.

All but two of the party have gone off to do a river trip. I opted out because my right hip was complaining at anything like a climb and there is lots of that on the river trip. We have arranged to go with the bus driver to a place nearby for lunch as there is nothing here.

And at the same time, Dorothy has decided she needs to go to Bilbao to look at the architecture of the Guggenheim  museum so we are doing some long distance organisation. Planned for mid December?

Friday 16 October 2015

USADay 6

BToday was spent walking about in a very high temperature, wondering if this was really a good idea. The temperature must have been well over ninety. What we were looking at was Great Houses. The smallest had 150 rooms and the largest 600 rooms. Little cities.

In the Chaco Canyon where the Great Houses are.

Ruins of a Great House. Note the fine masonry

And they were clever enough to build this strange window across a corner. Started 800 and finished about 1200 AD.

I was smitten with an idea for weaving in lampas on the bus this morning. It is based on the decoration on pottery we have been seeing. I think it will work. But I need Fibreworks to help with the draft.

Thursday 15 October 2015

USADay 5

We looked at a lot of cliff dwellings go today.

But I have to admit to chickening out of one hike. It involved a thirty foot ladder on the open cliff face followed by two fifteen foot ones ditto and a twelve foot tunnel. No thank you. There were four others who felt I should be kept company. So we sat in the shade with a marvellous view and gossiped for an hour.

The pottery was in a museum at Mesa Verde and is marvellous worth abstract geometric patterns.

Today we are off into very deserted lands to Chaco Canyon.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

USADay4 addendum

I do not seem able to add photos so am producing them as an extra.

You can make out all sorts of things, goats, men on horseback, shaman figures, a bird, bison, deer.

USA Day 4

Yesterday was spent at Crow Canyon archeological site. It dates from about 1250 and only lasted about 30 or 40 years. And ended in disaster with all the inhabitants being killed off. It was a substantial village or pueblo with a defensive outer wall of masonry and outlook towers and when it was excavated, lots of bodies were found unburied. We were given  a tour of laboratories where the excavated material was recorded and analysed. Some beautiful ceramics, tools. And then we were taken out to see a set of excavations. This is a workplace and there were no other tourists around. I really do not know how the tour manager managed to get in. It seems like we must have been taking the archeologists away from their work. I took no photos partly because I felt we were intruding, though we were made very welcome.

On the way to Crow Canyon, we stopped at Newspaper Rock which is covered with drawings. Two at the very top which are darker are Archaic , about 500AD. The rest date from about 1500 AD and include some 21st century ones.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Day Three USA

Today was all about geology and the landscape and far too many photos of rocks. I cannot imagine that  people are going to be interested so shall restrict myself to 2 landscape and a couple of trees. The trees and plants hang onto life here and, as a result, look really interesting.

Monday 12 October 2015

Day Two USA

The bad news is that, although I have some interesting photos, I cannot transfer them to the iPad. I suppose someone well prepared would take two interface cables on a trip but I did not. So unless I can buy one somewhere, seems very unlikely, photos will be attached to each blog when I get home.

Yesterday we went to the Salt Lake City museum which is only five years old and is a lovely building full of interesting things. Of great interest to me was a woven bag of yucca and skeins of spun cotton dating from 900-1400AD.   There was a warp weighed loom  which was based on finding the weights which were made from twisted twigs. The ancient Indians used exactly the same design of warp weighted loom as Europeans did. The lecturer's view was that it was a parallel development and probably the only way to do it. I am not so sure. Why not  a back strap loom? After all, that is another method. 

There were spindles dating from about 1100AD and plaited and twined baskets from before 2000BC. I promise you there be photos. After lunch we set off on a bus trip of several hundred miles south. Going through the desert. With lots of mountains to see. For the last hour we were travelling through red sandstone country and ended travelling a narrow canyon beside the Colorado river. When we stopped for the night, it was in a lodge by the Colorado. Indeed, it runs behind my room. I can walk out onto a little garden space, unhook the gate and take ten steps to the edge of the river. The almost vertical red cliffs are just the other side of the river!

I took a load of photos and am waiting for it to get light enough to go and take more. We are spending all today in a reservation.


A skein of cottons rom 900 AD
Twined baskets. The bigger one is before 2000 BC, the little one about1100 AD.
View from the back of my room. The river is the Colorado!

Sunday 11 October 2015

Day One USA

Day 1 was a day of getting from home to here and it is high time someone developed a Startrek transporter system. I left Burghfield Common at 0830 am, left Heathrow for Dallas at 1150, arrived nine hours later, hung around for three hours waiting for a plane to Salt Lake City and got into my hotel room at 0423am UK time. Which was 0923 here time. I have been given a suite which is enormous. It consists of a lobby, a room with fridges and wardrobes in it, a room with a large bed in it and a sitting room which contains a large sofa, two armchairs, a desk, etc etc and a full width picture window. All the rooms are end to end and I make it 54 feet long and 20ft wide. The bathroom equally huge is to off to one side.

I took a photo of the lights last night seen from my room, and another this morning. They are shown below. The two daylight views are looking to the left and right. There are a lot of trees.

Today's program is a morning spent at the museum here, then a five hour bus trip into the heart of canyon land. 

I will be writing up every day, mainly because it lets my family know where I am and also because it records what I have done. I should say that I decided I had to finish winding on a warp  on the Meyer on Friday night. So it is, at least, left in a safe condition. I really believe we shall be sorted by the end of October. Look for lots of textile reports as I have deadlines looming. The Megado needs a couple of bolts but is not going to get much attention until I have finished a crucial piece on the fan reed - - and written up a lot.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Three Assembled Looms

Yesterday my son-in-law came over and we had a go at the Megado assembly. We have the assembly manual but we had not broken it down into its constituent parts but just into chunks the removal men could cope with. I had carefully put all the bolts and bits and pieces into a large sealed box and I managed to find the Megado tools. Well it nearly worked. We are missing one bush and one whole bolt assembly. So we gave up till I could get these parts.
However I woke up at 4 am, crawled out of bed and found I had decided to assemble the lot because I really needed to see whether we were missing anything else. Well we are not which is great. I then spent two hours trawling through the drawers of yarn, throwing things out and getting rid of four or five large plastic crates as well.

The top photo shows the Megado in the background with plastic drawers behind it full of yarn. The Kombo and Dobby are in the foreground. The lower photo shows a better photo of the Dobby. still in need of cleaning up but that is not likely to happen until I get back from the USA.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Still Moving

I suppose you can read the title several ways. I intended to indicate that I was still unpacking though there are only four boxes rleft and they are full of wine! My office looks normal, in other words, as exact a reproduction of the Malvern office as I can manage. The studio is looking more like a studio and less like there has just been a very good party in it. On next Thursday, the Megado is being reassembled and the end will be in sight.

But I am off on my summer hols next Saturday. An archeological tour of Pueblo Indian sites in SW USA, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley etc etc. I am so looking forward to it. But when I return, I will set about weaving. The first thing is some lace on the fan reed. I am way behind hand on this project.
There has been no textile work at all for more than three months.

I have however had a great time at the village camera club. Last week the evening was devoted to taking close ups of odd objects. I do not think any of mine will win in a competition but it was fun.


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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.