Thursday 28 April 2016


The title refers to something I did which was a big mistake. But I have decided what to do to retrieve the position. Let me explain. Today I started a weekly class at Bracknell on Lino cutting of which I have much experience. The attraction here is the Lino cut press which is gorgeous. It is mid-Victorian, a Columbia Press and is cast iron. It has a freestanding eagle on the top, about 18 inches high and when the press is used, the eagle moves up and down. As I said, gorgeous. 

The tutor had prepared two projects for all the students which can be carried out in any technique the student fancies. I was quite taken with one of the projects, 'garden' and spent the whole day designing it. As I walked back to the car, I realised that I did not like the project at all and, after thinking about it sitting in the car, realised my take on the project was twee and sentimental. So I rethought it and decided to do the other project which is take a poem. At least two years ago, I started on Dunbar's The Makar's Lament but never implemented it. That is it. Certainly black and not sentimental at all as my design will have lots of skulls, wearing crowns, cardinal's hats, etc. So I have a lot to do in the next week. First to find out where I got to in Photoshop An to decide what next. This is going to be much more fun.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Not getting on

Yesterday a few hours were spent in hospital. All a bit scary but successful and I should be okay now. But I am still depressed and I worked out why yesterday. It is four weeks since I had the drattted operation and, while I am getting stronger, I am still not 'normal'. I am achieving less than half of what I expect of myself. So I am a bit miffed. For instance I want to make two visits to the north of Manchester but the train takes five hours and requires two changes and the car would take 4.5 hours one way and I know both of those are a bit much for me at the moment. So I have to contain myself in patience and I am not good at patience.

I have been potting up seedlings in the greenhouse and that I can do. We went out and bought a hose system last week which has made it really easy to water the greenhouse. My big problem, apart from getting tired, is that I am not allowed to lift anything so I can do 90% of a job but have to all in Dorothy to do the last 10%. Bah!

I suppose I should not complain but now I have said it, there you are. I will not say it again. Now off to do a spot of bookbinding

Sunday 24 April 2016

Learning about the serger

About 14 months ago, Ruth and I bought a Janome serger. The manual scared the life out of me and Ruth never quite round to mastering it either. So we signed up for a course on sergers by Gill Arnold. Anyone who reads this blog knows what a fan I am of Gill Arnold. She really excelled herself on Saturday and we have come up, not experts, but not frightened! She made us rethread the serger three times from the start. The photo below shows a few of my samples pinned into a work book she supplied.

Today I am in tidying up mode. I have finished the wallet with a bit more on the pockets. And done lots of other useful things.

Friday 22 April 2016

Making a leather wallet

Lori Sauer is a bookbinder who lives near Salisbury and runs classes. She is a bit of a special bookbinder since she is President of the Designer Bookbinders. However this blog is about her bookbinding skills but about her course on a leather wallet. Now this is not a money wallet but a tool wallet, in other words, a holder for small bookbinding tools. It was held in a bookbinding workshop and there were nine of us, including Cally Booker. She came, not that she did not want to come, because I was regarded by the family as a liability but life got very complicated. I had an urgent appointment with my surgeon as things were not looking good on the first day of the course. It was a two day course. So l lost half a day but I had got well ahead and we went an hour early on the second day which meant   I had caught up by 1000 hours.

So a few photos are shown below.

The top photo is the centrefold with a thick felt sheet for needles. Everywhere there are pockets. The height of the wallet is 19 cm (7.5 inches). I am pleased with it. Cally and I were discussing whether it would be worthwhile to make one for weaving but decided there were not enough small tools to be worth it.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Procion Dyeing

My sister held a dyeing day here last Sunday. Five people madly dyeing bits of cotton with Procion and enjoying themselves a lot. The next day we cleared up but not completely. I overdyed one of the ice dyed Tshirt with blue and improved it a lot but I am left with a splotch of dark dyed in the middle of the front. I have decided I will have to stencil a pattern in a dark dye on it.

I also took several skeins of white in various yarns, cotton, silk and a rayon/flax/cotton mix and used some leftover dye to dye the lot in shades of dusky pink

Top is the fibre mixture. Lower is cotton on the left and silk on the right. This is a newly minted program of using the stash up.

I am progressing in health but a bit fed up. I tire very easily so do not get much done. Oh well.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Cider with Rosie

The Society of Bookbinders is having its biennial bookbinding do. In this a text is selected and members bind it any way they want and they all go on show on the annual meeting in June. Two years ago I had a go but it was not good and I did not enter it. This year, it is Cider with Rosie and I am determined to enter this year. So I bought two secondhand copies of the book, one with drawings and one without. After re-reading it, I mulled it over and decided that I would create a cover which I could print on the inkjet on some bookcloth bought for this purpose. I bought 20 sheets of this two years and have never even tried it out. I shall do the binding as a double cover which means that I can make the illustrated part separately for the front and  back  which avoids alignment problems over the spine (2014's problem).

By this time I had decided what image I wanted on the cover and I spent an evening looking for an image of a cider flagon on the web - and failing. So on Thursday we set out for the wilds and hunted down a junk shop where I bought a cider flagon for a fiver. And retired to do battle with Photoshop CS5. Firstly I had two suitable pictures of ears of cereal in a field and then I took photos of the flagon against a piece of red cloth so the basics were

I then created a blank frame and copied the cereal photos into a patchwork on the blank. Then I got rid of the red background and copied the flagon on the cereal, twisting the flagon to a suitable (attractive) angle. I then applied one of Photoshop`s artistic filters to make it look painted and wrote the title and author on the flagon.
 This was all done late at night but I went to bed happy. Woke in the morning and instantly adjusted a few things and then created the back cover. And dealt with Dorothy who thinks I should still be in bed.
So now I have to dig out the bookcover fabric but I shall leave that till midweek as Dorothy is running a class here on Procion dyeing on Sunday.

I have been looking out yarn for another Pueblo weaving and intend to tie it on to the current tail of warp on the Megado. At first I was going to use Tencel but I only had enough for 4 yards of fabric, then I thought I would buy more tencel or cotton. But at this point I was looking through the stash for something else when I realised just how many cones of white wool (quite fine) I owned and thought why not do it in fine wool. I hauled all suitable cones out and did little windings to check on epi and have ended up with three cones of 100% merino. Also some dark brown to use in place of the dark brown cottolin. I reckon I can make a jacket out of the finished fabric. And teh stash has reduced by three cones. Mind you, that does not make much of a dent.

And I have decided that I will have to change my method of designing projects. At present, I think of what I want to do, decided what yarn I need and hunt for it. If I have not got it, I buy what I need. From now on, I shall look for some nice  yarn in the stash and decide what to do with it!! I wonder if that will really work.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Hospitals and all that

I went into hospital at 0700 hours on Tuesday and was sent home at 1900 hours on Wednesday. All went well though it hurts if I cough. The only untoward moment was on Wednesday afternoon when my sister arrived and announced I was to be taken down to the cafe. So I threw aside the bedcovers only to discover that everything, but everything was bright red. So I pressed the bell and Dorothy disappeared down the corridor yelling for a nurse. But there was nothing at all wrong. 

What went wrong a few days later was the arrival of a nasty cough. But antibiotics have squelched that.  So I am mostly up and about, walking twenty minutes twice a day and trying to decide if I am fit enough to attend a bookbinding course in a week. The tutor is one of my favourite people, Lori Sauer. When you see what she had designed and made, you wonder how she can stand my level of expertise.

I have read a lot. No real energy for doing much else. I bought a copy of Invisible Castle by Italo Calvino and it arrived at lunchtime. Mostly devoured. I am not going to try to define it. But anything by Calvino is worth reading. The images are buzzing round my head.

I have also planned things, discarded ideas, substituted new ones. I have a feeling I am going to have a lot of spare time in the next few weeks. A bit of drawing perhaps? A project plan?


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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.