Sunday 31 July 2016

Back to Weaving

After a week thinking about nothing but lino cuts, I am back to weaving. After more real weaving, there is virtual weaving, that is, preparing to go to Convergence tomorrow. I have done one very important job triggered by Rosie Price commenting that Just Our Yarns would be at Convergence. Their yarns are very desirable but I knew I have a lot already. So I investigated the Tencel stash and found

These date back to 2014 and 2012. The problem is that I have not been able to source such fine yarns in self-colours which I need for weft with these. So I took a load of photos this morning and printed them on photo paper. These will go with me to the Convergence Exhibition Hall. Surely someone (Webs?) with have some self-coloured Tencel in 20/2 and 30/2.

Packing requires ironing and I took the opportunity to press the last of the lampas.

The reversed pattern is quite attractive.

And I have done some weaving! Starting with the skein of merino I dyed at the dyeing class a week or two ago, I made a striped warp with the other yellow skein. The weft is the pale yellow as well.

Woven in 2 and 2 twill. Must finish my packing now.

Friday 29 July 2016

Back Home

We finished at West Dean this afternoon and came home collecting the dogs on the way. The car was very crammed with all the art stuff, two dogs, two people and their luggage and the car laboured going up hills.
The last two days have been very hard work. Which was all my fault. I have been thinking about a poem The Makar's Lament for some years and have actually set about it twice. I cannot even remember the first trial. The second trial was in April when I cut a load of linocuts, then destroyed the lot - deliberately lest any of you should think it was by accident. The trouble was that the last one I did had a recognisable story and it was easy to find an image to use with every pair of verses. The Lament is philosophical and about death and basically you need a skull on every page. I did not come with any idea of doing a third trial. In fact I had mentally abandoned that until yesterday morning. The tutor gave a demo of using two related blocks and with different colours on each you can get all sorts of colour effect. My idea (a Eureka moment) was that if I cut two quite different blocks, I could print them in all sorts of colours and used a coloured background, I could get a series of related images which could be used with every pair of verses. After working flat out from Thursday morning to Friday at 1100 am, I made 27 different images and I only need 13!! I am chuffed to bits.

Here are a few of the images.

And here is one I did previously

This weekend apart from having a weaving Study Day tomorrow, I must pack for Convergence. I leave on Monday. I need to find time to do the monthly accounts and plant some plants which we seem to have acquired. 3 fuschias, a rudbeckia and a sempervivum. Our sweetpeas are spectacular. I have never grown them successfully and here they are, producing a goodsized bunch of flowers every day. I note the purple French beans are ready too, Have I said we are eating our own potatoes?

Tuesday 26 July 2016

West Dean Summer School

I am on my summer hols. At West Dean College doing a course in Lino cuts. A first rate tutor. I learnt more useful techniques in the first half day than I imagined possible.

A selection of prints.

I am now cutting a large block. I did yesterday something i would never have considered before. I was worried about what sort of marks would best represent the foliage of a little bonsai tree. So I did several possibilities on a very small test piece and went from there. Mind you the Lino cut above has been much improved.

The West Dean gardens are lovely  and I went early on Sunday and walked round one bit of it. I must get to the Victorian walled garden.

Today I am off to a swap over class. Everyone does something else for a morning. I am doing photography.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Designer Crafts

My niece, Cally Booker, is taking part in a crafts display in London

Thursday 21 July 2016

A Burnished Halo

Every year about May, my accountant sends me a severe letter setting out his requirements for submitting my tax return and every year I let it fester for a month or two. This year I am away a lot so I heaved a sigh and set about it. Now last year I was moving house and boy have I left a trail of destruction. I do not seem to have told any lies to the tax man but money seems to have got to some strange places and I have to doing some phoning to ask questions. However all is well and I have posted the bundle of documents. I wonder how long it will be before a letter comes back asking questions like What does Para 4 mean? In the meantime I feel virtuous. 

I also taxed the car and called the garage to sort out the servicing. 

On the textile front, I designed a weaving using the dyed merino of lastSunday and wound all the skeins into balls so that I can wind aware this evening at a Textile gathering. So a bit of everything.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Acid Dyeing

I taught acid dyeing on Sunday. Had real trouble getting everything into my little Bmax. I have a master list called Tutor Takes but that was for a Saab estate or a Mondeo ditto. And the Bmax is not like them! So shortcuts were taken. No extra kettle for example. Everyone had a good time and lots of dyeing was done. Even I produced something useful.
Hanging skeins out to dry - on anything handy.
A dyed skein for me

The lampas has been finished and washed etc as well. I have managed to clean the studio and the bookbinders room. It is too hot to work upstairs after lunch and so I have been tidying up downstairs as well. No point in trying to garden between 1000 and 1800 hours! Well that is my excuse anyway. We tried a new pub which is by the canal. Out in the garden, lovely food and a shandy based on 6X! And some good photos of the meadow flowers by the canal.

I think this is an orchid.

Sunday 17 July 2016

Lino cuts and paper

A lot has happened in the last week. Apart from sordid activities like weaving and tidying up, I went lino cutting and returned home with armfuls of prints.

A small selection. The next day we went to Art in Action and I bought a linocut, a cardigan and a whole lot of cards. Also some Turkish marbled paper.
I bought four sheets at a fraction of the cost in this country.
Art in Action was great. we saw all sorts of demos including one on glass blowing,
And today I ran the every-two-years class on acid dyeing. Everyone produced a lot of dyed yarn etc, which we hung up outside to dry.

I produced two skeins myself (Well you might as well do something for yourself)

Monday 11 July 2016


On Saturday I went to the Flower Show at Hampton Court by train. Four separate trains! and changing at places like Weybridgee, Virginia Water and Surbiton!! The treat was that on the way back we took a ferry down the Thames from Hampton Court to the station. Shades of Hanry VIII.
It was very hot but the flowers were lovely.

On Sunday I went to Bicester Village with my daughters, Ruth and Anne, where a good time was had by all although the credit cards probably did not feel well at the end. Bicester Village is an outlet place but the shops are high class, Prada, Dolce and Gambana. I bought a jacket in Versace!!!!! Not that I need a jacket but I had to take it home.

Ruth and Anne seem to be into shoes.
Ruth thinking about it.

Winkle pickers are back. I got married in a pair of these only they had 3 inch stiletto heels. I still have them after 55 years. They were white satin.

Anne bought these as well.
At the end going home. It looks as though Ruth has not bought much but it was a coat from Burberry and Anne was carrying  some parcels for Ruth.

Friday 8 July 2016

Lampas again

The usual busy week but I have managed to meet all the deadlines - and weave some 12 shaft lampas.
The warp is 12/2 cotton and the weft (pinkish) is an odd skein of thick silk dyed by me. A very pleasing piece of dyeing and it goes well in the lampas. I am not sure what this length will be as I am not at all sure how much warp I have on this loom.

Last week we (Dorothy and I) made up the acid dyes (25 different colours) for the class next Sunday. Since then I have been checking out the 'Tutor brings' list and collecting tools from everywhere. This culminated this afternoon in taking three steamers to be PAT tested which is needed when you use some one else's premises. Everything is hunky-dory but I think I may have a problem getting it all into the car! And I need to wind a couple warp to demonstrate with.

This weekend will be exciting. Saturday I am off to The Royal Horticultural Society's big Show at Hampton Court Palace (Yes Henry's place) and on Sunday I meet up with the female side of the family in Bicester Village which is an outlet venue for the posh shops. I actually bought a fleece from Christian Dior there not to mention a dressing gown from Missoni! These days the place is dominated by Chinese tourists.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Miffedness Rules.

I have been running around a lot lately. Thursday was lino cut day and I printed more colour versions. Friday I spent at the Society of Bookbinders at their Seminars. You get 4 per day each lasting 1.5 hours and you get a full demo complete with blown up pictures from a video camera. They were all useful to me, especially the one about making boxes. I have a new (to me) copy of Alice in Wonderland which is so beautiful it needs a box to live in. I also bought a leather skin (red) and a book to bind.

Saturday was Guild day. Enough said. I came home with a long list of things to be done. Sunday I read a thriller most of the day - having had enough. Monday I did lots of things. Tuesday I drove to Malvern and back. I went round to my old house and identified plants for the new owners. Then talked to a friend for several hours, then attended a Committee meeting and came home a little miffed.

It took me till this morning to work out why. Basically I have done nothing on textiles for a long time. So I decided that I would do an hour of weaving every morning first thing in the morning and I did. Since then it has been the usual round of answering emails  and sorting out paperwork. Why is this so much worse than in Malvern? I could spend 4 to 6 hours in weaving and all the paperwork  was up to date. So what is different in Reading? Answers on a postcard please.

Monday 4 July 2016


It should have been Jade. Anyone who is British and into textiles will know what am I referring to. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN JADE


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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.