Monday 31 October 2016

Japan Day 2

Day 1 was spent getting to Heathrow 5, sitting around around waiting, then doing more sitting on the plane for 12 hours. Lunch at the hotel , nothing exciting, just a Hilton. Then bussed to an ancient garden nearby which was designed and built about 1650. It is the most ancient garden in Japan. And very beautiful.

And a manhole cover!

Now off to dinner. We seem to be doing six museums tomorrow.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Three blue scarves

I finished the third scarf on Monday, mended the odd end and washed them. I like the simplest one best. I practised taking photos in the garden and remembered to cover the table but not yet satisfactory so I shall try another table next time.

And a bit bright. However I have finished winding the white wool warp to tie onto the Megado. Pure 100% fine merino from Uppinghams (2/30 Nm). I am tying this warp an to the white cotton warp used for the last Convergence yardage. This uses the same threading but a quite different treadling. The idea is to felt it a teeny bit and make a jacket.

Today we walked by the Kennet canal as we did two days ago. The trees have turned colour in those two days. Not quite at their height of colour yet but on their way. Gold and scarlet everywhere.

Sunday 23 October 2016

A day spent printing

Today was spent in the garage (rather cold) printing in various ways and on various surfaces. So block printing, stamping with foam letters, stencilling, thermofaxinb on fabric and three sorts of paper.

Everything was successful though not at first. I need to stencil on a big area so I need to repeat the printing as the stencils I have are much less than A4 never mind A3. And if I tried to position them I ended up with smudges. So I printed on a sheet of paper wide apart, used a hair drier to dry the printing (2 minutes), printed and dried again, changed the colour of ink and repeated twice more. Very effective.

The lettering on book fronts was very effective. I have a number of blank textblocks which I have covered rather nicely with my cloth and wanted to print the word NOTEBOOK on the front. I had a Thermofax mask made for this job and it all worked.

I tried block printing on paper - that worked. And I tried wood block printing on handwoven fabrics and that worked.
And I have discovered a solution to my photography problem. In Malvern, I used the walls, pillars and railings just outside the front door to put the object to be photographed on. I like to do the photography outside with an overcast sky. There are no shadows and no pools of light. I have been wondering what to do ever since we arrived in our new house. Today I realised I now have a table in the new patio which is perfect. That explains the mosaic background to the above photograph. Next time I will drape a length of black velvet over the tabletop.

I retook the photo of the Makars book as it was so bad taken indoors.

Friday 21 October 2016

Another garden

I visited my daughter's garden in Wokingham. They have a town garden with a brick wall six foot high all the way round. Quite big - bigger than ours. And totally grass with one tree at the far end. They had a total redesign done and I saw the finished garden today. Quite fabulous. Exotic plants, big trees imported and very fancy plants. Fancy lights too and a fountain. I am quite taken with it all.

I have been doing odd jobs. One rather odd job was looking for paper suitable for stencilling on. Okay that is not a problem. But there is an additional entry in the specification. The paper must be suitable to be used as an endpaper in book binding. So it must be greater than 70gsm, otherwise they will be transparent and show up the inside of the cover. But it must be capable of being folded for the book hinge without creasing, which mean less than 130 gsm. So I rummaged under the spare room bed and found a cartridge paper of 120 gsm. I also guillotined pieces off a roll of Chinese paper which is 30 gsm. This is for proofing. The next thing is extract the 145 gsm sheets of A1 from under the same bed. I will do that tomorrow and cut up into A3 pieces. I want some A3 sheets so that I can do an A4 book. You will have guessed from all this that I have agreed to give a course to some bookbinders on stencilling and other ways of creating your own endpapers. And I am panicking as a result. When they told me how much they were going to pay a tutor, I made a face and the committee pounced.  Oh well I have till March to prepare samples and I am going to have to make some books.

Thursday 20 October 2016

More on the Garden

Yesterday was spent planting up the garden. There is a bit more to do including planting three new clematis plants. Since it was very sunny, we had elevenses on the new patio and admired the garden from a different angle.

Other things did get done. More weaving - I am fed up with 2 and 2 twill. A lot of sorting out of photos. The Japan diary has surfaced. Today will be more of the same. I must push on with the weaving and get it finished.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

The Altered Garden

The builders have gone away leaving a beautiful garden

The elegant table and chairs given to me last year are now installed. The scruffy bit at the top of the steps has been reseeded. The areas either side of the steps have to be replanted and pots installed either side at the top of the steps. We need to wait for 24 hours until everything has set. They have made a good job of a tiny corner at the front of the house which, I swear, the original housebuilders filled up with hardcore. The soil was so poor. We had all the plants taken out, the soil removed and replaced and the plants replanted. They look happier already! It was so bad that I filled it up with annuals. Some flourished (marigolds). Others packed it in (petunias). So there is space for more perennial plants and we have a list prepared. The first thing to go in will be some tulips. Replanting will start tomorrow if the weather holds. We are pleased. One has a vision in one's head but life has made one used to the final product not looking so good as the vision. Well the result this time looks rather better than we imagined it.

Apart from continuously brewing coffee and tea (Don't they eat a lot of biscuits!!), I have finished a scarf and started a second one, this time in undulating twill. Also done lots of paperwork. I am still hunting for a Japan visit diary.

Monday 17 October 2016

Guild Weekend

Every two years, the Guild holds a weekend full of textile courses. We all stay in a hotel and live undiluted textiles for two days. This time it was tapestry, rag rugs, basketry and design. There were four rooms full of silence and absorbed students concentrating. The evenings were another matter, gossip, catching up and drinking wine or G and T as you fancy. The hotel was good and we were all very comfortable.

I returned home to a long list of things to do because I am off to Japan in two weeks time. The first job was to find my Japanese diary in which job I have failed so far. I have found three design note books, twonotebooks on music courses, several notebooks on gardening, and lots of travel diaries but not one on Japan. I am going to have to widen the search.

I have done some jobs on my list, written up the weekend for the Guild newsletter and several other documents, paid bills.One important was to admire the building works in the garden. We are rather pleased. They are making a good job of it. Wednesday will see the replanting start.

And I did do some weaving. The first scarf is nearly finished.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Ally Pally and all that

The Knitting and stitching show is always held at Alexandra Palace (= Ally Pally) in north London. I went once many years ago and the journey there was horrendous so I refused Dorothy when she said she wanted to go, would I come too. But she persisted and found a coach going from Maidenhead for the day. So on Sunday I was out of bed at 0630. I have to admit it did work. We went with a long list and got most things on the list. Nothing very exciting, bobbin holders and the like. When it says Stitching, it means embroidery and one the best exhibitions was a student show where I even bought some bits of embroidery - owls to paste onto the front of a book as a Christmas present for my youngest grandson.m

Yesterday was spent traipsing into Reading hospital and back. So today has to be devoted to gardening as the garden is not quite ready for the builders on Thursday. I need to move a load of plants from the area where they are putting in steps. I have taken some photos of what it looks like now for a before and after comparison.

A small patio goes in the top left hand corner. There is a set of steps going up from the bottom centre between the two phormiums. These are being widened and the rockery on the right will be pushed back.

I have been busy thinking about textiles. Next weekend is the Guild Weekend Retreat and I am going on a course entitled 'Design for the Terrified'. The materials list is long and baffling. I am supposed to take appropriate equipment for my chosen craft. If I do not know what I am going to do, how can I warp up before hand? And I hardly want to warp up the 12 shaft Meyer there. It would take too much time. So I scrabbled about in the studio until I had found a Weavette. And I have put a load of yarn that I cannot think what to do with in a plastic crate. The spare room is filling up with stuff to be taken. I still have to find a few things.

I had a major triumph yesterday in that two different web outfits charged me with one of these automatic annual charges. One was a security outfit where I intended to cancel the subscription and they took the money four weeks before it was due for renewal, thus not giving me time to cancel so I pointed out they were being illegal and I wanted my money back - and got it. The other was similar but I had left it a bit late so I suggested they take a month's rental and give me back 11 month's dues. They refunded the lot. Mind you it all took hours. And just for the record, because they hide these things well on their websites, you can get at them through your credit/debit card services. They will cancel an automatic subscription if ask them.if asked.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

A new project or two

I finished off the rather garish scarf I have been weaving. It is mended and fringed but not washed. I have worked out the numbers for the Hampshire handspun and can get 5.5 metres out of it. So I will wind the warp tomorrow.
The other project involved mucking about with Photoshop, making this year's Christmas card. I created a Lino cut at West Dean this summer. It was scanned in and text added and the layout organised to print two cards. The inside was similarly organised and printed on the back so all I have to do is to use the guillotine and fold the two cards. I have a large number to print.

I have been doing a lot of gardening. Some of it explained by the garden needing attention but some is due to the builders moving in next week. We are having work done in the garden, laying a small patio where the garden catches most sun, widening the steps up to the garden from 3 ft to 6 ft and installing a bannister on one side. Also removing a large tree from the rockery and relaying the rockery which means putting the large stones back in the places they have fallen from. And digging one complete border and replacing the soil. So my job is move everything worth keeping from the scene of operations and plant the plants elsewhere. All the preparation has been done. If the weather forecast is correct, it will be sunny tomorrow and I will get the replanting completed. Gardening always improves my temper. Something to do with seeing results immediately.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Depression and new projects

Last Saturday it was Guild monthly meeting and it was rough. I ended the day very depressed. I am glad I only have a few months left. I should never have become chairman as I am not good enough at people.

So I decided a few artistic endeavours might improve my temper. The first is a new stripey scarf of merino.

And the other project was a concertina book which is made from photos  of a Suzhou garden. Suzhou is about 30 miles from Shanghai.

The paper is still damp which accounts for the fold on the front.


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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.