Sunday 31 December 2017

New Year

I have eaten way too much since I last blogged and not walked enough. My excuses are that the food is great and it has rained/snowed/blown all the time since last Sunday. I have not even managed to get to the allotment. What I have done is finish tidying the studio in preparation for the arrival of the new Schacht and made sure there is enough room for it. It is in the U.K. And the agent tells me arrival is scheduled for Thursday or Friday next. Also that it consists of two parcels, each weighing in at 40 kg. And how do I get them up the stairs? Easy. You ask the family if they would mind dropping round.

I have wound a warp on the Meyer 12 shaft. It is beige (neutral) merino worsted at 2/30nm and will be the basis for several scarves using as weft spun wool from Rosie which is a lot thicker. These will go back to Rosie for her charitable efforts. I have created several drafts based on twill for this warp. The only problem is that the patterns will not be square and I may not be able to stomach that. But fear not. I have a number of texture patterns which can be used. I am threading up on a straight draw on 12 shafts so I have lots of options. 

The Guild weaving group is working on 'Design your own thing'. It has to be based on a photo and I have one of red/yellow sand dunes. My original plan was to put a 4CDW in fine silk  on the Guild 12 shaft (I am giving this a good home while Rosie entertains her two children plus better halves plus two kids each over the holiday period). But there are only 50 heddles on each shaft so I considered  my own 12 shaft. Not enough heddles on Shafts 1 and 2. So I reduced the width until it fitted at 8 inches. No way am I warping up something on a table loom which has so complicated a liftplan and only 8 inches wide. I tried all sorts of drafts and came up with a great Quigley draft. Which still was difficult to fit on either 12 shaft. So I took a command decision. The Quigley draft is great and it will be done at 30 inches wide or maybe 40 on the Megado as soon as I finish the curtains currently on it. 

Hence the sudden injection of Rosie's scarves into an otherwise carefully planned timetable. Besides I have done no weaving for the last two months and am suffering from withdrawal systems. However the studio cupboards are full and four sets of drawers have been demoted to the garage. Which is in a shocking state and needs a big clean up. 

Last Thursday we spent the day in Oxford, split between the Ashmolean and the Bodleian. I introduced Dorothy to the Bodleian cafe and its shop where she was quite overcome and we both bought books and - and - and. The cafe, by the way, is very good indeed and I highly recommend it. 

So I have a list of things to be done this week. I ordered the seeds last week and a toolbox for the allotment. These will turn up soon. I have done the Bookbinders account and inspected the Guild's new website, which looks great to me. It will be inspected by the Committee next Saturday. 

Monday 25 December 2017

Christmas Eve

The first family party was lunch yesterday and was the usual mixture of paper hats, good food and wine and silly games. Then a collapse in the evening. Dorothy did a round up of what we ought to watch over the next few days. I pointed out to her that, barring the Christmas Bake-Off, everything else on her list was an elderly film, Scrooge, Oklahoma, Singing in the Rain, Guys and Dolls. The next family party is in Leamington Spa next weekend. Although we have a raft of people here next Wednesday.

And in all this chlorestrol increasing non-activity, I have had a magnificent Christmas present from Linda Bowden in the States. We met at a three day Convergence class in Tampa Bay on Japanese dyeing. She mentioned that she did Saganishiki and the tutor persuaded her to bring in her loom. She lives locally. And she did and it was quite something. It is Japanese weaving using gold foil strips as weft. My present is a set of buttons which are wood covered with saganishiki fabric!!!!! And a note to say use them on something you have woven and are making a garment out of. I do not think I have anything in the cupboard which is grand enough. And already my mind is devising and rejecting possibilities. I rather like plaited twill  and wonder in a fine silk would do. I am very excited about this. They are in a little plastic bag and I keep getting it out to admire. I ought to say that the weaving of Saganishiki is very slow.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Family party

Today, it is a family party in Wokingham. Everyone is buzzing around doing things but I cooked my contribution (pheasant pate) yesterday and brought it along this morning so I am lurking by the Christmas tree, keeping out of the way.

Mentally I am taken up with a bookbinding problem. I am binding a copy of The Illustrated Man and spent several hours last night creating the artwork for the cover. And did not like it when I had finished. It does not look like I imagined. I am not at all sure whether to try again with a different, fatter, font or abandon it.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Edinburgh Airport

Here I am sitting in Edinburgh Airport and I do not seem to be going home any time soon. Rumour has it that our flight has just taken off from Heathrow and will be here shortly, that is, we will depart in three hours. The flight was supposed to depart from here more than an hour ago. Oh well!. Added later. We left 4 hours late and were given instructions by the crew as how to get compensation!

And I left home at 6 am this morning to attend my sister's funeral in Dunfermline which was full of family but not very cheerful. Memories will be dominated by wondering whether we will be sleeping on the airport floor tonight. 

The last few days have been tidying up days and included doing the 2017 bookbinders accounts. As treasurer, I have been bleating about not charging enough for courses. This year we raised the prices a lot and have made a very large profit. I am going to get it in the neck at the AGM. Treasurers are a funny bunch. They end up treating the money as theirs to guard and do not like it being spent. Bit like Smaug the Dragon. Just sit on the gold and glare at everybody. If neccessary, crisp them. 

I have designed a draft - four colour double weave in 90/2 silk. And it is for 12 shafts. When I get home, I shall wind the warp. I have also made progress on the photography course and have nearly finished section 2. I found it a bit boring. The next section loooks more interesting.

The last section was about lighting and Photoshop. I am not at all keen on messing with a photo in Photoshop. I know people who will replace the original sky with something from another photo taken at another time. That is no longer a photo but a work of art. Anyway I have had to 'adjust' a photo and here it is.

The original

It has been darkened in some places and brightened in others. I remain unconvinced.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Still Not Weaving

The storage has been installed and things are stored in it but I have not got round to weaving yet. In fact, the computing box is still off the loom.

Last week I was at West Dean College for a Linocut course. This was very successful from my point of view. Lots learnt, lots to take home. This course was about using more than one block at once.

Both are printed with two blocks. When I came home. I immediately set about filling the new storage. As I suspected, I have put in all the loose stuff and 16 drawerfuls of yarn and a small loom, and an inkle loom and there are still empty shelves!!

Now to do some weaving!!

Sunday 10 December 2017

Off to West Dean --again!

This week has been very traumatic . First of my youngest sister died after a very short, very nasty illness. To the extent that it has to be investigated. But also it made me realise how little I knew her. By the time she was 12, I had left home and since we never lived anywhere near each other, there was  never any opportunity to get acquainted. The other odd fact is of the three sisters, she was by far and away the brightest. I do not think that made her get a lot out of life. Dorothy and I have racketed round the world, seeing and doing as much as possible but she was never out of the UK much.

Anyway we are booked into courses at West Dean College and at 7 this morning, it was snowing. It got steadily worse and, since I was driving, I decided to leave as soon as possible. Still snowing and the TV news is that Reading a few miles north has come to a standstill. So we left and a few miles on our way South, it started raining and got warmer. By West Dean, there was sunshine and blue skies.

And as a cheering bonus, I take a magazine called Print asking today and the latest issue had a printed centrefold which said 'cut out, fold along lines and glue no. No more than three cuts. ' well! It was great fun. And I have got photos to prove it but the iPad is not doing the right thing.

Friday 8 December 2017

The Storage

The workmen have not finished yet. They will be done on Monday, only having to put in door and door pulls. But I am impressed by the amount of storage I will have. Far more than I had imagined.

I have been cut off from weaving and dress making so today I went to the allotment to put in some fruit bushes. I did lots of odd jobs including sorting out the bookbinding room. Actually this room is a teeny tiny space, hence a need to tidy up quite often. I found all sorts of things which are no use to me, lots of laserjet paper for example and lots of 300 gsm watercolour paper. That must be left over from Michael. I do not see me buying that - ever.

And I just wonder if that is going to happen a lot when I am allowed into the studios to put my stuff/stash away.

Wednesday 6 December 2017


The workmen are here today to build in my new storage. And because we had already had workmen coming in, when the plumber suggested that he install the new boiler today, I thought no harm in that. Well - - - -. Firstly both parties arrived at 0801!!!! I was in my dressing gown and was halfway through breakfast. And I rapidly realised that my problem was that I had nowhere to go! So I am working on my computer. This room has two doors  each going on to a different staircase. I cannot get out to front stairs because the plumber has the landing strewn with toolboxes and plumbing parts. I can get out the back way but not easily or all the time because the installation people are just there. Woe is me!! Actually I do have a load of paper work (design, etc) to do.

Yesterday was my first day working in the allotment. I planted raspberry canes, rhubarb and broad bean seeds. Put in a few other plants and laid down black plastic weed-smothering stuff.  I need to go back sometime today to finish off a bamboo structure to tie the raspberries to and put down more black plastic. I ran out of weights yesterday and came home and rummaged in the garage. In the end I settled for old containers of bird food which I will fill with water. I do not have to do much in our garden these days, all the shrubs are filling out and any annuals I plant in 2018 will be planted out in the allotments for cut flowers.

There are strict rules for the allotment, for instance nothing higher than five foot and no sheds. But I desperately need something  to hold tools, canes etc up there. So I looked at them on line and in the flesh so to speak and have written asking for permission to install one!

The Louet Kombo has gone to a good home, my nephew took all the timber from the demolishing job, I have returned the two Burco boilers and suddenly the garage is usable again.

Given that I can do no weaving, I have been bookbinding. In particular I have put a lot of work into the cover of an opera libretto. I made a lino cut. When I was satisfied, I printed them on linen from a 1920s tablecloth. And when I cam to investigate further, the print was too big and had smudges in ti. So I scanned both front and back, tidied up and will print using the Inkjet printer. In the meantime, here is the finished artwork.

The back cover was too large to scan in as one piece so I made two scans and carefully, carefully amalgamated them in Photoshop, then cleaned up. All I need to do now is print them - but not with anybody else in the house.

I have just discovered that the installation people have piled up furniture against my door to the back staircase. Trapped!!!! I hope no one comes to the door!

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Allotkment Inauguration Day

We took over the allotment a month ago but have not even visited it since the first photo.

I am realistic enough to know that, if I cleaned up the grass and prepared the soil for planting, I would be very slow and would probably do damage to me> So We got the gardeners to come in for the day and I met them there at 0800 hours this morning. It was bitterly cold. I drove in stakes to mark things out , explained it all and left for a warmer spot. When I return at 1100, the grass was gone, only as far as an immense heap at the end of the allotment.

Taken from much the same spot as the first photo. You can see the heap of turf in front of the Scout hut at the top left. They rotated it several times then added a trailer full of mushroom compost and incorporated that.
You can see how dark the soil is with the mushroom compost included. When I left, they had laid down some of the central path. We found we had 35 paving slabs looking for a good home since we had the whole of the front paved. So these have been used. Any plant is going to be happy to reside there. I have ordered cordons of pears, apples, one greengage and one cherry and several soft fruit bushes. I have the raspberries already, carefully put into very large pots so they can be easily transported. I will plant them next week. I gloat.

And while all this was going on, we had someone in my studio, ripping out walls, taking off doors and then making good. It is all ready for next week when they come to install the new storage.  It is very awkward having everything wrapped in plastic, limits what I can do.

Monday 27 November 2017

The Studio is wrapped in Plastic

This morning we stripped out my studio. Well a bit extravagant, we took out everything we had to, and shoved everything else into a corner. Then wrapped that corner in plastic sheets and spare cloths. It all took time , in fact till lunch time. Then I started in on the bookbinding stuff. The book I made over the weekend has worked out well. In fact it is probably the best book technically I have ever made. The design of the cover is based on graphitti I saw from the train coming into Paddington.  Just chuffed in fact.

Other things I have done? Well I brought home all the prints of my latest Lino cut. Lino ink takes some days to dry so the technique is to print on Friday and leave them in a drier in the print room. This one is good and I decided to use it for my Christmas card. So today I scanned it in and printed it out on various sorts of paper (i.e., weights, finish, colour) until I found perfection. In my eyes at least. Tomorrow I will try to make another book like last weekend's. I have copious notes and, when I had spare time in London, I transcribed the notes onto my iPad. First thing tomorrow, I will add the drawings and then start in on a new book.

Sunday 26 November 2017


I know there has been discussion about my romping about the world. Well this weekend I am in London for a bookbinding course with Mark Cochran. He is one of the UK's prime designer Bookbinders. For example, he did the author's presentation copy of The Booker Prize winner which was Lincoln in the Bardo. He has a good blog. I was in fear about attending this course but I am holding my end up.  The course is about decoration on the cover but along the way, we are being taught some very good bookbinding techniques. I am pleased with progress so far.

I stayed up overnight on account of the difficulties with trains early on Sunday morning. So stayed in the Strand Palace which I have not done for years. At breakfast,I did not hear any English spoken at all. And on account of being in London for an evening, I organised myself a ticket to Covent Garden to see Seramide by Rossini. It is a tragedy and I agree with Mr Beethoven who said 'Mr Rossini,you do comic opera very well. You should stick to that'. Rossini's problem is that he has written a tragedy with comic opera music and it is glorious music. The opera house must have felt they had to pull the stops out to justify putting it on because I have not seen anything so lavish in London for a very long time. Munich yes, New York yes, London no. And the house was packed. By the way, the plot was bonkers. But the heroine was Joyce diDonato who I admire.

I have to admit to not being happy about my seat. By the time I realised I had a free evening, it was nearly sold out and I had a seat in something called the upper amphitheatre. Well I suppose you cannot really have signs saying 'The Gods' but that is what it was and nearly at the back as well. I have not sat in the Gods for forty years or more. Normally I sit in the middle stalls, never the circle, too far from the stage. Anyway you could easily get vertigo where I was sitting. But it was nice to walk back to the hotel at the end and it took about five minutes. I did think the music was wonderful and I am glad I went but I doubt if I would go out of my way to see it again.

At the course venue,the Designer Bookbinders are holding an exhibition on binding a set book Emily Dickindon's poems. So here are two nice examples.

Tuesday 21 November 2017

No Weaving

The studio is stripped out, the Kombo is sold, I managed to find the loom instructions for the Kombo and I am wondering how to survive until the middle of January when the Schacht arrives. Oh well.

At West Dean, I had a blanket on my bed which was worthy of attention. Front and back shown.

I can see 10 blocks in this and, although it does not look like it, it is in fact reversible. I am quite taken with this. Woven in wool but distinctly harsh. This is not a merino blanket!

Yesterday we started with workmen although he was not starting on the studio. There is now nice water proof flooring in the green house and outside pipes are lagged and Dorothy has some floor to ceiling shelves. Next week, they start on my studio. In the meantime I have been throwing things out or giving them away. This afternoon, I start on bookbinding in earnest and will try to catch up. I have four books to bind.

And having created a Christmas card from a lino cut, but not, fortunately, printed them, I have decided that my most recent linocut is much nicer/better. It is twice as big but I have decided to put the picture on the inside. So a certain amount of cheer - - - but I am missing my looms.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Drawing Course

For years I have trying to draw and failing. I buy another book on How to draw and stop after two days. So I am attending a course at West Dean on a Drawing for the terrified. There are 12 students and they are all in the same situation as me. Our tutor, John Freeman, is very good. No nonsense about shading in the shadows cast by an apple. And we have done perspective too. As an example see below

 We have drawn groups of chairs round a table and all sorts of other difficult things and not one of us has failed to produce a recognisable image. I wonder what we will do tomorrow, he promises portraits!

I have been reading an interesting book, The Culture of Craft. It contains a load of essays about crafts and some bits are very interesting indeed. Several of the writers are taken up in the argument of craft vs art. One of them does point out that Art Quilts are regarded as art in the USA and they are collected. Galleries and museums show exhibitions of them routinely. But no respectable museum in the U.K would consider doing such a thing. And there is a lengthy discussion about reviews of craft exhibitions in everyday papers and magazines. I mean the Times and the monthly magazine such as Interiors. 

Another writer talks about venues where crafts can be bought. There are three types, the artist studio where collectors and other crafts people would go and talk to the artist, galleries which are few in number and would sell things similar to the studio and lastly  gift exhibitions. These last are dismissed as garbage. 

I am not at all sure about this book. A unified viewpoint is not presented and I was left feeling they had no better ideas for the future of crafts than I had.  It was no surprise to me that painters look down on crafts people and do not regard them, even the best, as artists. From my own experience at Berkshire Open Studios, this is simply not justified. I stewarded the exhibition associated with the Open Studios and noted that practically all visitors walked straight past the ceramics and the sculpture to look at the painting and yet the ceramics and sculpture were very high class while the paintings varied from the really quite good to the truly awful. But the prices on the paintings were very high, several hundred pounds minimum. Oddly enough the prints were firstly very good and secondly much cheaper. Yet they did not sell.  Oh well. I do not see any way to get people to appreciate crafts and this book does not help. Sounds mostly like a pair of cats squabbling in a dark cellar.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Athens Wednesday

Today was Museum day, as if yesterday was not. We walked through the National Gardens to the Byzantine Museum which was excellent. Carvings, icons, frescos, were all there although I was disappointed that there was NO woven silk of 8th century and no Treasure Bindings either. Oh well cannot have everything.

Oranges in the garden of the Byzantine Museum. Then to the Cycladic Museum. Lots of black and red vases and gold and silver, all very beautiful. The shop was startling. Full of reproductions (expensive) and each with a certificate saying it had been made according to the same techniques as the original. So I went Christmas shopping. Now I am wondering whether to go and buy something for me! By the way lots of images of ancient ladies using spindles.

No photos possible but below is one of their famous cafe ceiling!

Then walk home by the gardens and collapsed in a heap. Later we walked round to see Hadrian's temple but it closed at 1500! So we walked round the block and I took loads of photos including the one below.

Tonight we are trying an Indian place next door. Tomorrow we have to cram a lot in  but as we have walked six miles each day, we should be okay. Dorothy feels a quilt coming on and I have ideas about a weave based on some stuff in the Acropolis Museum.

Tuesday 14 November 2017


It seems some time since I blogged. I have done a lot. Stripped out my studio - and found all sorts of things. The oddest are lengths of wood with holes drilled in them and screw eyes inserted with lengths of TexSolv attached - and carefully labelled  'for warping up on the Kombo' or a larger version labelled for the Megado. I cannot work out how I used these! The Kombo no longer matters as it is going to a good new home. It was on the Loom Exchange for all of 2.5 hours before being sold and off the website that day.  And I am quite happy using the ceiling valet for the Megado. So all these bits of wood plus a lot of lengths of dowelling are sitting in the garage waiting on my return in a few days. Anyway all is prepared for demolition next Monday.

Dorothy and I are in Athens because I was here for one day in April. I raved about it and we are on a very short cheap package. Today we walked for miles and did the Acropolis, the Museum and Hadrian's Arch and temple. It was a gorgeous day until 4 o'clock when it came down in torrents but by that time we had had enough walking. Dorothy has mentally designed a quilt and I found that the Museum. Had printed the book I thought they ought to have when I was here last. It is all about the painted clothes on the maidens. And on inspection, I reckon they can be woven in Biederwand although it will probably need all the shafts I have. 

Taken at 0730 am from our hotel.

The Acropolis as building yard. They even have a railway line to shift blocks of marble about.

You can see the Acropolis through the Hadrian's Arch. Sorry about the angle but I cannot remove it through the blog.

Sunday 5 November 2017


On Saturday morning (early) I finished weaving the space dyed Tencel. No errors that I could see so I took it to the Kennet Valley Guild Show and Tell. Also spent a long time in the garden taking pictures, both in the sunshine and in the shadow. The colours are quite different in the two cases and this is not the camera but iridescence in the fabric.

The lower photo was taken in sunshine.

Today (Sunday) was devoted to stripping out my studio and shifting as much stuff as possible out into the spare room. Cally Booker is about to visit us and I hope she has been warned about the spare room. You can reach the bed but the room is very crammed - and cramped.

I have some furniture yet to move which will be done tomorrow. One problem is that I do not want to hid things away too well in case I want something out to use. I will not get the room back until December 9th and will get no weaving done in that time. But I have lots of bookbinding and lino cut projects to complete, not to mention framing a load of pictures.

Saturday 4 November 2017

Indigo Day

I have had complaints about no blogs being written. I am not at all sure where the time has gone but I have frantically been trying to catch up. The space dyed Tencel piece is within sight of the end. I reckon I can only get another 8 inches out of that. And then tomorrow I have to strip the studio down ready for the workmen to wreck the room, then rebuild it. Gardening has been done but I am behind hand, in particular, with potting up auriculas but I have started on them. I have all sorts of ideas for projects but where to find time to carry them out?

I did spend a day with an indigo vat and had a few people round to help use up the vat. I dyed a whole lot of yarn including one silk warp, a thick skein of very fine wool and 4 balls of linen and cotton which were half dunked in the vat giving a nice short repeat of about 6 inches. I think this will look good.

The drying rack is in the garage along with all our other junk so the photo is not up to scratch. One result of this photography course is that I am getting fussy about all photos and a lot of the fabric/yarn ones are for the record only!

Now off to finish the Tencel fabric. I will have 4.5 metres and it is 27 inches wide which should be enough to get a shirt out of.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Throwing Plates

I realise that my blog is a bit boring at the moment. I cannot weave on the Megado - I am waiting for yarn to arrive and I must weave on the Kombo which you know about. I must because I must take it apart and move it at the end of November, actually by 20th November. So I dare not do anything on the Meyer. I will reserve that for the three weeks when I cannot get into the studio!! It is not that the work will take that long but that we need to have two lots of workmen in and that is what their calendars allow.

So I will cheer you all up by retailing the story of yesterday. On my photography course, there was an exercise to take freeze frame photos of something breakable. So I visited the Theale charity shop and bought a dozen plates. At first Dorothy threw them out of an upstairs window but that was too violent. So she stood on a chair on the patio and threw them while I took multiple photos. Here is one.
I got four sets of photos before running out of plates. And now have a bucket full of shards for the bottoms of pots. My one regret is that I did not take a photo of Doro6thy standing on a chair and throwing a plate on the ground with all her might!!!

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Go back to sleep!!

This photo below is of Iris Unguicularis.

and it did not ought to be in flower now!! It is supposed to flower in February/March. I brought five plants from Malvern with me. (The description in the Sales notice said 'The seller reserves the right to take any or all of the irises in the garden'). Three went into a tiny border, fully exposed, at the front of the house and two in the back. This iris takes a long time settle down and you cannot bank on any flowers for 2 or 3 years after planting. They had been in place in Malvern for many years and they usually managed two or three flowers each plant per year. Here last winter (their second) all the plants flowered with a lot of blooms. And here they are showing as many flowers at once as I had altogether in some winters in Malvern. I might add that the other two plants have flowered just as well. Each flower is about three inches across. I gloat. But they do look nicer in February when there is snow.

I decided that the Tencel warp was not well enough wound on and cut off the two metres I have woven, pulled out the warp and rewound it very carefully. I am having trouble with the shafts which seem to move up and down relative to each other quite a lot -  enough to cause missed warp threads. Well back to weaving.

Friday 13 October 2017

Basis of Current Tencel Weave

I have been weaving samples from a collection of late 18th century drafts. They are not really patterned but textured. A four shaft example  that I did had a ribbed effect on the back and you can see why from the draft. There are long weft floats and these will make the warp threads bunch up on the back.

The sample was done in white warp and weft and 20/2 yarn..
The above is a photo of the back of the sample. My thought was to weave using a space dyed Tencel  which has a long repeat and that means if you used it for warp, you would get weft stripes, albeit narrow. I thought that would look horrid and is the reason I still have this lovely yarn (From Just Our Yarns in the USA). I could not think of what to do to preserve the lovely colours. This way of using it so the colour is in the warp seemed to be the answer.
You can see the dark blue cotton weft between the coloured warp stripes.

Thursday 12 October 2017


I am getting on very slowly with life, mostly due to the course in photography I am doing at OCA. The latest hiccup has been a requirement to photograph a landscape. Landscapes from any vantage point are rare around Reading. In fact the countryside is very flat. And what is not flat is densely wooded. So I have been traipsing about the countryside looking for suitable viewpoints and then discovering I needed a remote control and buying one and learning how to use it. And driving around Newbury and not finding a good view where I could park. In the end I found a site close to home at Aldermaston Village. All very satisfactory. Well. maybe not but it is what they are going to get!!

At another site, a layby in Brimpton, the notable thing was the cows. They rushed up to see what I was doing and watched me closely. It is a bit disconcerting to have all those heads moving together when you move the tripod from one end of the layby to the other.
On the weaving front, I am getting on with the space dyed Tencel which I am still enthusiastic about. I have several jobs I must complete but this is the most urgent as I must move this loom, the Louet Kombo, out of the studio by the third week of November at the very latest. I am making no attempt to move anything at all out yet. I prefer to do it all at once. At the very worst, I can send for the family to come and help!

But now I must put in some preparation for the first of this term's bookbinding classes on Saturday. I am rebinding a copy of Ruskin's 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture' in leather. It was originally on boards but with a school badge embossed on the front. Apart from the covers being off when I got the book, I do not want the badge so black leather and gold lettering it is. It will take me three weeks to do.

Friday 6 October 2017

A Traumatic Few Days

I am surprised I am still vertical. Recording things as they happened this week. On Monday I had a man round to design a fitted unit in the studio to use the space better. The design is great. I had vaguely taken on board that I would need to clear some stuff away but sort of envisaged piling it in corners as the new units only take up only wall. Not a bit of it. Everything has to go somewhere else. And waving a hand at the Megado, he added 'And that will have to go'. I made it plain that the Megado was a fixture and his men would have to work round it. A concession by me was saying I would remove the electronic unit from it. While he was busy drawing up the units, there was a loud bang , followed by the removal of power from the top floor. That bit was easy to deal with since we now  have modern trigger switches. But the death of the desktop was another matter. So Wednesday saw me in Reading buying a new one. And Thursday saw it activated. Things have improved a lot. It took two and a half hours to get it functioning. But another 24 hours for Dropbox to transfer all the files. However they are all there - except one  and the hard disk from the old one can be searched for that.

What else? Well I have posted a load of photographic exercises on my course but am having trouble with the current one. You can imagine me clutching tripod and camera at sunset and tramping through long grass to find a suitable view point. The vew was not very good and the photos were poor so I will have to spend the weekend sorting that out. I am running slow and the College has written me an email saying so.  I did go to Germany and 'waste' two weeks at the beginning.

What else? I never said that the book on Fan Reeds has been published and I have a copy sent to me by the American publishers. Today a second copy arrived from Manchester. This threw me and I rang them. They tell me it is a review copy and it is free. Who I am supposed to be reviewing it for, I do not know. Unless I hear to the contrary, it will be someone's Christmas present. I have written a few pages of it.

   Oh and one last thing - very important. I have ordered a Schacht Mighty Wolf with all the bells and whistles as recommended by Rosie Price. But I have asked that it not be delivered until the first week of January. I do not want another large object cluttering the house up until the new units are installed. Anyone want a Louet Kombo with loads of extras plus a fan reed attachment? Going cheap. Quite old but still very functional. Oddly enough not buying a TC-2 makes one feel quite rich! Hence new unoits and a Schacht. My only excuse is that I have wanted one since I saw one at Barbara Walker's class for weavers many years ago. It was owned by Suzy Gough. Last time I spoke to her, she still had it.

Monday 25 September 2017

Weaving Space Dyed Tencel

The Tencel is set at 30 epi and weaving on a table loom is slooow. But I am getting there

The photo does not show the texture. The vertical lines (Tencel warp) are raised slightly giving a ribbed effect in texture. The weft is a 30/2 'indigo' cotton.

On Saturday, Ruth and I set out on a great expedition. We went to the Sewing Bee exhibition at EXCEL in the Docklands. The journey took 3 hours each way!!! When I arrived at EXCEL, I was grumbling about the journey time. When I left, it was a different story. It was a really good exhibition. Loads of high class exhibitors and we spent a lot of money. But then we found exactly what we wanted. It is a much smaller show than is held in the NEC but then a lot of exhibitors there are just dross. So happy.

And on Sunday Dorothy and I went to the Wokingham Art Trail. And this knocks Berkshire Open Studios out of the ring. We only got round three venues but they were all great. And I ended up borrowing money from Dorothy to buy Christmas presents. Really high class. Gloria Pitt, a local weaver, was there with her ethereal scarves.  A great treat all round.

Today Dorothy has gone to visit a friend and I am tidying up and finishing odd jobs. You know the kind of thing. I cannot take any photos of samples until I have cut some card windows and I cannot do that because I have a repaired book drying on the cutting mat. I need to cut out card to make a cover for the repaired book but I cannot get in to do that until the book has dried either. Oh well. Time for lunch.

Monday 18 September 2017

Warping Up

It occurred to me that I have not posted photos of weaving for a long time. There is a reason -  because 90% of what I have been doing recently (last 6 months) is for various books to be published and you are not allowed to publish such data. So I have done a lot - but it is all finished and I can show pictures again. The one below is my warping up on the Kombo using the valet set in the ceiling. I have now got to the stage of threading and it is very slow. it is very fine thread.
And yes the warp is weighted with a plastic milk carton two thirds full of water.

Today I drove to Leamington Spa by way of Chesterton Mill.

And yes it was very grey.

Thursday 14 September 2017

Back to Normality

Well, more or less. I have wound a warp of 20/2 space dyed Tencel, bought at Tampa Bay Convergence. At long last I have found a draft worthy of it. Nothing to show yet except one warp being wound.

The garden is in fine shape. The sweet peas are over but not the French beans or the tomatoes. I grew three different lots of rudbeckia and they are all in flower now. The third lot are not to my taste. The flowers are half the size of those in the photos and are white with a red flash at the centre - and lots of flowers on a plant. I like them flamboyant.

And last but first in my list are the zinnias.

I tidied up my studio this morning. You can actually see the floor! And I started on tying the Megado warp on. It was cut off so I could take photos. But I need the Megado to do something else, not the Tencel piece which will be woven on the Louet Kombo. So it is back to weaving with a vengeance. Nothing like a lot of bus journeys staring out of the window and thinking!!!

Saturday 9 September 2017


We had a concert in the morning then I went round the city centre being a nuisance with a camera.

The ceiling of Thomaskirche where Bach worked.

Not a church, not the main University building and yes it is finished!

I spotted this very modern church from the bus entering Leipzig yesterday I asked the tour staff exactly where it was on the ring road so I could go back and photograph it. But no one knew what I was talking about. So after I had 'done' the city centre, I returned to the hotel and looked at Google Satellite view and it was 20 minutes walk away. So I went. Very new and rather special. The square tower is very high and has no windows to break the line. There are Large Victorian buildings all around it.


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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.