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.


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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.