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!


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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.