Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Iceland Day 3

the temperature dropped overnight from -5 to -12 and I wore a lot more layers today. It was hard work. First the locality was so badly hit by snow that the roads are closed so the tutor whistled up a Humvee (ex US army) which just drove over the countryside.

Hummer tracks in late afternoon after sunset

We went to visit two big waterfalls and that required long walks in the snow. And sometimes the snow was knee deep. Fortunately I had turned my walking poles into snow poles. There were such long distances involved that I thought I would never make it but I did and feel rather triumphant. And got some good photos too. After the waterfalls and lunch (hot soup) we visited a geothermal site where there is boiling mud and steam coming out of vents, very photogenic. The forecast isfor lots of snow overnight and no Northern lights although there are expected later in the week

The group photographing fumaroles in late afternoon

Monday, 29 January 2018

Iceland Day 2

Yesterday we flew to  Reykjavik and stayed the nigh t in a hotel. We started at 5am today. Flew  to Ayurik. And arrived at 0845! We were collected by the tutors, Niall and Charlotte Benvie and drove an hour to our hostel/cabins.except that we took in various sites to photograph and got in at 1700 hours.

So one large waterfall, one harbour, one volcano crater, one set of landscapes. And a lot of snow and incredibly cold. Here are a few photos to prove it.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Getting Ready

Tomorrow at 0800 am I leave for Iceland - for an eight day course in photography. I will be posting everyday so watch for my attempts at the Icelandic landscape. We are based in the north of Iceland and not touring around so no Blue Lagoon pics!! We have a list of 'you-must-brings' which is longer than anything I have ever seen before. Fortunately I bought most of the  stuff for the Silk Route trip in 2013. I did have trouble finding some of it and never found the head torch. The local DIY shop had a selection of three! What has surprised me is that I am taking twice as much luggage for 8 days as I usually do for 2 weeks!!

Today has been full of tidying up. Planting raspberries in the allotment was not on my list but they arrived yesterday with no email warning. But they are planted and lots of tidying up has been done. Most of the auriculas are now in the cold frames.

As to the garden itself, we have the big camellia in flower and the mahonia and the hellebores and one solitary daffodil.  And of course we have

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

On a Roll or Books, books, books.

I seem to be achieving something at the moment. I have spent the last few days binding a large book. Two or three years ago I bought a textblock of the libretto of Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Bela Bartok). Firstly I like the opera and secondly it was illustrated with wonderful prints. I thought I would put one of my lino cuts on the cover but decided that would not do as it would be at odds with the style of the prints in the text. Then I went out to Woolhampton and took photos of the church door (very mediaeval) and processed these in Photoshop to give me the seven doors of the opera but that was too realist for the inside.

Eventually I had an idea for an abstract and that is what I have done.

On the front is a circle made of seven quite different sizes and colours of triangles. Each colour represents the colour of what is behind a different door. This signifies the tight organisation of the castle. On the back, the same triangles are all over the place signifying the total disruption of Duke Bluebeard's life. It has been technically difficult because of the size which is a fraction less that A3.

But there it is after 3.5 years!! Done!!!

Another book has come my way which is quite different.

I was reading an article on irises and there was a casual reference to Sir Thomas Hanmer so I looked him up, then looked up Abebooks and found they had a copy of his book so bought it. And it is very interesting. He was a royalist and left his Shropshire house in a hurry in the 1640s. But he returned and went back to his house and his beloved garden and in 1959 wrote his garden book. The point is, it was known about and authors of the time referred to it but it was not published - until 1933.  And it makes lovely reading. He describes all the varieties of plants he had in his garden and how to raise  them. For instance, he has cistuses and he says, these need to be in pots or they will die in the winter. Occasionally he says, I do not have this, but my great friend Sir XYZ has and he says - - - -. The edition of 1933 is a limited edition. There seems to be a reprint in the 1960s. I have one of the 1933 limited edition! Though I did not know that when I bought it.  But absolutely fascinating. All sorts of plants that we grow today, he grew.

And deepest Shropshire not withstanding, he was no country bumpkin. He had himself painted by Van Dyke!!!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Friday was a good day

I have written about my printer and it coping with 260 gsm canvas. But there was yet more cheer on the way. I go printmaking every Friday in Bracknell. Before Christmas, I cut a new block, based on a work by Homeshaw. The idea was to see if I could copy some of his lino cutting techniques. No way is it a direct copy. It is about A4 size which is large for me. It only took a morning to cut. I halted work on it because I was unsure of what to add and decided that, in the new term, I would print off a proof and then decided what to add. Last Friday, the first proof was done on newsprint (a horrible very thin paper) and decided to print on decent paper and was very surprised at the results.

I was examining the best one when two fellow students peered over my shoulder and both said. 'Leave it alone. Don't add anything.' I was at a loss to see what to do except perhaps try some blue in the sky. So the rest of the day was spent happily printing in various colour ways. And I have decided what to do. This will be printed off next Friday. But I am still chuffed to bits at this first pass. I might even frame the one above and hang it on my wall!!

On Saturday, I drove from home to Newbury, visiting the recycling centre on the way. A couple of hours spent at the Guild's weaving study day then a two hour drive to Malvern for the bookbinders AGM, then drive home in the dark and rain with a lot of traffic on the M4. It was all too much. Today I have spent two hours dealing with the paperwork from yesterday. And now I will start binding one of my part bound books. I think there are five of them!!!

Friday, 19 January 2018


Triumph - but keep your fingers crossed! I think I have sorted the printer problem - without buying a new printer. I got in touch with Brother and was told that the maximum weight for my printer was 220 gsm and there was no through path and I had to use the paper tray. I had already tried 250gsm paper and it got stuck. It was too stiff to go round the very sharp bend inside the printer. But I wondered if 260 gsm canvas would be more flexible so bought 20 sheets. Firstly it is flexible and wraps nicely round a cover and secondly , wait for it, it went through the printer like a dream. Not a hiccup, not even a cough. Just one beautifully printed cover. Yoweee!!!!!

I currently have four books waiting for me to make covers and now I can get on with them!!

This week has been very odd. Wednesday I was in deepest Wiltshire at my bookbinding class with Lori Sauer. Great to be back with a group. Thursday I was in Oxford at the Ashmolean, looking at Islamic textiles and having lunch with my daughter, Anne. And collecting the account books for the Bookbinders AGM tomorrow. Today I am off to lino cutting. And on Sunday Ruth is coming round so we can make final plans for Iceland which is only a few days away. I do feel I have overdone this week. Next week I am only out on Friday so I will be bookbinding like mad. Mind you today should be good. I have cut a new block and will be trying it out today. It looks pretty good to me.

And oh yes, somewhere in all of this, there is a weaving study day for the Guild. I will be going for the first half of the day and then beetling off to my AGM.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Allotment coming into life!

I inspected the allotment today. The cordons are still firmly upright.

And the seeds I planted in early December are all germinating.

The upper photo shows a broad bean and the lower one shows cornflowers. There are cut-and-come-again lettuces as well.  All doing what they should.

I have been wrestling with a problem for my bookbinding. I like to create artwork in Photoshop, print it on to canvas and use the canvas as a book cover. I am down to three A3 sheets of canvas so - - . Well the place I got it years ago has gone out of business and I know it was about 220 gsm weight and that is the maximum for my inkjet printer. Can I find another supplier? Not of 220 gsm. 260 yes. I have asked Brother (my printer's manufacturer) what the max was and the official answer came back. It is still 220 gsm. Does that mean I have to buy another printer? Screams of rage and fury. So what I have done is buy a pack of 260gsm and, when it comes, I will try it out on the printer I have. If it does not work, I will set off miserably to buy another printer. I would not mind so much but there is nothing wrong with the printer I have. It makes a really good job of printing on photo paper. Grrrh!!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Schacht is assembled

Well, not quite. All the bits I have are assembled. Unfortunately I am missing a vital part and cannot put a warp on until it arrives. Missing 12 screws as well but I found replacements in the garage. Today I have to restore the garage to order (tools everywhere, toolboxes left open).

Very nearly completed Schacht
I took yesterday off and went to photograph Theale, a local village which may be small but is more like a small town. It has a thriving high street with the best café for miles around. I took 140 photos in two sessions. What with some I on Sunday, it took hours to sort them out but that is done now and I have polished off three projects.

I realised that, in all the excitement of the new loom arriving, I had done nothing about the first warp. After thought, I decided to do a plaited twill. But I still have to select yarn for it. 5 yards 30 inches wide I think. I will do the selection and sums today

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Assembling the Schacht

After various vicissitudes, the Schacht has got itself assembled. All that remains to do is to attach the castors and decide what I am going to weave first. Which is quite funny because I have not given that topic a moment's thought. It was only when I got the instruction para about the tie up that I realised I did not have one ready!!! But I will, I will. Last week I was ill for 2 days and had to recover for two. Not eating anything for 2 days does leave me below par. The problem is my sister now has whatever it is and so progress on all fronts is very slow. But I believe I might get a draft sorted and a warp planned this week.

I will post some more photos when I have the castors on.

At the weekend we walked from Theale to Englefield and I intend to use the photos taken as part of my course. I will be back there some time this week. In the mean time, here are two views.


Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Mighty Wolf has Arrived!

My new loom arrived just before lunchtime on Friday and by 1030pm I was at Step 14 in the assembly manual, less than halfway through. Today, despite having  been to the recycling tip, attended Guild, watched as my grandson steered the Committee through the new website and got home late, I have assembled the loom bench and tidied up. Tomorrow I shall put the heddles into the shaft. I do not think I will finish it. I have been ill since New Year and half been left short of energy.

I have taken detailed photos and a few are below.

Most of the bits
Half assembled
blood stains - from me.#


Blog Archive

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.