Friday 23 February 2018

A New Lino Cut

Ordinarily I do lino cuts to use as book covers or Christmas cards. But I was struck by one of my own photos of the Port of Osaka, cracking plant and all and decided to turn it into a lino cut.

A black and white version of the original.
This is the first state of Port of Osaka I. The second one completed this morning is very different because I have printed it in various colours. I am sufficiently pleased with it to have printed 12 off on decent paper but they are at the printshop in a drying rack. I cannot afford to smudge them.

I am sufficiently chuffed to take another one of my photos of the port and use that next.

Cropped and inverted version for tracing. In three weeks it will be Port of Osaka II. And I can see at least another three in the pipeline.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Weaving - At Last

I have a merino and silk warp on the Schacht but have not yet organised the treadles. I have 6 yards of warp on the Megado but it wants tying on and the laptop reinstalling - it went to Iceland. The 12 shaft Meyer has a fine wool warp on and I am using what the Guild refers to as 'Rosie's Regent Street stuff' as weft. It came from a window in Regent Street (Uniqlo, I think) and has to be used for charitable purposes. So I have taken some (actually rather a lot) of the fibre when spun and am turning it into scarves either for sale to raise money for charity or being given to refugees and others in need of winter warmth. The first scarf was done in a zigzag twill in green wool.

The first one is shown above. It is not perfect. The selvedges were so bad that I felt obliged to overcast them and the sleying is uneven at one point in the width. Actually it was only one thread extra but it showed! Even after washing it still shows. And I tried to be mean about the width. So for the next two scarves, I removed 2 cm each side from the warp, corrected the sleying and installed a slightly thicker wool thread of the same colour at each side for a floating selvedge. The result is much improved.

The selvedges are good and I can see no errors in the body. Mind you, given this draft, any errors may not be very noticeable.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

A Poem

I have had an interesting few days hunting through old documents. Not that old. Something between 1977 and 1982. Let me explain. The photographic course sets out exercises to be done and one I must do asap is to take a photo of a significant place. There is nothing around Reading which fits and eventually I decided I would go back to Newent hence1977 to 1982. I wanted a letter addressed to me at Newent and turned out three quite separate files not to mention looking at bank records and house records but no. I did come across stuff much older - the late 1950s. A big evening do at the Royal Academy (royals came and I was introduced), a congratulatory letter to Michael from the President of the Royal Chemical Society, an invitation to an official opening of a new radio Astronomy facility, and an incredible do at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor in full regalia. Famous conversation there

Michael 'This wine is very good'
Hubert ' Michael, you are wasting good space. There is a room downstairs full of high class claret'

Hubert was right and it was just as well we were booked into a hotel because Michael had to be steered there.

Anyway to the poem which will mean nothing except to a Cambridge radio astronomer. It is all to do with me doing a rather famous radio star survey. And very accurate too.

But to my excellent find about Newent. Of all things I found an airmail letter from my Dad who was in New Zealand on holiday with the Newent address handwritten on it. I asked my daughters if they had anything and certificates surfaced along with a school bill for one term!

Yes I know that publishing one's address like this is a bad idea but it was true 40 years ago and is not much good now.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Visit to London

Dorothy and I went to London for the day to get a cultural fix. We started at the Royal Academy and the exhibition of the Charles I collection. Marvellous. The Mantegna cartoons were there , nicely put into one enormous room. I last saw them 60 years ago when I was a student working for the summer at Teddington. I could walk across Bushey Park to Hampton Court. In those days they were in the Orangery at Hampton Court. This time they are exhibited in a very low light level and it does seem to me that they have faded a lot. There was a large number of world class things, Titians, Rembrandts, a Rubens (you can have him), a load of van Dykes, a Furer, a Bruegel. And a Velaquez which was marvellous. But there were a lot of Holbeins. And I would trade all the rest for one Holbein drawing.

Then a visit to a Pret café and a rather good sandwich and a walk over to Trafalgar Square where we had an appointment for the afternoon at the Coliseum! On the way we walked through Cecil Court. It is a long time since I was there and I had forgotten its excellences. It is a collection of high class secondhand booksellers along with several print sellers. We both did the same thing there, walked past a shop, stopped dead, turned round and went back. And I bought Anne's next birthday present which was a bit difficult because I found myself having to explain to the searcher what it was. I took it out of the bag and the searcher was quite jealous.

We went to see the English National Opera's production of Iolanthe at the Coliseum, very new, first performance was only a few days ago. And it is a romp, from the fire chief who came on at the beginning and talked to the denoument. The costumes were spectacular, the scenery ditto and at the end, most of the cast was flying round the stage on wires. I hope they had air traffic control because the speeds seemed quite high. Oh, I forgot, the music was good too.

After that it was going home time. And I was singing inside all the way home.

Added 5 minutes later. I nearly forgot. Half way through the first act, the Lords come in. In this production in a full sized steam train of the Stephenson Rocket variety plus carriages of the Victorian era.  No doubt it had an electric motor but it produced steam and some very convincing noises and whistles. And one of the Lords was got up to look and behave like Boris Johnson which brought the house down. I cannot help feeling that anyone not British would have trouble following the jokes.

Tuesday 13 February 2018


I have problems with my photographic course. I do not understand what the exercises mean. So each exercise is read through about four times and even then I am often unsure. Anyway the second assignment went through without the tutor throwing a tantrum because of this awful student. I am nearly at the end of the third section and, after a week of hard reading, I think I know what I have to do.

As light relief, I went to a bookbinding (Japanese) class last Saturday (see below) and stayed with Anne overnight. A bit of forethought there. I 'persuaded' her to act as a model for two exercises, then spent Sunday writing them up.

We made two books with quite different sewing techniques, one have never seen before.

And I have got the Schacht in complete order, woodscrews not longer slightly rusty and from my garage, back beam held down firmly. As a result, I have wound a warp, put it on, threaded it and have half sleyed it. I hope to finish tomorrow.

The one thing I have not managed to do is any gardening. Every  occasion when I have time to garden, it is raining. Things are getting urgent and I may just have to get wet.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Back to Work

I have done three loads of washing since yesterday morning. The only thing left damp is a very thick sweater laid out on a towel. I left my bit of the house in a shambles and all has been tidied up. But most of the day has been spent on the Schacht. Firstly I replaced a load of wood screws with the correct Schacht ones, installed a knob they missed out and checked that I could fold the loom up and moved it about on the castors. Then I worked on the draft for the first warp for the Schacht. I had selected a plaited twill and the yarn but realised when plowing through the snow in Iceland, that the repeat is about a third of an inch. So I looked through the stash and selected some silk and merino but it was in four different colours, pale blue, lilac, dark blue and dark purple which I will use as a mixture, mind you, a carefully orchestrated mixture. Oh and the scale of the repeat is now one inch.

Saturday 3 February 2018

Iceland Day 7

Today we all showed our five best photos. Very varied and no repetitions. Then some of us walked down to the farm where there were Icelandic horses. They live outside all year, are very tough and have two coats of hair which keep them warm. Then lunch then all packed into two vehicles and were driven to akureyri to catch a plane to Reykjavik. At the moment we are sitting in the departure lounge waiting.

We walked round the town, population 18,000. The population of Iceland is 350,000. And this town counts as large. It has a mix of cafes and tourist shops. And everything costs a lot. 

Friday 2 February 2018

Iceland Day 6

Not that anything is happening today as far as I am concerned. It has snowed over night and the wind is howling around the cabin, the birches are frantically waving and everyone has gone out (mad) but me. My  excuse is that I am tired from yesterday (true) and have to spend time processing the 706 photos I have taken here (also true). I cannot claim to have done the photos but I have sorted them out into folders. We are required to provide 5 photos this afternoon and I have processed my selection. There are some quite nice photos but I freely admit to finding lumps of lava unattractive even under snow. My favourite views are of vegetation. Although there are some real hits in the waterfall department.

However what I want to do in this blog is to list the clothes I go out in.

Starting at the bottom, ordinary underwear, then silk long johns and longsleeved vest, fleece trousers and waterproof trousers ( which are windproof too) on the bottom half. On the top half a long sleeved T shirt, a down jacket, a heavyweight anorak. Plus neck warmer pulled up at the back 0f the head so the hat overlaps it, thus keeping drafts and snow from the back of my neck. And a pair of fingerless gloves which a cap to cover them. The gloves are a real problem and everyone complains. How can you get at the camera controls without having fingers to operate things? One man has gloves which are fingerless only for the first finger and thumb. I inquired where he bought them and it turns out he thought up the idea himself and persuaded his sister to knit them out of cashmere. Any kind person out there prepared to do the same for me? To finish off on clothing and then there are Teko socks and furlined (imitation) Goretex boots. My feet are always warm, so are my legs. My body is warm until afternoon when my arms get cold. Next time I go out, I will add another thin sweater.  Everyone is kitted out in a slightly different combination but all are layered. As a result, the group looks like an ad for Michelin tyres.

Path through a birch forest.

Godafoss waterfall


Thursday 1 February 2018

Iceland Day 4

In the morning we went to the big geothermal station where there are lots of lovely industrial building. But it snowed and the wind blew and, although I took 73 photos, I deleted the lot in the evening. We returned to base for lunch, hot soup and bread and cheese. Then out to a local lava field where we wandered about for a couple of hours. By this time, the snow had stopped and there was even a little blue sky. The problem is that once you have taken a few photos of black shapes in snow, that is it. 

Ruth is having the same problem. Yesterday I solved it by taking pictures of birch trees. And I think they are much better. We had wonderful trout last night for supper. I think it must have been salmon trout because it was as big as a sizeable salmon. And the locals smoke trout as well as lamb. We get them for breakfast along with boiled eggs, do-it-yourself waffles etc etc.


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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.