Monday, 23 April 2018

The Schacht - at last

I have been working on the Schacht over the last two days. Tied up the treadles and started weaving. Of course there were problems - until I discovered how to fix the back beam by tightening up the spring. Very easy to weave on though it is many years since I last wove on a floor loom. I keep trying to cross my feet and spend a lot of time checking that I have my foot on the right treadle.

The biggest problem is something quite different. Because this was a trial, I looked for something in the stash and found three lots of merino and silk left over from other projects. There was enough to wind a three metre warp. I wanted to use a plaited twill and warped accordingly. The three colours were pale blue (space dyed by me), pale lavender and a mid blue. So I wound the warp two colours together and moved from mid blue at one end to pale blue at the other. This was a mistake with plaited twill which needs a dark and a light and no variations in colour. So I tried  a bit of the pale and mid blue. No use. One end shows up the pattern and the other end does not. I tried a cream silk, a lovely yarn and I do not really want to use that up on this trial project. It worked in that the pattern showed up across the warp but it looked horrible.  I had thought I would use a brown chenille but when I investigated, the yarn varied between dark and light brown and that would be a mistake. So I went hunting in the cupboard and found a whole cone of brown Shetland, nice stuff, and that works!!!

And a close-up.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Busy Busy

I was round at the allotment at 8am today. My back gave out at 10 am so came home.
Potatoes planted and ridged up in the foreground, fruit, hard and soft all sprouting on the right rear, broadbeans to the left with small flowers and iris plants beyond. There is still a bit of weeding to do but I will do that tomorrow. Fortunately the garden is looking after itself. Everything is growing up and smothering the weeds. My only problem is the greenhouse is bulging and I dare not plant out the sweet peas yet. I cannot pot up anything until I get rid of some stuff from the garden.

I have been weaving on the Meyer. I tied on another warp, the third one and started weaving two days ago. Yet another twill pattern. I have now done five. This one I like best.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Wisley Gardens

We went to Wisley Gardens today. Lots to see. The new Glasshouses are full of lovely plants

But the alpines and rock garden were good too

After three consecutive days spent rushing around the United Kingdom, I am pleased to announce that I intend to stay at home for the next four days. I have a very long list of jobs, starting with watering the greenhouse. All my seedlings have germinated like mad and I need to watch them carefully.  I hope to finish tying on a warp on the Meyer - and to do a day's lino cutting. This is a novelty. I have never done any in this house. It will be interesting to see how it goes.


We flew up to Edinburgh yesterday for the funeral of Pamela, a friend of my parents. We had three church services, two Catholic, one Church of Scotland, all in wildly separated venues. None of them lasted less than 30 minutes and the Church of Scotland one lasted 75 minutes. Pamela would have hated it. And it was bitterly cold. It is still winter there. No trees out in leaf yet. The high spot for me was lunch - in the botanical Garden which I have always liked. So I cut lunch short and beat it to the Palm House. Took loads of photos. And the alpine houses were a marvel. But then they always were.

We left home at 0530 and got back at 0915. Today will be a  day of rest, I don't think.

Monday, 9 April 2018

A Bit of Weaving

Despite not writing much about weaving, I have been working at the 12 shaft Meyer steadily. Yesterday I cut off two scarves,  repaired them, washed them and here they are
The width is nine inches and the warp is a straight draw. The end of the warp is nigh but I have prepared a new warp and am now tying the new warp on. There is enough for two scarves each 1.5 m long plus fringes. I have two new twill drafts ready which work on a 12 shaft.

A lot of my time is taken up with the Photography course. I have got to the last assignment and have not yet decided the topic for the exhibition but I have written a piece about the possibilities and will have to decided shortly. 

Monday, 2 April 2018


This will be discursive as I said in my essay on photography the other day. Quite strange and I am surprised. Let me explain.

The Photography Course required that I look at a whole lot of work by other photographers and decided what I liked and what I needed to polish up. This refers to genres of photography, that is, still-lifes, insect macros, plant and tree photos, animals, landscapes, architecture, engineering. The trouble is that I took this year long course to improve my compositional skills and find out what I like. And to be honest, the course has not achieved either of these aims. Oh, I have got a lot better at the technical stuff. The family commented last week that I start a photo session by taking a couple of shots, examining them, fiddling with the camera settings. Then do it again and perhaps do some tweaking but that's it. The photos work. Even in darkness, waving a torch about.

So I started this essay with a list of what I do not like as a method of getting rid of some of undergrowth.

Large animals (one leopard looks much like the next)
Insect macros
Posed portraits
Landscape unless it is jagged mountains or boiling seas.

I do like plants and trees.

Then I worked my way through 553 pages of photography sticking post-it notes in the ones I liked. At the end I sorted these out into classes. And guess what -  it was clear what I liked

architecture (modern, you can keep black and white timbered mediaeval houses)
People doing things (not portraits)

So by the time I got to the end of this exercise, I have at least answered one question I was asking of the course 8 months ago. And I intend to set off round Berkshire looking for engineering plants.

Now the relevance to this blog is Could this method be applied to weaving? I have been weaving scarves for Rosie Price's refugees for months and I am fed up with variations on 12 shaft twills. I am bored. When I was tidying up recently I was surprised at the amount of experimentation I did around 2010. And I am thinking of going back to that. It was silk with a painted warp. So what I like is a challenge and if I sometimes fail, so what.

Do you know, I feel much more cheerful.


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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.