Monday, 30 July 2018


I am at West Dean Summer School doing a week on photography. I thought it would be a good thing after a year with the OCA. Instead I have just exploded at Dorothy who is also here doing a class on painting which has including en plain aire. She complained about that. It seems it was rather windy at the seaside. My complaint is that everything is running behind time and I am bored. As Debbie will tell anyone, I get angry when I am bored. We went to Chichester today and I enjoyed that. I suspect that the problem is that, having spent a year with OCA I have developed a filing system and method for dealing with photos on the computer and have got very efficient. I do have a procedure which I follow rigorously. Oh well. Tomorrow we are off to the races at Goodwood. Horses, bookies, watchers, jockeys. It promises to be a good day. And I must buy some print paper from the shop here.

In the morning, I intend to spend my time in the walled garden here and use the macro lens. I need the laptop to show you photos and it is locked up downstairs. I will put in some photos in the next blog.

And in case you were wondering, Jerry and Tom have gone for a week’s holiday with Julia, the dog sitter. They will enjoy themselves enormously. We are having problems with him just outside the house. We live at the end of a cul de sac and our road is very steep. He has never walked down it until Thursday. Then he spotted the refuse lorry there and set off to visit. When he realised I was after him, he went into greyhound mode which much faster than I can run. When I caught up, the refusemen were making a great fuss of him and he seriously objected to being carried home. I wanted to put him in my car on Friday. Instead he made a dash for freedom — down the hill as fast as possible. I had realised this was likely and headed him off. Since then he is clearly looking to head down the hill to those lovely strangers and I am making it just as clear that he ain’t going that way.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

London exhibitions

Yesterday we went into London to see two exhibitions and ended up seeing three - and also ended up very tired. We went to Tate Modern to see the Picasso and were immediately reminded that I meant to visit the Photographic exhibition which is on there. So we went there first and I was bowled over. I have not seen such stunning exhibition since Rosie Price and I visited the drawings exhibition and took two hours to go round - when we came out we said 'That's it for today'. I could not do that yesterday and we went straight into the Picasso exhibition which was probably a mistake. It was too much of a contrast with the photo show which was almost all black and white. After the Picasso, we went to the RA Summer Exhibition and that was a stunner too. It was colour exuberant as you would expect from something organised by Grayson Perry. But for me, the stand out was a room devoted to architecture. I wanted to take everything home.

Two stunning exhibitions in one day!! There was another exhibition in the RA which I wanted to see but no we were all galleried out and came home.

The Summer Exhibition is worth two hours of anyone's time but the photo exhibition is perhaps a bit of a minority interest. It is about abstracts created by photography. It was a revelation to me. Tate Modern has a very fine art book shop and I bought several very expensive books. The highlight has to be a catalogue with essays on the photo show. We left the house at 0800 hours and returned having collected the dogs from the dog sitter after 1700. By 1730 two dogs and Dorothy were fast asleep in the sitting room. And me? Well I had slept all the way home on the train. 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Ice Plants

I have always like ice plants (mesembryanthemums) ever since I started going to an annual conference in Monterey (mid 80s?). It was held every start of March and ran from Monday to Thursday. So I could get home on Friday But - - - I was taken with the place and easily fell into a routine. Fly out to San Francisco on Friday and take plane to Monterey, pick up car and find hotel. On Saturday, get in the car and drive 17 mile drive, stopping frequently to admire the beaches covered with ice plants in full flower, the Ansel Adams shop (too expensive for me but you can wander round), my favorite deli where the assistant waits patiently while you work out which combination of things you want. And look for the Pacific Coast irises in flower. Then on Sunday I hit Carmel for the shopping street (and Clint Eastwood who was mayor then) and to make full use of my credit card.  On Monday, it was back to reality or rather computational electromagnetics.

A few weeks ago, I was in Dobbies garden centre and they were selling off some very unhappy ice plants which I bought (all two packs of them), took them home and have tended with care. And hurray!! I have flowers. And I have another pot the same size. And there are lots of buds in both pots. They love the hot weather we are afflicted by.

The Schacht weaving is coming on and looking good. The Voyageur has arrived and been assembled, looks good. I still need to put the heddles on (Tex-Solv not metal). I have been dress making which I have not done for a year or so. Shortened a pair of trousers by 4 inches - funny people they must have as customers in M and S. But much more important, lined a woollen bomber jacket. I wove the material some years ago and it got tucked away. I made it into a bomber jacket last winter but was unhappy because the pattern was for an unlined jacket and, when finished, I did not like it  unlined. I bought some green/white/black patterned lining in March and got round to making it up this week. The problem is of course no pattern but it has come out well. I have to finish the hand stitching of the lining to the jacket. Most is done and another 30 minutes will see it finished.

Tomorrow we are off to London to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


The weaving on the Schacht is coming along nicely. This is what plaited twill should look like.

And despite Rosie Price's protests, I have bought a Leclerc Voyageur 15inch with 12 shafts. I used to have a Voyageur 8 shaft which was good but got rid of it in favour of the Meyer - big mistake.

And I have completed a book. A repair of an early Penguin (1959) where the covers had come off. To my great surprise, it was not a perfect binding (standard paperback with cut spine and dipped in glue) but a properly sewn book so dead easy to put into a hardback. The old covers were trimmed at the edges and glued onto the new covers but the spine had long since disappeared so I reproduced it in Photoshop. Not at all bad and certainly good enough for the rest of my lifetime.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

The village fete

This weekend’s excitement has been the Sulhampstead and Ufton Nervet Produce Show. Or SUN for short. It is about 1.5 miles away. So there has been much reading of the schedule and the rules. In the end I entered five classes, French beans, sweet peas as well as three photos. They were set up yesterday and we went round this afternoon. Two firsts and two seconds! So I took photos.

The French beans are mine. 

A winning photo. The other winner was a close-up of a frog which I have shown here before.. 

Other news is that at last I have started weaving on the Schacht again and very nice it looks too. I will post a photo when I have woven a bit more. I have ripped the warp off the Meyer and tidied it up. It has been put in a cupboard until I decide what to do.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

All Sorts

First of all, my tutor has delivered his verdict on my final assignment which was very flattering and rather surprising. He was at me to do some more OCA courses which has caused me to think hard about what I want to do. I am missing the work for the photography course. Because, I guess, I am missing the problem solving. But I do not  think doing another course will fulfill my requirements. I could get one-on-one tuition by going on another course like the Iceland one in January. It would cost less than an OCA course. I have started one project which is taking photos of seed heads. I have worked out a method of displaying them.

Then again, years ago, I bought a book which contained a different photography problem on each page doublet. I got nowhere then but intend to start it up again. If I can find the book!

The next problem is that of looms. The Megado is its clunky self and works for me. I have recently laid out the power and signal cables so as to get everything up off the floor and outside chewing distance of a small dog. The Schacht is working fine. The 12 shaft Meyer is driving me crazy. The  problem is the down side of its size. The distance between heddle and warp and breast beams is very small. The space when shafts are lifted has to be big enough for a shuttle to pass through. So if the tension is good for the lowest shafts, the tension on the raised ones is enormous. Cotton can take it but fine wool cannot. So the tension on the lowest shafts has to be reduced. Then there are skips in the weaving. The last scarf with a fine wool warp is very poor, indeed embarrassing. The Meyer is being retired for cotton only demos and classes. So what am I to use for narrow small projects? The last two days have been taken up with poking round the internet at loom websites and asking questions. The smallest Schacht is too heavy. Remember this loom has to go places. I will not buy another Louet, too flimsy. Ashfords are too big. And so on and so on. Until we reach LeclercVoyageurs. Now I got rid of mine when I got the Meyer. So what about a Voyageur 15 inches weaving width and twelve shafts and coming in at less than 10kg. We found in one of our cupboards a stout bag intended for a sewing machine whose size seems exactly right. I will mull over this solution but I have a strong feeling ——-

And just to finish off, I have been out and about with the macro fitted. This is a cosmos raised by me.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Textiley Things

I have actually managed to complete some jobs! First off, this hot weather made me think of T-shirts and the fact that, in the winter, I had a clearout of same. So what does a girl do? She buys three white cotton T-shirts from M and S and ice dyes them!

Not quite as I envisaged but then that's ice dyeing for you.
I also finished off a green scarf for Rosie from her Regent Street yarn and decided to have a play around taking photos of it. When I enter an item for a juried exhibition, these days it requires a photo. I have never been able to decide how to take these. Should it be a 'show it full length? or should it be an artistic photo with props? So that's what I was trying out. And the following four photos are the best.

For a juried exhibition, it would have to be 1 or 2 but for a record, I like 4 best.

Next up is another Rosie scarf. This time in reddish orange and thicker so weaving will be faster. I am very fed up with these but I have enough yarn to weave another four. Currently I am using a thin oatmeal wool as warp. I am thinking of warping up the Schacht with the same reddish yarn so I use twice as much in one scarf! Trouble they would come out very thick.  


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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.