Monday, 28 December 2020

Red Twill

 A sample of the next twill. White wool warp and red wool weft (part Bluefaced Leicester, part Shetland) natural dyed and a bit variegated but rather nice. 

The other side is colour reversed and looks good. I have yet to decide what colour I should use for the second scarf and have plastic bags heaped on the work table each one holding a different possible yarn.

I had thought to do some lino printing today but it is far too cold in the garage. There is a heater which can be put on but it makes precious little difference even after several hours. I would like to get on with proofing the last three lino blocks so I might put the heater on at 7 am and hope it is a bit warmer at 10. Snow had been forecast for us today but it has just rained heavily instead. I suppose it means the temperature is a bit warmer but try telling the dogs that why there is no after lunch walk. Fortunately we got their early morning walk in without getting wet at all. I am off to prepare a treat for their supper.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Boxing Day 2020

 Everyone agrees 2020 has been a very odd year. And I made a big discovery on Christmas Day. I am well again (Famous last words. Am I tempting fate here?) And the discovery all has to do with the Megado and weaving. I have taken off the two twill scarves I have completed in a fancy twill draft with point twill on 8 shafts.

On Christmas Eve, I wound a warp with the same number of ends and 5 m long, tied this on to the warp ends, got it wound on and now need to retie the treadles. On Christmas Day, I looked at the drafts I had already created for fancy twill and was not inspired, so created four more. General feeling of dissatisfaction. These are all very boring. Now the theme for the Guild`s exhibition in autumn 2021 is `The Sea` and I was vaguely wondering if I could use several  shades of blue with a fancy twill. On Christmas Day, I decided that there was no way I was going to do any more fancy twills after what is on the Schacht was been finished. And a thought came into my head. I wondered if a 4 colour double weave using shades of blue and a little green and black might not be more fun for the theme of the sea. The next thing was I found myself looking up my notes for a 4 colour double weave which was exhibited in Convergence 2010. A very nice draft using 17 colours (!) of 90/2 silk. Well I cannot see well enough for that sort of yarn these days so I have reorganised the draft to work with 8/2 cotton. I already have plenty of that and in shades of blue too. But I will get some more colours from Halls when I am ready to start on that project. It needs 32 shafts which means I have to clear the Megado of the 6 yards of curtain currently on the warp.  And at this point, I suddenly realised that I must be well. I am no longer frightened of the Megado! And I am looking forward to the challenge and 2021. By the way, I no longer have any of the silk, of which I had many cones. I gave it all to my niece, Cally Booker, when I realised I could no longer see well enough to thread up such a fine yarn. Shades of the days when I warped up with a140/2 silk. 

We are celebrating 2020 with all too much food, chocolates, fudge and ginger iced biscuits (a Christmas special by Dorothy). I wish you all a Happy Christmas and definitely a prosperous (= successful) New Year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

More on Fancy Twills

 I have one pattern to weave (about 1.5 inches) and the second scarf will be completed. I have just enough warp let to tie on another warp. So I now need to wind another warp which I will make a little longer than the first one. I have collected up suitable wefts and will change the treadle tie-up to one of my other fancy twill designs.

Lino cutting has been progressing. In particular I have been getting on with the linocuts for The Owl and The Pussycat. I printed all that I had done in the printmaking class on Friday and then carefully wrapped them up in tissue paper so that I could get them home to my drying rack. This operation was successful and I was looking at them together. All satisfactory. However two I was printing for the first time were very poor. The problem was that I was trying to get too much detail into too small an area. So decided to scrap them and start again. I will make them twice the dimensions and, since everything gets assembled in Photoshop, I can shrink the final prints.

Dorothy has been doing online classes from West Dean as part of her diploma work and has produced some good stuff. Below is one of her machine embroideries. I love the tuk-tuks. And if you had not guessed, it is of Delhi.


Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Fancy Twills

 I have created several fancy twills on 8 shafts. They are all quite pleasing, provided you get the right colours in warp and weft. All drafts have a point twill in warp and weft, what changes is the tie up. I decided that I could do several and have set out on that project. The space dyed warp has been mounted on the Schacht and It have started out on one draft. There is enough to weave two scarves with the current warp. (The white tape in lower left is my measuring tape). When I have finished this brown scarve, I will do another one in dark red. Then I will wind an warp ad tie it on, change the tie-up and weave a difernet draft. Do not ask what I am going to do with all these scarves. Keep them till next Christmas?

And now is the time to relate why Jerry is not speaking to me! On Friday I was cutting lino block which involved the use of a roll of tracing paper. This lives in the box it came in. I used the paper and put the box and the roll on a table next to me. Jerry had it down in a flash but I confiscated it and put it far back on the same table. Now Jerry if he stands on his back feet is not big enough to see what on the table. But he is if he jumps and he spent the next 15 minutes jumping vertically and whining. End of story for Friday. On Saturday I was back in that room and he immediately started jumping and whining and then he gave an almighty jump swiped his left paw across the table top and knocked the box to the carpet. Then turned to find I had got there first. So it is now visible and on a very high shelf and he sits and gazes at it. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Next installment

 I have been doing a lot of acid dyeing. First I wound the warp (white wool) 4 m long, Actually as two warps. Then chained the two warps. Then after the usual treatment with synthrapol and vinegar, painted them with three shades of cyan. Steamed for 45 minutes and hung up to dry.  I got the effect I was after and tomorrow I will warp up.

Given that every thing was laid out in the garage and I had lots of dye left, I looked through the stash and found lots of white or cream wool but all in balls. Feeling lazy, I decided to injection dye. It all steamed up okay which I could tell, because when put into warm water after steaming, no dye came out. All I have to do in to wait till it s all thoroughly dry. Mind you, I think the yellow/cream on the right below is not wool but possibly acrylic because it has tuned horribly hard.

Other things? I have finished repairing Dorothy`s recipe book which is more than 50 years old. One problem was that she has been tucking scraps of scraps into it so the newly bound one has a pocket for these. Not something I have done before.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

I am cross

I am cross with myself. I have used thicker weft yarns and yes that is okay. What is not okay is the length of the floats. So I examined the draft with care and yes, there are horrible floats. It will not do. So I will discard the warp. I have worked on a fancy twill (no long floats anywhere in this one. And I will continue with my plan to space dye some wool for the warp. Although I am going to wind the warp and space dye that. So must go and get on with it.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020


It is nearly a month since I lasted blogged and things have happened!! I have warped up the Schacht with a Bateman pattern (see draft below) and warped using Daryl`s method which worked beautifully. Only problem the further I got the more I was worried about the warp. It is cashmere and lovely stuff but it seems very stretchy. I checked the sett (20 epi) by wrapping but - but. When I came to weave the first pattern, it was clear the sett was wildly wrong. Measurements showed it should have been more like 35 epi. What to do? The options seem to be

1) Take off the warp and throw it out. It was a pig to thread up.

2) Resley. Problem is the current  width is 12 inches and if I resley to 35 epi, the width will be 7 inches which is too narrow for a scarf. I have not enough yarn to add to what I have as warp and anyway that would take a lot of effort.

3) try and find thicker yarns for the weft. 

I decided that starting with Option 3 could do no harm and I actually managed to find suitable yarn. The colours are not what I would wish. The original eft was white  wool and the same  black/red of the warp. The replacements are pale lavender wool and a flecked dark brown. The floats are a bit long and I will soldier on. I am thinking of winding a second warp for 20 epi and tyeing that on to what is left of the current warp when I get to the end.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Radio active and all

 The latest in the ongoing saga of my health is summarised by an email from my grandson (father of Libby, my new Great grand daughter). `If there was a good reason to miss a visit - being radioactvve is it!` This is because I spent all yesterday at an Oxford hospital , having a brain scan. After being injected with radioactive stuff. I had to wait 3 hours before the stuff was in the right places for the scan. Nothing like as nasty as an MRI scan. It lasted 45 minutes. So now I am back home and I am going to stay in (it is raining hard) and do some lino cuts. 

But first. I have finished the Echo and Iris course, woven everything off and cleaned up the Schacht. The last bit I wove was a weft of darkblue/grey spacedyed 8/2 tencel. Just to see. Actually I rather like it and if I had tried this at the beginning, I would have done the length of fabric in that. Because I only warped up with a single width of pattern, I wove two lengths with fringes which I am going to sew together to make a runner.

Top Dark blue space dyed weft. Bottom length of fabric.

In tthe meantime, I attended Laura Thomas`s online class for the Complex Weavers. Making mood boards is not my comfort zone but I did it, and did the exercises on colour. Hmph! But, but, I had a great time with yarn wraps. Now the only time I do yarn wraps up to now has been to exstimate the sett, not for colour but I learnt a lot about what works and what does not. Next class is next Saturday. 

And I have finished the calendar artwork and got it to the printer.

And now I am off to work on lino cuts, tidy up the room first and then make a list of jobs to be done.


Thursday, 15 October 2020


I have spent the last week fighting the Schacht about the Echo and Iris course I signed up for. I rechecked the threading and the colour layout, (four colours in succession and repeated ad nauseam) . Still no joy. I wove a single pattern absolute *****. So there I was scratching my head and wondering if I should just abandon the whole project and then I spotted the error!!! My error. I was so taken up with following Daryl Lancaster`s instructions baout front to back warping up that I omitted to put the warp over the back beam. If you think about it, you will see that the tension will go to pot. Well since you can lift the Schacht`s back beam out easily, it was a matter of minutes to correct and get the tension correct. And after that it went very sweetly. My only excuse is that I last set up a warp last November and anyway got confused by this front to back business. One thing I did learn was that that method gives a good warp.

So after al that, I wove four samples, each of one  pattern in four different colours, See the photo below

The weft colours are from top left, clockwise, dark green, dark brown, beige, dark red. I like the dark red best and will leave a length just to show!!

I have spent a lot of time on next year`s calendar. Still more to do and I am not totally convinced by two of the photos. Must get on with though.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Warping up

I decided some weeks ago to warp up the next warp (the one for Marian Stubenitski`s course) front to back because 1) I have put the last two warps on badly 2) The threading is four different colours in the same order across the whole warp. I have never been taught the way of warping up and when I came across an e-book by Daryl Lancaster on this topic, I bought it. It is complex and I have got to the stage of the warp strapped firmly to the breast beam and it is going to be a good thing.

I have not done much on it over the last few days because the printing class has started up. Much taking of temperature, wearing of face masks etc. But I had a great time. I had cut some new blocks earlier and tried them out in the garage but I am using water based inks and Oil based inks give a better result in my opinion. My tutor agrees. So happy days. The ones printed last week are still drying but I will get them home next Friday. 

We had a visitor on Wednesday. Lollipop a Yorkshire Terrier puppy. Minute compared with our two but she and Jerry, our rather larger terrier, got on very well and stormed round the house running races and playing tug. I do not know about Lollipop afterwards but Jerry slept the rest of the day!

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Back to Tomatoes

Did I say we have a glut of tomatoes? I am off now  to finish making soup  for the freezer. 

The spaced dyed fabric is off the loom and the small errors corrected. I will wash it now and put it on the dryng roller. After which I will prune the apple cordons. I did the pears yesterday and they look the better for it. Lots of domesticity about. Not least preparing for a course on Echo/Iris weaving by Marian Stubenitsky. I have bought 8/2 cotton from Halls and will be using four colours. Not sue about these, certainly not my taste but that is what we were instructed. the course by the way is with Online Guild.


Our last day. First took suitcases to Paddington Station and put them in the left luggage, Tube back to South Kensington. We had quite a bit of time spare before we were due at the V and A. So stopped at the first coffee stop we passed. And did we strike it lucky! It was a French bakery and their idea of patissery was French, superb eclairs and strawberry tarts. AsDorothy said, just as well we do not live in South Ken, we would be round there every morning. And it was definitely not standard prices.We eventually got into the museum and started in the Indian section. Dorothy is doing a work of embroidery based on a map of Delhi is is after material. Then into the Kimono exhibition. Well worth the whole trip. A lot of it shows Japanese originals from 16 to 18th centuries. Yuzen and shibori much in evidence. The shibori ones were spectacular but I suspect only if you know how shibori is done. There were a few obis and other bits and piece. Then there was a good section on kimonos as imported to Europe by Dutch traders. And also as the Dutch had made in India for Europe. The Indian ones used Indian chintzes. The last sections were modern and not to my taste at all. I bought the exhibition some months ago, worried that I would never get there. I intend to reread it this weekend to remind myself of all the goodies there. I recommend a visit to anyone interested in textiles though the way things are going, we will into lockdown again soon. We have a tour of English cathedrals booked for November and have had an email from thr organisers to say they are investigating whether the tour is allowed to go ahead.Coming home was just that. Dogs were delighted to see us. Garden is looking fine. Loads of tomatoes. I shall have to make soup.I will add photos later today. 


 Today was even more peculiar. We had afternoon tea at the Ritz. Before you think I am getting ideas above my station, this was the result of a Christmas present to us both from Anne. Anyway very grand and with much amounts of food, all very nice. Sandwiches, scone with jam and cream, small cakes, large cakes and 18 sorts of tea to choose from! 

After that we staggered round to Tate Britain and toured the British art. Dorothy isgoigthrough a Turner phase and so we spend time there. After that it was going back to the hotel. We did sit in the Embankment Gardens and discuss looms. I have more or less decided to sell the Leclerc 12 shaft. And we discussed whether this was a good idea or not. Problem is I prefer to weave on a floor loom. And the Leclerc has just sat empty for sometime, at least a year. I still have the little Meyer 12 shaft to take to courses and Guild meetings.

I do have some good photos but will not be able to use them till tomorrow evening. We go to the V and A for the Kimono exhibition tomorrow, then Go home. And this was never published!

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

London Day 2

Exhausting but interesting day. Set off for the Zoo at nine. By way of Charing Cross and Mornington Cescent and a walk across Regents Park, we got there in plenty of time. A bit disappointing. I think they have sent a lot of animals to Whipsnade. Highlights were the butterfly house, the penguins, giraffes and zebras. A lot of walking was done along with lots of photography. I would attach a few photos but I forgot to bring thr camera to iPad adaptor. Then returned to Central London, at least Tate Modern. We had bought tickets for Andy Warhol whom I do not like. Most of the exhibits I had seen before. Nothing I saw this time made me change my mind. Oh well.

Then we retired to the Tate’s bookshop which is one of the best for Art books I know. Spent too much money. Again oh well. I have not spent much money this year. 

Sandwiched between lunch and the Tate, was a visit to Bankside Gallery. I have not been there for years and it was just  as good as ever. Michael and I used to be members and went there a few times a year. I must visit again. I should say it is mostly a print gallery.

After resting in the hotel we had another Indian meal. Good and a fraction of the cost of last night!

Monday, 7 September 2020

London Day 1

It is my birthday today (85) and we decided months ago to try and get up toLondon for the day. Well what with one thing and another we are at the Strand Palace hotel from Monday to Thursday. A major exercise in booking exhibitions has been accomplished and we started off today. Bus to Reading Station, train to Paddington, taxi to hotel. Unpack and set out for Victoria’s where we had lunch before walking to Buckingham Palace to see an exhibition of pictures and things bought by George IV. The artists on the whole are not first rate. There are two superb Dutch pictures and a couple of Rubens. The ‘things’ were extraordinary. Two umpteen storied pagodas.  reminded me of Kew except that these were six or seven feet high and with lots of gold ornamentation. And a wonderful gold dinner service of which the label said still in use today. That is one in the eye for Trump.

We returned to the hotel and set out later for Veraswamy’s restaurant. An Indian restaurant of the highest class and it has been in Regent street for decades. My dad took me there in the late 50s when  Indian restaurants were very rare. He was a professional soldier and in the Indian Army so he appreciated Indian food. Anyway it is still is exceptional food though not cheap. And stem ginger icecream to end with. That is definitely joining my lists of ice creams to make. 

Tomorrow we do the Zoo in the morning and Tate Modern after lunch. Our tickets are for Andy Warhol but that is just an excuse. They have a very fine bookshop. I highly recommend it for books on art including photography.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

The warp end has appeared!

The end of the warp has appeared! I have perhaps 8 inches more warp before I finish this fabric. Then it will be inspection for repairs, hand wash and think about turning it into a jacket. As preparation I have been working on the colours of the stripes, based on what I have around the house in 8/2 cotton. At one point I had a complex pattern of stripes repeated three times but then decided no. So I have spent time today revamping it to use the same colours but across 24 inches not 8. So I am now already to wind the stripey warp.  The weft colour will be decided when I start weaving. I have allowed one metre for trials

I have signed up with the Online Gild to take part in a course on Echo and Iris weaving by  Marian Stubenitsky. That needs yarn for a warp and she has sent out instruction as to what is required. I checked my stash but no luck. So next week, I will visit Handweavers Studio and buy the four colours neded.

My giant zinnias have started flowering. Below is the first flower.

6.5 inches in diameter. Another has come out this afternoon, so dark a red as to be chestnut and just as big. I wonder if the breeder just crossed a zinnia with a sunflower, I am not enamoured. These are not what I expect from my zinnias. As soon as every one of the plants has flowered, they will be in the compost bin.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Back to Weaving

Yes I am back to weaving. Mainly because I want to get on to the next weaving (fabric for a vest by Daryl Lancaster).  I have bought a pattern from Daryl and also downloaded instructions for making one of her striped warps. I suspect I am going to have to buy more yarn! Not enough 8/2, 10/2 cotton in the stash. Oh well, I am going to do an OLG online course with Marian Stubenitski (echo and iris weave) and need some yarn for that.  But I am making good progress with my dyed silk/merino fabric on the Schacht. Getting near the end and the warp is not well put on so I have to keep stopping and make adjustments to the tension. 

I have cut lino blocks, taken delivery of waterbased inks (easier to clean up) and read several books on linocuts and have generally been crafty.

I am also revamping the garden and cursing. See photo.

This photo shows me (and Jerry) in front of a mound of green about 18 inches taller than me. They are not sunflowers, I only wish they were. I should have read the seed packet. What it said was Zinnia Giant mixed. I did not expect 7 feet, perhaps 3 to 4 feet. Instead it has taken the plants months to get to this size and flowers look as though they will be sunflower size. I will post photos when the flowers appear in a few days. I cannot complain. Fortunately I kept the seed packet so was able to read what it said. So my fault completely but  bah! all the same. I did plant some ordinary ones, about 2 foot high and lovely.  However on the plus side we are being swamped with tomato crop and I grew several different sorts this year, Gardeners Delight, Marmande, little plum tomatoes, Sungold (very tasty). I am bringing in two handfuls of ripe ones every day.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Time Out in Norfolk

The coronavirus has made everything very complicated We had intended to celebrate Dorothy`s 80th birthday is great get together near Chichester  but that had to be cancelled. We had booked the dogs into their favourite dogsitter, so we left that booking and organised ourselves to visit Cally Booker (Dorothy`s daughter in Dundee) but at the last moment entry into Scotland turned iffy and we cancelled that idea. Using a lot of searchig we found a large caravan for rent for a week in North Norfolk (one of my favorite bits of the UK). And we spent the other week pottering about, that is, visiting Kew and Wisley, both of which had to be booked. The rest of the week was  spent in `Arts and Crafts`. Dorothy was printing on fabric and I was doing linocuts. I have not done them at home before although I have the necessary gear, press, drying rack, sheets of glass, inks etc. I used a Burnisher rather than the press but not satisfactory. Next time - which will be a few days, I will use the press. But I got some acceptable prints.

And then we went to Norfolk and it is a nice place. We fond an art shop in Wells and I spent far too much money. My only excuse is that I did buy a few family Christmas presents but I fear that most of the money was on a rather fine linocut of the locality. On the last day, we went on a seal trip to Blakeney Point. We seemed to be moving too fast for photos so I just pointed in about the right direction and went click click click. I was surprised when I only had to throw out 4 photos out of 35. Two were terns flying across and two were people getting in the line of fire.

The photos are from top Wells fairground, beached boat and baby seal. Aren`t they podgy!!

So I need to end with a note about my health. The hospital visits culminated in an MRI scan of my brain which was very unpleasant because I am claustrophobic. And was a waste of time. Nothing at all wrong said the consultant and referred me to the heart people who I visit it next week. However at one such meeting, I was put on aspirin and ever since starting that, I have got better. I would say I am about 95% of what I used to be. Getting through crafts like I used to. Lots of linocuts and bookbinding and an awful lot of gardening because I did not do any from February to July. In fact I am currently planning to revamp the garden altogether, next year early. I am going to a course at West Dean later this year where my ideas should be finalised.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Reading Hospital

I am fed up with visiting Reading hospital (Royal Berks as locally called). They are as perplexed as my GP about what the problem is. However I am doing well and getting up earlier every morning and accomplishing a great deal. For example I could not find my lino inks on Thursday and decided I would have to turn out the bookbinding room. Now the bookbinding room is a very small room. We put a single bed in it when we moved here  five years ago and it was a tight fit. So it became `the bookbinding room (no bed). But it has a metal cupboard and a load of shelves and a desk to work on. Anyway I got only half way through yesterday. I got up at seven this morning and went to work on the room again and by 0830 it was finished. I was a bit scandalised by what I found. A number of totally unused sketchbooks!! A workman's carrying box full of graphite pencils, pastels and so on. and a very large number of unused lino blocks, boxes of paints Oh and my inks! Which I want anyway. So the moral has to be. If you want any art materials, search the metal cupboard before buying anything!!

I have managed to make  fabric covers for two books and create a concertina book on The Owl and the PussyCat. see below.

The illustrations for the concertina book are all photos, mostly taken by me. The idea was that this is a trial in making - actually the first version was awful and badly made. This is the second version but in fact, it is merely a dry run for the final version which will have lino cuts everywhere in place of the photos. That will keep me occupied over winter!!

The other bit of news is that my family and, I fear, the doctors at Royal Berks, are all adamant that I stop driving. Too dangerous - which I admit is true. So my nephew is taking it over and I am coming to terms with a very different lifestyle like giving up my linocut class on Friday because I do not want to wreck some family member`s Fridays. But actually I can do a great deal at home because I have a little press and a professional drying rack. The restriction will be on lino block size. A4 is too big but A5 is okay. I could, I suppose, buy a Columbia press (The Rolls-Royce of Victorian presses) but we  would   have to rebuild the garage to get it inside. I asked my nephew who knows about floor loading and such like topics and he listed the things we would have to do.

So what about weaving? I bought one of Daryl Lancaster's patterns for a gilet (she calls it a vest) but I really fancied using some of her striped fabric. So I got a copy of her instructions for weaving a striped length of fabric, hunted through my wool stash and got all sorts of lovely stuff and designed a stripey fabric. So now I need to finish the fabric on the Schacht. Silk dyed warp and wool weft. On that note, I will go and weave a few inches!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Getting better - probably

I see it is some weeks since I blogged. Well I have been taken up with being ill. Things went being bad and eventually my GP got fed up and said `Hospital. Now. Let's see if they can work out  what`s wrong with you.`  And I got an ambulance and all! Anyway They got very excited and decided it was a brain problem so I got shot to the head of the queue and my brain was scanned. Unfortunately there is nothing wrong with my brain. So they decided that it had to be one of the many drugs I take. And there sent me home saying `stop all drugs`. And I think they are right because have had two days of normality (except for feeling a bit feeble). Monday Dorothy and I went to Wisley and Tuesday we went to Kew. Today I seem to have spent the morning potting up plants. WE have a greenhouse full of tomato plants now and I have actually done some weeding.

Not much weaving has happened but I am definitely thinking about it. I have developed a dreadful memory which is bothering me and Dorothy. But maybe that will recover a bit.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Better News

The rather startling news out of the CT scan was `There is absolutely nothing wrong inside. Absolutely clean` so I have to go through the whole thing again next week while they take tissue samples but they have prescribed a drug which will put a stop to everything. So there is much to be cheerful about.

The garden is blooming. I am frantically potting seedlings up and trying to find places in the garden for flourishing seedlings. This morning I found room for a wigwam of bamboo stakes in the front garden and planted out my sweet pea seedlings. I still have a load of seedings in the greenhouse to pot up. Man-yana!

 In spite of the need for gardening, I have done a lot of weaving and bookbinding. I am creating a fold out book of the Owl and the Pussycat. I started by intending to use linocuts to illustrate it but have ended up with photos. Not at all sure about this. But I have decided to finish it off and then look at it carefully. I am certain I will want to recreate it.

And in the meantime, the garden !

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Not doing a lot

Now I must confess I have been ill since before lockdown and after several talks with my GP, I have been referred to Royal Berks Hospital and have an emergency appointment for a  CT scan on Tuesday. The hospital thinks the worst but I am not so sure. However at least I have been put on the emergency list for treatment. The countdown to the CT scan is horrendous  and everything I am allowed to eat today and tomorrow is laid down. I am going to be very hungry by Tuesday afternoon.

The only thing I have done recently is to watch webinars by Nigel Forster on photographing landscapes. He is very much my style and I am pleased. I got very little out of my year`s course with the Canadian which has now finished. But if I am fit enough I will go on a course with Nigel. One result of his webinars is that I bought a  wide angle Nikkor lens. But I have yet to try it out.

Not much else has been accomplished. I have done no weaving or book binding for the last two weeks. I have managed to keep up with gardening. Lots of little plants in the greenhouse and quite a few need planting out in the garden which is very colourful.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Still surviving

I am still here although I have an emergency appointment at Royal Berkshire hospital for an ongoing condition. It does not bode well and I am a bit scared. I have been through this thirty years ago and scared me then. But I have not been able to do much lately as I get hardly any sleep.

To change the topic completely, on the Tate website there are a few How-to videos, most are on painting (How to paint like Turner) but there is also `How to weave like Anni Albers`. Very do. She is working on a floor loom, four shafts I think and wizzes through designing, warping up and weaving in a few minutes. I cannot think who the video is aimed at. It is too fast for a new weaver, an experienced weaver would know all that. I was interested in the draft but that was never mentioned. To encourage someone to take up weaving? do you think?

In the meantime, I have gone round the garden with the macro les on the Nikon and got some nice photos.

It is very early for the peony as it is for many other flowers this year. My overwintered geraniums are madly flowering and have had to be shifted outside and the auriculas are flowering well too.


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Surviving the Lockdown

The garden has been getting attention and Jerry has been running around outside - helping.

Sitting on the top step and clearly in charge. He loves to doze in the sunshine. The dogs are getting as much walking as we are allowed. Most of the family keep in touch with the phone. Apart from that Dorothy and I are engaged in craft activities, weaving and bookbinding for me, painting for Dorothy. I have been tidying up and have found all sorts of useful stuff.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020


Progress has been made on several fronts and backwards in one important topic.

Firstly the little wood next door to us has burst into spring with the best show of bluebells I have seen here and the anemones are doing their usual showing off. We walk the dogs there. The wood is a bit of an oddity because there are various entries from our estate but all of them hidden and no general access from any road and so very few people are ever there and a code of behaviour has been adopted. If you see someone else, you put your dog on a lead and retire into the bushes by 15/20 feet until the others have passed. But that rarely happens.

I have been bookbinding and have finished a rather nice notebook. I bought 6 text blocks before lockdown and intend to do one a week. I have stacks of endpapers and cloth prepared for use as book covers. This one, for my grand niece who is 12, is shown below.

and last  I have been weaving the space dyed silk warp. Very slow until I remembered that I had two ski shuttles. The problem with a boat shuttle is that I do not get much yarn on a bobbin and a stick shuttle is quite short so needs manoeuvring through the shed. But the ski shuttle works and has speeded things up no end.

I am not very keen on the idea of a jacket in this fabric but will reserve the final decision until it has been washed. It would make a lovely baby blanket and I do have a great grandchild due in August. But a silk baby blanket is not good for machine washing in very hot water. I have been considering whether overdying would be a good idea. Indigo? What other colour would work?

And the backwards project? We have terrible trouble with  internet on our desk tops. Not with ipads in the rest of the house but the computer room is a long way from the WIFI input with brick walls between. It is very difficult to watch an online class in daytime. I have tried all sorts of solutions and none of them are any good. I now know more about the WIFI signal than I did but it is not helping. I feel really upset about this. 15 years ago I owned a software firm and earnt money out of Fortran programs. Now, I am quite ignorant and it upsets me.

Friday, 10 April 2020

The Garden is flourishing

The garden has been transformed in the last fortnight. You would think it was summertime. And the greenhouse is full of little plants liking life very much. And needing watering every day. I must set up our summer irrigation system. Anyway - here are a few photos.

In order from the top
pink lily flowered tulip
our garden steps
apple blossom

And the auriculas are coming out as well.

I have decided to sign up for a photo critique. Ten photos have been despatched. I await with anxiety the comments. And I have done a lot of tidying up. The garden shed has been partially done. It needs a lot more attention than I bargained for. But the greenhouse has been tidied and the dirty pots nearly all washed ready for re-use.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020


Last week I was tidying up my hard drive and came across a nice draft blog about Corfe Castle. Never published so I pressed the Publish key and it went out - with that day`s date on it. The draft dated from our holiday last summer in Dorset and did not mean that we had taken a day out from imprisonment to drive to Dorset and back. But because it was dated last week, a lot of friends are very upset. I apologize and assure everyone that I have been at our house in Berkshire  for the last several weeks and look like being here for lots of weeks forward as well. The dogs are very fed up and I spend time throwing the ball for Jerry in the garden. He has learned how to bring the ball back so we both get a lot of exercise.

I have nearly finished warping up the space dyed warp. And I have finished the album which now contains my lino cuts.

But mostly we have been exercised by the poor Wifi signal we are getting at the moment.. It is sometimes so poor that it is non-existent. I have been reading up on the web how Wifi operates and am slowly improving our system. But I suspect that a lot of the problem is just local overload.

I think I shall go away and warp up some more. At least there is something to show at the end.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Another Project Finished

I have been making and album to put my linocuts in. Problems have stemmed from its size which is slightly bigger than A3 and that mean I had to create endpapers from scratch as standard paper is not big enough. Oh well I will know bigger next time.

The cover is done in a linen bookcloth (rather nice and I wish I had bought more of it) with a recessed area in which to insert the lino cut. Lots of empty pages left, by design and should see me out!!!

The other area I have worked on is the spaced dyed silk. Here it is just before threading up in a straight draw on 8 shafts.

More rainbow than I intended. In fact this is so unlike my original ideas that I think I will dye another warp to achieve it. Next time it will be space dyed wool dyed in acid dyes.

I came across a draft blog this morning dating from 2019 (August) at Corfe Castle and just pressed the Publish key. I have had someone point out that I ought not to be going to Corfe Castle at this time. Quite right and my fault for not reading the draft for a date. Anyway that blog  is now deleted and you can all be sure I have been safely in  this house in Burghfield Common for several weeks.


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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.