Saturday 18 December 2021

Back to Normality (I hope)

I see it is months since I blogged. There has been a lot going on here and I have just about surfaced. 

Firstly the good bit. I have bought a static caravan on the North Norfolk coast - Wells-next-the-Sea to be exact. Only a few hundred yards from the sea and more or less on the Norfolk Coastal path. Dogs are allowed and they love it. There are places where the sand stretches for miles and they take off into the distance, leaving us to negotiate all the little streams. Thsy just walk through. In fact, Jerry, my Boston, has hated water all his life but did not even blink when the incoming tide covered his paws. I think salt water must count as different. 

We have been up and down, filling the caravan with our belongings. We have been therer 4 times since September. All meant a lot of time spent driving.

But added to that, starting in October were health issues for me. I suddenly started having dreadful side effects from a drug I take. It took ages before everyone (hospital, GP and me) realised that it was due to changing said drug on to something very unsuitable. Change back and all is well. and I have been okay for the last week or two. However 4 weeks ago, I sprained my ankle ona Wednesday. We had tickets for HMS Pinafore at London Coliseum on Saturday and there was no way I was going to miss that. However whhat with walking round London (2 miles), I then spent the next  3 weeks with my left foot raised up so could achieve very little.

Now I am fine, back to walking the dogs twice a day and weaving. I am making great progress with the Megado where I have completed two table cloths and started on some tea towel and hand-towels. 

I have  dealt with Christmas and the posting out of our calendars as well as having a thorough inspection of the yarn stash. And  spent some time designing a double weave in alpaca so which I have just enough!! The draft is shown below.

Not in black and white of course but maroon and sapphire. Letts hope nothing else gets in the way of weaving progress!

Thursday 9 September 2021

Jeremiah Fielding

 I forgot to add that Alice Schlein wrote a very flattering comment on the Draughts of Jeremiah Fielding in her blog of 4th September. You can read by selecting from the list of blogs I read in the lefthand column.

Worling Hard but

Working hard but getting nowhere! Certainly not on the weaving front. I have finished tying on the Megado, woven some samples for colour and found four errors. One is corrected but I have had no time to do more. Not sure what I have been doing except tidying up after the linocut course at the end of July!! We have bought a small press. Not anything like an Albion but a modern one from Germany. It took me a bit of practise to get a good result. 

But we are off to Norfolk on Saturday and  getting ready for that. I have bought a new laptop with all the trauma that entails. Mostly it is okay but the USB ports are all these little ones and I have have stuff that needs the old sort (camera memory card reader for instance) and find it difficult to be quite sure that the pictures on line are really the right thing. Bah

But of course I do have some nice photos of Wales from our week in Abergavenny.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

More on the Ghost Warp

 I have started tying on the new warp. It is slow but My hands are remembering the technique for the knots and I am speeding up.

The photos below show  views of the front of the reed - where all the action is. The lease sticks nearest the reed hold the ghost warp. The other set hold the new warp. I wound four separte warps in shades of blue plus a pale grey plus a lovely spaced dyed in blue Tencel.

I reckon it took three hours to tie on one warp. The problem now, I mean at this very moment) is the temperature of 30 degrees. The studio with the Megado has a southfacing sloping roof which ensures a very uncomfortable work space. So I have given up tying on and set about my next big job. 

I have been remiss for the last 18 months on photography. Oh I have done some but just gardens, dogs, bits in Photoshop for lino cuts but I am going for a course in the Brecon Beacons in August and need to remember the proper ways to do things. So far I have read the first couple of chapters in a very good book on the Nikon D3400. Tomor5row I shal pick up the camera!

And on the topic of lino cuts, I have completed two recently that I liked. London Skyline first then Lobster Pots

Saturday 17 July 2021

Ghost Warp

 I have put a ghost warp on the Megado. Various points to note. You have to decide what epi is going to be used for the main weavings and then the ghost warp needs to be the same or very near the same epi. Since the ghost warp is not being woven for use, you can use what yarn colour you want in any order. Also you can mix the yarn sizes provided you are not too far from the main one. So there were 720 ghost warp ends and I did tie on and weave a bit looking for errors. I found two in 720. Not bad going. Now it is all done and I have two sets of lease sticks in front of the reed, one is the ghost warp and one in the first true warp. 

 Will post some photos when I start tying.

Sunday 20 June 2021

Curtain Fabric finished

 At last the curtain fabric is finished, hemmed and cut off the Megado. It is currently sitting in a pile on the dining room table so that I can (some time soon) inspect it for mistakes before washing it all. 

Apart from the tomato plants which seem to take up too much of my life, I have been thinking about the Megado and eventually decided that what was really bothering me was warping up. I am old and stiff these days. But if I could spend as much time as it takes to put on a ghost warp, a lot of problems would disappear. No more threading and sleying for as long as the ghost warp lasts. Sooooo. I will put on a straight draw on 16 shafts at 24 epi (for 8/2 cotton of which I have masses). It will be 30 inches wide and I have created several nice drafts already including a 4CDW. Length will be 2.5 metres. 

I am so taken with this idea that I will do the same on my 8 shaft Schacht. I will have to crawl under the loom to change the treadling but I can manage that. The Schacht will be devoted to tweed and things woolly.

And as Cally Booker said `you can always do double weave with a much thicker yarn`.

The Bracknell College has reopened to much joy and the Columbia Press has been repaired. It prints so much better than doing the printing by hand. I have corrected a lot of small errors, especially in the clouds and am printing in four colours!!! An edition of 12 has been printed and I must start on the next linocut (lobster pots).

Saturday 8 May 2021


 There is a lot of it about this year. Very noticeable. This means greenery and animals/birds. The local wood has had a superb show of wood anemone. I am told this is a sure sign of an ancient woodland. Well I had noticed the enormous oaks. After the anemones, came a carpet of celandines and now the place is a marvellous show of bluebells. They were nothing like so widespread last year. This year they are everywhere. Our house backs onto this little wood.

And the slightly further away is Wokefield Common which stretches for miles and miles. First the birches, followed by rowans (Hundreds of seedling rowans this year) and alders. No oaks yet and certainly no flowers at all!!

Now the wildlife which all happened in our garden yesterday, startling all of us, the dogs as well. We came out to walk the dogs at 6.45 am and Jerry stiffened and peered at our tiny front garden. Our collie was similarly anxious and came up to investigation. At which moment, something ran along the fence and disappear to a narrow slot by the house - but that is a dead end. So it must have turned back. It burst out of this slot and headed away from the house at very high speed. A Munkjack!

The second happening was in the back garden. It being a nice day we were drinking tea there when a sparrowhawk burst out of the sky, took a baby blackbird from its nest just over our fence in the neighbours garden. And departed. Oh dear. 

Both happenings were a first for us. I have noticed a lot more birds around the garden this year. Normally we have only robins and blackbirds. This year we have blackbirds, robins, sparrows, starlings, a thrush, magpies, rooks and tits of some kind nesting in our camellia (2 nests).

But of course there is also progress in doors on the Megado. Got to 3 metres now. Still on track to finish by the end of May. I am trying to decide what to put on next.

Thursday 29 April 2021


Progress is being made on the Megado - but there was a very serious hiccup. Over last weekend, the lap top took to switching itself off - -  without any warning. But it could be turned on again and nothing had been lost. Until eventually, it refused to switch on. So I had to send for our on-call computer man who pronounced that it was overheating and if I changed to a Solid State hard drive and used a cooler, it would be okay. And so he cloned my hard drive (which means the old one is a backup.) and actually it does not get the least bit hot. which it did before, and now seems okay. Nevertheless, I am shutting everything down after an hour of use and after taking a note of where the pattern had got to. It does mean I have lost three days when I could have been weaving.

However I have woven two metres and calculations show that I do not have to order up more yarn from William Hall. So I am still on track to finish all 6 metres by the end of May.

Not done much else except watch a Zoom talk by Lester Capon, President of the Designer Bookbinders. His bindings are stupendous. I have not been so bowled over in a long time. I have four A5 textblocks all prepared for binding and the bindings cut out but they have just been discarded while I set out a new episode in my bookbinding. Mind you, he works in leather and I do not but I will do some trials with bookcloth. 

The last bit of news which is an annoying event is that I have to have a procedure next Sunday, sticking a camera down my throat without an anesthetic. Nasty but in a good cause. That is not the annoyance. That is that I must self isolation from now (Thursday) until Sunday afternoon. Not to see anyone, Not to leave the house. It sounds as if gardening is not allowed, nor dog walking. And all this despite having had two vaccinations. Bah.

Monday 12 April 2021


I expected trouble today - with computers. But it all worked out well!! Let me explain. Start with a Kindle/my Kindle. Bought many years ago, the battery just died 18 months ago and I could not summon up enough energy to do something/anything about it. Over the weekend I came across the carcass and decided I was well enough to cope. So I bought a new Kindle and it was delivered the next day, Sunday. Put it on to charge overnight and wondered if connecting to Wifi was going to work. So I set aside Monday morning to (hopefully) achieve the connexion. It all worked and I was connected in less than ten minutes! All is well. The books I used to have in my library are still there plus, to my astonishment, all Dorothy`s books. She says that what they do these days when people clearly live at the same address. I can see that might not always be acceptable. 

And now to the second adventure - the Megado. This has not been switched on for over a year. Last time I used it, I had terrible trouble with the software which sends commands to the Megado`s relays. I asked Marion Proctor, an expert weaver from our Guild, who I knew had the same equipment as I have. She said she had the same problems but tried a load of experiments and found what worked which is, have absolutely everything connected before switching power on the lap-top. So first thing, connect everything, second thing switch computer on and pray. Next thing, there it was demanding the entry password and in no time at all, I had a working system. Mind you, I then had to consult the desktop down stairs and the 3 metres I have already woven to make sure I get all the colours right. I am weaving lampas and need three colours, that is, three shuttles. two throws of brown, one throw of yellow and one throw of green or beige depending and repeat these four for ever. Being lampas which is really a form of double weave, weaving is a bit slow but I only have 6 yards to go!!! Anyway if I keep at it, I should be finished by the end of May. 

I managed 4 inches this morning which, given the fact I am cook this week, was quite good. The reason for wanting it finished is that I have a nice idea (four colour double weave) for a piece to be shown at the Guild exhibition in September. And for that I need to have the Megado clear by the beginning of June. As they say, watch this space.

Thursday 1 April 2021

Striped Fabic

I have finished the striped fabric which was on the Shacht. It is mended (odd ends to be disposed of) and washed. Not taken photos yet but will shortly. A long time ago (years and years) I asked Stacey Harvey-Brown what she did about photos of her weaving. Did she employ a professional? The answer was they were too expensive. They charged £600 to £800 a day and that would be much more today. Her advice was take  what has to be photographed outside on  a grey overcast (not too overcast)  day and look for a nice background. Well it is definitely a grey day so I will go outside and see what I can manage.

So I have taken loads of photos outdoors and the best four are shown below.

I like the last one best. I do agree that the top two show the fabric better. One thing that did shake me was the shrinkage. On-loom measurements were 0.59 by 4.10m which went to 0.48 by 3.72 m after washing. That is 15% in width and 10% in length.

I am having rest from weaving until next Tuesday when I will try to get the Megado to function after more than a year of neglect. I am tidying up everything.

PS I have a thing about warthogs which I saw wild in Africa and loved on sight. So I have two metal warthogs , Mummy and baby who is in the last photo.

Monday 22 March 2021

Troubles with the website - or not

 A year ago I got a professional to create a website for me. I specified everything and wrote the text and she did everything else. The contents of the website are articles on various sorts of weaving and dyeing. She left me with instructions for editing the website. And then I became ill in February 2020 and stayed that way for some months.

Oe of the problems was that I am selling The Draughts of Jeremiah Fielding through the website (works beautifully) but because the postage varies madly round the world, I included a few sample costs of postage. Well some countries never change their postage costs and others work on a two-month cycle (USA for example). Now the costs of posting a copy of the book to the USA is 1.5 times the cost the book. And so I feel it is  essential to let potential buyers know what they are letting themselves in for. And this means changing the website text. Until November 2020, I got my grandson to do the editing but he now has a job and I feel quite quite well enough to tackle the job myself.

Besides the website has a section where a reader can download weaving files. This is my son-in-law`s fault. He discovered that I had created handouts, one for each weaving topic, for example woven shibori or lace for the Kennet Valley Guild weaving classes. And he asked what I was going to do with the handouts. He thought they should be freely available. So I promised that I would include them in the new website. But of course, each one had to be edited and brought up to date. Three different topics were put on at the beginning and I slowly edited the other three and have them ready for inclusion in the website. So there were two bits of editing. 

I started on Saturday morning by reading the editor manual. And by the end of the day I had the postage costs all sorted. One problem I had not envisaged was that I had to edit every single section of the website. Part of the slowness was Google which behaves rather oddly and in a way I did not expect. On Sunday, I set about adding the three new files and I happily succeeded with two but would the third one go in? No it would not. So I gave up and called in my grandson who was puzzled at first but after an hour, remembered that in html, you have to use the exact name of the files, and that means upper and lower case. Bingo. I needed a glass of madiera after that. 

I tidied up all the paperwork this morning, took `do the website` off my to-do list  and spent the day weaving peacefully on the Schacht. Done 3 metres, 1.5 metres to go.

Now I need to start on revising the dyeing handouts and  I was just wondering whether to include one on Japanese bookbinding. I wouldn't mind some feed-back on that.

Thursday 11 March 2021

Oelsner plus Daryl Lancaster

 I have warped five metres of fabric combining Daryl Lancaster and a weave from Oelsner (No 363)> Daryl made a waistcoat from some very brightly coloured Fabric and I was taken by the fabric. So I investigated my holdings of cotton in 8/2 and 12/2 and found I had a lot of small quantities. In fact as a resuk of preparing four equal warps, I acquired 18 empty white bobbins!!! and countless small quantities were used. The Oelsner draft is basically an 8 shaft undulating twill. And the sett was 24 epi. I used a reed of 12 slots per inch. Warping was terrible and I ended up with a lot of errors which took me two days to correct. 

And yesterday I started weaving.

And here is the first 0.25 metres. Definitely loud!

The garden is beginning to spring and there are lots of flowers on the camellias.

The lower one is in the front garden. Flowers are six inches in diameter.

Monday 22 February 2021

G G Hornby

 My father acquired a book of pen and ink drawings of Edinburgh sometime during his life. I do remember that he took some of the drawings and had them framed, although what has happened to those I do not know. The book ended up with me after my parents deaths. It was in a sad way. Because so many had been removed, the spine was wrecked and the covers dirty and in a bad way. 

I have just finished redoing the binding completely. Since all the pages were loose sheets, I created an album ad each sheet is attached using double sided sellotape. There was no way I could use the cover but by scanning and cleaning up the title page, I made have a passable front cover. The old new versions are shown below. It was taken on my phone so quality not good

Now to warp up the Shacht with a very stripey warp with an Oelsner draft.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Design for Weave

 I have attended several courses on Design and even a couple of courses on Design for Weave but I do not seem to get anywhere. This is nothing to do with the tutors but just that I find nothing in them to change/improve the way I work. I was complaining about this to Dorothy who replied in her usual way that I seem to produce nice stuff. I thought about that and realised that well yes, not bad getting fabric into the Convergence yardage show. But then Convergence always has a theme. Is there a clue there. So I thought a bit more.

I concluded that I get on best when there is a theme. For instance the theme for The Guild`s forthcoming exhibition is THE SEA. And it did not take me very long to decide what to do. 

So I looked at the. Web and found a firm called John England who design and weave a fabric for you and they outline the way they approach designing. The first topic is to choose yarn. Now that really surprised me but they have another 5 or 6 topics.

Now I have a lot of nice yarn to be used up. So there are two approaches.   
Select a theme
Select a yarn
Select the final use of fabric

After finishing Daryl striped fabric for a waistcoat (currenly the warp is waiting to be wound on,, I need something for the Guild exhibition whose theme is the SEA. Four colour double weave? I have a 32 shaft draft for such a fabric which was woven in 60/2 silk. I have given all my 60/2 silk to my niece, Cally Booker because my eyesight is not up to dealing with a fabric woven at 60 epi. So I will use colours in 30/2 yarn. Need to size fabric to use what I have already. Suitable colours for THE SEA are needed and I have blue,  green and somewhere in between. I need four colours and the weft. May have to buy some yarn. Start by looking at what I have. Actually this uses two out of the three startpoints.

I feel happier for writing this all down. So conclusion? Do not go to any more classes on design for weaving. And write up how I got to the final fabric each time I weave a piece.

I would be very interested in how other people actually selecct the draft and the yarn.

Sunday 7 February 2021

Writing in My Head

 I create blogs in my head while doing other things. But they do not get onto the computer! So can I remember my wonderful pieces of literature? Not likely.

I have finished the fourth scarf in a fancy twill. I need to hem it and cut the last two scarves off the loom and then tidy up and wind another warp, based on Daryl Lancaster`s striped fabric. But the draft will be sort of twill, an 8 shaft one from Oelsner and it is sort of undulating twill. I have it in mind to finish this by the end of February and then I am going to roll up my sleeves and finish the remaining 7 yards of Lampas curtains. And this is only because I want the Megado for a major project (4 colour double weave) for the Guild exhibition this autumn.

I have done other things. I had a go at reduction printing in linocut. Registration is all in reduction printing. You need to be very accurate when you place the second colour, like quarter of a millimetre. The reason for using such a method to use more than one colour. But I can use other methods, not least using coloured paper to print on! So I have designed an A5 size one on the London Skyline. Actually I might call it Vauxhall. 

I have had a fine time excavating all the different sorts of paper I have. Quite disgraceful that there is such a lot.  ( i had decided to pack it in when 90. I have just added 10 years to that to get through this mountain of paper. 

 Anyway, I easily lose track of what is where. So I created a list on Excel. And found various useful things! One lot  of heavy paper I have turned into an album for linocuts. I already have one but I have got to the last page. It is a proper album with spacers  at the spine to accommodate the thickness of all the linocuts The first one is landscape A4 and so this one is - - sort of. To allow for the stubs, you need the paper to be not 21 by 30 cm but 21 by (about) 34 cm. And blow me, I found 14 sheets of 28 by 33cm. I rather think it was bought in Kuala Lumpur and is Chinese paper. I obviously bought a load of stuff in the East.

The print class is not functioning just now and the College has substitute a day`s Zoom course. Everyone in the class is turning and we are doing all sorts of arty thing. Good for me. I have never done anything like this.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

The Owl and the Pussycat

 Some months ago, I started out on a bookbinding project using The Owl and the PussyCat as the text. The idea was to make a concertina book with a verse on every page and an appropriate linocut on every page. But first I did one using photos, partly to see how it should be laid out. That was not quite okay so I did another one with different photos andtat looked as though it would work using that layout and photos. So the linocuts were of the cat, the owl(based on one of my grandson`s photos), the peagreen boat (North Norfolk photo), the bong tree (Boabab tree in Namibia), a gold ring, a spoon, a guitar. The spoon and the guitar on the first go were too small and I could not get the detail in. So I made those two three times bigger. Which is fine because all the lino cuts were integrated into the book in Photoshop. First one made was not okay because I printed on photocopy paper and used PVA to glue up. End results wrinkles everywhere. The next three were printed on 160gsm cartridge paper and glued up using a Pritt stick!! They look fine. The paper is a little thick for creasing and I think 130 gsm paper would be better but the 160  gsm stands up by itself with no need for a stiffening of the covers.

As you can see, this all took time. But the results are okay.

So that is that project completed and I have started on a reduction print. Never done one before and it could easily go very wrong.

And to cheer up the whole family Libby can stand up very securely if her Dad holds her hands. Not walking off yet. I have some photos but I do not feel I should include them here. Very cheering in this lockdown where I am very bored. 


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.