Sunday, 21 January 2018

Friday was a good day

I have written about my printer and it coping with 260 gsm canvas. But there was yet more cheer on the way. I go printmaking every Friday in Bracknell. Before Christmas, I cut a new block, based on a work by Homeshaw. The idea was to see if I could copy some of his lino cutting techniques. No way is it a direct copy. It is about A4 size which is large for me. It only took a morning to cut. I halted work on it because I was unsure of what to add and decided that, in the new term, I would print off a proof and then decided what to add. Last Friday, the first proof was done on newsprint (a horrible very thin paper) and decided to print on decent paper and was very surprised at the results.

I was examining the best one when two fellow students peered over my shoulder and both said. 'Leave it alone. Don't add anything.' I was at a loss to see what to do except perhaps try some blue in the sky. So the rest of the day was spent happily printing in various colour ways. And I have decided what to do. This will be printed off next Friday. But I am still chuffed to bits at this first pass. I might even frame the one above and hang it on my wall!!

On Saturday, I drove from home to Newbury, visiting the recycling centre on the way. A couple of hours spent at the Guild's weaving study day then a two hour drive to Malvern for the bookbinders AGM, then drive home in the dark and rain with a lot of traffic on the M4. It was all too much. Today I have spent two hours dealing with the paperwork from yesterday. And now I will start binding one of my part bound books. I think there are five of them!!!

Friday, 19 January 2018


Triumph - but keep your fingers crossed! I think I have sorted the printer problem - without buying a new printer. I got in touch with Brother and was told that the maximum weight for my printer was 220 gsm and there was no through path and I had to use the paper tray. I had already tried 250gsm paper and it got stuck. It was too stiff to go round the very sharp bend inside the printer. But I wondered if 260 gsm canvas would be more flexible so bought 20 sheets. Firstly it is flexible and wraps nicely round a cover and secondly , wait for it, it went through the printer like a dream. Not a hiccup, not even a cough. Just one beautifully printed cover. Yoweee!!!!!

I currently have four books waiting for me to make covers and now I can get on with them!!

This week has been very odd. Wednesday I was in deepest Wiltshire at my bookbinding class with Lori Sauer. Great to be back with a group. Thursday I was in Oxford at the Ashmolean, looking at Islamic textiles and having lunch with my daughter, Anne. And collecting the account books for the Bookbinders AGM tomorrow. Today I am off to lino cutting. And on Sunday Ruth is coming round so we can make final plans for Iceland which is only a few days away. I do feel I have overdone this week. Next week I am only out on Friday so I will be bookbinding like mad. Mind you today should be good. I have cut a new block and will be trying it out today. It looks pretty good to me.

And oh yes, somewhere in all of this, there is a weaving study day for the Guild. I will be going for the first half of the day and then beetling off to my AGM.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Allotment coming into life!

I inspected the allotment today. The cordons are still firmly upright.

And the seeds I planted in early December are all germinating.

The upper photo shows a broad bean and the lower one shows cornflowers. There are cut-and-come-again lettuces as well.  All doing what they should.

I have been wrestling with a problem for my bookbinding. I like to create artwork in Photoshop, print it on to canvas and use the canvas as a book cover. I am down to three A3 sheets of canvas so - - . Well the place I got it years ago has gone out of business and I know it was about 220 gsm weight and that is the maximum for my inkjet printer. Can I find another supplier? Not of 220 gsm. 260 yes. I have asked Brother (my printer's manufacturer) what the max was and the official answer came back. It is still 220 gsm. Does that mean I have to buy another printer? Screams of rage and fury. So what I have done is buy a pack of 260gsm and, when it comes, I will try it out on the printer I have. If it does not work, I will set off miserably to buy another printer. I would not mind so much but there is nothing wrong with the printer I have. It makes a really good job of printing on photo paper. Grrrh!!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Schacht is assembled

Well, not quite. All the bits I have are assembled. Unfortunately I am missing a vital part and cannot put a warp on until it arrives. Missing 12 screws as well but I found replacements in the garage. Today I have to restore the garage to order (tools everywhere, toolboxes left open).

Very nearly completed Schacht
I took yesterday off and went to photograph Theale, a local village which may be small but is more like a small town. It has a thriving high street with the best café for miles around. I took 140 photos in two sessions. What with some I on Sunday, it took hours to sort them out but that is done now and I have polished off three projects.

I realised that, in all the excitement of the new loom arriving, I had done nothing about the first warp. After thought, I decided to do a plaited twill. But I still have to select yarn for it. 5 yards 30 inches wide I think. I will do the selection and sums today

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Assembling the Schacht

After various vicissitudes, the Schacht has got itself assembled. All that remains to do is to attach the castors and decide what I am going to weave first. Which is quite funny because I have not given that topic a moment's thought. It was only when I got the instruction para about the tie up that I realised I did not have one ready!!! But I will, I will. Last week I was ill for 2 days and had to recover for two. Not eating anything for 2 days does leave me below par. The problem is my sister now has whatever it is and so progress on all fronts is very slow. But I believe I might get a draft sorted and a warp planned this week.

I will post some more photos when I have the castors on.

At the weekend we walked from Theale to Englefield and I intend to use the photos taken as part of my course. I will be back there some time this week. In the mean time, here are two views.


Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Mighty Wolf has Arrived!

My new loom arrived just before lunchtime on Friday and by 1030pm I was at Step 14 in the assembly manual, less than halfway through. Today, despite having  been to the recycling tip, attended Guild, watched as my grandson steered the Committee through the new website and got home late, I have assembled the loom bench and tidied up. Tomorrow I shall put the heddles into the shaft. I do not think I will finish it. I have been ill since New Year and half been left short of energy.

I have taken detailed photos and a few are below.

Most of the bits
Half assembled
blood stains - from me.#

Sunday, 31 December 2017

New Year

I have eaten way too much since I last blogged and not walked enough. My excuses are that the food is great and it has rained/snowed/blown all the time since last Sunday. I have not even managed to get to the allotment. What I have done is finish tidying the studio in preparation for the arrival of the new Schacht and made sure there is enough room for it. It is in the U.K. And the agent tells me arrival is scheduled for Thursday or Friday next. Also that it consists of two parcels, each weighing in at 40 kg. And how do I get them up the stairs? Easy. You ask the family if they would mind dropping round.

I have wound a warp on the Meyer 12 shaft. It is beige (neutral) merino worsted at 2/30nm and will be the basis for several scarves using as weft spun wool from Rosie which is a lot thicker. These will go back to Rosie for her charitable efforts. I have created several drafts based on twill for this warp. The only problem is that the patterns will not be square and I may not be able to stomach that. But fear not. I have a number of texture patterns which can be used. I am threading up on a straight draw on 12 shafts so I have lots of options. 

The Guild weaving group is working on 'Design your own thing'. It has to be based on a photo and I have one of red/yellow sand dunes. My original plan was to put a 4CDW in fine silk  on the Guild 12 shaft (I am giving this a good home while Rosie entertains her two children plus better halves plus two kids each over the holiday period). But there are only 50 heddles on each shaft so I considered  my own 12 shaft. Not enough heddles on Shafts 1 and 2. So I reduced the width until it fitted at 8 inches. No way am I warping up something on a table loom which has so complicated a liftplan and only 8 inches wide. I tried all sorts of drafts and came up with a great Quigley draft. Which still was difficult to fit on either 12 shaft. So I took a command decision. The Quigley draft is great and it will be done at 30 inches wide or maybe 40 on the Megado as soon as I finish the curtains currently on it. 

Hence the sudden injection of Rosie's scarves into an otherwise carefully planned timetable. Besides I have done no weaving for the last two months and am suffering from withdrawal systems. However the studio cupboards are full and four sets of drawers have been demoted to the garage. Which is in a shocking state and needs a big clean up. 

Last Thursday we spent the day in Oxford, split between the Ashmolean and the Bodleian. I introduced Dorothy to the Bodleian cafe and its shop where she was quite overcome and we both bought books and - and - and. The cafe, by the way, is very good indeed and I highly recommend it. 

So I have a list of things to be done this week. I ordered the seeds last week and a toolbox for the allotment. These will turn up soon. I have done the Bookbinders account and inspected the Guild's new website, which looks great to me. It will be inspected by the Committee next Saturday. 


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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.