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Archive for November, 2008

No time to write every minute is taken up with loom related activity!!! There are many advantages to retirement and having time and freedom to spend every day exactly as you wish is one of them.I don’t think I could have immersed myself so totally when the children were small or whilst working .We have been  away in the motorhome to the New Forest but even here I realise I am becoming more observant and aware of pattern and colour. Derry has recently discovered birds and between us we have bought a beautiful camera and telephoto lens. Here are a few Forest images.

The Forest is not new at all but ancient. It was the hunting preserve of English royalty following  the Conquest. Now it is open for all and is  carefully managed . It is grazed by the New Forest ponies who live wild but are actually owned by people who live in the Forest area and have ancient grazing rites. There are herds of deer and at this time of the year pigs left to roam and eat the acorns.

I have enjoyed looking for the patterns in the trees and playing with our camera  a Canon EOS 40D. Its much heavier than anything I’ve ever used before and makes a beautiful click when the shutter goes!! 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had made our camp with the motorhome in this robin’s territory and he spent the whole time circling us, sitting on branches nearby and just keeping his beady eye on his bit of the forest and our intrusion into his space!!

I have been busy this month purchasing some basic equipment which I have been kind of managing without!Warping on chair legs was amusing but I needed  to provide myself  tools for the job. I managed to find a second-hand warping mill through the local  Guild. Its made by LeClerc and transforms warping. It is particularly helpful for me and my recovering hip not to have walk or streatch. The mill does the walking!

 

Its no good apologising for the chaos in this picture. I have extreme difficulty remaining on top of muddle, which indicates that weaving will either be the making of me or drive me mad eventually! You can just see my homemade raddle in the background. I made it with 1″ spaces but since this photo I have added nails to make half inch gaps. It works well !

I am becoming qiuite fond of my Berman loom despite a rusty 15 dent reed, and worn out tie-up cords between lamms and treadles. I scoured the UK internet for 3mm braided cord made of a naturel and non-slip materiel to replace the old ones. I live in the south of England on the  Solent home of sailing. The chandlers have cord the correct size but made of shiny stuff and expensive. I found a firm on the Internet specialising in naturel cords and and bought 30m from a lovely man who didn’t even want payment until I had received the goods and found it OK!!

I have found so much information from other weavers in their blogs including the address of a supplier in the north of England who has provided me with a stainless steel Finnish 12 dent reed, a lovely Swedish bobbin winder and a reed hook (I had been improvising) . I have never ordered so much over the telephone, its  like Christmas every day as the parcels arrive. There is something charming about weaving suppliers they  all seem incrediblyhelpful and rather old-fashioned . The goods come carefully wrapped in brown paper, beautifully addressed and arrive almost by return.

This is just a chance to share with you all my new goodies.

I am beginning to feel ready to weave some real things!! There seems to be a dearth of  yarn suppliers in this country. The US seems to be better provided. I found this months Handwoven in Southampton and bought it, at great expense. It is frustrating to see so many advertisments for looms, and yarn. Eventually I have found a firm and sent for shade cards. I was surprised at how difficult I found it to make choices. I want  to weave some scarves for my  3 daughters-in-law for Christmas. I want to weave them on the same warp but they are all so different in tastes and style. I also want some cushion covers to match a sofa and chairs which my mother has passed on to me. I am trying to keep expenditure down to some sensible level and tried to incorporate all these things in my order. I spent ages gazing at the chairs and found colours which reflect the covers. I ordered 3 shades of 2/6 mercerised cotton in a coral, a greeny blue and a naturel. They arrived within two days. Great for cushions wierd for scarves. So I must rethink  Christmas presents!!

 I am finding yarn sizing impossible to understand. Is 2/6 cotton anything like 8/2 which seems a popular yarn in US ? Any information resources on yarns, setts and suitability for what theyre best for would be  welcome. I want to try some towels as well as my beginners project.

Whilst waiting for my yarn and before the reed arrived I put a narrow warp on the loom to experiment with some Overshot from Ann Dixons book. I don’t like it very much as a tecnique as it seems a bit  fussy,  on the other hand I wanted to find out whether I could produce it. I have spent the last 2 days making endless mistakes with the treadling. Despite writing the sequence in lines of 4, taped to the loom in front of me I lost my way. I can’t imagine having the courage or the patience to produce an entire article without mistakes. I stuck with it and have managed some patterns in reasonable order. I include pictures. The colours are not delightful as I am using odds and ends.

I have decided to start my serious weaving with some tea towels. I have some blue and white cotton left over from my knitting days and I think it will be good practice to make something wider than samples and scarves and which is not over complicated. I have recently bought the Handwoven book of Scarves thinking it would inspire and guide me with the christmas present problem. Have you seen the book.? Its packed with beautiful scarves in complicated tecniques or hard to get materiels, or needs at least 16 shafts. I  realised that I was light years away from this and need to keep feet on the ground and practice the basics. A book which I found was at my level of ‘beginningness’ is the Ashford book of Textures and Towels. I know you don’t actually need a book to maake a scarf but I love finding out all the possibilities. I scour the blogs for ideas as well . Most people writing blogs are making really lovely things and don’t look as if they get into the knots I manage!!!

I am going to start my towels tomorrow (once I’ve sleyed and tied on. It will be great to have a shiny new reed and not to have to wind bobbins by hand……

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