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Archive for December, 2008

I want to get this written before we get to Christmas when there will be little time to think about weaverly things. Its been an exciting year for me. Discovering my  loom actually worked and then finding out that I could work it, though not without considerable help from the weaving /blogging community. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has inspired me and shared their experience and knowledge. This may sound corny but I had no idea that the blogging world existed, and even less that the Internet could sustain and create a real network of people .

 So first let me say a huge thank you to Trapunto  http://trapunto.wordpress.com/  I stumbled on your site by way of Google. I found a detailed and beautifully illustrated post on threading up a Bergman loom. You set me off on this weaving odyssey and I can’t thank you enough. Then you suggested I started writing a blog and an entire new phase of my life was born.

Following on from that, my initial fumblings and mistakes were overcome by  frequent returns to Peg   , http://talkingaboutweaving.blogspot.com/   such a careful and academic weaver . Peg  who worries over every mistake and treadling error, who has set a high standard, and who researches structure with such a rigorous eye. I don’t think I will ever be so meticulous but I love what you write and study the photos with great interest.I keep an eye out for each new post and you are so disciplined in writing regularly.

SpinningLizzie http://spinninglizzy.wordpress.com/how-it-all-began/ has an amazing collection of looms, and best of all has a Bergman. Larger than mine and beautifully restored and ready to go. Thank you for being a lovely contact.

There are not many weavers here in the UK who have blogs, but  Dot http://fibre2fabric.blogspot.com/     lives in a beautiful part of the country near where we used to live and experiments with colour and pattern on her lovely Troika loom. Thank you Dot for your advice on where to buy yarns and for giving me the address of Don Porritt. Thank you for sharing your book reviews, and photos of shuttles, samples and boxes of bits and pieces. Personal and very helpful to a greedy apprentice weaver.

My other contact this side of the ocean is Cally  in Scotland  http://callybooker.wordpress.com/ I love the colours you work with, your contact with Bradford, and your theological thoughts.

I know many drop in on Leigh  http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com/ , another wonderful weaver who generously shares on-going work, offers helpful hints, particularly for me on adjusting the shed!!! and like Peg has an analytical mind for structure. Thank you!! Pure inspiration

There are other blogs I read and I apologise that I havn’t mentioned everyone.I am also cross that I can’t do that thing where you write a name,  float your mouse over it and get the site. Hence the clumsy addresses.

I realise that I am involved in the process of learning a weaving language. I want to try out as many different thread ups, tie ups, yarns as possible. At the moment I am keen to get the feel of lighter fabric. I have a long term dream of making a jacket out of my own fabric. I have just completed two scarves which are really samples but  I don’t like waste. So one is now worn by my husband who likes it because it folds up screws up in his pocket and can be round his neck  quickly when he’s sailing or bird watching. They are both woven in a mercerised 2/16 cotton  warp and a fine wool weft.

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 This is a Point Draft from Anne Dixon’s book, page 71. The selvedges were not very neat so I have chosen to show a close-up of the pattern instead !!!!

The other scarf is in classic herringbone and is a present for one of my sons.

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It reminds me of a Victorian gentleman’s trousers! The selvedge is better on this one and it is satisfying to realise that I am learning physical competence as well as the knowledge which comes from reading and observation.  At first I didn’t believe that what I was doing would work. I rushed through each stage as if I needed to discover the failure point quickly. Now I am more relaxed, I am taking my time, I am even enjoying warping and slaying. I have discovered the pleasure of  finding a weaving rhythm though only when the treadling is regular as in a straight twill or tabby.

I finished the overshot cushion covers, and though at first I felt they were rather old-fashioned I am proud of them and confident enough to try some more in Summer and Winter as my next project.

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My New Year resolution is to start using 8 shafts. I hope I am getting a book for Christmas to help me in this venture!!

Meanwhile

I would like to wish everyone has a happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful weaving New Year!!!

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I have started setting up my loom using newly purchased yarn rather than playing around with my leftover knitting cones. It is noticeable how much more worthwhile this feels. I have also realised that weaving yarn is stronger and better finished for the weaving process than knitting yarns.  I am going to weave some cushion covers for my sofa and armchairs. These have been given to me by my elderly mother when she recently moved into a small flat. They are good quality and recently recovered but need a little lift in terms of cushions.

I attempted to pick out some of the colours by gazing at the sofa cover. I ordered the mercerised 2/6 cotton, wanting  add a little  shine to the texture. Sadly  I was a disappointed with the colours when they arrived. The coral turned out to be a bit too pink, well more like salmon actually, and I realised it did not really tone in  with the gold or blue. The gold is the easiest shade to start with and at least reflects the chair colour . I have measured a warp of 3 yds which will give me three cushion covers.

 I have been sampling Overshot recently, and though I feel its possibly  rather a fussy  tecnique I think it will add a traditional feel to the chairs. I think the ghost of great aunt Margery may be hovering as I believe she specialised in designing and sampling these traditional designs. The Bergman just wants to get on doing what it is used to….I will steer it into other paths next warp!!

I continue to find getting all the warp process accurate and methodical a tension making task.( in more ways than one) I have great trouble counting anything and calculating ends and amounts a challenge. I tried warping front to back this time rather than using my raddle. I am not sold on pre-sleying the reed and think I will settle for the raddle next time. I am still mixing in old cones of knitting yarn and though quite pleased with my efforts will give more thought to colour in future. Somehow these tones are remeniscent of 1950s soft furnishings, but what goes round comes round!!

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I have been using Ann Dixons Handweavers Pattern Book and this is “Small Honeysuckle”. I got a bit carried away experimenting with colours. I would like to try it with brighter clearer tones in a thinner yarn next time.

I went to a Guild meeting last week . I am really enjoying these. People have been so helpful and encouraging.  I have met a wonderful 80 year old lady at these meetings who runs workshops from her house, she has a studio in a barn. She is a retired Occupational Therapist ( she was principal of a training college) but was a  weaver before that. Her workshops are very popular and I have put my name down for the New Year. She is rigorous and demanding as a teacher but I have seen the results in examples of work and can’t wait.

I borrowed some wonderful books from the Guilds library, another treasure house of out of print weaving books, all kept securely locked in a rusty metal cupboard in the outer reaches of the hall where we meet. Amongst the ones I took away with me “Swedish Hand Weaving” by Malin Selander and Mary Meigs Atwater’s “Recipe Book”. Both are out of print and seem to be very expensive second hand. I love them and its set my mind off planning futute projects. I have been thinking about the way weaving has grabbed me over the last few months. Part of it is the endless potential available. Modern textile technology , sewing and knitting machine demand extra attachments and endless expenditure to keep up to date. A loom comes with hundreds of years of experience, design and history. You can start very simple and develop to intricate. The variables are endless, and I find it exciting, to the point of not sleeping due to planning and imagining.

Reading them and absorbing drafts and design ideas I have come to a realisation. I want to weave thin, light, and airy rather than thick, heavy and no doubt quick and easy. My husband made a lovely comment when he looked at my cushion covers.”Fantastic but why does weaving look so rustic? ” Well I’m not sure I want to be rustic….. which leads me to imagining more delicate warps!! I love the Scandanavian style. I yearn to try textures and linen…….I think I have a tendency to look back and to imagine I am weaving a bottom drawer of linens and bed spreads!!

I also bought half a fleece as I think I should refresh by spinning skills. I once went to classes but have never spent much time spinning. I started when we kept sheep but got bored trying to spin enough to knit a jumper. My spinning wheel was also Margery Fulleyloves and is beautiful It spins a very thin yarn and the wheel goes extremely fast.

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I had a cone of off-white 2/22 mercerised cotton and some thin browny mauve Italien wool. I have started a scarf and its not at all rustic. Its smooth and resembles fabric. As part of educating my weavers head I have threaded up another Ann Dixon draft, a twill on p71 which makes little twill squarish diamonds and looks classy !! I am weaving all hours in a freezing converted garage which is my work room trying not to use the heating which has pricewise gone through the roof.

I am almost ready to thread up the other 4 shafts which are piled up on a window sill just waiting.

One last thing. The University of Denver contacted me to say they had by chance read this blog and wanted me to know that they have a photo of Margery working at her loom. I have seen it but am not sure whether I can post it here because of copyright. Unfortunately her loom is not the one I am using but a much larger one and not a Bergman as far as I can see.

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