Archive for June, 2009


I haven’t written a post for a while but its been a busy time. I have had several gifts to weave which has given me a focus for things to make, and I think I have released myself at last from the Overshot bug which had be in its grasp.

The world around me is  experiencing great undercurrents and eruptions. Our government,which is nominally Labour but which has drifted into a superficial imitation and mimics the Tory Party has been caught with its fingers in the till. The expenses scandal has shocked the electorate and Gordon Brown is not able to handle it well. This has been closely followed by local and EEC elections in which public anger has brought in the BNP (British National Party) a group of nasty racists. Added to that we have had child abuse horrors in Ireland in which my Church( I am a catholic)  is heavily implicated, through refusal to face up to sexual abuse and a past assumption of power and fear of scandal.

This has led me to start reading some excellent  Theology books on Feminism in the Catholic Church and I am having a creative and exciting re think about myself as a woman and how that relates to Theology and religious language and liturgy. So weaving has actually not been my only activity over the last few weeks.

My sisters daughter was married this weekend in Wales. I realise that she is actually my niece but we seem to have failed to establish these familial relationships and I have never thought of myself as an aunt.  Because it was a long and difficult journey for wedding guests the couple said they did not expect presents. As they and most of their friends live in Scotland  it was quite a trek back to parents home for the celebrations.This was complicated by the fact they are living in a caravan on 10acres whilst they renovate a derelict farm. There is no house for the wedding and a marquee was erected for the reception meal. Portaloos set up in a row and either camping in a very wet field or B and Bs!. We all floated around in our wedding finery plus Wellington boots! 

I felt this called for something handwoven from the heart ,  so I decided to ignore her expectations and try out Huckabuck for a set of tea towels. I wove them in Cottolin and used a design in  ‘8 Shaft Patterns ‘ ( p205 672) .It was lovely to weave and I was delighted with the finished product. So were the bride and groom who were touched by a handwoven gift. It is so lovely to enjoy the creation of something and for it to be received in the same spirit. I suppose there is something very personal about hand crafted objects, both in their attractiveness but also in the time and care invested.


For some reason I am having difficulty uploading images this morning, so this post may come with stupid layout.


I take my words back eventually the problem has gone away and I have an image and I can write around it!!!

Its still refusing to work properly and I am attempting to get Support help which is proving impossible.

This is a close up of the pattern. I was pleased with it and felt it was exactly right for tea towels as well as being attractive and a new threading for me. I want to try out all the pattern possibilities, an impossible task I know!!!!IMG_2632

I can’t text wrap either!

I used a plain white Cottolin warp and wove each towel in a single colour, choosing red, black and ecru, which was quick and easy. It provided me with a lovely regular weaving rhythm and the warp stayed beautifully tight and even.

A different story warpwise appeared with two scarves I wove next for my sons who were moaning that I never made them anything. I am trying to make use of yarn that I have collected over the years most of which is wool I bought when I was an avid machine knitter. I wanted scarves to be soft and to have that thing called ‘drape’. So  mixed some off-white mercerised 2/15 cotton with a thin 2/25 Italien wool, both of unknown make or content. I have wanted to experiment with block twill and I vaguely copied a scarf in the Interweave scarf  book (p30)


The different yarns had different tendencies to streatch and I have learnt the reason for the invention of the secional warp beam! I had a wavy surface to work on, the cotton remaining taut the wool going soft on me. I managed but it was not fun and I had a continual tussle with tension and also maintaining the correct tension on the tie-ups and suffering erratic sheds as a consequence.. We learn by our mistakes!

What mistake? Well I failed to take into consideration the different qualities of the yarns and sort of hoped for the best. I could not fit a second beam (as far as I know) on my Bergman due to the way the warp beam is arranged quite high up leval with the shafts. The warp comes from under the beam over and under the back beam to runback through the heddles. It is also quite hard to find a position for a raddle which is the reason I have reverted to pre-sleying which was I believe the method Margaret Bergman envisaged for this loom.


This is just a close-up of the first scarf. The white mercerised cotton is very shiny and takes on a silvery hue when the light catches it. The rather sombre grey has flashes of red and mustard yellow.

The second scarf is much more flamboyant (for a younger more flamboyant son!) I started weaving in the red and mustard and felt it was too garish as well as looking a bit like a Scottish tartan. I toned it down by having fiery ends and what appears black and grey blocks. I decided it looked like red hot coals and cinders…..a volcano perhaps!!

I am not sure what I am attempting next. It will be something which gives me a delightful and constant weaving surface!!!  It will also be something which takes me somewhere new and through which I will learn….and be challenged. There will come a time when playing will stop and I will embark on that length of cloth which I can make up into a wearable garment!!

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