Archive for September, 2009

The longer I have put off writing this post the harder it has been to get started. I seem to have left it for too long. It is not that I  haven’t been weaving, but a writing paralysis (or possibly a mix of procrastination and lack of discipline) have overtaken me.  I have kept up to date with everyone else and enjoyed tales of summer, family visits and some wonderful weaving.

I will start with my heddle saga. As you are aware I have a 1950s Bergman 8 shaft loom. It has hundreds of string heddles which I guess are original. They are hand made and vary in size. I was attached to them as I felt they were true to the age of the loom, and because I have been very much a learner weaver and was just thrilled that I could produce lengths of cloth. I put up with the non-standardised, annoying bumpy sheds which I was living with. I re hung all my shafts, carefully measuring to get everything even, and balanced the lamms and treadles. I was able to use cord without splashing out on Tex-solv Eventually after seeking advice and putting decisions off I contacted Don Porritt up in Yorkshire who supplies all weaving needs and takes enormous care in making sure you get what you need. He sent me a sample heddle as he had not met a nine and a half heddle on a countermarch before and thought I had got the size wrong. I t was far too long and I bought 600 of the shorter ones. Now that I have got a selection fitted it makes the loom look so much more efficient. I have woven 3 scarves, nothing complicated but an opportunity to get the feel of Tex-solv. Wow…what a difference. Now I am putting on another bath mat as the first one skipped so many ends due to the uneven heddles and I want to get it correct this time.


The first thing I tried after spending ages threading the heddles onto the shafts was a wool warp. Not the most  sensible plan  but I loved the colours and conveniently forgot about problems with knitting wool. I managed 3 scarves one tabby, and two twill. The tabby worked OK but I really wanted the warp stripes to show and the twill covered then up. However the heddles were so wonderful…….never take good heddles for granted. I even enjoy looking at them, all hanging neatly, all tense, all perfect.  They deserve better than a soggy  wool warp.  Of course it streatched, not at first but gradually so that by the last scarf  it was almost unweavable.        


This wool was bought for machine knitting and though some of the colours  the blues and the purple would have been passable , the greens were extremely elastic and it was difficult to find an even tension across the warp.





I also miscalculated the epi and the twill diagonal is too shallow. never mind this was more about new heddles and the scarves will keep me warm in the winter!!!!!


I have continued scouring the countryside for plants which will give up their colour I have tried stinging nettles and scraped a lot of lichen off a fallen oak but it only produced a brown derived from the bark and the thin layer of soil which the lichen was attached to.


I am quite attached to my growing pile of handspun so I have proudly  placed the skeins dyed with stinging nettle on the top!!

Apparantly if I had soaked them in the dye pot over night I would have got a greener shade, so I am inclined to have another go.




I had a hip replacement last year and though the pain has gone I am still not walking as well as I would like. I am having difficulty keeping my pelvis leval.  It drops on the affected side. I have been going to a physio which has improved things but I felt something was amiss. I saw the Consultant three days ago and he said he was sorry but the nerve supply to two inner muscles protecting the hip joint, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus have obviously been damaged during surgery and he feels that they probably wont improve and that I will need to continue walking with my stick. This happens to about 1% of hip patients. Before surgery he explained possible problems and side effects and I signed a bit of paper agreeing that I was happy with the risk.. I was sure that it wouldn’t happen to me!!!! In a way I’m glad he has recognised the problem as 6 months ago he was telling me to keep on with the exercises. When I get tired I limp and this gives me back ache……but I will carry on with physio and strengthen the muscles that are OK.

Rather than hang around I will get this posted and then hopefully get pulled along in the slipstream of everyone else.


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