Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Some recent things...


We'll start with weaving, as that’s the craft that takes me the most energy to come back to. Not because I don't love it - I do - but because success is not always guaranteed and the initial warping and dressing of the loom takes a while; which doesn't easily fit with my impatient nature that loves to see something finished the same day that its started. But that's good; as it makes it not only a craft exercise but a personal (spiritual?) one too.

We were visiting our adopted local city, Norwich, a while back and in one of the charity shops down by the Cathedral square was a lonely (slightly dirty) cone of creamy yarn. A sniff and a rub on the neck by both of us confirmed it was wool and I happily parted with £2 for what is over 2lb of yarn. It’s a little coarse and sticks a touch during weaving, but it looks to be undyded and has the most wonderful feeling of welsh hillsides and leaves your hands scented of lanolin.

My weaving skills are still very embryonic, but I wanted to try something new, so I have created a check pattern by warping a charcoal woollen yarn every 11th warp thread and then weaving to the same. This meant the charcoal thread had to run along floating selvedge, which has given me something else to worry about when it comes to the tricky selvedge. I certainly recognise myself in the following description that I found on one website 'Frequently, new weavers have trouble making even selvedges when they weave, or they fuss excessively over the selvedges, slowing down their weaving'. You'll notice that the photo above doesn't show the selvedges!

The other half walked in on me when I had done the first three inches and announced I was weaving a snood for her - although it will need a lot of softening and fulling if that's the case.

Book Binding & Slipcases

I am really pleased with some of the book binding that I have been doing - in particular slipcases for existing books. I followed an excellent tutorial on YouTube by Sage Reynolds and have made a few now; all using recycled materials. When we were clearing out my parent’s house I found a pile of foolscap envelopes, all of them sealed. I have no idea why or what they were for, but the inside paper texture is really interesting and made an excellent work-a-day book cloth for the two volumes of Roget's Thesaurus. All the cardboard comes from display signs that our local clothing shops throw out with depressing regularity each Sunday. Some have cardboard stands at the back, which limit their useful size, but I have never needed to buy any card for my projects.

When I got a copy of Miriam Darlington's book Otter Country I just knew it was crying out for a slipcase that made the most of the book's dust cover. I made a template of the cover to ensure I got the window in the right place and then created a slight ressess to finish it. Likewise I have protected my favourite little volume of poetry 170 Chinese Poems, with a rather pleasing black and yellow slipcase.

Please do give these a go; if you have a favourite book it really does make it stand out and gives it a little something. There is nothing quite like ordering a coffee in a cafe and sliding out a little volume from it's homemade slipcase to make everything feel pretty peachy and special.

Where from here...?

I know I still haven't shown you the homemade bone folders yet, plus both the book press and engineers cabinet are still being worked on. With the weather having finally broken the allotment is going to be the subject of my next post, followed by a photo blog of me making up some willow cloches.

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