Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seasons Greetings

While holidaying for a few days in Scotland in November we woke to this wonderful scene. The light on Loch Rannoch was just beautiful whatever the weather, whatever the time of day or night!
I was so inspired that I shot quite a few images with the intention of developing some new window and wall panels in the New Year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

International Year of Natural Fibres!

Next year, 2009, is International Year of Natural Fibres (IYNF) and the aims of the Farming and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is:

To raise awareness of natural fibres, to promote efficiency and sustainability of the natural fibres, and to foster an effective international partnership among the various natural fibres industries

This is something that is very close to my heart as I try very hard to only use British wool yarns and Irish linen yarns in my work. To me it's really important to promote British and European fibres, not least to support our local producers, but to reduce our carbon footprint, too!

They plan to have a website to promote the year of planned events at, but in the mean time all information can be found at IYNF

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Centre Pull Ball Scarves

If you can remember, I did some indigo dyeing in the summer (when was that!) and at last I've finally found time to photograph my indigo dyed "Centre-Pull Ball" scarves.

I wove them on a rigid heddle (Ashford 30cm Knitters Loom) with 2 "ends" of Blue Faced Leicester chunky wool that was indigo dyed as previously explained and 1 end of indigo dyed curled loop boucle.

The first scarf was woven with the same white BFL chunky yarn as the warp.

The second one was woven with the indigo dyed curled loop boucle.

I'm really pleased with them, I only wish you could feel how soft they are, oh and now I need to weave (or knit) the two "Shibori" hanks I dyed at the same time.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gift Ideas for Christmas

Hi all

I've been putting some thought to Christmas gifts this year and have put some ideas on the Pure Tinctoria blog. Why don't you have a look at the blog and see what we've come up with so far!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100% Design Success

Hi all

I got back late on Sunday evening after a successful, fun and tiring 4 days at 100% Design with Design Factory.

It was truly wonderful to meet so many interior designers, architect specifiers, architects and businesses from the UK and all over the world, as well as the general public on Saturday and Sunday in one place.

The Design Factory stand looked amazing, too, but that was all down to the other designers who were exhibiting as well, Jeanne Roberts, Lionel of Futurefactories, Gill Wilson, Peter from NamelessLtd, Stuart Akroyd, Noel Blakeman, Eiry Rock and Grant and Nick from Sonodesign.

I want to thank my family and friends who supported me throughout the run up to the exhibition while I was designing and weaving my pieces, Design Factory for sending me for selection and the 100% Design Selectors for selecting me.

It was a wonderful experience and has given me a huge amount of confidence knowing that I was the only hand weaver at 100% Design and that my work is worthy of being displayed in the contemporary settings I had envisaged.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More Indigo!

Here are the images of the centre-pull ball dyeing I did in the same indigo vat.

I already had some centre-pull balls wound tightly and only had to "wet them out". I then put a rod (long paint brush) through the centre and allowed the ball to just sit in the vat.

After about 5 minutes I flipped the ball over and let the other side sit in the vat, as you can see in the image on the left.

Here you can see the distinct areas of colour.

Below is the hank hanging on the line after washing and rinsing.


Just before I want to Woolfest I tutored a dye workshop. During the course of the week-end we did some indigo dyeing. I love wool, so naturally I had lots of hanks of yarn, including some lovely Blue-faced leicester gimp.

I had some in hanks and some in centre-pull ball, so in a quiet moment I managed to "dunk" them in the indigo vat.

The first ones to go in where the hanks, which I tightly hanked, giving them a really good twist, until I couldn't twist any more. I then gave them a good wetting out, followed by a good squeeze and placed them one at a time in my vat. I pushed them carefully under the surface then allowed the hank to bob back to the surface.

The image on the left shows, clearly, the coppery coloured film of a vat that is in good order.

Carefully removing the hank, catching any drips in a jug, I allowed the hank to oxydise briefly, before unwinding and hanging on the line to fully oxydise. The image on the right shows the hank as I unwound it before hanging on the line.

Here is the hank hanging on the line to dry after washing and rinsing, with a final rinse with a small amount of vinegar in the water.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tying the warp to the front apron

I'm often asked why I tie my warp to the front apron in a different way to every one else. Well, simply, it's the way I was taught way back in the mid-60's. I have tried other methods, which make it easier to adjust a knot, but I find the method I was taught is a much more secure method, especially for "slippy", silky yarns.

As you can see I first bring the warp ends under the apron stick!

I then bring the ends up and back over the stick, keeping each half of the bundle on the same side as it went under the stick.

Here each half is crossed around the back of the bundle and brought back up to the front.

Finally the halves are tied on top of the bundle.

If I'm weaving in wool, I very often only tie the one knot for each bundle, it's only when I'm weaving with something slippery that I tie a second knot over the first.

I hope this is of help to those of you who keep asking me!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm so excited!!!

Hi all

It only seems a few days since I last posted, but it's two months! Wow, where's the time gone!

Well, I was accepted to exhibit at the Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey in Devon. This prestigious fair is by selection only so I'm pretty lucky to get in and will be exhibiting with some wonderful designer makers including Isabella Whitworth, Gracie Burnett amongst others. It takes place from Friday 6 June to Sunday 8 June from 10am to 5pm and I will be launching my new range of British wool scarves as well as exhibiting my wall panels.

More great news for me is that I've been selected to exhibit at 100% Design in London! I'm going with Design Factory (the organisation that represents and helps designer makers in the East Midlands), but it was the eminent panel of 100% Design who selected 11 out of the 20 makers who were sent for selection. I can't tell you how pleased I am!

One slight down side is I have to make my pieces to a colour swatch (see it on the right!). It's certainly not my "cup of tea", but will do me good to design something to such a limiting palette!

Wish me luck!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Design for Creative Spinners

Hi everyone,

I have some exciting new! Jane Deane and I have been accepted to tutor a course at the 2009 Summer School for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers at Lincoln.

Our course is Design for Creative Spinners and we will be taking you through the design process using sketchbooks and easy design tips for those who don't think they can paint or draw! This will be followed by looking at fancy yarn techniques appropriate to your design work and on the last two day you will be making your designer yarns and sampling with knitting or weave!

We are really excited about this opportunity and look forward to meeting some new friends and maybe some old friends, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Huck Lace

I finished the huck lace shawls last Sunday and have been frantically trying to find black sewing thread to sew on my labels, so while I searched I took the opportunity to photograph them.

This is the detail of the undulating pattern with dots! Sorry it's not to clear because of the black silk and cashmere. Not my choice, but what I was asked to weave for Shades of Cashmere.

Here is the finished shawl, it's very light.

This is the "Heart" shawl. I don't weave lace very often, as I said before, so am really pleased with the shawls.

This is the detail of the "Heart" shawl. I developed the designs myself, but found I was quite restricted by the fact that I only had 40 dobby bars. I had to reduce the size of the hearts quite a lot. I have made spread sheet to help prevent this happening again, though, which I'm very pleased with!

The yarn is machine washable, apparently, but being 90% silk it does crease, although they do drop out quite quickly. All in all a very pleasing project!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Oh, Dear

Well I've just looked at my last post and must apologise for the photography. I really don't think a black warp was a good idea to show you the way I warp my sectional warp beam, but it was what I was warping at the time! The warp is silk and cashmere and will be a couple of wraps, one for "Shades of Cashmere" and the other for me or to give away.

Shades of Cashmere is a mail order company which specialises in luxury yarns for machine knitters, but the yarns are really lovely and would serve hand weavers too. They can be found at:

Shades of Cashmere
Grove Farm, Wolvey, HINCKLEY, Leicestershire LEIO 3LL
Tel: 01455-220767

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sectional Warping

Hi all,

At the end of last year someone on the Weave Tech Group was asking about sectional warping and I said I didn't use a bobbin rack, but made small warps on my warping mill. I thought it might be a good idea to show everyone how I do it.

First of all I make small 2" warps on my warping mill which a tie with freezer bag ties to secure the cross and keep the loop open at the beginning.

Bag ties are easy to attach and remove and are re-usable. I cut some of them into two before I start to make the warp as they can be too big.

I then have my loops ready at the back of the loom and attach one to the sectional warp beam and the other end to loop at the end of the warp near the cross. If your not sure how to do this post a comment and I will show you have it's done in another post.

Now I put this little devise into the cross and weight the warp at the front of the loom with a loop of loom cord, a butchers hook and a bottle of wash detergent!

Once the section of warp has been weighted I spread it over a small raddle, that came with my Louet Octado, which is secured to the back beam.

Move the cross to the front of the loom, near the cord and weight, and wind the warp onto the sectional beam until the cross is next to the raddle again. Continue winding the warp and moving the cross until the section is wound onto the beam.

On the left you will see the front cloth beam of my loom with all that is left of the warp where it is being weighted. Once the cord that is attached to the weight gets to this point, I remove the weight and cord then loop an elastic band round the warp end in it's place.

All I do now is wind this last section onto the sectional warp beam and loop the elastic band round the section separator next to the previously wound section.

I do hope this has been of help.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Done the wraps!

Well, I've managed to do some wraps. The images aren't brilliant, but I managed to get some nice effects.

On the left is my "mood board" with some of the wraps pinned to it.

The wrap on the right is in wool and cotton and seem to have captured the dull palette from the last post quite nicely. I might get some nice differential shrinkage with this!

The wrapping on the left has captured the coral colour from the vivid palette, which I liked, and again is in wool and a little cotton. But I have gone a little blue/grey rather than the green/brown in the Colour Palette Generator vivid palette.

These wrapping are too fussy for my liking so I might not pursue them.

In my sketchbook I have done several colour studies and lots of written notes, and have added the computer colour picks too. What's on my "mood board" are duplicates of the computer work that is in my sketchbook.

Jane Deane and I will be doing a Sketchbook Workshop with the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in February.
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