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I was thinking of ending the week with a Bridget Jones’ style roundup.

Metres woven: less than one.

Warps wound: 5 and a bit.

Looms dressed: 3 and 2 bits.

Printers inexplicably and completely broken: one.

Emails answered: too many.

Emails not answered: far too many.

Glasses of wine: not telling.

Chocolate: not enough.

But I haven’t even started on the samples finished, pressed and scanned, the tutorials prepared, the course materials reviewed and revised, and now – just for the extra frisson of excitement – the passwords changed. So here’s a picture instead.

a new warp

I may have gone a bit overboard with the colours in the new taster day warps… Plain colours next time?


Warps” was posted by Cally on 11 April 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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Saying yes, saying no

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I love saying yes to things. I’m always saying yes to things. This has been a week when a whole load of my yeses caught up with me at once, and while freaking out about that I have nonetheless managed to add even more yeses to the pile. My stress levels never seem to dent my optimism!

Actually, this is a bit of a funny time. While I’m learning the ropes at the OU, I am in the closing stages of my life with Strathclyde – teaching my last class, making the final corrections to my thesis – and that chapter will soon be over. It will be a loss, a relief and an opportunity: a space for new undertakings. More yeses! I’m clearly getting a good head start. As of this week, for instance, I’m ‘VP-elect’ of Complex Weavers with a place at the board’s virtual table, learning how it all works. I finally joined TAFA, the Textile and Fiber Art List which I have followed with interest since it began four years ago. And there are new ventures in the pipeline which I can’t mention yet…

Sometimes, though, I do need to say no. I would have loved to participate in one of the Craft Scotland shows again, but the deadlines are much earlier than they were last year and, in the midst of all the work I am finishing off, I couldn’t even cope with putting together an application. There’s a great line-up for the summer show, though, and you’ll see some familiar weaverly names!

On the loom this week, some little samples for summer yardage:



My inspiration comes from the brightly coloured swirling skirts of the Ballet Folklorico dancers, and I’m very grateful to them – we’ve been under a pall of grey for over a week and if it wasn’t for their yellows, oranges and purples I’d be screaming by now.

Saying yes, saying no” was posted by Cally on 4 April 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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There’s only one part of my studio floor which is really, properly flat, and that is the concrete slab on which the Megado stands. And which the Megado now shares with the warping mill. My warp-winding station has traded places with my tea-making station, as the kettle is a bit less picky. Not that the mill doesn’t work on the flagstone floor: its feet are all adjustable so it can be made to spin smoothly anywhere. The problem is that if it is moved even an inch or two then the floor’s irregularities throw it out of kilter again. I thought of marking its ‘home spot’ with tape or something, but the moving option has a double benefit: by shifting the looms along to make the bigger area at the window end of the room, I have also gained enough space to get around the end of the fly shuttle without poking myself in the ribs.


And what is that in the corner to its left? Why that would be one of the two looms I have just acquired, thanks to the kind offices of Pat and my mother. This is a folding four-shaft floor loom which will come into its own later in the year. The other is an eight-shaft table loom which will go into service right away as a workshop loom. More on these as I get to know them.

Rearrangement” was posted by Cally on 31 March 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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An exciting discovery in the fly shuttle department: it sounds like the Tardis!

This reminds me of another sound discovery I made in connection with my mechanical dobby treadling process. I’ve mentioned (ad nauseam) my method of networking by winding back the dobby chain. With a double weave twill that means winding back seven lags each time to stay ‘on network’. And the perfect musical accompaniment to this process turns out to be the incomparable Victoria Wood singing the incomparable Ballad of Barry and Freda. Altogether now: “Fre-da drained her co-coa cup”. It’s perfect.

And I happen to be singing along at the moment, since I thought I would try some 4CDW on my lambswool warp. The current sett was a bit tight for plain weave, but it’s working well with the twill.


Sounds” was posted by Cally on 26 March 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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So this fabric has made its debut in the world! It can be found here as wraps and here as a sling on the Oscha Slings website.

If you spend any length of time in the world of handweaving then you can’t help but notice the current trend for handwoven baby wraps. In fact, there are several weavers whose practice is entirely devoted to them, and there are some lovely wraps being designed and made. In the last few months I’ve had so many enquiries from would-be customers that I could do nothing else for years and still have too much on my plate. But that kind of single-minded production is not for me!

I was very pleased when Zoe approached me with the idea of weaving fabric for Oscha, because it allows me to develop designs, play with colours and do all the things I like doing, without having to set up a whole new business framework to manage it – a much more manageable commitment for me. We’ve made a plan for four seasonally themed designs and I’m working with ideas around music and dance, hence “Maypole” with its pattern of ribbons.


In other news, I’ve marked twenty stats assignments, wet finished a trial piece from the lambswool warp and made my first foray into fly-shuttling. The sun came out and the WordPress app is driving me nuts. Its consistently bad behaviour is quite an achievement. I particularly admire the way it saves your draft posts but only shows you the previously saved version, staying precisely one step behind the whole way. This kind of time-wasting innovation is exactly what one looks for in new technologies.

Maypole” was posted by Cally on 22 March 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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