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My resolution to post more often direct from the studio using the WordPress app seems to be foundering. I’ve already mentioned some annoyance with the way the app works (or doesn’t) but it isn’t the only guilty party – I’ve made my own contribution by putting a great big loom on my desk.


That is it in situ, beyond the other clutter: it’s the new-to-me Varpapuu table loom and it is a fairly substantial object. I don’t have a stand for it, but constructing one might be the best solution. It needs to go somewhere and it can’t stay there! Except that for the short term it will be staying there…

I’m going to be using it for the next Taster Day in a week’s time so I needed to practice warping it up and make sure there weren’t any unexpected glitches. And since I needed to warp it, I thought I might as well weave some samples for future workshops while I was about it. I’m not being very quick, though.


One thing struck me about the Varpapuu, which is that both warp and cloth beams wind on in what I think of as a C-direction rather than an S-direction. You know what I mean? Where a cross-section through the back and warp beams would show the path of the yarn following a C or an S shaped path as it is wound on.

I have one other small table loom which has a C-direction warp beam, although the cloth beam is S, but otherwise all the makes and models of looms chez Cally are S-direction. Personally, I prefer an S as I find it much easier to pack the warp when beaming, but I don’t really know anything about it. Are there inherent reasons to favour one over the other?

One small benefit of the C-path cloth beam is that I can take squinty photos looking down at the cloth,


but I can’t say that’s a really big win!

Loom-desk” was posted by Cally on 19 April 2014 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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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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