Thinking and (not) writing

When I was teenager I once received a card from a friend – who hadn’t been in touch for about a year – which had the following printed message: ‘Just because I haven’t written doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you. I just can’t think and write at the same time.’

I still remember it after all these years, because it actually sums me up pretty well. So you can imagine that while I haven’t been blogging I have been very busy thinking for the last several weeks… thinking, learning, dyeing, thinking, thinking, weaving, and more thinking.

And now I’m, somewhat belatedly, on a roll. I have been weaving up a storm for all the summer events in my calendar, starting next week at Designer Crafts in London. My contribution to this exhibition is relatively small but quite exciting, as I can include a couple of ‘statement pieces’ as well as a selection of scarves and cowls. That’s given me an opportunity to continue playing with painted warps using thickened natural dye extracts, which is something I’ve found very satisfying – even though I end up painting myself, the table and just about everything else as well as the warp!

Many months ago I mentioned that my colour palette was based around a particular scarf that is perfect for listening to live jazz. I am really delighted with the way that palette has worked out using a fairly basic set of natural dyes: madder, weld, indigo and cochineal.

Dyeing comes a long way behind weaving in my list of enthusiasms, but I get more enthusiastic when the results are what I want! I don’t have a ‘favourite colour’ (who could choose just one?) but this ensemble is pretty much my happy place in colour terms, so weaving with these yarns is a joy. Add in fine weather and a single-minded focus on studio time and I really couldn’t ask for more.

Here’s a wee peek at some freshly pressed results…

Now I have to leave the loom to head down to England over the weekend, but there’s plenty of warp awaiting my return. Next up will be the Craft Scotland Summer Show in Edinburgh, so I can’t slow down yet…

Thinking and (not) writing” was posted by Cally on 5 July 2018 at

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5 Responses

  1. Catherine Freeland

    Hello, I’m following what you’re weaving and dyeing with lots of interest. I admire the amount of extra work you’re doing to focus on slow fashion. Because I seem to want to dye my own handspun to weave, it’s extremely slow, and progresses in stops and starts, but then it’s just for fun, and not a commercial enterprise with deadlines. You might be interested to know that while pondering a colour combination, I referred back to your Albers triangles as a starter, and was very happy with the result. For me, that’s a big step! I’ve been photographing a nearby fallow field this evening, with a poorly equipped camera, but just gasp at the amazing dusky mauves and russets that grasses and sorrel patches can create – much like your earlier batch of weavings this year. Highland guild has taken a break to concentrate on summer shows – Sutherland, Wick, and Black Isle Show, so inspiration from the ‘tribe’ online, including yourself, is great. All best…

    • Cally

      Yes, it is interesting to see how different people fit the processes together. I would rather be weaving than anything else, so I wouldn’t have the patience to spin all the yarn first! I’m glad the triangle came in handy 🙂

  2. Monika Auch

    Love your colors and appreciate your musings on the extra work of dyeing. I am sourcing out the dyeing job to a studio nearby. Extra costs, but it is worth my time to focus on weaving. I wrote about based Amsterdam and it is published in this edition of Surface Design Journal. I am as well very satisfied with ordering the lovely thin GOTS certified wool from Venne. Best of luck in London and Edinburgh…Monika

    • Cally

      I’ve thought about doing that too, but one thing I do like about doing it myself is being able to improvise around what I see happening. I would find it hard to specify in advance exactly what I want! Glad to see you back at the loom.

  3. Martha

    Cally, the hand dyed yarns and your finished weavings using those yarns are subtle and softly beautiful. I adore your color sense. Having never been to the tribe gathering I too am wishing I could be there just to meet my fellow weavers and see and touch all those new looms and yarns. Sigh… maybe next time around – wonder where they will meet next.