Loom drama

Most people probably wouldn’t classify the Megado as a simple loom, but a mechanical dobby does have a pleasing transparency to its operation. So when weaving stops dead and cords are seen trailing on the floor, it is fairly easy to identify the cause of the problem. In this case, it was a metal bracket at the back of the dobby box which had succumbed.

On the face of it, this is pretty bad news. I phoned around several Louet suppliers in the UK and nobody happened to have a spare one of these stashed on a shelf, so I had to get in touch with Louet themselves to organise a replacement and that takes a bit of time.

However, on the plus side, it is actually perfectly possible to weave on the Megado without this piece, because the dobby can be advanced by hand. It is slow and a bit awkward, and the awkwardness introduces a greater risk of error than advancing the dobby by treadle, but weaving is weaving … and when there are deadlines, slow progress is better than no progress at all. And the second plus is that a useful person – one such as S, for instance, who has patience and the relevant skills – can produce a facsimile to be going on with.

The original is of a much sturdier type than the homemade replacement, and I am not sure how long the latter will bear the forces that are placed on it by the dobby advance, but it is doing fine for now. And for the last couple of days the loom has had a wee rest, while the sewing machine has taken the strain. I have been busy turning small pieces of my Dotted Quarter fabric into purses for the imminent Craft Scotland Summer Show. More on that in another post!

Loom drama” was posted by Cally on 30 July 2018 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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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 https://callybooker.co.uk

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Saying Yes

In the last few years I have said a lot of No, for a number of reasons. But I decided that in 2018 I would say Yes. It is only May and I have already said a lot of Yes!

Recently I said Yes to CLOTH#18, which is a really exciting initiative from James Donald of PickOne/Concrete Wardrobe. This is a curated craft event which is all about textiles – something we just haven’t had in Scotland, but which is much needed. It is all set to take place in August during the Festival, so do follow along on the CLOTH Facebook page for more information.

But before all these summer shenanigans get started, I’m taking part in a lovely springtime event at Springfield Creative Arts in Arbroath called Limited Edition. It’s open three days from Friday 25 – Sunday 27 May, so if you’re in the area I hope you’ll pop in.

Meanwhile, my Arctic piece Lost Ice is currently winging its way over the Atlantic to Complexity, and I’m feeling a little sad that I won’t get to join it over there and catch up with my CW tribe. It’s an expensive trip and I can’t manage it this time. But I don’t think I have time to mope… better get weaving!

The megado must have picked up my sense of urgency. Today I noticed a rattling and discovered that the brake pedal was coming loose – which means I can weave faster, right?

Saying Yes” was posted by Cally on 10 May 2018 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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Colour variations

Last week I finally finished the warp which began with the snow. I have been snatching a few hours of weaving here and there between teaching and marking, which have been the dominant activities lately, so it seems to have taken forever. But I have a nice selection of colour combinations, all based on the same pegplan and treadling order with just a few variations in block length and shuttle sequence.

Once this fabric is finished my intention is to turn it into cowls, and possibly a few purses, for the Craft Scotland Summer Show – one of several events I’m looking forward to this summer. And a new warp is on the loom, just in time for the next round of marking to begin!

In other news, I really enjoyed a trip to Cumbria last weekend to explore the colour triangle with Eden Valley Guild. They are a very welcoming and proficient group of weavers, and meet in the most idyllic venue too! You can see some pictures of the workshop on their guild website. I have also had the opportunity to see a wee exhibition Scottish Voices by the British Tapestry Group in St Andrews, and it was well worth the visit. I am looking forward to their Sound and Weave exhibition in Dumfries later in the year – not least because it ties in so well with the theme of the Aural Textiles project.

Colour variations” was posted by Cally on 28 April 2018 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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Make It Green Journal

Early last year I made a commitment to the Green Crafts Initiative. Over the years I have been working on various aspects of sustainability in my creative practice, most recently with my education and explorations in ecological methods of natural dyeing.

This week I was interviewed by Craft Scotland for their Make It Green Journal and you can read the conversation here.

“Make It Green Journal” was posted by Cally on 31 March 2018 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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