Still Weaving

I decided that the bright fuschia yarn of unknown composition was tough enough to be used as a warp for my next weaving attempt. After the steady “ping ping ping” of my handspun warp I wanted to be sure that I could concentrate on weaving and not have to constantly worry about the integrity of my warp.

Now what to use as weft? I had a cone of a lilacy fne ribbony yarn and thought I’d give it a try but it didn’y look right. Across the room, I caught sight of some greyish/mauvey stuff that may have been a ghastly yarn that I dunked in the remains of a dyepot a year or two again. Suddenly it seemed to be the right moment to use it. So I wove quite a bit of it. The the lilacy stuff began to look better and I decided that they would work well together. Next I added some thin blue, possibly  mercerised cotton and some of the same fuschia that I used for the warp.

Panic set in when I realised that I had probably already used half the darker  (dyed) stuff and so i had to start rationing it urgently.  Currently I am weaving mainly the lilacy ribbon with intermittent and random thin stripes of mainly combined pink and blue, breakin git up now and agian with a plan blue or pink and just very very occasionaly some of the heavily rationed darker (dyed) yarn.

So far I have woven just over 120cm . I think my fuschia warp is about 2.5 metres long. The work in progress is 42.5 cm wide.

Mastercraft Weaving

I’ve just finished watching MASTERCRAFT on BBC2. This week the participants were three people who were given just six weeks to learn the craft of weaving that normally takes someone about five years to learn.

In true TV fashion the pressure was piled on and despite the participants themselves not being competitive it was all still about competition. My heart went out to Momtaz Begum-Hossain who approaches craft in an intuitive way. The other two were off the starting blocks and away. Had they been skaters then I suspect they would have received 5.9 from most judges for technical skill but I’m not so sure about artistic interpretation. Perfect is not always preferable. The comment from someone who suggested that Tref’s work was so perfect that it could have been done by a machine summed it all up for me. I like to see the hand of the maker.

I hope we will see more of Momtaz’s weaving. I will keep an eye on her website/blog. Now that the TV programme has been broadcast the secret is out. Come on Momtaaz, post us some pics.

Twisted Fringe

So here is the mini-rug with the twisted fringe. The warp is my own handspun. I gave it the tug test to see if it would be strong enough to be used as the warp. It was strong but quite  a sticky warp which proved its undoing – literally. So as I wove, the 100 warp ends reduced down to 84. You can see that by looking at the twisted fringe on the left where I began to weave. By the time I had woven to the other end, shown on the right, I had lost 16 warp ends. Amazingly this hasn’t made a huge difference to this primitive rug as the weft, mainly more handspun with the odd pick of of unplyed coloured rug yarn, is hairy enough to tolerate such discrepancies. I really only had enough of the darker handspun for the warp so most of the darker weft is short lengths which were short enough to be legitimately labelled thrums. Perhaps it is these very short overlapped lengths that add to the width of the rug at the beginning.

Earning my stripes

Whatever the result of my incarceration with the loom, I had a great time watching a range of DVDS. As well as my dash through the decades (see my previous blogpost), I also watched the Comic Strip “Five Go Mad in Dorset” whilst slurping a mug of tea or tea in the absence of “lashings of ginger beer”. What spiffing fun.

This stripey rug which is about 110cm long started with the mid blue on the left and progressed through a series of random stripes mainly dictated  by odds and ends of yarn. I didn’t want to use anything “proper” in case I wasted it. More or less my only design criteria was that I felt i should have “dark” every now and then so that the tones didn’t all blend into one another. I had fun experimenting with the odd vertical stripe now and again. Confusingly above these vertical stripes will show as horizontal. You may notice the green & white just right of the centre, followed by the dark blue & light blue and brown & white whichis hiding in between a navy and a maroon stripe.

I became rather grandiose suggesting that each of my children have a section that represents them. Son “J” supports Aston Villa so there is a light blue & claret section for him. Son “G” usually has green objects allocated to him and so the green and white vertically-striped section is his. My Little Darling, no longer so little, has a deep pink section shot through with a more vibrant shiny pink.  it doesn’t show on the photo but I know it’s there.

The fringe of the rug is just knotted but I think I will try a twisted fringe next.

Dashing through the Decades

As well as being a lapsed reader, I’ve become a lapsed blogger and a very lapsed weaver. Not that I ever have been a weaver, just the very lucky owner of a sturdy Harris floor loom. I decided that my neglect of this wonderful piece of apparatus was shameful and set to dressing the loom with a very inexpert warp that was gathering dust in the same room as the loom. Warping / dressing a loom is a time-consuming activity so I gathered up the laptop and some DVDs for company and clocked-on for my two day warping shift.

It was quite by accident, and not by well-planned programme, that I selected DVDS that started me off in the late 1940s, led me through the 1960s and propelled me forward only as far as the 197os the decade in which I spent the majority of my secondary school education.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in imagining that once the Second World War was over in 1945 that everything hurried back “to normal”. Yes, I knew that rationing  continued after the war, but being born in 1957, ten years after the setting of the film “A Private Function” and the wedding of Princess Elizabeth, I grew up in comparative luxury. The film is written by Alan Bennet and has Maggie Smith and Michael Palin as the two main protagonists. That alone should be enough to guarantee a delightful yet sometimes painful mix of comedy and social commentary but the film is also blessed with the appearance of Denholm Elliott, Liz Smith, Richard Griffiths, Bill Paterson and Alison Steadman. The forthcoming royal nuptials are to be celebrated with a “private function” arranged by the top people in the town. Post-war meat rationing means that provisioning such an event has to be done by circumventing annoying regulations which in this town are upheld by Bill Paterson in the role of Mr Wormold, the meat inspector. The lowly chiropodist, played by Michael Palin is forced by his overpowering and snobby wife (Maggie Smith) to enter into some uncharacteristic activity that pits him against the class-conscious “elite” of the town.

Although set in 1947, A Private Function was filmed in colour in 1984. By stark contrast, Saturday Night Sunday Morning was made in contrasty, moody, black and white in 1960. There are no attempts at social climbing here. Arthur, played by Albert Finney is only concerned with having a good time and not ending up like his parents. He works hard and plays hard including “carrying on” with a married woman whilst at the same time chatting up and “seeing” a girl of his own age. Rationing may be over but life in an industrial town is tough and basic with overcrowded housing and little let-up from a nose to grindstone existence apart from an occasional drink at the pub. In “A Private Function”, the doctor bemoans the imminent National Health Service when he will be forced to treat any ill person who turns up on his doorstep. In “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” medical concerns are more about unwanted pregnancy with no legal solution. Moral transgressions in this monochrome world are dealt with in a literally “hands-on” way.

Fast forward thirteen years to 1973 and, in the three plays that together are “The Norman Conquests”, the stage is narrowed to two rooms and the garden of a middle class home within a short driving distance of London, somewhere on the south coast of England. There has been some progress in women’s rights. Ruth has a high-powered career while more or less supporting her liberal lascivious librarian husband, Norman. However, Annie, the daughter of the house is left single-handed to care for “mother” who has permanently taken to her bed. With the day to day problems of earning a living and eating of little concern we are treated to three plays in which Norman makes his conquests.

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