Pressure was on, as soon as we finished one project we had to have ideas for the next. 

I chose to base my project on woodland mosses and lichen on oak trees in a nearby wood.  It is north facing and really damp and fairly undisturbed.  I spent a few happy hours drawing and stick painting and using my finger in the mud.  Fab fun.

I did quite a bit of artwork but as usual one image tends to work its way into my head and my designs more than the others.  This is the one.  I loved the chalky greens with the bark showing through and the bright mosses on top.

I ordered some gorgeous yarns from Rennies in Scotland.  Cheviot.  But then had big concerns about how fine they were.  In my last project, I vowed never to do any fine work again.  Ah well. 

Sampling went pretty well.  I wanted to explore the idea of Estate Tweeds -they take the colours from the landscape for camoflaging the estate workers in scotland.  One traditional weave structure for this (amongst many checks) is herringbone.  I thought the diagonal lines in this reminded me of the fronds of moss.    The best samples were the ones that I felted in the machine.  I have used boucle and linens in some.  I am pretty pleased so far.  The samples are hard to photograph – the colours are a bit muted but they look ok in real life.

I plan to make bags, with some leather in.  I have found the right brown leather and some perfect lining.  I have warped up my table loom for as wide as it will weave and am about to weave my first batch of material. Really exciting. Then comes the stressful bit – the sewing of the leather.  But I am on target time-wise.  I decided against using the floor loom this time. I haven’t got time to sort out problems with it at the moment.  So all in all, things are going pretty well – 8 weeks to final show!


Thanks Margreet for prompting me to do a post.  I get so behind with reporting where I am up to, that it seems to hard to start.  But…..(jumping about 6 months work)…. here goes.

I finished my project on Morecambe Bay.  I produced a linen cushion with rippling effect.  I used some felting wool at intervals in the weft and when washed at 40 degrees in the washer, it gathered up nicely.  The only problem was, that because it gathers, it meant that I had to weave a very wide piece of fabric.  I had to use my floor loom which was new and wasn’t set up perfectly.  I didn’t have time to sort it so I just ploughed on with it.  I was really happy with the end result

It will always remind me of the coast where I grew up and it’s great to have a souvenir of the Bradford Course

The last caterpillar post was quite delayed due to camera problems.  Since then I had been away for lots of weekends – non-weaving mainly but always on the look out for weaving inspiration!  Coursework demands, young kids… I feel as if I have a few too many balls in the air!

 I will try to update you on my next constantly evolving project soon.  How do designers design with something in mind.  My samples don’t look like I intend.  Is it called experience ?

The most interesting caterpillars move.  The ones that don’t move look a bit like slugs.  I took my daughter for a drawing trip to Sheffield’s Butterfly House.   They were very helpful and provided a box full of caterpillars to draw.  They weren’t very colourful but one of them caught my eye – black and spikey with bright green bits.  As they are small creatures, and I am not a super-dooper photographer, I couldn’t get a decent photo but the drawing went alright. 

Later this developed into my caterpillar period of artIMG_2903IMG_2905.  I got a bit caterpillar-obsessed.  Potato prints, collage,  lino cut ….they all crawled off my sketchIMG_2907book. 




After a  while,  I explored other species of caterpillar.  The black spikes of my first caterpillar were too dominant.  (I also had a lot of blue toddler paddling pool, as you would imagine ).  I found a caterpillar to match.  I think this would be called a Materials-led project.IMG_2910

Right then,  the next logical step is to take all the art work over to the loom and see whether I can create anything caterpillary out of recycled PVC.

Next installment….  (you already know the ending, don’t you)…….

Had a wonderful day on a couple of weeks ago, doing a print taster day at Bradford.  I’d only dabbled in lino cut, and etching before.  This was a fast paced tour of Monoprints, Pigment ink printing, Devore, discharge printing, and foil printing.  I learnt so much and it was great having all the great facilities when all the other students are on their holidays.

There were 10 of us doing it – mainly from our year of the HNC.  We’d asked whether it would be possible to run this day for us especially, it wasn’t anything to do with our Weave/knit course.  However, now I know more, I would love to incorporate print into my textile design.  It’s really exciting – a whole new world.

We started with Monoprints – using Procion Dyes to draw on the screens.  Faced with having to do some spontaneous art, I kept it simple. 

Mono Print using procion dyes Mono Print using procion dyes


I also did a second pass of the squeegee with the binder on and got a softer faded image.

Then we used the images we had brought to put onto screens.   This gave screens that could be reused time and time again with different techniques.  Light sensitive paint was scraped over a screen and then the image put over the screen when it was hardened under UV light.  The non-hardened paint could be washed off, leaving a reverse image of my photo.

  Pigment Ink paints were then squeegeed through the screen.  They only reached the fabric below the screen if the screen design allowed it. 

Pigment ink paint print
Pigment ink paint print

This one was done in 2 stages.  First I screen printed a blank screen with a mixture of yellow and blue for the background.  Then it dried and I superimposed my image using black ink.I was quite happy with this one.



Devore paste printing worked quite well one a white background – in this case a viscose silk.  The Aluminium sulphate eats away at the viscose but not the silk.   
 This has interesting implication for design of warps and wefts by weavers who then want to use devore.  We, as weavers. have a lot more scope for interesting effects.  Have a look at http://www.hollybrackmann.com/surface-design/weaver-devore-2003.html.  Holly has explored this technique and explains how to do it. 
Discharge printing (bleaching out) also worked well for my image.  But foil printing (glueing down foil with a hot iron.  The glue having been applied through the screen to get the glue in the correct places for the image).
Foil printing
Foil printing

I loved the way the foil reflected the light as the water on the beach would have done.

By the way, the photo was taken by my brother and shows his wife and dog.
I just touched on printing – brilliant day exploring lots of techniques.  I think there is a real skill in knowing which technique suits which image, whether to reverse the image colours (black where white is, etc), what colour background to use.   Using black background didn’t always work for my image as the original photo was silhouettes on a light reflecting background. 
I’m looking forward to learning more and experimenting. 
 I realise my explanations were a bit rushed.  But hey, we have books for all that stuff!
jane (maybe get round to some weaving this side of Christmas)

Having horrified even myself at the brightness of the last warp colours, I picked brown, brown and more brown for the next warp.

2 shades of linen/cotton for one warp and acrylic boucle for the other warp.  (in hindsight, doing both sides in the same colour misses a bit of an opportunity with doubleweave).  However, as I usually do ‘in your face’ colours, I am determined to be a bit more subtle this time, IF IT KILLS ME.

I found a M & O threading in the Margarite Davidson book that looked quite pineconey.weaving

I reduced the number of ends in the sequence so I would get more repeats.


I tried using an orange yarn to get the waves on the right but there was not much distortion.  The block pattern on the left was good for giving a pine cones scales impression.  I liked this sample where I increased the amount of silver yarn in each block.  I used felting yarn plied several times – I thought this would make the fabric more stable.  I added a bit of padding under some of the ‘scales’ to make it more 3D.  When washed, it all pulled together a bit and the padding (welsh black fleece tops) is safely concealed


Everyone who had seen this one says ‘ooooh  so tactile’ – so a reckon this one is OK.   

I also wanted to experiment with pleats – basically, you use 2 beams for this.  Once you have woven about an inch (or more) of the top layer, loosen off the top layer end beam.  Pin the loosened cloth to the bottom cloth with sewing pins, across the warp.  Very gently tighten up the warp on the top beam, weave a few picks of tie down (tying down the top and bottom layers), tighten the warp again, weave a few more tie down picks and continue.   On a previous college sample, I liked how using lycra on a pleat made it crunch up.  Using cotton/linen and lycra gives a dry Pinecone crunchiness.


I particularly liked the areas next to the pleats/pockets which rippled up. 





My favourite sample is my next one – pleats again – subtle (yes, I’m getting the hang of this) colour gradation over the pleat.  I used the lifting plan that gave me blocks like sample 1.  This meant that when I came to pin down the pleats, there were sections of the bottom cloth that weren’t as stable (the blocks with the longer floats in).  I could only pin down the pleat intermittently across the warp.  I added a bit of slip, when I was doing the tye down, so that there were quite long warp floats on the back of the cloth.  These oval gaps showed the front colours through – fab effect.  I might use this later on.

dwsample5 (2)


Front side pleats








Reverse showing the oval reveal sections – love it!!  




Happy accidents – where would weaving be without them. 

Off to Bradford this coming week to present all this stuff.  I have to catch up with the paperwork (now ….. what was it I did???.  shh.  Don’t tell my tutor.)

Hope everyone’s weaving’s going well.  Jane

Weavolution has arrived.!!!   An American based networking site for Weavers but with a UK Group.  Hooray!!  Useful and Friendly stuff should ensue…..http://www.weavolution.com/


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