Thursday, 5 July 2007

Here's where I start... but no photos yet!

This is not how I intended to start my blog... but there's a hiccup in my plans. I can't upload photos today. I don't know why - as the BBC might say, there's temporary technical failure and I'm working to resolve it.

I thought I'd start with a photo of my workshop. Or my favorite spinning wheel... well, these things shall follow in due course.

I suppose this brings us to a point about my character - when I've made up my mind I want to do something, I feel a commitment to it. I recall at various points in my life people describing me as quietly confident and determined, tenacious, loyal, obstinate. These comments are not always in the form of compliment!

But no, I don't give in easily. So, after a few months deliberation I have decided that, yes, I will have a blog, and the technical issues will not discourage me for now. This is not a blog about me, not about all the things that interest me, but concentrating on what I'm up to in the "fibre to fabrics" line and what I've been learning.

I have enjoyed the benefit myself of the generous blog and web site postings of other people involved in the weaving, spinning, dyeing and knitting crafts. So, it's my turn to share.

But no photos? Here's a challenge. How boring it could be! Sigh. I shall have to sort the pics, but for now, I'd better make sure my words are interesting enough to stand unillustrated. Hmm. Let me know...

This is where I'm at today, content for a pics free blog:

I got a package of second hand books in the post today. Many hours of reading here, much of interest. The books are:

Mabel Ross,
A Handspinner's Workbook
I already have her "Essentials of Handspinning" and "Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners", both excellent, so I knew this was likely to be a very useful book - I'm not disappointed. Chapters detail technique for producing different fancy yarns. I was introduced to Mabel's works by Ruth Gough, of Wingham Woolworks, an excellent spinning teacher who taught me the basics. I'm sure you'll hear more about this book as I work through the projects.

Ann Sutton & Diane Sheehan,
Ideas in Weaving

This book is still in print, but I wasn't sure if it was for me, so didn't want to buy new. I have seen it well recommended as a source of inspiration, but do I need inspiration? I have a head full of ideas. However, I have two other books by Ann Sutton, The Structure of Weaving and Colour and Weave Design. Every time I pick these books up I get something new out of them, they are a thorough coverage of the fundamentals of structure and design. I am not disappointed with this new book. It's a deeper book than just "inspiration", it is strong on design, on what to think about, things to explore, and there's some superb fabric in the photos, some ancient, some modern, all very interesting.

Ann Sutton, Peter Collingwood, and Geraldine St Aubyn Hubbard,
The Craft of the Weaver

This is a book I should have had before now, sub-title "A Practical Guide to Spinning, Dyeing and Weaving". Top quality book, as anyone familiar with Peter Collingwood and Ann Sutton's works would expect. Published in 1982 by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the days when they were to be respected for high quality programmes, one of which I expect was the series this book accompanied . 150 pages packed with concise information, and fascinating details, top quality pics. Chapters cover, as well as the basics of the subtitle, plain weave possibilties, rug weaving, cloth design, backstrap, inkle and tablet weaving, woven hangings, historical textiles. Who'd have thought a basic book like this would fit in dressing the loom, calculating yarn quantities, finishing cloth?

Three less exciting but valuable additions to my library from this package are:

Vivienne Bateson,
Woven Chic
Featuring garments made from weaving with knitting yarns. Photos of the garments, fabric close ups, weaving details and sewing patterns. Dated styles, but good information.

Flamskvavnad: Flemish Weaving
A little book on traditional Swedish tapestry weaving. History and technique in Swedish and English.

Ruth Kaufman,
The New American Tapestry
Published 1968, very much designs of that era, lots of interesting texture and structure. The Flemish weaving is all pictorial, this book has nothing pictorial at all. Some of the inspiration from these weavers comes from far more ancient sources. Some is exploration of the limits of structure.

I'm running out of time here, so shall close with the credits:

thanks to Leigh , for prompting me to share what I know more widely,
to Hilary of The Loom Exchange, through whom I found my first wheel, my first loom, and lots of good books,
to Chris Jordan whose Spindizzy site has been a wonderful resource for me,
and also special thanks to Margaret Parker, hardworking and dedicated Convenor of the wonderful Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and all my fellow Guild members who have shared so much with me and been good friends.


Janet said...

Well done Dorothy! Welcome to the blog world. I've enjoyed reading your first entry and look forward to your photos in due course. I'm still a learner myself so maybe you'll be able to teach me a few things as you develop your blog.

Woolly Bits said...

welcome to the blogger's circle, Dorothy! and don't worry about the pix - I only started with a few scans, because I only got a digicam later... looking forward to more of your intros - and thanks for the book titles you mentioned!

Alison said...

Welcome to blog-dom! I don't want to clog up the WSD mailing list, but if you'll tell me what kind of issues you've been having with your photographs, I'll see if I can come up with any ideas as to what might help... (Ota from UKWSD)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Congratulations! By the way, another person I "blame" for my starting to blog is Sara Lamb. She has a wonderful blog and one day posted an extensive essay why weavers ought to blog. Here's the link:

Leigh said...

You did it! Wow that was quick. What a great first post. I am a book lover and have benefited from some of your recommendations in the past.

Curious about the photos. I don't have any problems with Ubuntu and Firefox. Have you checked Blogger's help files?

bspinner said...

Welcome to the world of blogging. I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say and of course your pictures when you can upload them.
Also what to thank you for the information on the books you've just received. Where did you get those great books second hand?

Dorothy said...

Thanks for the welcome to blogging messages, and tips on my photos problem. All much appreciated! I've found my way to the bit of Blogger help pages where you can post up your problem, so I'm hoping they come up with some assistance.

Barb, my source of the books I reviewed was The Loom Exchange (link at end of blog). I also use the abebooks web site a lot, I post up a "want" if I can't find what I'm looking for, and then get an e-mail through if a book turns up.

For what titles to look for, I watch for other people's reviews and recommendations, plus read the bibilography at the back my favourite books.

As I love books, you'll find more reviews here in future!

c u r i o u s w e a v e r said...

fabulous start to the blogosphere Dorothy. I love to see reviews on books as I seem to spend more time collecting them than weaving. I look forward to your next post.