Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A second handbag

Hey, look! I've made another handbag. This time I used one of those ten bits of cloth I wove a month or so back specifically for this very purpose. I'd commissioned my mother to find me some handbag handles from a charity shop/car boot sale and she came up with the goods (one set only - they are quite hard to find). However, as I have plenty of cloth and no more handles on the horizon I think I shall try to make a bag with woven handles. I shall experiment and see and then I'll let you know.

Overshot sampler

This is what I wove at my last weaving lesson.

First fruit of new loom

Here is a scarf woven in Italian boucle wool (I've got stacks of it). It is lovely and thick and soft. Although it is on a rosepath threading and I followed a lifting sequence I'd used before, the pattern did not show up at all. I was very pleased with the result all the same. I am now making a second scarf with the remaining warp and the pattern is showing this time because I'm using a more contrasting colour, doubling the pattern pick and using a plainweave binder weft, which three things I neglected to do before. I gave this scarf to Mr HC's godson on his 18th birthday, which no doubt was not his favourite present, but possibly the one that will keep him cosiest.

Duke of Edinburgh CV enhancement award

My daughter Kodakina has just come back from a week's "working in conservation" holiday with an organization called the BTCV. She worked clearing woodland of unwanted growth (eg brambles) and had a jolly good time. I was very proud of her as she had to get quite far away by train, all on her own, which involved crossing London on the underground in the rush hour with the biggest rucksack in the world, and spend the week with a group of strangers, accommodation was the village hall.

She has just got her GCSE results which, thank goodness, were good enough for her to go on to study her chosen course, the International Baccalaureat, at the local state- funded sixth form college, not private you understand. She got an A star for art (that's my girl), by the way, and the rest were all As and Bs (that's for you, Elizabeth, and thank you for asking).

Anyway, to get to the point of this post ........... Although K. had a lovely holiday, she did have to contend with a lot of negative and stroppy seventeen year olds (she is sixteen), who were only on the holiday to gain points for the gold award section of the Duke of Edinburgh's scheme. These young people plainly were not participating on the week away for the "right reasons". They were astonished that anyone would want to devote a week to the good cause of conservation of the environment - they were only doing it for the certificate.

Friday, August 18, 2006

First warp on new loom

Well here is the warp on the frame and then successfully put on my new loom. I found the process of putting it on the loom much easier than before. I don't know if this is thanks to the loom or because I'm just getting better at it.

Problems so far are that the pattern does not show up very well because the yarn is very fluffy and not dissimilar enough in warp and weft. However, the cloth produced is lovely and thick and soft and I should think will make a very comforting scarf, assuming the washing process doesn't ruin it.

A more worrying problem is that I can't seem to disengage the friction brake without a tricky process of gradually easing the wire coil around its spool. I should be able to just push a lever to do this. I think maybe I broke the brake by not realising it was on when I first wound on the warp (beaming) and perhaps I stretched it. (How stupid am I? - I thought the beam was protesting too much and I did think I'd tried the brake on and off - but there we are, I was wrong and now I've probably mucked up my new loom boo hoo). On the bright side, Mr Hamblecampbell reckons he can fix it. Let us hope.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beautiful prints by Angie Lewin

I was looking at some birthday cards for sale the other day and found a set showing the most beautiful linocut and woodblock prints. (Actually I first saw a small photo of this work in my Crafts magazine last year and was struck by it then). The cards were by Art Angels and the artist is Angie Lewin. This one, 'Speypath' is my favourite -unfortunately you can't buy one of the original prints as they are all sold.

There are, however, others for sale, including a lovely linoprint of some feathers etc in an Eric Ravilious-designed mug so of course that would be the one I would choose.


Ten woven rectangles

At last I have come to the end of what had seemed an endless warp. I've now got ten rectangles that all need their fringes knotting/twisting and then they'll be ready to be washed and made into handbags.

The road is long and it leads to what I'm a little bit scared of - my new loom.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More photos from the garden

Hannah Peschar sculpture garden

I met this tired young person at the above last week. I took a few photos for you to have a look at if you've the time and inclination. I think this sculpture is by Emily Young.

Can you see alright at the back?

I would like to get one of those sooooper doooper cameras that can counteract shake. That is easy to use and will allow the user to compose a stunning shot. Also photograph documents so they can be read easily on the photographic image. Also take lovely close-ups of plants and insects. As well as splendid sweeping landscapes and charming portraits. And in addition capture the idea of an enormous structure but still reveal its tiny detail.

Where can you get one of those?

Station Jim

Here, apparently, is Station Jim. A stuffed dog who currently resides in a glass case at Slough railway station.

I took this photo as I happened to be passing by last Friday and he brought back memories.

When I was a younger person living with my family in Reading, we used to visit my grandparents, who lived in the wild woods of East Dulwich Grove in London. My grandad would accompany us to the railway station on the way back (I suppose it must have been Paddington, unless it was one of the underground stations). I always put a few coins in Station Jim's collecting box (although I don't remember him having a name in those days). When the coins dropped in my grandad would make a barking noise. It wasn't until a few years ago that I found out that it wasn't the stuffed dog making the noise. I thought there was a little mechanical barking device in the money box that worked whenever someone put some money in. And it was my grandad all along. Huh.

I don't know what prompted Jim to up sticks and move to Slough. Can't have been the cost of living.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I told you flying is bad

It is easier to stay at home. Flying is bad and dangerous.

Interesting to see how the news is dominated by something that hasn't actually happened and maybe never was going to happen.

Of course I am very glad that these terrorists have been foiled. It is just that since the mistaken raid on a house a few weeks ago, based on false information, and the mistaken killing of the man in the Underground station, one does not want to be too credulous.

Weaving music

Currently my favourite CD is The Pentangle's "Basket of Light". I thought I would not like this group as I don't generally like folk music (although I do like Bert Jansch). I first heard their music on Desert Island Discs a few months ago, when Light Flight was chosen by the artist Rachel Whiteread.

My favourite song on the album is "Once I Had a Sweetheart", mainly because I like the way the sitar gets all loud and twangy. And there's a really good bit in "Train Song", in between the verses.

I always think this record would be good for weaving to as it comes from that era (late sixties/early seventies) when hand weaving was beginning to become popular. (I could be wrong about this. I'm just making it all up here. The BBC series The Craft of the Weaver was shown in 1980).

I admit I push the fast forward button for the Dirge and Sally go round the roses. There aren't many LPs which don't have at least one duff song. I shall try to think of some.

New bag from old rag

Hey, I can't believe I made this bag all by myself and no-one to help me. I am so proud. When I was at school I was the class dunce in our needlework lessons.

I'd just finished making the bread yesterday afternoon when I suddenly felt the urge to make this bag. So I just did - no patterns, tape measures etc etc, I just cut up two old curtains left from when I'd been collecting from jumble sales for rag rugs and got sewing.

I drew round the base of a vase seven times to get the flower shape. It reminds me of the young person with a magic daisy on her frock from a comic I used to read. Maybe it was Twinkle for little girls. I noticed, long after Euclid, that the six circles fit exactly round the central circle. Magic. My oldest daughter told me she'd noticed that years ago when arranging her Smarties, as one does, prior to eating them.

The flower is stuck on with iron-on Bond-a-web or some such. I would have sewn it on, but the applique was an after-thought and I should have done all that prior to making up the bag. Next time. It's a learning curve.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Trotty dog by the banks of green willow

Who stuck this on my caddy?

Me 'n my millions

I am glad the Enron 3 have gone off to America to face the courts there, despite all the bleating about their human rights. Judging from the many recent famous failures to convict here (eg. Maxwell), there would be no chance of the British legal system being able to cope with their case. The rich and corrupt wheelers and dealers seem to be looked after, maybe even protected, over here. It looks like the British Government would rather not get involved in cleaning up a system that is no doubt supporting a lot of towering but rotten edifices.

It seems that the super-wealthy who have so often made their fortunes through dealing with and taking risks with other people's pension funds, other companies' assets etc etc forget that money does not grow on trees and for every super-wealthy person there will be a great many super-poor.

Weaving with a rolling pin.

I was leafing through Ann Sutton's book, "The Structure of Weaving" and saw a photo of some weaving that had been distorted by insinuating a bit of broom handle through some of the warp behind the heddles. This tightened those warp threads and left the others much looser. The warp threads were tightened and loosened at intervals and I liked the interesting texture the resultant cloth took on.

My efforts are less pleasing. Maybe they will look better when I take the cloth off the loom. It is difficult to govern the extent of the distortion.

I was looking for something to do with a plainweave threading. I'm still plodding through the long long warp I put on and now I'm thinking about how nice it would be to get on to my new loom. Perhaps long warps are not for me. They are very efficient of your time, but there is a case for leaving efficiency to mechanised weaving. I am anxious to get on to the next thing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wingnut's phone calls being intercepted by newspaper journalists

Amazing that this could be considered the top story on the BBC's news at ten.

Power showers and spot lights and not-green schools

Why are builders of new houses still installing power showers and spot lights? Aren't we all supposed to be saving energy? Isn't Tony Blair urging us all to turn our heating down a degree (assuming a day will come when it's cold enough to require the radiators on again)? I wonder why he doesn't tell them they have to behave themselves and act responsibly. And he should ban cheap flights. In fact, he should ban flights altogether.

While I'm on the subject -

I was just thinking about how un-green our school has become. Instead of "modelling good practice" (as they say in teacher training college) the primary school I work at is becoming more and more environmentally unfriendly.

Instead of blackboards we have "interactive white boards". These can only be written on and viewed when connected to a computer and projector. The classroom, which has two walls built almost entirely of windows, has had to have blinds installed and these are lowered virtually all day as the screen cannot be seen in the bright daylight.

There are insufficient text books, and photocopied sheets are used extensively. Photocopying is a major part of my job as teacher's assistant. Children are no longer expected to write out sentences in their workbooks - this is too arduous and boring for them. Rather, they fill in isolated words on their photocopied worksheets.

A great deal of display work is laminated. This means encapsulating sheets of A3 or A4 paper in a plastic envelope and heating it so the plastic melds together. The idea is to make the paper more durable, but it also makes it unrecyclable. Often the laminated document does not need to be durable, as it is lost by the time it is needed again the following year or it has become redundant.

Children waste huge amounts of paper in their excercise books by not being encouraged to work tidily (especially in maths) and not being chastised for starting a clean page every time they start a new lesson.

School trips never use public transport (even though our village is on the mainline railway). The children are taken on visits by coach - apparently to minimise walking along dangerous roads.

But they get lessons on how the environment is changing. A case of, "Don't do as I do, do as I say." Here endeth the rant for the day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tapestry weaving

While away from my loom I thought I'd try some tapestry weaving. I made a loom out of an old picture frame notched with a little hacksaw. It has a linen warp and I was quite pleased with my first efforts. I was following instructions in a book by Kirsten Glasbrook which are nice and clear with good photographs. Naturally and of course I now want an enormous tapestry loom.

Charmouth Forest

We stayed for a week in a cottage at Stanton St Gabriel, near the Golden Cap in Dorset.

This photo was taken on a "five star walk" around part of Charmouth Forest, from a book of walks in West Dorset by Hugh Stoker.

As you can see, the weather was fine. In fact most of the week the weather was fine and it only rained on the two days that I did the washing. It was a bit cooler down on the coast so we were very happy to be out of the stifling heat of home.

The inevitable courgette soup.

See, I was too hard on myself. This soup I made proves it.

Five big 'uns

A burglar need not trouble himself to look for a build-up of post, curtains not being drawn, lights switched off of an evening, etc etc - he could simply take a stroll down the garden and if there are marrows where there ought to be courgettes, he'll know he's struck lucky and the householders are away.

Either that or the gardener has become obsessed with weaving and can't be bothered to harvest the veg (or cook it either).

Actually both these hypotheses are true in my case. I've just come back from my holiday.