Tuesday, 15 December 2015


Starting note. If you're a Greek weaver or a Greek speaking weaver and get bored with this rambling, please scroll to the bottom, I need your help with language.

So, things didn't quite work out as planned in Dundee, for very personal reasons. As these things tend to do. I'm sure many of you have been in a similar position before. Something very central to your life changes and the life you have just doesn't make sense anymore.

So, the upshot is, I couldn't afford to keep the flat anymore. The rent is more than I can afford, even when working at full capacity. I've been working as a delivery driver for Domino's Pizza and while it's a great deal of fun, very satisfying and my workmates were really good fun to get on with and the management was the best I've ever worked under, no matter how many hours I worked there'd be no way to make anything more than a subsistence level income with the rent.

I'd thought of several option, I though of getting a smaller flat, I thought of getting a flatmate, but none of it made sense.

Then I was lying awake in bed one night looking at the half-empty shelving unit next to me when I just thought "I should go to Athens and be with my brother".

I couldn't sleep anyway, so I just stayed up until he woke up and had a long conversation on Skype about everything that had happened. That was a couple of months ago. Since then I've been working and basically organising what you could call a tactical retreat from my life in Scotland. The difference between a tactical retreat and a rout is that rather than picking up a sleeping bag and walking out of the door with my dog leaving chaos in my wake I'm doing everything I can to make sure that I leave things in order, complete the tasks that are necessary and make arrangements for the paying down of the debts I have accumulated.

It's been a long couple of months.

Now I'm at the point where I've sold the bulk of the furniture and now have no sofas or beds and am writing this post in front of a telly perched on a computer tower while sitting on an upturned bin. I can't find the power cable for my laptop, that's why. Annoying eh.

My bed is a single duvet on top of a folded over double duvet in the corner by the heater. And it is very cold. But I'm accustomed to this kind of life. I used to be a squatter and at least here I have security.

But the more things I shed myself of the more at peace I am.

This may alarm some of you, but I have thrown out all the cloth I wove before I went to college. Every single piece. I have gotten rid of duvets, bedsheets, towels, perfectly good clothes. I have whittled my tool collection down to the bare minimum, all else going to the Dundee Makerspace. What do I need with a full set of turning chisels? With a set of tiny screwdrivers? With three different handsaws? With all the wall-plugs, with all the yarn I have accumulated.

I have thrown away that which will be of no use and gifted everything else except my bare necessities. The weaving cards I have made take no space and I use them all the time, I keep them. The Marudai braiding stand is a sacred item for reasons I won't go into, I keep that. The latest iteration of the weaving board I have designed comes apart and goes in an A4 envelope and is the foundation of a potential living, I keep that.

The little loom I learned to weave on? It's long gone, gone to another beginner weaver. The big loom I learned sectional beaming on and wove my first set of scarves (one of which I'm still wearing right now)? It's gone to the makerspace and I'm producing a video to explain to others how to get the counterbalance system properly balanced. It will be used there. Tools should be used. My sewing machine, overlocker, design table? Makerspace. The yarn, hundreds of pounds worth, Makerspace. I am only taking 5 kilos of 2/60's silk supplied by a company that I intend to use again (they have a very good pallette of pre-dyed shades). And some very fine nylon, which is excellent for practicing weaving new fonts with.

The computer is a fine tool, which I have used for designing my tablet weaving loom and a wonderful diversion if I want to spag out (a term my family use for being a couch potato, I've never heard anyone outside my family use this term) and play video games. This will stay with my sister until my living situation is secure and I can send for it.

My Ebook stays with me, I am currently reading the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I've read it before, but it's worth reminding oneself of the lessons of a man who made Stoicism accessible to the people. A philosopher emperor. Great guy. On you go Marky-boy.

Anyhow. You get the craic of the matter.

So that's that, away I go, after an interlude of earning money from home and earning my keep by chopping wood and walking dogs.

So, this is the request for the Greeks that I mentioned at the beginning of the post for those of you who weren't up to reading me rambling at length about my problems, solutions and philosophies.

I need Greek weaving words. These are not common words, and in English they are not common knowledge and may not be found in a dictionary and are not standardised either. The Americans and brits used different terms for the same thing sometimes, and older british weavers will use different terms from younger british weavers.

The main words I need are

Lay (shuttle race
Shaft (heald in old fashioned english, funnily enough)
Tension (maybe a different word if attached to weaving than otherwise)

It's funny, but having had communications with scandinavian weavers (you know who you are, you lovely people) there's been no problems in this regard because most of our weaving words are borrowed from them and in any case our languages are closely related.

But anyhow, if I want to make some part of my living as a loom handyman and/or weaving teacher I'm gonna need these words. If anyone can help me, I shall be in your debt and if you happen to reside in Athens I shall be more than happy to help you in any way I can as recompense. I am proficient in most aspects of handweaving, including several different warping methods. I am also roughly good with tools and have experience of modifying looms. I can tie up a counter-balance, a counter-marche. I have repaired mechanical dobbies and thouroughly understand their mechanical operation and design principles. I can tablet weave and know some braiding. I also have a basic understanding of the operations of power looms, particularly the modern type of rapier loom and am good with the kinds of software that are common in their operation.

If you can help me with the language, or know someone that does, let me know in the comments