Jane Dallaway

Jane Dallaway

Often found in front of a computer, loom or sewing machine.

Software developer by trade. Weaver and photographer by hobby. Dog owner by design. This blog has elements of them all.

Maintainer of 30yearsagotoday.com and brightonbloggers.com


Email: jane @ dallaway.com
Twitter: @janedallaway
Flickr: janed
Instagram: janed

  • I see faces... 

    … and so does iPhoto.

    Not just me then

    I like this. Maybe it is not just human's who have pareidolia. Maybe we've taught our software to have it too.

  • Weaving project 59: A rothko inspired cushion cover 

    "With the Rothko

    On the wall in our spare bedroom/my craft space is a Rothko print. I love the colours of it. I bought a long, thin cushion a few years ago that is similar in colour palette. And decided I wanted to weave another one.

    Amongst my collection of Rico Creative Cotton's were some well matched yellows (light yellow and tangerine). So that was that part of the plan sorted out.

    When I was doing my planning, I got my figures wrong in both dimensions. It ended up being thinner than it could have been. And I didn't allow enough for loom waste. Since changing my warping method, my loom waste allowance has increased. But hasn't stabilised yet. For the short term I need to over estimate to ensure that I don't end up with too short a warp. Lesson #1.

    The pattern I chose was "Paired warp floats in alternating blocks" from the Weaver's Idea book. This used two pick up sticks alternating every other repeat. I didn't find having to put the second pick up stick back in too much of an annoyance. Which is good.

    Having watched some more of my weaving video, I bought and used craft paper on this project to wind the warp. It is much stiffer and has worked to help even out the tension. A good change. And one I'll keep. Lesson #2.

    In progress

    This was the second time that I've attempted to make the entire cushion cover in woven fabric. The previous attempt failed. This time didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped either. The fabric I produced wasn't quite as long as I'd wanted. It was 4 or so inches short which made it just about possible but tight. It also ended up being rather thick when all folded together. Too thick for my poor sewing machine. I broke one needle before deciding to hand sew the rest. Lesson #3.

    Having sourced a cushion inner, the back gapes a bit. So I've used magnetic poppers to hold it in place. Not an ideal or elegant solution but it works. And no photographic evidence of that I'm afraid.

    WP59 finished

    Despite the fact that it hasn't turned out quite as planned, I still like the finished object. The colour match has worked out well. The gold dominates despite only being the warp colour. And the pattern looks like it did in my mind before I started out. I've also got some learnings to take away with me and apply to the next projects.

    I have another cushion planned for weaving project 61. This time with thinner yarns. And I'm only planning to weave the front panel and go back to having a thinner cotton back section. My sewing machine will be relieved.

  • WP58: First attempt at Doni's Deli bag 


    Towards the end of last year Meg posted that she'd made a Doni's Deli bag. This was the first time I'd seen it and I loved the idea. It took me a while to get brave enough to give it a try but in early June I got planning. I measured my current work bag and decided that would be a good guide. And it pretty much matched Doni's own calculations so I knew I was on the right track. I'd enjoyed doing pick-up stick weaving so decided to do some more of that. I wanted the bag to be mainly black. But with highlight colours. I decided to use more of the Rico Creative Cotton Aran yarn as it is nice and chunky. And so picked out turquoise and fuchsia from the colours available. I picked a pattern from my blanket that I knew would result in a dense fabric and show the colours off well.

    On the warping board

    I used my warping board to sort the warp threads out. And it is a good job I did because I doubt there is a room in my house long enough to have managed otherwise. I slotted in the pick up stick using the 3/1 floats alternating with plain-weave picks pattern from the Weaver's Idea book. And off I went. I immediately loved the colours and pattern.

    In progress

    It took me quite a few weekends to weave but I was in no rush. It all went to plan but I did have to thread some weights on to my selvedge threads to keep tension as they were starting to sag a bit. It came off the loom well and after an inspection I found one flaw which was easily mendable.

    Off the loom, pre wet finish

    I wet finished it by putting it in the washing machine at a 95 degrees C wash and a 600 spin cycle. I needed it to be a robust fabric. I air dried it without blocking.

    The following weekend I started the assembly process. I machine stitched the hems and chopped off the fringe. And then started folding things together. I got myself into a bit of a mess at once stage when I realised I'd twisted the strap element and so had to unstitch. Annoying and a bit scary. I think I was so anxious I forgot to think. But I restitched it and following the idea I spotted on someone else's blog stitched the strap underneath to get a clean finish.

    Lining and key cord

    The last phase was sewing in the lining. I looked in my fabric stash and found enough plain black cotton. Having sketched a few ideas down I thought I could do a sewn-in-pocket idea. A bit like a craft roll idea. So I went to my local fabric shop and found some great pink fabric to use as the pocket fabric. I followed this inner constructing tutorial again. I decided that for my keys I'd make a cord and clip and sew it into the lining. Out came the fringe twister again. I think I've only used it twice to fringe twist but I've used it lots of times to make cord. I measured pockets for keys, two pens, my phone and then left the rest. I ladder stitched the assembled inner to the bag itself. And took it outside for a photo shoot.

    I've been using it as my work bag for the last week or so. The only change I've made is to buy a set of magnetic clips so that the bag has a closure. I need to follow the zip tutorial soon and get over my fear. I've been saying this all year but there seems to be always something else that needs doing.

    Hanging open

    It isn't the perfect bag by any means. But it has been a great learning project.

    Things I'm pleased I did:

    • tried it using aran
    • used such a thick pick up pattern
    • used those colours
    • sewed the strap together in the middle
    • used the sizing I did

    Things I'd change:

    • use less pattern to make the joins less noticeable
    • use the colours more as a central stripe. Again this should make the join less noticeable
    • sew it up right handed. I've made a left handed bag
    • make the key pocket a little bit bigger. It is quite a tight squeeze
    • have enough fabric to sew up the bottom of the inner. I only had enough to fold the black fabric together so there is nothing holding the pink pocket closed at the bottom

    Weaving project 60 is set up on the loom next to me as I write. It is set up to make another one of these. This time using a 4 ply yarn and patterns and colours only in the centre. I should be able to see what difference those make to the finished article. And because the weaving element will be slow I'll be able to see how this bag ages before assembling the next one.

    A fun project and I'm enjoying being able to use something I made from scratch as my work bag.

  • Mildly disturbing product messaging 

    Just a couple of examples of marketing messaging that I've noticed, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

    Firstly, my apple juice was a bit over friendly. I'm not sure I want my apple juice to speak to me. It's a bit Restaurant at the end of the universe.

    My apple juice is a bit over-friendly

    and then I bought a bag of dog treats for the dog which encourages me to call them and bark at them. Kinky!


  • Kindle helper scripts now in ruby 

    In recent months the length of time it was taking to run my applescript version of the Kindle Helper Scripts was getting out of hand. It was upwards of 3 hours. Time for a refactor. As I wrote at the time my knowledge of applescript was basic so this wasn't a great suprise. I decided to rewrite using ruby as I'm doing some ruby scripting at work. And as it is vaguely related to my day job I got to spend a couple of hours doing it as part of a hack afternoon. It is always good to have a real project to practice new languages in after all.

    The new script takes seconds to run instead of hours. So is much more usable. It runs from the command line. It has 3 parameters, the first 2 of which are essential:

    • Parameter 1: path to the My Clippings.txt file
    • Parameter 2: path to the folder where the output is to go
    • Parameter 3: (optional) an indicator that the location should be output (i.e. page number, line number etc)

    Here's how I call it:

    ruby parse_my_clippings.rb "/Users/jane/Dropbox/My Clippings.txt" "/Users/jane/Dropbox/Clippings"

    I've tested it using ruby 2.1.2 on a mac. And a different 2.0+ version on a pc. It works using the format of My Clippings.txt from my kindle (which is in English). If you have a different set up to this then YMMV.