Rus stix

putting it all together

In my quest for paper yarn perfection, I’ve been trying out a more fibrous tissue that I bought from a paper supplier. The finished twine is very appealing, comes up a bit softer in texture than the bought twine I’m used to but has a pleasing random slub effect when it’s manipulated into cord.

whilst creating my thread, twine, yarn ??? – (must try and define the difference in these terms) I’ve been introduced to some more paper making additives – the most noticeable being CMC a particular type of cellulose used in all manner of paper, textile and food! production … the science in all of this papery stuff just gets more and more absorbing !!!

So, with winter now definitely upon us, and the garden giving off rustic vibes, the more “yarn” I make the more evenings I can sit by the roaring fire in my woolly socks and ‘crochet cordage’ for my next round of papery experiments.

P.S. – thread = a long thin strand of fibres … twine = a light string or strong thread composed of two or more thread strands twisted together … yarn = yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine … sooooooo, have decided I must be making Y-INE-TH !!!





On a Roll

getting somewhere

I’ve been using paper twine for a while now (it pops up in other posts on this website) … but recently I decided to start experimenting with making my own, as with most of my “trial and error” activities, a lot of time, energy and a certain amount of bad language is expended whilst experimentation takes place – but this is how I like to learn, it’s the bit I get the most satisfaction from, it’s probably the reason why final outcomes (for me) are the hardest part of making …

The reels of twine I regularly use, were purchased from a supplier some while ago and won’t last forever, one of the great things about making my own twine, would be creating subtleties of colour to match to a project, rather than having to use toning or contrasting twine as I do now. All my experiments have their own qualities, which just makes me think of more projects I’d like to use my own soft, delicate twine for … There has also been a certain amount of, soaking, spraying and brushing flat sheets, before drying and slicing the strips, as with other elements of paper making all these interventions bring subtle new elements to the final twine.

I’ve used shop bought tissues and soft straw and silk papers in my experiments. These are great for learning techniques, (as laid out in the photo’s below) and will enhance my weaving repertoire. I will however, need to hunt down some paper made with stronger fibres, if I want to carry on knitting and crocheting with the end results.



Paper vs Plaper

I was entertained this week by a tv programme … T Bags, pretty straight forward one might think … but no !

who would believe that so much tech and engineering could go into such an unassuming “paper” item and then … – as soon as I saw the plastic element of the ingredients being discussed – I thought here comes trouble and sure enough a certain amount of social media activity buzzed around after the ‘T bag’ airing …

I’ve been musing over this blog for a while now, wondering how best to approach the thorny subject of (ssshhhh) plastics. I’m not a traditional paper maker, I mainly learn by trial and error (that’s where for me, the enjoyment lies) and even though I’ve now started using ancient techniques, to process my own garden plants for papermaking … I still use (ssshhhh) a lot of plastics in other processes.

When in philosophising mood, my mind wonders around the whole ‘natural vs man made/paper vs plaper’ issue … I console myself with the thought that in the main, I’m regenerating ingredients that would otherwise be discarded. I’m also very aware that water conservation is paramount when I’m mixing my pulps and next year I’m hoping to have enough roof water from my work sheds (him indoors doesn’t know this yet !!!) for all my concoctions.

Plastics will continue to be an element of my working practice … as I continue on my papery journey. I am discovering new recipes for glues, colourants, oils and waxes and where they stand up to the tests of time, cost and availability, I will slowly adapt my recipes to encompass more natural ingredients. For now my journey continues on it’s “plapery” way …

what’s in the glue

trial and error

outlining life


One Day in May …

Computer crashed, wondering around town waiting to hear it’s fate … Poster – “Bridports Rope Making History” – up the stairs I plod, to a familiar room in the Town Hall then whoooosh !!! one of those odd moments when time stands still and sights and sounds I didn’t know I recognised came crowding in …

Earlier in the year I’d bought some samples for my up and coming papermaking workshops, when the samples arrived a similar sensation occurred “dew retted flax” – why did this coil of what looked like silvery grey hair affect me like it did …

I knew my dad’s family were involved in the netting industry in Bridport before we moved back to West Dorset, but I hadn’t realised how many connections there were … spiders web threads that pulled at my senses, my surroundings, my making.

Flax was grown in the fields around Symondsbury where my Dad was born and lived as a boy, the flax was retted in dew where it lay, cut to the ground in the fields close to where I now live. It was then taken to the rope factory, where a great, great uncle was one of the ghostly figures processing this material into twine.

Women also made up a large part of the workforce in this industry, often piece working in their own homes, (could that be my great, great Grandma sitting netting in her doorway) … Dad left Dorset in the 1950’s searching for a more exciting life. My own life’s plan led me (albeit far away in another county) to meeting and marrying a boy local to that same West Dorset area … now I’m here making my paper objects, walking my dog and travelling the lanes in this green, abundant landscape – I feel all the people who went before … especially the one’s most recently lost …

In loving memory, mum, dad and andy …