February Guest Speaker: Anne Miller

Anne’s book has been recently published in French and in German. She told us that she dreamed last week that she arrived to give her talk and no one was there to listen. In reality that was not the case, there was a large gathering interested to hear about how she came to write her book.
Anne has a son who lives in London and while visiting him she was asked to write a book on weaving by a representative of a French publishing company. Her immediate response was to say no. Then, on the plane flying home she started to think about simple forms of weaving which don’t require expensive equipment and thought that perhaps she could write a book.


The first step was to design and make two items, a mohair scarf and a small money purse. The response was that the scarf was fine (it was made in pale green shades) but they thought the purse in pinks and mauve was too bright and could she tone it down.
The book was to include instructions, photos and drawings for 15 projects, all for madam or her home (no male items) and using yarns easy to obtain in Europe. Anne decided to use Rowan yarns. The next decision which only took 30 seconds to make was whether she wanted royalties or a flat fee. Anne said the flat fee please!
The next task was to design 15 projects. Lots of ideas came to mind: some worked, some didn’t. Here Anne gave her thanks to Liz Gemmell for her suggestions and to Warril Evans for reading and editing the manuscript.
Finally the notes were sent off to London and later Anne went over with the completed projects for the photographs. These were taken in a house which was completely white inside. They were able to use the owners furniture for props. It took three days to do the photographs. Then it was time for the diagrams, sketches and the layout. Finally the book was published in November 2008.
The looms used were mostly made from cardboard – square, rectangular and round, with some projects woven around the cardboard to produce a pocket. The projects were:
• scarf of eight squares using astrakhan yarn, two colours alternating and joined together.
• scarf with four colours squares, joined with silk thread
• knee rug of 25 squares, pink and white with lengths of yarn knotted together to create surface interest
• cushion cover, three squares blue, one white, also with tufts for interest
• coasters in two colours with motifs and fringe
• lavender bag woven around a piece of cardboard
• small purse
• small shoulder bag woven then felted, circles cut out of the fabric and the surrounding area embroidered
• hot water bottle cover
• jewellery bag, pocket style again, some copper thread
• small girl’s bag of fabric strips with a beaded handle
Anne originally wanted to use ideas with felting and printing but they ran out of space. One project which didn’t make it to the book was a teddy bear.
Jenny asked Anne the question that a lot of us were thinking “How difficult was it to write a book for an editor in another country?” The editor, Katy, lives in London and speaks English so she was able to communicate with Anne and the publishers in France.

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