Monday, April 13, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina


Today is my birthday. When I came to my computer, there was a paper copy of the web page with the camera tripod I asked for. On it was written the note: “if you still want this, please order it.” Hurrah!


Nigel had mentioned in an email a book by Kay Greenlees called Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists. I purchased this book, perhaps six months ago. I skimmed through the whole thing and then started reading it. I stopped about a third of the way through and put it away.

I loved the book. It was beautiful. But how does a weaver create a sketchbook? The notion of drawing rocks or manhole covers, or leaves, or flowers and working from them to a weaving just didn’t seem to work for me as a weaver.

I had been following Nigel’s blog. He is using sketchbooks in the Bradford course. I knew that was part of the Bradford course. But still, though sketching is nice, I still didn’t see any real sense in it for weaving. Maybe for tapestry weaving. But not regular weaving.

And then Nigel mentioned the Greenlees book. So I got the book back out. I began to read it a bit more carefully.

Greenlees says that a sketchbook can be a written journal. In a sense, that is what I keep on the computer. So if I were doing the Bradford course, or something similar, I would have to transcribe the written sketches on the computer into an actual sketchbook. And of course it would include actual weaving drawdowns.


This time I noted that Greenlees discusses what she calls E-sketch books. She doesn’t seem overly enthusiastic, though she admits others are. She discusses pros and cons and suggests things to keep in mind as the artist looks for the most appropriate software for her purposes.

One of her concerns is the ease of mark making. So she is still thinking of an E-sketchbook as a computer equivalent of a literal sketchbook. I am not concerned with mark making or making sketches in a journal. I am interested in collecting ideas, both verbal and visual.

Any mark making I might be interested in doing can be done in Paint Shop Pro and I can bring anything I do there into other software.


I have some journaling software on the computer. I tried it a bit. It is a good way to keep the kind of stuff you would keep in any ordinary Word or Word Perfect document. But it fails miserably as an art journal.

Why? You can’t put objects anywhere you want on the page. You simply cannot design a page. And you can’t look at two pages next to each other.


A number of years ago I did a newsletter for our weaving guild in Atlanta. Always interested in new things, I purchased Microsoft Publisher. Easy to learn. Creates an effective newsletter.

Microsoft Publisher. Why not? You can design pages freely. You can view two pages side-by-side. So I went to work. And here is a page I put together rather quickly, just to see how it might work:Page from weaving design sketch book


The blue and pink lines are simply margin guidelines and do not print out. Also, the light squares around the various pieces of writing do not print out. They are simply guidelines.

And my name at the bottom is for the purpose of this post and is not on the actual page. Also, since this is the first page, only that page can be viewed. But when I work on the inside pages, then I can view the two pages side by side, as if I were looking at the real thing.

And of course, when I have filled a volume (I can add as many pages to this volume as I want), I can always print it out and have it bound. If I want to.

I can’t attach actual samples, actual yarns, actual leaves…….. But otherwise I do believe this offers exactly the flexibility I need to create a sketch book.

I checked the latest version of Publisher. Mine is 2000 and the latest is 2007. But the latest version has no advantages for me over my version to warrant spending the money.


Now what I need to do is to figure out a system for using it. Ideally, putting in something once a day would be great. But I do not have that kind of time. So I am going to have to do it like one day a week or some such thing. Maybe Greenlees has some ideas.

Or I could just keep it open on the computer. Right now that is a bit dangerous for the novelty of it keeps me at it to the point that it becomes a time waster. But the novelty surely will wear off (though the novelty of blogging hasn’t worn off yet……….).

Related Posts:
Playing with Color
PixeLoom, Paint Shop Pro and Gradated Warps
Painting a Mock-up – with Paint or Computer Software
Crackle Jacket: First Rumblings

Sketchbooks for Weavers” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on April 13, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Dave Daniels said...

And yay for the new tripod.
Publisher was the first program I ever learned on the computer. It has a lot of potential, and the pages can then be converted into html web pages.

Anonymous said...

It sounds very hightech, good luck with it. I love my visual art journal because I like to stick yarns in to it with ideas & colours.
Have a great birthday :)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thanks, Dave. Unfortunately I am having trouble ordering it as the order doesn't seem to want to go through. But I can always call.
Thank you for the good wishes, Shirley. I couldn't stick yarns in mine anyway, as I dye them, but what I can record are color ideas that might suggest dyeing possibilities.

Susan B. said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day (seems to have begun quite well...)

I have the Greenlees book as well, thanks to a gift from my mother, and I find it very inspiring - although my sketchbooks are not at all at that level! It is important for everyone to find their own way of working, but you can only do that by trying out new ideas as they arise - looking forward to seeing how the e-sketchbook works out.

Notes from Nicki said...

An e-sketch book using Publisher...what a fascinating idea. I do a newsletter with should work so well. I also keep a drawing stetch book to help me create designs for tapestry. you've got me thinking I need to have TWO sketch books...when will that novel ever be written!

Tien said...

You might consider Microsoft OneNote as well. Like Publisher, it allows you to position multiple elements on a page, but it's designed to organize like a real notebook, with sections and subsections, pages and subpages, so it's easier to keep track of what you're doing. I don't know if there's a way to view two pages at once, though.

I still use a printed notebook since there's no way to store samples in electronic format, but I use OneNote for the electronic records. Much easier than trying to keep track of a bunch of separate files, plus I can flip through the notebook by scanning the tabs and clicking a mouse!

Margreet said...

Happy Birthday greetings. What a great start to your day finding the tripod note on your computer!

Holly said...

Happy Birthday a day late.

I do my weaving journal in Word. I have Publishler but over the years I've found that Word works just as well for me. For the actual notebook I use an old lovely leather DayTimer zippered notebook. The old DayTimer still had lots of plastic sleeves, etc., left over from the pre-computer DayTimer days so it works really well (and looks classy too).

BTY, I've been reading the book on talent you recommended. Interesting -- but a hard concept to buy into! I think I like the idea that it's "talent" not hard work that pushes us up. If it's strictly hard work, then I'm going to have to overcome my lazy gene!

Leigh said...

Oh my. How did I manage to miss your birthday. Happy Belated!

I like the idea of idea keeping on a computer. I have a DTP program called Scribus, but oh, the learning curve. Maybe I should do this more with my blog(???)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Susan, thank you for the birthday wishes.
And thank you, too Cally. I think this e-journal will be a good compromise for me. I can just splat things on the pages or I can arrange and try to make the pages attractive. I like the idea of the latter.
Nicki, if you already keep a drawing sktchbook, do you really need an e-sketchbook? Of course, you could always scan your drawings into it......(grin!)

Peg in South Carolina said...

Tien, I have looked at OneNote several times and just did so again after your comment. My conclusion (without having downloaded the trial version, you understand!), is that it is a great system for organizing a weaving project. But it is not so great for creating an art journal. Searchability is not an issue with an art journal because an art journal is to be looked at randomly and with some frequency just to see what clicks in your head, if anything. Also, creating "artistic" looking pages, something akin to an artist's journal, is more easily accomplished with Publisher. And I do not intend mine to contain all the information calculations that are necessary for a particular projects. When I am ready to move from the sketch book to the project, I will move to my Word Processor and folders, though I can see a real advantage here for OneNote. Thanks for sharing!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thanks, Magreet!
Holly, thank you for your input. As for the talent, hard work business, I think what is missing is the idea of love. Only love can keep me going in the hard times. Perhaps love has something to do with talent?
Leigh, thank you. Re the blog. I think that to some extent for both of us our blogs have been our e-journals.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to post another comment, but I have to now I'm here as the "verification word" blogger wants is "guess" and it is too good to pass up!

As it happens I use OneNote quite a lot, although mainly for keeping what I call clippings - articles and items of interest I find on the web. You can "print" to it and it keeps everything together which is easier than a bunch of pdf files and more tree-friendly than putting everything on paper.

bspinner said...


Great present too.

Hope you had a wonderful day!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Cally, I like the idea of printing to one note. I have a pdf printer which I use a lot, but, as you say, doing that doesn't keep things together. You can store related items in the same folder, but they are still separate items.
bspinner--thanks for the good wishes. Yes, I had a very nice day. Thank you for asking.

bibliotecaria said...

I was going to mention OneNote but I see a few others already have. But I will add that there is a similar software program called Evernote and another called Zoho Notebook that you might look into as well. I'm not sure how good they would be for printing out, but they are definitely meant for gathering notes together electronically.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Bibliotecaria, thank you for your suggestions. I am sure there are blog readers who would be interested to know about these programs. Thank you for sharing.