Saturday, July 30, 2016

On and on it goes... where (when) it stops, nobody knows!

This tapestry is kicking my butt.  It should have been "easy" and it should have been "quick"--or at least as easy and quick as any tapestry ever is, especially one with a coarse sett (6 epi) and multiple weft strands (4-6).  As I mentioned in the last post, I started this in November with every intention of making it through within about four months.  March or April, I thought.  I'll have plenty of time to complete this tapestry and get another large one on the loom.

I could begin to list the things that have kept me from keeping to my self-imposed schedule of four months for weaving--but I won't.

Here's where it stands now.  It's about 14" from the top at the highest part.  60" wide.  Let's see, that's 14" x 60" = 840" square inches that remain in the weaving part of this tapestry.  At least that much... and actually a bit more since the lowest part is around 16" from the top.  How many square inches can I weave in a day?  Around six to eight, depending on complexity and how long I'll sit there doing it.

The end of the tapestry is showing at the top edge of the cartoon as it hangs, draped over the rod you see behind the warp threads.

In the last post I mentioned that I was having a lot of "what-ifs" that were distracting me from weaving on this piece.  Those what-ifs are quite interesting and are leading in paths I haven't followed before with tapestry... and may be leading to new directions to explore for awhile.  They are so engaging that I'm using time investigating them when I really should be attending to this neglected piece.

I still have a goal to include this tapestry in the upcoming exhibit at Piedmont College in September-October.  So I really, really, really, really need to put the "what-ifs" aside for a few more weeks.  I'll be back to them--I will!  And I'll describe those distractions in future post(s).

Oh... another diversion coming up right away to take me away from this tapestry is the American Tapestry Alliance retreat/workshop at Milwaukee. More about that is also at this link.  I'm looking forward to seeing folks I only get together with about every two years or so.  Lots of fiber exhibits will be in Milwaukee, as well, in conjunction with the Handweavers Guild of America conference called Convergence

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Catching up with the big one...

I'm still weaving away on the large tapestry that's been on the loom since late November.  It has been a really hard one to weave.  Not difficult to weave, just hard to find (make) time to do it!  Distractions, what-ifs, and multiple other things have kept me from putting myself at the loom bench and weaving.  But my resolution now is ... DO IT! 

Here's where I left it last night: 

I hope to have a few more inches woven by the end of the day.  If those pesky what-ifs will leave me alone for awhile.

Friday, July 1, 2016


Tapestry weaving is an obsession for me.  I spend much of my day with either weaving tapestry, thinking about weaving tapestry, teaching others about weaving tapestry, reading about weaving tapestry, talking to others about weaving tapestry.

Therefore, in the past weeks since the last post I've been doing just that!  I'll show some of the things I've been doing relating to those tapestry obsessions sometime soon.  Maybe today if I can find a break in the weaving of tapestry.

Happy July 1 and the beginning of the next six months of the year to each and all!  Tapestry diary unrolled from the loom today to review the past six months:

July, August, September, October, November, December... here I come!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Weaving, weaving, and more weaving

Tapestry weaving takes time.  Lots and lots of time!  Here's where I spend hours a day when I'm working on tapestry:

This tapestry is one I began back in November.  I wrote about it at this post and have mentioned it occasionally since then.   I have a self-imposed deadline of finishing it by early August so that I'll have time to do finishing work on it and prepare it for hanging in the next exhibit I'll be having.  That will be at Piedmont College in late September.

Finishing work takes hours--sometimes days, in fact.  Not as long as weaving the tapestry, especially when the tapestry is a large one like the oak leaf one is (at least, large for me).  When I'm working on finishing I spend lots of time doing this:

What I'm doing in the photo is using a curved needle to whip stitch the warp ends to the back of the tapestry.  I've already used a half-Damascus finish on them that causes them to lay at the back.  Before mounting the tapestry, I like to be sure the tails of the warp won't flip out and so do the whip stitch to group a few ends together about 3/4" away from the edge.  I use sewing thread and just nip into the back of the weft... don't want the thread to go through to the front.

Here's the small tapestry that I was working on there:

This photo was done before the warp ends were taken to the back.  The little tapestry is 3" wide by about 6.5" high.  It's at the framers now to be completed--I want to use it in the exhibit along with several other small ones that are also being framed.  By the way... all the dyes of the black walnut tapestry were dyed with black walnut hulls as I wrote about at this post--except for the darkest in the walnut.  Those dark browns were from a commercial dye.

I have a couple of other tapestries in process now, too.  I'm hoping to have these finished before the exhibit.  Here's one of those... it's going to be about 12" square.  It's another of the several that I'm doing based on paintings I made while at the Lillian Smith Center retreat last summer.

And my 2016 tapestry diary grows daily.  I've devoted the month of May to the black walnut tree's catkins--I have a few more days to finish it up!  For June I'm thinking I'll do the female flower from the tree.  I was able to take a few photos of several of those... quite small compared to the catkins but I've drawn one version and will do a couple more before committing to what I'll be weaving for next month.  I keep learning more about black walnut trees as the year progresses and I see more and more of the seasonal changes the tree at our house goes through.

Now... back to the loom!  Inches more to do today. 

OH!  The Penland Spring 2017 Concentration catalog is now published--just had the link to it in email.  Here's the link -- scroll down to textiles to see the description of the class that Bhakti Ziek and I will be collaborating to teach next spring.