Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tapestry diary for 2010 progress

I've completed five months in the 2010 tapestry diary now.  A few out-of-town "blanks" can be seen in the white areas... those areas are index card strips woven to keep the rows level.  The strips will be taken out at the end of the year.  I removed the strips from one day early in the year--those empty warps can be seen next to a dark blue, rolling around the cloth beam at the left.  I decided that the security of leaving the strips in place until I take the piece off the loom is better than slipping them out too soon and possibly facing sagging areas.

Earlier in the week I decided to have the loom that has the tapestry diary warp moved to the Martin Street studio to exchange places with the slightly larger Tissart loom that was there.   With some very helpful hands and strong backs that happened between rain showers yesterday afternoon:

My husband and two of his friends take the Tissart off the truck...

and here it comes... back home where it started a few years ago!

This particular loom has gone through lots of tapestry experiences with me!  It's my first real tapestry loom and I acquired it in 1988 from an older lady who'd gotten it years before that at the Mannings.  She was moving into a retirement home and couldn't take the loom so I bought from her--think I paid $800 for it at the time.  It's a Tissart loom, a style once made by Leclerc Looms.  It hasn't been produced for quite a few years now but there must have been quite a few sold at one time because these continue to pop up for sale.  

Mine is 45" wide and I've modified it a couple of times through the years.  The first major change was to add a steel beam to the top.  I asked John Shannock to do that about ten or so years ago and it was a wonderful addition.  The wooded top beam had begun to be slightly bowed with the tension of the warp and I felt that something else would work better.  I've been very happy with this conversion.  I also ordered two additional treadle sets from Leclerc to add to the loom.  Since I work by building shapes I found it less comfortable to be working at one side or the other, treadling the sheds with the center two treadles.   And a third modification, which didn't require purchasing something, was to use the reed only for warp spacing and not for beating... did that by simply using a couple of C-clamps to hold the beater with reed at the top position it will go to.  Eventually I'll drill through the leg and put in a couple of bolts to hold the beater in place... but not yet.  So, I guess that I now have invested about $1500-1800 in the loom, total--with the original purchase price, the steel beam addition (around $500), and the two more treadle sets (about $150 + each).  But I can say that I've earned that amount back and quite a bit more from sales of pieces I've woven on the loom! 

I've have (and have had) other larger tapestry looms--and all have been previously owned looms.  My husband says I'm into loom rescue... well, not really--but I do love to have looms come live with me for awhile!  Some come to stay, like this Tissart... others only visit for awhile before moving on to live elsewhere.  


  1. Question, Ms. Tommye: do you plan on going back and filling in the "out of town" spaces?

  2. Hi Lou Ann,
    No... the out of town spaces will be left as empty warps. Could maybe be the title of a soap opera there... "empty" days of our lives!

    I'm holding the weft above and below in place with half-hitches at each edge, as well as a row of twining. I've taken out one empty day earlier in the year and everything stayed in place just fine. However, I didn't want to risk any shifting during the course of the year so I'm just leaving in the index card strips for now.

  3. but surely those empty spaces don't represent "empty" days, they were often very rich days filled with teaching or other activities as i remember. you could perhpas fill them with something representative of those days, such as strips of photos or exhibition cards...just a thought? k.

  4. I agree with Kaite, - it sounds a lovely idea! - but even so your diary looks great! - and I like your loom too! I think one's first loom is more special, at least it is so for me.
    Happy weaving!

  5. Hi Kaite and Vera,
    Interesting thoughts about interweaving something later into the "blanks" and I'd considered that at one time. However, right now my inclination is to leave them unwoven. Yes, those out of town days are indeed richly filled--they are not at all "empty" days. But somehow leaving the warps empty seems to be what needs to be done--at least this year! There's always 2011's weaving to contemplate!!