Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Tapestry Diary grows daily...

... and I've just finished the month of May.  It was May of 2008 when I started this challenging process; did the one month then and began at January 1, 2009 with the year-long journey.  I didn't know if I'd be able to keep up the momentum... but here I am now... into the fourth full year of weaving a distinct bit for every day.  And the thing is... it gets more interesting as it goes along.

This year I've chosen a different approach (of course, I did a slightly different approach for all the other years).  At the suggestion of my husband, I'm weaving daily weather conditions--at least those that are in effect when I sit down to weave.  That weather condition is most often the physical weather of the climate here in north Georgia.  However, a few times in this year's journey it's been the emotional weather.

For instance, I'm ending the month of May with some gray clouds.  But there's an end to those quick gray emotional clouds and the end comes quickly... the blue sky is peeking out and I'm putting the negative energy that came flying at me, taking me by surprise, where the sun won't shine on it again!

So... happy weaving to everyone and here's to making the daily journey a good, productive and happy one.

Monday, May 28, 2012

more progress...

I'm about 1/4 of the way into the design area now...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tapestry progress today...

We're going to a wedding shortly so my weaving time is cut down today.  But here's progress, so far:

The tapestry is at 10 1/2" into the dark area at the highest point on the left and the natural border below that is about 3" high.  Photographing it to capture the color is hard since both incandescent light and natural light from the window at the left are there.  

The blending of the grays is both a challenge and a joy.  I love the warm and the cool effect of the different grays.  I'm using three strands for each color blend and none of the areas are of solid color... all three yarns in every mixture are different.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving along through the tapestry...

I've gotten several inches into the new tapestry now.  I was away from the loom for a day earlier in the week when I went to Asheville for a meeting, by way of Sapphire, North Carolina.  I stayed overnight there with friends, Noel & Patrick... Noel has Norsk Fjord Fiber and I picked up more yarn while I was there that I'd ordered from her.

So lovely to see all those grays together!  But the skeins need to be either rolled into balls or onto spools before they're ready to easily use.  Winding a ball from the skein involves an umbrella swift and ball winder -- and time!  I've clocked myself at about 3 minutes per skein to put it on a swift and wind the ball; that's when I don't run into a snag that sometimes happens.  So I'd gotten 33 new skeins... 33 x 3 minutes = a hour and a half + of non-weaving time.  Then there are the minutes of preparation before the next skein is read to wind, then taking off the ball that was wound, putting it out of the way, picking up the new skein...soon those 99 minutes actually turn into several hours of yarn processing.

A couple of times in the past I've hired a young person from the university's art department to help with tasks in the studio so I did that again.  Here's Alisha, a art student who's studio concentration is textiles, helping out:

And here's the result of her few hours of labor--neat and orderly balls of Norwegian Vevgarn, one of my favorite yarns to use:

And... a quick photo of progress at around 1 p.m. today, May 25, 2012:

Monday, May 21, 2012


Here's where I am today, May 21...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And so it begins...

After messing around with the loom for a couple of days to change the tie-up mechanism I got to a point of weaving this afternoon.  That is, weaving into the design area; I've been working on the white border area for three days now (when I wasn't going to the hardware store to get more stuff for the loom tie-up).

I'll be picking up more yarn next week but have enough to begin.  I'm trying a combination of inking on and following the cartoon... I haven't inked on in many years but want to keep the fiddlehead stems as close to the design as I can so though that would be the way.  I've found on this large loom that I can hang my design across the top so I can refer to it as I make color choices.

I'm using rare earth magnets for the first time to help hold the cartoon in place--learned about these from Rita L. and Diane H. at the Sutherland workshop Pat & I taught last fall.  So far, no slipping of the cartoon.  I'll stitch it in place if I begin the have trouble with it.  Main challenge right now is to keep my needles that I'm stitching the slits with from leaping onto the magnets!

More as this progresses... right now, time to go home for the day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Something to work with...

This morning's short spurt of painting has gotten me where I want to be with this design, I think.

There's still more to do, however, to turn it into a tapestry cartoon.  And the most important thing is to move from a painterly composition to one that's weaverly.  I'm using tricks to look at it differently... like manipulating it in Photoshop in several ways:

The warp is 42" wide and the 36" approximate square of the design will float within an approximate 42" square, with about 3" all around of natural color wool.  The piece will be woven as another achromatic piece using mostly Vevgarn. The warp sett is 8 epi of 12/12 cotton seine twine.  I'll make a line drawing to simplify from the composition and refer to the painted image for value decisions along the way.

Now, off to the UPS Store to have this line drawing enlarged... more later.

And, now... later and about $23 less in my wallet and I have the enlarged line drawing.  I've gotten more yarn ordered and I'll be underway with this piece before long... like just as soon as I post this.

Monday, May 14, 2012

More revisions...

... paint, overpaint, overpaint some more.  And then, once I'm happy with the composition, I'll have to determine how to make it weaverly... not painterly.

Above is where I got to yesterday... 

and here it is as I've just left it awhile ago.  I'll let it the paint dry and then work on it more.

And, now here's more... this time with Photoshop manipulation and cropping:

One more time with Photoshop and manipulation:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Next tapestry design begins to grow

I'm working on a new tapestry design.  Old idea, new design.  I'm still thinking about the fiddleheads and their amazing spring-time transformation into the ferns that blanket the woods near our house by the creek.  I took more photos this spring to add to those from a few years back, continued to look at the earlier sketches of fiddleheads and also made some more.

I began this process by setting up a make-shift painting area in my studio.

Since I have a plaster wall I had to rig up a method for the drawing paper that I'm working on.  My temporary solution is to hang the paper by stapling it to a piece of narrow board, stapling another piece at the bottom to keep the paper somewhat flattened, then hanging the whole contraption by bungee cord from the picture molding at the top of the wall.  I put plastic sheeting behind the whole thing and extending onto the floor a few inches to keep things a bit protected.  I'm a very messy painter, unfortunately, and paint will be everywhere before I'm done with this.  I've already dropped a loaded brush to the floor once--at least it hit the plastic this time.

So... here's what's happening with this design, so far.

and one more... just played with the last real version in Photoshop a bit:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fiddleheads and more...

Here's a better photo of the tapestry and a detail of the time passing picks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The black, white, gray--and color fiddlehead tapestry...

Here's the tapestry without the ends being finished yet:

And, yes... my original thought was to put the monochromatic piece atop the two rows of color, with the black & white narrow band separating the two areas.  Now my dilemma is... does it work as a composition?  Or does it look like two (or three--if you consider the narrow b/w band) pieces?!  I am not yet convinced that it doesn't work, compositionally.  Shocking, yes.  Dramatic, yes.  Not feasible, maybe.  

The color rows began last March... wrote about the lower rows at this blog post:

I continued above those, one done each week for five weeks, with five more.  The second row of five were based on a line drawing detail of plant matter, turned in a different direction each week.  Both of those rows--about 10 weeks of weaving time--were being done without too much planning other than to consider the possibility of eventually using the upper part of the warp in some planned design.  Doing the lower part was very good for me, though, since those were the first extended times of weaving being done after my hand accident.  Like I mentioned in that earlier blog post, at first I was still bandaged and it was quite awkward to weave.  One other point of significance is in that first color bit on the lower right--the black shape was what I wove the day I learned that James Koehler had died. 

Anyway, I'll wait a few days before attempting to separate them--if that's what I decide to do.  In the meantime,  I've stitched the slits together between the bottom areas; had not done that as I wove them but I didn't want 5"-6" long slits remaining.  I generally stitch as I go so I spent yesterday and today doing the slit stitching in the color area.  I'm going to post some photos of that process on the Tapestry Share blog tomorrow.

And I'm going to be blocking the piece tomorrow.  Now... got to continue looking at the other fiddlehead drawings and deciding on the next one.  It's going to be about 45" wide.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This one is completed... almost

I've just finished weaving the last of this tapestry!  I still have the half-hitches to put in at the end before I unroll and cut it off.  But I'll do that tomorrow.  Here's how it looks right now:

Here's how the studio looks... pretty much a wreck at this point although I've wound up the trailing ends of the yarn cones so they're not all over the floor as they were a short while ago.

The cartoon went through some changes as I progressed, especially in the upper left part.  Moral of the story?  Have a more completely realized cartoon before beginning?  Hmmm... don't seem to ever be able to do that and am usually ready to adjust as I move along once I see what's actually happening in the tapestry.

I'm eager to see it unrolled.  Tomorrow will tell the tale, I guess.