Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Tapestry Diary is off the loom

My new warp for 2014 is about to be placed on the loom; I'll be tying onto the remains of the old warp just like I did last year (wrote about that at this post when I finished for 2012).

For 2013 I used wefts that were dye samples made years ago.  Time that I was away from home was indicated with the linen as I used for the warp.  Several weeks worth of linen were spaced throughout the earlier part of the year, woven when I returned from teaching or retreats.  Several more hours of finishing work is needed for this but that will wait until I have time to do it.  Like most things, loose ends eventually get tied up!

So... Happy New Year to one and all!  May your days be filled with health and happiness and your hands busy with work.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tedious, maybe

In a way, almost everything about tapestry is tedious.  But to look at it another way maybe it's meditative.  Whatever I call it--it's surely slow!

Briefly, here are a few steps in the making of a tapestry:

1.  Decide upon a design concept/idea/image (this may take hours, days or perhaps weeks or longer)

2.  Actually put design into reality (make a photo, drawing, painting, sketch, or otherwise have an image firmly in one's head; possibly make a cartoon to attach to the warp)

3.  Prepare the loom for weaving (put the warp on the loom; prepare it for weaving with spreading or foundation and weave header.  Secure ends, maybe with half-hitches)

4.  Select wefts (order more if the stock is slim)

5.  Attach the cartoon to the warp


6.  Begin weaving.

7.  Continue weaving.

8.  Weave some more.

9.  Keep going with the weaving even when it seems it will never end.

10.  Get excited because the end of the weaving is near!

11.  FINISH the weaving!!

12.  Secure the ends so some of the precious WEAVING won't unravel.

13.  Cut off the tapestry!  Yay!

14.  Begin to finish the tapestry (clip weft ends; clip warp ends; possibly steam press the tapestry)

15.  Deal with the ends by turning back the hems (if they were included in the weaving) or in some other way accommodate the warp finishing (braids, half-Damascus, etc.)

15.  Complete the finishing of the tapestry by attaching velcro to strips and sewing those to the tapestry; attaching the opposite side of velcro to a hanging bar; or stitching the tapestry to a fabric covered mounting frame that also has to be prepared.

16.  Hang the tapestry, maybe in an exhibit or maybe in your home (or both) and say, "Job well done!" and then begin all over again with a new design idea....

Here are a few of the finishing process photos from the past couple of days with the latest tapestry.

Tapestry is laid out to have weft ends trimmed.

I comb the wefts and then trim to about 1" long.

Bobbins are being emptied; I store the remaining wefts in plastic bags.

Getting ready to give the tapestry a steam pressing--for that, it's placed on layers of sheets on the kitchen counter, given a good spraying of water, then covered with press cloth for the ironing.

I dampen the press cloth and use a wool setting on the steam iron.  The wefts are all wools so I don't worry about shrinkage being different.  If I used a mixture of weft types I might eliminate this step.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cutting off -- 12-28-13

Did it today... a few days after Christmas but before the end of the year.

Lots more finishing to do but at least it's off the loom.  Here it is with the original painting, several photos of fiddleheads & ferns, the small sample woven in the spring (and that's going to the small format show next summer in Rhode Island), and the first version of the cartoon.  The cartoon that was stitched to the back as I wove the tapestry is already rolled up and put away.

I'll post a better photo of it someday.  But now, that's about it!  I'm going to sit down with my new tapestry book and take a break.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Completed!  Almost, that is.   The design is woven and the cartoon removed.  I've got the hem or turn-back area to weave and should be able to do that tomorrow.  Yesterday was spent doing Christmas day things and not at the loom.  But today, with the help of three CDs of the James Lee Burke novel I'm listening to, I finished the last few inches.

With the help of a few more CDs tomorrow I should be able to get the hem completed.  Cut off coming soon!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Close, but no cigar.

I just couldn't finish this before Christmas.  But, all the green areas are woven and I put my weaver's mark in at the left side today.  There's still about 1" to 2" to the top of the design area, all the way across the 60" width, to be woven.  Following that will be about 1 3/4" for hem.

I feel pretty sure I'll be able to finish and cut off before the weekend.  So I'm not too disappointed; after all, December 25 was a self-imposed deadline.

I DO want to have it finished so I can have it photographed when I'm in Asheville in early January to pick up a couple of tapestries from the Tapestry Weavers South exhibit (ending at the Folk Art Center on January 12).  Both of the tapestries have been accepted into another exhibit and I'll need to ship them right off.  Quite a nice Christmas present to learn that the pieces were selected!

Merry, Merry to one and all!

Monday, December 23, 2013


Sunday, December 22, 2013


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013


I wove the last of the fiddleheads today.  Sixteen of those pesky spirals!  The cartoon had seventeen but I decided a few inches back to eliminate one on the left side.  I thought it was too much the same height as another one near the left (the one I just finished) and I also wanted a bit of space in which to weave my initials I use as signature.  The cartoon still shows the fiddlehead peeking up... but I've been ignoring it for days.

The fiddlehead I completed today is on the same side as the first one I wove back in November and showed in this post from Nov. 16.  Here's what that side looks like now with the last one and the first one -- and a couple of buddies:

Those white stitches near the top are holding the cartoon in place... they're not part of the tapestry. 

There are several more areas of ferns to complete but the end is indeed near!  Will I still finish by Christmas?  Hmmm....

Thursday, December 19, 2013


A couple of shots as I weave on this piece... these were taken yesterday.  I hope to get at least a few inches done today although I'm getting a late start.  Lots of other things to do in these last few days before Christmas!  So... quickly, here I am, weaving away yesterday afternoon.  More of today's progress later, I hope.

The loom has three sets of two treadles each.  That way, whichever side of the loom I'm working on the treadles are easy to reach and open the shed.  Of course, I still finger pick a lot of times--don't even bother with the treadles--especially if it's only a few threads I need to go through.

You can see some of the arms of my octopus lamp in the bottom photo.  In both can be seen some of my photos that I refer to occasionally for information about  details.  I've made changes in the cartoon along the way.  To do that, I sometimes sit at the stool that's visible at the right side and at the back of the loom.  I draw with Sharpie marker on the back side of the cartoon paper and it's thin enough that I can see the correction or addition marks at the front.

OK... afternoon coffee just finished brewing; I'll get a cup of that and sit down at the loom to begin!

Later today--here's where I've gotten to as I leave the studio:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Monday, December 16, 2013


Sunday, December 15, 2013


Saturday, December 14, 2013


Friday, December 13, 2013


Thursday, December 12, 2013


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Monday, December 9, 2013


Sunday, December 8, 2013


Saturday, December 7, 2013


Monday, December 2, 2013


Sunday, December 1, 2013

progress on December 1

Two oops... make that four more fiddleheads join the group: