Image in the Cloth

I am starting to see a fig. This tapestry is a short story about fresh figs and a cup of coffee. My full attention is on weaving while I’m at the loom. I’m always looking for the moment that a recognizable image forms in the woven wool and linen cloth. Attention flows from desire. And when I am weaving, there is no other place I’d rather be.

When I look through my monocular I get a distinct view of the first part of the fig.
Colors of wool (primarily 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö) are combined in butterflies to represent color values and hues that will become an image of a cut fig–mostly recognizable from a distance. An exciting challenge!

When our affections are set on the Lord Jesus, there is no other place we’d rather be than sitting in prayerful conversation with him. And, I imagine he is delighted when he sees his own image formed in us.

May you desire the best things.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Meet and Separate Strategies

Pictorial tapestry on the floor loom requires a good working knowledge of basic tapestry techniques. Doing small tapestries on a tapestry frame loom, line by line, is one thing I do to hone these basic skills. I have finally reached the happy realizaton that I am no longer frustrated by meet and separate.

After several rows of scrap wool to space the warp, I weave ten rows of 6/1 tow linen as a header.

Meet and separate is a simple concept. It’s not hard to understand. Two butterflies come toward each other (meet) in one shed, and they move away from each other (separate) in the next shed. If you are working with only two butterflies — piece of cake! But when you need to add one more butterfly in a row you can find yourself in a pickle!

Butterflies are arranged so that the heads of butterflies are next to each other, and tails of butterflies (which have been tucked to the back) are together.

Resources that help me understand basic tapestry techniques, including meet and separate:

The Art of Tapestry Weaving, by Rebecca Mezoff

Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond, by Tommye McClure Scanlin

Tapestry Weaving, by Kirsten Glasbrook.

Workshops by Joanne Hall for weaving tapestry on a frame loom.

Meet and separate. Two butterflies on the right-hand side don’t have “partners.” New butterflies will be added in the next row that will balance the meet-and-separate order.

Meet and Separate strategies:

  1. Add two butterflies at a time. Remove two butterflies at a time. (Easier said than done.)
  2. Add one butterfly near where you are ending another butterfly.
  3. Add a “two-headed” butterfly, with the two heads going in opposite directions.
  4. If you must add or remove a single butterfly, expect to reset one or more other butterflies. (To reset a butterfly, cut it off and tuck in the tail, and then reverse its direction.)
  5. Think ahead. You may find that the next row will need one more (or one less) butterfly, and the problem will resolve itself.
So far, not too complicated for meet and separate.
As the tapestry progresses it’s a continual dance of the butterflies.
More butterflies. More fun.

Every row is a game of strategy. Where is the best place to add in a new color butterfly? How can I add or remove a butterfly and cause the least disruption? It’s an intriguing puzzle. The frustrating part has become the fascinating part.

May your frustrations become your fascinations.

Glad to Meet,
Karen

Grand Canyon Weaver

I like to come prepared when we travel. Prepared to weave, that is. Our recent camping trip to Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim is no exception. Relaxing after a full morning of hiking? That’s tapestry time. Rainy day? No problem. Time to pull out my small tapestry frame and do some tapestry weaving.

Sitting on a log to do a quick sketch. Widforss Trail on a Sunday morning was a wonderful way to worship our Creator.
Ponderosa Pines fill the North Rim Campground. It is refreshing to sit there for some relaxed tapestry weaving. Weaving from the back, meaning the face of the tapestry is facing away from me.
Weaving outside in the cool afternoon.

To view the incomparable expanse of the Grand Canyon leaves me in awe. It’s as if the glory of our Creator is on full display. Oh, the colors, textures, and breathtaking drama!

Sunset brings a hush over the vast Grand Canyon. Vibrant colors, phenomenal textures, in an unfolding dramatic ending–this is the language of a weaver.
Weaving inside the Casita Travel Trailer until the skies clear up. Messy back of tapestry because I’m not trimming any more than necessary – fewer scraps to keep track of.

Our hearts turn to recognize God’s authority when we view the wonders of his creation. And, in the awe of it all, we pause to consider the vastness of his personal love, such that the Grand Weaver grants us the pleasure of creating something small with colored bits of yarn. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Pondering the deep questions of life.
There is still work to be done. This (second) Rain Girl is not in a hurry. She is ready for me anytime I decide to add more colored bits of yarn.

May you come prepared.

With wonder,
Karen

Dive in – Be Immersed in Color and Yarn

I started this warp as a place to test some tapestry techniques. I have studied, practiced, and evaluated my own results from techniques used by various tapestry artists. What I have learned is that I prefer the techniques that I am already familiar with, that I learned from my friend Joanne Hall. I am ready to dive in one more time on this warp to refine my own approach to pictorial tapestry weaving.

Tapestry tests and samples are on this warp. My mind is made up. I’m ready to start again.

This little hand-built loom has been sitting idle long enough. It’s time to start again. Starting takes courage. The cartoon is almost ready. Soon, this little loom will be back in action as my favorite place to be immersed in color and yarn.

Piecing pages together to make the cartoon. Only a few more adjustments are needed in the cartoon. The cartoon is being developed from a recent watercolor sketch of morning coffee and fresh figs.

May you start as soon as you can.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tapestry Story

It’s as if every row ends with a cliffhanger, and I want to see what will happen next. I know the end of the story, but I’m still eager to see how it plays out. This is how I experience tapestry weaving. I linger here as long as I can. When I do walk away from the loom, I’m already anticipating the next time I get to do this.

Butterfly wing. This second butterfly image shows more detail than the first butterfly image on this warp (which is now beginning to touch the cloth beam).
Cart with balls of wool yarn sits beside the loom for making new yarn butterflies as I go.

I use a cartoon of reduced size as a color reference for making butterflies. A black-and-white version shows me value contrasts. I twist strands of yarn together to find a specific hue and value. Each new butterfly becomes integral to the cliffhanger story. At the loom, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of this story.

I combine various wool yarns until I find the right combination for the color I want to add to the tapestry. The thickness of each bundle of strands for a butterfly is approximately equivalent to the thickness of 4 strands of Borgs 6/2 Tuna wool yarn.
Every row brings new excitement.
Reduced-size cartoon helps me find the needed hue (color) and intensity (relative brightness or dullness) for yarn butterflies. The black-and-white version helps me see the value (range of light to dark as seen on a gray scale) in comparison to neighboring values.

When I pray, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of life. Prayer answers our heavenly Father’s invitation to come and be alone with him. He listens as we talk to him about our life’s cliffhangers. Prayer is so much more than making requests. It’s about consulting with our Father to gain his heavenly point of view for the tapestry he is creating. When we see the strands come together just so, we know our life’s story is in the Grand Weaver’s hands.

May your cliffhangers have happy endings.

Your friend,
Karen