If at first you don’t succeed, count, count again! 1984–I’m not talking about the year, nor the book title. I’m talking about the number of 24/2 cotton ends in this 8.5-meter warp. I made it excruciatingly challenging for myself by putting in narrow stripes of 8 ends that are irregularly spaced. It will all be worth it if these curtains come out as I envision them. Time will tell.
After beaming the warp I count all the ends into threading groups. This step is usually straightforward and quick. This time, however (because of my uneven spacing of stripes and because of the fineness of the ends), I miscount the ends once or twice, or three times… I am determined to get all the threads into threading groups before moving on, so I keep at it until all the numbers line up as they should. Whew! Finally!
Now we are at the fun part. This is smooth sailing and I am caught up in the breeze of it, relaxing into the hours of calmly threading heddles. Before we know it, the shuttle will be flying in here! And I’ll have new curtains in the bathroom. I’m excited about that!
Nothing beats a new delivery of weaving supplies! Paper plans become active when tubes of thread arrive. First, the Julia is getting dressed, using plans I have written out for placemats. For the Ideal, I’m thinking of a new pictorial tapestry, with a rosepathdraft I’ve prepared for that. The imagined tapestry will move forward after I finish the double-binding rag rugs that are on that loom now. Another draft I’m working on is for the next drawloom project. I’m doing the math for napkins in a six-shaftsatin variation with three-shaft twill. There’s a lot of thinking going on around here.
Ideas come and go. But if I can put ideas on paper there’s a good chance they will become something. Everything begins with plans on paper.
Butterfly wing is flittering away. This butterfly study is complete. I still have warp on the loom, so cutting off has to wait. There are one or two more pictorial tapestry studies yet to come. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy the visual review in the slideshow video at the end of this post.
This study reinforces several important concepts for me.
Warp sett determines the amount of detail the cartoon can include.
Edges in the design are defined by using high contrast in color values.
Solid tapestry techniques, such as meet and separate, provide a good foundation for confident weaving.
Above all, take your time and enjoy the process, grateful for the opportunity.
The contours of the face are more evident now that the lips are in place. Every cartoon line requires decisions. Shift the color at thiswarp end?…or, one over? Does this butterfly have too much pink?…maybe it needs more pink? The portrait image happens almost invisibly, thread by thread.
I step back often so I can see what I am weaving. Up close, the details are obscure. I step up on the loom bench (very carefully, holding on to the top of the loom) and look through the back end of my binoculars. A distant view of the tapestry comes into focus. It’s encouraging! I can clearly see that the details are working out.
We may be too close to our own circumstances to see the details clearly. We make decision after decision, and we hope against hope that things will turn out okay. How can we know what is right? Step away to pray. Slip away with the Lord Jesus to get His view on things. Only when we consult a higher view can we see the bigger tapestry that the Grand Weaver is creating. Prayer, as a conversation with the Lord, helps us see that the details are working out according to his purpose.
Every year my weaving journey is peppered with notable highlights. Here are seven such highlights from 2020: 1. Siblings Tapestry, complete and hanging in our living room. 2. Joanne Hall (my weaving mentor and friend) visited our home in February (while in Texas for her Swedish Art Weaves workshop). 3. New 8-shaft Glimakra Juliacountermarch loom. 4. My favorite fabric of the year, Jämtlandsdräll in 6/2 Tuna, woven on the brand-new Julia. 5. Rag rugs woven on the drawloom. 6. Studio tour on Zoom for the San Antonio Handweaver’s Guild In November. 7. Handwoven Christmas tree skirt with Nativity appliqué from handwoven remnants.
2021 is beginning with the start of a new pictorial tapestry, an empty loom waiting for a new warp, and a drawloom warp that is near its finish line. Plus, two other looms that are mid-project. I am not expecting any dull moments around here. Thank you for joining me in this ongoing adventure.
Unroll the cloth beam with me and go back through time to recall the Warped for Good projects of 2020:
God completes what he begins. My prayer for you is that his finishing work will secure any loose ends.