Wary Weaving

Sugar Pie has been waiting in the wings. Now, his nose wriggles up to the fell line. The day that Ari and Lucia went with me to visit my neighbor, their attention went to the cute furry thing in the rabbit hutch. At first, the bunny was wary, but before long, Sugar Pie was nibbling carrot slivers from Lucia’s hand.

Beginning the bunny in the large pictorial tapestry.
First pick of brown for the bunny’s nose.

Now, I’m the wary one. The rabbit will make or break this tapestry. I made notes when I wove the rabbit on a narrow sample warp several weeks ago. With careful review of my notes, I am inching forward, giving attention to value contrasts that shape and define the animal. The good news is that when I reach the end of Sugar Pie’s soft, furry back, I will be at the tapestry’s finish line.

Color changes are outlined on the tapestry cartoon.
Color changes are outlined on the cartoon with colored pencil.
Pictorial tapestry in progress. "Siblings"
Ari and Lucia, two of my grandchildren, in a moment of childhood wonder. This tapestry tries to capture that wonder.

In trying times, our senses are heightened. Will we flourish, or merely squeak by? In all the confusion, where is clarity? In the chaos, where do we find calm? The Lord extends an open hand. The open hand is an invitation. Come and taste. Trust. Find deep satisfaction that reaches the soul. Courageously inch up to the greatest challenge of your life.

May you step into a worthwhile challenge.

With you,
Karen

Yarn Is My Paint

The best thing about weaving a pictorial tapestry? Having a cartoon to follow, with row-by-row definition. This Siblings tapestry has its joys and challenges. It is a joy to weave Ari’s hair, as if I get to comb his locks into place. At the same time, it’s a challenge to see up close what can only be recognized at a distance. Lucia’s shirt is a joy to weave because of the bright colors and distinct shading. But what a challenge to get the right value of turquoise for the leg of the rabbit hutch in relation to the value of orange in Lucia’s left shoulder.

Five different shades of butterflies for this hair.
Ari’s hair has butterflies in five different shades of brown. Sometimes while handling the yarn, it almost seems like real hair. And I reminisce about my sisters and I braiding each others’ hair way back when.
Color decisions in a pictorial tapestry.
Trying to find the right hue for the turquoise rabbit hutch. Choosing a darker hue helps make Lucia’s shoulder appear closer than the hutch leg.

The yarn is my paint. I make decisions and adjustments as I see how the colors interact. Under the warp, of course, is my cartoon with all the details—outline, hues, value changes. That cartoon is constant, unchanging, and reassuring. It’s the key to this whole process.

Under the warp is the detailed cartoon.
Right under the warp is the detailed cartoon. Hues are lightly colored in with color pencil, and value distinctions are penciled in.
Siblings tapestry in progress. Glimakra Standard loom.
Right at halfway on the Siblings tapestry.

In the joys and challenges we face, we make decisions based on what we see. Take a look below the surface. Look through the warp to see the cartoon. True love is in the details. Jesus instructs and guides through his love. Constant, unchanging, and reassuring. It makes perfect sense to follow the Maker’s cartoon.

Cartoon under the tapestry.
Cartoon held in place with a suspended warping slat and some plastic quilter’s clips.

May you grow in love.

With joy,
Karen

Forty-Four New Butterflies

The tapestry is now at forty centimeters, and the lizard is slowly crawling his way around the breast beam. I treat every ten centimeters as a milestone. It’s a good time to examine the work and make additional butterflies. I see that I need forty-four new butterflies to make it through the next ten centimeters! No two butterflies are identical. I vary the combination of yarns for each color set. These subtle color and textural variations add interest and depth to the piece.

Making butterflies for tapestry.
Various wool yarns, light green and white. I combine strands to make a bundle that is approximately equivalent in size to four strands of 6/2 Tuna wool.

Wool butterflies for tapestry of a lizard.
Green and white wool butterflies are each a little bit different.

Butterflies for weaving a tapestry.
Butterflies hang in order on a length of seine twine within easy reach of weaving.

Lizard tapestry in progress.
Color blending and color gradation is possible through the careful selection of prepared butterflies for each section.

Me. It’s all about me. That’s exactly what the tempter wants me to think. Everything should revolve around me. Wait a minute. There’s a tapestry being woven that is much bigger than me. I may be a single wool butterfly. I’m unique. And my colors and textures contribute to the tapestry in important ways. But I mustn’t forget the Grand Weaver. He carefully and deliberately wound these strands of yarn over his loving fingers to create the color he wanted to see in his tapestry. It’s not about me. It’s about the One who holds me in his hands.

May your unique colors contribute to the tapestry.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Lizard in Black and White

Some things are better seen without color. Hence, an enlarged version of my lizard in black and white. Variances in value are not as easily discerned in the full-color print. These subtle value distinctions bring realism to the lizard tapestry. For this reason, I sort all the yarn into small groups of color and value, which clarifies my choices for each wool butterfly.

Lizard portrait in black and white for tapestry project.
Lizard portrait in black and white shows nuances in color value.

Yarn Sorting Process:
1. Select yarn colors for the tapestry.

2. Group like colors together.

Sorting wool yarn for a tapestry. Tutorial.
Wool yarn, much of which has been accumulated from previous projects.

For each color group (I have seven color groups):
1. Arrange yarn on a white background in value order, from light to dark. Take a picture.

Arranging yarn by color value for tapestry.
Green, from light to dark.

2. Take another picture using the smart phone black and white setting (“Noir” in the filters on my iPhone).

Yarn in order by value. Blog post explanation.
Photo shows that a couple adjustments are needed for the yarn-value order.

3. Adjust yarn to make value order corrections.

Yarn in order by color value. Suggestions on blog post.
Adjustments made.

4. Divide the yarn into three value sections. 1. light, 2. medium, 3. dark.
5. Label baskets to hold each yarn section; i.e., “G 3” for green, dark.

The preparation for a project like this is immense. And tedious. But this is a weaving adventure. Indeed, the results may very well be astounding. That’s my hope.

Yarn for tapestry sorted by color and value. Tutorial.
Little baskets of yarn next to the loom, sorted by color and value.

Life itself is a full color project. Immense and tedious. Rise above these earthly things. Our Grand Weaver sees the value distinctions that we miss with our natural eye. What hope this gives! Trusting him through this real life adventure brings assurance of astounding results. Setting my mind on these “above” things turns troubles into treasures whose values will be evident in the final real tapestry.

May you persevere.

With you,
Karen

Ten Centimeters of Tapestry

Slow weaving is even slower when a full week goes by since you last touched the loom. If only I could sit here and do this every day, hours at a time. But other responsibilities…and other looms call for my attention.

Four-shaft tapestry in progress on the loom.
First ten centimeters of the tapestry is complete. Plastic baskets hold the wool yarn beside the loom, sorted by color and value.

Color blending by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.
Color blending is achieved by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.

We don’t see much of the main subject yet. I am intensely eager to see a distinguishable image. I suspect you may be eager to see it, as well. But I know it’s coming, so I gladly pursue this adventure, one row at a time.

Four-shaft tapestry beginning.
Elements of shading and texture in the beginning background of the four-shaft tapestry.

Tapestry, woven from the side.
Tapestry is being woven from the side. So, this is the direction the tapestry will hang.

Gladly. We need strength beyond ourselves to endure and be patient—with gladness. Endurance and patience with a glad attitude is an indicator of maturity. Strength for endurance is one of the treasures that God supplies when we ask. And he reminds us that he sees the completed picture. And that it’s worth the pursuit. Aren’t you glad?

May you find patience for waiting.

Gladly weaving,
Karen