Tapestry of the Heart

It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.

Tapestry weaving that starts with a photo of a beautiful woman.
Photo enlargement is printed and taped onto poster board. I keep it near the loom for reference while I’m weaving.
Planning a new 4-shaft pictorial tapestry!
Cartoon replica is printed and taped to foam board. I plan out butterflies for the first few rows of the tapestry and pin them in their place on the picture. Yarn overflow is on the windowsill beside the loom.

In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.

Beginning wool butterflies for a new tapestry.
First row of the tapestry has only four butterflies. Additional butterflies are added gradually over the next few rows. (Tapestry begins with a few rows of white 6/1 tow linen.)
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of this lovely woman.
Printed reference cartoon helps me check my work as I go along. The cartoon that is under the weaving on the loom is not only larger, it is printed at a lighter setting, which makes a better weaving guide for me.

A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.

May your loved ones benefit from your generosity.

With gratitude,

How Is Your Stash?

My rag rugs start with leftovers. It is a great place to begin. By leftovers, I mean fabric strips that are left from previous projects. Unlike many traditional rag rugs that are made from recycled fabrics, I use all new cotton yardage for my rag rugs. I only buy more fabric when my supply starts to run low, or when I need a specific color that I don’t have in my supply. That’s the difference between a stash and a supply. A stash is for keeping and admiring. A supply is for using up with a purpose. A stash grows without limits. A supply is replenished in relation to the need.

Planning a rosepath rag rug.
Planning session for a new rosepath rag rug. After gathering a selection of fabrics, I snip fragments to tape to my working chart.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.
After several plain weave stripes, the rosepath pattern is taking shape on the loom.

I have to be careful about treating my things, my time, and my ideas as my stash. For me to keep and admire. It’s better to be a giver. The generous have an endless supply. They never wonder about having “enough.” Generosity is a virtue. Those who are enriched by God can always be generous, since he is faithful to replenish the supply.

May you always have enough.

For you,

Tapestry Diary: Day One

A tapestry diary seems like a fun challenge. Weaving a small amount each day gives a visual journal of woven ideas over time. I have seen some examples of tapestry diaries that I admire. I like the concept, but I feel tentative about starting one myself.

Freja Tapestry Frame by Glimakra
Simple tapestry frame, 26 1/2 x 21 inches / 67 x 53cm, is just the right size for a tentative tapestry diary. This one is the Freja Tapestry Frame by Glimakra. You can see the warp wrapping around the teeth for a sett of about 10.5 epi.

Will I have enough ideas to fill that space, or enough little bits of time to weave, or the consistency to keep at it? These are my doubts. On the other hand, the frequent practice will help me improve in tapestry techniques; and, watching the tapestry grow should be fascinating. And deep down I know I can’t really use up all my ideas. The more you express ideas, the more ideas you gain, as proven by other tapestry weavers, like Janette Meetze.

Beginning a tapestry diary.
Weaving tapestry from the back, as I learned from Joanne Hall.

Weaving small tapestry from the back.
After a row of twining, five picks give a solid line across for the beginning of the tapestry. Using three to four strands of thin wool (Färo and Mora) allows for ease of blending colors.

Day one of Tapestry Diary 2015
Day One.

This is a picture of generosity, as well. When you give, it is like planting seeds. Sow seeds generously and you will see a bountiful harvest. A generous person always has enough to give. Their “giving cup” is continually replenished. I can at least start the tapestry diary. Being intentional makes it happen. Planting ideas, planting seeds, watching for things to grow.

~What will you be intentional about this year?

May you never run out of ideas.

(Make sure you don’t miss the new video at the top of Warped for Good’s About page. Let me know what you think!)

Starting the Year with You,

No Motivation Needed

You never need to motivate me to sit at the loom, or convince me to make time for weaving. I’m not sure why I am this way, but something in me longs to make fabric. I weave nearly every day, not to be productive, but simply because I love to weave.

Nine goose-eye towels, pressed and ready to hem. Karen Isenhower
Nine new towels, with hems pressed. Each towel will have a matching hanging tab stitched into the hem.

Ten meters / eleven yards gave me nine towels and two generous samples (Just wait. Next week I will show you what I am making from the samples!). Now, I am weaving hanging tabs on the band loom to match the towels. Meanwhile, the linen dice weave is progressing nicely on the big loom, as well. I am not just a person with weaving looms. …I am a handweaver.

Band loom weaving, making hanging tabs for handwoven towels.
Short two-yard warp will weave up quickly, giving me plenty of hanging tabs for the towels, plus extra length of woven band to put in my “band stash.”

You do what is in your heart to do. The commitments you make from the heart define you. Fruit in my life reveals what is in my heart. What does good fruit look like? Unselfish generosity, showing integrity in every interaction, and treating others with respect. I want to be the kind of person that lives this way, not because I “should,” but because that is what is in my heart to do.

May your good fruit basket be full.

(These towels will show up in my Etsy Shop soon. If you have your eye on one, let me know, and I will be happy to reserve it for you.)

Have a fruitful day,

What a Colorful World!

I am ridiculously in favor of color. Bright or pastel, rich or muted, vibrant or subtle. Just give me hue, value, and intensity to work with and I’ll be happy. I dutifully wove the first four towels in nice neutrals (see one of them in this post, Goose Eyes); now, let’s see what other weft colors can do on the remainder of this ten-meter / eleven-yard warp. Look around in nature to see outrageous color combos, some of which would never pass standard color theory practices.

Cotton goose-eye towels on the loom.
Afternoon sunlight plays with the unwoven warp, while wide green-blue blocks of color and narrow royal blue stripes bring the brown and golden warp to life.

I cannot imagine a universe without color. What would we miss, for example, if everything were in gray scale? Our world began in color. That thought gives us a marvelous glimpse into the outlandish creativity of our maker. Who knows, he may be holding back a whole realm of undiscovered color that we won’t see outside of heaven.

God meets us with an open hand, giving us a feast. Yes, a feast for the eyes, to be sure, yet more than that. He gives what is needed from an open hand at the right time, satisfying true desires. The gift of color is merely a fragment of our creator’s vast generosity spilled out on creation.

May your surroundings be alive with color!

Happy weaving,

(Check my About page for Etsy Shop coupon for August, 2014.)