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.
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!
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 strategies:
Add two butterflies at a time. Remove two butterflies at a time. (Easier said than done.)
Add one butterfly near where you are ending another butterfly.
Add a “two-headed” butterfly, with the two heads going in opposite directions.
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.)
Think ahead. You may find that the next row will need one more (or one less) butterfly, and the problem will resolve itself.
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.
This little tapestry has been almost finished for a very long time. I stopped short of completion months ago. I’ve missed my small tapestry weaving, so I’m back at it. Only a few steps remain with this one. Soon this little color gradation sweetheart will be on the wall, to be enjoyed.
The finishing steps are not difficult. (Rebecca Mezoff gives excellent instructions in Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms.) After the piece is removed from the loom, it is steamed. Then, weft tails are sewn in and/or trimmed on the back. Half Damascus knots secure the warpends. The hems will be folded under and stitched down. Then, this little masterpiece will be ready for mounting and display.
Here is an ancient description of an interesting woman, as told by another woman.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
—from Solomon’s book of Proverbs
This is the type of woman I admire. Wear the best clothes that money can’t buy—strength and dignity. She has optimism. No anger. She speaks with wisdom and kindness. These are finishing touches I ask my Maker to work in me. To be a woman ready for what she was made for.
The Hokett loom is proof that we don’t need everything we want. Simplicity often comes with fewer features, but it is still enough. I finished weaving one small tapestry sample on the simple Hokett loom, and I am pleased with the results. Now, I’m back to my little hand-built loom for the second sample. I’m spoiled by it’s tensioning device and the inlaid magnets that hold my needle.
The Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms online class (self-paced) by Rebecca Mezoff is going well. It’s great to view demonstrations that show details regarding yarn direction, headers, finishing, hems, and mounting, and more, from an expert tapestry weaver. My tapestry toolbox of skills is expanding! I’m thankful to have options of different looms to weave what I am learning.
What we need is more important than what we want. We don’t always see the difference between need and want. Lord, give us what we need today. May we long for nothing more than what you have promised to give. And may we show appropriate gratitude when given more than enough.
One more little tapestry loom? I signed up for Rebecca Mezoff’s Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms online class, and ordered a Hokett loom to go with it. This petite 7″ x 8″ loom is made by Jim Hokett, who uses exotic woods for the looms. Mine is made of bubinga and chechen woods. Very pretty and nice to the touch! This is a 6-dent loom, and I have warped it double, to have 12 ends per inch.
In this course, I am practicing some basic small loom tapestry techniques. Rebecca has a very organized, clear teaching style, so it’s a joy to learn from her. As I practice, I am reviewing things I have learned previously; and I am picking up great tips that are new to me. And, for once, lo and behold, I am weaving tapestry from the front!
May your new year start with learning something new.