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.
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.
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!
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!
The 2021 cloth is cut from the loom. Let’s unroll the year to see how it looks. I see cherished moments. Treasured memories. New friendships. Family relationships enjoyed. Mistakes made. A few heartbreaks. Sorrow and rejoicing are intertwined at times. Besides the finished fabric, there are a few odd remnants worth keeping in my heart. And, like most thrums, there are some things I am not going to hold on to.
Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholder—tapestry of my mom. The Lord used the making and finishing of this woven portrait to reiterate His nearness when I needed it most. 2. Siblings, tapestry from the previous year, earned the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Award at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference last summer. 3. The yellow huckaback three-tiered skirt, Tiers of Joy, ought to earn an achievement award. However, the real reward is a genuine sense of accomplishment through perseverance.
Know when to let go. 2022 is a new warp on the loom. Some things from last year don’t belong. We have a fresh start with no room for complaints. Threads on the loom are rich with hope, ready for the intersection of thoughtful wonder and exploration. Look for results of tangible beauty.
Please enjoy looking back at the weaving journey of 2021 with me. I’m grateful to have you here, and look forward to more good times together!
You never know when you’ll need a piece of blue tape. A roll of blue painter’s tape is among my essential weaving supplies. My favorite way to temporarily mark just about anything is with a piece of blue tape.
Blue Painters Tape for Temporary Markings
Cut (or tear) the tape to size.
Fold one edge of the tape under. This makes a little tab so that the tape is easy to remove or reposition.
Use a fine point Sharpie to write on the tape.
Keep your place. Draw an arrow on a small piece of blue tape. Use the arrow on the tape to follow along the threading or treadlingdraft. This eliminates confusion, especially after a pause.
Measure the space. Draw a straight line on small pieces of tape. Measure the warp width on a tapestry frame or rigid heddle loom. Use the lines on the tape to mark where the first and last warp ends should lie on the loom. This eliminates guessing when warping the loom.
Number with Grace. Write out a series of numbers on a long piece of tape, leaving space between the numbers. Cut the numbers apart. Use the numbers to label pattern shaftdraw handles on the drawloom. Place the numbers directly above the draw handles, arranged in groups of five for easy visual recognition. Use a separate series of numbers for border pattern shafts, if applicable. This temporary numbering system gives the advantage of being able to customize the numbering for each drawloom draft.
Have you found ways to use blue painter’s tape in your weaving studio? Share in the comments!
May your life leave marks that are more than temporary.
I call her the ”Rain Girl.” She comes from an illustration in a very old children’s book on our bookshelf. The small tapestry is cute. But with its many slits and single warp wrappings, it falls short of what it could be. I compromised best practices to make it work.
The main fault is with the cartoon. It isn’t weave-able. The image is too small for this sett. There must be a better way to weave this image.
I am starting over with a whole new cartoon! I have now learned that Affinity Designer (computer graphics software) gives me the ability to create vertical parallel lines equivalent to my sett. With those lines in view I can see exactly how each part of the cartoon fits the warp spacing. I am turning the image on its side and enlarging it, and then, cropping to size. This cartoon is going to be weave-able.
All of us have gone our own way. We insistently follow our own cartoon, compromising best practices, while struggling to make it work. There is a better way. Jesus Christ gave himself so that the Grand Weaver’s cartoon could be written on our hearts. In his hands we become his beloved tapestry. Be weave-able.