I have often wished I had the skill of artistic drawing. How wonderful it would be to portray a slice of creation using pencil lines, or pastels, or with watercolors and a paintbrush. Instead, though, I’ve been delighted to find that I can “draw” and “paint” with threads and yarn. By capturing a slice of creation through my iPhone camera lens, the hard part has already been done. All I have to do is translate the photo into a woven image. And what a joy that is!
Here is a glimpse of my process of weaving the Texas hill country Cactus and Bluebonnetstransparencies.
(Don’t miss the amazing animated images at the end of this post that my son, Daniel, made of these woven transparency projects!)
I hope this isn’t cheating, but I added a teeny bit of embroidery to the finished bluebonnets. One thing I learned with this transparency is that an image that looks flat can be improved with a hint of shadows.
I’m thankful for my husband’s artful eye. He helped me identify the “off-screen sunlight” that would produce natural shadows. I am adding a few darker stitches to the right-hand side of some of the lighter areas, and a touch at the sides and lower end of the flower stems. My hope is to give the picture a bit more depth.
Shadows tell us something: There is a light source. Find out where the light is coming from. That is what it’s like for those seeking God. There are shadows everywhere you look. We see the shadows–the effects of a shining light. And we want to find the source.
Go on a search and exploration expedition. Start with small shadows that you see, the circumstances and blessings that hint at an outside light source. Such seekers may discover that God is just off-screen, waiting to be found.
A folded piece of paper and a seven-inch tail from a yarn butterfly become an answer to a small technical problem. When using a cartoon, like I am for this transparency, it’s imperative to identify the center warpend so I can align the dotted-line center of the cartoon with that one end. Finding the center warp end is my technical problem. The paper and yarn work together as the tool that helps remove the guesswork.
With these bluebonnets, if the cartoon slides to the right or left by even one warp end it distorts the picture. It’s not enough to eyeball it. I need a way to make sure I am finding, and marking, the exact center end every time.
How to Find and Mark the Center Warp End
Subscription card from a magazine, folded in half lengthwise
Seven-inch tail from a yarn butterfly, or a strand of yarn
Measure the width of the beater and use a pencil to mark the exact center with a vertical line.
Hold the folded edge of the card against the vertical pencil line on the beater, with the bottom edge of the card almost touching the warp.
3. Slip the yarn tail under the center warp end, as identified by the bottom corner of the card.
4. Check the alignment of the center line of the cartoon with the center warp end.
5. Slide the yarn from the reed to the fell line to check the entire length of the alignment. Reposition the cartoon, if needed.
May you find a solution that eliminates guesswork.
I promised a baby blanket to a dear friend whose first grandchild is coming soon. That’s why I am working on this transparency with extra focus. I need the loom. After being away from home longer than expected, I am now trying to make up for lost time.
Some sections take an hour or more to weave an inch. But I am finding transparency weaving to be pure enjoyment. I don’t mind lingering. And, if it weren’t for that baby blanket I would slow down even more. This is handweaving at its best. This is good. All I do is select the threads and put them in place, and the woven image magically appears.
In reality, good things don’t appear by magic, do they? Even with the loom, a plan is made, warpends are lined up, and the handweaver puts many skills into action. When we experience good in life, it isn’t happenstance or magic. The Lord is good. He is the source of goodness. And it’s by His grace that we are able to see his goodness. Thank you, Lord.
Bluebonnets! Another Texas hill country subject for a transparency. I am weaving a simplified imitation of this celebrated wildflower. It starts with a photograph I took of bluebonnets in our hill country backyard this spring.
After enlarging the photo to poster size, I outlined the basic shapes that I wanted to include in the transparency. Next, I turned the poster over and transferred the outlines to the back. I traced the lines onto a piece of buckram to use for the cartoon. Everything is ready (the warp has already been tied back on). Let’s get started!
We have been given a true picture of love. God shows it to us in Jesus Christ. Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. With child-like fascination, I want to imitate the heart of that kind of love. To walk in love like Christ means to give yourself away for the sake of others. Linen and wool threads are not sufficient to show the living beauty of a bluebonnet. Nor are my efforts to love going to be perfect. But by keeping the picture in front of me as I weave, I hope to convey the delight of springtime Texas bluebonnets. And present a transparent picture of love that’s out of this world.