Process Review: Eye of the Beholder Tapestry and Video

I started planning this tapestry portrait of my mother one year ago. As I was concluding her portrait on my loom, it became evident that her real-life tapestry was also coming to a conclusion. I arrived at Mom’s bedside with the portrait in hand, warp ends dangling. Her smile in that cherished moment is one I will never forget. In the days that followed, she quietly slept. I silently braided the warp-end edging, trimmed the tails on the back, stabilized the tapestry through the lining, and stitched the lining in place. I carefully secured the last stitch. In the wee hours of the next morning, while she was asleep, the Lord Jesus called my mother home. Tapestry complete. Beautiful.

Weaving a pictorial tapestry. Making butterflies.
Making butterflies gets messy. Balls of yarn are everywhere as I combine strands of wool to get just the right blends of color. And then I rubber band every label back on its yarn, and every ball of yarn goes back in its proper bin.
Tapestry portrait. Eye of the Beholder.
I was overjoyed when I was able to see her eyes in the tapestry.

Eye of the Beholder is about my mother who taught me to appreciate beauty. This is a portrait of a woman with an eye for beauty, with beauty in her eyes.

I humbly share my process of weaving Eye of the Beholder in this video:

May you seek beauty that never ends.

Her daughter,
Karen

Tried and True: How to Remove Guesswork

Documenting your work for repeatability is valuable for any any step-by-step process. With the Lizard tapestry I learned how to do the finishing, including the backing. By the time I was ready to put a backing on the Siblings tapestry, I had limited recall of that first experience. Now that Eye of the Beholder is ready for backing, I need help again. Fortunately, I made note of every detail while constructing the backing for the Siblings tapestry. So, this time I have the benefit of written and photo documentation. No guesswork!

How to Document Your Steps

How to document your process steps.
Photo guidance on the computer corresponds with enumerated steps on my phone. This removes guesswork for the next part of the process.
  1. Do research. Gather your notes, search resources, and get advice from experienced weavers regarding the process you want to document.
  2. Outline the steps. Write out and number all the steps as you understand them. Doing this before you start helps you think through the entire process.
  3. Refine the steps. Begin working through the steps in order. Adjust the steps as you go. You may need to add or eliminate steps, or change the order in which they are done.
  4. Make it visual. Take a photo of any step that benefits from visual clarification.
  5. Finalize. Simplify and clarify the instructions in every step as if they are meant for someone who knows less about this process that you do. Remove redundant and/or unnecessary photos.

May you remove guesswork as much as possible.

All the best,
Karen

Process Review: Happy Blues

Cutting off is like reading the ending of a good short story. Even though you are eager to get to the end, when you reach the final paragraph it seems to soon for the story to be over. Fortunately, even though I am cutting off these happy blues, I still get to enjoy the fabric a while longer as I bring it through the finishing process.

Handwoven cotton fabric. Happy Blues.
All blue. 8/2 cotton in eight-shaft twill. Soft and cushiony.

The 8/2 cotton fabric is woven, washed and dried (multiple times), and ready for its final step. I will cut and hem individual pieces to be used as covers for the arm rests and the headrest for my mother-in-law’s recliner. I can’t think of a better place for this story to end up.

Enjoy this little video slideshow of the making of this cloth:

May you keep starting and finishing good stories.

Love,
Karen

Process Review: Drawloom Preliminaries

I threaded 888 warp ends. I am getting ready to thread those 888 ends again. It’s part of the preliminary process for a new drawloom project. A drawloom has two sets of heddles. Thread the pattern heddles. Then, thread the ground heddles. I enjoy all the preliminaries because of what they bring about—a delightful new weaving adventure!

Preparing a new drawloom warp.
New drawloom warp of 16/2 cotton is on the warp beam.
Long heddles and lingos for the drawloom.
Long pattern heddles and lingos hang on a pegboard wall in the drawloom studio until needed.

Before I start threading, I count out all the lingos (weights) I need for the pattern heddles. Then, I hang a lingo on each unit of pattern heddles. In this case, there are 148 units, and six heddles in each unit. I move all those prepared units (heddles with lingos) to the back of the loom, get comfortable on my loom bench, and start threading. After a few sessions, I am finished threading the pattern heddles.

Drawloom threading heddles.
Pattern heddles hang at the back of the loom for threading.
Texas hill country Bluebonnets!
On the walking path to my drawloom studio each day I see the startling blooms of our Texas hill country Bluebonnets. Just imagine the unseen preliminaries for this beauty!
Drawloom pattern heddles and lingos.
Threading continues.
Pattern heddles are threaded for the drawloom.
All 888 pattern heddles are threaded! Ground heddles are next…

Next up, I will thread long-eye heddles on six ground shafts. A few more start-up operations after that, and then we will see this big ol’ boat raise its sails and leave the shore for another exhilarating adventure in weaving!

May you enjoy the preliminaries for every new start.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Combination Drawloom as a Playground

Aside from the two taildragger banners, the sign for our guest powder room, and the Christmas snowflake hanging, these are test pieces and samples. The combination drawloom is a playground for design ideas. Test pieces and samples are not meant for display. I do want them to be seen on occasion, however. (See Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom.)

Drawloom sign for the powder room.
This is a sign to hang in our guest powder room near a stack of handwoven hand towels.
Shaft drawloom snowflakes/stars.
Snowflakes on the drawloom.

In the September, 2004 issue of Complex Weavers Journal, Jette Vandermeiden wrote about weaving small serviettes to place between her good dishes so they don’t scratch each other. That sparked the idea for me to use my learning experience with the Myrehed combination drawloom attachment to make these small pieces of cloth. The various designs will bring delight as they are uncovered, one by one, when we set the table in our home with the good dishes.

Fun with the Myrehed combo drawloom.
Drawloom playground results using the Myrehed combination attachment.

Enjoy this review of the process of setting up and weaving on this playground.

May you have not-so-hidden treasures in your home.

Cheerful Weaving,
Karen