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.
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:
Documenting your work for repeatability is valuable for any any step-by-step process. With the Lizardtapestry 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
Do research. Gather your notes, search resources, and get advice from experienced weavers regarding the process you want to document.
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.
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.
Make it visual. Take a photo of any step that benefits from visual clarification.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy this review of the process of setting up and weaving on this playground.
May you have not-so-hidden treasures in your home.