18 July 2008

Tapestry Weaving

Photo of the tapestry (12:14a.m., July 17th) as it is being woven
on a homemade frame loom. You can see the saw-horse leg
brackets at the bottom corners of the photograph. The image
is a bit distorted from the wide-angle lens I used. You can see
several skeins and balls of yarn as well as a basket of yarn on top
of the AVL 8-harness loom behind the homemade frame loom.

Wanted to post a current photo of the tapestry before going to bed. It is late - after midnight here, but I am pretty much fully awake (due to coming home early from work, not feeling well, and making the mistake of laying down for 20 minutes to see if I could get to feeling better. Woke up 2 hours later... so no sleep for me for a while yet. Oh well, I have a good book I would like to finish.)

You can see the shapes and shape-shifts that I am working on, as well as the color combinations (although as always with photographs, the colors are not exactly right, and even if I fix them to match closely on my computer, they won't look the same on any other computer...). The loom is working well. Tonight I put longer 2x4s in the leg brackets and now the loom is at standing-weaving height. Much better for my back, although my feet do not like it much. When they get too fatigued I can perch on the adjustable height stool from the physics lab.

Anyway, as I mentioned the loom is working well and the weaving generally goes fast considering it's all finger controlled. One shed (the space between the "up" warp and the "down" warp threads) is held open with a 5/8" fiberglass rod, the other I use a pick up stick - actually a long crochet hook - to select the opposite up & down threads. Not as fast as weaving a tapestry on a real tapestry loom - one with treddles and harnesses to lift the alternating warp threads - but still enjoyable to work on. Especially with the saw-horse legs! I was truly amazed to discover the difference that made. So much more workable than laying the frame on the dining room table and trying to weave with it, dealing with it scooting around like crazy, with bad ergonomics in bending over it for any length of time, and with the dark warp strings blending in with the dark color of the table top.

Back to this piece. I think I will stop weaving it very soon - striking a line about 1" taller than the tallest part and weaving up to that point. If everything were perfect with it I would fill the available weaving height (around 30"), but I was not as careful with the tension of the warp threads as I should have been. There are sections that are ever-so-slightly looser than other sections and it especially shows on the selvedges. I have too much draw-in at both sides. I should be able to finish what I am planning to weave on this piece over the weekend.

I will probably start another tapestry right away - one with better, more uniform, tension. I want to work from a plan/drawing on the next one. This tapestry has been woven randomly, or perhaps I should say it has been woven as mood and fancy took me, no real plan except to play with color and sinuous shapes.

If I do not do another tapestry right away I will probably work on the fabric-armor sculptures.


Miss 376 said...

Like the way the colours work together

MontaGael said...

Most, if not all of the yarn for this tapestry project comes from Christa's Yarn Shop in Beaches Corners, near Ettrick, Wisconsin. It is always an adventure, going to Christa's. I need to post about her and her shop.