Monday, December 19, 2005

More on Tapestries and a Couple Words About the Rug

Last week, I got all the Christmas packages into the mail and so now I can concentrate on tapestry again and figure out something for the Grand Ideas exhibit in conjunction with Convergence in Grand Rapids, Michigan this summer. Friday and today, I worked on 2 cartoons from these photos that I took in Utah in October (I could never get the second one to load but this is the one I will work on first). When I went back and looked them all over since I posted about them earlier, these 2 were more interesting to me than the others. I am planning to warp the loom for 2 tapestries and because of the many vertical lines in the cartoon, they will be better woven from the side rather than from the bottom up. So the warp will be about 8.5" and the completed tapestry will be around 11". The rules for the exhibit say that the finished work can't be more than 100 square inches.

I am very excited about the cartoon that I made from the first drawing and that is the one that I'll do first. I like the second one, too, but I have reservations because it has too many colors per row for such a small tapestry at the sett that I like to use so I'm afraid that it will widen and widen as the weaving proceeds. I like to use a wool warp sett at 8 epi and all the handspun yarn that I have works with this sett. I don't think I have enough time with moving in a month or so to start spinning all the yarn from scratch to match a closer sett. So I will probably keep this cartoon for another warp and just double the size so it will work better. That would be about 16" x 22", which is about as big as I ever weave a tapestry. So I am going to have to come up with an idea for the second one as I work on the first weaving.

Now that I know where I want to start, I can warp the loom tomorrow. I usually use Davidson's wool warp but I found some warp that I handspun so if it looks like there is enough, I will probably use that. I have found that my handspun warp works really well on my Mirrix loom. At first I was afraid to try it because the loom seems to have such a tight tension and I like using it that way but the handspun can hold up to that without a problem. I also checked to see what colors I might not have spun already and need to spin up and all I need is a medium dark green but all the rest I have a good amount of. That was lucky! I have bins of dyed fiber so that I can just go into them and see what I have to blend up the right color on my drumcarder. The yarn is a singles so it doesn't take long to spin it either.

Now a little about the rug... I don't have a photo yet but I asked Gabe to take one for me sometime soon. The best explanation of a six-end two-tie unit weave is in Boundweave by Clotilde Barrett but there is also a decent description in The Techniques of Rug Weaving by Peter Collingwood. It is related to twills and to overshot but it makes a thick and sturdy weft-faced rug without the usual high tension and hard beating that rugs often require. I don't think I would try any other kind on my jack loom and I love the design potential the weave has.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Many Christmas Projects

I may not have been blogging lately but I have been busy...mostly with Christmas gifts. This applique curtain is for my daughter's door which divides the living room area from the bedrooms. Both sides blend in with the colors in that area and I tried to use the window panes to define the space as quilt blocks even though the piece was a single fabric. I haven't done much of this sort of thing and even that was quite awhile ago but it was a really fun project and she is pleased with it too which makes it all the better. I love working with leaves and these fall colors so that helped make it interesting to do. And, it all came together exactly like I had imagined it. How seldom that happens! There is nothing wrong with happy accidents but it is nice to be in control once in awhile too.

These are not quilted but I did applique each side to a separate muslin background so that light wouldn't show the one side through to the other. I had briefly thought about hand appliquing the pieces on but using a machine zigzag took long enough and it is probably sturdier anyway. I had fun drawing all the leaf shapes and collecting the leaves while hiking or walking in the neighborhood. This was the perfect fall project and reminded me how much I enjoyed making those leaf scrapbooks in school every year.

I am still making and selling pixies and fairies. I have 12 more knit and am working on assembling them and then that is it before Christmas. Just out of time! I want to work on a pattern for small bears and cats along with the pixies and fairies for next year.

Also I have done some weaving for gifts. I made a triple birds-eye pattern scarf for Cory's piano. They wanted certain colors and as luck would have it, I had some hand dyed cotton in just the right blues that I had dyed in a workshop a couple years ago. And I also wove a hearth rug for Gabe and Amy. They are getting a new gas fireplace insert in the next couple of weeks so that should just right for them. They also are waiting for some new furniture and I think I was able to match that and the wall color up pretty well.

I don't weave that many rugs because I just have jack looms and they are not that great for rug weaving but I found a draft for a 2 tie 6 end pattern and it works up wonderfully even though the tension isn't as tight as on a rug loom. This is the second rug that I have made with this draft and both turned out thick and lay nicely on the floor. There is also tremendous design potential with the draft that relies on color and weave so the weaving is interesting. I'll have to get Gabe to take a photo of the rug after Christmas for the blog. That was all handspun yarn that I had for several years thinking I would make a coat for myself sometime. The fleece was from a Maine Island sheep and has a nice luster and was very clean wool since the island fleeces are claimed to be fog washed.

Sadly, I haven't worked on my tapestry all month but now, except for some baking, all the gifts are done and I'm anxious to get back to tapestries and purses. In fact, I can't wait! I actually enjoyed all the gift projects that I did but now I will really appreciate getting back to my own work.

It is a beautiful, cloudless sunny day BUT it was -24 this morning and now is only a sorry -5. So I feel like I want to go out since it is so pretty but way too cold to walk today.