Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Resistance Is Futile

I received a lovely box of tapestry yarns from Australia the other day. I put them in a display, photographed them and put them on the blog. I wanted to start using a few of them but it was hard to disturb the display of them somehow.  Then I sold several balls of the wool and that seemed to break the ice a bit.

I have been thinking about the grey and stormy skies we have been having all week. Normally I would be the first to complain after more than a couple of grey days in a row, but after the scorched and dry summer we have had the stormy sky seems calm and peaceful. I think I can feel the earth resting after the exertion of surviving the drought of the past summer.

One of the nice things about weaving a tapestry diary is that you can give in to just weaving whatever is going through your mind on a given day. Of course the effect is not like a carefully planned design where you attempt your best at composition and color but it is liberating to just sit and weave my feelings about a stormy sky.  I think it is time for me to use some of these new yarns, and so I reach out and pluck one from the box. This gesture reminds me of a bird selecting just the right twig for a nest.  I return with a blue violet and resume weaving. A little later I am back at the box and a light greyed blue leaves with me this time. More weaving.

A new box of wool colors, the inspiration of a stormy sky and a tapestry diary to weave. Resistance is futile.

August diary Finished!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tapestry Bobbins, Yarns and Favorite Tools

What a feast for the eyes!  Here is my new "Bobbin Bowl" hand made by John Moss filled with his beautiful and functional 5.5 inch bobbins and a few of his Mini Bobs dressed in color wheel colors of Ymmyarns.  The bowl is a result of a conversation I had with John about needing an attractive place to store extra bobbins while working and the result is this lovely customized bowl of Magnolia wood. If you are interested in learning more about John and his wife Joy and the lovely things they make there is a link to their webpage on the right side of my blog. I am so happy with my bowl that I could never sell it but maybe he will make me some more of them. I do have a few of his bobbins available for sale so let me know if you are interested at jmeetze8@aol.com. I also have the Ymmyarns available!

If you would like to see a picture without the bobbins dressed in wool, here it is.

You may have noticed an unusual looking bobbin in the picture above.  It is another very exciting tool that came about during our conversation about the bowl. My request was an awl for tapestry that I could wear so that I would not be continually losing it in the nests of fiber around my loom.  John came through with the awl and magnetic holder that you see at the right.  This is destined to become my new favorite tool for tapestry weaving!  I like to change color often and so frequently work with small lengths of fiber rather than winding on a bobbin.  The awl is just like the  end of the bobbin with a brass tip so that I can beat my wefts in place and when I'm finished instead of setting it down I just aim toward my magnetic holder and it grabs it until I need it again.

Here is a close up of the magnet in the holder and awl with a snippet of the leather lacing so that it can be worn.  I am hoping to have more of these to sell soon.

Here is a peak at the September diary with my awl/holder ready to start weaving.  Right after I received it I starting weaving the Cedar tree in the backyard.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ymmyarns for Tapestry in Wool and Silk

  Ymmyarns are here! I have become an agent for this line of tapestry yarns in the USA.  It is so exciting to feast my eyes on the entire line of tapestry wool and silk from Ymmyarns!  They have arrived from the land down under in lovely condition.

There are 107 different colors in the wool. Each color has a five value range from light to dark with the addition of back and white.  The wool range has filled four of my bamboo trays.  I have kept the value ranges together and the colors as much as possible. This first tray has the blues/blue greens.

Here are some of the pinks, greens and purples.

Tray number three has reds, oranges and yellow/golds.

Finally, one last purple, browns, beiges and grays.

Now for the silks, here is the cool tray...

and the warm tray.

I also have some color cards available.  The yarns are beautiful and can be blended easily to achieve many color options.  I can't wait to start using them in some of my tapestry work and the silks will also be beautiful in the jewelry projects that I enjoy.  Send me an email at jmeetze8@aol.com or leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing any of these yarns.

Here is a close up view. I have the silk in 30 meter skeins and the wool in 20 gram balls but there are other put ups available that I can order.

The John Moss tapestry bobbins are on their way. I already have several people on a list that want them but it is not to late to let me know if you would like to be on the list.  I have the 5.5 size wood bobbin with brass tips and the Mini bobs coming.  In the same package will be my made to order awl and holder so I will be sure to share how that works for me; and my custom designed "Bobbin Bowl" that I will also show in action as soon as I can. Below is a selection of my bobbins so that you can see what I'm talking about!

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Jewelry Supplies!

 One of the things the Mirrix Loom does so well is jewelry and I have been getting ready for classes and fall shows with new supplies and samples. If you are interested in taking classes now is the time to sign up for the mailing list so you can receive information when it is available. Just leave your email on the form at the upper right of the blog.

Four new bracelets have come off of my Mini, Lani and Little Guy this week and now I am ready to start working with some of the wonderful Fall colors I have been collecting.

Here is an example of an Affinity style bracelet with Bugle beads. I am ashamed to say it has been on the loom since the Fiber Christmas show in July!

On the right is another project from this Summer that has been completed.  It is a no warp end bracelet with Soft Flex wire for warp. I did a little picot edging in size 11 seed beads on this one.

I can't resist showing the other side with my hand beaded peyote stitch button closure.
Here I was thinking about some deeper richer colors for Fall. I seemed to be on a seriously blue/ green color obsession over the Summer.  In this Affinity bracelet I used some of Claudia Chase's hand painted silk which is luscious.  I have several colors right now that I am putting into kits for classes.

Here are some samples of the ones I am using.

Here is another bracelet that is calling to Fall.  I used Dark Raspberry matte Tila and Magatama beads along with some size 8 and 11 Miyuki seed beads.  The warp is a hand dyed pearl cotton that I just got a selection of.

Here is a picture of the hand dyed pearl cottons and there are some beautiful rich colors.

Also new Miyuki seed beads.

More seed beads...

and some Magatamas, Tilas and Delicas.

Here is another no warp ends style bracelet .

Another Affinity bracelet with handspun silk in warp and weft.

The best is yet to come. Australian Ymmyarns for tapestry in wool and silk will be appearing soon!

Finally another Affinity that I will call Donna's bracelet after the friend that has given it a home.

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Tapestry Finishing Ideas

 I am working on the finishing of the August Tapestry Diary and thought some of these finishing details might be of interest. I have to admit that finishing is something I enjoy which tends to put me in the abnormal category. Take a look at the previous post for a picture of the piece right after removing from the loom and the following takes up at that point.

Here shows a detail of the back. the ends have been trimmed and any ends which are close to the edges of the tapestry have been secured towards the center to keep them out of the way. There was a previous post on finishing with more detail on this process.

Here is a detail of the top of the tapestry. Those long woven tabs that were pictured on the previous post have been turned down to create a hanging tube.

Here is a detail of the back. The warp ends have been turned to the back side and secured with buttonhole thread.

This shows the bottom of the tapestry. The woven tabs on the bottom are all woven separately and become part of the decorative warp finish. I think that echoes the woven tabs at the top nicely.

Here you can see a detail of the separate tabs on the bottom.

Next I trim the warp ends even on the bottom.

A small amount of fray check can help keep the ends tidy.

A detail of the braided warps at the bottom. Each one has been wrapped, first with strong buttonhole thread and then with the more decorative wool/silk weft from the tapestry.

On to sewing the slits. There are many ways to do this. On this piece I chose to sew from the front after the piece was off the loom. Using buttonhole thread again I secured the thread on the back of the tapestry and brought it up one warp thread away from the slit. Never pierce the warps with the needle as that could compromise the strength of the tapestry.

Move over to the opposite side of the slit, go under about two weft threads.

Pull the thread taught without distorting the tapestry.

Move across to the other side and repeat going under two weft threads. When pulled taught the thread that lays across should disappear in the wefts.

Here you see the thread right before pulling the thread taught.

Here is the completed stitch.

At the end of the slit move over to the other side including a warp thread in the stitch.

Bring the thread to the back, secure and trim.

Here is a detail of the finished slit sewn together.

Once all the slits have been sewn I want to give the piece a little steam to relax it a bit.  This tapestry does not need a strenuous blocking but a little steam can even things out and make it hang better.

First I pin it out to size doing a little straightening where needed with the wrong side up.

Then I cover it with a press cloth.  Once my steam iron is ready I hover over it with the steam and let it penetrate until it is a little damp.  I find that putting a little steam into the braided warps at the bottom and then pulling them gently while damp allows them to relax and hang better.

A picture of my steam iron here. It puts out a significant amount.

Once I am finished steaming I will allow it to rest , cool and dry.  I may not unpin it till tomorrow as the camel colored ultra suede I have ordered to back it in has not arrived yet. I will include some pictures of that later.

Many tapestry weavers do not back their tapestries but I prefer to. It is much easier to keep the dust away with a smooth backing that can easily be wiped clean, and it just looks better to me. Ultra suede is expensive but a nice smooth cotton would work well too. The advantages of ultra suede are that it can be neatly cut with a clean edge that does not require turning under, reducing bulk and the nice weighty feel will help the tapestry hang nicely. It also has a nice rich finish, and it is a tapestry after all.

Here is a piece you may remember if you read the other post on finishing. I decided the Riverside tapestry needed more "presence" in the finishing and here is the new improved result.

I used the same acid free foam core board that I use to cover with canvas for light weight painting supports when I am painting out doors.

For Riverside I cut one piece of foam core the size of the actual tapestry and covered with the dark blue Ultrasuede and then stitched the tapestry to the board. To pad the surface a bit and make the stitching easier you can place a piece of flannel or fleece between the board and the fabric.

Then I cut a piece which would leave a three border and covered it in the same way and glued the smaller piece on to the larger. I could then add a picture frame but this seems substantial enough that I could add a hanger or wire on the back and call it done.

Here is a picture of the corner showing how the tapestry is floated on the larger piece of board.

Here is another photo which shows the edge in different lighting.

Of course if you like to do other kinds of shaft weaving you could also hand weave the fabric for mounting the tapestry.  Here is some linen I wove on my floor loom that  I used for mounting a tapestry a few months ago.