Friday, February 28, 2014

February News and Views

I have to admit February is usually one of my least favorite months but this year has been so busy that I haven't had time to notice. Yes, I am ready for Spring, I just haven't had time to wait for it this year.

After finishing February on the tapestry diary today I am packing up the Mango Hunters and the 2013 Diary Triptych. I will be taking them to the Tulsa Handweavers meeting tomorrow and then straight to UPS to be sent to the Fiber Celebration 2014 show in Fort Collins, Colorado. Fiber Celebration 2014   The studio will seem empty after they are gone, I guess that is a signal to start something new soon.

I also just sent the little Riverside tapestry for the Untitled Unjuried show in Rhode Island  that will open during Convergence 2014 and the ATA members retreat. I am so excited about being able to go both for the opening of this show and the members retreat this year. It will be awesome to see the tapestries from all over the US and many other countries as well. If you are interested in tapestry and are not familiar with The American Tapestry Alliance you will want to check it out here

Next is a photo of the 2014 daily practice tapestry taken today with 2/28 woven at the top.  I am really enjoying this daily tapestry this year and the addition of trying out some new techniques from Mette Rossing's book, The Threads Course in Tapestry has added to the excitement.

The last week or so I have been writing an article on tapestry diaries that features the work of ten tapestry weavers including myself and it should be available online after April 1 on the ATA website. I will provide a link when it is ready to read.

This month I have been carrying on with trying out some hachure variations that I talked about in the last post and more of the twill with ground weave samples.

Here is a closer view of the last part of February. I like the way the zigzag effect of the woven paths done with the displaced hachures contrasts with the smoother lines of the others.

My favorite technique so far though has been the twill with ground weave. I just keep thinking of variations to try and ways that it can be used both pictorially and as an effective use of directional line that moves the eye from one area to another in the design.

Here is a further detail showing a new variation I tried this morning in the last section at the top. By splitting the twill weft into two I was able to switch directions of the twill line moving right on one side and left on the other. I have got to experiment some more with that. I think it will be a way to also create the effect of a woven path without actually weaving one.

A little further down On the reddish triangle shape I split the path into both a light and dark blue green using the hachures which was a nice effect too.

For March I am going to move on and try to include some of the color effect in plain weave samples from pages 30-31 and some of the soumak variations on the following pages. Another great source for soumak is Kathe Todd Hooker's book, Line in tapestry and I have it available I'm my shop.

For now I am going to concentrate on finishing the Sheep Sampler which means I will get to sit down in front of the wheel and do some spinning.  It has been a while and I'm looking forward to that!

I guess Spring is delayed once again as we are expecting a snow/ice event later this weekend. On the first warm and sunny day I am planning to go out and sit in the sun and pretend I am a reptile.

I hope everyone is staying warm and dry,it is a good time to get some weaving done.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mid February and a Red Dirt Valentine

It is mid February and time to catch up with the 2014 Tapestry Diary project.

Here is an overview as of today. Most of February so far I have been repeating some of the techniques already tried. I have found once I use them three times or so I am able to use them pretty freely.

A detail of the beginning of the month shows that I have used the twill with ground weave, displaced hachures and triangles with continuous wefts a few more times.

In this detail of the middle of the month the joining method I am using is visible.

I chose sample 57, page 28 of the Rossing book , The Threads Course in Tapestry. It is a closed sumac which climbs between the monthly columns every two passes. It is making a nice firm join and in a contrasting color adds a slightly textured design element of its own.

On the 14th the heart shape in the color of the red dirt hills in parts of Oklahoma is my valentine for the year.

On the 15th I tried something new from TCT ( The Threads Course In Tapestry), numbers 53 and 54 from page 27. Still working with displaced hachures, this sample has quite a stepped appearance as it climbs up the warp. I started out with the dark weft covering three warps as in #54 and then changed to two warps for the dark weft as in #53. In this way I can make a diminishing shape which fits my purpose nicely. I like the way this path zigzags up the hill and want to continue to experiment with this technique as the month progresses.

One more detail showing how January and February are coming together.

Most of the month so far was dedicated to finishing The Mango Hunters and I have appreciated having the TD to keep me weaving everyday.

I have one more small tapestry to finish before I move on to new cartoons and new tapestries. This one is on my 16 inch Mirrix and most of the tapestry is on the back side right now.

It has been awhile since I caught up with this one here. This is the end of the Sheep Breed Sampler. It has been a great demonstration project to take to shows for the past year or so but I am ready to finish it and start a fresh demo project.

The other day I drew a new ending for the sampler with an appearance of my Border Collie, Laddie. I attached it to the existing cartoon with double stick tape. I may need to trim him down a bit as he seems  very large in proportion to his sheep but I am sure Laddie would approve.

This sampler has a different handspun breed of wool for each sheep represented and I will talk about some of the different breeds when I finish. It is my firm intention not to draw any new cartoons until this too enters the collection of finished projects in 2014! This has been a very instructive project and a chance to experiment with many different types of wools used as tapestry yarns. I will be following up with it soon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finishing The Mango Hunters

I have been working on the finishing for The Mango Hunters and it has taken a little longer than expected. I was inspired by a couple of posts by Tommye Scanlin on her blog, and on her tapestry share blog
I did a few things differently but a very similar process.

First I ordered some heavy duty canvas stretcher bars, a cross beam and corner braces from Rex Art. I was very happy with the quality and they could special order to the size I needed. After the frame was built I layered some linen with a very thin cotton batting and stretched it over the frame. I used a staple gun to secure the fabric to the back of the stretcher bars with extra care to neatly fold the corners on the outside. The bars are about 1.5 inches thick.

I wanted to make sure those corners stayed in place so I stitched them together with a blind stitch and matching thread.

Preparing the tapestry involved the usual trimming of wefts on the back and slit sewing. The slit sewing seemed to go on and on and literally did take a few days to complete.

Then I turned under the hems and stitched them lightly in place after trimming the warp ends.

I laid the tapestry out on a blocking board and covered it with a press cloth and hovered over it with a steam iron. I didn't actually touch the iron onto the tapestry but the steam did help to relax the surface.

I stitched the tapestry close to the edge of the linen covered frame. I noticed that Tommye left a larger margin and I like that so will try it next time.

I used a curved needle and strong buttonhole thread for the stitching. The ends with the hems were quite a challenge to stitch! I tried to hide the stitches by using a matching thread and hiding them in the rows of weaving.

Here is another shot of the edge as I am stitching with a stitch  shown before pulling the thread through.

When I was finished stitching I propped it up against the wall on top of the pressing board for a quick photo.

The linen edge doesn't show much in front but will on the sides when it is hung.

Here is another photo taken today with a white background outside.

This process has taken a little more than a week.

One more.

A new box of goodies has arrived in the mail. I have several Slim bobs ( as pictured in the bowl with the yarns), Mini bobs ( pictured between the awls and keepers below) and three new awls with keepers. The awl on the far right is a new "Smawl" shown with a keeper. It is designed on the same scale as the mini bob. Let me know if you need any of these or some new Ymmyarns.

Happy weaving to you!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January/February Tapestry Diary

When I started weaving this morning it wasn't snowing at all. By the time I finished my February 2nd spot on the Tapestry Diary it had just started and by the time I left the studio for the house it looked like this.

Two hours later it is still snowing!

Looking back at the studio here.

Here is a detail of the first two days of February. I managed to get a few snowflakes into the 2nd but I may have to put on my wellies to get out there for the 3rd if it doesn't stop soon.

This is the view of the TD after the January 31st weaving. January is 30.25 inches high so far.

I have been continuing to try out some new techniques from the The Threads Course in Tapestry by Mette Lise Rossing.

Here is a detail of the 1st through the 11th of January. We had several very snowy days that I tried to capture during that time.

This detail shows the 12th through the 22nd. I did the first experiment on the 13th which is Twill with ground weave, variation 14 from page 13.

On the 17th I used the same technique with some pick and pick directly after which I liked very much. Then on the 19th more Twill with ground weave.

On the 22nd I tried something different, triangles with continuous weft variation 24 page 16. I did vary the size and shape of the triangles a little but otherwise like the example in the book.

This shows the 18th through the 31st of January.

On the 27th I used var. 50 page 25, displaced hachures. I thought the effect of the thin zig zag line was very complementary to my format!

On the 29th I continued with displaced hachures with var 51 on page 26, here there are longer steps upward.

I really liked the way the twill with ground weave turned out on the 28th placed after some pick and pick!

Finally, I used twill with ground weave again on the 31st since it seemed to be the technique of the month.

I have really enjoyed experimenting with these new to me techniques on the TD this month and feel like I will learn a lot as I proceed through the year in this manner.

I realize not everyone has this book but I referenced the details just in case. If you are part of a weaving guild with a library why not inquire about getting it for the library? I know the Tulsa Handweavers has purchased a copy for members use.

I am excited about this years TD because it reminds me of Oklahoma in it's earthy quality and its ties to the land and I find that adapting these new techniques to the format and feel I have in mind is not difficult and very satisfying. It has a year to develop though so who knows what lies on the path