Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beginning a New Tapestry and New Supplies

I am seriously getting ready to start weaving my "Hands On" tapestry and it occurred to me that my way of getting started might be something to write about.

I spent almost a whole day choosing a palette of colors. Usually I choose many more colors than I will actually use but it is a place to start. This tapestry will have quite a bit of silk and linen as well as my standby, wool.  I have larger amounts available of most of the choices in the box but I find that making small butterflies or bobbins like this gives me a nice visual idea of the color,texture and fiber choices in my mind.

I don't make an actual painting of the complete design with colors. It is not that I don't think this is an excellent idea and would probably save me some time. I have a fear that if I made a painting first that the tapestry wouldn't actually get woven. So normally I do a drawn design for the cartoon and then I select a palette of colors.

I try to visualize what I want to accomplish with the tapestry and imagine the colors I have chosen in the places I have in mind. Assuming there will be changes in the design and the color choices is  part of the process. This sense of knowing and yet not knowing keeps the weaving process adventurous for me.

I had really planned to start weaving this on Monday and I have plenty of incentive because this will be my demo piece for the Yellow Rose show in Sequin, Texas and the Rendezvous show in Oklahoma City. There is more information on both of these to the right under SHOWS.

On Tuesday I discovered some fibers in my collection that needed to be in my palette box selection so I delayed starting the weaving to do some last minute spinning. One small skein is finished and I made a ball of it this morning, the other two are drying and should be ready tomorrow.

I am getting pretty comfortable with spinning a nice slightly felted singles for tapestry that blends well with my Ymmyarns and adds an extra punch to my yarn collection. Here is a picture of one of my favorite Ymmyarns colors with some of my handspun singles side by side. I think it was worth the delay and hopefully I will have some weaving progress to report soon. Deadlines, like the shows, can be very useful that way.

In addition to getting ready to start a new tapestry and continuing to work on the Path Through 2014 Tapestry Diary I have been stocking up on items I usually carry and trying some new ones for the upcoming shows.

There are plenty of Ymmyarns wool and silk...

and a great selection of John Moss bobbins and cotton seine warp for tapestry. The new Mirrix looms will be arriving soon and there are a good selection of Mirrix accessories in stock.

In addition to the leather cord selection I also have some leather cuffs in different sizes and colors. this is a great alternative finish for woven bead and/or fiber jewelry.

A detail of a bead bracelet woven on my Mirrix Mini with the no warp ends kit,

and a back view showing the leather cuff it is mounted on. This is lined with ultra suede and makes for a very comfortable and easy on/off bracelet style. Of course I have lots of ultra suede colors available in  precut strips for bracelets.

Once a project comes off the loom a new one goes back on. Here is the Mini set up with the no warp ends kit and a new bracelet project that uses some of the new half tila beads I just got in. I also have new triangle beads, magatamas and baroque beads. I have started a couple more of the leather wrap bracelets to show off more of the new bead collection and I have many new jewelry findings for finishing leather wraps and kumihimo jewelry projects.

I have a tapestry bead project to demonstrate this great beginning tapestry project that can be made into bracelets with metal cuffs or the new leather cuffs. This also makes great hat bands, belts or purse straps. I think it would be stunning as trim on a knitted Channel style jacket too!

In addition to all the beads I now have a good selection of natural stones as well. these add an extra touch to leather wraps and kumihimo projects.

Speaking of Kumihimo, I have all the supplies you could need, including kits, books, instructions, looms, weights, findings to complete jewelry projects and even some nice focal beads!

Did I mention threads? In addition to the silk, hand painted silk, and hand dyed pearl cotton I also have these lovely thread combinations of silks and rayon/cotton fibers.

One of the things I love about these kinds of threads is that they can be used for all the things I like to make from tapestries to tapestry bead jewelry to kumihimo.

Also new are some silky cotton cords and raffia threads.

Of course I will be bringing finished jewelry in all the techniques mentioned to inspire...

your own creations.

I have a whole basket full of kumi projects in progress so if you want to see a demo, we can show you flat braids, 8 and 16 strand round braids and braids with beads.

One of the fun new things I tried is kumihimo with the leather cords. i think this would be a great gift for a guy, or a girl, and so easy to learn!

In honor of finishing my Sheep Breed Sampler and because the project has received so many nice comments at last years shows, I am going to give away full sized cartoons with the purchase or paid order of a Mirrix loom at a show this summer.

If you have been thinking that this would be a fun project it may be time to start. If you send pictures of a sheep sampler being woven on a Mirrix loom I would love to put them on the blog!

If you are on my Facebook this last bit may not be new news but for the rest, I had the honor of having two tapestries accepted into the Fiberworks 2014 show in Oklahoma City this year. The Mango Hunters and the 2014 Tapestry Diary Triptych were shown along with many other diverse and wonderful pieces.

 This show is supported and hosted by Fiber Artists of Oklahoma and the juror this year was John Garret. It travels every other show between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

It is no small effort to host and run a show like this and FAO does a superb job with it. I am happy and proud to have an organization in Oklahoma that provides such a wonderful venue for supporting fiber arts in the state and for being involved with the Tulsa Handweavers which donates a great award for weaving at this show.

The 2014 Tapestry Diary Triptych won two awards. the Joe Handley award for technical excellence in traditional hand weaving and the Handweavers Guild of America award.

To bring things full circle I have used the check I received to purchase the plane ticket for my trip to Convergence and the American Tapestry Alliance Retreat where I will be taking a workshop with Susan Martin Maffei. It feels great to use the award to further my tapestry weaving skills and experience in this way.


  1. Mac and I were so happy to read the blog. So many wonderful new choices to add to our stash. It's going to be a very colorful weaving summer! Life is Good.

    1. Thanks Susan and Mac for being loyal blog readers! Summer is shaping up in a colorful and weaverly way!

  2. Your post about getting started is very inspiring. Thank you! I just might.. get started! :-)

    1. It makes me feel good to hear that. Happy weaving!