Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In and Out and All About the Fiber Studio

Spring has arrived, Summer is coming and things are getting busy around the Fiber Studio. New supplies are coming in for the shows I will be attending starting the first weekend in June. Finished work has gone out to be exhibited, returned home and may be leaving again soon. Progress is being made on the inside projects, old and new and the outside projects around the studio.

First, a little slice of February, March and April from the 2014 Tapestry Diary.

On the outside the path I have been talking about for months now is almost complete. I have a few details to take care of but it is otherwise finished. This makes it easy to get back to the studio even if it has been raining and will also make it easier for me to wheel supplies for shows out to the car.

Here is a progress photo that shows the weed cloth we put down first...

and another coming up to the studio. I'm very happy to have this job completed and most of it we were able to do in a weekend.

The 2014 tapestry Diary is coming along, day by day. Here is a shot of the first four months of the year completed. I can't believe how quickly this year is passing.

I don't have any sneak peeks of May yet but it is coming along nicely.

Here is the first eleven days in April. I haven't used many new techniques this month, it seemed like a good time to go back and practice some of the things I have learned before and concentrate on color blending.

Here the whole days shown are the 11th through the 22nd. On the 17th I tried a new technique from the Threads Course In Tapestry, #106 on page 41. This involves combining a plain weave ground with rows of open and closed soumak. It is used in the gold area to the left. On the 18th I experimented with the twill and ground weave technique but this time instead on one pick of ground weave between each pick of twill I did an entire pass. I liked the slight difference in the pattern.

Finally, here is a close up of the 20th through the end of April. The long and winding road through new tapestry techniques and color blending has been a fascinating journey so far.

The Sheep Breed Sampler is complete and finished! For those of you that have been reading the blog for awhile I started this to study the different characteristics of wools as used for tapestry yarn. It has been a fun and educational project and I could have gone on and on but it is now complete. My Laddie is watching over the sheep as they graze peacefully!

I discovered a few wools I liked that I hadn't tried before and a few I wasn't that excited about. I also did some experimenting with singles versus 2 ply yarns and just had a good time using it for my demonstration sample at the shows I've done for the last year or so. Now I will be able to bring it along this year as a finished tapestry!

On the back I drew a key to indicate which sheep is which and also indicated where the singles yarns were located.

I can highly recommend this kind of project if you are wanting to spin many different kinds of wools and work with them or if you have an actual flock of sheep that you would like to document in this way.

Now that the flock is finished and hanging on the wall I have been able to start a new demonstration tapestry on the 16 inch Mirrix loom.

Hands On is the working title and the warp for this one is 8/2 linen set at 10 threads per inch. This will be my second experiment with linen as the warp and I may want to include some linen weft as well.

I need to finish my row of double half hitches and choose the palette next. I have been thinking about the colors for a while now...

but I think it may include some of the beautiful hand painted silk that I  made In Gwen Witherspoon's recent workshop for the Tulsa Handweavers Guild.

The Mango  Hunters and the 2013 Diary Triptych are back home and hanging in the studio again.

Hope to see some of you at the Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Show in Sequin, Texas the first weekend in June. There is more information on the sidebar under Shows.

I will also be at Rendezvous on June 14th. Rendezvous is a one day event packed with classes,a spinning circle and venders hosted by the Log Cabin Spinning Guild. This year it will be in a new location at the beautiful Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr, Oklahoma City, Ok. It is always a fun event and I will be following up on a later post with some of the new items I will be bringing to the shows.


  1. Can you share some of the breeds you tried as sheep in your sampler, and which ones you liked and which ones you didn't? As a handspinner, I spin for knitting rather than weaving, but I would be interested.


    1. Hi Cheryl, I would be happy to share I wasn't sure there would be many interested in the details. I picked several breeds that probably wouldn't be as suitable for knitting but there are a few that would crossover nicely. The breeds I used were Romney, Navaho Churro, Cotswold, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair ( yes , there is a goat in the flock) Icelandic, Wensleydale, Blue Faced Leister, Polwarth, Shetland, Cheviot,Jacob,Mashum, Dorper,Lincoln,Gotland,Bond,California Variegated Mutant,Falkland,Black Norwegian and Finn. Many of these I chose for there strength and durability and they may seem to harsh for knitting except for special circumstances. On the Romney, the Navaho Churro and the Cotswold I did two sheep each ,one with singles and one with two ply. Those were wools I had used for tapestry in the past and knew they worked well for tapestry yarn but I wanted to make a further test about the differences in using singles vs two ply. Some of the wools I choose for strength also had other characteristics that would make them useful only under certain circumstances, for example the Icelandic was quite hairy, the Black Welsch Mountain was wire like and the very long staple on the Lincoln made it harder to spin although the result was nice. Some of those characteristics would change with an individual fleece too but I am just going by what I had to work with. Some of the wools that are used in knitting were also very nice for the tapestry, Shetland, Wensleydale, Blue Faced Leicester. I have developed a new and ardent love for Polwarth and I would use it for anything, anytime and anywhere, an absolute dream to spin and the finish on the yarn in the tapestry was excellent! Well, I hope that helped. Let me know if you have any other questions.