Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year to all of you (well, almost...)!

I hope everyone will have a grand 2011 with many tapestry adventures in the making.

Pat and I will be sharing with a group of six people at her studio in February, the first of what we hope will be many occasional sessions at either her or at my studio.  Our limit will most likely always be six while we are at our studios because of space considerations.  We'll post some comments following each session and hope those who take part will also post.

As we begin to share back and forth in this blog we can consider ways to do that to make it easy to read comments.  Of course, anyone can make a comment to a post and those will appear below the post itself.  But those of you who I've invited to be blog authors can also edit into a post that's been made, adding your own comments within the body of the post itself.  You can also make a new post, of course.

About editing into a post, my suggestion would be that each one who does so in the text of a post begin the comments with their name.  For instance, if I wanted to add a comment into a post, I could do it like this:

and then go on with saying whatever pearls of wisdom I was going to ramble on about...
then Pat might reply:
Tommye's comments are interesting... and to add to that, I've found....
to which Terri might say:
Well, both of you have given some food for thought.  I've also found that ...
then I might reply...
Great idea, Terri!  And, Pat... can't wait to see what you're working on in person to see how the example works.

Do you think something like this might work to keep our thoughts flowing but to also know who said what and when?  Other suggestions are of course very welcomed!

So, to end this New Year's post (in advance of the New Year)... let me leave you with a pearl of wisdom from someone else:

Three Strands in the Braid

Reach out with your Mind 
And touch the edges of each thing
            as it exists
The configurations
            of form and color
Bend and shape Awareness

Reach out with your Hand
And sense the depth
            of the texture of Life
The nature of warp and woof
The weaving of one way of being
            with another
Celebrate the compelxity
            of Wholeness

Reach out with you Heart
And sense
            the essence of things
Hear the throb of the Life Beat
The Universal pulse
That paces the beat of your heart
            and mine

Reach out with Mind
            and Hand
                        and Heart
And see how it is 
            that Life is One
            by the divisions of our perceptions

Reach out with Mind alone
            or Hand alone
                        or even with a lonely Heart
And see how it is
We limit ourselves

Celebrate the joining
            of the Three-Way Path
            and Hand
                        and Heart
Weave into a full perception
Join Wholeness
            and Dimension
                        and Diversity
Into a singularity of Vision

            Let it be so... 

Paula Underwood, from Three Strands in the Braid:  A Guide for Enablers of Learning 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sue Parker Wants to Know

Hi Pat,
I truly enjoyed the Camp Mikel experience.  My original intent in coming to the class was to learn enough about tapestry techniques to do the 3 samples required for HGA's COE in weaving.  But now I think I'm hooked on tapestry.
I had Bob help me put tpgether 2 copper pipe frame looms since he's kind of selfish with his tools and I do not currently have a pipe cutter.  I got the warp on OK and even make a half-way acceptible cartoon for a sampler.  I have a gracious plenty worsted yarns suitable for tapestry and began this sampler while I wait for skeins of different yarns and color cards to arrive.  One can never have too much yarn.  I have several new and some new to me tapestry books than I have been studying too.  
Now my question.  Is it important to keep the weft yarns parallel when making passes?  Most of the pictures show this but I am sure having trouble doing it.  The yarns want to cross over each other when I make the bubble in the weft and tap them into place.  I'm currently using 2 yarns in a weft bundle with a warp sett of 10 epi.
I wish it wasn't so far to come again as I would surely be there in February.  I am planning on the May workshop.  I have even postponed the breeding season so my lambs won't arrive until I get home.  I long ago gave up on winter lambs in the frozen north.  They don't seem to mind the cold but I sure do.
Thank you for all your help and guidance.
Sue Parker Bassett  

I've copied Sue's inquiry from an email she sent me with her comments and question. It feels sooo goood to have a convert!

Crossing wefts--is it ok? As usual, it depends on what you want. 

1. If you have two threads (say light gray and black) in the weft that are high contrast to one another and/or very different colors, like light yellow and dark green (this ischine, pronounced shee-nay), and would like to have a random distribution of those colors in an area, then just wind those 2 colors together and let them rip at random to give a really nice heather-like look. Two threads next to each other just seem to naturally twist around each other--depends on how they are pulled from the balls or cones.

2. If both weft threads are the same color, it doesn't matter if they cross.

3. If one thread is a light shade of a color and the other thread a bit lighter or bit deeper shade of the same color, then the random showing of the twisted shades will give the area more depth than if both weft threads are exactly the same color.

4. If you manipulate the 2 threads to stay parallel and they are contrasting colors, then you can create a look of the lighter color making a line and the darker color making a line--which you might want to do in a small area without adding 2 additional weft bobbins of one color for such a small area. Therefore, you'd have the chine surrounding 2 lines of the same contrasting colors. Is this clear as mud? This example is hard to explain--be a good thing to try.     Like this: You've got black and white threads parallel to ea other. In the first shed lay the  weft so the black is at the bottom and white at top. Change sheds, lay white at bottom and black at top. Next shed black on top, white on bottom and so on. Keep doing this and see what happens.

Personally, I'm too lazy to fool with too much weft manipulation unless it's a critical area. Hope this helps!

Thanks for the question and thanks for the answer, Pat!
It does make a visual difference if you put the wefts in parallel to each other rather than in a random (twisting here and there way).  Good to experiment with and see what you like.  The parallel way of laying in several wefts is more time consuming but if you like the effect then that time is well spent.  Several tapestry artists use that method (Marcel Marois, for instance).  Others use chine but without particular concern about the twisting of placement.  Where the multiple wefts can give a problem is when one (or more) in a bundle get out of whack in that one (or more) get ahead of the others... in other words, the weft bundle doesn't stay together and you have to constantly pull the butterfly apart or unwind the bobbin to get them all to pull off at the same rate/length.  Careful winding of not a too full bobbin helps to avoid that.  But if something gets too loose (as happens!), deal with it when it happens and save grief!

All that being said, I don't particularly watch for parallel arrangement myself... unless there's a light/light or dark/dark stacking up of the placement of weft where I don't want it to happen.  I watch how it goes into place and if there's an that stacking up I'll lift up the weft, rearrange the twist, then pack in again.


By Golly, the "Weaving On Your Own With A Little Help" workshop has filled. Got six people signed up. BUT, if you would like to come, we can put you on a wait list and if someone has to drop out, then we can crack a deal.

Hey--anybody out there? This blog could be sooooo cooool if we'd use it.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tommye and Pat had a special treat lined up for us---John and Joy Moss, makers of the "Brassy Bob" tapestry bobbins. John and Joy brought their beautiful special bobbins and left plenty that we could sample and purchase if we chose. I am still happily remembering a terrific tapestry workshop.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I want to help keep this going and look forward to another post from some of you. Here is a detail of the finishing technique that Pat demoed. It is a detail of cutting every other warp thread short and weaving its alternated back into the tapestry. I hope this is a useful photo.

WooHoo. THREE signed up already!!

FYI:  The Studio Workshop: Weaving On Your Own With A Little Help has 3 sign-ups already!! This is Terrific good news because it's so much fun to get together.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weaving On Your Own With A Little Help

All Day Saturday, Feb 12, 2011, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tommye and I are offering a workshop for polishing and expanding techniques approached in the Camp Mikell workshop in late October. We need a minimum number of 4 people (maximum of 6), and the fee (including yarn) would be $105. Our goal is to problem-solve and reach a comfort zone with designing & weaving tapestry. Individual attention for each person is emphasized. Please note in an email what you’d like to study to either Pat ( or Tommye (; OR, we will be glad to design a set of tasks for the day.
We ask that everyone bring their own bag lunch so that any special requirements can be taken care of by each person. There will be cokes, decent water, coffee, tea, and so on. If you need to come the night before, we can discuss that via private email.

I live at 319 Hollywood Hwy in Clarkesville, in bee-yew-tee-full NE Georgia. [You could google-map it!] In February it's still probably going to be cold, but there's a fireplace in the studio if it's chilly enough, a walking trail, great chickens, and the dogs will let you scratch behind their ears to your heart's content.    Pat Williams 

Monday, November 22, 2010

October 28-31, 2010 was indeed a time of tapestry magic at Camp Mikell near Toccoa, GA. In addition to eight members of the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild, there were seven attendess from as far away as Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida. It was a delightful and compatible group. We had a wonderful time weaving and sharing. I want to post a few pictures to share as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Class made; a few spaces open

I emailed with Pat Williams yesterday. The class that she and Tommye are teaching this October at Camp Mekell is a go with a couple of spaces remaining. Should be loads of fun and I have heard that the food is wonderful. If you are interested but were unsure if you could attend, but now know that you can be there, contact Pat or Tommye to see if the spaces are still available.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tapestry Workshop-Beginners to Intermediate

Pat Williams and Tommye Scanlin are teaching a tapestry workshop October 28-31, 2010. It will be held at Camp Mikell near Toccoa, Georgia. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from experts and have lots of fun too! If you are interested, please contact Tommye, Pat, or even me, Terri Bryson. The workshop is sponsored by Tapestry Weavers South.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weft Interlock Details

I recently did some research on how to best use the joining technique known as "Weft Interlock." It turns out that it's a little more complicated than I had thought. I've posted details with photos on my blog, Tangled Web. Check it out.

Thanks for the tip, Jan!  Yes... this little trick is one that I finally learned from Archie Brennan.  I did a few photos about it at my website.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Archie Brennan Project

Check out the new blog about Archie Brennan at:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

American Tapestry Alliance Educational Articles Link

I'm putting a link to this at the side bar to make it easier to find in the future.  But I wanted to note it here:

There are several informative articles at this page, including a glossary of tapestry terms, mounting solutions for finished tapestries, Archie Brennan's copper pipe loom diagrams, and more.  Check it out!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hanging method--from Textile Museum's website

This description for hanging a textile with velcro might be of interest:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Show & Tell at the Folk School

This week of John C. Campbell Folk School classes ended yesterday with show and tell by all studio areas.  Here's the tapestry weavers' display--we were all very proud of everything accomplished--lots of hard work!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Posting to Tapestry Share blog

I wanted to mention to all who've found this blog--Tapestry Share--that it's one that I began a couple of years ago as a private one among several of my students and me.  I opened it for public viewing after about a year and have invited several other people to be authors along with me, folks who have been my students at some point or other tapestry teachers.  I welcome comments made to posts for the blog.  I'll be inviting others to be authors at some point in the future.  I hope everyone who finds their way here finds helpful and accurate information!

Teaching and learning about tapestry is very important to me.  I appreciate the wonderful teachers I've had in the past and hope to be able to share some of those skills that were so generously shared with me.  So... here's to teaching and learning!  Along those lines, I want to show the beginning of a class I'm currently teaching at John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tapestry Weaving Ergonomics from Ruth Lathlean

This is a tip for those tapestry weavers who have trouble getting low enough to see what they are weaving at the bottom of a frame on a table. I thought I would join Tapestry Share Blog and add it there but couldn't find out how to do it.

To weave low down on a frame attach it to an ironing board which can then be easily raised high so you can look carefully at the work you are doing without doing damage to your back. Likewise you can lower the ironing board to easily weave at the top of the frame and see closely what you are doing. Hope this is useful - it may be posted to the other blog by Jennifer.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Author

Hello Tapestry Sharers

I am excited to be joining this excellent adventure. I've been weaving for 38 years, and exclusively tapestry for the past 27. If you want you can check out my blog, Tangled Web, at I hope to share some useful stuff, or help to add some links to stuff that's out there at other sites.
Jan Austin

PS I'm a firm believer in having lots of photos on blogs, so here's a photo of the mini-bobbins my husband helped me to design and make last week. More on that later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Next step after warping--half-hitch at beginning

Here's another set of photos of the preparation steps I show in classes.  These are pretty much the same as I use for most of my tapestries, especially on smaller frame looms.  Larger tapestries warped on the larger, vertical looms have different warping methods than the one described in the last post.  I will write about those sooner or later in this blog.  However, the half-hitch beginning steps shown below are used on my larger tapestries, as well.

These photos show the half-hitch I use at the bottom to secure the weft of the tapestry.  The same method is used at the top of the tapestry when it's completed.  This is the being shown with a larger thread than I actually use for this so that it will be easier to see in the photo.  This beginning and ending method is one I learned from Susan Maffei and Archie Brennan in a workshop.  I use this technique to secure the start of a tapestry whether I'm going to use a hem and turn it back; turn the warp ends back and stitch them down to the back of the tapestry; or use the half-Damascus warp finishing described by Peter Collingwood in The Techniques of Rug Weaving, pages 485-486--(a method similar to what Kathe Todd-Hooker calls it braiding in her book Tapestry 101, pages 85-86).  However, I don't use this method if I'm going to stitch in every-other warp thread into the channel of its partner, then clip the extending one off.  Although I don't use that finishing method often many folks do--to be able to get that warp up into the space beside the adjacent warp the weft needs to have some give to allow for that passage... the half-hitches won't allow for that.  Collingwood calls that method of warp treatment "Swedish Tapestry Edge" and shows a clear diagram for it on page 497 in the The Techniques of Rug Weaving; an online digital version of the Peter Collingwood book is at the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics.
The link here  takes you to the "C" listing where you'll scroll down the page to find Collingwood, The Techniques of Rug Weaving.  The pages showing finishing techniques are in the Part 4 PDF.

As with the warping steps shown in previous photos, please bear in mind that many people do things differently--this is just my way, learned and adapted from many others, especially from Archie Brennan and Susan Maffei.

Lay the thread the half-hitches will be made with behind the first warp of the tapestry (note: I'm leaving out the first warp on the loom... that is a visual guide to use as reference for width--it is not incorporated into the tapestry and does not get included in this end finishing.  It is included in the twining and the 1/2" of header.)

Thread crosses over the warp, going from right to left, and the long end is pulled through below it, passing from back to front, between first warp and second warp.  Pull this down snugly (hold on to the tail at the left because it will slip out since nothing is holding it until the hitches begin.)
This is done twice around the warp before moving to the next warp.

The hitching thread moves to the second warp that will be used in the weaving (remember, the very first warp end is not included in these hitches), then...

Both hitches are done, as with the first warp... here the second one is about to be pulled down snugly.

End at the opposite side, making sure to leave out the edge warp that will serve as the visual guide on this side.  

The tails of the hitching thread can be woven into the first shed to be used and tucked away to the back.  At the top of the tapestry, the same half-hitches will be used and the tails of that thread can be sewn back into the body of the tapestry for a 1/2" or so to hide it.

Finally, here's a diagram of the stages of the process... please notice that each step shown represents the same warp thread, not three separate ones.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warping a small frame loom

Thanks to Jennifer for posting about Kathe Todd-Hooker's new book, available very soon.  Kathe has addressed the process for warping of many kinds of tapestry looms in the book and I look forward to getting a copy.  Her other three books are full of valuable information and I know the So Warped will be, as well.  Her other books are Shaped Tapestry, Line in Tapestry, and Tapestry 101.  Kathe sells the books at her website, Fine Fiber Press .

As I prepare to teach at John Campbell Folk School in a few weeks, I'm updating my handout.  I asked the young woman who will be my assistant, to come over to the studio this week so I could do a few new photos  for the revision process.  I thought I'd post these to the blog and ask for your feedback... do they seem to clearly show the process I'm trying to describe?  My handout booklet describes in text and photos what I demonstrate in the class.  The booklet isn't meant to be a self-teaching tool but rather a reminder of what I cover in a class.  And since I'm making the photos myself with a very inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera, I don't expect print production quality of images.  All those disclaimers out of the way, here goes!

Frame loom and parts, including two threaded rods and nuts (will be inserted in the two U-shaped copper pipe pieces, two PVC legs for the loom, shed stick, rubber band to hold legs together.  By the way, the frame loom is a version of the Archie Brennan copper pipe loom as described at his website; I've made the change to 1/2" copper pipe from his 3/4" as he noted in his diagram and I've used 12" threaded rod.

Legs are placed with the Tees slipped over the copper pipe and the legs extending diagonally behind the loom--the long part of the legs is to be unscrewed and set aside while the loom is being warped.

Insert the threaded rods and slip the top part of the loom over them.  Remember, nothing is holding the loom together at this point--so don't pick it up from the top!  The frame will be held together by the warp, once that's on the loom.  

Tie the warp onto the bottom of the frame using a square knot at the edge of the width desired.  Lena Grace, my assistant, is left-handed so she's starting at the right and will move to the left as she puts the warp on the loom.  For right-handers, you can start on the left and move to the right.

When warping it's helpful to put the warp into a basket or bowl on the floor, and place the edge of the loom at the side of a table with the edge extending over the warp source.  Again, Lena Grace is left-handed, so she has the loom placed with the left side over the floor, the right edge on the table top (there's a small bit of rubber mat under the edge of the frame to keep it from slipping as she warps).  Be sure to use an even tension when putting the warp on.

Loom is now warped for 4" wide, with the end of the thread tied at the bottom.  There are four warps at each inch spacing as the warp goes around the loom frame.  The warps at the back and those at the face will be come together for a sett of 8 epi.  Notice this is a continuous trip around the loom with the warp rather than a figure-8 warping method that's sometimes used.

A shed stick is placed into the warps to create a shed that is always open.   As this stick is inserted, the two planes of the warp, face and back, are coming together as one.

 Here Lena Grace picks up the back warps and places them on top of the shed stick that's being inserted; the front warps go to the back of the stick.

Shed stick is in place creating the "open shed."  This may be tied to the top of the frame to keep it from slipping out, if desired.

Three picks of the warp thread are used for a foundation.  Pull each pick very tightly from one side of the loom frame to the other side and tie each around the other (slip up the Tee of the loom legs a bit so that the foundation can be tied near the bottom of the loom).  These picks will not be part of the tapestry.  The second pick is being tied off in this photo... third is yet to come.

After the three picks of foundation, space the warp ends evenly for the sett to be used (8 epi in this case).  This initial spacing will be followed by a row of twining, using the same thread as is used for the warp.  Then about 1/2" of plain weave is done, again with the same thread as the warp.  Remember, only the three foundation picks go from frame to frame; the twining and the plain weave will be done only in the warp area, in this case, 4" wide.  As with the foundation picks, the twining and the 1/2" of plain weave header will serve to space the warps and will not be part of the finished tapestry.

So Warped

FYI - Kathe Todd-Hooker has a new book on warping a tapestry loom....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shaped Tapetsries

Ruth Lathlean in Canberra, Australia uses cardboard for creating the edge for a shaped tapestry.  Check it out at:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weaving for Reversible Fabric: Sewing in Ends

I am at the beginning of creating a wedge weave that I would like to be reversible.  I’ve decided to work with the ends as I go rather than waiting until after it’s off the loom.

Here’s where I came to the end of one bobbin of yarn:image

I did secure the end with a half hitch around the warp and brought the end to the front of the weaving.  image

I then split the yarn into it’s number of plies and distributed them around the warps.  image

The chocolate yarn breaks down into 4 plies, so I distributed two in either direction.  The far left and the far right ends were woven to hide them within the weave.                                                   image

From there I threaded each ply through a needle and fed it through the middle of the weaving next to a warp.  In this picture I’ve already finished the first and am about to pull through the second.image

The ends are carefully trimmed and i even pull a bit on the half hitch to hide the very tip of the yarn into the fabric. Then same is performed with the start of the next piece of yarn.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great ideas!

I think those are terrific ideas!! I will just have to learn how to post pix and other things. My husband and I have been taking Lynn Pollard's class, "Weaving Fabulous Cloth" this quarter. I am learning quite a bit from the class but I am exploring Moorman technique combined with shibori instead of tapestry for this class. The interesting thing is that it makes me think of tapestry. I have found that weaving has many "Ah So" moments for me and I'm weaving those characters. Naturally, there's a lot of "Ah So" in tapestry. This class is over at the end of March. I am really glad I'm taking it. It's helping me with focus as well as just plain learning a tremendous bunch of new stuff.
I am also working on tapestry but not very quickly. I'm finding tapestry very closely allied to photography in my mind and translating some photos into tapestry. I'm slow as Christmas but having a wonderful time.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

a website with small loom shown -- and a plug for Weavolution

This website was noted on Weavolution today:

Although written in Spanish (which I don't read) the photos showing how to set up a small, wooden frame loom are quite informative.  The loom seems to be one that could be easily constructed, if you're handy with saw and drill.  The advantage is the tensioning of warp possible with the moveable top bar.

And, by the way, if you haven't yet discovered Weavolution you might want to check it out.  It's a social network for handweavers and free to sign up to be able to post comments.  However, there's quite a bit of information you can see and read without signing up.  I've been a member for several months now and one of the things I like about it is that there are people of many different interests in weaving who read and post to it and quite diverse experience levels, also.  I learned about the website above from a Weavolution posting, for instance.  I've also just bought a loom from someone who noted it as for sale and in the fall, I posted a couple of tapestry looms for sale for friends.  There are several special interest forums--for instance, there's one for Georgia Weavers; others forums for those interested in tapestry, for Navajo looms, for backstrap weaving... almost anything one could imagine being interested in you'll either find a forum where a few other people are also posting--or you can create a forum to seek out like-minded folks!

I hope everyone is staying warm and warped!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Greetings -- hope everyone is happily weaving tapestry!

I hope you're doing well with life and weaving as we get well underway into the second month of the year--can you believe it?! I also hope all of you are getting a small piece ready for the ATA small format exhibit. Entry deadline has already passed, so if you didn't send your intent to participate already, sorry you missed it! Actual pieces are due by March 15. I'm entering--haven't missed one of these small non-juried exhibits since they began in 1996... BUT I have to get it designed and woven!!

I'd love to hear news from everyone. I read Lauren's blog so am keeping up with her adventures through that. Terri just got in touch by e-mail a couple of days ago. I follow Jennifer's blog, also and loved her documentation of the New Zealand adventure she and her husband recently had.
Any one else have a blog or other web presence that shows what you're up to? Please share, if you do.

I'm wondering how we can use the blog with the intent with which I started it about a year ago--to share ideas and to learn from each other. Any suggestions from anyone about that? One of the things that I've done during this year is to have another blog that I've set up with my ATA mentee--we've been sharing back and forth through that private blog since September and we're finding it a great way to communicate. She posts images and asks questions; I reply within the posting, sometimes adding images in response in addition to my written comments.

We could do something similar with this blog, among those of you who are authors to the blog... you could open a posting an edit within it to make comments that would show up in the posting rather than just by doing a comment that's in a pop up.

Here are some ideas I have for possible Q & A things:

--a warping tutorial for frame looms (specifically those like the Brennan-style copper pipe looms)
--a set of photos for setting up heddles
--mounting small tapestries on a fabric covered board
--warping a larger upright tapestry loom

Any other suggestions??

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Tapestry Weaving Year Everyone!

Happy New Year Everyone!
Our guests have all returned to their homes, jobs and schools. I have been playing with the tapestry ideas and now to get busy weaving after I finish clearing away the holiday celebrations. I have set up 2 frame looms and I am learning that photos are my friend. I hope to get something done and be able to share pix. Our daughter requested a piece of woven shibori fabric to go with a bowl I am still working on for her. I did finish that weaving and will finish the copper bowl soon I hope. I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you!