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