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.


  1. Great explanation, Pat. I do a lot of chine and am of the let em rip persuasion. However, I will experiment with this straight line technique you described to see how I might use it.

  2. I agree great explanation. I will try these different techniques in the same colors to see what happens. Thanks Pat

  3. I wonder what people have been weaving since the workshop! "Real" pieces, or experiments, or what?

  4. Like Sue I have been bitten by the tapestry bug! Since I have been home I've completed a design and woven a 10 x12 sample of colors, and shapes, practice. I've warped the leclerc gobelin loom for a 27 x 30 something( I really do know the dimensions but I'm not near my notes,) piece. The piece is about the Cincinnati riots of 2001 , which I witnessed. I've been wanting to do this tapestry for 10 years and is one reason why I came to Georgia to study with pat and tommye. the tapestry loom I've only had for six months. This is a big leap of faith! But when I look at the design it's some curves and circles but mostly meet and separate and hatching. Sooooooo, I think I stand a chance if I can manage the size. I am taking the advice of using many bobbins of the same color when goingbthe full width because of drawn in. Any other advice? Have a stiff drink?
    I'm excited and this is all I want to work on!

  5. I have two questions/ problems. First I'm working on the leclerc gobelin , although I don't think this has too much to do with this. As I'm weaving I've started to have some slight buckling along the vertical which pushes the selvedges out when smoothed. I am using eccentric Soumak but feel I'm using lots of weft , embroidery floss or wool. What could be causing this? Also I'm having a terrible time getting a decent shed, I have treadles, I guess it could be a result of the buckling. The piece will be 40 in. Wide and 15 in. High. Any thoughts will be much appreciated!
    P.s. the library resource is fantastic Tommye, thank you!