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 http://www.austintapestry.blogspot.com/. 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 herehttp://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books.html#C  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.