Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MUST SEE: The Power of Slow

The American Tapestry Alliance's online exhibit series TEx@ATA continues with an excellent exhibit, "The Power of Slow", curated by Anne Jackson.



Whip it, whip it good

I am trying to finish some projects that have been on hold for too long...I am afraid that there are too many to count!

One is a small oriental-style rug. It was started by a dear hooking friend who no longer cared to finish it, so  she passed it along to me. That was in late 2011 and it landed in my lap at a time I was between hooking projects. It was really nice just to have a project to hook on, so I took to it quickly. I think I finished the hooking in less than a few weeks. But once I finished the hooking of the piece, the actual finishing of the rug held little allure...

So, now I'm finally finishing it which involves an entirely different mindset than actually hooking it.

I prefer using the excellent "fold-forward finish" of Cindi Gay which she outlines in her rug e-school on her website cindigayrughooking.com.

Edge of rug, ready for whipstitching
This finish involves sewing around the entire piece multiple times and hand-basting the backing twice toward the right side of the rug. This helps to form a firm edge to whipstitch over. There is also no need to use cording to give support to the edge with this technique, which is a huge plus to those of us already averse to finishing.
Whipping in progress

One finished corner, three more to go...

I use three strands of Paternayan Persian tapestry yarn from my stash to whip the edges of the rug. It was an expedition in itself to find the correct shade of navy from my numerous storage boxes of tapestry yarn that live in my garage. I guess when I labeled  the boxes "blues", I failed to see the need to be more specific. The perfect match was found in the 6th box of "blue" yarns.

The whipping process is tedious, but necessary for a nice finish. It's also a treat to see the rug starting to look more and more complete as I cover the burlap backing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FLASHBACK: Penland spring weaving concentration

One year ago, I was starting the spring weaving concentration at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina. Beth Johnson taught the class called Weaving Traditions.

Our first project was for the class to weave enough napkins for one meal service in the Pines dining hall. We could weave any type of napkin we liked. I designed a simple twill napkin with sections of alternating green and white and solid stripes. 

Beth taught us her nifty Scottish warp winding technique, which I used for winding this warp. For someone who used to require the stars to be aligned in order to even contemplate winding a warp, this method was a revelation to me.  I started winding my warp in the late afternoon, worked my work-study shift at dinnertime and then came back and finished winding the warp in the evening. Beth also showed us how to coil our sections of warp into what I liked to call "snakes", ready to be wound onto the loom.

The third and final section of warp on the warping board
My loom with two coiled "snakes" of warp

The warp, partially threaded

In the middle of threading the loom, the view from the warp beam with the raddle still in place.

I decided to weave the width of one napkin, so my warp turned out to be about 17 yards long. Before this, I had never wound a warp that long, ever!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lots of knots

I have been tying a whole mess of knots lately while getting the looms dressed and ready to weave.

Here is the ikat warp tied onto the front beam apron bar of the floor loom.

Sometimes it's nice to do a bunch of the same thing at once so I tied these the same day I tied the knots on the tapestry loom.

These are square knots. My default when tying is a granny knot, but they don't hold properly.

I have to train my fingers to tie the square knot by repeating to myself...left in front, then right in front. Sort of silly, but it really helps me get the right knot tied!
Close-up view of knots on apron bar.

My tapestry loom is also being warped for a new tapestry. It is a Shannock upright student loom and the warping starts with lark's head knots on the top bar. The warp is then threaded into string loop heddles on the heddle bars. Once threaded, I tie on with square knots on the bottom bar.

Upright Shannock student loom, threading done, warp is 14" wide.

My weaving sett will be 5 ends per inch (epi), so I've threaded every other heddle on 10 epi  heddle bars.

The lovely and useful square knot!

I have some more spacing and chaining to do on this tapestry warp before I can get started with the weaving.