Monday, June 22, 2009

Blast from the Past

Here's Will and me demonstrating spinning at the Antelope Valley Fair in 1990. Will is seven here. He's spinning on my turkish spindle -- actually winding up the wool he's spun. He also carded for me. We're dressed in SCA garb. 8-]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tree & Moon

This is a piece of digital art, a distortion of a photograph of a rock. ;- j I love doing this. And trees and moons are a recurring theme of mine.

I think this one would make a particularly striking tapestry. 8-]

I wonder how difficult it would be to duplicate the metalic fluid effect?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fiber Retreat 09

Joey hard at work. ;-]

Courney and Cora and a pal.

A couple tent city pics.

I remembered to pull out my camera during my classes this time. ;- j

A happy weaver. ;-] Glad you liked the class, Dawn.

Some more tapestries at the show & tell. I thought I was having deja vu seeing "my" tapestry all over the place. ;-b

Eowyn really took to the mud dyeing. I liked her indigo over-dye. Kewl idea.

Mud dye amongst the show & tell.

Just can't get away from that paleo-theme. ;- j

Baskets and more mud dye. 8-]

Here's my brazilwood and kamala offerings. Meager things, but mine own.

Tent city and the exhausted dye station.

Astra's Bjo tapestry project in the process.

Tie dye! Looks like a fun class Ercil. ;-]

This was just too much fun. I'm pooped. Wish I'd taken more pics. But I was just too busy having fun!

Other photo sites:
Jennifer Tan:
Jennifer Kemp: , or

Spin, Ply & Dye

Eilidh showed me how to spin and ply from a single drop spindle at the Fiber Retreat this weekend. W00t! That's a kewl trick.

I bought a wool/bamboo blend from Camelion Colorworks to play with. After a spun and plied a small hank, I dropped it in the kamala pot to dye it. I'll send it along to Astra via Bruce at work for her Tapestry project.

I was really pressed for time at the end -- I dunked it in the only pot I could find on Sun. morning. ;- j Otherwise I might have overdyed it with indigo to make a more useful green.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blue Sky - Mini Tapestry

Blue Sky -- mini-tapestry


Starting over on the mini-tapestry sample for my class. Shawn the Sheep was just too complicated and large a project for a short class.

So I'm going to do the top portion, the blue sky, complete with moon, stars, cloud and beady rain. Should be sufficiently interesting and pretty for a class project.

I'm warping a new sample shortly. Something like this:


Another thing to add to the class supply list: fray check or white glue, for any broken or damaged warps that may arise. Murphy's Law, you know.

Also long jewelry pins to hold beads before adding to the warp.

Sewing thread works best for threading on beads -- finer than floss.

And don't forget a disposable tablecloth for catching beads that inevitably get away.


Here's the board warped up with the new cartoon:

Next I'll add the beads.

The warp isn't that messy -- the pins holding the beads loosened when I had to flip it to scan. Once weaving has begun it won't do that.


Wow, I have a full class -- eight students -- with four wait listed already. Maybe I should have two classes.


Here's a good start on the weaving. I've pinned the beads down to keep them from loosening the warp until I can get some of the cloud woven. I'll do that next.

It's compulsive. Time to take a break.

Almost done. Just one more push and it'll be finished.

I need to move the cloud over toward the center a couple of warps. It's a little too close to the edge, which makes color changes problematical. Also make the rain beads a little longer. They eat up too much of the bottom of the cloud. I wanted it to hand down a little below the tapestry.


I'll need to make up more foam core boards -- enough for a second class. Also see if I have enough tapestry needles and dental floss.


Almost there. The closer it gets to filling in the harder it gets. Threads have to be pushed out of the way to make room to weave. Pins often help hole areas back. At this point you have to make sure there are no loose areas. Push them tighter with the tapestry needle and fill in the blank spots.


Finished weaving. I've tucked the last of the thread ends to the back.

And here it is blocked.

I spritzed it with a water bottle and pinned the sides to keep it from pulling in. That's the cheater way, I know, but I didn't feel like taking it off the loom, wetting it thoroughly, and pinning it back down again. But it does wreck the cartoon and graph paper beneath.


Here's what the back of the tapestry looks like before trimming the tucked ends.

Ta-Daa! Here is is:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shawn the Sheep -- Mini-Tapestry

Here is the foam core board loom set up with its dental floss warp and cartoon. I cut two pieces of fcb 7"x11" and taped them together with clear package tape (wide and sturdy). This makes the loom thick enough to keep the pins from pushing through the back. Next I taped a piece of graph paper to the loom, to better space out the pins for the warp. Next I traced and drew the cartoon for Shawn the Sheep (Wallace & Gromit) wearing a sweater and added a cloud, moon and stars. It is approx. 4.5"x7.5" I laid the cartoon on top of the graph paper and placed the pins at an acute angle to the loom. The pins are hard to push, which is probably a good thing. We don't want them wiggling loose and falling out. The top layer of pins is placed on every line; the bottom layer of pins is placed between the lines. This makes for a very slight zig-zag warp, which should be pulled tightly and anchored to outlier pins by wrapping several times. The floss is waxed and will not slip.

Next I threaded the star beads, moon button and eyeball beads onto the warp. To do this I pulled up the appropriate pin over each element on the cartoon and threaded the bead and button onto the loop of warp.

For the stars, which have very small holes, I had to make a leader thread from a short piece of floss and loop it through the warp. This system usually works, but if the hole is very small (see the star to the far left), I can also unhook the warp and thread the star directly onto it. I prefer to have the beads on a double warp thread, but a single is also workable.

So as to keep the eyeballs from looking cross-eyed, I threaded one from the top and one from the bottom. This leaves a thread between them.


So here is the start of the weaving. I chose a blue at random and started weaving more or less in the middle of the sky. The idea is to give a wavy, windy patch of blue. Be careful to bubble while weaving to keep the warp from pulling in. Watch the edges for draw in. If necessary, a temporary pin can be placed to hold the edge in place.

Note the short wooden skewer under the warp threads to lift them off the board. This facilitates weaving.


Working on the sky and cloud. I can see the cloud is complicated and superfluous. I'll leave it out of the final cartoon and shorten the whole thing. It's a lot of weaving.

Also I don't like the way the eyes are working. Looks like a bandit sheep. I'll see what I can do about the eyes -- maybe a larger white bead behind the black one or something.


Came to an inevitable conclusion today. There is no way my students can make any headway on this tapestry. It's too complicated and too big.

What I need is something more this size:

In fact, that's what I'm going to do. A piece of sky more like 3"x4" . I'll include a cloud, in fact, I'll have it hang down like I do in my cloud necklaces, complete with rain beads.

I need simple, quick patches of color that will cover a large area at a time. This will be better. I'll fix up another sample shortly.