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.