Tapestry Weaving

I got about a third of a way through that ipad case and I got bored.  I guess it’s because I hadn’t planned the piece well.  I was randomly making stripes and then some stripes that weren’t straight.  In the end, I did not like anything about it.  I don’t do so well with stripes.  I love them, but better to let someone else weave them.

I was going through pictures of tapestries past (the ones that are no longer living here and especially the ones I miss that are no longer living here).  I found a copy of “fragment cloth.”

I have never copied a previous tapestry.  And I am not planning to copy this one.  However, I do plan on using the theme of diamonds moving into the sky.  I will use the wool from our new tapestry wool collection so rather than the colors being deep pastels, they will be much brighter. A lot more orange and purple.

I am going to use linen warp.  Why?  Because “Fragment Cloth” was woven on a linen warp.  What makes linen different/special?  Linen is famously considered hard to use as warp for any kind of weaving.  Why?  Because, unlike cotton and wool warp, linen has no stretch.  On most looms, you tie pairs of warps or groups of warps to attach them to the bottom beam.  Trying to get the tension even is somewhat of a nightmare.  If a pair or group of threads is not under the right tension, they will be tighter or baggier than the rest.  Ugh!  That is NOT something you want.  Can you imagine some gloppy, slack threads in the middle of your tapestry?  Wool and cotton are way more forgiving.   You don’t have to be quite as perfect because unlike linen they are not either tight or baggy with nothing in between.  It’s the “nothing in between” characteristic of linen that can drive you to throw cones of it at the wall.

However, on the Mirrix this is NOT the case because of the continuous warp.  Linen works beautifully on the Mirrix. Yes, because of its lack of spring it is harder on your fingers.  But the final product is heavenly:  very stiff and perfect.  The piece on the loom is the same size when you take it off the loom (not so, obviously, for tapestries woven on cotton or wool warp, which shrink quite a bit when left to rest when taken off the loom).

You don’t have to let your linen piece rest.  It did all its resting on the loom already.  Just cut it off and tie the tends.  You will note that with this piece I left the warps on the bottom as fringe.  I just thought they were part of the piece. I don’t normally do this.  I will do this again with “Fragment Cloth Two” which I plan to start in about one minute.  Time to dust off that tube of wetspun linen warp and have a go at it.

I will be using a 22 inch loom.  Eighty warps at eight ends per inch.  If I decide I can even turn this one into an ipad case because it will be the right size.

Lesson learned:  every tapestry has to be approached as if it is your masterpiece and not as something with random stripes just to get through to a finished product for your daughter’s ipad!  The whole point of weaving tapestry is to turn it into a meditation that you don’t want to end, not a final product you can’t wait to get through.

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One thought on “Tapestry Weaving

  1. Claudia, I love your inciteful last paragraph, something I still have to be reminded of!

    But, I don't exactly agree with you about linen. A tapestry is a product of warp and weft and weave. The linen might not shrink or stretch but the shape of a finished piece can change as everything relaxes. Working with deflected warp techniques, wedge weave for instance, can cause a dramatic shift in a tapestry's dimensions.

    Linen does make a wonderful warp.

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