Social Market for a Mirrix

The weaving of Dragon Lake, Siberia is coming along and youre starting to see a little more of the lake and tributaries being defined now. I do have a spot on the bottom right corner thats bothering me a bit but Im confident Ill be able to resolve that issue once the weaving is cut off the loom. The warp interlock technique is definitely giving me the jagged areas of color that I was looking for so Im happy with that.

Theres been no rest for the wicked this week as Im getting a few minutes in the studio each evening and thats about it. I have to admit I cant wait for the holidays to be over so life will get back to normal and Ill have more time to spend in the studio. Fortunately, for me life starts to get back on schedule the week between Christmas and New Years. I have a stack of land sat photos waiting, as well as a number of deadlines looming, so Im anxious to finish this one and start the next.

Just a quick reminder that Sunday, 12/19/10 is the last day to order a loom if you want it to arrive in time for Christmas.

Social Market for a Mirrix

I had hoped to get a mid-week video posted but suddenly it was Saturday and no extra video. Not quite sure where the week went.

In the ramp up to the holidays, there hasn’t been much time to spend in the studio so the weaving is coming along slowly. But I’m loving these colors. And so far I’m happy with the raggedness of the green area. I’m being careful that the weaving doesn’t become too linear and symmetrical. The darker splotches you see on the pattern will be done in the darker purple Tahki Cotton Yarn.

One of the things you have to be careful of when you first start weaving is not to pull the weft too tight otherwise the sides of the weaving won’t be straight. I usually measure the width of the weaving after every inch to make sure everything is okay. As you can see, the warp threads are still evenly spaced. If you see that warp threads are starting to pull together, you can use a bobbin to space them out again if you catch the problem early in the weaving. Using heddles and the shedding device also helps keep the weaving even. Right now I’m weaving with a combination of needles and butterflies instead of stick shuttles or bobbins.

I’ll be working at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market’s Pop-up Shop next weekend. We’ve received some really amazing textile work from India and I’m hoping there are some weavings waiting to be unpacked. If I come across any, I’ll share pics on the blog next week.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Ive started weaving the LandSat photo of Dragon Lake Siberia and that Tahki Cotton Classic is a dream to weave with. Im actually further along now than this picture shows but I wanted to show the beginning of the weaving.

The beige threads at the base of the weaving are the hem. The purpose of the hem is to space out the warp threads evenly and it gives me a foundation to work on. Once the tapestry is finished, I will remove the hem before knotting the warp threads. Some weavers turn the hem under and stitch it to the back of the tapestry.

I mentioned in a previous post that I will be using 3 colors of the Tahki Cotton Classic in this weaving. You can see 2 of the colors above. There are a number of tapestry techniques to consider when weaving and Im using a warp interlock (wefts in adjacent areas share a common warp) technique here. The warp interlock technique creates a more jagged edge where the 2 colors meet. Since Im working from a LandSat photo, I wanted to avoid the hard edges that can sometimes be the result of using a slit technique.

One of the subjects I meant to cover in the last video was tools for passing the weft thread through the shed. I make my decision based on the design and use either bobbins, stick shuttles, butterflies, or long needles. In my opinion, butterflies are the easiest for the beginning weaver to start with.

Again, I would highly recommend Nancy Harveys Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide or Kristen Glasbrooks Tapestry Weaving if youre just getting started.

Social Market for a Mirrix

This is a LandSat image of Dragon Lake, Siberia and the design for the tapestry I’m preparing to start this evening.

I came across NASA’s LandSat website, started looking through their image gallery and was immediately hooked. Some of the images are really amazing and will make beautiful abstracts so I downloaded a number of them for possible use as tapestry designs. I’m starting with one of the simpler images and if I’m happy with the results of the first weaving, it might make for the beginning of an interesting series.
The loom is warped for the new piece which will be 10 inches wide x 8 inches high and you can see the printout of the design behind the warp threads.
Using Adobe Photoshop, I applied a filter to the original image and stripped out some of the detail in order to make the pattern easier to following as I’m weaving.
I’ll be using Tahki Cotton Classic yarn for this piece and these are the colors I’ve selected. This is a 100% mercerized cotton yarn that comes in a huge range of colors (125 colors) and has a bit of a shine to it. It reminds be a lot of the Pearl Cotton that I use in my smaller pieces. It also has a nice smooth texture to it so it’s quick and easy to weave with.
I feel like I’ve had so many false starts and am just now beginning to develop a good working relationship with the new loom. It was a bit of an adjustment getting used to using the shedding device since I was used to using treadles. I never realized how much I work on auto-pilot until I started working with the new loom.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Ive tried to think of a positive way to spin this but the reality is

The Southwest landscape weaving is now residing in the wastebasket beside my work table. I just wasnt happy with it and the more I worked on it, the more frustrated I became. It was the sky and the valley area that was causing the problems for me. I just couldnt get that illusion of depth and distance that I was looking for. When I found myself starting to dread going into the studio to weave, I decided lifes too short to spend time working on something that wasn’t making me happy and it came off the loom. No, there are no more pictures, it was that bad.

One a more positive note, someone contacted me Monday evening about commissioning a small tapestry so that will likely be the next project. But, while I’m working out the details for that project, I decided to work on a quickie project and use up some of the remnants of yarn, fiber, and ribbon I’ve been collecting.

For this piece, I warped the loom using regular bulky yarn instead of CLon cord then used the same yarn for the weft, incorporating the scraps as I worked. The piece is about 10 inches wide and about 12 inches high. Im thinking about attaching a handmade mask in the middle of the weaving then mounting the piece on a black background and framing it.