I simply love my Mirrix Loom, I can’t stress that fact enough! Recently I received the Spencer Treadle attachment for my Zach loom. I must admit, it stayed in the box for a few weeks after it arrived and I was so anxious to take the time to attach it to my loom. Life just got in the way! Work was crazy and then I had vacation with my family in the Outer Banks. The first night we were home from vacation my hubby and I put it onto my loom … it was such an easy process!
There is now a new video created by another Mirrix Loom fan, Janna Marie Vallee and her new video on attaching the Spencer treadle is amazing! If you missed it, you can find it here. She takes you easily through the installment process and before you know it your Spencer Treadle is ready for weaving! It makes the weaving process move quickly and easily! I consider it an enhancement to my weaving life!
I am a knitter, spinner and weaver. I have learned from all of the fiber arts I work with, the importance of sampling. Sure it takes extra time and effort, but the end result is so worth it! I love working in small sizes, especially on my Mirrix! I love creating samples with different warp sizes, weft yarns and learning new techniques. I have learned with Tapestry weaving that there is so much to learn and I have a long way to go. I ask myself “Will I ever get there?” I find that with each sample I weave, something new clicks. I understand how fibers react with each other, what yarns work with particular setts, what techniques I like and certainly which ones are difficult for me. It is all about the process of slowing down and learning when sampling. There is so much knowledge that we can receive, if only we will slow down and let the process speak to us. I can’t stress this enough!
I read so much about Tapestry weaving, follow my favorite Tapestry Artists and I am so inspired by their works. I want to jump right in and just start weaving, but for me I do realize that with each and every sample I create, I am learning, I am growing and I am strengthening my confidence in this complex art technique. I am sure that if given the chance to interview “famous” tapestry artists, each would say they sample before creating their major works of art. The effort is worth the time taken to do so!
Right now, I just put on just a 3″ warp (my favorite little size for sampling). I am using the Navajo rug warp (available at Mirrix) … I love it! I am using a sett of 7 epi. I used it in my Mirrix Weave Along Eyeglass case and it was so fun to use. I have put on a warp and plan to just play around with some yarns, techniques and this small little face I have been wanting to create! I want to get use to weaving with my Spencer Treadle, I know I am going to love it.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing it right. We have heard that a million times before and it is so true. Tapestry weaving is a gentle art. It is filled with quiet moments, what if moments and how about this moments. Isn’t it worth it to take it a step further and sample your weaving vision first. There is so much you can learn and I love my basket in the studio filled with handwoven pieces. I get joy just looking at them, holding them and referring back to them. I’m not even sure I can weave a small face, I am intrigued by it and want to see if I can do it. Sampling allows me the freedom to try!
So before you set out to weave your next big project, think about it first. Plan it out, decide what sett you will use, what warp fiber would be best, what colors you will use. Try creating a color swatch with your fiber choices. You will never regret the planning time. Just think of the journal pages you will fill with your thoughts and ideas and planning … it is worth it’s weight in fiber gold!!! My favorite studio time is going back and reading my weaving records, looking at my woven samples and notes; it helps me to realize just how far I have come in my weaving life.
I am working hard on a new tapestry. It’s inching along, as tapestry does, when you are in focused mode.
BUT… I found myself feeling really stuck when I finished one section, and couldn’t move forward onto the next section.
So, I fell back on my ultimate design tool.
I got out my sketchbooks and aquarelles (watercolor pencils), and did the thing that my drawing master back in my art school days drilled into me: Sketch, sketch, sketch!
He also drilled into his students that it is essential to carry your sketchbook or notebook with you ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE, and to sketch every single day.
AND, even more important: Don’t worry about making ‘good’ sketches.
Just catch thoughts, dreams, words, and other fleeting moments on the paper and let them build a vocabulary for you.
The part of the tapestry that had me flummoxed is a child’s costume.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, until I worked my way through a bunch of really rough, ‘thinking on paper’ sketches.
That took me through the roadblock to the ‘AHA’….
And I knew that I needed to move onto sampling and swatching.
I set up my 8 inch Lani Mirrix loom with a ‘no warp ends’ warp, using ‘S’ hooks… in the video, I show some pointers about this setup.
As a professional designer, I cannot underestimate the importance of swatches and sampling.
I am always amazed by knitters and crocheters who skip this foundation aspect of the creative process!
So much is revealed in the swatching and sampling stages of creation.
AND… something else that is a huge bonus- so often, the sampling and swatching will reveal that there is something new to explore!
(Which of course, leads back to the sketching…) !
Even though the feeling stuck part of working on this tapestry really stank while I was in it, I ended up feeling really grateful for being forced to move back to basic problem solving techniques.
Why? Because I am now inspired to explore soumak weaving, which I have not done before.
I am fascinated and intrigued…. there will be more about this!
In the mean time, here’s the video about sketching, sampling and swatching.
And, even though I don’t normally like to show pieces while they are in progress, I did do a little ‘reveal’ of the new tapestry.