Intro to Tapestry Class: Finishing the Sampler

Welcome to the very last post in my CraftArtEdu Introduction to Tapestry series! Today I’m finishing the tapestry, which involves setting it up to hang on the wall.

First, I trimmed all of the wefts down to about 1 inch on the back of the tapestry.

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Then it was time to twirl and tie off the bottom warps. I’m not great at twirling (twisting) yarn, so I kept my twists relatively short. I also waited to make the overhand knots until I had all the twists finished, so I could go back and redo any that were too loose.

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At the top of the sampler, you need to tie overhand knots directly against the header. I used my beading awl to slide the knots down, but you can use a metal tapestry needle instead.

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The following photos were taken after I’d completed the finishing process (which I did away from my camera, watching the Tour de France). First, I folded over the top header and stitched it down. I then stitched on a piece of twill tape and a strip of velcro (these are included in the class kit).

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Then I stitched twill tape to both side edges of the back of the tapestry. I did all of this stitching by hand, sewing up around warps. However, because my sewing thread does show through here and there, I may try stitching through the backs of the wefts instead on my next project.

I used a large zig-zag stitch, because you really don’t need many actual stitches to get this done. You just want to keep the little tails of weft yarn from showing along the sides of the tapestry.

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At this point, the only thing left to do is attach the matching piece of velcro to a piece of wood (not included in the kit) and hang it up on the wall.

Here it is temporarily on my door, where you can see it better. You may notice that I need more practice to get my side selvedges straight. (Oddly, my problem seems to be leaving the edges too loose, rather than making them too tight).

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It’s so exciting to be finished! Although I made a few mistakes along the way, I still ended up with a pretty tapestry and, more importantly, a lot more confidence in my weaving.

A big thank you to Elena and Claudia for this opportunity to take the class and even hop into their blog to blog about it. If you’d like try the sampler for yourself, you can hop over to CraftArtEdu anytime and sign up for the class. To see what I’m up to next, visit my blog or my profile on Weavolution or Ravelry. I also have a Tapestry board on Pinterest.

Have a great summer, everyone!

~Chris

Chris Franchetti Michaels is a bestselling craft book author and designer. Visit her blog at http://www.beadjewelry.net

Intro to Tapestry Class: Weft Interlock

Today I continue my journey through the CraftArtEdu Introduction to Tapestry Class with a technique called weft interlock. It’s used for making blocks of color without leaving open slits in the tapestry fabric. This was my first attempt at weft interlock, so I was a little nervous getting started — but I think it turned out beautifully.

The first step is to mark the spaces between warps where your color blocks will begin and end. These markers are crucial for helping you decide where to begin and end weft yarns of adjacent colors. I followed Claudia’s approach and used pieces of black yarn as markers. In our sampler, the color blocks are all of equal size, and so the markers are equally spaced.

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Next, a separate length of weft needs to be woven in for each color. This means a total of five lengths of yarn.  I used three in green and two in dark yellow. Importantly, they’re all woven in the same direction.

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Because the color blocks will be relatively small, the lengths of these weft yarns are all short enough that you don’t need to use butterflies or bobbins.

What’s also different here from when we made wavy lines is that our weft yarns are all woven for short distances across, rather than traveling all the way from one side of the tapestry to the other. This means that you need to use your fingers to select the warps that you want to weave through, before sliding in the yarn. In the next photo, I’ve selected the warps under which I’ll be weaving a green yarn.

(A quick note for anyone else taking the class: You may be selecting either four or five warps, depending on where you are and which shed you’re in when you begin. I think I started in a different shed than Claudia starts with in the class.)

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I actually found this very first row of wefts to be the most challenging. Because you’re leaving the end of each yarn on the front side of the loom, you occasionally end up with two side by side warps that both look bare. One of them will not really be bare, because it will be covered when you weave back in the opposite direction. However, I really had to slow down and check each warp to make sure I was creating a pattern of hill, valley, hill, valley, etc., all the way across (a hill is a weft over a warp, and a valley is a weft under a warp).

After weaving that first row of all five weft yarns, it’s time to change sheds and then go back and weave each weft in the opposite direction. To begin the “interlock,” you wrap each weft around the end of the previous weft in the row.

Here’s what my weaving looked like with the second row complete.

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When you weave back in the other direction again, the interlocks between wefts are complete.

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In this next photo, I’ve completed four rows of weft interlock. I pulled a couple of the weft ends out of the way so you can better see what the interlock join looks like between colors.

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Finally, here’s what my completed blocks of color look like.

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I love the look of this technique because the borders where the colors come together form vertical lines of tiny zig zags. They have a very Navajo look and appear so much more “woven” than when you make lines with slits (which also often need sewing up).

Next up in the Introduction to Tapestry Techniques class, we’ll try some vertical lines using pick and pick.

Chris Franchetti Michaels is a bestselling craft book author and designer. Visit her blog at http://www.beadjewelry.net.

Wrapping Things Up

…Or should I say warping things up?  ;)

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four weeks since my little adventure with Mirrix first began. Time really does fly by. You know how when, if you’re lucky, you meet someone for the first time and really hit it off? You quickly become fast friends, cherish the time spent and can’t wait to see them again. Well that’s how it is with my Mirrix loom. I probably shouldn’t admit wanting to get up out of bed in the middle of the night -I do have insomnia- and start weaving, should I? 

                                                       Two bracelets down, one to go 

As I have mentioned, I was initially reluctant to accept the offer to blog for the Social Market for a Craftsy Course because of my lack of weaving skills. Having already purchased the class, I knew what I would be facing. Initially the lessons seemed to blend into each other and the many little warping and weaving details seemed overwhelming. And with so many weavers far more experienced than myself, what could I possibly have to offer? And when would I even find the time? Besides the actual weaving, there’s the writing part and we all know how difficult that can be.

                                                      Notice my homemade heddles?  

Well I can safely say that all my fears and reluctance melted away upon receiving my package from Mirrix. The loom itself is so UN-intimidating and user friendly, and the fibers just seemed to talk to me as I knew they would. I dove in head first and haven’t look back since. My family has grown quite accustomed to Mom sitting at her loom ignoring everyone around her. (Needless to say, they’re not as fond of Mirrix as I am.) 

 

Each Craftsy lesson is so carefully laid out and slowly builds upon the knowledge learned in the previous one. Claudia is a superb teacher with a wonderful dry sense of humor. (Have you noticed?) And the finished projects, are they ever stunning. (Random note: in my day job I have occasion to spend time with some rather famous knitters. Last week, I was complimented by both Debbie Bliss -herself- and separately, Louisa Harding, on the Bead and Tapestry Cuff bracelet that I was wearing. When I took it off and told them I had made it, they were even more impressed. Fashion mavens both and definitely arbiters of good taste when it comes to fiber. Maybe they should be taking the Craftsy class, eh?)
As I have now completed all twelve sections of the class and woven every project, my blogging job is done. Claudia and Elena have kindly invited me to stay on to blog about some future projects so it is not goodbye as yet. I wish to thank all of you for bothering to read this at all and for all the warmth and encouragement you’ve shown. Truly, it would not have been nearly as enjoyable without all of your wonderful support.

 

Until we talk again soon, happy weaving!
xxx, Karen

Mirrix Tapestry Elegant or Wedding Tapestry/Cuff Bracelet weave-along

Mirrix Tapestry Elegant or Wedding Tapestry/Bead Cuff
Let’s Weave!
We are ready to weave!  So get out your specs, your warped loom, silk, gold thread, sumptuous gold beads (how we love the gold!), needle and your imagination and maybe a wee bit of patience and let’s weave.  
We will be weaving two tapestry/bead cuffs at the same time to provide you with different styles.  Here are some example photos:  In this first one  we have the simplest design represented by the Wedding Cuff (which simply means it’s white, not black, so don’t let the color confuse you).  For this simple, yet elegant, piece we’ve woven one inch sections of a combination of three gold threads (in your kit the gold thread is actually three gold threads) and one silk thread.  We then wove a line of size 10/0 24 karat gold plated Delica beads followed by an inch of weaving, followed by a row of beads until there are seven sections of woven area and six rows of Delica beads.  
The second and third examples (one is done in black silk and the other in white silk),  incorporate the same basic design as the first but throw in a couple of other techniques such as “pick and pick” and pure gold lines of thread.  
Simple Cuff
 
Cuff with more techniques
Another Cuff with more techniques
 
 
So choose whether you are going for simple or slightly more complex.  But even if you start with one concept, you can easily pick up the other since both styles incorporate seven one inch woven sections divided by six rows of beads.  This formula guarantees your piece will be the correct length plus the kit includes enough beads to weave six rows.  Now you could stagger the rows differently if you’d like, but remember that you are only going to get six rows of beads out of the kit.
We will begin with the simple version:
 
Starting that first weft thread:
Prepare your weft by combining a yard length of the three strand gold thread (you will always use the gold thread in three strands so it is thick enough) and one strand of silk. 
End the header thread by inserting it through two center warps.  Begin a strand of silk where you’ve ended the header thread as if you were continuing with the same thread.  You will begin and end all thread in this manner making sure that no thread is ever pushing through to the front of your weaving.  Remember, you do not care what the back looks like!

Weave a little shy of one inch of the gold and silk combined threads.  Do not pull in too tightly at the edges so that your piece remains a consistent width.  Don’t weave so loosely that you have large loops at the edges.

The next step is to add a row of beads.  Thread beading thread onto a needle and tie an overhand knot.

Loop the silk and gold thread through the loop of thread on your needle.

Pick up eleven needles with your needle.  Slide the beads onto the gold and silk thread.
Loop the silk and god around the side warp once (this will serve to anchor the beads, which although you cannot see are on the thread).
Weave the beads into the piece.  There will be two beads between the raised warp threads except for the last one.

Push the beads into place with your fingers and pull tightly enough n the thread so that it is completely buried in the beads.  Neatness counts!

 Make two loops around the end warp thread both to anchor the beads but also to fill up the space on the side of the beads.

Continue weaving the gold and silk thread until you reach close to an inch.

Continue in this manner until you’ve reached seven white almost one inch long sections divided by six rows of beads.
Now let’s move onto the more complicated Cuff.  This one is woven in black silk but can also be woven in white silk.
 

Cut a length of silk about a yard long.

Stick the end of the header thread between two warps in the center of the weaving and begin the silk where the header thread ends.  Not a great picture, but I can’t go back and take another one now.

Weave the silk thread for about six passes.  This is not set in stone.

Now you get to add the gold!  End the silk thread in the middle of the weaving and start the three stranded gold where the silk thread ended.

Weave some of that gorgeous gold.

Add the black thread back in but this time at the edge because you are not ending the gold thread.  I know this is not a clear picture.  It looked fine on the camera!  What I’ve done is wrap the black thread around the side warp so that it doesn’t stick out the side.  Take the end under the side warp and then wrap it to the right over the warp sticking it in between the two side warps.  Then weave it to meet the end of the gold.

Wrap the gold around the end warp twice.  Then weave it back to the right.

Weave the black thread to the right.  You are doing pick and pick, which is essentially a way to make vertical stripes.  It’s a blast once you get the hang of it.

Weave the gold back.  It will naturally go around the black thread making a neat edge.

Weave the black thread.  See the design emerge!

Do the same trick with the gold thread, wrapping around the edge thread twice before you weave it.

 
Weave just gold for a bit and then end it and add the silk thread.

Weave just the silk thread for a bit.

End the gold thread and start the silk thread.

Weave a few rows of the silk thread.

Add the gold thread while NOT ending the black thread.  See the way you wrap the thread around the end warp backwards so that the end sticks out behind the weaving.

Weave the gold thread for two passes.  This will not be pick and pick.  Rather it is called wavy lines.  You will weave two passes of each color instead of one.

Weave the silk thread for two passes.

Weave the gold thread for two passes.

Weave the gold thread for two passes.

Then the black.  Congratulations!  You’ve woven an inch and are ready to add beads.

Thread bead thread in to a needle and tie an overhand knot.

Loop the silk thread that is being woven on the loom around the bead thread attached to the needle.

Pick up eleven gorgeous 24 karat plated size 10/0 delicas and slide onto your silk thread.

Warp that silk thread around the edge warp before weaving your beads.

Then weave those sweet beads!  Still gives me chills to see how beautiful that looks.

Push the beads down and pull on the silk thread so that it is even with the edge warp thread.  Good job.  Keep smiling.

Wrap silk thread around edge thread before you weave it back.

Weave the silk thread .

Weave some more silk thread.  How ever much you want.

Add some silk thread to the black thread and weave them together for a bit.

Now we are going to turn it back into pick and pick. Wrap the silk thread around the outside warp and weave it back once.

Now weave just the gold thread.

One pass of silk thread.

Now you’ve got those wonderful vertical stripes again!

Combine the silk and gold thread and weave with that for a bit.

Look how sweet that looks!

Weave on!!!  This is my loom at this point.  I will be weaving the rest of the piece this week.  How about you?

 

Podcast to come

I had the honor of being interviewed by Syne Mitchell.  The podcast will be available in a couple of months on:  http://www.weavezine.com/

One of my students had suggested we contact Syne since we were going to be within an hour or so of where she lives.  So we did.  She came to my brother’s house in Edmonds, Washington to interview me.  It was a lot of fun.