Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tapestry Diversion

A tapestry workshop is coming up and I have booked for it. The workshop is being run by Marie & Yvonne. I have been to a couple of their workshops and they were both very good. (They do other things, see

 To quote from the notice for the workshop "More experienced make tapestries using supplementary weft or work on your own design while learning more advanced techniques."

The problem is that apart from a two day tapestry workshop where I wove a little sampler that is languishing in a drawer somewhere and a play with a very 70s style wall hanging about six months ago my tapestry experience is non existent. So, I have until the 21st October to become "more experienced"!

I took the warped frame from the wall hanging, shifted it around until I had "empty" warp and off I went.

It became a sort of extended doodle that I have been working on all last week. I tried various yarns that I had and found that Paternayan Persian seemed to suit me best. There is a tapestry shop about ten minutes walk from my work (Morris & Sons) so I have been able to pop in during my lunch break to get fresh supplies.

I didn't have a cartoon (apart from one for my attempt at a circle) but I did sketch what I had done with loads of notes. There is a load of work to do on my technique (tension and coverage) and until I started colouring my warps (red shed/blue shed) I had all sorts of problems.

 I still tend to get lost when building up shapes and then filling in their complement; I feel much more comfortable doing a row at a time but even then shapes tend to wander off an do their own thing. Great fun but I think that this piece of work has run its course so I shall do another couple of inches (columns or pillars I think to get this weft interlock thing nutted out) and the I shall start a fresh piece of work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to make a sticky warp

Sleying went very well and took no time at all. I used a small comb to straighten and sequence the threads before pulling them through the reed. I also used the comb when getting ready to lace on to make sure that all the threads in each bout (20 threads, 1" each each), were in place and tight before tying the final knot. Lacing on also went very well.

I spent a bit of time putting on my automatic tensioning system. I have advanced from house bricks suspended from an old shower curtain rail to proper weight lifter weights. It took a bit of time to get the tension right and I have made a mental note to go for the box of rocks solution next time  (as shown here).

Disaster struck when I started lifting shafts to start checking my threading - the plastic comb had induced so much static electricity in the warp that it was impossible to achieve any working shed separation.

I did some research (Handloom Weaving Technology - Allen A. Fannin and Weave-tech archives) and as a result of this I have applied children's untangle hairspray, put in some round lease sticks and shortened the distance between the back beam and the castle. After a couple of days rest the warp seems to have settled down and I shall have another go at getting the weaving started this weekend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010