Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Tapestry within a Tapestry

Lots of progress here!

I am so happy I spent that time unweaving the pattern on the blue runner. Now, all in blue, it looks quite simple yet elegant. And the one orange flower in the tapestry [the tapestry within the tapestry] does pop right out. And the shadows really work well.

The plan tomorrow is to finish up to the first brown line on the white paper. At that point, I will verify I have a horizontal line with my favorite tool and then document the yarn colors I have used in this first stage.

What I find most interesting about this piece, is that it is best viewed from a far. It looks so much better a bit back than up front. The closer you get the odder it seems. Clearly it has to do with how we set the perspective. It only looks 'correct' from the right distance and height. We did that deliberatively when designing...actually re-designing the piece.

Next - off to the second stage. I will need to make a new cartoon...the challenge here will be to figure out how to make something that is reminiscent of a redwood tree branch without the level of detail I would normally draw to acheive such an appearance. The vase is supposed to have a couple of redwood branches which the painter picked from outside and put into the vase. Also, in the vase will be a bunch of California poppies - the focal point of the piece. If one poppy pops... a bunch should pack quite punch.

I also get to start the window...finally! Can't wait until tomorrow!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Step Forward?

What a day...about 60 square inches woven...then.... about 45 square inches un-woven...I guess I should be happy...it is a step forward from yesterday.

I decided the pattern for the runner on the table was way too busy and distracting. So much distraction that no one would notice my little flower tapestry inside a tapestry. I will tomorrow replace the distracting now un-woven areas with values of sky blue. I kept telling myself that there was way too much detail for an area outside my focal area and at the bottom of a tapestry...did I listen to that little warning voice in my head...no...no...no...just kept weaving until it was so obvious that it finally hit me in the head. Ah well, it has been fixed...

Tomorrow I will weave some sky blue...with a couple shadows...life will continue.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

About 5% Done

I have finished the bottom 'hem'. This will go around the canvas and be attached to the back of the canvas. I can now work on the part of the piece that folks will actually look at!

I am getting used to working with the three sets of heddles and corresponding pedals. I had to put some lumber on the floor so my chair would slide back and forth. The chair couldn't slide on the carpet. I am in that section with the alternating blue and lavender stripes which means lots and lots of bundles of yarn. Reminds me of that Navajo weaving class I took a couple of years ago.

Looking at the picture, it looks pretty dark. Given this is the side of the table where there is no light so everything is in the shadows - it should probably be ok. The more interesting part comes in a couple of inches when I get to start working on the top of the table where there are shadows and graduated colors. In addition, there is the golden spiral intersecting the table which needs to be subtly emphasized. Haven't quite figured out what I will be doing there....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ebb & Flow

Weaving days seem to ebb and flow...

Yesterday things went smoothly. I was able to finish my goal for the day - to finish the first 1 7/8th of an inch. That part is actually part of of the hem...but it is also a good time to check out the warp, the spacing, the tension, the yarn and how the loom is working.

As I said, things went smoothly. It is surprising how often one has to tighten the warp when weaving with this loom and this linen warp. I don't remember tightening it so much on the last piece I did which used cotton warp. Perhaps, it only happens at the beginning.

Today, has not been so successful. The warp seems to have developed an uneven tension. One warp even broke! Some of the heddle loops worked themselves out of the glue and made a mess. This may not bode well for this piece. I re-wound the warp onto the lower bean, then back onto the top beam and put a different type of material between the layers of warp. Last time I used the craft paper...this time I used that waffle like paper which seems to have allowed for a more uniform tension. While the lower beam was empty I tied on a warp extension for the broken warp and I seem to be on my way again.

I am taking a break and will do something more mindless...like warping that cute little loom I have.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Color Palette One

Here is the color palette for the inside plane. These will be used for all areas which are inside the mountain studio.

The colors include some that I dyed and some that I have on cones. The ones I dyed include sky blue, grape, brite green, havana brown and poppy.

The ones I have in a cones include natural, cork, brown, orange, blue. All are a silk cotton blend except for that blue in the upper left which I just bought to 'try out'. Its a cotton rayon blend. Oh yes, and I see a bit of 100% light blue silk too.

I have all my other available colors close by in case I feel the urge to add a bit one something else here or there.

Overall, a nice set of values. I think I have enough variations of the havana, blue and grape to create some interesting shadows.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The 22.7% Solution

I decided to work out the details for the first 15 inches of the tapestry and not stress over the rest. This is good for me. It gives me time to ponder what and how to approach the actual view outside the window.

I've decided the way for me to sustain visual interest in this piece is to have two planes and maintain a strict plane integrity between the two. The first plane is what is inside the mountain cabin. It will have its own palette of colors and distinct look. It will be crisper and closer to reality than the view of the outside.

I have pretty much finalized the colors for the inside plane and am making sure I know where my dark and light values will go...the mid values easily find their spot. I am going for the darker values at the bottom to provide stability to the piece with some moving up along the upper left to bring the eye upwards and around. I want the entire piece to be light value dominant but there has to be some dark values to draw the viewer into the scene.

I covered the entire canvas with a cartoon which lays out the basic parts of the piece. I am going to leave it on the canvas. I created a smaller cartoon which is the width of the piece and 36 inches high - that's the one I will attach to the tapestry while I weave. It has much more detail. I will remove it after I have woven about 15 inches and develop another cartoon at the point where I leave off. I will end up having to do this about four times.

The entire piece is about 19-20 square feet...so this means 4-5 square feet per piece...ouch! It will be interesting to see how fast this weaves up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All Warped

I bought some linen warp at the Southern California Handweavers' Show & Sale on Sunday. So I have been warping the Big Shannock for the last couple of days. I haven't used linen on this loom before and as I expected it was a bit difficult on the patience.

I have used a cotton seine twine previously but I needed more since this piece is so large. I tried to order it twice from a supplier but to no avail. She simply never sent it. So, I went with linen which was easily found and purchased.

I am using 8/2 linen rug warp with a sett of 6 epi. The piece is 42 inches across so you can see why it took awhile to warp. To warp the loom, I wound the linen between two C-clamps at the length I wanted. I put on an inch at a time. Since the linen couldn't be kept at tension the entire time, I figured putting on an inch at a time would reduce the chance of tangles since there would be fewer threads for each thread to twist around. This did help, but it still was amazing how much twist there was in the linen. Even, when I was winding the warp onto the upper beam just that movement made the linen twist and knot up even more. Not my favorite warp. Hopefully, it works well for weaving!

I get to use three sets of heddles and all the pedals which came with the loom on this piece. This is going to be real interesting to weave. I vacillated on whether to use two sets of heddles where each set would be almost completed full or use three sets with less. I went with three thinking this would achieve two things...it should be easier to get a shed with less threads on each heddle. In addition, it should discourage me from wanting to take a piece of weft all the way across the entire piece. It is difficult to do that already, since it requires moving the bench to go from one side to the other!

This last picture is the loom already to start the hem. I put slats between the sheds in the first twelve inches or so as it goes once around the lower beam. The instructions say to wrap it around once before apply the tension. The picture really doesn't portray how big this puppy is...once I get a bit of hem going and the cartoon attached it will make for a better picture.

Now, I need to create that first cartoon - one for about the first 18-24 inches of the piece. Of course, the first three inches actually wrap around the frame, so the fun stuff won't really happen for awhile.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dye Break

As a break from working the cartoon, I dyed some yarn that I will need at some point for this tapestry. I have be testing dyes in two values of blue to mimic a runner of a table at the base of the piece. The model for the runner looks like this. I will also need some bright green for the plants around the lake.

These are the latest colors. I did three graduations of three colors. These are procion dyes; alpine blue, bright green and azure blue [running from right to left]. I also threw a tee shirt into an even weaker gradation of one of the blues. You can see how much difference the silk content in my yarn modifies the resulting color. The tee shirt was 100% cotton. My yarn is 30% cotton and 70% silk. Hence I always have to test.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Tapestry Window

I have decided to finally use this blog... it's going to be used for my longer sagas, my more laborious endeavors - my diva creations. No knitting here...no scarves...no crochet...

In the near term, I will be focusing on the creation of a tapestry for an upcoming show. It is a large piece and there is not a lot of time to get it completed but I have been doing quite a bit of planning over the last several months so I am ready to roll...well almost.

I wanted to try some new concepts in this piece and one of them was to intentionally utilize the golden proportion into the design. I took a workshop awhile ago which went over the concept and showed a number of ways that the golden proportion was incorporated into many historical artistic pieces.

I also wanted to try weaving a fairly large piece on my Big Shannock. How large is large? Here is a photo of the canvas I purchased to attach the finished piece to - it is three feet by five feet - - the closest size to the golden proportion that I was going for. It's off less than 2 inches in length. Actually 36 inches by 58.6 inches would have been perfect. It will look great on the wall of our den once the show is over.

Today, I am working on the creation of the cartoon. I need to figure out the best way to weave such a large piece. I'd like to start by working through the details on the first parts while leaving the details to the later parts to later but not wreck the continuity. I'll let you know what I decide to do.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Diva not a Knut

I suspect that I will be more of a weaving diva than a knitting knut so I have set up this blog to capture my weaving thoughts and issues.