Friday, April 26, 2013

Weaving a Circle Re-visited

My mother was a tapestry weaver and I remember her telling me know Nicki, weaving a circle is the hardest shape to weave ... But I also remember my mother loved to have curves and circles in her tapestries...there were so many moons and suns in her creations.

I started weaving after my mother had passed away and I was never scared of weaving circles... I must admit to being much more flummoxed by weaving straight lines at specific angles than weaving a circle.    I figure I am not nervous about circles since I saw so many circles appear on my mother's looms over the years that I knew they were doable. For me it was never a strange shape for a tapestry.  Never something to be nervous about.

I found some really old photos of one of my first circles that I wove in tapestry. It was the planet Jupiter and was woven on my counter balance floor loom.  This was the same loom that sat in our kitchen when I was a kid.  The same loom that my mother used to weave her tapestries until she bought an upright so her back wouldn't hurt so much.

I have heard a few tapestry instructors say one must use a specific formula to make a circle in tapestry.   I never found a formula that would work for me.  I just use a cartoon.  I attached the cartoon under the warp and I weave the shape by turning on the warp end that is closest to the line on the cartoon.  If line is half way between two warps, I might use the one closer in and take a  slightly wider turn of the weft to create a smoother curve.  I avoid pulling on a warp when I turn the weft since I want the warp to remain straight without distortion.

Here is the cartoon I used when I wove my first big circle - the planet Jupiter and a number of progress shots along the way.

I started with my cartoon which was attached below my warp. 

Weave the base

Weave one side of the base supporting the circle.  Follow the lines on the cartoon.
There is no specific formula since yarns and setts vary.
PS  I removed the cartoon for the photos.

Weave the other side of the base

Start to fill in the circle, making sure to pack in the yarn
as tightly as you packed the base and sides. 

Once you finish the bottom half of the circle weave the top half of the circle.
Sorry I have no picture...remember to follow the lines on the cartoon.
Don't let your brain convince you your cartoon is wrong!
Once the top half of the circle is woven fill in the edges on the right and left sides.
Then finish the tapestry.

I use the same process to weave a circle now as I did way back when in 2004 ... but I can do a much smoother circle now.  I must admit that I still like this one since it was one of my first.

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