Category Archives: Design

The piece from ???

Original cartoon

The original

Above is my original plan for the tornado piece. But as I mentioned, this was turning into the piece from hell. Too many incorrectly tied sections, and it was VERY long. So back to the drawing board. 

The changes

From the beginning, I changed the color blocks, reversing the yellow and red in the weaving. When I went back to my drawing, I cut off the section (in the drawing) that I had tied incorrectly and changed the size of the yellow color block. In my head, yellow at the top indicates sunshine that returns after the tornado, and red at the bottom represents the destruction from a tornado. Believe me, here in Texas we have lots of experience with that destruction!

More changes

Then I went to the drawing board with my compass and tried to figure out if the length would work, based on dynamic rectangles. I hit a wall there because I couldn’t remember how to do them at first. A little research and I’m merrily making away at dynamic rectangles, when my compass would not go wider.

Changed cartoon

Another wall

I had to actually get out my calculator and calculate square roots and see if my calculations matched up with any of my drawn measurements. They did! The actually did!

Off the loom

Saturday afternoon was spent securing the warp and preparing it for needle weaving back into the body of the piece, all while listening to old made-for-TV movies of Perry Mason. What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

In the meantime, I have tied the warp back on and started weaving a totally spontaneous piece, a mystery even to me.

Again and again

63 inches and counting

What’s that quote about insanity and repeating actions?

I’m insane, according to that definition, because I’ve done it AGAIN! Now whether this is really a mistake in my ikat-tying or another kind of mistake, I’m no longer sure. However, a lesson has finally been beaten into my head…I have to do a better job with the cartoon to make sure that the wrong sections aren’t tied or not tied.

Label, label, label!

I haven’t quite decided what the best process is for that yet, but it has to happen. The cartoon above is for ikat. The one below is for a tapestry. As you can see, they are black and white outlines. Should I label the ikat ones with color ID like the one below? Or should I color in the cartoon with felt tip pens?

Cartoon with color ID

I could use some ideas for a prevention technique.  Or maybe this piece on the loom really is the piece from hell, and all will be better with the next one. Whaddya think? (And did you know you can actually find many Google entries for that word?) Or should it be whatcha think?

Self-portraits, remembrance

Spring flowers


Besides the arrival of spring, March is remembrance month for me. On March 6, 2011, a very important person in my life died. Every time this anniversary rolls around, I wonder if I shouldn’t do something special in remembrance, but the truth is, that not a day goes by that I don’t think about all of the good times. That’s how I honor him.


WSJ ad

I’ve given this some thought before, but today when I saw this ad again in the Wall Street Journal, I decided it was time to go back and look at my photography class self-portraits. I’ve mentioned this class before. It was one of those between semesters short courses, very intense, and I loved it! We had a key to the darkroom and developed our photos. Remember film?


One of our assignments was to take self-portraits as objects.

Books from school for a degree in Spanish and Education

Since I was in school, I think this particular photo is self-explanatory. The next one includes a Wedding Ring quilt made by my aunt, a Raggedy Ann made by my mother, jeans, perfume (something that I know longer have in my house), and a book on childcare. This was the other half of my life at the time. School and family.

Miscellaneous objects

More self-portraits

Another assignment was a self portrait as a member of the opposite sex. Hmmm…these could be a bit Freudian.



Now obviously, at least to me, I don’t plan on weaving any of these images, but the one about objects that represent ourselves is an interesting thought to pursue. Going back to the WSJ ad…can you envision the outline of a head with images of objects that represent you? What would they be? Could color represent those things as well as the actual objects? What about various shapes? 

What objects represent your life right now? Think about what would have represented you in various decades of your life. How have they changed? Have any remained the same? I’m curious and would really like to know.


Frustration, new starts, plus clouds

Section 3-again

Big roadblock

The piece on the loom was moving along at a pretty good clip–until I hit a speed bump! Section 3 of the ikat yarn was next, but it just wouldn’t work, no matter how I tried to manipulate it.


So, I got the cartoon out and compared the yarn to the cartoon, and guess what? The positive and negative spaces were totally reversed. Black was white, white was black. Believe me, I tried everything before reaching the conclusion that it would just have to be done again. No getting around it. I checked sections 4 and 5. Yes, they are correct. So, I started measuring the yarns.

While waiting …

The measuring and tying is done, so dyeing is next, maybe today. (I actually had a social event on Tuesday). But while not weaving on the big loom, the small loom inspiration is coming together in my head. I have several ideas to work on, including a few that go with a series I’m planning.

And then there are the clouds

Last week I was driving home after visiting my mother, when I looked up and noticed these really wonderful clouds. They were like waves across the sky, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I took the next exit and stayed on the service road so I could take pictures. Having not mastered the panorama setting on my phone, I just took individual shots and pieced them together in Photoshop, very obviously.

Wavy clouds

Then I took one bitty section and made it black and white.

Black and white clouds

And played around with ridiculous colors. 

Color, anyone?

Can this be turned into a weaving? What do you think?

More cross work

On the loom

They’re baaack

Well, I’ve written about this before. Crosses. The design below has been modified during the weaving process, mainly because of mathematical errors. Yep, no mathematician here! Then there was digging all of the yarns out, finding enough of the various colors to complete each section. Believe me, I have been counting square inches and weighing yarns to make sure there was enough to weave a stripe. Because blacks might look alike, when you weave different dyelots, there’s always a line of demarcation. That won’t be a problem with the stripes because each stripe can be a different dyelot.

Crosses, stripes, border

The middle section is a totally different story

I needed more black that matched for the middle section. First, I looked at two different local yarn stores, but found nothing suitable. That means dyeing. And it’s been really cold. Now, I apologize for that statement to all of you who have had all the really cold and snowy weather for the last few weeks, but for North Texas, it’s been cold. 14 and 16 degrees at night is unusual for us. Highs in the 30s–maybe--is cold for us. And I had to clean the dyepots before doing the dyeing. 30 degrees! They were really in need of cleaning, but not as bad as the image suggests. Lots of reflection going on in the stainless steel sides. The actual dyeing was a relief; at least it involved fire!

Cleaning the pots

These crosses were originally designed with each arm being 4 inches wide, with 2 inch posts. Not sure about the vocabulary here, so here’s an illustration. However, that design changed as I mapped things out so that they would fit on the width of the warp. The cross width is a little over 3 inches, but the other numbers are the same.

cross measurements

Frankly, after the holidays, house guests, it’s hard for me to get back into the swing of things, but the weaving is back, as is the hard weaving bench. I’m also trying to spend some time working on some 3-D pieces. Those are pure experimentation, so we’ll see if they ever see the light of day.


Seems to be a mild obsession

Dynamic Rectangle

First of all,

I seem to have a mild obsession with the cross shape, a shape that’s been around long before it became a symbol for Christianity. Of course, the shape I am mostly talking about is not a Christian cross, but just a cross. However, even that basic shape has many iterations.

Equequal armed crossal Armed Cross – The Equal-Armed Cross, also referred to as the square cross, the balanced cross, and the peaceful cross, is a name for the Greek Cross when this is found in ancient cultures, predating Christianity. The equal armed cross was well known as a sacred symbol. It is often interpreted as representing either the four seasons, four winds, four elements, or some other aspect of physical nature.

An equal-armed cross (often within a circle) represents the planet Earth in traditional astrological-astronomical symbols. The cross could also be used to represent the natural union between male and female.

As I’ve researched ancient symbols (I’m also very fond of the spiral), I ran across Brigid’s Cross. I’m especially fond of it and would like to experiment with a variation of it. 

A lot happens between the drawing board to the actual weaving

As you can see from the above drawing of a dynamic rectangle, I was experimenting with a version of nested equal armed crosses. The actual cross drawing was scanned into the computer, where I was able to play around with color.


Below is the actual result of the weaving. I don’t remember about adding the purple stripes at top and bottom, but I do remember about the stripe in the middle. My mind kept saying “crossroad” in my head, so the “road” was added.

Crossroad, hand-dyed wool yarns, tapestry, 43.5″ x 74.75″, private collection

 Why this discussion now?

As I said, there seems to be a mild obsession with this shape. This nested cross then morphed into bunches of individual crosses, all equal armed, but the nesting idea continued to incubate. Next time, more of the individual crosses, and later, finally, the nested version of right now.


What’s new?

So, this is happening…

Studio open house

Studio open house

Carolyn Bernard Young and I are having an Open House in her studio on November 19. Send me your snail mail address if you want one of these postcards. There’s a little encouragement to bring your card with you when you visit the studio.

And then there’s this…



I started weaving this stripe with some of the Churro Club yarns that I had, but I really don’t like it much. So, what now…cut off, continue, or add something different to it. I decided on the latter. There may never be a picture of the “add something different” version, but I’m going to experiment.

And there’s also this…

Welcome to Golden

Welcome to Golden

I spent several days in Golden, CO at Art Biz Breakthrough last week. It’s an amazing event with artists working in all kinds of mediums. (I looked this up before using that s). There was lots of enthusiasm, laughter, some tears, dancing in the aisles, inspiration, planning, advice and help. It’s over for this year, but if you think you might be interested, sign up for Alyson’s newsletter:

And then there’s more spirals

More spirals

More spirals

What is it about spirals? Certain shapes just call my name over and over. Picture from across the table in a restaurant, waiting on dinner with a group of artist friends. Design fodder.

I took my little loom, hoping that in free time I could get it warped and start weaving. Hah! No free time, or if there was a bit of time, I needed to process and/or rest. That means it was a great get-together, right?

Geometry, knots, and jail



Sacred geometry?

Sacred geometry?

A few rabbit holes have led me astray this week. A Facebook post by Jan Austin made me check out knotted tapestry, specifically by Anne Jackson. Then I had to look up knots, because I know nothing about knots, except the kind you use to tie the hook and/or lure to a fishing line. So half-hitch and two half-hitches will need to be practiced–someday. I can barely keep up with soumak, much less all the kinds of soumak, and so far, I can’t tell the difference between that and the half-hitches. That’s where the practice comes in, as diagrams just don’t do it for me.

more geometry

more geometry

And then there’s the sacred geometry and fractals in photographic form. Take a look at the photos. They’re much better than mine!

Finally, we come to islands of color, which is a feast for the eyes. Last, but not least, I received a Google Alert email about this posting. Even the name is spelled correctly, but the middle initial is wrong. I better not travel to Oklahoma!

Dyeing next

Ikat cartoon

Ikat cartoon

This is the very last section of the cartoon for the current ikat piece. Yes, I cut the cartoon into pieces, probably a sacrilege, but it makes it easier for me to handle. You can barely see where I label the section in the bottom right. This happens to say #5 bottom right. Each section is numbered and labeled in this way. A lesson learned the hard way, as all good lessons are. When I taped this section down, I discovered a mistake. Can you see it?* So I untaped it, fixed the mistake, realizing at the same time that section #4 has the same mistake. I measured and wrapped this section, then put #4 back on the board and fixed it. Now I get to do the dyeing. I think I will do that tomorrow. And I really should clean/organize the studio. I always leave a mess of cut off bits of ikat tape during this process. Those bits stick to my bare feet and get tracked all over the house. I still haven’t done the finish work on the pieces pictured last week, and I’m about to run out of time. I will have two house guests for ten days, so my time will be limited. Not sure how much blogging will get done during that time.

Cartoon mistakes

Cartoon mistakes

*Notice the right and left angles and the space between the angled line and the sides. There’s more space on the right than on the left. This won’t be able to be fixed after the dyeing is done. The design is set with ikat.


Rainy days

Azul y verde

Azul y verde

Other than the rain, there’s not much news around here. As I’ve said before, living in Texas, I hate to complain about rain. It hasn’t been that long ago that we were suffering a drought, but currently, we’re getting about an inch of rain–per day! And I’m one of the lucky ones. Other sections of Texas are flooding and people are dying. I can only imagine what they’re going through.

The pieces above were cut off, strictly experimental with color. The bottom one has warp showing. I wanted to see how the color would shift with the white warp showing. Actually, the colors are pretty striking in person. I’ve decided that I like it enough to actually finish it, but therein likes the current problem. Since it’s not woven thickly like a tapestry or rug, I don’t know yet how it will look with a hem. Nothing to do but just try it. So, it’s steam-and-hem day, perfect for another rainy day.

And below is what I’m working on with the ikat. See the design yet? After this piece, I think I’m going to do some of what I call freestyle ikat.

New project

New project, part of prairie series. What’s it going to be?