Category Archives: Tapestry

Trying something new

Lottery tickets

Lottery tickets

Well, it’s obvious that my word of the year, abundance, did not carry over into the lottery. I seldom buy lottery tickets, but I had to buy gas, and there was all the talk about the Power Ball, so, okay, I succumbed. Don’t judge me.

I have been interested in the four-selvedge technique of weaving a tapestry for quite some time, but when I read the directions, nothing clicked. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready or whatever, but finally I have read some directions that make sense to me. Of course, the fact that there are lots of pictures available helps. Sarah Swett has a great tutorial on this technique on her blog. Check it out and read her other entries. She is not only a great tapestry weaver and artist, but she also writes quite and interesting blog. There are also some other posts here and there about four-selvedge tapestry.  Two are on the Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei website here and here. Here are some links to posts on Tommye Scanlin’s Tapestry Share blog.

Maybe someday I’ll some pictures of my own efforts, but I think I need to make a jig for measuring the warp. Or find something that I can use in that way. Hmmm….

Have you ever done this? What are you working on? I’d love to hear.

The saga of cartoon-making


Drawing for cartoon

Sometimes the weaving needs a cartoon, sometimes not. On strictly geometric pieces, I usually draw to scale on graph paper and just weave away based on my drawing. With ikat I always need a cartoon to put under the measured yarn as a guide for the ties. This upcoming tapestry needs a cartoon, which leads me to this saga of getting enlargements. The closest place for me to get these made is a FedEx store. When I first started getting these enlargements done, they had a young woman who was very talented in this area, and they came out exactly right every time. I really hated it if I went in there and my favorite person wasn’t. Sometimes, I’ve actually gotten home and found that the enlargement was as much as 6 inches off! Now I carry a tape measure and they probably hate for me to come in.

Friday I went to a different store. After waiting through several unsuccessful attempts, during which the employees spent their time laughing and telling jokes, perhaps flirting, I said thank you for your time, but I’m leaving.


cartoon on the floor

cartoon on the floor

So on Saturday, I tried my usual store. The young lady had the correct measurements in the computer, and it seemed that it should come out correctly, but it didn’t. One of the other employees suggested putting the file on a flash drive and taking that directly to the printer. Glory hallelujah! It worked. Even better, this means I can put my drawing on a flash drive, take it directly to the printer myself and print it out. I don’t have to take in a small drawing that they scan and enlarge manually. The file that I put on the flash drive can be the actual dimensions that I want the final cartoon to be! I can’t tell you how excited this makes me! Trying to not think about the fact that I haven’t actually tried this yet.

Gearing up

Gearing up. Getting ready for December, even though it’s already here. The studio MUST get cleaned up, as well as the adjunct studio (AKA dining room). So, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that around here.



This is what I found when I went out for the newspaper this morning. I frequently find the paper in this position, but not usually floating in water. The water is because I have had 8.77 inches of rain beginning on Thanksgiving and ending on Sunday. Actually it’s surprising that it is still floating since it was so waterlogged. The depth of this ditch is really deceptive. If the newspaper is not visible from my porch, I get the grabber ’cause I know it’s in the ditch and I don’t want to crawl down into it. Too early in the day for that.



Below is my latest effort at wedge weave. I will learn how to do this, I will learn how to do this,I will learn how to do this….. This was woven on the tiny Lani from Mirrix.  I don’t have the shedding device on this loom, but might consider it later. Right now I’m just using tapestry needles as shuttles. As you can see, there are issues with this bitty weaving, but overall I am pleased. The selvedges are wavy as they are supposed to be. You can see too much warp the the “line” where the weft changes directions, which is not aided by the amount of draw-in–both solvable, I’m sure. Embroidery floss allows for almost infinite colors. For this I used the six strands as they came out of the package. I did blend colors on a couple of the Christmas trees I wove, which gave the color more depth. Once I feel better about weaving wedge weave, I want to try some silk. Gotta think about that draw-in. How do you fix that?

Wedge Weave, embroidery floss, 4 x 3 inches

Wedge Weave, embroidery floss, 4 x 3 inches

I have had these inexpensive boxed bookshelves sitting on the floor for a while, but finally tackled the project. Yes, the instructions say it’s a two-person job, but I am just one person. The boxes are too big for me to move, so I cut one open and moved the parts individually. I am looking forward to organizing my art and weaving books. Maybe I’ll be able to find something more easily now. Have you heard of’s Word of the Day? Bibliotaph came in the other day. Scary. I’m not going to think about that.



This is the time of year that I get a new calendar, I guess like everyone else. Even though I use the calendar on my phone (and love it!), I still like to have a paper calendar. I have decided to try a new one this time. It’s called the Week Dominator from Neu Year. You can see the one I usually get here and here. What I like about the usual calendar is the yellow column on the right, where I can write down goals or whatever for the week. With the calendar I’m trying this year, you can write those goals down below the day but above where the hours begin. I also like the dot format as opposed to lines. We’ll see. I may go back to the tried and true.

New style calendar

New style calendar

My treat for myself this week. A workshop totally unrelated to weaving, except for what’s floating around in my head. We’ll see…. More about that later.


A bit of travel

First morning walk

First morning walk. I always love bridges.

View from parking lot. Just ignore the cars and enjoy the mountain.

View from parking lot. Just ignore the cars and enjoy the mountain.

Last year, around this time, I traveled to Golden, Colorado for Art Biz Makeover. This year, Alyson Stanfield held a similar event called Art Biz Breakthrough. I can’t begin to explain the energy in the room, a roomful of artists, for this event. Amazing! So much energy, so much encouragement, so much understanding! It was wonderful!

One of many framed posters in the hallway of the hotel. Anybody know who Roy Rogers is?

One of many framed posters in the hallway of the hotel. Anybody know who Roy Rogers is?

Buffalo girls poster

Buffalo girls poster

After Golden, I drove to Denver to visit a friend and go to the Denver Art Museum. Not only did I get to see the wonderful tapestry exhibit there, but I saw the Native American art in the permanent collection. I’ve been to the Denver Art Museum one other time, and it’s a really stellar museum. Go, if you get a chance. Here’s the first thing you see when the elevator doors open. This amazing sculpture is called Mud Woman Rolls On by Roxanne Swentzell. The sculpture is 10 feet high and is very striking.

Mud Mother by Roxanne Swentzell

Mud Woman Rolls On by Roxanne Swentzell. Very impressive and large–10 feet high!

I didn't get the potters name, but I love this. How many different fish can you think of?

I didn’t get the potters name, but I love this. How many different fish can you think of? Can you see something like this as a weaving?


Masks–always a favorite of mine

Blankets stacked from floor to ceiling, each tagged

Blankets stacked from floor to ceiling, each tagged–pretty darn impressive!

On Monday, I wrote about weaving the Christmas tree from Mirrix Looms. I took my small Lani loom, surrounded by clothes, in my suitcase. She traveled well, and was especially welcome at night as I rested before the TV in my hotel room.

Since snow and high winds were expected in Denver for today, I changed my flight to Monday–besides, I was just ready to go home. ;))


Prepare now

I rarely prepare for Christmas early, but just in case you haven’t seen it, Mirrix Looms has a free e-book about weaving a Christmas tree ornament. They even have a kit for it that looks just beautiful! Including are the silk yarns, Ultrasuede for the back, cotton warp, and beads. Since I get a new ornament for each of the boys every year, I’m thinking this is the one for this year. Which means planning ahead. Take a look at the tree and get the book here. They have even got the tree kit/loom package ready to go. This will be a project for me to try out on the new Lani loom. And I am a distributor now, so contact me if interested.


Phone: 817-781-1717

Address: PO Box 123305, Fort Worth, TX 76121

A studio notebook

Smoke-the weaving has begun


Ikat Notes Studio

Ikat Notes Studio

Notes on measuring ikat

Notes on measuring ikat

Something new for me, a studio notebook. While measuring ikat on the board, I weighed each ball of yarn before and after. Then I wrote down the section number and how much yarn was used, hoping I would have a pretty accurate way of knowing how much dye to use. On the right is the weight of each section. I then plug this information into my spreadsheet to get all the dye formulas I need. The left side has notes made while doing the measuring part. You can even see my note from a phone call about a new crown! Exciting stuff, this! This method is working well for the dyeing, so far. At least I think so.

Smoke in progress

Smoke in progress. By the way, the top picture is more color accurate. The color is charcoal, not black.

I am now weaving, the fastest part of this process. I normally take some notes when I start, but usually on a notecard.



I record the date started, how I began (as in twining, knots, etc), so that I can end in the same way. Sometimes tapestry takes so long, I forget what I did in the beginning. Even though it’s not visible in the picture (the pen I used is almost out of ink), I also recorded the width in the reed, the width of the woven cloth with and without the temple. I’m really trying to get a handle on the ikat part, so as soon as one of the design motifs is done, I am going to record the size of the woven one to compare to the cartoon one. So, while I am writing all of this on my notecard, (duh!) it occurred to me that I should be using the same notebook with the measuring notes.

Any hints you could share about your record keeping? Do you keep a record of weaving notes? Or other project notes? What’s your method?

Plugging along


Upside down, but …

James Koehler’s book

Because of a family visit, I probably won’t be posting for a couple of weeks. Busy visiting. Right now? You know, the housework stuff that needs to be done. My favorite thing.

A weaving world update: I cut the piece off the loom; it’s basking on the floor as we speak. I’m not totally sure about it yet. Seems a bit plain. Maybe some embellishment? This piece is wide and kind of narrow. I will be trying out a new hemming method that I read about in James Koehler’s book Woven Color. We’ll see how that works out, but not for a couple of weeks. Plus, I am finally stitching those weather pieces to linen, which I will glue to a canvas–the linen, not the weaving. Afterwards, I think I’ll put them in painted frames for a bit of color. By the way, I Googled Woven Color to find a wonderful page of brightly colored pictures. The book is available on Amazon.

In case you don’t receive my monthly (kind of) newsletter, here’s the link  I’m doing a series of short articles about color. This month’s color is indigo blue.

Link to most recent newsletter.

You can subscribe here.


Making a decision

Linen samples

The taupe is too yellowy in this picture.

I went to Cutting Corners and bought taupe and gray linen on Monday. I’ve written about Kirsten Glasbrook’s book before and her method for mounting and framing a small tapestry. I have decided to try her method, except for the blockboard, I am going to substitute archival foam board. I now have the new linen colors and the black I already had on hand. In Glasbrook’s book, she mentions using watered down acrylic paint on the linen. If I don’t like the colors I have, there may be some painting happening around here.

By the way, I love both the whimsical and more serious tapestries that Kirsten weaves.

In the meantime, I suddenly remembered these boots that I bought on sale at DSW. They are Chookas, although they are now to be known as Snake/Fireant Protectors. Not as comfy as my New Balance shoes, but right now these boots have the advantage.


Tackling the dreaded first

Weather-3  Weather-2  Weather-4

Weather-5  Untitled-9  Untitled-8

For me, my studio time is the time that’s actually spent weaving. Several months ago, I wove four small pieces. Those pieces have long been finished, and my brain has been working on what to do with them. They’ve been on my to-do list all of those months, but today during a conversation with my accountability partner Carol, it came to me that I need to tackle these BEFORE weaving. Duh! So, after a walk, weeding the garden, being stung by fire ants, mowing the shoulder-high thistle plants, and shower, I dug those pieces out of hiding. Then I couldn’t decide about a background. Off to Photoshop. Of course, the final decision my be decided by the color of linen I can find in the stores. This whole process is an experiment. I may do some other small pieces and need to have a go to technique for finishing.

So what do you think? What color should the background be? From looking at the samples above, I think I can safely rule out black. Please vote or suggest a color. Really. Seriously.

A teeny glossary


My last post was short, included a big picture and lots of weaving words to go along with the “lots of color.” With that in mind, here’s a bit of terminology. This only applies to my weaving, not the big world of weaving in general. We all have our own methods. It would be great if anyone wants to jump in here and add to the discussion.

By the way, that colorful picture of all my butterflies? It’s worse now. I just seem to keep adding them.

Warp-The threads that are on the loom. In this case, they are white and will not be seen in the finished weaving.

Weft-The yarn that is being woven. It goes horizontally across the warp and will cover the warp completely. It is what is weaving the design.

Weft butterflies-Butterfly is the name given to the organization of the weft because of the shape. Weavers may also organize their wefts on bobbins. Here’s a video about making butterflies. Rebecca Mezoff also has one here. I tried to embed them, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards today.

Sett-The refers to the spacing of the warp threads. In this case, 6 epi means 6 ends per inch.

Reed-A device that keeps the warp threads in their place. It is as wide as the woven piece or wider, made of two top and bottom horizontal bars in which metal dividers are inserted. The reed being used has 6 dents (spaces) per inch.

Sley the reed-old terminology, before 1050, from Middle or Old English, for inserting each warp thread into the spaces of the reed.