In order to properly learn and practice the techniques needed to weave the Black and White Sampler I bought a book: ‘Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for a beginner. The main part of the book talks the reader through weaving a simple sampler which teaches all the basic techniques. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, clearly explained and well illustrated. This is followed by other projects for which you can copy the designs and there is a gallery of Kirsten’s own work, which is most inspiring.
In order to weave the sampler in the book I bought a small frame loom. This came in the form of two pairs of frame pieces which you slot together and were very reasonably priced from George Weil Craft Supplies, who had taken over Fibrecrafts, where I originally bought my materials for the Black and White Sampler. You can buy these frame pieces in a variety of different lengths to make a frame to suit your own requirements. Mine is 20 ins by 14 ins.
One advantage of this kind of frame is that, having no nails, you can wrap the warp round to any number of ends per inch (epi) or per cm that you like. Also you can either wind the warp round fewer times and use the front and back warps together. For example, wrap the warp round at 4 epi, then combine the front and back to make 8 epi. Or, as I usually do, you can warp up to your desired sett and having woven a tapestry on one side then turn the frame over to weave on the other side. You don’t even need to buy such a frame, an old picture frame will do. Search for one in a charity shop if you haven’t got one!
Here is the sampler from Kirsten Glasbrook’s book still on the frame loom. The warp yarn is set at 4 epi. Another advantage of this kind of frame is that it is very portable. This photo was taken on board our sailing boat as I had taken the project away with me to work on.
When I learn a new craft I am always keen to work my own designs as soon as possible so having finished Kirsten’s design I turned the frame loom over and worked a similar design of my own using the same techniques for further practice.
For both these samplers I used yarn from my stash for the weft – like most people who knit I tend to have a large quantity of left-over yarns of various types. I am also a sucker for buying up useful quantities of yarns from charity shops, handed in no doubt by other knitters keen to reduce their stash. For these samplers I used anything from 3 ply to aran weight yarns with some rug/carpet wool thrown in for good measure, doubling up on the number of strands used if I needed to increase the thickness.
Here are the two completed samplers ready for hanging. I used a similar colour scheme for my own one so that they would look like a pair when hung together. It was only after I had finished these that I made a start on the Black and White sampler that had so inspired me.
But I had not finished with Kirsten Glasbrook’s book, which showed pictures of her large floor standing loom. In the gallery section were picture of tapestries completed on this large loom, some measuring 4 or 5 feet wide by, well almost as long as you like. Looking through this gallery I began to dream up some large designs of my own, for which I would need a large loom. This resulted in the purchase of yet another loom – my Big Beastie!
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and will continue with this saga after the festivities!