Weaving At Last

Green Man ProgressI can’t believe how long it is since I last posted here. Life has been non-stop this last month or so with little time to indulge in handicrafts. Since the middle of last week however I have had the pleasure of some time to myself and I decided it was time I got on with some weaving. I confess that having undone so much of my Green Man weaving previously my confidence has taken a bit of a bashing and I have been avoiding it. But I have now been telling myself “you can do it” and although I still undo sections from time to time, it has progressed a little. I  keep reminding myself not to worry too much about the fine details in the cartoon but just to use it as a guide. The photo shows the result so far.

Some time ago I mentioned that a friend had given me some fleeces. They came from relatives of his who were new to sheep keeping and the fleeces had not been stored very well. I think also our friend must have left them in his porch during a spell of wet weather before delivering them to us. When they arrived they were quite wet, in fact two of them were absolutely soaked. We spread them out in our barn to dry but some time later it was obvious that the two soaked ones were beyond redemption so these were thrown away. The other two are now dry and waiting to be used. In the bags with the fleeces were also the ‘daggings’ and I decided to salvage what I could of these in order to practice spinning with a spindle again. They were very dirty so I washed them first. They are also quite felted but there are a lot of useable bits.

Fleece Daggings & RolagsMy ‘Lord and Master’ has been away for a few days, hence having time on my hands, so yesterday I decided to watch the Canadian Grand Prix on his behalf, but not wishing to be idle I got out my carders and the fleece daggings and started to make some rolags. By the time I had had enough for one evening the basket in the photo was full, but I still have plenty more to go at. The rolags are a bit lumpy and still have a few bits of straw and other rubbish in them but I think they will be good enough for practising. Now where did I put my spindle?

I have not done any knitting for a while but I recently bought a large cone of cream lace weight wool from a charity shop, it is a lambswool/angora mix and I am trying to decide what to do with it. The first plan was to make another lacy cowl like the one pictured in my last post but I think now that, as there is quite a lot, it might be nice to knit a lacy shawl or wrap. I have discovered a wonderful knitting resource website, which I highly recommend, at http://www.allfreeknitting.com, which offers lots of free patterns and I have printed one off which I think I will use – more of this another time. First I must finish my Green Man!

 

 

 

 

Exhibition Pictures

As promised here are some pictures from the Nuneaton Exhibition. There is a link to each tapestry artist’s own website listed in the Blogroll in the side bar, where you will see more of their work. I have not pictured any of my own work here – there is plenty elsewhere on the blog!

Sensual by Lindsey Marshall
Sensual
Lindsey Marshall
3 pieces by victoria Green
3 Pieces by Victoria Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raindrops on leaf
Raindrops 2
Jane Freear-Wyld
Pontesford Hill - By Still Waters
Pontesford HIll – By Still Waters,
Pauline Fisk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, due to a slight oversight on my part, I have no photographs of Maralyn Hepworth’s work. However you will find much to interest you on her website here, and on her blog (Weaver’s Yarns) here. Both these links can also be found in the side bar. I hope to feature some of her work on another occasion.

Big Beastie

The gallery pictures in Kirsten Glasbrook’s book “Tapestry Weaving” (available from Amazon and all good bookshops) and the picture of her large tapestry loom inspired me to dream up designs of my own for large tapestries, for which I would need a large loom. Without intending to buy one immediately (this was August 2012 and I had only just started weaving) I began a little research into such looms and how much they would cost. In the process I came across a website called The Loom Exchange which deals in second-hand looms and other equipment as well as books, so out of interest I took a look.

I found an advert for a large Glimakra Regina loom for sale not very far from where I live and arranged to go to see it. To cut a long story short, it was immaculate. I paid a deposit and we went home to arrange transportation. My husband offered to pay the rest for my birthday at the end of the month. We went back a few days later with eldest son and van to fetch it home.

Glimakra Regina TapestryLoomThe loom was warped up with some six inches or so of weaving on it and I decided that it would be good if we could transport it with the warp in tact so that I had something to practice on, the warp would not be wasted and, most of all I could study it properly before needing to warp it up myself. I must add here that the instruction leaflet with the loom was all in German, a language I do not speak! I tried to find a translation to download from the internet but failed miserably. (Later a friend did a rough translation for me).

We took loads of photos as hubby and son dismantled the loom to make sure we could put it back together properly, brought it home and immediately, while it was fresh in their minds, they reassembled it in a spare bedroom – it filled the room! It measures 73 ins wide by 42 ins deep by 76 ins high. We then realized what a large room it had been in when we saw it, size can be deceptive! As you can see I couldn’t get it all in the photgraph and it soon earned the nickname Big Beastie.

It is a two shaft loom, which means the alternate warps can be moved backwards and forwards for ease of weaving, but I had great difficulty in getting these set up properly and also getting the warp tension correct after reassembling the loom. I spent many hours fiddling with it and doing little bits of weaving practice. It was to be some time before I actually wove anything on it.

The gentleman who sold me the loom was disposing of his late wife’s weaving equipment and he kindly gave me a copy of Nancy Harvey’s book, also called “Tapestry Weaving” and subtitled “A Comprehensive Study Guide”.  Nancy Harvey is an American  tapestry weaver and this book is an ideal one to move onto after working through Kirsten Glasbrook’s book.  The book is available from Amazon but seems to be priced rather highly (at least for the UK market) so maybe I was very lucky to be given it.

In this book Nancy talks you through two sampler projects as well as detailing many other techniques and providing ‘cartoons’ for further projects. I worked both samplers, although I had to slightly redesign the first one to fit my small weaving frame. Here is a picture of the one I didn’t alter. This was woven on a sett of 6 epi (those of you who have read my previous posts will know this means ‘ends per inch’) and again in a variety of knitting yarns from stock. Here it is framed and ready to hang on the wall.

Purple Sampler

Practice

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!

Glasbrook SamplerHere 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.

Two samplers.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!