Monday, October 24, 2011


What draws me to weaving is the TEXTURE. I'm feeling the need to really explore TEXTURE... what better way to do this than to use my handspun yarns. I've been accumulating these beautiful skeins of thin, thick, thick n thin, art yarns and I have decided that its time to use them.

I'm also feeling the need to explore abstraction and make some wall art. Two things are driving me forward... I recently joined the Landings Art Association and have reserved a booth at their sidewalk art show Oct. 29 AND am entering this abstract tapestry weaving in their big Fall Art Show. THEN #2 i took a class at the Jepson Art Museum last Saturday with Betsy Cain, who is a local painter showing at the Jepson right now. I lOVE her work... abstract richly textured paintings and cut-outs. We did both in the class. So I have a stimulus and a little bit of knowledge. Dangerous combination...

My goal is to create a couple of tapestry-like abstract weavings on my 8shaft Mighty Wolf that incorporate my love of the Japanese and Bauhaus aesthetic using my handspun yarns on a cotton and linen 8-shaft twill threading.

The first challenge was to warp my loom with 10/2s natural cotton and some tow linen singles that I had found several years ago. I wanted the contrast of the soft cotton with the scratchy, stiff linen. I decided to use 3 strands of tow linen alternating with the 10/2 cotton. I decided that 28 epi would work best for the twill and set about threading the read to warp front to back after winding a 3 yard warp. I hoped to get 3 long narrow weavings from this. The finished weavings will be about 10x30. To get 28 epi in a 12 dent reed I had to thread the reed 2/2/3/2/2/3/2/2/3/2/2/3. It would have been SO much easier to do 24 epi and 2 threads per dent... but no, I wanted a challenge! Threading done... pulling warp through the heddles done... then on to winding the warp on the beam... challenge #2! The tow linen's greatest joy is to tangle! Patience and leaving it several times to regroup... and several hours later... I had the warp beamed! I won that battle! ... more to come!

I drew out an idea to scale on some graphic paper and started to weave using my stash of handspun dyed yarns. I wanted the bottom 1/3 to look like marsh grass. I used a reverse twill treadling to show the wavy effect and hand laid in pieces of handspun from about 6 different skeins and followed each "pattern" shot with another shot of 10/2s in the same shed. In this way, where the handspun yarns didn't meet... white cotton reverse twill resting spots appear. When I came to the part I wanted to represent trees... I used some plied green handspun and pulled it up to create nubs and separated these with natural cotton tabby areas. The sky was woven in a straight twill in natural 10/2s broken up occasionally with shots of light to medium blue handspun.

Then came the fun part... the sun/moon shape... I had been adding strands from kimono fabric remnants I had in my stash and decided to use one of the pieces cut in narrow 1/3 inch strips as the circle... building it up row by row while weaving across the entire width keeping the straight twill treadling.

Then to frame it all! I had some black ultrasuede upholstery cloth (left over from reupholstering our Barcelona chairs) and decided it would be the perfect border. Should I mount the weaving ... then mount this over a stretched black ultrasuede... it might work, but I thought it also might be problematic... so, I decided to sew strips of ultrasuede to the edges of the weaving and stretch this pieced piece on the 11x28 stretchers I bought. A lot of tweeking and it looks great. To finish it off I got some 1 1/4"angle molding, spray painted it gold and then cut it to fit the stretched weaving for a frame. Perfect. Now all I have to do is nail it together and cover the back with brown paper as a dust cover...

Challenges are great... and another abstract challenge is on the way... post Betsy Cain class... Stay tuned...


  1. This sounds a really fun and interesting process. Will you be posting some pictures of the end result? I'd love to see them.

  2. My plan is to get pics and info posted this week! Thanks for asking...