Most Unusual Tapestry Tool

Suddenly, I am able to see the tapestry on the loom from a distant vantage point. Aha! I can see that the left shoulder of Lucia is nicely defined, and that her shoulder appears to be in front of the turquoise rabbit hutch. What I am not able to discern up close becomes crystal clear from a distance. I have an unusual tool in the basket at my loom bench that gives me this advantage. Binoculars! I use them whenever I want to get a better sense of the overall context, color, and definition of what I am weaving in the tapestry. By peering through the WRONG side of the binoculars I am able to view the tapestry as if from a great distance. It is just the help I need to keep pursuing this mystery of weaving wool butterflies on a linen warp to make a recognizable, memorable image.

Pictorial tapestry in progress.
Each row is a new adventure.
Pictorial tapestry on the Glimakra Standard loom.
Photo image of the complete scene sits in the windowsill by my loom. I frequently refer to the photo as I weave.
Binoculars - unusual tool at the weaving loom.
I wish I could show you what I can see through the wrong end of the binoculars. It always surprises me how the image is clearly shaped at a distance.
Weaving a picture of my grandchildren.
Skin tones blend for the area of Lucia’s neck that is coming into focus. Before long, I will get to play with her flyaway hair.
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of my grandchildren.
Greater distance from the tapestry provides more clarity of context. But still, we only get to see the slice of the image that is in view on the loom. It takes faith and patience for the rest.

May you gain the perspective you need.

Blessings,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Great discovery, Karen! Who would have thought it? Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joyce, A few years ago I saw a picture of another tapestry weaver looking at her work through a monocle, and that gave me the idea.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth says:

    Ingenious!!

  • Nannette says:

    What pretty colors. I can’t wait to see it completed.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I’m looking forward to that, too.

      Thanks,
      Karen

      • Nannette says:

        Back in town. I met with a builder to add a 4 season sunroom to the retirement house, back in the Wisconsin woods. I could have set up the loom in the basement and woven through the winter. But why have a home on the most beautiful piece of God’s world if you can’t enjoy it.

        Back to topic. Are you weaving this tapestry on the rosepath set up? If so, how are you keeping track of the pattern as you weave?
        Nannette

        • Karen says:

          Hi Nannette, Your sunroom sounds delightful.

          Great question. I have a very low-tech way of keeping track of my rosepath treadling sequence. I drew a small arrow with a black Sharpie on a small piece of blue painters tape. My weaving draft is hanging at the top of the beater on the right-hand side. Every time I am ready to move to the next treadle I move that little piece of tape to point to the corresponding square on the treadling draft.

          All the best,
          Karen

  • Kelly says:

    Wow, this piece will certainly be a labour of love! How rewarding it will be to finish.

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Quiet Friday: Lizard Tapestry

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for! We finally get to see the whole tapestry. This lizard has given me quite a ride! I have learned plenty. Things I’m happy with myself about, like drawing a cartoon from a photograph, following the cartoon details, making and keeping track of butterflies. And some things I’d like to improve, like choosing colors that give the best contrast, managing the cartoon under the tapestry, and choosing where to pick the floats. I’m eager to do four-shaft tapestry again so I can learn some more!

I wove the fringe into an edging, ending with a small braid. Next, I will tack the edging and braids to the back, clip weft tails on the back, and sew on a backing fabric. And then, I’ll find a special place to hang this Lizard tapestry in our Texas hill country home, just a half mile from the place I saw and photographed the cute little green anole in the first place.

Finishing the ends on the Lizard tapestry.

Finishing the ends.

 

Lizard Tapestry.

Lizard Tapestry. Next steps are clipping weft tails on the back, adding a backing, and hanging in our Texas hill country home.

May your learning experiences take you for an exciting ride.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

~Change Is Coming~
With Steve’s approaching retirement, I am implementing some adjustments for Warped for Good. Friday posts will become less frequent, and by December you will receive new posts only on Tuesdays. Today is my final Quiet Friday post, something I’ve enjoyed doing once a month for the five and-a-half years Warped for Good has been active.

I invite you to continue joining with me on this weaving journey at Warped for Good!

24 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    The lizard is wonderful! It will be right at home in the Texas hill country.

    I’m happy for Steve and you! I have so enjoyed your bi-weekly posts as they bring bright spots to my mornings and will continue looking forward to weekly posts.

    All the best!

  • Betsy says:

    You captured him beautifully! I love that little lizard half smile. We see them a lot on our deck, and on the tree that grows just a few feet from the patio door.

    I will miss the second weekly posts, but hope you and Steve enjoy retirement as much as we do.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Of the many critters we’ve seen out here, the little green anole is the cutest, and maybe the most harmless. 🙂

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy the retirement season. I think we have a lot to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Robin says:

    This is so inspiring. I have never even thought of doing tapestry on my big loom!
    Love it! How long did it take you? Looks like a LOT of work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin, This was on the loom for five months. Part of that time, though, we had a lot of disruptions, including moving to a new location.
      You’re right, it was a lot of work. But I really enjoyed the whole process!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Cute little guy.

    Nice job.

    Nannette

  • Rachel Lohman says:

    Wishing you all the best in retirement with blessings surrounding both of you. .I have enjoyed the bi-weekly “warping” and learned a lot from you. Never knew that a tapestry could be done on the loom as you shared with us. The lizard will give color and joy wherever he is hung. Will miss you on Friday mornings but look forward to Tuesday’s! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and joy in the weaving of life. God bless!

  • susie weitzel says:

    Even more beautiful than I was imagining. Best wishes in retirement. So happy for both of you. Your talent and imagination are so inspiring. You have encouraged me to try projects I would not have tried otherwise. Again best wishes

  • Liberty says:

    Oh Karen, he is fabulous, I just love it!! What a long journey the two of you were on!
    Sorry to see you will be with us only once a week now, but I know you and Steve will be having a great time enjoying retirement now!!
    Hugs and love to you my friend,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, This was on the loom longer than I’d like to admit, but I enjoyed every part of it!

      It’s great to have you on this journey with me.

      Your friend,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Karen,
    Your little lizard turned out beautifully! What size is the finished piece? Hope we get to see him at the November WOW meeting.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I haven’t measured it yet, but on the loom it was about 36” x 48”. I’ll bring it to the meeting next week!

      Thanks for your sweet encouragement to me!
      Karen

  • Tonya Leach says:

    Karen,
    Where did you learn 4 shaft tapestry? I am fascinated! I will also miss your more frequent posting but I do hope you and yours enjoy retirement!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tonya, I have not seen very many examples of four-shaft tapestry like this.

      I learned it from Joanne Hall, who generously shares her knowledge and experience. Her work is amazing and something I’d like to emulate. I have a long way to go in that regard.

      Helena Hernmarck is another person I’m aware of who weaves in a similar style. I’ve studied pictures in a book I have of her work.

      I found one other individual on Instagram from Sweden who has examples of this type of four-shaft tapestry. I’m always on the hunt for this kind of tapestry to observe.

      Thanks for your kind sentiments,
      Karen

  • Lyna says:

    Thank you for bringing us along on your lizard tapestry journey! If possible, could you show how you finish it–how close do you trim the tails, how the warp ends are handled, how the backing fabric is attached, how is it hung?
    Or just say “Look it up in this ___ book,” because we know you are busy going into another season of life! Looking forward to Tuesdays!
    God bless, Lyna

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lyna, It’s my pleasure to have you come with me on this journey! Everything is better with friends along.

      I’ll do my best to show the finishing that I do, though I’m still learning that part, too.
      I did make a little video a while back that shows the method I use to finish the warp ends. You can see it at the end of this post – Quiet Friday: Little Tapestry Diary.

      Thanks for being here,
      Karen

  • It looks wonderful, until I saw your lizard it hadn’t occurred to me that a floor loom could be used for tapestry; one day I might have to try it too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachelle, I like using the floor loom for tapestry. This was my first attempt doing that, and I intend to do it again! Who knows, maybe I’ll have to add another loom just for tapestry. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Karen Reff says:

    That’s pretty amazing!

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Tools Day: Cartoon Trials

Making a cartoon for a lizard tapestry this size is quite a process. First, I enlarge the photograph. Then, I trace the outlines of the details onto a sheet of clear acetate. Next, to make the cartoon, I trace the bold Sharpie lines of the acetate image onto interfacing material meant for pattern making. But next time, it will be different.

Tracing photograph to make a tapestry cartoon.

Tracing outlines from the enlarged photograph onto the sheet of acetate. Photo image on the iPad helps clarify which distinctive lines to draw.

Making a tapestry cartoon.

White poster board under the acetate makes the Sharpie lines visible. The interfacing material lays on top of the acetate so I can trace the lines to make my cartoon.

I don’t plan to use this interfacing material again for a cartoon. It is not stiff enough. As the tapestry progresses it becomes more and more difficult to keep the cartoon from puckering and creasing in places. A better option would have been stiffer buckram, like I used for my transparencies. (See – Quiet Friday: Painting with Yarn and Animated Images.) But I am not able to find buckram in sufficient width.

Unwanted creases in the tapestry cartoon.

Interfacing material is susceptible to puckers and creases. Unevenness in the cartoon can result in a distorted woven image on the tapestry.

After I finished weaving the lizard portion of the tapestry, I decided to experiment. I removed the interfacing cartoon and switched to the acetate sheet instead. There’s no puckering with this one! It is much easier to line up the cartoon with the weaving. It has drawbacks, though. Noisy! When I beat in the weft it makes thunderstorm sound effects. (Not so great for our temporary apartment life.) It’s also harder to see the cartoon lines. And the magnets I use to hold the cartoon slip out of place too easily.

Using a sheet of acetate for a tapestry cartoon.

Slat holds the cartoon up to the warp. To beat the weft, I move the slat out of the way of the beater, just under the fell line. The sheet of plastic would be a good prop for making sounds effects for a film about a thunderstorm.

Next time... White paper, like the gorgeous tapestry cartoon I have seen in Joanne Hall’s studio. That’s what I’ll use. Next time

Joanne Hall and her tapestry cartoon!

Joanne Hall in her Montana studio. This is the cartoon she made for her impressive Bluebonnets tapestry that hangs on display in a Dallas hospital.

May you learn from your experiments.

All the best,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Good morning Karen,

    My interest is always drawn to how things work. Tapestry is not an easy medium to work in. But, oh… Such beautiful results.

    Could the widths of the buckram be spliced together?

    May you continue to find new paths to explore.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Yes, in hindsight I could have used the buckram crossways, and continued the pattern across the separate pieces. The other advantage I see with the paper is the ability to color the design, and work from that. I’d like to try that.

      Karen

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When the Tapestry Gets Confusing

I work across the tapestry a row at a time, starting and stopping many wool butterflies. It gets confusing. It’s not always easy to see how the particular colors in my butterflies relate to the details of this lizard. I closely follow the cartoon and the pattern key by my loom. I have to trust the cartoon more than what I see at the moment.

Lizard tapestry on four shafts. Eye detail.

Lizard eye detail. There are many color changes in the rows that go right through the center of the eye.

Every now and then, I climb up on a step stool as far as I dare. The view from this distance gives me a realistic perspective of the weaving. And raises my hopes that the lizard in this tapestry will indeed resemble the green anole that had posed for my camera. I am unable to see that same progress when I’m sitting at the loom with the lizard’s face right in front of me.

Four-shaft Lizard tapestry. Karen Isenhower

Pattern key at the left of the loom provides constant direction for weaving the details in the tapestry. View from standing on the top step of the step stool.

Lizard tapestry in progress. Glimakra Ideal loom.

Enlarged photograph of the original green anole hangs on the cart next to the loom.

When life gets confusing, it’s time to step up. Treasures are hidden in plain sight. Wisdom and knowledge are hidden like that. The treasure storehouse is in Christ. In him we have a heavenly view that gives us a realistic perspective of what we see in front of us. Trust his pattern key, and proceed with confidence. It’s not so confusing, after all.

May you see hidden treasures.

With heart,
Karen

6 Comments

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Lizard in Black and White

Some things are better seen without color. Hence, an enlarged version of my lizard in black and white. Variances in value are not as easily discerned in the full-color print. These subtle value distinctions bring realism to the lizard tapestry. For this reason, I sort all the yarn into small groups of color and value, which clarifies my choices for each wool butterfly.

Lizard portrait in black and white for tapestry project.

Lizard portrait in black and white shows nuances in color value.

Yarn Sorting Process:
1. Select yarn colors for the tapestry.

2. Group like colors together.

Sorting wool yarn for a tapestry. Tutorial.

Wool yarn, much of which has been accumulated from previous projects.

For each color group (I have seven color groups):
1. Arrange yarn on a white background in value order, from light to dark. Take a picture.

Arranging yarn by color value for tapestry.

Green, from light to dark.

2. Take another picture using the smart phone black and white setting (“Noir” in the filters on my iPhone).

Yarn in order by value. Blog post explanation.

Photo shows that a couple adjustments are needed for the yarn-value order.

3. Adjust yarn to make value order corrections.

Yarn in order by color value. Suggestions on blog post.

Adjustments made.

4. Divide the yarn into three value sections. 1. light, 2. medium, 3. dark.
5. Label baskets to hold each yarn section; i.e., “G 3” for green, dark.

The preparation for a project like this is immense. And tedious. But this is a weaving adventure. Indeed, the results may very well be astounding. That’s my hope.

Yarn for tapestry sorted by color and value. Tutorial.

Little baskets of yarn next to the loom, sorted by color and value.

Life itself is a full color project. Immense and tedious. Rise above these earthly things. Our Grand Weaver sees the value distinctions that we miss with our natural eye. What hope this gives! Trusting him through this real life adventure brings assurance of astounding results. Setting my mind on these “above” things turns troubles into treasures whose values will be evident in the final real tapestry.

May you persevere.

With you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Annie says:

    I like the reminder of value distinction. I think it is hard to remember or believe that a life lived in quiet, following Christ teachings has just as much value as the life lived containing one grandeous moment of self sacrifice.

  • Now we know why the art teachers insisted on pencil before pastels.
    What a great visual. Thank you.

    I am going to step out of topic and call on you and your readers to pray for all who share the roads. We lost a young man the day before Fathers’ day. A woman turned left into his Harley. She was trying to go onto a highway on-ramp. Late morning… dry pavement… sun out… mind not paying attention to oncoming traffic.

    Please add all people in their daily travels to your prayers and care on the roads. His death shattered 3 families.

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