Quiet Friday: Lucia Portrait Tapestry

A little here, a little there, and eventually I finish another small tapestry. This little woven portrait of my granddaughter Lucia was a huge challenge. I knew that from the beginning. In fact, I had about three beginnings with this intimidating project. My aim is not to make a masterpiece, but to keep making. And making, and making. Every time I go beyond what I think I can do, I learn more.

This Lucia Portrait Tapestry is best viewed from a distance. Up close, the details seem abrupt and harsh. But when I look at her from across the room, I see the picture of a child’s face.

I trimmed the weft tails on the back, steamed the piece, and made a half Damascus edging. The edging and the weft tails near the sides are stitched down. The hems are turned under and stitched. I plan to mount this on a linen-covered square, and hang the finished piece where it can be easily viewed from a few steps back.

Ending a small frame loom tapestry.

Small tapestry ends with a short hem, warp thread header, and a scrap header. I overestimated how far I could comfortably weave. This is a less-than-optimal distance from the end of the warp for weaving.

Trimming weft tails on the back of the little tapestry.

Most of my tapestry weaving is done in the evenings as part of my winding-down routine. In this session the back of the tapestry gets a haircut.

Finishing a small tapestry. Cute slideshow video.

Straggler weft tails are reigned in with a little sewing thread.

Small tapestry portrait. Slideshow video of the process!

Finished Lucia Portrait Tapestry is 4 1/4″ x 4 7/8″.

Enjoy this slideshow video. The ending is sure to make you smile!

May you keep making.

Love,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    This tapestry is AWESOME, Karen! A forever keepsake, but also a reminder of a special little one who holds a special place in your heart. With all you do and share, you still found time to do this artwork. God bless you, your granddaughter and your family! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Joyce, The time comes in snippets, but those snippets add up. Children grow up fast, so it will be nice to have a tapestry snapshot of this young age.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Well said, Joyce!
    Karen, This is just lovely! Such a special piece. Yes, the ending made me smile.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Beth, Thank you for your sweet encouragement. I’m glad you enjoyed the little clip at the end!

      Have a great day!
      Karen

  • Karen Simpson says:

    So sweet! Such a small piece, but the amount of work amazing..I hope you might do maybe a trilogy? As she is growing…beautiful memento for her to keep.
    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I like the idea of a trilogy. That gives me another thought – maybe I should start on a small portrait of one of my other six grandchildren…

      Thank you for recognizing the amount of work that went into this small piece.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • This slide show was just what I needed on a dreary rainy morning! Such a lovely small piece. I am so impressed with your color gradation/detail. May I ask what yarns you use for these small weavings? Many thanks! And yes the ending is so sweet!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pamela, I’m happy the slide show had an uplifting effect for you!

      I’m able to get some of the color gradation because I use three strands of Fårö wool. Using three strands enables me to make subtle changes in the color. The sett is 10 epi.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Little Lucia in tapestry is a wonderful moment in time, Karen. You did a fantastic job!

  • Libertyquilts@yahoo.com says:

    Oh Karen, she is so beautiful! You were so brave to take on such a difficult piece!! Love it and her
    Libby

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Great interpretation of the photo. It looks like she is watching you from every angle!
    And yes, I believe you should do a tapestry of each of the other grandchildren. Otherwise, what will they think?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Yes, surprisingly, her eyes do follow you across the room. I will give that some serious thought – each of the grandchildren…

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • The precision of decision needed with each color choice when weaving tapestry explains how Penolope was able to ward off suitors while Odysseus was away. What non weaving person would voice an opinion deciding if one or two strands of a pink was needed for the ear lobe’s center, more than once?

    It is a beautiful jewel with Mona Lisa eyes.

    Nannette

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Tapestry Portrait Progress

Once I get going, it’s not easy to put this Lucia tapestry portrait down. Each new row is another chance to turn it over and see how she’s coming along. A long car drive gives me a good stretch of weaving time. While Steve drives, I weave on my small tapestry frame. As a result, I am making considerable progress on Lucia this week.

Detailed cartoon gives direction for color blending and color changes. Magnets along the side of the frame loom hold the tapestry needle that I use for the weaving.

I am trying to withhold judgment until it is finished. And a close-up view shows details of the yarn, but doesn’t give a good perspective of the portrait overall. I am learning quite a bit through this process, un-weaving when necessary, and moving forward ever so slowly.

Small tapestry portrait in progress.

Lucia portrait. Three strands of Fårö wool for weft gives good options for color blending.

Beloved. Lucia is one of my beloved granddaughters. No matter what details happen in her life, she has my affection. Your beloved is someone you care for deeply, earnestly desiring their highest good. Spouse, children, friends, blog readers…those you choose to give yourself to. You want them to “be loved,” not only by you but by the Master tapestry weaver. To know the Grand Weaver’s love is to know you are loved in detail. It includes forgiveness, which looks a lot like un-weaving. He knows exactly how to weave the portrait of you, his beloved.

May you be loved.

Love,
Karen

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Tapestry Portrait Challenge

Lucia became a big sister this week! Her new baby brother, Ari Kyle, is healthy as can be. It won’t be long before Lucia showers affection on him, like she does her baby doll Annabella. I am filled with wonder and awe when I have a newborn grandchild in my arms. It always feels like a tangible miracle from God.

Big sister and new baby brother!

Lucia holding Annabella. Ari Kyle is held by his mommy Melody Faith.

Lucia has an innocent face that I am attempting to capture in yarn. I have completely started over a couple times, and have unwoven and re-woven sections multiple times. It’s a struggle. I timidly share it with you, because I suspect there are things that don’t come easy for you, either.

Small tapestry in progress. Travel weaving.

Weaving a small tapestry from the back. Lucia’s photograph and a detailed tracing are used for reference. A cartoon drawn on a piece of buckram is lined up under the weaving on the tapestry frame. A fold-up pouch holds my travel tapestry yarn and supplies.

Travel tapestry in progress. My granddaughter.

Frame loom is turned over for a view of the front.

Small tapestry in progress.

Lucia in progress.

Prayer. When we pray for the children in our lives, we start with an empty warp. Gradually, the tapestry grows. Will they become what we envision for them? Will they connect with the Lord Jesus? Sometimes we feel like starting from scratch, praying for things we never thought of when they were babies. The picture will always feel incomplete in this life. But that’s another good reason to pray. As they grow, you will see their identifying characteristics develop. And you’ll find yourself saying, “Thank you, Lord.”

New grandbaby, sweet moment.

Hello, Ari Kyle, what a pleasure it is to meet you! Welcome!

May you hold a newborn whenever you can.

Love,
Lola Karen

14 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Congratulations! Both children are adorable. Looking forward to seeing the finished tapestry. You are incredibly talented, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Thank you! Children have such interesting expressions.

      I appreciate your kind words. I’ll keep working on the tapestry; we’ll see how it turns out.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Bev Romans says:

    Karen,
    A new grandchild; what a precious blessing from God! And your tapestry of Lucia…a beautiful work in progress. It is amazing to see how God is using the gifts and talents He has given you in various ways.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Bev

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev, Each new child is a bundle of surprises! Someone new to love!

      It’s good to have some things in our hands that challenge us. Thank you for your encouraging words!

      Blessings to you and yours,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I know what you mean about the challenge of weaving a face. Some years ago I wove a transparency of the 3 Angels flying giving a message to the world at the end of time (Revelation 14). I used an artists painting to go by (with his permission). When I got to the eyes, I prayed for wisdom to weave them because I knew it would ruin the whole thing if the eyes didn’t look right. Your tapestry of Lucia looks great so far, and there is a lot of expression I see in her eye. It’s so nice to have a God who cares about helping us in everything – even how to weave tapestries/transparencies.
    PS: There is a great Christian TV network called Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) that is based on those Angels and getting their messages to people.

  • Annie says:

    Congratulations, Karen! You have a beautiful family!

  • Cynthia says:

    Is this sam’s wife? Adorable grandchildren and the tapestry oh my word can’t wait to see it finished.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, Melody is our daughter—Sam’s sister. Grandchildren sure bring us smiles.

      I’ll be making more progress on the tapestry soon!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    What blessings! They for you and you for them.

  • Shari says:

    Mazel Tov!
    Shari

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Tapestry Portrait Beginning

I started with a photograph of seventeen-month-old Lucia sitting in her grandad’s lap after eating lunch at Culver’s. Her pouty bottom lip and her serious brown eyes caught my attention. It seems an impossible task to replicate the charming expression in yarn, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I enlarged the picture, and then cropped it to fit a four-by-six-inch “canvas” of 12/6 cotton warp. I also reversed the image, since I am weaving this tapestry from the back. The weft is one, two, or three strands of Fårö wool yarn, depending on the degree of detail.

Grandad and granddaughter.

Steve and Lucia enjoying each other.

Here is my beginning attempt at a portrait, accomplished during our car ride home from Texas hill country, after spending time with Lucia and her cousins for the Christmas holidays.

Travel tapestry loom is warped before hitting the road.

Loom is warped before hitting the road.

Tapestry portrait in progress.

Shapes are slowly filled in with yarn. Paint stick serves to hold the cartoon in place.

On the road with a little tapestry weaving.

On the road with a little tapestry weaving.

Attempting to weave a tapestry portrait.

Beginning the blue and white polka-dotted dress. Inlaid magnets hold the blunt tapestry needle.

Weaving a tapestry portrait in the car.

Dusk has arrived, so it is time to put the weaving away for now. Good lighting is a must.

Checking progress on a small tapestry loom.

Before putting the loom in the bag, I turn it over to look at the right side of the weaving. Progress!

May you attempt the impossible.

All the best,
Karen

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Small Tapestry Revived

This little tapestry has been almost finished for a very long time. I stopped short of completion months ago. I’ve missed my small tapestry weaving, so I’m back at it. Only a few steps remain with this one. Soon this little color gradation sweetheart will be on the wall, to be enjoyed.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Last few picks of this small tapestry are woven in one sitting. Warp thread header and waste yarn are added.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Small tapestry frame makes an interesting artwork frame. But this tapestry must be removed so another tapestry can begin.

The finishing steps are not difficult. (Rebecca Mezoff gives excellent instructions in Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms.) After the piece is removed from the loom, it is steamed. Then, weft tails are sewn in and/or trimmed on the back. Half Damascus knots secure the warp ends. The hems will be folded under and stitched down. Then, this little masterpiece will be ready for mounting and display.

Weft tails that will be sewn in and/or trimmed.

Tapestry was woven from the front, so all the weft tails are on the back.

Sewing in and trimming weft tails.

Weft tails have been sewn in and/or trimmed on the back of the weaving.

Finishing ends on a small tapestry.

Warp ends are secured with half damascus knots. Two-pound walking weight helps hold the little tapestry in place.

Here is an ancient description of an interesting woman, as told by another woman.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
—from Solomon’s book of Proverbs

Small tapestry is ready to be hemmed.

Small tapestry with color gradation is ready to be hemmed. Ends will be folded under at the soumak lines, and stitched into place.

This is the type of woman I admire. Wear the best clothes that money can’t buy—strength and dignity. She has optimism. No anger. She speaks with wisdom and kindness. These are finishing touches I ask my Maker to work in me. To be a woman ready for what she was made for.

May you be finished.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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