The best holiday gifts are of time and love. The older I get, the more I believe it. Many of us still like to express our love with a thoughtful gift and if you need a present for someone dear (or for yourself) who is a tapestry weaver, here are my best ideas this year.*
I’ve done various holiday tapestry projects over the years. And I’m not nearly done with this year’s holiday messing-about. In fact I’ve hardly gotten started. I have two holiday-themed four selvedge tapestries in the works and another wild idea for a decoration using four selvedge tapestry which came from Sarah Swett’s tapestry bracelets. But I wanted to share the links from past holidays just in case you are anything like me and wanted to join in the fun but just never found the time.
In 2017 I decided to experiment with weaving with sock yarn. A whole fleet of little holiday trees emerged. There was an instruction sheet that went along with this post and you can still download it.
Bootsy is a penguin. She has a friend who is aptly named Penguin. They are the heroines of a (slightly modified) book distributed by Chick-fil-A called Penguin in Love, written by Salina Yoon.*
This little board book was given to Emily and I for our anniversary last summer by good friends. Surprisingly, there were only two pronouns that had to be changed in the whole book to make all characters female. The story features two penguins, Bootsy and Penguin who were both missing their yarn. They set off to find their it, knitting for warmth until inclement weather separates them. The story does not address the apparent paradox that they set off on a journey to find their missing yarn but had enough yarn to knit and keep warm. They both keep knitting while floating on ice floes and climbing snowy mountains and eventually they knit themselves back together.
As part of my tapestry diary, I wove a sketch inspired by Bootsy.** I think there may be two more little tapestries in the Penguin series.
As you know, I’ve been messing about with four selvedge warping this year. I was in one of my favorite yarn shops recently and they had a cone of the warp I like in black. Black Friday. Black warp. Why not? I’m not a shopper, so today was mostly a weaving day.
To be honest, it was Robyn Spady’s idea (Robyn is a fiercely talented teacher, weaver, and the editor of Heddlecraft). She was weaving black warps today and challenged other weavers to do the same. I’m not sure she realized a tapestry weaver would jump in, but the timing was great for me.
Yesterday I hosted a webinar with Sarah Swett. This was the first time I’ve done such a thing. After a lot of work learning the new tech, I was ready for it. I knew where the share buttons were and how to turn on the recordings and how to answer questions and do a poll. I knew how to turn microphones and video on and off, how to send registration reminder emails and follow-up emails. I thought I had it nailed.
But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And what I didn’t know was that the package I purchased through the webinar platform Zoom only included 100 participants. So immediately after starting the broadcast, 100 people were on and no more were allowed in. I realized this a few minutes into the broadcast thanks to someone mentioning it in the Q&A (which I totally knew how to use!), but there was nothing I could do about it once the webinar had started.
The webinar itself went really well. If you were one of the hundreds of people who registered but couldn’t get into the live event, please accept my sincere apologies.
Please do take the time to watch the video below.
I do love yarn. Funny how a material can shape an art practice so strongly. I can imagine someone else loving paint or graphite or stone or wood, but for me it is yarn.
I can scarcely resist a yarn shop even though most of them don’t have any weaving yarn (Shuttles in Boulder is a notable exception and maybe if you’re lucky your town happens to have a weaving shop also). I’ve written before about what makes a good tapestry yarn and my opinions about that haven’t changed. However, sometimes I see a yarn that I desperately want to work for tapestry weaving. And even though I know in my heart that it will not make a good tapestry yarn, my eternal optimism puts some in my shopping basket.
Such a yarn presented itself to me last May during a visit to Harrisville Designs in Harrisville, New Hampshire. I stopped to say hello to the people who make the tapestry yarn I use (Harrisville Koehler Singles) and to see the woodshop where my favorite loom in the world was made: the Harrisville Rug Loom.
Sarah Swett is the creator of delightful fiber worlds. If you’ve followed her blog, read her books, or taken any classes from her, you know she can make you laugh and inspire you to expand your creativity. Sarah is a tapestry artist with decades of experience. Her work is varied and it always expresses her wonder at the world around her. Her Rough Copy series for example contain a narrative taken from a novel she wrote. The sheer bloody clarity of her woven text is astounding in itself, but the form each of the panels takes enhances the story. She has worked with four selvedge tapestry weaving both in large format as in the Rough Copy pieces and in her wonderful tiny houses series this year. More recently, she has been experimenting with various materials for tapestry weaving.
We’re hosting a free (and very fun) webinar on Thursday, November 15th. If you can’t make it, the replay will go into the Fringeless online class so you can watch it or watch it again.