tapestry weaving

Bootsy: a yarn-y love story

Bootsy: a yarn-y love story

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.

The show opens today! Webster Arts in St. Louis, MO.

The show opens today! Webster Arts in St. Louis, MO.

I’ve been a teacher in some form for most of my professional life, but I’ve only been teaching tapestry for eight years. The growth that has happened in my own knowledge of tapestry practice and in my abilities as a teacher has grown exponentially in that time. I’ve gone from an apprentice to someone who appreciates other artist’s practices, but has confidence in her own and can teach others to follow their own paths.

Fiber artists are creative and every day I see something unique and inspiring from one of my students. Sometimes it is a fully-formed tapestry. But often it is the small seed of an idea that someone is trying out in a sampler. My job is simply to offer a little oxygen and water to that seed and encourage the idea to grow and perhaps become something marvelous. One idea leads to another, and a little chain of successes can lead to a whole body of work which enriches the maker and the world.

Fringeless and other four selvedge adventures

Fringeless and other four selvedge adventures

Making the Fringeless four selvedge warping class has been an adventure. A new online class always is. I totally love curriculum development. I like editing videos especially if I pick up some new skills for each class. And then the best part is when the class goes live and I see people's reactions to it. This class was extra special for me because I got to work with Sarah Swett who is always inspiring and a fantastic teacher. Also, the fact that she regularly makes me laugh is a big plus.

Need a great summer read? Try Hidden Tapestry

I just finished reading Debra Dean's new book, Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, his two wives, and the war that made them one. I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and the story is far-ranging. It is a biography of Jan Yoor, an artist from Belgium who spent much of his youth with the gypsies and was part of the resistance during World War II. He survived the war, married his childhood sweetheart Annabert, and eventually added her friend Marianne as a second wife to their family. The Yoors moved to America eventually and ran a tapestry studio in Manhattan. Jan designed the work and the women wove it.

Sett: How does it affect materials for tapestry weaving?

Sett: How does it affect materials for tapestry weaving?

I frequently get questions in my online classes about which yarns to use for tapestry weaving. To answer that question, you have to think about what sorts of imagery you want to weave and at what sett. Of course I can give you a list of my favorite yarns, but I may be looking for different characteristics in my weaving than you are. Knowing how sett and yarn interact will allow you to make the best choices for what you want to accomplish in terms of image creation and the look and feel of the resulting fabric.

Sett: What does it have to do with tapestry weaving?

Sett: What does it have to do with tapestry weaving?

In the last post I talked about the important relationship between warp and weft sizes when weaving tapestry. These questions are intimately connected to sett.

Sett is most easily understood as the number of warp threads in a unit of measure. In the USA we use inches, in Europe you probably use centimeters. (Don't get me started on why the stubborn United States never switched to metric. Yes, Europe and Canada, your way is better.)

So think about your loom. If you hold a ruler up to your warp and count the number of warp ends that occur in one inch, you will know your sett. Like this.