Analog. Our brains design better in analog.

Analog. Our brains design better in analog.

I know you might not believe it (what with my youthful glow), but computers as a personal device did not exist when I was a kid. I was born in the 70s and as a pre-teen I received an electric typewriter for my birthday along with a typing course on 45 rpm records. And yes, I had a red plastic record player in my room on which I mostly played a Tchaikovsky record of Swan Lake. I learned to type in a flash. I loved those exercises. Whole pages of unintelligible jibberish which quickly taught my brain where all the letters were. I can’t imagine not being able to touch type. I still remember the hum of the electric typewriter and the clunk of each key being pressed.

Tapestry yarns! Which are good and why?

Tapestry yarns! Which are good and why?

If you’re a tapestry weaver, finding just the right yarn might seem like a difficult proposition. Through my students and my own testing of various yarns, I’ve found a few sweet spots in tapestry yarns over the years and I hope these ideas are helpful for you, dear tapestry friend. I’ll briefly tell you what makes a good tapestry yarn and then I’ll tell you which ones are my current favorites and where to get them.

If you’re just starting out, it is helpful to pick one yarn and sett to learn on. I always recommend starting with just one yarn. Learning tapestry is tricky enough without having to learn to manage the way different yarns behave. A teacher can help you with this information but this post should help get you started. Notice as you use that yarn at the sett recommended, what you think about it. How does the yarn serve your design ideas? Does it come in colors you like? Is it easy to work with? I have a few possible combinations at the end of this post, but there are many other possibilities. I also cover this topic in my online course, Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry.

"Can we see all of it?"

"Can we see all of it?"

My tapestry, Displaced: Refugee Blanket has been accepted to the Small Tapestry International 6: Beyond the Edge juried show of the American Tapestry Alliance. I wrote about the piece HERE.

I have so appreciated all the kind words about the work I’ve received thus far. It is a difficult subject. It is never easy to face our humanity and the ways that we are culpable in the displacement of people around the globe.

I’ve had an interesting question crop up repeatedly and I wanted to talk about it. Many people have asked me if they can see the “whole” tapestry. They mean that they would like to see the work unfolded and they want to know if the juror saw it unfolded when she made her decision.

Displaced: Refugee Blanket

Displaced: Refugee Blanket

I’m thrilled to tell you that my tapestry, Displaced: Refugee Blanket was accepted to Small Tapestry International 6: Beyond the Edge. This show is the American Tapestry Alliance’s international small-format juried tapestry show. The juror was Jane Kidd, an artist I greatly admire. Getting into the show was a very sweet victory.

And if that wasn’t thrilling enough, a day later I received another email from the co-chair…

Color palettes: using yarn wraps for color sampling

Color palettes: using yarn wraps for color sampling

I’ve become a fan of yarn wraps. The kind of yarn wrap where you wind some yarn around a stiff card to look at the color combinations, not the kind that might keep you warm during a polar vortex in Chicago.

I’ve been playing with color a lot lately partly because I just taught a retreat about color in tapestry and partly because I’m in the middle of designing a new large-format tapestry. I think there are two basic ways people approach color choice and design in tapestry weaving. They either design the piece including color choices and then dye or purchase the yarns to match those color needs or they spread out all the colors they have and use those choices as they design.

I am a member of the “design first, find yarn later” club.