Tapestry beaters or forks

My new babies got here yesterday.
Here they are all wrapped up for travel.
At the recommendation of a fabulous tapestry weaver, Lyn Hart, I purchased one Maggie fork several years ago. I have been trying to get more ever since. Yesterday the box arrived with four new forks nestled in the center. A huge thanks to Magpie WoodWorks, LLC for this beautiful work. These tools will hopefully last me a very long time (and honestly, I am already panicking that I won't be able to get any more and considering if I can afford a few more for rainy days in the future). The work of John Jenkins is outstanding. The teeth of the forks are pet combs. The tips are pointy enough to travel through the warp easily but smooth enough that I never worry about snagging the tapestry. They are spaced perfectly and are very strong. The woodworking is gorgeous and flawless.

In this photo, the forks are small, large, small, and the mini is lying on top.
Each fork is stamped "maggie". I love this... perhaps because I had a dog named Maggie once a long time ago. This is the handle of the "mini".
Here is a closer shot of the small sized fork.
Magpie WoodWorks is based in Grand Junction, CO. Their website is www.magpiewoodworksusa.com.

The first tapestry class in my new studio

I had my first class in my own studio May 4, 5, and 7. I had a set of fantastic students and I think we all had a marvelous time. At least I know I did and they all were lying if they didn't. They were a shy bunch and didn't much want their photos taken, but here are some shots of yarn, the studio, and the work being done.

The class was Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry and the class description is on my website HERE.


Here is one student's preparation for a color gradation using singles yarn, three to a bundle.

Here are a few examples of the hatching and hachure practice we were doing in the class.

This is a detail of a jump-over technique we were learning. It is a sort of regular hatching. This is the back side of the tapestry.

Here is a detail of some shading we were practicing with pick and pick and above that in the blue is a vertical gradation using singles yarn. (Much of this class is woven using the 2-ply Harrisville Highland but we practice getting smooth color gradations with a singles yarn by Harrisville.)

Another example of pick and pick and a vertical gradation. Under the pick and pick in black and grey is a great example of a hachure exercise. We use this as a way to experiment with creating areas of shading using only two colors. When done in more similar tones, the effect can be quite subtle. I do recommend students start with contrasting colors so they can see the technique they are working on!



And Sunday afternoon there was even a surprise black bottom pie which Emily made for the class. You can't argue with that.
And here are a few beautiful photos from one of the talented students, Susan Fuquay. She said I could share them with you. If you love yarn, you might like these.
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay

How much fun can a girl have in a day?

So really. How much fun is one woman allowed to have in a day? I turned a bunch of little skeins of singles yarn into some great colors. Dyeing all those colors in just two pots is such fun. I know it. I'm a geek.






And this is the kind of thing Emily has to put up with all the time. Skeins of yarn all over the house... not to mention the eviction of her car from the garage when the dyeing enters its manic phase.  I feel such a phase coming on actually. My apologies to the Camry.

The good news is that I have more Ball jar dyeing to do this weekend in preparation for the next big piece. Before committing hundreds of dollars of yarn to the dye pots, I'm doing the knitting equivalent of swatching. It seems a good idea. Plus the little skeins are so darn cute.

Eldorado Studio Tour 2013

I didn't have a lot of time at the Eldorado studio tour this year but I did find a few hours Saturday to drive up there and visit four tapestry weavers. Eldorado is a large community just east of Santa Fe off I-25.

Lynne Coyle makes wonderful tapestries on looms her husband makes for her. I enjoyed hearing about how they make everything they can themselves. Her husband makes ingenious frames for the finished tapestries which are quite beautiful and some of her work was framed with metal which included decorative scrollwork. I was also inspired by her 96 year old mother who despite macular degeneration (which takes away your central vision), sews many hours every day and had a whole room of lovely quilts for sale.

Linda Running Bentley is a natural dyer. Several of the tapestries she had displayed were woven from yarn dyed entirely by plants from her Eldorado yard. She had made a beautiful green from juniper and some brilliant yellow from chamisa.

While Linda's work is grounded in the plants around her, Sheila Burke's tapestries are about the cosmos. She has been working with value in small format lately and the results are excellent.

Letitia Roller was an inspiration to me. Her tapestries are full of movement. She tends to put small bits of shapes together and builds a large image that is fascinating to study. I was blessed to hear some about Letty's process as an experienced artist and encouraged to see some of the tools she uses for design, many similar to tools I use myself. Letting the process just happen is important and sometimes takes deliberately focusing on something else for the pieces to fall together. Doodling is part of her process, but her doodles look like works of art. She has started using stamps and spray dye for this process and it reminds me of the art journaling that I have worked on intermittently for the last few years. Letty also is a wonderful pastel painter. I was captivated by her use of color in her pastel work and encourage you to look at her website at both the tapestry and the pastel portfolios. The work is very different in the two mediums, but both are inspiring. Her website is HERE.

The Eldorado studio tour is a huge event. There were something like 70 stops and I only made it to four of them before I had to head off to the mountains for the day. They have a preview gallery at La Tienda which is a great place to stop first to get an idea of where you want to go from there.

A Festivus Miracle!!

I spent today taking plastic off looms and putting together IKEA furniture. I am consistently impressed at how ingeniously that stuff is made considering how relatively inexpensive it is.

I reached a panic point late in the afternoon. I had the large Expedit bookshelf that is for my yarn all put together on the floor. I was pretty proud of myself for getting this one together by myself considering that this is IKEA's recommendation:
But I have some experience with this furniture now and I was pretty sure I could use the wall as another set of hands. Turns out it worked beautifully (and I highly recommend getting a small rubber mallet if you are going to put together one of these babies... it saves your hands and doesn't chip the finish if you're careful). But eventually I was looking at this:
...and wondering how on earth I was going to stand it up. I tried to lift it enough to get a 2x4 under it in the hopes that when Emily got home from work and I bribed her with some pizza we could lift it. I could only get it up far enough to smash my fingers pretty well. Turns out the thing weighs about 250 pounds when assembled. Remembering my physics, I knew I didn't have to lift that much, but the first few feet up would be a good portion of it. How do you lift heavy things? My dad moves pianos really well with an old car spring and a box of 2x4 pieces... he just jacks it up a little at a time until he can slide a dolly under the thing. But that wasn't going to help me get this bookcase from lying down to standing up.

I got some good advice from my sister via Facebook (basically she said, I can't solve your problem, but don't panic. We Mezoffs aren't good at problem solving when we are panicking). At that point I was exhausted from all the assembly (and a really hard yoga class earlier today) and I just wanted my studio to be useable already!

Then there was a knock on the door (the Festivus miracle part). My water had been out for awhile and my landlady sent our awesome handyman over to find out what the problem was. Turns out my water is still shared with my neighbor and he turned it off to do some plumbing on the other side of the wall. But Juan, being the helpful guy he is, took one look at that shelf and said, "Need help with this?" (Except in Spanish which I even understood!) I applied my puny muscle strength (hoping the yoga will help with this) and he basically picked the thing up by himself.

Here are the leftover pieces from the assembly day.
It is a little disconcerting to have leftovers, but I am pretty sure I don't need most of them. I probably should use the one that screws the big shelf to the wall though. All I need is for it to fall over on someone. I'll have to call Juan to get them out!

Here is Cassy doing her best to help all morning.

Two steps forward, three steps back

Well, I knew that I was going to have to tear apart the studio again to complete some soundproofing in the ceiling that the landlord didn't think really needed to be done before I moved in. Turned out that being able to hear every word of what the business owner upstairs says is not really a great situation. The last straw was being able to hear someone pee in a bathroom somewhere above my head.

So after my studio class the first week of May, I packed everything up again and moved it to the far side of the studio where it would be out of harms way. It sounds like a minor thing when chatting about it, but it has been a large set-back. I had hoped to be dyeing yarn for my new piece right now, but I haven't found a quiet space to concentrate on the design and decide on the colors... and my design and color materials are in boxes under layers of plastic somewhere. So I wait for the work to be done so I can put my new shelves together, get the yarn dyed, and start weaving.

Last Thursday the insulation went up. 




A couple days later, the soundboard was in place. I lost the cool rust-colored beams, but the sound barrier will be worth it.
The looms in their shrouds of plastic. No, I didn't move the Harrisville Rug Loom. That was my stipulation in them doing the work. It is warped and ready to go and I don't want to have to screw with the tension again.


And the furniture was finally delivered two weeks late after four different companies schlepped it who-knows-where... by a very chatty Sikh with a good string of jokes. I wish I could remember jokes because he was really quite funny. I know there was one about the Pope and lawyers in heaven.... I wonder if he knows any about freight companies.

I love spring. One of my studio neighbors had this huge rag rug hanging over his upstairs balcony the other day.

Moths in Tapestry... or Holy Guacamole, HELP!!!

I think I need some moth advice. I have worried little about moths living in a very dry place and having never seen a clothes moth in my tapestry career.

But tonight I unpacked this tapestry.
Rebecca Mezoff, The Goddess's Heart Song, 31 x 34 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
The Goddess's Heart Song has been rolled up in storage (in a storage locker) for the past year and a half. It was one of my very first tapestries and resides in my personal collection. I was getting ready to hang the tapestry in my home and looked at the back and saw this.
I looked closer and saw this.



I scraped away the little semi-translucent trails and saw places where it seemed like the nap of the tapestry has been chewed. It is hard to see in the photograph, but here it is. See the little trough in the center of the photo?
So does this evidence suggest moths? (I can't imagine it is anything else.)
And if so, what do I do about it. I think I need some help on this one.
As soon as I post this cry for help, I will vacuum the tapestry. Does anyone know what I should do after that to make sure I save this piece and don't have an infestation? I know that people put yarn in the freezer, take it out and thaw it, and then freeze it again. Is this a good procedure for a tapestry? I certainly don't want any of my other pieces infested. This piece was one of only a few that were in that storage locker. The ones I had with me seem to be fine.

And are there any other thoughts on using cedar? I won't use moth repellant as I don't want that chemical in my environment. I do hang my tapestries 3/4 inch from the wall. The little buggers may have found the tapestry in storage. Probably someone in the next locker was storing thrift store sweaters. Sigh.

Heaven forbid I introduce moths into a new house and they find their way into my extensive yarn stashes. I shudder to think of the potential catastrophe. I don't have any clothes worth two cents, but my yarn... well, they better not mess with the yarn.