Sunday, January 31, 2010

Part 2 - Tapestry Class for the New Year

As for yarn, the warp used in this tapestry class is a mercerized cotton, about sport weight. While the weft used is a single ply wool knitting worsted weight. I found that Lamb’s Pride by Brown Sheep duplicated the colors of Glasbrook’s very closely, so I’m using that for the beginning class.

The weft yarns are wound into butterflies to be used in the weaving, but tapestry needles or bobbins could also be used to weave the weft. Personally, I really don’t like weaving with butterflies and would rather work with a weaving needle or a bobbin. A weaving needle is a bit longer than a tapestry needle and still has a blunt point and a large eye.

My secret wish is to make my own wooden bobbins. I’ve tried using a dowel in a vise and shaving it to get the shape that I want. But it’s really labor intensive and a small lathe would really do the job much faster and better. I can picture a small lathe in my wood working shop of the future, but then I can picture a lot of things in my head. Whether it will really happen is another thing. A friend of mine once accused me of weaving only so that I would have an excuse to work with wood. Hmm, might be true.

Other tools that are handy for tapestry weaving are pick up sticks, a batten and a weaving fork or beater. This photo shows some really nice examples of items that I’ve picked up at weaving conferences and shops, and some of my own woodworking attempts. I’m sure you can tell which is which easily enough. One item in the lower front is a letter opener from World Bazaar that I cut teeth into the lower edge with a scroll saw to create a weaving fork.

As with my rigid heddle class the tapestry goes for an hour and a half for six sessions. We cover different weaving techniques such as hatching, shading, diagonals, stripes, outlining, and finishing. Like most introductory classes it’s just the beginning, there’s so much more to learn.

Next, what’s coming off the knitting needles…

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