Pente Ifan, Wales
I have started my first tapestry weaving this week. I'm using a photo of Pente Ifan near Cardigan, Wales as my model. I got to actually touch this massive, incredible monolith while I was in Wales. It vibrates, and you can just feel the age to it. I felt like I was in a super sacred place, very holy, very mystical and cosmic. I went alone to see it while my friend Sue stayed in the car. It was a short walk through a pasture with sheep on both sides of the fence. It sits on one of the high rolling hills and isn't too far from the Neolithic Village I also got to visit. It was late afternoon, very quiet and still, with a light, cold misting rain. Some people have said that when they have looked through the opening in the center they have seen other places and times. I can sort of believe it as there as so much energy surrounding this simple structure. I still can't figure how they managed to balance the rocks the way they are to construct them with no heavy machinery to lift these huge stones. My ancestors must have been supermen. I stayed for about 15 minutes and left as it was getting on dinner time.
My tapestry is being done of a 12 x 12 frame loom that I had already warped and put headers on maybe a year or so ago and never got any actual weaving done on. The yarns are pulled from all my stashes and I am using hand dyed homespun, DMC Medici tapestry, Jameison yarns, rug yarns and assorted knitting and sock yarns--whichever have the right colors I need for this. I've gotten 4 or so inches done so far doing simple tabby and interlock tapestry. I'm trying to avoid doing slits to sew in as much as possible. The warp is not tensioned which I will correct in future weavings. Still having problems keeping even sides. I really have to figure out how to do sides. My tools are naalbinding needles, yarn needles, and a plastic hair pick.
I can't remember what I used to warp this thing but it looks like thin Medici type wool as it isn't cotton thread or linen and is thicker than quilting thread but not as thick as Peaches and Cream cotton yarns. I think my rocks and foreground grass is coming along okay. I think it's close enough to the original colors and shading. I'm doing a lot of color blending of threads using 2-3 strands of Medici as I weave when I'm not using thicker handspun, and even with it sometimes I am adding a stand of the Medici to make it blend better. Designing xstitch, needlepoint, my own yarns, and rug hooking has helped a lot in learning how to optically mix colors in yarn and fibers also the rag weaving of rugs and bags has helped too to see how colors interact and blend. I am studying a lot of the tapestries on line in progress to see how other people handle their colors and problem areas of their designs. I'm learning at lot that way than I have from my less than helpful books. I'm going to try to get into the monolith rocks today and see how far I get.
I got the red rag bag done. This was all on 2 cardboard looms, one for the bag and the other for the handle. It used red Peaches and Cream yarn for the warp and assorted cotton quilting fabrics for the weft cut in 1" strips using both my hands and one of the larger naalbinding wooden needles to weave with. I had to weave the bottom together with extra yarn, then sewed the handles to the upper header band. It's 15 x 18 which makes a nice large project bag or a bag where you need extra height for items so they won't fall out. My tapestry loom would fit in it with not problem.
I've also gotten some work done of my dino rug when I wasn't working on the tapestry or something else. I got the stegosaurus done and am putting in the background before I move on to another area. I think it's coming along okay. For those just tuning in, This rug was deliberately designed to look like a child drew the dinos. Very primitive, very simple--at least for me artwork so I could use leftover 6's, 8's and other wide cut leftovers. The figures remind me of the tail end credits on Ice Age 3. I love the artwork on the credits, it's darling and gave me ideas for other work along this and that lines.
You are probably wondering why this interest in yet another fiber art, tapestry and weaving-- it's just something I have been trying to do off and on for years. It's the only fiber art that generally frustrates me and I never seem to be any good at. Ever since I started spinning I've had this thing in my head to weave enough cloth to make a garment with using a primitive loom like a warp weighed one like my lost ago ancestors somewhere did just to see if I could do it and how long it would take me to do it. I've gotten a pretty good idea of how long it takes now to spin up enough fine yarn to make a sweater, blanket, or shawl out of on spindles and a wheel but how long did it take a poor lone housewife back in the past to weave enough simple cloth for her family? That's something I really want to know for myself knowledge and to having the satisfaction of doing it.
Previous attempts at weaving
I'd love to learn how to use a rigid heddle, 4 or 8 shaft loom but I'm never going to be able to afford a real or big loom. At least I can build frame looms, but don't have the equipment, tools to make my own bigger more complex looms. I'd love to have a big 36 to 45 wide rug loom, that would be wonderful and I can see being able to make my rag rugs way quicker than I am doing. I'm in love with Kromski Harp loom with it's built in warping board. And I also love the Ashford Knitting looms with their optional extra heddles. Hopefully one day I can make enough money to buy on in the future. I have started numerous weaving projects over the past 6-7 years since I've been here but never finished them. Hopefully, since this a small design I will get this tapestry done. What I get out of weaving is a sense of being connected, like I do when I'm spinning, something ancient and primeval like Pente Ifan is, if that makes sense, something I'm missing from daily like here in SC. I know I will never get into complex weaving, I look at weaving drafts and my head aches--too too confusing for my head at this time. Though I do admire some of the spectacular work being done by the complex, multi shaft weavers out there.
Though doing the tapestry I have to wonder what I'm going to use it once it's finished. Wall hanging, purse decoration, clothing insert? I'll have to think on it. It's not like a hooked rug that can be used mutiple ways and is a lot more durable. This tapestry is going to be too lightweight and won't stand up to heavy use. How much is going to be worth finished? I have seen incredible prices even on small pieces but would I be able to get those kind of incredible prices for my work? I'd be happy to get a 1/4 of some of the prices. I do get miffed that most of my work will never been seen in a gallery or any place it should be seen, and will most likely end up stashed in a closet in one of my kids homes or end up at Goodwill or the trash. At least I can show it on line where someone might like it in passing and if I'm really lucky buy it.
Nest week I move into the house so I will not be on very much as the computer is staying at the shop. Kendra and Corey are moving to Asheville to his grandmother's. Things sort of blew up over the house and them not really paying half the rent or utilies for the 18 months they've lived here. They are moving and sticking us with the bills. If he had just gotten a job besides doing the occasional sci-fi con for his friend, things would have been cool, but enough is enough. I won't go into other problems with them. Oh, he has a job waiting for him there.... I will miss my daughter and granddaughter, but I hope he shapes up and starts supporting his family as we can't anymore. So I move in next week after they've got their junk out, and move my working junk over here there. I'm going to get a cheap cell phone for there but no cable or internet for awhile. I need it because I may get stuck at the house as the car is taking longer and longer to start because of it's messed up security system that we can't afford to get fixed. So initally it'll be just me and dog, they are taking their cats thankfully. With everyone out I can finally inventory my junk and see about selling off some of the books and craft supplies I have. I'll be posting notices on different Yahoo sale boards for what I am selling off and post a notice on here too.
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