Two and a half years ago I decided to explore Theo Moorman’s weaving technique. I have done double weave before and long wanted to try the imagemaking possibilities of this method. It is basically a double weave—one fine warp is used to tie down a supplementary weft. Being fine it does not show and is also integrated into the thicker main warp of the background. I sent away to Halcyon Yarns in Maine for my yarns. Green for the main warp and black for the tie down warp. Purple and green were to work as the main weft and I did lots of experimenting with the image weft. The yarns arrived and I got busy winding the warp!
First the green warp through the front heddles and then the black through the back two. I used strings to keep my two warps separate as they went through the reed. A 12 dent reed with 3 ends per dent—one black and two green.
My small Harrisville Loom!
Finally all tied on and winding the bobbins. This is a hand bobbin winder that belonged to my grandmother’s cousin. I was given her counterbalance loom which is currently in my attic.
For warp I also used some pine needles from walks in the Wissahickon, some sticks that I soaked, shredded, and dyed with rusty bits. I used some yarn that tied up lunch from my trip with the Garden gals… This warp turned into a journal of my life during this time.
And I did The Moorman Technique with it’s ability to make wonderful densities of design. A square within a square. Towards the end there were squares – positive squares, negative squares, heavy squares, delicate squares, squares with stripes…and then I ran out of warp!
My “Stitches not Words” project uses squares and lots of squares appeared here. One early bit of weaving that was removed to adjust the warp didn’t have squares but it ended up in a rusty bit dye pot with stitched bits on it!
“Stitches not Words!”
The final project in Rebecca Mezoff’s “Little Looms” online tapestry workshop was to weave some letters. I decided to weave this sideways and leave some fringe. I designed the letters and while they didn’t look quite like this, you get the idea. It’s 2.5″ x 4″ woven 8 epi on my Hokett loom.
The green and bright orange yarns are natural dyed and the brown is natural fleece handspun. The background and the white are commercial, all from my yarn stash and the depths of history…
Love my little lettering tapestry.
Again, I’m happy with the results and the color but the jaunty charm is mostly due to my inexperience.
We had a snowy day on Jan 7th and I settled down with my snuffy cold to warp my little loom. I was starting the part of the Little Looms Workshop dealing with curves and decided to work with the drawings I’ve been doing of the small shell bits I gathered on the beach shortly after Christmas. I loved their curving stripes of various oranges and had been wanting to do something with some dye samples I had. I had used various mordants with onion skins with one dye bath to produce a range of colors. So I warped the loom, made a series of simplified sketches, and wound my samples into little balls of yarn.
Getting set up on a snowy day!
There are 4 different shades of orange: a dark brown using chrome and iron, a brighter orange above that using alum, tin and iron, a lower chroma resulting from just alum and tin and finally the top two had no mordant at all, plus white. These samples were done years ago and I was pleased that not only could I find the small skeins but also my dye notes with attached samples. I was taught by very thorough teachers. Linda Berry Walker, Myrlie Misskelly and Trudy Van Stralen to name a few.
One of the reasons I wanted to do these small tapestries was to use some of these small samples.
Finished product with it’s inspiration.
I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I like the free forms of these arcs but I’d like to gain more control over my weaving – time and practice… I also wanted to have more variety in the orange areas but felt at this stage i had enough to work with keeping all the yarns in the correct sheds. This too will get better with practice – so I may revisit this idea in the future but for now I’m pleased with the result.
I was pleased with my first small loom tapestry project and got too cocky at attempting my second. Bit of beginners luck with the first I guess, the second was pulled in and crooked and while it might have a certain naivete and charm, that’s not I was looking for, so I decided to work through the workshop step by step and guess what—I’m learning a whole lot!
Here are my next two samples. The first is just dealing with meet and separate, a method of changing colors and it helps with my selvages… not pulled in and crooked! It was woven with yarn I had dyed with madder many years ago. The second builds on the first by concentrating on rectangles and blocks as it changes colors. This one uses Indigo dyed yarns.
Next is diagonals.
One of my plans with this little looms course is to create something with the bits of hand dyed yarns I have piled up. This is doing that, and it’s making me slow down and it’s keeping me sane as the world goes crazy.
Working for the Little Loom tapestry workshop. Ordered an 8 dent regular size Hokett Loom. Jim Hokett makes these looms in wonderful dramatic woods but I wanted one that wouldn’t distract from the weaving I was working on and he sent me this wonderful birds eye maple loom. I LOVE IT!
First tapestry attempt with my new little loom.
This first project is of a path among cranberry bogs in NJ. I made a simple sketch and redrew it on the warp. I used yarns from my existing stash and tried to match the weights by combining some and using others as singles. Once off the loom and finished the weaving will be about 2.5“ x 3“. There are some issues with it but for a first attempt I’m pleased.
Need to get back to work. This has not been a pleasant month. Been doing things I can do by rote, dealing with my classes and students, and taking more long walks in the woods.
Signed up for a workshop on little looms with Rebecca Mezoff. Got inspired after doing the small weaving with the dyed yarns I had used to wrap my fabric bundles and while I’m pleased with my result I realize I need a whole lot of brushing up—also for some reason I’m terrible with half hitches… Seem simple enough when I try them in an isolated situation but then on the loom…. think it just takes doing, and doing and doing – like everything else.
Some of the students in this course are posting beautiful work…got my work cut out for me.
I’m starting with the small frame I used with the dyed handspun and have ordered a sm Hokett Loom which should arrive this week. That’s exciting. Long story short—workshops always shake me out of a bad place and get me going. So here’s hoping it helps now.
Starting anew and finishing up the old
I’m also finishing up the looooong green warp I have on the loom using the Moorman Technique – which is sloooow for me and I’m getting back to my stitches.
Oh, and working on some drawing. Here is the start of a charcoal drawing of leaves— from the long walks in the woods.
and then there’s my painting…