This is the archive for the ‘design’ Category

Learning to spin a fine yarn!

February 12th, 2019

WOW—haven’t posted since mid Dec. The holidays came and went. Cards were made and sent. Friends and family came and returned home. Gifts were given and received. Decorations went up and down. and then it was Jan and now it’s Feb.
A lasting allergy/cold/general malaise hung around for a long time, get better and then here it came again, BUT… now it seems to be under control—I hope—and I’m getting back to work. Have worked on the paintings of Ireland but they are still a work in progress, so I turned to fibers. My painting and my fiber work help each other.

Late summer/early fall I bought some carded/dyed fleece from Flying Fibers in Landisville, PA and have been trying to spin a finer yarn. I bought small amounts so I could see how things went. Previously I mainly spun for the joy of it and was happy to get a bulky, lumpy yard with which I could knit/weave bulky, lumpy fabric. I could get a rough control if need be but it was still anything but fine. and I wanted to spin a fine tight yarn to use as weft for small tapestries.

Image of Original roving with pre drafted fiber ready to spin
Original roving with pre drafted fiber ready to spin.

At first I tried just spinning from the roving as purchased but that didn’t work. Next I tried hand carding which defeated the use of the ready made rovings. Sooo, I did some research, lots of tests, and ended up pre drafting by hand—slow but I mainly want small amounts for small tapestries—and I find it very calming to sit and pull the fibers by hand.

Once my fibers were predrafted, I began spinning. I have an original Louet Wheel and was trying to gain some control of the twist. Before I would just spin away and my mood determined how tight the twist was. Now I’m trying to be conscious of the revolutions in each release of fiber. I’ve gotten better but have a long way to go!

Image of Samples of testing
Samples of my testing. Got better with practice. Some are finer than others.
Still working on it.

Image of handspun used in my test. Image of my finished test,.

After spinning, I washed the results, blocked them as they dried and wound them into little balls. You can see my earlier (thicker) yarns and the newer (finer) ones.

My spinning was getting better but I still wasn’t sure how this would weave. I warped my 6 dent Hokett loom at 12 epi and worked up a simple test design that could show a number of yarns. I’m pleased—some worked, some need work! I still want to get more control before doing a series of small weavings. Guess I’ll be heading back to Flying Fibers for more!!!

In addition to my fiber work I’ve been sketching, making marks with charcoal from my fireplace, and drawing my hands. All posts for another day. In the mean time my painting is calling!

Sweet Gum Prints

July 23rd, 2018

Spent the afternoon a few weeks ago in the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Didn’t have a lot of time but we walked around, some photography and I collected leaves of Sweetgum Trees. I love their long pointy shapes and when I got home I made this little book of leaf prints.

Image of book with Sweetgum prints

I haven’t made the cover yet but I’m thinking of a series of leaf books from travels this summer. We’ll see…

In the mean time I did make a sketch book from watercolor paper… and did start working in it. Small sketch of hostas in our back garden.

Image of my sketchbook Image of sketchbook

A simple cardboard cover, closed with a rubber band, with accordion pages of Archers Watercolor paper. My plan is for the simple cover to contrast with a plethora of sketches inside. This is a start.

Expositions

July 15th, 2018

Two of my little Tapestries are in current expositions. Here they are with an image of their installation. I won’t be able to get to either exhibition—my work seems to travel more that I do— but I’m excited to be included in each!

Image of tapestry  weaving Image of tapestry  weaving

“Have a Cup of Tea with Me” is in the ATA (American Tapestry Alliance) exhibition, “The Biggest Little Tapestries in the World!” in Reno NV. This piece will be included in the exhibition catalog.

Image of tapestry weaving Image of tapestry  weaving

“…and She Looked out the Window” is in the Webster Arts Gallery‘s exhibit, “Warp and Weft”, in Webster Groves, Missouri.

I’m new to tapestry weaving and am thankful to both organizations for giving me a chance to exhibit my work!!!

Weaving on the Road…

June 28th, 2018

Off to Virginia to stay with Fletcher and Cooper while their parents were away and I took my Hokett Loom, yarns and design materials. I knew the boys would have their noses in the World Cup and I would have time to indulge in weaving.

Image of a weaving studio in a bag

I pack my weaving supplies in translucent bags that all fit into a larger bag. One for my Hokett with the tray I use it on, one for a selection of yarns and one for little bits of equipment. My design supplies go in a small shoulder bag with watercolors, sketchbooks etc. With these two bags I could set up a little studio space and was set!

Image of my temporary studio Image of when I ran out of black yarn

Got out my sketchbook and watercolors and came up with my design. I’ve been sketching trees and leaves lately so decided on stylized leaves. Next to warp my little loom and prepare my weft yarns. I did bring the little spinner thing that I got from Rebecca Mezoff to un ply my Harrisville yarns. BUT… my design called for black and I forgot that while I needed to un ply the blue and green yarn, I needed to double the black and didn’t bring enough… You can see where I ran out of black yarn in the image above!!! Always something!!!!

Image of finished weaving

I did have more black at home and was able to finish!!! So all is well with one part of my world, at least…

Playing with Food!

June 10th, 2018

Moore College of Art reunion yesterday – brunch in the am – workshops in the afternoon…and the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards presentation, (my friend and former student Harshia Lohia received an award as did Janice Merendino) followed by the Alumni Exhibition Opening in the evening.

I signed up for “Art Forms in Nature” workshop lead by Karen Fuchs which I thought was going to be drawing but instead was a discussion of forms and patterns found in nature followed by stamping designs with supplied food – cut lemons, garlic, cabbage, etc. – Pretty basic stuff but we had a lot of fun. Here are some of my results:

Image of printed marks Image of printed marks Image of printed marks
‘Twas fun!

First Real Tapestry

March 22nd, 2018

Well, I’ve taken the little looms class and attended the little looms workshop in the mountains of Colorado- both with Rebecca Mezoff. I’ve done a number of small tapestries on my Hokett looms and felt I knew what I was doing enough to sign up for the Unjuried Small Format Tapestry Exhibition through the American Tapestry Alliance. I worked on my design, did some samples on my 8 epi Hokett and ordered yarns from Harrisville. I thought I had simplified my design and thought Harrisville would be good as I do know I’m a beginner. WELL, the real world works to keep me humble. I still like my design, but should have explored more ways to do the veins in the leaves. There are slits all over the place to the point of making it unstable. I’ll try stitching them but…

Anyway, here’s my process – I do still like my design and will rework it after I pick my self up… I may do a series – I like the simple concept of friendship and nature. I call this one, “Have a Cup of Tea with Me”.

Image of inspiration Image of Harrisville Yarns

I had a watercolor sketch that I had done of leaves in a jar and liked it’s spring like quality and colors. I selected my colors based on it and ordered them – it was exciting when they arrived!!! Much of my work is with low chroma colors so these bright hues were a big deal for me!

Image of sketches Image of color sketch Image of final drawing

I knew the watercolor was beyond my abilities as this was my first real tapestry so I redrew it, cropping in and eventually cropped in a lot more. I wanted this to be a friendly, cosy, spring like design, so the jar changed to the suggestion of a cup of tea. I then scanned the color sketch and redrew it in Illustrator to flatten it and to simplify it even more. Once sized, that became my cartoon.

Image of sample Image of second sample Image of sample 3

I made samples. First, testing how yarns could mix to extend the colors I have, then adjusting the values of the greens to get the feeling of the tea cup under the leaves and finally exploring various angles I could achieve. I considered weaving this side ways, and perhaps I should have but I thought I could get away with a vertical design as I wanted the texture to be vertical and not horizontal.

Image of the start of weaving Image of color sketch

Finally I got started. I had warped my new loom when I got it to make sure I understood how. I didn’t use the shedding device as I used my fingers and it doesn’t seem to make a very large shed anyway. Also when I attached the cartoon to the back it made the shedding device unusable. I attached it with some bag clips from my kitchen – need to research how others do this. I re did section after section as I began to understand how the weft packed down – think I might be packing too hard??? My main problem was the vein lines in the leaves. My original design didn’t have them but I felt they were important to describe the leaves. I tried different blues (limited to the blues I have) and eccentric lines, and wrapping a single warp yarn. I ended up using anything that seemed to work – resulting is a fabric with too many slits. I thought I could stitch the slits but there is a problem with the wrapped warps – perhaps if I had stitched as I went along…but I didn’t. When it lies flat the problem doesn’t show but when I took it off the loom…

Image of final drawing
So, I have a lot to learn and I learned a lot.