Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tapestry in Unexpected Places : Origins

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. Please forgive the poor quality of the photos. I took them with my iPad.

Last summer we were dealing with old dog Pyper's mysterious skin condition. Our regular vet got us a referral to the Veterinary Hospital at Virginia Tech. I had forgotten that my friends Lynn and Bernie had commissioned and donated this tapestry to the Vet School, so it was a special pleasure to become reacquainted with it while Pyper and I were hanging out in the waiting area.

"Origins" was designed and woven by Jean Pierre Larochette and Yael Lurie. I quote from the informational sign:

"A husband and wife team, Jean-Pierre Larochette and Yael Lurie created this multi-dimensional tapestry to showcase the coordinating dimensions of veterinary medicine and the natural world. It is woven in the classic French Aubusson style, from the back rather than the front. ... The piece has many layers of symbolism and meaning. Serpents are especially appropriate for the College of Veterinary Medicine as they symbolize the vital forces in life and are a long standing symbol of the medical profession. The serpents are entwined to form a double helix, the genetic code of life. Hands represent creativity, compassion and healing - all essential to veterinary medicine. A vast variety of plant and animal life can be noticed throughout the work, tucked away in different layers of the tapestry."

 You can see more of their work at the American Tapestry Alliance web site in an extensive on-line exhibition.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Truckload of Tickle

I never knew you could get tickles delivered! :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

January Photos

Yes, I know it's March. I'm trying to get caught up.

I took these in early January on the Huckleberry Trail.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Random things of awesomeness.

So, you know when you go to the thrift store and see something kind of cool but you can't figure out what you'd do with it so you don't buy it? And then you go back a while later and it's still there, and you still can't figure out what to do with it so you don't buy it again. And then you go back a month later, it's still there, and you still like it, but this time, even though you don't know what you'll do with it, you buy it anyway. Because if it's still there, you were meant to have it.

That's what this is. Yes, it's a red ceramic tile toilet paper holder. Crazy, right? I love the color and wish I could see a bathroom that this was used in. Really. My bathroom is pink and I hate it, but I might be able to love a bathroom that had awesome red tile. Maybe. Anyway, when I got the roll holder home I had my lightbulb moment. This little beauty is going to become a dispenser of garden twine. Oh, yeah. I'm off to the hardware store to get a replacement springy thing to go in the middle.

The second brilliant find of the day, also at the YMCA Thrift Store, was the discovery of this ginormous roll of vintage Con-Tact paper, pictured under my new twine dispenser. Seriously cheerful, isn't it? And the roll is huge!

You may be wondering how I know this fab Con-Tact Paper is vintage. Well, look at the back of the roll...
Hints for covering walls!?! That explains the size of the roll....

Isn't everything easier when you read and follow directions?
And wear a little frilly apron.

I think everything in this room that isn't fabric has Con-Tact paper on it!

Seriously. Awesome.

I see a Con-Tact desk set in my future.
If there's any Con-Tact paper left over after I paper my kitchen...

And on to the kitchen. Check out the dining set.
So vintage, so hip, so now.  And Con-Tact on the fridge, too!

Saving the best for last.
She's also faux wood Con-Tacted all of her kitchen cabinets.
Check out the roll on the floor.
Wow. Just wow. I'm not sure how many yards of this stuff I have, but I'm getting inspired.

Fuzzy Warps 3 : weave it!

This is part of a series of three posts on weaving with a fuzzy warp. I'm putting this out there in the hopes that you might find some of it useful. I am in no way saying my way of approaching this is the Right Way. It's just my way. You should use it as a springboard to find out what works best for you! Every yarn, loom, and weaver is different. Your mileage will, most certainly, vary!

Mohair and alpaca warp, alpaca weft.
So, you've planned you project, you've got your fuzzy warp on the loom, you're all ready to weave! Here are a few tips that may help you weave off your project with ease.

1. Get a big shed. Now personally, I think big sheds are highly overrated for most weaving. Really you only need a shed big enough to easily scoot that shuttle right on through.

In the case of a fuzzy warp however, a bigger shed can be helpful. If you recall from my previous posts, I've been encouraging you to give your fuzzy warp yarns space - both in your sett, and in spreading them out as far as possible through the depth of your harnesses. A nice big shed will also separate those yarns going up and down. How big a shed, you ask? Well, a little bit bigger than the length of the fuzz on your yarns would be good. You might have to experiment a little to find the perfect shed for your yarns. What you want to do is separate the threads that are up and the threads that are down completely. If the the fuzz from adjacent harnesses stays together and rubs up and down with each shed change it's like teasing hair. Or felting.

If you remember to advance your warp often, you'll be able to take advantage of whatever size shed you have. Don't weave right up to the reed. As soon as stuff starts sticking, advance your warp! That will also move the fuzziest bits that have been rubbing up and down out of the harnesses, making things even easier.

2. Treadle with a little bounce. If your warp yarns still stick a little bit, sometimes you can "bounce" the treadles a little and they will work loose. I think this is preferable to having to stick your hands into the harnesses all the time to clear things up.

3. Use the weight of your loom to help you. The easiest fuzzy warp weaving I've done has been on my 8 harness jack loom. With over 40 inches of weaving width and metal heddles, those harnesses had some weight to them. If the bounce didn't work, I'd raise all the harnesses that were threaded and then DROP the ones that needed to be down. Really, just let them fall. I was, of course, confident that my warp yarn, my loom, and my husbands temper had the strength to handle the repeated crashing and banging.

The countermarch Glimakra that I wove my Fuzzy Afghan on was a different story entirely. Oh, I could bounce the shed a bit, but the harnesses, with their Texsolv heddles, are very light. I think my shed was large enough, but again, those flexy soft Texsolv heddles, as much as I love them, didn't hold the yarns as much as move around with them. Honestly, it was a bit of a mess. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't try weaving fuzzy yarns on your loom with Texsolv or string heddles! It means that I was treating my countermarch loom as if it were a jack loom. That is, I hadn't given it a thought!

4. Change the way you beat. You can use the beater to help clear some small tangles. Try this: Open your shed, throw the shuttle, pull the beater into the fell of the cloth and hold it there, change your shed (you may have to bounce a little with the treadles), then push the beater back. Only move that beater on an open shed when the yarns are as far apart as possible. This should clear any tangles by stray fibers that are extra-long and keep the beater from rubbing together the threads from different harnesses.

I hope you've enjoyed this little series on weaving with fuzzy yarns. Clearly, I didn't follow all of these guidelines when I wove that Fuzzy Afghan, but it reminded me of things that I did know, and taught me some new things too. And after all, isn't learning new stuff half the fun?

By the way, that afghan is the warmest and coziest nap blanket ever!