Monday, November 24, 2008

Remodeling the Kitchen

Weaving on the loom has been put on hold for just a couple of weeks, partially because I'm still considering what to do next and mostly because Thanksgiving is this week. So I thought I would share the other BIG thing going on in the Peavey household. We've begun a project of moving our kitchen. I keep a newspaper cartoon on the fridge just to keep things in perspective:

My husband started demolitions when I cried out - "We need a plan!" So here's what we are living with until that plan is a little more defined. We started by taping off the cabinets and the island - so we could "walk" through it. My husband then discovered Google Sketchup which has been GREAT for being able to see what we are imagining. We've already made two major improvements from the "new sight".

This project is really more than just the kitchen - it includes the den, the dining room, the laundry room, a room for the music and the weaving.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sample of Color Blends

My husband was excited when I finally brought out some colored yarns! I bought some small quantities of primary and secondary colors just to see how far I can take blending. I want to know how many colors I will want to buy when I get the serious quantities for bigger pieces. So I wanted to have a record of different blending techniques and even thought about the shading. I started with red, yellow and blue and blended by

  • hatching

  • two colors on the same bobbin keeping then straight

  • two colors on the same bobbin letting them twist
and compared with the secondary color. Just for kicks I then blended the secondary and primary colors to see how far that would go.

Lastly, I wanted to understand my options for shading. My colored pencils class years ago taught me to use the complmentary colors to make the main color pop. Would that work with yarn?
It was a good exercise because it only caused more questions!

"Figure 8's" on the Leashes

An engineer generally can't leave well enough alone and one that becomes a tapestry weaver is no exception. In class, it was mentioned one weaver added paper clips to the end of the leashes and slipped the other end of the paper clip around the warp. She did this to eliminate the need to releash every time she warped the loom. Leashing can be more complicated than warping, so I agree there is room for a design improvement. I wasn't sure about the paper clips on my little loom, so I ran down to the store and looked at all the jewelry findings. I had hoped to find small slip rings, but only found jump rings and Figure 8 connectors. I chose the figure 8s and placed them on my leashes. We'll see how this works out.

Get My Angle?

I have an enormous list of things to try since my class. Coming up with ideas is one of my gifts. I've just over the last few years gotten over the fact that they all won't happen! It's just means I've become more selective about my time. So the first sampler from my first loom was chosen to be ....... a study of angles! We learned in class it matters how one creates an angle - whether it's smooth or jagged. Neither is right or wrong, but I just need to make sure I get what I want. So I went to my CAD package and created an image complete with a grid. I hoped to have a smooth and a jagged angled line side by side for direct comparisons. That could have been on either side of the white. The first thing I learned is that CAD and math don't always translate over to the loom - and the second thing is that despite working hard to not have the weaving narrow in (as my piece did at Arrowmont) I overcompensated and it expanded - consistently! It's all about learning!

Loom, Warped with Leashes

My husband is a pewtersmith and has been facinated by the tapestry work I learned at Arrowmont. I think what he loves best are the copper pipe looms. These can be found at Archie Brennan's website. I came home from Arrowmont and spent all of $26 at Lowes to make my first loom. It was a joint effort with my husband and we even combined two plans to put leashes on this little loom. Leashes help to speed up the weaving by allowing one to pull the warp that's in the back to the front. Otherwise each string must be pulled individually. The next day I did warp the loom for a 3.5" wide piece and even completed the leashes - see 'em?

Where to begin?

Last September, I took my very first tapestry weaving class at the Arrowmont School of Crafts. It was a wonderful week and what I loved best was the ability to focus on that one thing - the art. Someone else dealt with the cooking, the cleaning and the teaching. I just needed to show up and glean all that I could. And I did! What I have learned since is that many of the weavers keep blogs and in reading them I have been inspired to keep my own. Even if all it does is function as a journal for me.

So this first entry will recall my class at Arrowmont. The class was creating a sampler and learning the basic techniques of tapestry weaving. The beauty was in not having a plan, but allowing the time to just see what you see. I had chosen to work in black and white since I have a heating hall full of black and white family photos. I thought that was the weaving would already have place to be displayed.

I started to see building in the shapes and started to think how I could make a building out of the next technique. That worked well until we got to color blending. All was dark and would blend to white - why? I took the night off to think about it. Somewhere in that time, I realized that what I want is to live in color - full, free color. So I went back and blended to white as a light coming from an arch. Through the arch is another world of random color. Even the arch is not created in straight lines, but allowed to be eccentric. The random coloes and the arch also caused the weaving to expand beyond it's borders. There's no confining it!

So I keep this piece where I have my morning quiet time to remind me my life to be as full of color as it can be. I look forward to seeing where all this goes.