Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tapestry diary progress

Back in early December I wrote about how I decided to start a tapestry diary, a piece in which I would weave a little bit every single day for an entire year.  I started my diary with the start of the church liturgical year, on Nov. 29, the first day of Advent. 

 Many tapestry weavers much more accomplished than I have done amazing things with this daily practice.  You can see some of them HERE.  Recently, Tommye Scanlin posted a photo of the spectacular 2015 diary she had just cut off her loom--it's every bit as tall as she is!  I love how she developed large images of seasonal natural motifs, images that may have taken a week or more to weave, but she also marked the passage of each day with small bands and blocks of color that fill in the spaces between the larger images.  A really brilliant twist on the conventional grid-like approach to the diary.   

Well, my diary is not nearly so gorgeous or original.  But I thought I'd share it with you, as encouragement for any tapestry weavers out there who might be thinking of starting one but might be just a tad intimidated by the impressive examples posted online.

 So far I'm mostly sticking to the rules I set for myself.
  • I'm following a grid format, seven rectangles across for each week.  On days I'm away from home I'm leaving blank warps.  I was just putting in a row of half-hitches to support the next week's weaving but now I'm also inserting thin strips of matboard as a more stable foundation.  I've been away a lot lately so there are a lot of blank warps.  
  • I'm using the colors of the liturgical calendar, for the most part.  On Christmas Eve, I used pink to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus, rather than sticking to traditional white.  I allowed the white of Christmas day to spill over into Christmas Eve's space as well.  And I threw in some silver yarn with the whites and off-whites for the 12 days of Christmas.
  • Now we are in Ordinary Time, a green season that is a time for spiritual growth.  Basically, it's the church's default season, when there is no special holiday or holiday season being observed. In keeping with the idea of growth, I'm allowing myself to learn the pick-and-pick technique that yields alternating vertical stripes.  This week I'm playing with shaped pick and pick, trying to follow the gentle curves I've sketched on the white paper behind the warp.  I am learning more about it every day, with every little mistake I make.
In some respects I've broken the rules I set.  A few times I've allowed myself to use fresh new yarn off the cone rather than limiting myself to scraps and thrums.  A few times I've even worked ahead, like this week when I've been exploring the technique of shaped pick and pick.  I got so caught up in it I couldn't stop!  And during the white Christmas season, it seemed right somehow to break out of the grid and allow the weft to climb up the blank warps in gentle curves.

I really debated about whether to even share this since, as I said, this is hardly worth looking at if you're searching for visual beauty.  But it has been a very useful daily practice for me, and I am excited to see where the rest of the year takes me. 

1 comment:

  1. it's really taking shape! I'm glad that you're breaking the rules a bit; I know it can feel very constraining in a year-long project so you should always allow yourself to reinterpret! where you let the white pile up into the blank warps I see snowdrifts.