Thursday, 30 August 2012

ATW Blends

I have selected a few of the ends from the ATW which show how they blend colours and yarns.  Most of them are a combination of both wool and cotton.  The 2 mauve blends on the left are from the Alice Bayke tapestry.  The  next picture of one of them has 4 wool strands and 10 threads of stranded cotton, 6 white and 4 mauve; I think it was used in the lace part of her dress. I don't use as many threads when I blend.  For my large tapestry I am using 5 strands in my weft, mostly  4 strands of wool and 2 of cotton; I find the cotton lightens the effect.

Most of the wool I used for Tim's Tapestry was ends; saved myself both money and time as I already had the bag of ends  and who am I to argue with experts in blending colours.

Monday, 27 August 2012


I finally took some advice and sorted my wool into a proper palette and sorted my cottons at the same
time. At the ATW they use a lot of cotton and linen and I occasionally buy bags of left overs to use and to get an idea of what they do. 

Here are some of the bobbins  wound ready for use with a collection of cottons.  There is my last ball of Marta's hand - dyed wool which I am using with the orange/red colours to replicate the ground.  It gives a nice occasional fleck. I have also begun a colour strip which should, in theory, help minimize pulling out because the colours don't work.
You can see the effect of the hand dyed wool;  I like it because it is subtle.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Visiting Tim

Well I have finally made a little progress with my tapestry and I am  calling it Visiting Tim as it is a visual representation of our trip earlier this year to see Tim who lives in the Kimberelys.

The beginning was easy; soon however I ran into difficulties with the boabs and  colour.  I tried several times to get a representation with which I was happy.
Too stiff
I tried white as their trunks are a light colour then I added yellow.

This is starting to look better.    

I consulted my tutor and a neighbour who  mentors me when I ask and both said the same that I needed to include some of the  surrounding colour so the trees blend in. I did this and am moderately pleased with the result.

If only it was easy.  The process so far has highlighted 2 things. The first is the benefits of leashes and the second is my lack of experience with mixing colours.  My mentor asked me if I had my colour palette chosen and although I had chosen many colours I might use, I had not chosen a specific range.  That took time and has made things easier. The other work  tool I have decided to adopt is to have bobbins wound ready to use like they do at ATW.  I have also decided not to waste time pulling weaving out which has been a feature of my weaving in the past; sometimes I have pulled out as much as I have woven. 

The sky 's looking good.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


One thing about this course at SWTAFE is the amount of work involved.  I think the designers of the course must have known my old great - aunt Bridget who was full of sayings; one of her favourites was, "the devil makes work for idle hands".  He certainly misses out on me as I am never idle. Since doing the designs for our major assignment this year, the Large Tapestry, there have been 2 other tapestry assignments as well as 2 design assignments.  The tapestry ass. were  a commission and the other working with themes.  The commission took me forever as I over thought the subject matter I chose which was  a tapestry for a chapel based on the history of a particular order of Sisters.  We were required to weave a sample of the design and mine is 15 cm square.

The next assignment was about working with themes and as I had done a drawing of the black and white tree trunks that line the driveway into a vineyard in NE Vic I decided to do tree trunks.  Why? because it was nearly August and I hadn't started the Large Tapestry yet and I was slightly panicked.  We had to do 4 drawings and choose one of these to weave yet another sample.  The drawing I chose was one of a tree in Adelaide near Captain Light's lookout whose branches bear the scars of people's stupidity in the names and marks that have been cut into it.

If you look carefully at the right hand side of the sample you can where I have made a monumental error.  I have never done this before in my weaving life.  The good news is that yesterday I actually started my large tapestry and have done a little of it.  I will blog about this soon.  I have worked out it will take me 200  to 250 hours to weave.  I had better get started.