Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Friday, 5 April 2013

Time Passages: Weaving A Tapestry Diary

The wind is howling through the trees in our front yard, protesting another storm which delays the promise of spring.  I'm holed up with a coffee and my weaving, on Day 2 of my tapestry journal.

A tapestry diary is the weaver's way of sketching and note-taking.  Rather than scribbling in a journal, tapestry weavers track their days by weaving small segments of a larger piece over a given period of time.  There are no rules for tapestry diaries, but here are a few I've set for myself:

  • Of primary importance is the intention to weave every day.  I can weave for 5 minutes, or 5 hours, but some bit of string must go into the piece on a daily basis.
  • The weaving is freeform, i.e., I don't use a cartoon or plan.  There is no theme, although one may develop.  I approach each day with fresh eyes.  This may result in a mishmash, a pedestrian tapestry or a masterpiece.  It doesn't matter. The goal is to weave.
  • I can weave what I wish, change things as I please and correct errors on the day I'm weaving.  Once that day's weaving is complete, I can't go back and undo what I've woven.  Just as I scribble, scratch and erase in a journal, so I weave my diary.
  • No judgement.  
With these markers in place, I track my path.  Day 1:

Day 2, today, felt like a soumak kind of day:

There you have it.  Nothing special, no revolutionary weaving happening here, just the pedestrian ploddings of someone who's been away from her looms for a very long time.  It feels good to be back.

There are some beautiful examples of tapestry diaries on line, woven by talented, dedicated tapestry weavers.  You can google "tapestry diaries," or click on the names below to see some of this work:

  • Janet Austin
  • J. Meetze
  • Tommye Scanlin.  I love that Tommye inserts pieces of cardboard into her warp on the days she hasn't woven.
  • For a spectacular version of a diary combining both written and woven diaries, see the work of my heroine, Sarah Swett.  Yes, those "words" are woven. Go to her site.  You will be mesmerized.


(For those of you in town tomorrow, visit me at the TrueKnit7 craft sale.  I'll be sharing a booth with Candace, of Candy Apple Red Knits.  I may be working on my tapestry diary.)


  1. Glad to see you've taken on the tapestry diary task. With my own five year experience in the practice it continues to be both challenging and rewarding.

  2. Found you with a google search and really enjoyed this post! Thanks.

  3. Hi Deborah, I am writing an article for the ATA about tapestry diaries and I would like to reference your blog. do you have any pictures you would like to send me or any kind of statement you would like to make. I would appreciate being able to mention you in the article. Thank you! My email is