Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Monday, 12 January 2015

The More Things Stay the Same: Monochromatic Weaving

Like everyone else, I can be a mass of contradictions. I love spending huge blocks of time alone, especially when I'm weaving or writing. Crowds are not my thing, but once I'm out at an event, I enjoy people watching and participating in whatever is happening. I absorb myself in what I love and am good at self-direction, but tend to let things slide unless I'm part of a group of like-minded people sharing goals and habits. If I don't attend a yoga class at least once a week, I may not practise at all. The same applies to tapestry weaving - if I don't have someone with which to share my ideas and progress (or lack thereof), I might never sit at my loom.

Last winter, a friend and I met on a regular basis to weave. She wove miniature cut pile rugs using her hand spun and dyed silk yarns while I wove tapestries using hand spun and dyed wool wefts. We're planning to do this again, when she returns from a trip, but for now, I'm left to my own devices. I do not know of another person who weaves tapestry in this city. I'm sure there must be someone, but I haven't tracked them down, yet. (Perhaps they're hiding from me, although I can't imagine why - I'm nothing but delightful.) In order to keep weaving, I've turned to online groups for inspiration.

The Tapestry Weaving group on Ravelry started a Weave-a-Long in 2014. I wasn't sure I'd join because such groups usually have a theme and I like to weave whatever calls to me. The 2014 WAL theme was "Tapestry Diaries." These diaries involve weaving every day, using any technique one chooses to track the passage of time. I have woven several of these pieces and found joy in the work. There was also the matter of a tapestry which had been sitting unfinished for years, because certain events had brought weaving to a halt. That tapestry was calling to me and I thought a WAL might get me going on the Weaver's Path. So I signed on for the year. As a result, I completed that unfinished piece ("The Garden"), along with several other small works.

This year's WAL theme is "The Colour Wheel." I balked at that one; I do not like to restrict my colour choices, because I am never sure what colours a tapestry will require. The group doesn't dictate what one weaves and the moderator was fine with me doing as I pleased, so I'm in again. The next two months will focus on "Monochromatic."

By any definition,  "Chakra Roots" is not monochromatic, but sections of it are. The sky/background is woven with indigo dyed wool and mohair and it's a trick to keep it all from looking flat (as in "boring"). I'm maintaining interest by weaving with various shades of blues, adding random lines of soumak and patches of textured mohair yarns. The overall effect is one of blue sky, but the eye should follow the changes in colour and texture:

"Chakra Roots" Detail
"Chakra Roots" Detail
I tend to become so enamoured with colour that I forget to stay within a Value range (the degrees of light and dark). If your values are not aligned, the effect can be jarring (just as in the rest of your life); one way to check Value in a piece is to copy a photograph into black and white. You can see in these photos that the values align nicely. The "Moon" circles stand out, which is what you'd expect in a night scene:

Despite the fact that this weaving is still kicking my butt, I'm discovering more and more things to like about it. The contradictions within the piece are what bring it to life for me and inspire me to keep going. I may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into something, but once I'm there, I love to embrace the changes.



  1. I have the same problem with sitting down at my loom, how lucky to have someone to weave with. I joined a textile group which exhibits a couple of times a year and also take part in my local arts trail which gives me an incentive to produce new work

  2. What a great way to check on value! Thanks.