Monday, 15 April 2013

Stage 4: Tapestry Weaving notes

Do you have enough variety in your collection of yarns? Which kind of yarns did you use most? How do their characteristics affect the look and feel of each sample?

I found that I had a wider variety than I thought, but still wanted to expand it further when I started making samples. I added strips of fabric mostly, but also some plastic strips, cellophane and raffia, particularly shiny yarns had not been part of my store in quantity before.  I don't think I had a particular type that I used most.

Plastic yarns give a hard dryness tithe appearance and feel of weaving. Wool and cotton are softer and warmer. Translucent yarns make the warp show through. Yarns made of fabric have different effects depending on the stiffness of the fabric and the width of the strip. For example the grey t-shirt fabric compressed easily and gave a neat curved looking line. The grey/cream mercerised cotton didn't fold easily so sits between the warp threads stiffly and the leaves them visible. Raffia also doesn't fold easily, so is sharp in the final piece.

How did you find weaving in comparison to the other techniques you've tried? Did you find it slow or too limited?

Weaving was different in that it had to be planned more fully in advance than other techniques. I generally prefer to keep my options open and try out different things as I make things. For me, this section has been an interesting exercise in reining back this tendency in myself and trying out actually making something as originally planned!

Tapestry weaving is slow, which, once I had learned how it was done ( to the limited extent possible in a short period) allowed me to get into a rhythm and a sort of meditative state which I enjoyed. It also led to a string of interesting ideas which I am sure I wouldn't have had otherwise. There is something good to me about the feel of picking and using a fork to tamp down the yarn. Having no choice but to stick to a limited range of possibilities in some ways made the exercise more interesting and strangely more satisfying.

How do you feel about your finished sample? Are you happy with the relationship of the textures, proportions, colour and pattern to the finished size? Is there any part that you want to change? If so, try to identify exactly how and why you would change it.

I am pleased with my finished sample.  I took care to plan it so that the proportions and colours would be the same as in the photo it was my response to? The textures are naturally more varied in the weaving than in the photo because of the variety of different yarns I used. The ridges due to the weft are more marked than I expected, but I think that this works ok as there are regular vertical lines in the pattern. The grey/cream yarn is of a very different texture than the other strips of the sample. I was originally intending this strip to be relatively insignificant. It still tends to slip into the background except when you focus on it. Looking at this with the alternative bland section in mind, I think this is fine! One thing I would like to change is the curl ones of the knotted 'matches'. I was expecting them to look more separated to allow the stripes between them to be seen. I would like to have taken more time to try out different yarns for this bit of it, so that I could find one that would hold some of its shape against gravity without hiding the underlying pattern.

Was there any stage in the whole design process that you felt went wrong? How would you tackle this process differently another way?

The thing I did wrong during the design process was not to realise that I could only make vertical stripes on even numbers of wefts. This meant that I had to asjust the plan to take that into account, which meant that I couldn't make the whole width of it towards the bottom of the final sample. If I were to make it again I would of course know this and make the initial design differently as a result.

Which did you enjoy more- working from the source material or putting colours together intuitively? Why?
I enjoyed sample 1 more, which was working from source material, because when I tried the intuitive one it turned out not to work so well for me - somehow having more time to think about the next colour or colours resulted in my doubting myself and changing my mind repeatedly. Which doesn't work when you can't unpick more than a row or two. Working from the source material was an experience which showed me much more of what can be done with tapestry weaving, and made me want to do more of it.

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