Monday, August 5, 2013

Why I love teaching tapestry so much...

I always learn so much from teaching a workshop. My class of 16 at Harrisville Designs is a group of outstanding women. There are various levels of experience with tapestry weaving, as usual, and I find this lends a great dynamic to the class. The beginners ask the technique questions that everyone really needs a review on and the more experienced weavers ask the design questions that are so valuable in a workshop. I try to answer them all, but sometimes the students have the best answers among themselves. I love this kind of problem solving.

Today I learned about two new pieces of equipment that I have never seen before, both from students. I have to have both of them.

The first is a little gadget by Saori that holds the cross for you while you warp. This little thing is brilliant. I usually use leash sticks to hold the cross for me because I hate to have it in my hand and then halfway across a 45 inch warp find out that I really have to go to the bathroom, answer the phone, or let the dog out. The leash sticks work, but this guy holds the cross like you would in your hand so you can clearly see the next thread to pick up.

The second piece of equipment is actually made by Harrisville Designs and they call it a warp tensioning device.  Here is a photo. These little guys clamp to the back beam of the loom and hold dowels through which you run the warp as you beam it. I suppose they could also be attached to the front if you were one of those people who do some weird hybrid warping thing where you beam it back and forth. I think it is genius. I have always used dowels to help tension the warp, but they have to be rigged up in weird ways and this thing really applies to my sense of order. Thanks Harrisville! I’ll be visiting the store this week to find out if they can be used on my Harrisville rug loom. I suspect the answer will be yes.

Here is a very short video of the thing being used to roll on a warp.

And here is the obligatory yarn photo. I love my hand-dyed yarn and I didn’t realize that Harrisville actually provides yarn for the classes free of charge. I’m afraid my students will not necessarily use my yarn as I have to charge a materials fee for it and I will have to ship it back home again… regardless of my beautiful colors. It is okay. It will save me from having to dye a whole new set of yarn for the next workshop in September.

And yes, today was my birthday. It was not a "zero number" birthday, fortunately. The students didn’t know, but thanks to all of you on Facebook for the good wishes. Facebook is definitely good for something. As an additional birthday present, I got a call from someone in NYC who is interested in using a tapestry in a newly renovated building in the fashion district (is there such a place and where is it exactly? I am so clueless about NYC and that probably needs to change.). Who knows if she will actually sell the client on having a large tapestry in their lobby, but the interest gives me clues about direction that needs to be taken with my weaving. Thanks for that one universe (and my own website).

And for dinner I had this (well, I did have cheese and fruit in addition to the wine)… including the view of the lake, some knitting beside me, and continued good-wishes via my phone. This little town doesn’t have much cell service, but I have been able to get texts… and if I walk down the hill to the town “center”, I can actually post this little bit. Thanks for reading!

 Birthday flowers from the lovely Emily.

Some Harrisville photos:


  1. Great observation about how students of different experience levels contribute to a class. Thanks for sharing that, Rebecca!

  2. Looks like the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday.

  3. I have used the tensioning device and loved it. Wish there was a way to attach it to my Cranbrook.


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