Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dangerous living for a tapestry weaver!

Would you ever do this?

Have you experienced that moment where you look at a large piece in progress and realize there is a major error in color choice? It makes your stomach churn I tell you.

Yesterday I went to my loom and realized that I had woven about three inches with the wrong color in one spot. Three inches is a very long way to unweave and represents about a weeks worth of work. I couldn't leave the color as it was. It would be very evident once the piece was hanging on the wall. But I definitely didn't want to tear out all that weaving. The whole piece is hatched together making it difficult to unweave just that section...

...but that is what I did.

The offending color is marked MT5. It is the second light blue to the left from the dark line. It was supposed to be MB5. "T" is for top. "B" is for bottom. This was the bottom of the tapestry (it will hang from the weft).

At this point I was pretty nervous.

But the worst that could happen was that I'd have to take out all three inches.

So I kept going.

And going. The pile of fiber I took out is at the top middle. The ball next to it was the color it was supposed to be. See the difference?

I found the original splice, lay in the new color, and back together it went.

Of course the tricky part is getting the weft tension right in the needle-woven portions and maintaining the warp spacing. I had a little hack for that as the warps wanted to spread in the middle.

And a little hack to keep the warps behaving.

And there you have it. Before and after. I don't need to tell you that I was a little smug about this one. I think in the future I'll be more careful with my labels. It could easily have been an area that wasn't so simply fixed. I shudder to think how it would have gone if I had been using pick and pick or had a lot of other shapes interspersed with this one.

Nope. I got lucky.


  1. Yikes! I've done this and fixed OFF the loom, which was a real pain. Putting back under proper tension is no fun! But great job, better to fix one week's work than waste months.

    1. James Koehler (I was his apprentice) did this once off the loom. I left one evening and the piece was done. When I came the next day, a whole color area had been changed (maybe a 4 inch square-ish area). I was a little amazed... but realized it could be done.

  2. It's the tapestry equivalent of fixing a mis-crossed cable 10 rows back without ripping back all those rows, maybe?

  3. I'm impressed to heck to see what you did, Rebecca. Now, I know how to do that if it ever happens to me. Of course, I haven't been weaving tapestry long enough to have color issues, my problems are always keeping the epi consistant. I just ran into that with an 18" x 40" piece. I was almost half way when I decided I would never be happy with all the problems I was having and couldn't fix so I unwove the whole thing. It took me 14 days, working some everyday, but not in big chunks of time. Some of my issues were weft related, others loom related. It'll be worth it in the end. When you put that much energy and time (oh, and money) into a piece, you need to satisfied when it's all said and done. I'm glad it worked out for you and I can see where the color change most definitely had to be done.

  4. Trish at Tangled ThreadsSeptember 11, 2015 at 6:25 PM

    I guess it is sort of like what would be done in a restoration. Interesting as I never would have thought of it. I have a small spot in my current piece that needs "some work" and I was going to try to do something after it was off the loom, but now that I see what you have done, maybe I will do it now. Much smaller, just a couple of short sections of a couple of picks. Thanks for showing us!

  5. Wonderful walk-through of your solution, Rebecca! Thanks!

  6. That was an interesting bit of work Rebecca. Thanks for such a thorough explanation. I am so curious about the front of that tapestry.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I think most of us have run into similar issues. I often feel like Penelope...weaving then looking at my piece and seeing a mistake and then unweaving. I might be the queen of unweaving. Now I have a technique that might save me hours of unweaving and reweaving.


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