Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tapestry process. Design. Dye. Sample. Repeat.

This month I'm working on a design and color palette for a commission. Since having goals and deadlines on a calendar has proved to be a good way to keep myself from frittering away days "playing with yarn", my plan is to start weaving this piece in May. Since May is pretty much tomorrow, I'm hoping to find a wrinkle in time long about Thursday.

While I wait for the client approval on the colors (let's not think about what might happen if they don't like them), I'll show you the process thus far.

After the discussions about design and approval of a preliminary cartoon, I started some sample dyeing. They loved the colors of two of my Emergence series pieces and I started with those.

Dyeing in quart jars is a favorite thing of mine. I like it because I can have 8 new colors per pot in just a few hours instead of eight colors in a whole day. Of course the limitation is the amount of yarn you can fit in a quart jar and with the size pieces I weave, amounts call for bigger pots.

I showed you some of my first colors in THIS post last week.
Here are some of them skeined up waiting for the ball winder.
And after their meeting with the ball winder.
After finishing all of these, I was not happy with the main color for the piece--the deep red-violet in the center above. It seemed too black. In my digging in my yarn samples I found a small ball of the original color from the earlier piece that the clients liked and remembered that one of the dye books I was using back then used a different black formula. So I altered the amount of black and tried again. Perfect.

I wove a sampler showing both of these colors for the client. It turned out so cute I wished I could keep it! The weaving to the left is for the client, the one to the right is a sample for my reference.
I did the finishing, admittedly while watching Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown Sunday night. Gave her a little steam, stitched her up...
...and there you have it.

The old red-violet with more black is on the bottom, the one with less black at the top.
A priority mail box was filled and I was off to the post office.

After the client sees the woven and yarn samples, we get to repeat the process. Hopefully this time with full quantities of yarn.


  1. That is one gorgeous sample, Rebecca. The colors just glow! I'm sure the client will love it.

  2. I Love the colors, they are wonderful, both of them

  3. Very nice! So what is the advantage of transferring your skeins into balls? I've always just worked from the skeins.

  4. Those colors are wonderful , I love your sampler !!

  5. Beautiful......I like the way you finished the top and bottom with carpet tape. My Father used to own a carpet store and he used that a lot. I still have one reel left....
    Also love your colors, I am itching to dye as soon as the weather gets warmer....Janie.

  6. Really strong color use...beautifully executed, I love it! This client should be very happy with the finished product! Your craftsmanship is superb.


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