Sunday, 1 March 2015

Moving along

A while ago I started weaving a tapestry of two rosellas.

Before I finished, I had two rosellas!

These baby eastern rosellas were rescued from the ground below a large gum tree in a backyard in Sunbury. The Indian Myna birds had killed the rest of the babies but these two survived. They were very young, eyes still shut. So now they're cheeky little things up to all sorts of mischief. They ended up in the outside aviary.

Here are some photos of the tapestry, dimensions: 6" x 8".  (These are crimson rosellas)

Still on the loom

Rosella 2
Rosella 1

I have to admit this made me wonder about the power of manifestation!

There have been a number of other issues which have kept me from my looms over the past year, but hopefully I am now able to be a weaver once again.

I am working with some mercerised cotton on my large floor loom, and my next tapestry is almost ready to start weaving.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Catching Up

The llamas have settled down, my son moved out, my daughter & boyfriend moved in.
They moved out, the year got busy, and then my son moved in again!!!

That's what happened to 2013.

In the middle of all that, the Black Pearl Textiles group of weavers had an exhibition at the Living Arts Space in the centre of Bendigo.
Of course the large tapestry 'Revolt' took pride of place.

This is 'us', and below is the tapestry with the original painting alongside.

Later in the year I started 'upgrading' a small tapestry frame I've had for many years. In fact I built it in a woodworking class as part of a weaving course back in 1984.

It was a basic timber frame, quite tall, which I clamp onto a table.

Here you can see the tensioning device I have added to the frame. I got 2 threaded rods and used them to suspend a dowel from the top of the frame.

Then I added a heddle bar support
 and the bar.

Due to the space between the top of the frame and the dowel, it is easy to warp with a continuous warp.

The next step is inking the design onto the warp using Drawing Ink and a special wide dipping pen. It's an old fashioned way of doing it but I like it as it is very quick and far more accurate than either using a marker pen or stitching the cartoon to the back of the tapestry.

I am weaving this one sideways as it has a lot of verticals in it.

You'll see more next post (I promise it won't take so long next time!)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Next Spring!

Well, almost a year has come and gone!

I have my new llama. He's called Josh and he's 4. He and Cochise get along very well.

Josh is the tall, dark & handsome one! But now I have to start training all over again.


I've finished 'Revolt'  Ta-da!

My mother and my daughter helped with the cutting off, and it is laid out on the big work table ready for finishing.

Now I have to finish the warp ends ready for hemming:-

Then hem it all, top & bottom, and add a mounting for hanging.
I like to use a wrapped timber mount which sits a little below the top edge, which is then hung from picture hooks on the wall. (Can't stand the velcro method.)

I have also started drawing ideas for my next tapestry, but not yet finalised. The other loom has been set up and ready to go for a while.

It has a warp of seine twine (no. 9) set at 8 epi. 18 inches wide and 14.5 meters long.
Yes, I know this is very long, but it was an old warp someone gave me years ago, I can't even remember who. It was all tangled with no cross and cut ends. 
I spent several days during the holidays sorting it and freeing up a meter at a time, then winding it on. I created a cross near the beginning and worked it all the way through.
So, now I'm set up for multiple tapestries without having to prepare more warp.
I could do some small, side by side ones, or some longer ones woven sideways, whatever I feel like!

I'd better get back to the drawing board.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I've had a bad winter.
I don't usually get sick, but I got laryngitis, and it hung around for 3 months!!
It's hard to teach without a voice.

Then, as I was recovering, one of my Llamas got sick.
I thought he had injured his leg, and would be OK with some rest,
but it ended up being a mineral deficiency. By the time I called up the breeder to ask her advice, it was too late, as it turned out. So, after nursing him for 5 weeks, he passed away last Monday.

Now I only have one llama, and they don't like being on their own, so I am about to buy another.

This is Cochise, my surviving llama.

This is Wildfire, who died.

As it turns out, the new boy is one I had seen and liked a couple of years ago.
When I phoned this breeder, I was told they had sold all their available llamas, but then I got a call back later that evening to say that there was one of their own llamas they would be willing to part with.
The photo they sent was this same one I had liked earlier. I couldn't believe my luck.
So now I just have to get him here.

There is so much grass and weeds that need cleaning up around the garden (jungle), and I need to dig the vegie garden (more weeds). 

The other day, while I was sitting at the computer, I turned the chair around to look out the window, and there was one of the blue wrens just outside in a little tree. I got out my camera and put it on zoom, propped it by the window frame and took a picture:

Not bad, huh, for just out the window!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The saga of 'Revolt'

My mother is an artist (painter) and has done many landscapes and portraits, among other things. She very much loves the Australian high country and spent a lot of time skiing. She is a signatory member of the VAS (Victorian Artists Society) and has exhibited many times. So when she came up with the idea of doing some wildly colourful abstract watercolours, she felt she was revolting against all the 'proper' paintings she had done. 

The first major one of these paintings was appropriately called 'Revolt'.

After she had done a whole series of these (and got it somewhat out of her system) she suggested that 'Revolt' would look good as a tapestry. I had to agree.

And so it began.

I thought that a larger size would look good: say 2m x 1.5m.

OK, I needed a loom that would accommodate this!
So I talked to a woodworking friend who agreed to build a loom based on the one in the Carol Russell tapestry book, minus shafts and beater.
A couple of years later this was more or less done, but the beams were rough and needed machining.
Another woodturning friend was able to do this.
Then I needed the hardware  -  ratchets & pawls and 1.25" diameter steel rod to mount the beams. Fortunately the local steam engine society put me on to a member who was able to manufacture these parts to suit, including laser cut ratchets!

Wow, I now had a beautiful, custom built loom to my specifications.

I spent 3 days winding a warp using #24 seine twine, and putting it on the loom.
Then I used a printed photo of the painting to make a tracing on acetate, which I enlarged using an overhead projector, and created the cartoon on large sheets of paper on the wall.
This is hung behind the warp.
The design is inked on to the warp using traditional tapestry inking pens and indian ink.

This is a view of the back of the loom showing the top beam.
You can just see the top of the cartoon hanging behind the warp.

I use a leashes system of making my shed  -  I much prefer that to pedals and shafts.

OK, so now, 6 years later!!!! I have almost finished 'Revolt'
Mind you, I have only been a part time weaver, and there have been some months when no progress has been made, but I am nearly there!

This is the top half of the tapestry, the rest has been wound on to the lower beam.
This measures just under 2 meters wide. When I do finish it, and weave the top hem, I will wind it back up and take a photo of the whole piece. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I always wanted to weave.

Ever since I found out what weaving was.
I learnt the basics at school in craft classes (until the craft rooms were burnt down, new looms and all). I had to wait until I was married before I got my first table loom, And I was happy with that for a few years. But what I really wanted was to weave PICTURES.
I tried various ways, such as inlay and brocade, but they were too stilted and not what I was imagining. I found out about tapestry but avoided that because it was SLOW.
Eventually, while studying for my Certificate of Applied Art(Weaving) at the Melbourne College of Textiles, I did a unit of Tapestry. That was it. That was what I wanted. I did a second unit of Tapestry. 
Later I did a few years of the Diploma of Tapestry course at the SW College of TAFE (Warrnambool, Vic). 
Now I had the knowledge and tools to do the tapestries I was imagining, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

I like frogs, and I wove this one a few years ago.