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Intro to Tapestry Class: Eccentric Wefts, Outlining, and Weft Dance

Today in my CraftArtEdu Introduction to Tapestry class series, I begin the final large section of the sampler! It will include some techniques we’ve already covered, plus some new ones.

Eccentric Wefts and Outlining

This task is new. It begins with weaving a little blue “blob” shape and a slightly different green blob shape.

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These blobs seem to be an exception to the rule that you create shapes that decrease in size before filling in adjacent shapes that increase in size. However, this situation is actually a little different because these blobs will be outlined in the next step, rather than having matching shapes built up next to them.

Here, we’re making the outlines with gold and orange weft yarn. The yarn is woven down on top of the blobs.

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Next we added more blobs and more outlines. We’re also doing some weft dancing with the gold and orange yarn.

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Next I filled in with some more weft dancing between the gold and orange. My wefts here are a lot more wavy than Claudia’s, and I don’t necessarily recommend making them that wavy. It makes it much harder to return to a straight line so that you can begin the next section. However, they do look kind of cool.

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Another challenge with making super wavy wefts that include blending of colors is that (for a beginner, anyway) it’s hard to determine exactly what the blending will look like when it finally gets fully beaten down. Mine didn’t become fully beaten down until I’d completed the section with some straight horizontal wefts. To achieve those wefts, I first had to build up some areas (essentially invisible blobs) of gold and orange to fill in concave parts of the wefts. As I mentioned earlier, this can be challenging because wefts don’t always line up in the same shed, and you run into situations where warps show through. But eventually I pulled it together.

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Weft Dancing

We’ve done some weft dance here and there previously, but this next section uses it as a primary way to blend colors. This is another take on freeform weaving. The section begins with 5 weft colors, again all going in opposite directions. We then weave those wefts in and out of each other’s territories.

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Next we bring in some pick and pick. The two colors I used were green and magenta (rather than green and purple). I started by weaving the green to the right selvedge. I then changed sheds and wove the magenta to the right selvedge. Finally, I changed sheds again and wove the green back toward the left. The single row of pick and pick creates horizontal dots.

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The next step was to begin a new blue weft at the left selvedge and then continue weaving all of the colors across. I had to be careful here because I had built up the green and magenta on the right a little higher than the rest when I created the row of pick and pick. That meant that I needed to fill in the rest of the tapestry to bring the wefts to the same level, while making sure all of the wefts ended within the same shed at the top.

In this next photo, I’ve completed this task to the point where we weave the two outermost wefts to the sides.

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We then add two new wefts in the middles of the weaving. When adding at the middle (rather than at an edge) you need to add two colors at once so that they can run in opposite directions and be in the correct shed. The other important rule is that you must not cover the ends of any existing working weft yarns with the new wefts.

In the next photo, I’ve started new blue and gold wefts and completed that same row. In addition to making the new wefts in opposite directions to one another, I made sure they ran in opposite directions to the colors on either side of them.

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After a bit more weaving, the weft dance section is complete!

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Today’s sections really helped me get more comfortable with managing different colors and blending techniques.

And now we’ve finally reached the final, major part of the sampler: the big circle! See it in action in my next post.

Chris Franchetti Michaels is a bestselling craft book author and designer. Visit her blog at http://www.beadjewelry.net.

2 Responses to Intro to Tapestry Class: Eccentric Wefts, Outlining, and Weft Dance

  1. Janie - Reply

    July 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    You are doing fantastic Chris!!!! Janie

  2. Chris Franchetti Michaels - Reply

    July 16, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Thank you!

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