Category Archives: tapestry

The Results Are In

I've Got the Blues.
I’ve Got the Blues.

Earlier in the month I had few more pieces ready for the indigo dyepots, and the results are in.  I finally took photos today and was quite pleased with this trio of scarves.  There is another still needing its fringe done.

Starting to hand-twist the fringe.
Starting to hand-twist the fringe.

I had rinsed, washed and rinsed again, and pressed the pieces, and finally sat down to hand-twist the fringe.  Today, while looking for something in the studio, I found a gallon bag with another one or two samples and some silk thread I need to dye.  I’m about to finally wind a new warp so I can get back to weaving.  It’s been a busy month.

Transitions woven shibori scarf.
Transitions woven shibori scarf.

While finishing up the last warp I sat wondering if it would be possible to have a bit of control over the indigo dyed areas by which sheds were used and by the number of plain weave rows in-between.  My idea was to use treadles that had long floats at the beginning and end sections, and work in from both ends toward a lighter mid-section.  It worked, somewhat, but I’m not entirely happy with it as I was looking for a bit more gradual transition.  I’ll be trying this again.

"Memories of Norway, 1."
“Memories of Norway, 1.”
"Memories of Norway, 2."
“Memories of Norway, 2.”

Years ago I suddenly decided to try tapestry weaving, even though I had no knowledge of tapestry or how to even begin.  I made sketches, simplified to basic cartoons, and the results were the two tapestries above.  Woven on a Schacht table tapestry loom, using Navajo wool warp, and my handspun yarns for weft.  I was pleased with them at the time.

On Facebook, I follow several tapestry weavers.  Tapestry weaving is something I have wanted to try for many years, and the new large tapestry loom is glaring at me from the corner, asking why I’m not using it yet.  I’d been reading about several weavers who work on a tapestry diary throughout the year, and I thought that would be an interesting project and it would get me to sit down and weave on it each day.  I checked to see what warp they were using, sett, and try to get an idea of the weft to use.

Glimakra "Sara" upright tapestry loom.
Glimakra “Sara” upright tapestry loom.’

Several years ago I purchased the “Sara” loom and I thought it would work for this daily tapestry diary project.  This loom can be warped at 6 epi or 10 epi, so I chose 10 epi.  I warped it with seine twine, and had 13 colors of Bockens 2 ply tapestry yarn.  It was warped in two sections, six months vertically on each half. I sat down to weave, and found the yarn, used double, was too much and would not cover the warp, but single yarn would.  The problem was, I wanted to be able to blend colors, use two colors at once, and short of un-plying the yarn, it would not work.  What to do?  Re-warp to 6 epi?  Order all new weft yarn?  Or, change the project?  I chose the latter.

Tapestry sampler at very beginning.
Tapestry sampler at very beginning.

Plan B became weaving tapestry samplers, which meant more sketching, and now I must make a cartoon.  I have a number of tapestry books, and it is time to begin learning tapestry techniques, use of color, and so much more.  A new adventure!

Fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.
Fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.

On one of the two nice days we had during the month of April, we went out to clean up and rearrange the lakeside porch.  I took that opportunity to set up an area for washing fleece.  Now, if the weather would just cooperate!

"In Our Nature: The Tapestries of Helena Hernmarck"

I think it was back in September I learned of an exhibit of Helena Hernmarck tapestries at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN (exhibit now over).  It seemed this would likely be the best chance I would ever have of seeing any tapestry of Helena Hernmarck.  I called a friend who is an artist (watercolor, collage, paper) and weaver, and asked if she would be interested in driving to Minneapolis together before Oct. 14.  We finally settled on Wed., Oct. 10th as weather would be good and roads dry.

Louise Engelbrecht, WI Northwoods Artist and Weaver.

American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Exhibit banner outside ASI Park St. entrance.

We were advised, when paying our entrance fee, to start in the old mansion, and end with the large exhibit room in the new section, that would “blow us away,” so we did.  Photos (without flash) of tapestries were allowed in the old mansion.

“Envelope from Sweden.”

“Kari’s Leaf” and process.

Sorry, but I didn’t catch the title of the above work.  I liked that it was small squares put together as one work, something do-able for a weaver with smaller loom(s).

In addition to the tapestries, there was a 40 minute video we could watch showing Hernmarck at work and her process for creating and weaving the tapestries.  I was hoping it would be available on DVD, but alas, it was not.  Perhaps someday?  And while I’m hoping, I’ll hope for a new book of her tapestries since the publication of “Helena Hernmarck, Tapestry Artist.” 


“Folk Costume Details.”

The inspiration for “Folk Costume Details.”

Sample for visitors to touch and examine.

“Linnea Borealis” by Lis Korsgren.

Last, we went into a large, semi-darkened room holding four large tapestries,… “Poppies,” “Waterfall,” “Leadenhall Market,” and “Moss-klyftan.  In photos, they are fabulous, in person, stunning, they take your breath away.  I had taken only a few photos (some didn’t make it as I must have turned my phone off too soon, trying to save battery), waiting until the end, only to find out No Photos Allowed in this room.  Ah well, we could stand or sit and bask in the artistry.  I couldn’t get over how, when viewing each one up close you saw color, and the further back you moved, the more detail stood out.  It was amazing! 

Note:  The above photos, taken by myself, are published here with the very kind approval of Helena Hernmarck.  

There were also two other smaller exhibits at ASI, including one on Swedish lace, the following three photos were taken the same day.

Bobbin lace.

Variety of bobbin designs.

Lace in fine linen.

As we were getting ready to leave, we decided seeing anything else on this visit would “dilute” the experience of seeing the Helena Hernmarck tapestries, so we left for home.  It made for a very long day, but seeing this exhibit made it very worth while.  Altogether, a very satisfying day.