Wondering why a site about weaving is called “Weave Me A Song”? It’s because the way the yarns in a tapestry weave in and out reminds me of the way the parts of music do — whether the loom a simple frame with nails to hold the warp or a computerized loom making rugs.
However it’s done, weaving is all about yarn, which for weavers is as much fun to buy as ice cream.
At local yarn stores, there are always customers sitting around a table, helping each other with the tricky parts of whatever they’re making and chatting the way my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmothers did around a quilting frame.
At places like Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company, a sheep farm and yarn store I stumbled on this summer near Rhinebeck, NY, you can watch everything from the sheep in the fields to people spinning raw wool in the barn. Then there’s the shop, which has everything from their own Icelandic and Shetland wool to fat bags of unspun “roving.”
Nobody knows who the earliest weavers were, but cloth woven thousands of years ago has been found from China to Egypt.
In the Middle Ages, weavers followed templates called “cartoons” to weave tapestries, and contemporary weavers like Peruvian master Maximo Laura still do it that way. For him, the design is everything.
Sheila Hicks, on the other hand, is a fiber artist who creates pieces that aren’t woven at all. For her, fiber is everything.
I’m in the “materials first” camp. I pick an assortment of yarns, usually in colors that are close together on the color wheel, like blues and greens or shades of white, and let the design evolve. My tapestries evolve out of ideas I’ve gathered from walks in the woods, watching clouds or water, reading magazines, or surfing sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
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