I have been working on a small tapestry with the main aim to improve my technique rather than to have a tapestry to hang on the wall. One of the main things I have been having trouble with is pulling in the sides.
I think this has become more of a problem since I finished my course. I find that working alone is ok but you definitely need to have people around with whom you can discuss ideas and problems.
I took the loom to my monthly tapestry group meeting. I didn't particularly take it for advice, more because I wanted to be doing something while we chatted. However, two people offered good advice. One because I was asking but the other person came later and hadn't heard me asking for ideas. But she observed me weaving and came over quietly to say that I was doing a particular thing and it would cause exactly the problem I was having. I was so glad that a) she noticed it and b) she had the courage to come over and say something - which was probably the more important thing.
What was I doing? I was holding the wool too tightly before I beat it down. Sounds simple, doesn't it? I instantly remembered being told in class that it is best to leave the wool in a looser line, I had just forgotten.
Now the sides are going straighter. I didn't pull it out again, for about the 5th time. I decided to just try to be straight from where I was up to.
I find that I am getting some ridging (it is clearly visible in the blue part) and I am not sure if that is because the weaving underneath has been pulled too tight in the centre or if it is because of how I am weaving differently. Not to worry, I am about to do the hitching off and can try again. Looks like I'll have to work on another sampler.
The other thing I am using the tapestry for is to play around with colour blending. I have based the design on the optical illusion that I used for my small banner quilts. The interpretation is slightly different but I have enjoyed doing the blending. The illusion is not very complicated, just that the surrounding colour will make the fuchsia bits look different when they are actually the same colour.
I used 4 strands of Australian Tapestry Workshop wools. I only did one pass each of a colour. Then I would change one of the strands of wool, moving on to the next colour. Some of the colour changes are quite subtle but others are much more marked.
I started each pass from the opposite end in the hopes that I wouldn't have all my loose ends on one side, making it bulkier.
Overall, I am happy with the work. I have learnt lots.