Adventures with my Great-Grandmother’s Eye

8Time to come clean. Two posts ago I outlined plans for a large-scale tapestry weaving. I don’t think I mentioned at the time,  that, well, I haven’t actually woven a tapestry before.

I found myself in possession of a hearty chunk of Chrissie-time so out came the bobbins. I wanted to trial-weave an area of the design to see if I could actually pull it off. Being my own worst enemy I decided on the most complicated area, her right eye. If I could do that, I could do anything, right?

I jumped in clutching close the faith that however it turned out, with perseverance I might just get there. I wove for two days. My faith, alas, was entirely ill-founded. With this warp I had met my match.

The weaving  was untidy and uneven – fair enough for a first timer, and that could be worked on;  the cartoon (the outline placed at the back of the loom as a guide) was too small, but that could be scaled up easily enough. There was something else wrong, there was something missing, it just didn’t zing, it wasn’t my great-grandmother’s eye, before me were just shapeless areas of poorly woven yarn. And while we are at it, the colours were rubbish. Perhaps this wasn’t for me. Who on earth did I think I was anyway? Around midnight on day two I quit, but not before taking a quick picture for my loom’s previous owner thinking she might like to see it in use. My eye caught on the screen and I could not believe what I saw – holy cow, it was my great-grandmother’s eye.

Tapestry weaving

It was only by stepping back that I realised those shapeless areas had made a whole after all and I could see past the sloppy weaving and dodgy colours. I had hope enough to carry on for another two days and finished it.

I had plenty of warp left over and made the colour samples that I should have done at the start; I was having trouble getting that gold-copper colour, and I wasn’t doing myself any favours making it up on the fly. I wove  the eye again, it was too yellow, but this time the weaving was much neater. It also took me only two days rather than four.

Still not happy and with enough warp left, I wove it once more, but not before honing down the colours. I was making a rod for my own back, putting in too many different yarn blends, when in fact they would not be seen unless one was right up close to the tapestry. With fewer colours and a maniacal determination, I managed to get the third sample done in a day.

Tapestry Weaving

I did rush it a bit and it could be neater but all I wanted to do was try out the  colours. I can’t actually move my neck right now and I’ve had a horrific headache for days and seem to have spiders running beneath the skin of my forearms but I am finally super chuffed with the results.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s a cliché yes, but it is true – if you give yourself a chance.

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6 thoughts on “Adventures with my Great-Grandmother’s Eye

    1. Hi Ruth! It’s difficult isn’t it – at the end of the day I have to make a living, (or at least enough for the next batch of yarn) and I suppose it is better that they are up somewhere than in storage. I think once I have done the full tapestry I can decide if I think I am good enough. I am fortunate to live in a very creative area where there are lots of opportunities to show and sell one’s work. So we’ll see! Thanks for the suggestion!

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