Complex Weaving When Life was Simpler

Complex Weaving When Life was Simpler

Undulating Twill with Tropical Fish

When I moved to the West coast in 1978, I had been weaving for twelve years, and was hoping to get some fresh inspiration from California weavers. The annual weaving conferences and availability of several guilds in the Bay Area provided more ideas and friendships than I ever expected.

At one of the conferences, I became acquainted with Mary Elizabeth Laughlin who had published a book called “More Than Four” in 1976. She was always urging weavers to join Complex Weavers, an international group that shares information and encouragement about weaving with more than four harnesses. I was a member for several years until I became a full time college student.

I was already using multiple harnesses on the first loom I bought which has twelve harnesses. I was designing garments and household linens using more than four. In 1980, I was making tapestries based on verses of scripture using the Moorman technique, which features a plain weave background while the tapestry is yarn laid-in on the top and held in place by very fine strong threads.

In 1983, while I was making the church tapestries, which I wrote about in the blog on January 31, 2018, I began to think about doing tapestry over a more complex base weaving for my entry in the guild conference booth.

I selected a nine-harness design from a book by Oelsner, “A Handbook of Weaves” originally

Detail of Weaving

published in 1915. This is an undulating twill that looks something like ripples in water.

Over this cotton and rayon base fabric, I added three tropical fish and a few strands of seaweed. I also used the rest of this warp to make a wedding gift for a dear friend.

Looking at the tapestry today, and the book where I found the pattern, I wonder how I did that 35 years ago. I guess life was less distracting then.

If you visit me, you can see it up close in the guest bathroom of my home in Stockton.

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