Patchwork Girl, Tapestry Weaver and Sometimes Painter!
Hi! My name is Jessica Ostrow and I have been learning tapestry weaving on and off since the early 90s. I love color and yarn and love putting the two together!
Painting with yarn? Yeah!! Paint is fun, too.. and colored pencils.. and markers.. and..and..and...
I also sell yarn & knitting patterns at http://weavingrainbow.com
I also have 2 other blogs at:
I thought I posted something about my latest knitting obses...project. It's this project here, but I don't have updated photos at the moment. I have a mystery yarn that I still have not found out what kind of yarn it is, but sometime in the next couple of weeks, I hope to make it to a yarn store to either find out what it might be, or find something it's compatible with.
I went through a bit of confusion with this yarn: I saw it on eBay: it was listed as a "bulky" wool yarn, but it's not much thicker than Aran or Chunky, closer to worsted weight... it also doesn't seem like 100% wool: when doing a burn test, it smells like wool, but beads up like acrylic in the end, so I think it's a wool-acrylic blend...it's very soft.
I put it aside & it kept popping up. I thought about giving it away or bringing it to the thrift store..finally, one day I put it in one of my boxes & didn't see it for a while... a couple of weeks ago, I found a pattern that I thought it would be perfect for, but I don't think I have enough to make that whole shawl. I don't have a McMorran balance to check the yardage of the yarn..one day I'll get another one. I think this shawl would be rather nice in this yarn.
Anyway, I started knitting the shawl and decided to try a different yarn with the pattern until I can find more yarn to go with the other yarn: Red Heart "With Love" starting in Mango, and when I get to the hearts section, I'll switch over to the Fruit Punch color. Hopefully it'll be an easy care yarn.
It's a good project to work on while watching shows: lately I've been watching Big Bang Theory, but I'm about to watch The Addams Family movie, so I'll get a bit more done.
I've also been doing needlepoint. I have a small turtle project with different stitches that I keep in my back pack, and also have been working on another small project with 2 apples, a few green leaves & a yellow background. I'm still unsure about the yellow background, but I may jazz up the colors for it.
I'm practicing on the smaller pieces in preparation for a Unicorn in Captivity canvas I found on eBay. It's nice... while I'm practicing, I'm deciding on threads/colors for it. I'd like something sparkly for the dark blue background & will figure that out soon.
I also have a new-to-me Northfield Jori Jr loom... but haven't decided what to weave on it. I did a small piece on one of my copper looms using all the yarns from a kit... and forgot to measure the lengths of the strands. Oops. Here's that piece:
I need more practice weaving... this is lumpy, lumpy... also I was playing with dovetailing. I don't know if blocking will fix things: tapestry weaving likes to decide its' shape, which depends on the skill of the weaver!
Next piece, I may try more squares & rectangles, or may do some curvy pieces & circles.
I'll post photos of the shawls & apple & turtle pieces next time. Maybe the apples will be done! I'm done stitching the apples, need to finish the leaves & the background. I can only stitch needlepoint during the day when the lighting is better.
I found a video that shows how to block needlepoint... I don't have money to send my pieces to finishers, so I'll learn how to do it myself. I have a piece that my mom did & may take it to a finisher. I don't know yet; it depends on how my finish work turns out..
I recently completed my piece for the ATA Untitled/Unjuried show that will be held in Minneapolis this summer. It took me about a week to weave, several months to hem & haw about & I finally got closer to an idea for what composition I would weave when we were in Austin at the end of February. At first, it was going to be based on Starry Night with a Tardis, and then I decided I wanted to put something musically related and thought "hmm, one of the 3 musicans (Picasso)"? So that's what i've got. The piece is titled "One of the 3 musicians and a ukulele". Maybe the word "unplanned" should be in it somewhere... I'm not sure. I started out with this idea:
Then decided to eliminate the Tardis & the Musician... as I wove, I decided to put the musician in after all, and wove it:
Tomorrow, I'll mail it.
I used different yarns & some silk hankie fiber. Wool, wool-silk, and even a wool blend that had some acrylic in it. I made an exception for this piece because I saw the yarn & thought it would be great for the squiggles. I'm happiest with how the sky came out in this entire piece. Eventually, maybe I'll do better with musical instruments, if I decide to weave them again...
I re-warped half of the loom right away, this time with cotton seine twine. We'll see how I like it, but my first love is wool. Sarah Swett feels the same way and discussed it in this blog entry. I think I decided that I like wool warp from the early days when I was playing with Navajo weaving.
I have another project coming up that I'm kind of excited about, a fake journal. Roz Stendahl started it. I haven't decided what I'm going to do in my fake journal, we'll see... be another person or be in a different time or dimension or WHAT? Older? Younger? Dunno... We'll see. I'll decide on Thursday... I picked up a few books from the thrift store to take apart to put new paper in... OR I might get an art journal, perhaps the Strathmore mixed media book... or both.
It's been a LONG time since I posted. Hopefully people will just get notified in email that I have! I have been knitting & weaving, and maybe I've posted a thing or two on my Ravelry page. Check patchworkgirl's projects there if you wanna see. I guess I just don't love taking pictures, or rather, uploading them, cropping, and re-sizing them once I've taken them. The next couple of weeks will be devoted to getting a piece ready for the Untitled/Unjuried show in Milwaukee... or maybe not. I want to get the "Harrison" tapestry finished first so that I can use that loom. I've got other looms. I want to use this loom.
3 letters to go...
This past weekend, we went to Austin for Jugglefest. I always make sure to go to Hill Country Weavers when I'm down there. It's about 15 minutes walking distance from the Gym where Jugglefest was held at theTexas School for the Deaf ...I went 4 times last weekend: Saturday, once before & after lunch & again on Sunday morning & before we headed out of town. The last trip was because I had an idea for a specific project for some yarn I saw there... while walking back to Jugglefest, I passed an artist that had some pretty cool colored drawings. One of them was of the 11th doctor, and I would have bought it except I was not sure which doctor is my son's favorite doctor. I got her card with web info. As i was walking, I thought "hmm, maybe I should get back into practice doing portraits." then I thought, "or maybe try doing a part of a portrait for a tapestry, but I don't know how well I'd be able to do that, and with so little time, trying a new technique? Um. No. I then thought that I should do that Tardis based tapestry that I've been wanting to do and enter it in U/U. Then I realized I should have bought tthe yarn that had the most yellow in it rather than the green based one and that's why I decided to go back so that I could get it.
Hopefully the letters are visible.
A: this is a juggling bag that I bought from Juggling Thingies for small yarn projects. John Nord (the proprietor) pretended to be horrified by the idea!
B is the last yarn I went back to get with the tapestry project in mind..
C is a yarn I bought just because I like it (same type as B, different color).
D & F are ruffle scarf yarns by Trendsetter called Flamenco. I still haven't quite figured out how to use it except for rolling the yarn stretched out (F) onto a piece of cardboard to hopefully make it easy to work with. I don't know if I will knit with it or crochet with it.
E is a cotton "shoelace" yarn that is so soft that I am using to make an Amanda hat.
Hi! I have the following for sale... clearing stuff out to make more space... I'm in the US, in north Texas... PM me with location info so I can figure out your shipping!
Rug Hooking kit:
1: I have a burlap kit called “Marie’s Sampler” that I started several years ago… it comes with the wool already cut, 1/8th of an inch wide strips…burlap with the design stamped, 19”x24”, actual design is smaller… instructions, paper guide & a photo… if I can find it, I can include the hook, which has a W or M on it… $45 obo, here are two photos of the kit:
Dreaming in Color by Kaffe Fassett, hard cover, good condition, dustjacket was damaged when I got it… $26
Icelandic Patterns in Needlepoint by Jona Sparey, $10
Raw Art Journalling: $9
Ikat textiles of India: $7.50
Knitter's Stash: $3
Twenty Easy Machine-Made Rugs Jackie Dodson $2
The Tassels Book $3
Small Woven Tapestries by Mary Rhodes, $8
Various skeins of Briggs & Little yarn, $3 per skein (approximately half price):
Heritage, worsted, 2 ply, 100% wool, green heather, red heather, royal blue, jade, blue heather, dark grey & evergreen...the 2nd photo has evergreen & dark grey and is actually darker and richer in person. 10 skeins dark grey, 2 skeins evergreen, 1 skein of the rest.
Tuffy (80% wool, 20% nylon), oxford (1), denim (1), green heather (2), green mix (2), granite (2)
I've been working on and off on Evan's cat rug... it's a locker hooking project... hopefully it will be ready for him to take when he moves... I don't know if he will want it as a pillow or a wall hanging... we will see! I found the printed canvas on ebay & it's supposed to be a fabric needlepoint, but I decided to locker hook it instead...
I've also been coloring a bit & reading too many messages about coloring/coloring books/coloring tools and Reuven has been coloring as well...he's been working on one picture since Evan's graduation night (on May 29th) and I've just been jumping around between projects/wannados... coloring has gotten pretty popular. Coloring takes the pressure off feeling that I have to come up with my own ideas... eventually I will....the rain we had has caused Texas to "grow some creeks, fill some lakes" and I love water, so maybe I'll get to do some water compositions...
I've also been going through patterns for making a shawl since last week I got to go to Hill Country Weavers in Austin and bought some yarn... I don't know what the Jupiter Farm "Zooey" is going to be. but the Classic Elite "Cricket" in pumpkin is going to be Christie Pruitt's Inspiration Capelet:
This is the yarn color:
These may be the beads I use... I may keep looking, but 1/0 beads seem to be hard to find..
I also may do a different (but somewhat similar) stitch pattern for the capelet, will swatch & see if I can make the numbers work!
I worked a little on my Color Affection (aka Color Insanity) shawl, but I don't love it & it seems to be going really slowly when I do pick it up... according to my project page, I started this almost 3 years ago.June 1, 2015... almost 3 years later, I'm playing with this pattern again.. I do pick it up every so often. I'm not in love with it, partly because I don't like the long points, so I've been dropping some of the increases, and hope to somehow make the back come out longer if I ever actually finish this as a shawl... this project is further along than the Ravelry photo shows... I now have the project on a 50" needle, so maybe I can take a picture soon to show an update... it's not that bad, just... tedious. The colors are cool, though! Here is the photo I took almost 3 years ago:... there's a fair bit more donesince the photo and one additional color, a sparkly gold.. the sparkles are very subtle...
I have a couple of other things that I'd like to finish, like the Beauty & The Beads shawl... I've done a lot more on this project since this photo, it has about 1,000 stitches...to get a decent photo, I'll need to put it it on at least one other needle so that I can stretch it out :
I get bitten by the shawl bug when the threat of cold weather lets up! :)
One other project I'm looking forward to is this one:
I'm gathering the yarns for it... the yarn has been discontinued, but people are selling it online... if they weren't, I'd find other yarns, but the called for yarn is SPARKLY and that is going to be fun!
The kitten in the photo above is Peppurr... she's about 3 now and had kittens a year ago... (she's spayed now!) and is pretty sweet... she has the prettiest green eyes. We kept her 3 kittens..
I'm working with a tapestry weaving mentor online & when she gets back from her trip, we'll work on circles...
I've been putting some locker hooking ideas together... I want to do some patterns that are already painting/printed on canvas, one of a duck that I've had for a couple of years or so... I'm doing the duck a little differently than the design on the canvas... I may try putting in some lettering along the lines of protecting wildlife. Here's the beginning of that canvas... I've made more progress on it since I've started, but I haven't taken any new photos. I think I got this canvas from one of the local thrift stores. If it's what I'm thinking of, it came with some strips and an aluminum locker hook, but that may another project I'm thinking of.
I figured out a way to do these points with a continuous strand of fiber. I'm using Briggs & Little country roving (which can be found on my website and by clicking on "country roving"). I'm using 6 strands of the fiber instead of the 5 that it comes with because it fits the holes best that way. This canvas is 3.3 holes to the inch.
I'm showing the back to show how I keep the roving going continuously.
The way I do it is to work the shape back and forth and the straight edge is the last loop in each shape... when I get to the top of the shape, I work back to the bottom of the section, keeping the loops oriented correctly and then do another shape...
I could also do each shape individulally without the single column at the straight edge and cut the yarn, but that would be a lot of weaving in (which could be done as you go OR a bunch at a time. Working line by line would probably give a similar effect of the piece I'll show below...but then I would have to have several pieces of roving in progress for each point... which might not be so bad!
This morning, I pulled out a "swatch" that I did several years ago using carded batts turned into thick and thin roving... I did a larger piece that was probably lost in our house fire in 2009... this piece was in our storage space:
It isn't finshed, probably 2 or 3 rows to go... the canvas is distorted and somewhat compressed...the fiber is probably too thick for it to lay flat, though blocking it may help... here is a closeup and you can see that the canvas holes are no longer properly square:
Here's the back:
Yes, I know.... messy messy... if I finish this piece I'll weave the ends in... it still won't be a 2 sided piece because you can still see the canvas peeking through in between rows.. not to mention the "jumps":
I don't remember the details about the fiber. I may have dyed some of it, but I don't think so...
Progress photo as of yesterday. I've knit another welt or two since then!
I'm not sure if I want to stick with just this color order or mix them up and go easy on the pink... maybe handpaint a couple of skeins so I can have some green and reds...
I'm also working on some ideas for new tapestries. What I'd like is to fix up some copper pieces that I have so that it'll be a small loom, but I can roll the warp instead of having this big tall thing. I tried warping my inkle loom, but it doesn't hold the warp tightly at all... I don't know if it would help to somehow turn it into a closed loom. Gary doesn't think that using copper pipe set up similar to an inkle loom would hold the warp tight enough using a closed inkle loom design. I'm not sure why not, since lots of people use copper pipe for rectangular tapestry looms.
What I'd really like is something that would allow me to roll the warp and cut a piece off as I go and then re-tie the warp... and allow pieces about 12" wide (for starters)... drawing board mode ON here!
This is the beginning of my Coat of Many Colors Cowl swatch... I did this last night while watching Heartland... I made a couple of mistakes but except for the one time when I knit a whole round without switching to the other needle, I didn't tink or frog at all...
I should be getting back to tapestry weaving soon... I may be doing a show at the librarry next year...
I haven't woven in a while, but I am trying to clear up some space in my room so it is easier to get to the Crisp loom. I have to go slowly with that (clearing stuff up) since my back has been acting up. I also got sidetracked by my cochlear implant surgery.. first recovery, then learning how to listen with it, etc... and trying to clear up stuff in my room. You can read about my CI journey at my other blog: Rambling Warps
I have a small piece on the Crisp loom that is based on an abstract I did a few years ago... and I should finish the alphabet tapestry & do something with one of my legal paper sized looms..
I'm trying to come up with some things I can weave: I put 3 pieces into the art guild show that ran from August through late October: an owl (which sold), rays & one of my little Girl Blob tapestries. I think I have a photo of the owl, if not, I will track down the new owner to see about getting a good photo of it.
I'm working on 2 pieces, one is an alphabet piece and the other is an owl design that I did a couple of years ago. When I was cleaning up and going through some stuff, I found another loom that Gary & the boys made for me a few years ago... all warped with a cartoon in place... I decided to go ahead & weave it!
It's funny how I know how to approach a design after doing the sampler & browsing around looking at other people's work! If I were to re-do the following box weaving project again (either as a box weaving or otherwise), I would know how to approach the trees without having to do them sideways.. sideways is an option also, if it's not going to be on a box woven bag:
These are the two pieces I'm working on now:
I haven't decided whether or not I will do another row of letters or if I will just work on write-weaving "now I know my XYZs"... I have some ideas for how to approach this so that I can include some other types of letters like Q, R, S, etc... roundish letters... when I did Flyin' Cat, originally it was supposed to be "and then it flies away with the cat" but that would have made that piece WAY too busy, so I decided to go with "Fly Away Cat"... I had trouble with the W, so decided to go wtth Flying cat... trouble with the G so I decided to do an apostrophe instead of a G... conquered the W in this project and probably should also make sure to try a G... as well as B or/and R...
I should have done the above letters project FIRST! Heh... hindsight. Flyin' Cat will be in Rhode Island with the Untitled/Unjuried Small Format show in Rhode Island in July
I plan to make the owl a little smaller since the warp ends at the very top of the loom. There is another piece on the other side...
Other news: things appear to be going forward for my cochlear implant... I had the initial evaluation with a new clinic on the 11th and have a few more evaluation appointments and a pre-surgery clearance checkup coming up in July. Hopefully I'll have a surgery appointment soon!
Sadly, it seems that I have missed hearing my youngest son's voice change in real time... he has some videos with his voice on them, so I'll be able to listen to them later on...
I wonder if I'll be able to hear/understand accents any better than I do now...
I had an English roommate back in 1975 and I was able to understand her most of the time. If I couldn't, she would spell out the words that I missed... I got used to how she spoke, so I knew what to expect. Something similar happened when we had someone with an accent come to our art guild in early 2013... I turned my hearing aid up and after a couple of minutes, I got used to her accent and was able to understand her pretty well!
I'm mostly happy with the idea of going through with the surgery and really don't think that even a digital hearing aid would be helpful for me: I've read what others have said about their CIs (from the "thinking about it" stage, evaluation, surgery recovery, etc), so I have a pretty good idea what to expect.
Everyone is different, of course, but I'm hoping that my hearing memory will be on my side, and also, I'll have to remember that I learn most things a bit at a time and then one day I realize that I don't want to go back!
I stopped listening to music for a while because my telephone coil no longer works, so I'm not able to listen with earbuds positioned on the speaker of my hearing aid, but I'm able to hear the speakers on my new tablet, so I've started listening again. Some of my favorite songs by Neil Young and John Denver sound weird now, but James Taylor sounds clear & awesome. Weird how that works. In a couple of weeks, NY and JD should start sounding good and clear again... I also listened to Reverend Horton Heat's "Slow" last night and had a bit of trouble with it. I will keep trying.. just training my brain! A little at a time so that I don't get too frustrated!
Today was cutting-off day for the "Rays" tapestry. I didn't feel up to posting progress photos, maybe next time!
Here are photos of it getting cut off, still on the loom, the back (I almost like the back better!) and the initals... it was fun to weave! Now to hem it and find a way to set it up so I can hang it up. Maybe I'll mount it on a stretched canvas... not sure yet!
I'll be taking it to the Nocona Car show and auction this weekend... the art guild is having a show there, should be fun!
This week, my son has been going to track meets: one was yesterday and the other will be this afternoon. It's the district meet and anyone who qualifies will go on to compete in the area meet next week.
Weaving wise: Gary built a loom stand from Noreen Crone-Findlay's stand shown here. I still have a couple more things to do and I'll be able to use it. It needs a spacer on the carriage bolt and also, the loom itself needs to have the coil spring tray secured better. The adhesive it came with did not stick to the copper and gorilla glue didn't work either... it stays on just fine when the loom is warped, but every so often, the loom might NOT be warped, so we need to have it attached so it won't fall off...
I've been working on some triangles on my smallest loom. Here is an in progress photo:
I have done more since this photo...
I'm using a crochet hook to pull the weft through.
Hopefully by tonite, I will have one of my larger small looms started, I think I will do some more triangles on it, or at least a tall diagonal on the side since the littlest loom doesn't have room for very much... I'm barely beginning to get the concept of how turning the weft on a high or low warp (or front or back.. or start-around-an-over or start-around-an-under) affects how the edges turn out...
This morning, I mailed my tapestry to the ATA Untitled/Unjuried small format show in Rhode Island:
I think it is 9" by 7.5" but I forgot to double check the measurements before mailing.. oops.
BTW, people who are familiar with cats will get the reference to cats flying... they don't actually fly, but they do some amazing long jumps. Our cats have been known to give me heimlich maneuvers with some of those #%$^&*() ing long jumps!! (Usually it's a jump from a high spot next to where I'm sitting, though...)
There is an awesome YouTube video of a past show here, enjoy!:
(note: this entry was put in my other blog by mistake on March 25th 2014! It's still there on http://ramblingwarps.blogspot.com but I prefer to have that blog as my main blog & cochlear implant blog...)
This morning, I mailed my tapestry to the ATA Untitled/Unjuried small format show in Rhode Island:
I think it is 9" by 7.5" but I forget to double check the measurements before mailing..
There is an awesome YouTube video of a past show here, enjoy!:
I'll post the finished piece when I get a good photo of it! This will be heading to the Untitled/Unjuried exhibition in Rhode Island. It'll be there this summer... still have a bit of finish work to do!
The boys and I did the following pieces in the late 90s...
The orange & green piece above was a miniature Navajo sampler from Noel Bennett & Tiana Bighorse's books.. I believe it was from "Weaving With the Wool", which is now only available as a used book. I don't know if their newer book (which is a combination of the first book & Designing with the Wool) "Navajo Weaving Way" is still in print or not. Good books!
The piece on the right was an experiment with a Navajo design. Both were done on the Tornadowood paperback loom (no longer in production). All the pieces on this page were done on Tornadowood paperback looms...
The 2 pieces above are "magic carpets" that I helped my son Harrison make...
Evan did the piece above
Micah did the piece above. I found these on my website. I only had the thumbnail version of Micah's piece (which is why it is so fuzzy)... Evan and Micah were around 4 years old and Harrison was around 2... (I did say he had a lot of help but he picked out the colors and did the actual weaving... I probably just beat the yarn into place...)