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Before and After; A Rya Makeover

Only people who have struggled with after-the-fact inadequacies in their weaving will care about this post and my struggle to fix this piece, “Icelandic Crosses.”

I thought I had finished the two pieces I wove in the warp-weighted loom class this summer.  They work well as opposites, a smooth black cross and a shaggy companion, and I wanted to display them as a diptych.   I tried to make them the same width, which was a struggle since one was woven vertically and the other on its side.  When I set them on the floor I realized that the smooth cross pieces was not square.  The bottom measured 13.25 inches, and the top was 14.5 inches.  What hadn’t seemed apparent when it was a single piece now made me crazy. It looked unprofessional. Long story short – I spent seven hours fixing it.

I took off the well-attached header and began to insert rows of black thread to gather the top part in, making it the same width as the bottom.  My guess was that the wonders of wool and steam would smooth out the bubbly gathered part.  It was a tedious process, but the final steaming step was like magic!  I love blocking and steaming.

I also noticed that when I wove it, the pattern-bundle threads fell under the outside thread on one side and over the outside thread on the other.  It is difficult to get an even selvedge on a warp-weighted loom, so the side with the visible outside warp thread looked messier.

I solved that by using a large-eyed tapestry needle to pull the red/orange thread up through the middle of the outside warp thread.  It looked much better, and matched the other side. After threading and sewing and steaming, the result was much better.

I decry my photographic abilities, and it is hard to photograph textiles well.  For one thing, it’s difficult to show the depth of pieces with a full-front shot.  The non-shaggy piece has little ridges standing up at the edges of the cross, like the mane of an Icelandic fjord horse.

The shaggy cross has depth.

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