Valley Grove Tapestry #1–Finally Underway

The first of the Valley Grove Church tapestry quartet has a theme of animals and an oak tree, and it is finally underway. (The gold band at the bottom is the hem.)

I way underestimated the amount of sampling I would find necessary. I wanted stars in the corners, and I experimented with a few stars when I traveled to Maine in August. It’s tricky–tricky to weave a star, tricky to determine how many warp threads to go over to make a star that ends up the right size for its space in the pattern.

What you see in the top photo is the bottom of the outside border. Next will come the band of marching animals. I described the historical precedent in this post: “Valley Grove Tapestries: Working on Animals.” Some readers may remember the oak tree that will be the centerpiece of this tapestry; I sampled that already. See: “Valley Grove Tapestries: The Great Oak.”I also needed to sample the angle of the border in the corners; would it weave up smoothly? The vertical line will be woven with an interlock stitch, so I needed to determine how thick to make the bottom and angled outline to match the vertical in weight. Basically, I didn’t want the vertical portions of the border outline to be way fatter than the other sections.

I have the perfect sampling loom–a narrow upright loom made of galvanized pipe.

It is so wonderful to be in the all-absorbing, constant puzzle-solving weaving phase of this tapestry. I am a diligent and fairly fast weaver–once I get going. Before the actual weaving starts, I fret and plan and get bogged down. For example, which of these two Rauma prydvev yarn reds is the right one? I went back and forth for weeks during the design phase. (I chose the one that has less of a blue tone, more of a brick or orange-y tone, and I’m SURE it was the right decision.)

Choosing all the colors was mind-twisting. Here are all the chosen ones in a square rolling bin by the loom, along with the inevitable butterflies littering the floor as I weave. The runner-up colors are stuffed in a basket, looking beautiful by the window.

And didn’t I mention that weaving a star is difficult? I’ll bet you can find the mistake in the star below. It’s a good thing I don’t mind ripping out.

I’m well into the animal border now. The next reveal with show the first three.

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