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Showing posts from October, 2012

Praise and Prayer

Considering that Hurricane Sandy came ashore yesterday, I decided to keep today's post short. First, as a time of thanksgiving that in my part of Western New York, the damage wasn't as severe as was first forecasted. We were without power from sometime after midnight until nine this morning. As far as we can see there is no wind damage on our property either.

Of course, prayers are needed for those who were not as fortunate. I pray that the Lord will comfort and guide those who have lost everything. I pray that the Lord will give them wisdom and patience as they rebuild. I pray that the Lord will be at the center of their lives for it is He who sustains us in good and in bad.

Study in Yellow and Green

A study is delving into a particular subject to explore a variety of elements within that subject. Studies come in everyday life from devotionals to school work. In art, studies can focus on a landscape or a still life. These studies can develop into themes that permeate books, art, and thoughts.

Sometimes a study comes from the least likely of sources - leftovers. My most current knotted pile is a study in yellow and green with a variety of yellows and greens. Part of the reason why I have so many yellows and greens is because I don't use these colors all that often. They are colors that I don't readily reach for, but as it turns out, the colors are interesting. The first portion was monochromatic - one green; one yellow. The second half plays with the two colors together.

Literature also develops studies,  or themes, on a particular subject. Currently, the most important theme in my books is following God's will for your life. Not so much finding God's will, for Mi…

Write What You Know

I will be the first to admit that some of my least favorite advice for beginning writers is "write what you know". Part of the reason that I dislike that advice is because I limited it to what I did know, and as a teenager, it wasn't much. I hadn't traveled around the world; I didn't camp in the middle of Alaska; I came from a good family in small town America. What I knew was the same everyone else knew ... and it was a little boring.

Then, I changed my opinion, and expanded my definition of what I knew. Write what I knew became write what I love and that expanded a great deal of what I could research. Writing what I knew also became write what is around me, and that led to more historical research.

This photo is taken at Fort Niagara on the mouth of the Niagara River (American side). Along the shoreline is the French Castle, so called because the French originally built the location as a trading post. To the right is Lake Ontario. The spit of land on the hori…

Knotted Pile

Earlier I explained about my tapestry troubles. The easiest solution was to make a knotted pile out of the warp. Today, I'll show  you my first project with knotted pile.

An overview of the uncut knotted pile. I realize that it is quite messy and hard to distinguish the pattern. The reverse of the project reveals the design better.

I tried to do an argyle style for it, but it appears to be more of a shield. The lighter center is not a fluke, but the lighter warp. The next photo is a close up of the backside of the project so that you can see the weave structure.

To create a knotted pile you need to have a ground weft and a supplementary, knot weft. If I took out all of the knots, I would be left with stripped piece of fabric. One of the beauties about knotted pile is the fact that it can be easily repaired since each knot can be individually re-woven.

Next is a photo of the entire project.

In total it is about 8.5" across and about 18" length including fringe. My warp …

Researching the Civil Wars

A lovely view of the Connemara in Ireland. Some days, I feel that researching historical times is just as beautiful, and just as remote. I gaze upon the mountains of work that I need to do, and realize that I enjoy researching, but I also realize that the work to surmount it is daunting.

While my book, Azure Maris, due out around Christmas, is a YA speculative novel, I enjoy historical fiction just as much as science fiction and fantasy. Throw in a good mystery, and I'm hooked. Yet, researching for fantasy is fairly easy, and involves more imagination and less research. Science fiction requires more research, but not as much as historical fiction since history took place, and there are certain facts that need to be included.

Currently, I have started researching for two other series. Both of these series, which focus on the English Civil War and the Irish Civil War, have their difficulties. One of the primary problems that I am currently facing concerns information. I have a ge…

Tapestry Troubles

Okay, so I realize that this isn't a photo of the tapestry, but that is part of the problem - the tapestry. Art is one of those things in which a problem can become a blessing - go figure.

The photo is actually my smaller floor loom, a hand-me-down from my grandma; possibly from her mother-in-law, but we're uncertain who purchased the looms or when. Since all three floor looms are in need of repair (one in fact needs to be completely rebuilt), I use rigid heddle looms for my weaving. My tapestry is on one of the rigid heddle looms.

At a ten dpi (dents per inch), I figured that I would have plenty of wiggle room for my warp. A tapestry is weft-faced, so it has to have enough space between the warp strands for the weft to pack into the space. Normally, I use 7.5 dpi for my tapestry, but decided to use 10 dpi for this one.

Yeah, big mistake. I should have used the 7.5 dpi, so now I have a warp that is ready to weave with nothing that will weave properly in it ... at least not …

What is a Tapestry?

Tapestries can be found over the entire world, and have their origin in ancient history. A tapestry can be a misnomer, however, since not all tapestries are actual tapestries. In modern language, a tapestry is any item that portrays an image through fiber, therefore, a tapestry is anything that isn't a painting, photograph, or drawing.

This loose definition is not a true tapestry, but the mistake is quite old. A true tapestry is a woven item that creates an image through a discontinous weft. Discontinous simply means that the weft does not cross from edge to edge in one row. For example in the image below, the blues and chocolates meet in the middle of the tapestry, but do not go entirely to the other edge.

In older times, a tapestry usually had some sort of an image involved, and often told a story. It might be a part of a larger series such as the Unicorn Tapestries, but not necessarily. Now, tapestries can have a modern, abstract look to them, or they can have realistic image…

Tapestry Weaving

Now that summer is over with, I can return to tapestry lessons. Over the past year or so, I have been teaching myself about tapestry weaving. I have two primary reasons for focusing on tapestry weaving:
I actually enjoy tapestry weaving. It takes time and energy, but it combines weaving with drawing - two things I enjoy doing. I use tapestry weaving in several books, and the concept of weaving a story intrigues me. These two were a study that I did on color and basic weaving structures. The top left one is January and goes down to December on the bottom right. Colors on the computer do not give the best of views, but it was interesting to see how the colors played with each other.

Tapestry weaving is a few steps beyond this study, but the study plays into tapestry weaving since colors react to each other even in woven structure. While you might not mix red and blue to create purple as with paints, the illusion can be created in woven structures.

As I progress with the weaving, I'…


One of the things that I enjoy the most about fiber arts is the cultural history. My family is predominately Celtic and German so as far as fiber arts are concerned, there isn't much in the way of fiber arts - not as there would be for Scandinavian or Islamic heritage at any rate. Living in this modern world, however, allows us the opportunity to look at other cultures and apply those arts to our own culture. Furoshiki are one such item.

Furoshiki are squared pieces of cloth popular in Japan. Used as gift-wrapping and everyday bags, these handy little squares are becoming popular again as people try to go green in daily life.

Here's an example of what you can do with a larger furoshiki.

What you need are two (2) bottles, I used wine bottles for the demonstration and one large furoshiki. The one used is 44" by 44" and is brocade.

The first thing to do is to open the fabric up and fold two of the corners in so that they meet each other near the center. Next, place the…

Support Your Local Library

Just returned from the library book sale where I found a book about poetry, another on the Middle East and a design book. A little eclectic, I understand, but one never knows when a design book might inspire a location for a new book.

I want to encourage you to go to library book sales since the money generated usually helps libraries with programs and purchasing new books. It's also a good way to find research books for fairly cheap. A few years ago, I found a book about the history of watercolor. Since watercolor was popular in the Regency time period, and I had a book based in the time period, I was able to gather ideas and facts about watercolor paintings in the time period.

My library system allows me to borrow books from libraries in three different counties. It opens up the options for finding books about a particular topic. I show my support through the library book sales. What do you do to support your local library?

What Artisans Do for Us

I just finished a craft fair this past weekend and while wandering around, I noticed few artisans. There were plenty of crafters, but few artisans. This post isn't about the difference, but what artisans do for their communities. Below is a photo of a furoshiki wrapping two bottles of wine - a very eco-friendly way to give a gift. I'll explain more about furoshikis later, but take a time to consider this: what do artisans do for their communities?

Have you ever considered just why we need the arts in our lives? Most people can understand the need for music, drama and painting in schools and life - after all they provide entertainment and beautify our lives. But what about the other artists? The Artisans - just what do the potters and weavers and glassmakers and others do for us?

I can think of seven big things that they do for us:
Go Green. Artisans help us go green. Think about how much we throw away each day - whether through recycling or not: plastic bottles, paper plates, …