Tapestry weaving

Almost a year ago to the day I posted about the dog tapestry I was trying to weave from the Great Pyrenees dog hair I’d spun in the winter of 2012. (For some of the backstory read here and here.)

Yesterday morning the tapestry was finally finished! I don’t know how many times I wove up to the dog’s nose only to unweave back and start again. Good thing that I decided to warp the loom with sturdy cotton the third and final time that I warped it. That warp endured a lot of beating. Probably as a result of all the times I wove and rewove I couldn’t get the upper middle third of the weaving to pack in as well as it should have.
DSC07072The technique I used for this tapestry was one I learned for Navajo weaving when I was fourteen: Weave the top portion when there was still plenty of space so that it would be well packed, eliminating the need to try to weave weft at the top when there was scarcely any room left to thread the weft through. Hindsight, I wish I’d woven straight to the top.

The visible warp in that area as well as the draw-in that happened, in the same section were disappointing. Overall, I’m tickled pink to have the job done and off the loom. My heart gives a happy beat when I look at the dog’s face. I’d despaired of ever getting it to look like a dog. Ed and I had joked about what kind of creature it really resembled. Adding detail as well as adding some defining stitches with the handspun dog yarn around the head brought out the dog.

He’s a happy dog!

Spinning with the Great Wheel January – May 2013, weaving begun Sept ’13 completed Nov 4, 2014, with lots of time-out.
Green – 2-ply was spun from Crown Mountain fiber, sadly no longer in business.
White – 2-ply Great Pyrenees chiengora (dog hair) blended about 70% to 30% BFL in the effort to keep the short cut hairs from flying everywhere.
Grey – singles spun from the dark hairs which I’d separated out during the preparation stage before carding. I had wanted the shadow under the chin but after the head was finished and it was time to stitch in the mouth the sinking realization hit that I’d carried it too high. I abandoned trying to weave in the mouth after the fourth failed attempt at producing something that looked like a dog’s mouth.
Black – embroidery yarn. I originally woven the nose with the darkest grey hair that I’d spun separately for this purpose but its tone too closely matched the green so I stitched over the top of the woven grey to make it look more like a proper nose. The eye was woven in during the weaving process. The mouth, freckles, eyebrow and ear were stitched in after the head was woven.

The bits of white yarn were added to make the ruff as I wove. It’s been trimmed a bit more and brushed after that final picture above, with time the ruff will look even better. I hope the woman who had loved this dog will love this weaving as much as I do!



Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

2 thoughts on “Tapestry weaving”

  1. The dog looks really good! I’m sure the recipient will love it. Allergies to animal dander would prevent me from ever taking on such a project.(although I do have a dog–but I’m not trying to weave her fur!) On a different subject, this morning at church, one of our organists and I played Bach’s Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying. The organist played the main part and I played the second part on the cello. I have much to learn on the instrument, but it went pretty well. Our next project will be to play something from Messiah, in the new year. I’m wondering what the shaggy part of the dog tapestry feels like–rough or soft?

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