Tapestry Mounting

If a thing is to be done, it should be done well. So, I decided to leave the mounting to people who can do it better than I. Still, what I did may be instructive for newbies out there, so I will share it.

  • Step 1: The frame
  • Use a needlepoint frame a bit bigger than the tapestry to be mounted. Fit the corners snugly and tap a small nail into each corner, top and bottom sides, to keep the frame rigid.

  • Step 2: The backing and felt cushion
  • Cut a square of cloth for backing that complements one of the colors in the tapestry of sufficient length and width to be nailed to the frame. Cut a piece of felt a little less than the length and width of the tapestry.

  • Step 3: Preparing the backing
  • Iron the backing cloth to ensure it is smooth and straight. Iron a hem around the cloth to prevent unraveling of the fabric.

  • Step 4: Attaching the backing
  • Use a staple gun to tack the backing cloth to the frame. Make the first tack midway down the length of the frame on one side. Pull the backing cloth on the other side tightly to the frame, make sure the cloth between the frame sides is taut and apply a staple to tack it down. Continue tacking one side, pulling the fabric taut, then tacking the other side until both sides are done. Fold the fabric at the top frame as neatly as possible, pull tight, and tack. Repeat at the bottom of the frame.

  • Step 5: Basting the tapestry to the backing
  • Employ a very fine thread (silk if you have it) of the same color as one of those used in the tapestry. Starting from underneath, leaving a three or four inch tail, pass the needle through the backing and into the top hem of the tapestry. Since the hem should not be visible when the mounting is finished, it’s okay to take big basting stitches.

    Before basting the side of the tapestry, insert the felt for cushioning. The basting stitches under the tapestry can be large; those on the top side should be really tiny and should be placed between the warps in the same space, a few dots down, from which the needle emerged. Do this until the side is basted down. Repeat large basting stitches on the bottom and tiny ones up the side.

    Take the basting stitches back up to the top and half way across the top hem of the tapestry. Do a line of very fine basting stitches down to the bottom hem. Cut the thread and leave a three or four inch hem.

    Do a line of tiny basting stitches across the width of the tapestry; start half way up side. Ensure there is a three and four inch tail on both ends.

    Finally, tie the tail ends of the basting thread on to another thread, ensure it’s snug, then snip to a one inch length.

At the end of this, the tapestry is mounted on a frame and backed, but I think I did something wrong. It’s possible the top and bottom hems should have been folded under, I don’t know. Either way, I decide that mounting is something that should be best left to experts. In the future, when I have time to study it in depth and perfect my skills, I will revisit it.

When You Can’t Sleep…

You drink wine, especially if you are a cheap drunk. I am a cheap drunk. So, after a sleepless night and a run to the airport (to pick up the second piece of luggage that had remained, mysteriously, in Detroit, even as the other suitcase went to Norfolk—while I went to Richmond airport), a side trip to Food Lion netted two bottles of wine: port and a Shiraz. Since the port is guaranteed to knock me out, that’s what I’m drinking in the middle of the day. Unfortunately for me, all I’m getting is the fuzzies.

Tapestry Mounting

Yes, I’m supposed to be asleep, but sleep won’t come. I began mounting Men Without Limits as one of the stay busy sleepless in the night activities. It ground to a halt because of the lack of a staple gun to nail the backing cloth to the frame. Besides making a sleepy trip to Norfolk to collect one suitcase (and hoping the other has arrived at the local airport), I’ve not been outside. Worse yet, I’m debating the wisdom of mounting it on the wooden frame before sending it. Possibility of a broken frame, you know.

Anyway, the feel of MWL has given me a taste for weaving with silk. Why not? I’ve got lots of silk cotton for warp and enough silk to dye for weft.

“The Farther off from England, the Nearer is to France”

This week, during one of the sleepless periods, I discovered how far Haywood is from where I live.

How come only now? Well, the iPad Maps app, even with Location turned off, only showed localities in China, and with Hanzi script, no less. (Apple has to do of something about that. They’re as annoying as Google and Bing, to name a few sites, who peek at your location even when Location and Do Not Track Me are off; then, they toss you pages in a language that you can’t read well or at all.)

What about GoogleEarth? As bad as Apple’s Maps. Nothing showed in the GE app on the computer; on the iPad, I couldn’t find anything about distance and such. So, until this week, I had no idea how near or far Haywood is from where I live.

Upon discovery of the distance and the difficulties in getting from Point A to Haywood, all I could say was dang! 7 hours worth of driving. The problem? No car. The BMW was wrecked by a woman who changed lanes without looking at what was happening in the lane she was moving into. The Nissan got sold whilst I was out of the country.

Trains? Amtrak has never heard of where Haywood is or of the city closest to it. In fact, I wonder if Amtrak has heard of North Carolina! To get from Point A to Haywood, first a train to maybe South Carolina, and then a 5+ hour Greyhound ride.

Planes? You would imagine that NC is somewhere in Southeast Asia; a ticket can cost $800+, and the journey’s duration would be anywhere from 5 to 11 hours! Some routes require a trip to Atlanta, a long wait, then a trip back up to NC. Frankly, right now, it will take an act of God to get me into an airplane. My skin hasn’t recovered yet from the dehydration that is part of the flight oxygen-deficient air.

So, what to do? I don’t know. I’m not stupid enough to solicit a ride via Craigslist though I have interviews at Haywood and with a prospective landlady. The logistics of getting from Point A to B argue against making two trips to NC because, even if somehow I get a car, the trip would be a two day-er. Two days of driving-induced stress because I don’t trust my eyesight enough to travel at night.

Best I can do is offer a selection of yarns, and gas, to someone who is willing to cart me and my luggage (clothes and yarns) down to NC.

Trust me to find a place off the beaten path!

Sleepless in Virginia

As of today, my body still has not yet adjusted to the time difference between China and the USA. So, I nap during the day, sometimes, and stay up all night bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

So far, I’ve managed to inventory a large amount of yarns, especially the needlepoint ones. I’ve also cleared out several boxes of cone yarns: hemp, linen, cotton, silk, and blends of.

Determined to do something besides stare up at the ceiling during the sleepless night time, I’ve experimented with various WordPress store plugins before settling on two little plugins: WP Simple PayPal Shopping Cart, and Ultimate Tables. They work together beautifully and leave me free to just add inventory rather than fuss and fight with intricacies of an online store. The code for the shopping cart goes inside the tables, and The Store (why call it something more complex and fanciful? After all, I’m the one who’s going to call my studio The Weaving Shed!) Right now, some stuff is on Etsy. I don’t think I will put the cone yarns or the silk mawatas there.

Anyway, I’m going to try for some zzzzzzs. Tired like a dog but sleep won’t come.

Blog Updates

I’ve added a gallery of my tapestries and store to the blog. The Gallery has been long overdue as a response to questions about the work I’ve done. Iceni Wolf’s Head was the first tapestry that I did and with which I was satisfied. Few of my previous endeavors are still around because I either unraveled or tossed them. After Iceni Wolf’s Head, I stopped doing that. Tan Tan is missing from the gallery simply because images of it cannot be found, for one reason or another.

The Store, well, that too has long been in the works. Sure, there’s the Etsy store, but there’s no reason not to have a store here, too. It’s time consuming but necessary because I will not be able to work while doing the Professional Crafts Fiber program and I must have a source of income. I’m rather ticked that my shipments from China have not arrived as yet, and, in spite of the blandishments of the shipper, I doubt they will soon arrive.

Anyway, stop by, look, buy something. Thanks.

Free Tapestry Loom

This is a custom-built tapestry loom, wide enough to make tapestries for commercial interests. It’s located in VA, and cannot be shipped. You must arrange your own pick up. The owner would like it gone by the end of August.


Email me if you’re interested.

Finally, Arnofsky’s Noah

It’s on the in-flight menu of movies, and it’s a total crock.

Apparently, Noah didn’t get the pro-life message from “the Creator”. Instead, he got the female infanticide message. He got the nihilistic, anti-worship of God message: man has no dominion over anything; the creation was for its and the animals’ own sake; and, man is a virus in paradise. This, in addition to a mostly silent God, says nothing to see here, folks, move along.


Hard Rider

There’s travel easy, and there’s travel hard. Right now, I’m traveling hard, and my mood is rather infelicitous.

So what happened? The original plan was to leave China via Shanghai. Fly to that city, look around a bit, and then zài Jiàn! The desire to see, for the last time, a young friend whom I value much, overrode he original plan, and I set a course for Hong Kong.

Saturday night, the long ride began with a bus trip from Nanning. Why not take a plane to Hong Kong instead? Simple. My flight was leaving Monday; my friend was arriving in HK on Sunday, and I saw no reason to hurry up and wait. Sure, gawking and gawping like a never see come see would have been de rigeur, but I’ve come to the “there was a naughty boy” stage in life.

What naughty boy stage is that? Every Caribbean school child who has ever learned to read with Nelson’s West Indian Reader by J. O. Cutteridge knows that simple but very deep poem by John Keats, “There Was A Naughty Boy.” It goes thus, in part:

There was a naughty boy,
And a naughty boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see—
There he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red—
That lead
Was as weighty
That fourscore
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England—
So he stood in his shoes
And he wondered,
He wondered,
He stood in his shoes
And he wondered.

One place is pretty much like another. People are pretty much the same wherever you go, with a few glaring exceptions, of course. Anyway, eye and ear ticklers are to be avoided; no oohing, aching, gaping here. Everything is dust, and back to dust again.

Arrival in Hong Kong airport brought its disappointment—my friend’s arrival would be delayed by a month. Hail, fellow; fare well. It is not my intention to gloss over the wondrous border crossing, at Shenzhen, as one goes from mainland China to Hong Kong. Indeed not. Rather, I would say this: whoever was the deficient who designed the layout of the immigration facility, relative to the arrival of buses (the primary means of passenger arrival at that point), the purpose of the place, and the encumbrances borne by passengers, should be flayed, skinned alive, hung, drawn, quartered, and shot. For sheer inconvenience, asininity, Byzantine tortuousness, Asian roundaboutation, the obstacle course that is Shenzhen border crossing for buses is unparalleled.

There seems to be no provision for buses to disgorge passengers near the entrance and move in. Instead, passengers are vomited out in a back yard, of sorts, which has no ramp up which to wheel luggage. Instead, there’s a steel pipe to be humped over, a few concrete blocks of uncertain utility, and a rough path unsuited to luggage hauling. Having conquered that micro-Everest, there us a long walk past some odiferous toilets.

Now, this is China, the land of rén duō, a lot of people, pushing, shoving, thrusting, lalaing without regard for the burdens of their fellows, stepping on toes, sans acknowledgment or apology, and generally engaging in charmingly and obliviously obnoxious behavior. Push against them as they gave pushed against you, and you earn a glance. Relentlessly push a heavy suitcase against the back of the leg of someone choosing to step in front of you is rewarded with a quick stroke but no effort to be less inconvenient.

Once past the toilets, travelers encounter a long flight of stairs relieved somewhat with a platform. Dividing the width of the stairs, a steep ramp for suitcases containing a tee shirt and a pair of boxers if panties. Anything more cumbersome and the ramp is useless. This double flight of stairs leads to a long crosswalk inclining downward.

For those with a heavy suitcase, continue past thus staircase, to a down escalator. Yes, a down escalator. Strip to the crosswalk on the pavement, cross the street, and walk towards the up escalator with the three or so steps leading up to it. Having arrived at its apogee, disembark and walk some more distance towards another down escalator. Some marvel of ingenuity built three steps leading DOWN to the escalator.

At the end of the ride, walk around some building or other finally to the entrance of the emigration control area if the border crossing, and join a long winding line in which people who cone after you have no compunction pushing past you or doing whatever to ensure they ride out to the by sir SUV that will take them to Hong Kong.

Now I’m tired, and must, perforce, end this tale in medias res.

Wouldn’t You Know It!

I’m scheduled to leave tomorrow evening for Hong Kong, and guess what hits me this morning? A nasty little stomach bug that recurs periodically. When it strikes, things can get so bad sometimes you don’t know which end to put over the pot. There was business to be done this morning, thanks to the bug, I made it as far as the 12th floor, from the 13th, before scrambling back in.

I’ve got some parasite meds and hope that cleans Mr. Bug out.