Last week we had an almost constant week of rain here in Vermont and since there wasn't much to do in the garden we took the time to finish up some lingering weaving projects. Here is Alison working on the weft-faced galon for a tapestry restoration being done by St. John the Divine. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has a wonderful conservation lab that is quite well known for its work in restoring medieval tapestries. I have been weaving the "galons" ...the trims attached to the edges of a tapestry... for almost 8 years now and it has been quite a learning experience.
Each tapestry requires about 16 yards of galon...half of it a weft-faced structure and the other half warp-faced. Each new job has to be meticulously sampled for the right end and pick counts to match the originals and all the yarn is custom dyed as well. Most of the galons are 2 -2.5" wide and the weft-faced pieces have pick counts in the 50 ppi range. I use a fine 2 ply worsted for the warp faced warp and a heavier 2/8 worsted for the weft faced. I've experimented over the years with different looms for the weaving and have finally found that a small 24" jack loom works the best. In my opinion, weaving narrow trims is one of the most exacting weaving skills to master in keeping the width consistent. I often wonder who the galon weavers of the 16th C. were and what kind of loom they used.
Besides the galons for St. John, I have been working on a worsted silk trim that will be used to upholster a wing chair. I originally wove this design for a chair that was being restored by the conservation department at the Met, and I have always loved its simple elegance. For this trim I am using a Crompton & Knowles dobby loom that I had retro-fitted to weave narrow widths. Weaving on this loom is a little hard on the old knees, but it sure beats dealing with 12 treadles!
For more information on the textile lab at St. John check their web site: www.stjohndivine.org