Applique from Handwoven Remnants

This is the Christmas-tree-skirt project. I wove 3 1/2 meters of background fabric with 8/1 Möbellåtta warp and 6/1 Fårö wool weft. Now, having sorted through all my handwoven remnants, big and small, I have colors and textures for telling the Nativity story in appliqué. My friend with appliqué experience has advised me on materials and technique, for which I am enormously grateful.

Applique from handwoven remnants.
Remnant from the warp for towels I wove for my daughter becomes part of Mary’s garment.
Handwoven remnants cut for applique Nativity.
Donkey shape is cut from remnants from my wool vest project on the drawloom. Paper is on both sides of the double-sided fusible product. One side is peeled off to adhere the fusible to the back of the appliqué piece. (Always remember to draw the reverse side of the image onto the paper on the fusible.)
Applique from handwoven drawloom fabric.
Appliqué piece is face up, ready to be fused to the background.
Making handwoven applique Nativity.
Blue star is from opphämta on the drawloom. Green palm trees are from a long-ago rigid heddle scarf and from a warp of cottolin towels. Manger is pieced from some of my earliest floor loom fabrics. Swaddling cloth is fine cotton M’s and O’s. Baby’s halo is from Swedish lace curtain fabric. Every piece of fabric has a story.

Using a double-sided fusible product, I carefully cut out each shape. After laying all the pieces out in the proper arrangement, I fuse them, layer by layer, to the background fabric. The Nativity narrative is formed, piece by piece. I still have handwoven remnants to add to the lower edge, and embroidery to stitch around some of the appliqué shapes. I’m hopeful to complete all of it before Christmas.

Making a handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
This is the felt tree skirt I saw every year around our family’s Christmas tree when I was a girl.
Handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
Planning the arrangement of the appliqué pieces onto the background fabric.
Making a handwoven applique Nativity scene.
I start by fusing the manger into place because the head of baby Jesus is at the very center of the whole length of cloth.
Handwoven applique Nativity scene.
Wide variety of handwoven fabrics tell the Nativity story. Threads of linen, cotton, wool, and bamboo.
Handwoven applique Nativity project.
Scraps of paper backing indicate that all the pieces have been fused into place. Next, embroidery and other handwork, while considering the meaning of Christmas.

My remnant scene tells the story of God with us. The holy babe in a pieced-together manger reminds us that God loved us by sending Jesus to our worry-ridden world. Worries are the little things and big things that we would like to control, but can’t. Can we add one moment to our lifespan by worrying? Trust in Jesus replaces worry because it puts control back in the right hands.

May you live worry free.

Love,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Oh my goodness! It’s going to be a gorgeous heirloom! How will you keep the edges of the cut woven pieces of cloth from fraying? I can’t wait to see this finished. No doubt you will have it completed before Christmas.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I think you’re right that this will become a cherished heirloom. I envision having it out year after year.

      Most of the cut edges are secured with the fusible that I used. And the embroidery that I’m planning to do will serve a dual purpose – stitching around vulnerable edges, as well as being decorative.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,
    What did we do before fusibles?

    Textiles. Taking scraps of this and that and with blessings of creativity from God something wonderful happens where before for waste.

    Who knew playing with fluff would end up spun yarn? Or, looping that yarn would lead to cloth. Or stains would lead to dyes. Or mended holes would lead to lace.

    We are blessed with the end result of those ‘discoveries’ and the ever present ‘waste not want not’ that makes sure we use every last scrap of our hard work.

    Please forgive my getting into the weeds. I am trying to figure out how there are 6 plastic container lids of varying sizes left over from packing up my crafts. I think this is in the realm of socks and dyers….

    Beautiful tree skirt. I am looking forward to the finished project under the Christmas tree this year.

    Kind regards,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hello Nannette, I enjoy your thoughtful response so much. Using every last scrap has a way of showing us that when we think we are all used up, the Lord whispers that He’s not quite done with us.

      Thank you for your lovely communication,
      Karen

  • Karen says:

    Just beautiful!

  • Geri Rickard says:

    What an amazing project this is! Every piece tells a story, with each piece being a part of THE STORY. So meaningful in so many ways, and very inspiring. I can’t wait to see the finished tree skirt, but I say that about all of your projects! Thank you for sharing this process…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geri, You express my sentiments perfectly, about being a part of THE STORY. What a grand story to be in. Thank you for contributing your thoughts!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Cynthia says:

    Wow please post when your finished, Would love to see.

  • Loyanne says:

    Oh! So very wonderful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

  • Karen Simpson says:

    This will be so moving…..

  • Elisabeth says:

    It is absolutely beautiful, what a treasure! And such a great use of remnants from all those projects.

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Tried and True: One Small Skein

I have a single skein of colorful cotton/bamboo sock yarn that a sweet friend gave to me. I’m not a knitter. What can I do with a mere 50 grams of silky-soft yarn? My 13.5” Glimåkra Emilia rigid-heddle loom is perfect for the task. When I’m at home I weave on floor looms. When I travel I like to take Emilia along.

"Make Do" warping while away from home.
This is called “Make Do” warping while away from home.
Glimakra 13.5" Emilia rigid heddle loom, ready to tie on and start weaving.
Emilia is beamed and the heddle is threaded. Ready to tie on and start weaving.
Weaving in the Casita Travel Trailer.
Now, a trip to visit some wonders of creation in Texas. Time to bring Emilia along. Weaving in “La Perlita,” our Casita Travel Trailer.
Weaving outside while camping.
Weaving outside the Casita in the shade of a tree is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
Weaving outdoors.
Two shades of bamboo thread are used for the weft–hot pink and coral–woven in alternating blocks of color.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with poppies in the foreground.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. Poppies in the foreground provide color inspiration for more weaving projects.
Hemstitching at the end of a scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
Hemstitching at the end of the scarf, easiest to do while still on the loom.

One skein of this yarn yields just enough to make the warp for a short scarf with fringe. I am using Xie Bamboo thread for the weft, left from the huck lace shawl I wove for myself to wear to my daughter’s wedding six years ago (See Quiet Friday: Coral Shawl for a Memorable Occasion). This thinner weft gives me a loose weave, and the color blends in a way that allows the changing color of the warp to take center stage.

Trimming fringe on a handwoven scarf.
Back home again, doing the finishing. Fringe is trimmed to an even length.
Trimmed.
Trimmed.
Twisting fringe.
Twisting fringe. (For more on twisting fringe, see Tools Day: Fringe Twister.)
Twisting fringe.
Fringe twisted.
Handwoven scarf before washing.
Before hand washing.
Rigid heddle scarf made with sock yarn.
Scarf has been air dried, and the fringe knots have been trimmed. This soft short scarf is just right to wear with a light jacket in the Texas autumn air.

Now that this scarf is finished, the only thing left to do is make sure I have a new warp ready for Emilia in time for our next travel adventure.

May you take your joys with you.

Happy travel weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Beautiful. It looks like sunshine

  • Bev says:

    Karen, you are making the most of each opportunity! An exquisite scarf from one skein of yard…and while traveling in God’s beautiful creation! Delightful! Blessings to you, Bev

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev, It’s great to hear from you! There’s something about seeing God’s beautiful creation that prompts us to be creative in our own simple way. Such a contrast, though, between the mountainous marvels and our little handwoven threads.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    That’s a great way to use a single skein, you turned it into a beautiful and useful piece! And isn’t it the perfect statement in a challenging time; find light and happiness where possible

    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, It took me a while to decide how to use that pretty skein. I’m looking forward to wearing the scarf. There’s usually a way to light and happiness even when there seems to be no way.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Cynthia says:

    Beautiful and glad you are out camping. Have fun

  • Kristin G says:

    What a perfect project for a special skein of yarn! I can’t help but smile when I see those cheerful colors And I always love to see the difference in the cloth once it is wet finished. It’s like a bit of magic ✨

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, This special scarf from that special skein will always remind me of that friend that wanted me to have it. Isn’t the magic of wet finishing wonderful? This one was already soft, but really softened up even more!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Warp Sequence Planning

When I wrap potential warp sequences on folded index cards it brings design thoughts out into the open. It makes the ideas tangible, helping me plan a pleasing warp. For this 8/2 cotton warp I am choosing colors from the plentiful selection I already have on my shelves.

Planning warp stripes with 8/2 cotton.
8/2 cotton left from previous projects fills the shelves. Each warp wrapping sparks ideas for more possible warps.

This warp will be woven as eight-shafttwill yardage, about 15 1/2 inches wide. The fabric will be cut and hemmed to make colorful arm and headrest covers for my mother-in-law’s comfy off-white recliner. I will increase the width of the stripes proportionately to fill the warp width. My mother-in-law will have the final say, but if you could help her decide, which set of warp stripes would you choose? Please let us know in the comments.

Planning warp stripes.
Planning warp stripes.
Planning warp stripes with 8/2 cotton.

What if our attitudes were made tangible? What would our thoughts look like if they were out in the open, wrapped like colored threads around our actions? With the love of Christ in us, forgiveness is the recurring thread. Forgiveness is for the undeserving. That is who we forgive. Because that is who we are when we are forgiven by God.

May the thread of forgiveness be woven in your life’s fabric.

With you,
Karen

30 Comments

  • Jo says:

    Hi Karen,
    I have enjoyed your weaving and your threads of wisdom for quite a while. This post on forgiveness is on target . Thank you for your insightful messages. I would choose the blue with salmon , yellow and orange. The yellow stands out like sunshine (Sonshine) of God’s forgiveness.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jo, Thank you for letting me know you are a part of this weaving journey. I enjoy hearing your reason for your choice of the warp wrappings.

      Hugs,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    A very good reminder. We forgive because we are forgiven.

    The wraps are so beautiful in themselves. I lean toward 1 or 3 or 5…..blues with pop of color. It will be fun to see what your mother-in-law picks!

  • #2 and my reasoning is simple – bright, joyful and a reminder that your warmth and loving arms are surrounding her with the skills you have to share. Blessings!
    Bethany in Kingston ON Canada

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    Prefaced with not knowing what else is in the room and color preferences of your MOL…I am drawn to number 2.

    The warm colors bring a spark of excitement to the a
    off white chair.

  • Maria says:

    I look forward to reading your wonderful words each time you post. You inspire me to weave and be a better person! I would choose #3 and #5. I like the play of blue with the red and yellow.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, I’m encouraged by your kind words. It’s a joy to have you along. Thanks for giving your opinion on the warp wrappings.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • patricia ahrens says:

    I agree with Karen. #2

  • Ellen Sturtevant says:

    #2 or 3. Like the pop of color in both. Hard to say tho without knowing what other colors are in her room. I’m sure you’ve considered color with all your selections.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, You are right, I tried to include colors that would work in her room. And I didn’t include green at all because I know it’s not one of her favorite colors.

      Thanks for participating,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    For me personally I would pick 2 or 3. I like lots of color. If she doesn’t like as much color then 6 has potential as you get variations of blues with a touch of black. A more restful but interesting warp.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I included #6 for the very reasons you describe. It truly does look very restful. The black is actually navy blue. The iPhone camera does pretty good, but just can’t get it quite right. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    Good morning, dearest!

    As I picture the off-white recliner…#6 seems to pop in my mind. It would hide possible soil marks and be stunning against the recliner. But, then…you might want something more cheerful. What is her personality? What are her favorite colors, I wonder. No matter the color choices…the end product will surely bless her more than there are color choices to make.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, I like your reasonable approach. Yes, there are several factors to consider. Personality – delightful and fun. Favorite colors – I know she favors blue, and also likes other colors in colorful things. It will be a great pleasure for me to make these for the woman who has enriched my life so much.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen.

    Rather a scary premise to have all of our thoughts out in the open for everyone to see! However, I do believe that God sees them all and that knowledge keeps me working on improving.

    My eyes keep returning to wrap #3. Bethany said it best, though, when she said any of them will be a reminder of your warm and loving arms around your mother in law. She is very blessed to have you for a daughter in law.

    Can’t wait to see what she chooses.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Thankfully, God’s grace through Jesus supplies what we need to live for him. I’m glad to know your choice on the wraps. Yes, Bethany had a sweet way of expressing it.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Number three for this old lady. Blue for the sky of Heaven, yellow for the Light that shines upon us all, and red for the love of our Maker. Back to the primary, cheerful colors, unmuddied by doubt. Lucky Mama to get such a thoughtful gift!

  • Jan says:

    Good morning Karen

    I choose No 2 for your MIL to wrap around her gentle precious body.

    I enjoy reading your posts, thank you for your inspirations.

  • Joanne Hall says:

    When I saw #3, my immediate thought was that I need to remember this and use it on something sometime. Charlotte is right about the blue #6, very practical and blue is very calming. But that #3, I really like it.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I, too, like #3. It seems well balanced and tidy, and most of all, cheerful. When I finished wrapping that one, it felt very familiar, as if I had done that same arrangement before. Maybe my memory copied a previous project?? 🙂

      Thanks for your input,
      Karen

  • Mary says:

    Hello, Karen! I like #1, which reminds me of a lovely sunset after a summer day filled with everything I love to do; #4 with a nod to the bright yellow that shines out of the dark contrasts, the light with which we are all acquainted; and am drawn to the orderliness of #3.And thank you for the gentle reminder of the importance of ‘forgiveness for the undeserving’. Important, yet challenging. I will work on that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Oh yes, I can see the summer sunset in #1. What a wonderful description that fits. And the bright yellow in #4 does make the whole arrangement shine. Yes, #3 seems tidy to me, as I mentioned to Joanne. So many aspects to consider!

      Forgiveness for the undeserving is extremely challenging. I’m thankful we have been given an example.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Jenna says:

    great idea. I hate doing samples but I could handle wraping the warp around cards.
    Thanks
    Jenna

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenna, This is very easy and pretty fun. I fold a regular index card in half and put double stick tape on the back side to hold the threads.

      Happy wrapping,
      Karen

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Welcome to My Loom

The computer is a worthwhile instrument for creating designs to weave. I like the flexibility and repeatability it gives me for drawloom designs. I’m also using the computer to develop the cartoon for my next pictorial tapestry. The computer work takes time—usually more time than I think it should.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Come in our front door to see what is on the loom. Nearing the end of the first bath towel on this cottolin warp.

When I sit at the loom, though, time slips away unnoticed. This is where I’d rather be.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Deep borders on these towels have treadling changes and contrast-thread inlay for added interest.
Start of the second cottolin bath towel on the loom.
Red cutting line is woven between the first and second towels.
Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard loom.
First bath towel begins to wrap around the cloth beam.

I’m starting the second of four bath towels on my Glimåkra Standard. The loom, with its colored threads and cloth, is the first thing to greet you as you come in our front door. Welcome. Let’s put the computer away for a while and simply enjoy ourselves. There’s no better time than now.

v
Previously woven hand towels that match these bath towels have not yet been used. They are presently folded and displayed in a pottery bowl on the dining room table in the next room.

May you make time for making.

Happy Planning and Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Beth says:

    These are beautiful! The loom is also my happy place.

  • Tena says:

    Your posts always inspire me. I’ve been weaving about a year. I hope to be as good as you someday.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tena, Thank you for your kind words. Welcome to the world of weaving. All it takes is to keep going, a step at a time. You’re almost there!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Love this! I have done one kitchen towel in a cottolin warp & weft, and it is wonderfully absorbent! Definitely planning to do more! What kind of loom is the one in these photos? It looks very tall, and I love the way the woven cloth wraps around the front beam with a board in front to protect it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caroline, Yes, my cottolin towels are my favorite because of their absorbency.

      This is a Glimåkra Standard loom, 120cm (47″), countermarche. The fabric protection board at the front is great for protecting the cloth on the breast beam. The fabric protection board also allows me to lean up against it, which takes strain off my back as I reach to throw the shuttle.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    My favorite colors sprung up when I opened your blog. How neat the edges are, rolled under the loom.

    Yes! There is order in the world. ( spent last night in the basement sorting through memories wrapped in 1997 newsprint. 3 piles.. Keep, sell, gift to children. :).) Sweet, sweet organization courtesy of warped for good!!
    Thank YOU.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It’s interesting how certain colors can draw us in. I’m glad that you are finding your way through this transition time. Thank you for your sweet encouragement.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    These towels are gorgeous. Are you really going to let people use them?
    We always had display towels growing up that my mother gave strict instructions to look at, don’t touch! I think these would be perfect for that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Thank you! I understand the sentiment. It gives me joy when people use the towels and other articles I make. These bath towels (and hand towels) are specifically for Steve and me to use. My first attempt at bath towels a few years ago didn’t go so well. Let’s just say those “towels” became bath mats. So we are looking forward to some decent beautiful handwoven bath towels.

      I will be happy if we can use these towels so much that we wear them out. That will mean I get to make some more. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Barbara Mitchell says:

    Like you, I enjoy the slow, thoughtful process of working at the loom, as the stress and cares of the world are forgotten. These towels look calm and peaceful, and yet still a little exciting, with the little runs of twills and colour accents. Simply beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, I agree with you. The loom gives us a chance to take a break from normal stress and cares as we put our attention on the rhythm of weaving.
      My favorite thing about these towels is the little twill accents that run through them. Thank you for your sweet words.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom

Come, look over my shoulder as I weave a windmill and taildragger image on the drawloom. The central design is woven using 103 single-unit draw cords. I have a simple motif for the borders that uses only three pattern shafts. In the video below, watch as the three draw handles for those pattern shafts appear and disappear throughout the weaving.

Drawloom weaving, with time-lapse video.
Draw cords are used to raise single units of threads to create the image, one row at a time.
Windmill and taildragger woven on the drawloom.
Woven from the side.

I recorded my weaving in time-lapse form so you can watch three hours of effort compressed into three-and-a-half minutes. In the video you will see my hand pulling the draw cords, and then touching all the pulled cords from right to left to double check my work. That double checking saved me from dreaded do-overs.

Windmill and Taildragger Silhouette from an old "Flying" magazine.

When our good friends, Jerry and Jan, saw my drawloom they brought this picture to my attention. — Forty years ago Jerry discovered the silhouetted windmill and airplane tucked away on a back page in an old issue of Flying magazine. Because of his affinity for airplanes and windmills he cut out the tiny picture and saved it. Years later, Jan found the picture and had it enlarged and framed. — After learning about my loom’s pictorial capability, Jerry and Jan wondered aloud if this special image could be woven on a drawloom…

Windmill and Taildragger woven on the drawloom. With time-lapse video.

Enjoy the video, and hold on to your hat!

May you ride the wind.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

18 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    What I loved most was your DH appearing and disappearing at speed!

  • Joyce says:

    Very, very beautiful! And yes, the time lapse is great, but leaves out all the time and tedious work of creating such a work of art! Thanks for sharing! Happy Weaving! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joyce, I know what you mean. The time lapse doesn’t show all the effort. Hopefully, it gives a snapshot of how much fun it is to weave on a drawloom.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • AnneloesF says:

    That is stunning!

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Wow! That was so interesting to watch.Thanks for filming it. Your drawloom adventures are amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, The drawloom is a fascinating contraption. In some ways it is very complex, but all the parts are actually pretty simple. It’s a fun learning journey. Thanks for joining in!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Cynthia H says:

    It just amazes me how you do this. Have you ever thought about weaving Navajo style?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, I admire Navajo-style weaving, and have done a tiny bit of that type of weft-faced weaving. My main focus is on Swedish-style weaving and Swedish techniques. There are so many intriguing forms of weaving!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Marian says:

    Amazing!!

  • Annie says:

    I am gobsmacked!Airplanes and windmills are also my favorite things, as well as my husband’s. When we bought our home in the panhandle, we specifically looked for land with a windmill. Greg flies remote control planes and I joined the Air Force due to my fascination.

    If you are up to making a second one of these weavings, I would love to purchase it from you.

    As always, I cannot express enough my admiration for your creativity and talent.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I am thrilled to learn that airplanes and windmills are your favorite things! How fun to see how this woven image suits you and Greg.

      I will send you an email to answer your question about weaving another one.

      Hugs and well wishes, and THANK YOU for your service to our nation in the Air Force!
      Karen

  • kim says:

    Amazing! I am curious as to your decision to weave the image sideways instead of vertically. How did you choose to do that?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, I like your question! To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure which direction would give best results. I wove this one from the side only because the width of the picture is shorter than the length. I plan to weave another one straight on, so I can see if one way is better than the other. That fits the purpose of this warp – experimental and sampling.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    Watching you weave at the draw down loom brought back memories of my Aunt practicing for Sunday service at the church organ. Both artists.

    Thanks for the long forgotten memory in the format of your 20th century subject..

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I have church organists in my extended family, too. I have often thought of my loom bench as an organ bench, and with the drawloom, even more so, as if I’m pulling stops, playing the keys, and working the pedals with my feet.

      How sweet that my weaving at the drawloom related to you in that way.

      Hold the memories,
      Karen

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