It’s About Time

Did you ever have a project that seemed like it would go on forever? Maybe a very long warp, or a slow and delicate weave? I have! (THIS one took forever to weave.) One way or another, though, they all come to an end. Rag rugs are fun to weave because it doesn’t take long to see the finish line, another accomplishment. Time marks the beginning and end of all our activities. Maybe this year seemed longer than it should, with too many troubles. Trouble makes time feel slow. Maybe you didn’t get enough done. Busyness makes time seem fast. As this year ends, time keeps ticking and we will usher in a new year, ready or not.

What would a world be like without time?

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

– Solomon (known as the wisest man in his day)

Rag Rug on the loom. Striped hem is followed by scrap strips to secure the wefts.
Several rows of scrap fabric, woven after the striped end hem, will hold the rug wefts in place after the rug is cut from the loom.

We understand that during this life we are subject to the limits of time. Is that all there is? One season after another? Is there a place where time has no say? “Under heaven,” as Solomon described, time is all we know. Yet don’t you sense, like I do, that there is more? That must be because our creator has designed us with eternity in our hearts. The wonderful mystery is that we touch eternity when we become his, while we are still in this time-bound universe!

May you enjoy a fruitful new year, finding time for the most important things.

Good New Year to you,

Quiet Friday: Christmas Textiles

Grateful for a few quiet days before the new year begins, I reflect on the trials and treasures from 2013 and wonder what 2014 will bring. I encourage you to take time to ponder. If you weave some quiet into your schedule you will hear things you’ve never heard before. You will see things you have never noticed. You will love more because you won’t always be at your frazzled end. Even when the world around you is full of noise, you can be quiet on the inside.

Weaving and pondering go well together. All the more reason to weave.

Handwoven mohair throw for softness under the Christmas tree.
Mohair throw, woven in hound’s tooth twill, creates a soft setting under the Christmas tree.
Handwoven cotton towel from The Philippines.
Traditional Filipino cotton towel used as decorative cloth on a side table.
Handwoven design, unique to the Philippines, holds vintage Santa display.
Well-worn and well-used stacking Santas adorn the colorful cloth. The unique Filipino handwoven design of this cloth brings special Christmas cheer to the front room in our home.
Rosepath rag rug and gingerbread boy and girls.
With another Christmas rolled up, gingerbread boy and girls rest on the rosepath rag rug.

May your new year bring dreams come true.


Christmas Eve Is Here

This is the season to give thought to the wonder of life, to be grateful for unconditional love, and to recount the story of Christmas. Four years ago Steve began carving wooden figures for a Nativity scene. Every year, each of the five women in his life (daughter and daughters-in-law, his mother, and me) receive a new figure. The new Nativity figure this year is a king bearing gifts for the infant king.

Hand-carved Nativity from Spanish Cedar, backdrop of handwoven goose-eye throw.
Nativity carved from Spanish cedar, by Steve Isenhower. Seen on backdrop of handwoven alpaca throw, in goose-eye twill.

May your days be filled with peace.

Good Christmas Eve to you,

Not Your Usual Search Engine

As I see it, this woven piece is a series of bordered ribbons laying side-by-side across the warp. I like to weave functional pieces, so it concerns me that I do not know how this will be used when it is finished. As I weave, then, there’s a quiet, ongoing mental search for a worthy function for this cloth.

Decorative bound rosepath progressing on the loom.
Bound Rosepath structure, with the linen warp entirely covered by the wool weft, is a thick, one-sided decorative cloth. It could be used as a wall hanging; or made into an article like a cushion cover, a table mat, or a bag, for example.

You can find many answers with a Google search; and I might even find ideas for this cloth by searching Pinterest (you can follow me on Pinterest). There are some things, however, that you will never find until you search a different way. Your heart is your search engine to find what cannot be seen with your eyes or touched with your hands.

Have you thought about the Christmas story? Baby Jesus, wrapped up lovingly in cloth (handwoven, no doubt), was sleeping in a makeshift cradle in Bethlehem. Simple shepherds were told of the special delivery and were sent to find the new baby, which they eagerly did. That is the kind of eager searching, with heart and soul, that will lead you and I to the ultimate gift! In our time, as it was then, God is the gift waiting to be discovered by those who are searching for Him.

May your quiet, ongoing search be rewarded.

Good Christmas to you and yours,

Tools Day: Scissors

Whatever you do, choose good tools. Scissors are probably the most frequently used small tools in my weaving room and sewing space, so it makes sense to use quality scissors. I started with Gingher many years ago, and have never been disappointed in their performance, so there are several in my collection.

Painted leather sheath for scissors, from the Philippines.
Painted red leather sheath, found on one of my trips to the Philippines, protects this pair of five-inch Gingher Sewing Scissors. These scissors live in a holder on the table where I wind all my quills.

I have a variety of scissors, and each has their own special place to call home. A few sit in custom felt sheaths. To make the sheaths, I wove a variegated wool band on my inkle loom, which I then machine washed and dried vigorously to cause the wool to felt. I then cut and stitched each little sheath to size.

Small scissors in inkle loom woven felt sheath.
Five-inch Gingher Sewing Scissors that live in the loom bench basket by my Glimakra Standard. I clip threads as I go, so these must be in easy reach. The felt sheath doubles as a pin cushion.

And, as your mother always told you, never ever use the fabric scissors to cut paper. There are paper scissors for that.

Gingher Dressmaker's Shears
Eight-inch Gingher Dressmaker’s Shears for cutting fabric, and only fabric. Cutting the warp off the loom counts as cutting fabric.
Small pretty scissors and inkle-woven felt sheath.
Pretty little scissors that live on my sewing/cutting table. These are used for clipping sewing threads and for some finishing work.
Famore Rainbow Colored Snips. Great for snipping threads as I sew!
Famore 4.5″ Rainbow Colored Snips also live on my sewing/cutting table. They come with me to the sewing machine for quick and easy snipping of threads.
Clover thread cutter, with handwoven band for hanging around neck.
Travel thread cutter lives in the bag with my travel tapestry loom. The handwoven band, worn around my neck, keeps the Clover cutter at my fingertips.
Gingher Thread Snips, with handwoven inkle band for neck strap.
Gingher Thread Snip is the most recent addition to my cutting collection. It lives on my Glimakra Ideal loom, hanging on the corner of the front beam. While weaving, I wear the inkle-woven band around my neck, so the snips are always at hand.
Collection of scissors and their sheaths.
It must be bedtime for the scissors, snippers, and cutters!

May your tools serve you well.

On the cutting edge,