Vävstuga Autumn

It is the little things that make the biggest difference. The how-to’s and simple solutions. And it’s the big things that make a difference, too. New skills and new friends.

I am having a delightful time at Vävstuga Weaving School this week, learning and practicing. It’s a bonus that I get to be here in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts at such a beautiful time of year.

Vavstuga Weaving School, next to the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA


Autumn in Shelburne Falls, MA, Bridge of Flowers


Projects laid out for a preview at Vavstuga's More Swedish Classics


Becky Ashenden Demonstrating at the Loom


Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne, MA. Autumn glory.

May you witness beauty all around you.

Vävglädje (Happy Weaving),

Quiet Friday: Unroll the Cloth Beam

If you are a weaver, you know this thrill. I weave the very last pick, and then I hold my breath as the finished cloth is unrolled from the cloth beam. All ten meters / eleven yards of it! I don’t usually have an audience for the unrolling, but this time I want to share the experience with you, my friends.

If you stay to the end, you will see the cap I made from the sample pieces at the beginning and end of the warp.

And, one more thing, I added a little 3 1/2-minute time-lapse video at the very end. I hope it makes you smile.

Just finished weaving 10 meter warp.
Final pick in place.
Release warp tension before cutting off the warp.
Release ratchets on cloth and warp beams to loosen warp tension.
Cutting off the finished cloth.
Get out the big Gingher shears and start cutting.
Cutting the fabric from the loom.
First good view of the last towel on the warp. The last shall be first…
Unrolling the towels...
The Nine Color Towel.
Unrolling more towels...
Keep unrolling.
More towels...
Still more to come..
Red striped towel coming off the loom.
Each one is different.
Now for the brown towels...
Seeing brown now, so we know we are getting near the end/beginning.
Now we see the beginning of the warp!
Finally, we made it to the tie-on bar!
Slats on the floor after unrolling the cloth beam.
I love the final sound–warping slats falling to the floor as the last round of cloth is pulled from the cloth beam.
Empty cloth beam. Love it!
There it is. Now I want to get something else on the loom so I can do this all over again!
Goose eye towels just off the loom. Karen Isenhower
Ta da!

Cap made from handwoven pieces of goose eye twill.


And now I invite you to join me as I weave the Nine Color Towel. Remember that this is time lapse–I really do not weave this fast.

May you be filled with joy.

Very Happy Weaving,

This Rug Paints a Picture

Pretend this rug is a painting. Can you guess what the picture is? I have an image in my mind as I weave this rag rug. Sunset over land and sea. I saw a beautiful sunset last night that used these very colors! It was spectacular! And when the sun is setting in one place, it is seen rising somewhere else. (Do you remember when I wove another rag rug similar to this one? You can see it HERE.)

Weaving sunsets into a rag rug on the loom.
Moving the temple out of the way gives full view of the rug in progress. Blocks of color in this double binding weave hint at quilt blocks.

We count on the sun rising and setting every day. So, why do we worry? We tell ourselves there is not enough time, the day is too short. We can’t seem to make ends meet (did a weaver make up that phrase?). The one who positioned the sun knows how time works. And, surely, our Maker knows how to make our ends meet.

Most people worry. But you do not have to worry. Your heavenly Father knows precisely what you need. He is glad to provide for you from his kingdom resources. When I weave an imagined sunset into a handcrafted rug, it is a simple replica. When we see the actual display of sunset colors in the sky, let it be a reminder to put our trust in the One who is weaving our story.

May your ends meet.

Happy weaving,

Simple Secret Fixes Tension Problem

Those pesky warp ends! I am getting loose warp ends on the outer edges again. The last time this happened, it was near the end of the warp, and I rigged up a makeshift solution. (You can read about it and see pictures HERE.) This time, I began having trouble from the start; so, when I finished weaving the first piece, I cut it off, and re-tied the warp. There must be a better way!

Dice weave in linen.
Dice weave in linen. First piece is cut from the loom; and warp ends are re-tied. Emerald green weft for the second piece produces a lovely teal with the deep blue warp.

How do you handle recurring problems? I get tired of stumbling over the same old thing. I wanted to find a solution to this warp issue, so I started digging through my weaving books to see what I could find. Aha! On page 254 in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, I find helpful advice.

The outer ends of the warp are looser than the rest

(You mean I’m not the first person to have this problem?)

This can be adjusted by pressing an extra slat down at an angle inside the loose sections.

Slats take up the slack for loose warp ends.
One more secret in the bag of tricks to manage uneven warp tension. Simply insert extra warping slats into the warp against the warp beam. Thank you, Laila!

Seekers find secrets. The seeking itself shows you recognize your own need. This is what prayer is about. Come to God asking, seeking, knocking. These are the prayers he answers. Simple, heartfelt, persistent. Never give up. There are secrets to be found.

May you uncover long lost secrets.

Truly Yours,

Show Me the Evidence

Few things are as important as even warp tension if you are hoping for quality results in your weaving. Eight warping slats are placed, one by one, across the warp as I begin beaming the warp onto the octagonal warp beam. After three full revolutions, I do it again, with eight more slats; and repeat the process until the warp is fully beamed. This effective technique gives a solid “platform” every few rounds for the warp ends, promoting even tension across the warp.

Beaming new rug warp on Glimakra Ideal.
Warping slats lay in a pile behind the warp beam. Counting out eight slats at a time helps me know when I have covered the eight sides of the octagonal warp beam.

The warping slats are hidden between the layers of warp ends. Having the slats in place means I can confidently tighten this rug warp to the max, giving me the best conditions for a handwoven rug.

Nothing is hidden that will not become evident. In other words, when I tighten my warp I can tell without looking that the slats are in place. And better than that, the rugs that are produced will have the consistency that a tight, even warp provides. The warping slats are like faith. Faith hidden in your heart becomes light that is seen in your life. How you live is evidence of what is in your heart. Faith always bears evidence.

May your light shine.

All the best,