Welcome! Come On In

This has been another good year! It is sweet to have friends from all over the globe who walk with me in this handweaver’s journey. Thank you for joining me here. We examine the meaning of life together, along with exploring the technical details of making cloth. I appreciate you, friend!

Double-width blanket on the loom.

Double-width blanket continues.

Thanks to my talented videographer son-in-law, Eddie, you now have a video that brings you into my weaving studio for a visit.

Video filming for Warped for Good.

Camera, lights, filming equipment, the works! After filming many clips of weaving in action and views of yarn and threads, Eddie interviewed me with pertinent questions. He compiled and edited the best shots, and added music, to create a short video describing Warped for Good.

Come on in…

This welcome video is now at the top of the Warped for Good About page.

 (If you enjoy the video, share it with friends by moving your cursor over the “paper airplane” near the top right of the video.)

May your friendships blossom throughout the coming year.

Your friend,


  • Nancy C. says:

    I enjoy the artistic way in which weaving is presented on this video – very tasteful, and a great use of motion and tempo 🙂

  • Eileen says:

    I appreciate you and Eddie for creating this visual aid to articulating the value of hand weaving. Slow is something we need exposure to, particularly in our current culture.

  • Libby says:

    Hi Karen,
    Loved your video! It’s nice to see who we are getting messages from. I am a pretty new weaver and have used lots of videos when I come to a new technique that I don’t know how to do.
    Your floor loom is beautiful by the way I started on a ridged heddle and bought a used loom and I am really enjoying it.
    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Libby,

      It’s really nice to hear from readers, too. It’s great to get to know you!
      I will always appreciate the rigid heddle loom and the years of weaving pleasure I gained from that. I think it’s a great way to step into the world of weaving.

      I have been considering making some short tutorial videos in the coming year. Let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like to see.

      Happy weaving and Happy New Year,

  • Martha says:

    Karen, I loved “visiting” with you in your studio. I too agree that the slowness of weaving gives us space to be ourselves and permission to listen to our inner self. I send you warm wishes for a very happy New Year that is full of weaving time.

    • Karen says:

      It’s good to hear from you, Martha!
      Thank you very much for your thoughtful sentiments and your well wishes. A year full of weaving time – what could be better?


  • Grethe says:

    What a pretty video, thank you for letting me follow your weaving life.
    Happy new year.

  • Helga says:

    Great and wonderful video. Thank you for letting me “visit” you in your studio!

  • Gretchen says:

    Wonderful video Karen! Eddie did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of weaving on film, and as always your words are just perfect! Can’t wait to see what else you and Eddie will come up with! Happy New Year! Look forward to seeing you soon. xx

    • Karen says:

      Gretchen, thanks for your encouraging words. “Capturing the essence of weaving” is something I hoped we could accomplish!

      It will be good to see you again soon!

  • Anne Littlebird says:

    Beautifully done! He did a fabulous job.

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Quiet Friday: Double-Width Blanket Progress

Do you ever feel like you are just not making progress? Stopping bad habits and starting good ones can feel like that. Or, what about that craft project you meant to finish before Thanksgiving? The loom is one place where progress is visible. You can’t fool yourself; the cloth beam shows you how far you have progressed. I find it encouraging to see the fabric that has been woven. What starts with an idea shows up as cloth.

Blanket idea with eleven colors of wool.

It all started with an idea and eleven colors of wool.

As we settle into the very end of this year, we know that time keeps rolling on. The warp keeps advancing. This is a great time to look at the cloth beam of our life and see the progress. Like this blanket, much has been accomplished, but there’s more work ahead before it is time to cut it from the loom.

Bottom layer of double weave blanket is spread on the loom.

Bottom layer is spread on the loom.

Upper layer of double weave is spread on the loom.

Upper layer is spread on the loom; and the two layers are combined on the back tie-on bar. Two sets of lease sticks keep all the ends in order.

Beaming on double weave blanket with warping trapeze.

Beaming on two warps at once. After removing the choke ties, I beamed on with the warping trapeze, slowly and carefully. I stopped every few inches to check everything, to make sure nothing was getting hung up anywhere.

Sampling helps determine optimum weft colors.

Sampling helps determine weft colors, as well as checking the sett and weft density.

Warp ends ready to tie onto front tie-on bar.

Sample is cut off and warp ends are tied in bundles, ready to re-tie to front tie-on bar.

Wool Blanket sample piece after wet finishing and brushing.

Sample piece, after wet finishing, air drying, and brushing.

Fringe, twisted on the loom, at the beginning of the wool blanket. Follow progress.

Fringe, twisted on the loom, goes over the breast beam as the body of the blanket is being woven.

Pics show double weave blanket progress on the loom.

Progress is revealed. The beginning blanket fringe has reached the cloth beam! The fold edge of the blanket is in view.

Dusk dims, yet enriches, the colors. Karen Isenhower

Dusk dims the colors, yet enriches them at the same time.

Hand-carved Nativity on handwoven bound rosepath. The Isenhowers.

Glad-hearted Christmas to all! The camel is this year’s new figure in the hand-carved Nativity by Steve Isenhower. Bound rosepath provides the backdrop.

May you enjoy reflecting on the progress you have made this year.

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year,


  • Deb says:

    Merry Christmas! The colors in the blanket are lovely. As I reflect on progress made this year, I find that I am thankful for your weekly posts. Thanks so much for being a part of my progress in 2014. Blessings to you and yours in 2015!

    • Karen says:

      Merry Christmas to you, Deb!

      I feel very honored to be included in what has been meaningful to you in 2014! Looking forward to the coming year with you.


  • Geri says:

    I am in awe of the nativity set your husband is carving, it is marvelous, as is your blanket !!

    • Karen says:

      Geri, thanks for your compliments! Steve is carving 5 Nativity pieces each year – his mother, our daughter, our two daughters-in-law, and me. Five camels this year. We are very blessed by his giving nature and his skill.

      Merry Christmas,

  • Helen Hart says:

    Your colors are beautiful. What brand of wool did you use. Is it woolen spun? And what was your sett? How many shafts? Just beautiful. Yes, thanks for your column and support. Oh yes, how wide was your warp on your loom? I am just curious. Colors are just stunning,. Thank you

    • Karen says:

      Hi Helen,

      I’m glad you like the colors! I am using Borgs 6/2 Tuna Wool that I purchased from Vavstuga.com. You can also get it from GlimakraUSA.com.
      I am using metric measurements for this project, and my sett is 6 ends per centimeter on each layer (12 ends altogether), using a metric 30/10 dent reed. That’s about 15 epi American on each layer (30 ends altogether).
      Four shafts, four treadles.
      Warp width 77cm (30 1/4 inches).

      Looking forward to the new year with you!

  • l says:

    so what did you decide about the fold? Your doing and using some terms and processes I’ve not seen before. I warp front to back, what is a Trapeeze?, no metal “guards” on the loom breasts. Very Interesting. I wish I was closer to observe your methods. I weav on Maycombers , a 36 and a 48 with many pedals, double back beam, and 8 harnesses. Why the stretcher??????????????? lp&J, linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,

      I enjoy your questions and comments!
      The fold is sleyed half, with 2 ends/dent. After I throw the shuttle, I insert my index finger between the outer warps to make sure the weft doesn’t pull in on the fold side.
      I always warp back to front – I am very comfortable with the process; it has served me well. Warping with a trapeze is something I learned from Becky Ashenden at Vavstuga. It is a way of stretching out the warp over a high cross bar and weighting the warp as it is being beamed; it provides for very even tensioning during the process.
      I have only woven on countermarche and counterbalance looms. I haven’t woven on jack looms at all (except for one time at a weaving workshop).
      I don’t have a double back beam, and have never seen one in use; but I understand what it is for, and think it would be useful for some projects.
      I have 8 shafts for my 47″ countermarche, but I remove the extra shafts when they are not in use. I only need four shafts (harnesses) for this blanket project, so the other shafts are put away in the closet.
      Why the stretcher (temple)? That is my favorite way to keep the weaving from drawing in, giving me consistent selvedges. It seems like a common tool among people who weave according to Swedish traditions.

      With my Swedish looms, I enjoy learning the Swedish traditions in weaving techniques. It’s my goal to learn as much of that as possible. Joanne Hall and Becky Ashenden have been great helps to me in that endeavor.

      Thanks for your interest and input,

  • linda says:

    Beckey was weaving at Hill Institutre with me many years ago. She was in the class before me. Her studio/school is on the way to our home in Vt., really small world we live in. She has always been one of my favorrite characters, and the only one I know that warps that way. She learned in Sweden I believe., linda

  • linda says:

    Do you also know Mikala Sidor, tapestry weaver? She’s in my area also. She does large tapesteries and sometimes gives classes. She studied in Paris at the tapestery studios there. way beyond me in talent and patience. most of her work is very fine (ie shading faces). Your weaving and productivity is wondrful. love your site. love, peace, and Joy, linda

  • Amaryllis says:

    Olá, I wonder how it weaves rosepath , threading, treadling you could help me , I’m not here in Brazil too much information , I can use a loom 4treadles.
    I need to have something like the drawdown Rosepath.
    thank you sincerely love your work and hope that one day I can be as good at weaving like you.

  • Tamara says:

    In your 9th picture on this page I see fringes already twisted while on the loom. Do you tie on like this?

  • Sue Dueweke says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m thinking of making a similar blanket. Do you recall how many yards in total that you used for your blanket? If you don’t mind sharing your sett, I would appreciate it.



    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, You can find details for this blanket in “The Big Book of Weaving,” by Laila Lundell, p.130. I used that as my starting point. I don’t remember precisely how long my warp was, but I did make two blankets, with extra warp for practicing and sampling at the beginning. The sett was 6 ends per cm, each layer; 12 epc overall. That’s about 15-16 epi each layer; 30-32 epi overall.

      Happy weaving,

  • Sue Dueweke says:

    Happy Friday, Karen,
    I’m sorry to keep bringing you questions from the double width blanket, that you wove several years ago. Thank you for referring me to the Laila Lundell book, as it is a beauty! I have done my calculations for the blanket, but found the conversions confusing. Before I order the wool, I’d like to verify what you recall about how much wool was used. I only plan to make one blanket, and I know that you made two. But otherwise I’m planning on the same size as suggested in the book, and am going to use the 6/2 Tuna wool, as you did. I calculate that I’ll need 11 skeins (339 yards ea.) for the warp, and roughly 9 skeins for the weft. Does that sound about right? Thanks for continuing to help me along.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, It’s my pleasure to help you along in any way I can. I’d like to do some calculations and get back with you. I’ll send you an email later today.

      All the best,

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Textured Textiles for Christmas

This is exactly what I had hoped for! Wet finishing made textured textiles out of flat fabric. One look at these pot holders and you know they have been through the washer and dryer. The rag weave table runner tells the same story. It’s true, wet finishing made positive permanent changes.

Rag weave table runner in M's and O's - on the loom.

Rag weave table runner on the loom. M’s and O’s, with Cottolin warp, and narrow cotton fabric strips for weft.

M's and O's pot holders and table runner cut from the loom.

Time to celebrate cutting the pot holders and table runner from the loom.

Rag weave table runner and string yarn pot holders in M's and O's. Karen Isenhower

Textured textiles, after wet finishing and hemming. Twisted cording was added to pot holders for hanging loops.

Detail of textured textiles. M's and O's with creative treadling.

Creative treadling for two pot holders produced design variations.

Christmas is a true story. Love came down. You have heard the story: Jesus came as a baby, grew up, and gave up his life to save us, all in the name of love. When this Jesus story is written on our hearts it changes everything. This love story is the wet finishing we need. It is the only thing that can truly complete us. Your life already tells a story. It is an open book that people read. When we let the Christmas story of God’s love shape us, the fabric of our life becomes characterized by the texture of love.

May your loved ones enjoy reading “your” book.

(Shoppes at Fleece ‘N Flax in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is carrying a few of my rugs. If you are near the area, drop by the shop and say Hi to Debbie!)

Happy Holy Day,


  • Debbie says:

    Thanks for mentioning the shop, Karen! People are noticing your rugs – have had many nice comments about them!

  • Anne Wolf says:

    How did you finish the mugrugs?

    • Karen says:

      Anne, I cut them apart, and then secured the ends with my serger. I then washed them in the washing machine on the regular cycle, with hot water; and then, into the dryer, on hot. After they came out of the dryer, I ironed them slightly, and pressed the hems. Then, turned the hems under and stitched them, adding a twisted hanging loom near the end of one hem.

      Does that answer your question?

      They are actually a little big for mug rugs, but just right for a hot pad on the table for a small dish, or as a light hot pad for taking something small out of the oven. But, now that you mention it, I think they would work fine as mug rugs, especially for large mugs. 🙂 I am about to list a few of them on Etsy, so I thank you for this new description to add.

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Hold That Twist

Have you tried twisting fringe on the loom? I haven’t done it before now. You will find out with me how well this works, because I will show it to you when the blanket is woven and cut from the loom. A doubled warp thread runs through the fringe lineup, holding the twists in place. It is an amusing sight to see these yarn “toy soldiers” all lined up in color order. I know this should work. I know a lot of things; but my knowledge isn’t always as important as I think it is.

Blanket fringe is twisted on the loom.

Upper and lower layers of a double-width blanket are seen in the twisted fringes. Care was taken to not weave the two layers together accidentally.

More important than what you know is who knows you. Everyone longs to be known. We want someone to know we are not just one of many in a lineup of nameless toy soldiers. God knows those who love him. He satisfies our desire to be known. And that reminds me that I really don’t know everything.

May you successfully try something new.

Happy Christmas,

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Rag Weaving with a Boat Shuttle

This is a simple way to make a rag weave table runner. The M’s and O’s weave structure provides a great framework. What I like about narrow fabric strips is that you can wind them on quills, just like yarn, and weave with a boat shuttle. It is fast weaving that breezes right along.

Rag weave table runner on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Boat shuttle holds quill with narrow fabric strips to weave table runner. In view below the table runner are pot holders that were woven using unbleached cotton multi-strand yarn.

I could use a small ski shuttle for this, as if I were weaving rag rugs. Or, I could even place the weft across by hand on this narrow-width warp. The most efficient way is the boat shuttle, and the main thing is to get the weft across so weaving can happen. In life and relationships, it is love that needs to get across.

Patience and kindness are universal expressions of love. Love never fails. It started with the patience and kindness of God. As we draw toward Christmas, consider the meaning of the holiday–that God so loved the world. His patience and kindness toward humanity meant sending His son to our world. And that baby, named Jesus, became God’s way of taking love across the gap between heaven and earth.

May you be known for patience and kindness.

Good Christmas to you,


  • linda says:

    That’s the best use of M and O’s I’ve ever seen. I’ve never liked the weave structure. I’ve even tried it in warp weight linen on a finer background. happy Chris-Quan-Hansika to all. love, peace, and Joy, linda

    • Karen says:

      Linda, I feel very honored by your gracious comment, especially considering your vast experience. I’m glad you like this M’s and O’s version. Thank you!

  • Darlene says:

    Your fabric strips look so neat and even…can you describe how you cut the fabric strips?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for asking, Darlene!
      Most of my fabric is in five yard lengths. I fold the fabric on my cutting table, so I am cutting through several layers, to cut along the lengthwise grain. I use a large-blade rotary cutter and a cutting mat, and an acrylic cutting guide ruler, to cut the fabric into 3/4″ strips. I taper the ends of the strips for overlapping in the shed.

      I hope that helps!

      Happy Weaving,

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