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.
Threading heddles for multi-color wool blanket.
Threading heddles.
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,

22 thoughts on “Quiet Friday: Double-Width Blanket Progress

  1. 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!

    1. 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.


    1. 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,

  2. 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

    1. 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!

  3. 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

    1. 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,

  4. 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

  5. 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

    1. Linda, I appreciate all your kind encouragement!

      I don’t know Mikala Sidor. She sounds like someone I need to find more about.

      Thank you,

  6. 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.

  7. 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.



    1. 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,

  8. 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.

    1. 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,

    1. Hi Sam, You can find this project in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, p.130. The threading sequence is straight draw on four shafts, with one layer on shafts 1 & 4, and the other layer on shafts 2 & 3.

      Happy weaving,

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