Wool Blanket Gets Wet

The softer, the better. We all know that wool can be scratchy, but we like wool because of its warmth. And, as a fiber for weaving, wool is easy to work with because of its elasticity. Wet finishing reduces the scratchiness, making it possible to end up with a comfy wool blanket. A soft and gentle blanket.

Wool blanket is drip drying after wet finishing.
Wet wool blanket is dripping dry after just two minutes in the dryer. Towels on the floor collect the drips.

Gentleness is stronger than we think. A lullaby has the power to quiet a crying baby. My son once had a first grade teacher who could still a classroom of seven- and eight-year-olds with a whisper. And the gentle touch of a friend can speak louder than words.

We influence far more people through kindness, gentleness, and patience than we ever will with persuasive arguments. Like a soft and comfy wool blanket, gentleness is strong enough to warm someone in the cold.

~ It’s time for segment three in the Wool Blanket Finishing series. ~

You can learn about the previous video segments in Quiet Friday: Wool Blanket Finishing, or you can view them here:

1. Twisting Fringe on the Loom

2. Wool Blanket Before Wet Finishing

Please return next week for the fourth video segment, Wool Blanket Final Finishing, to find out what happens to the fringe!

May your gentle influence increase.


What Does Your Tapestry Look Like?

Little things add up, especially when they continue day after day. Nearing completion, the tapestry diary I started on January 1st only has a few days, and not a lot of warp, left. The things we do consistently, little by little, make the biggest difference overall. (You can see the start of this tapestry in Tapestry Diary: Day One.)

Small tapestry diary. Karen Isenhower
Small tapestry is an accumulation of little rectangular sections woven day by day. Photo credit Steve Isenhower

Tapestry diary means I weave a small section every day. It has become my habit to sit down with my loom and my little selection of yarn in the evening, after supper is cleaned up. This is becoming a treasured wind-down time for me, something I look forward to. And when I finish my little section, Steve says, “Let me see what you added today.” Ah, sweet encouragement becomes motivation.

You and I have the amazing ability to impact other people for the better. It’s the little by little that makes the biggest difference. Your friends need you. Your prayer and touch may be what they need to soar in life. We need each other. What a wonderful world we live in, where our Creator designed us to thrive through the kindness of others. Imagine the tapestry He is creating with our little caring efforts.

May you weave a tapestry of kindness.

If you have woven, or are weaving, a tapestry diary, I’d love to hear about it!

Day by day,

Quiet Friday: Wool Blanket Finishing

As wonderful as it is to weave two wool double width blankets, the truth is, they are not finished until they are finished. The thrill of completion comes when you finally sew your “Handwoven by” label on the woven accomplishment. But, for me, just as great is the joy of sharing what I made, and how I made it, with friends like you.

I have divided the finishing process for this blanket into four segments. Steve and I created little videos to take you along with me through each step.

Very end of the warp.
Woven as far as possible, and then cut off. Careful planning is needed to be able to weave the header following the 25cm of warp that is kept empty for twisting the fringes.
  • The next video segment covers everything that happens before wet finishing.
Woven wool blanket ready for wet finishing.
Woven blanket ready for wet finishing.

Please return next week to continue the Wool Blanket Finishing video series with me. The two remaining segments are about wet finishing and final finishing.

May you enjoy the thrill of completion.

Happy weaving,

Trash the Warp or Try Again?

This band was giving me fits! First, the 12/6 cotton (rug warp) is a little heavy for a band. Secondly, I created tension problems by adding two green stripes of 22/2 cottolin. Thirdly, a wider band like this is unwieldy to weave with my small hands. Fourth, I goofed in the threading. And, lastly, I couldn’t see the goof in my threading because I was pulling the weft too tight. Nothing was going right.

How NOT to weave on the band loom.
How NOT to weave on the band loom.

Cut it off and throw the whole thing away. It’s only three yards. Hold on… I don’t want to give up that easily. Yes, cut off the woven mess. But why not correct the threading and at least try weaving a little bit? As it turns out, the threading error had contributed to most of the problems. Times like this remind me to carefully examine what I am doing.

Weaving a sturdy strap on Glimakra band loom.
After making threading corrections, adjusting my beat and how tightly to pull the weft, the true pattern emerges. At 1 3/4″ / 4.5cm, it will be the right width for a nice sturdy strap–a shoulder strap for a bag, or a guitar strap, perhaps.

Examine everything. Hold on to what is good; and abandon evil. We need to practice the good, even when the good seems difficult and we want to take the easy way out. Repeat the good; don’t let the good slip away. And you will find yourself making progress in the right direction.

May you not give up too easily.

P.S. Many of you have shared my Twisting Fringe on the Loom tutorial video! Thank you!!
In answer to your requests about my finishing process for the wool blanket, including the fringe, look for a series of short videos in my Quiet Friday post at the end of this week!

(If you have not signed up to receive my posts by email, now is a good time. Sign up at Follow Along on the right sidebar.)


Beautiful to the Last Inch

This blanket won’t be as long as I wanted it to be. My sample at the beginning used more warp than I had expected. But the sample was necessary. I will squeeze out the last possible inch, throwing (or pushing) the shuttle as far as I can. The warp will come over the back beam before I know it, and the end will be the end. (Quiet Friday: Blanket Sample Thanksgiving)

Double-width blanket no.2 on the loom.
Changing the weft color every 18 centimeters / 7 inches produces blocks of color across the warp for the first half of the blanket.

This blanket on the second half of the warp will be more colorful than the first. For the weft, I decided to use the bits of remaining wool warp yarn, combining pairs of colors, to weave blocks of color across the blanket. It is satisfying to use up the yarn, even though it feels like a risk to step away from the usual in order to be original. The remaining fragments of wool will be used at some other time, like memories that are held, and then woven into new things.

Wool warp leftovers.
All that is left of eleven colors (22 skeins) of wool warp yarn, after using it up for the blanket weft.

Make the most of life now. That means using up your best efforts. Be original. Make every day count by giving of yourself. Look carefully at the life that has been given to you, and be who God created you to be.

In loving memory of Linda Kemper, dear friend and fellow handweaver, who made the most of life here. We will miss her. Home with Jesus.

May you fully live.