Quiet Friday: Handwoven Skirt

I just crossed an item off my weaving bucket list! Make a ‘cello skirt from handwoven fabric. A ‘cello skirt must be long, and full, and pretty. And if I can wear boots with it, so much the better. A favorite tiered skirt that I made a couple years ago from commercial fabric became the pattern for designing the handwoven fabric for a new skirt. This project included weaving a printed design by stamping the warp on the loom before it was woven. (To see this project develop, check out Related Posts in the sidebar.)

Printed fabric collects on the cloth beam.
Printed fabric collects on the cloth beam. One last round of warping slats is seen on the back beam.

I needed five lengthwise tiers, so I planned it out so that each tier would have a different stamped pattern. This is light blue 8/2 cotton in plain weave, with a dense sett of 30 epi, making a medium-weight fabric. I softened the fabric as much as possible by washing and drying it on hot settings. By strategically placing selvedges at the top and at the bottom of the skirt, I was able to minimize thickness at the waist, and eliminate the need for a hem at the bottom. The finished tiered skirt is long, and full, and has a subtle pretty printed pattern that mildly resembles ikat. And this skirt is made for wearing with boots!

Printed fabric just off the loom - for making a 5-tiered skirt.
Just off the loom, cloth is rolled out on the floor. Five-tiered skirt was made from lengthwise rows of printed fabric.
Layout for handwoven tiered skirt.
Tiers are cut and raw edges serged. Each tier seam is sewn. Floor layout helps to plan placement of seams and printed patterns.
Grosgrain ribbon for elastic casing in handwoven skirt waistband, reducing bulk.
Bulk is reduced at elastic waistband by adding pretty grosgrain ribbon for the casing, right next to the handwoven fabric’s selvedge.
Warp-stamped fabric for skirt. Selvedge at bottom, so no hem needed.
Selvedge forms the bottom edge of skirt, so no hem is needed. Warp-stamped fabric appears as a subtle print.
Handwoven printed tiered skirt. Karen Isenhower
Happy ‘celllist.

May your heart be enriched with thankfulness.

Happy Thanks Giving,

You Can Prevent Threading Errors

Today I am in my little playhouse in the Glimåkra Standard, threading heddles for halvdräll. This draft requires my strict attention. No multitasking. I have one thing in mind: thread the heddles. Threading errors are rare for me. And I’d like to keep it that way. 

In my Glimakra "playhouse" threading heddles!
Cozy spot for threading heddles. With the threading draft in plain sight, good lighting, and plenty of time, I’m ready to go!

There are several things I do to prevent threading errors, or at least to catch them early while they are easy to correct.

Tutorial for Preventing Threading Errors – (Watch the accompanying video below)

  • Count the warp ends at the lease sticks into logical groupings, and bundle the grouped ends together with a loose overhand knot. (In this case, the groups are: 4 selvedge, 18 right side, 27 block I, 57 block II, repeat the 2 blocks 5 times, 18 left side, 4 selvedge.) I ended up with 2 extra ends at the left selvedge, so I worked my way back, re-counting each grouping until I found the spot where I had mis-counted, almost all the way back to the right selvedge ends. If that happens, re-count and re-tie each grouping until it all adds up correctly.
  • Tape or hang your threading draft where it can be easily seen.
  • Take one bundle of ends at a time, starting on the right-hand side, and thread those ends into their heddles, following the threading draft. It helps me to say the threading order out loud as I do the threading.
  • Check your work. Hold the just-threaded ends taut with your left hand, and with your right hand check every end, one by one, to see that it is going through the correct heddle. Make threading corrections, if needed, by pulling out errant ends and re-threading them. Tie that completed grouping with a loose slip knot. Again, I say the threading order out loud as I check the threading.
  • Repeat steps 4 and 5 until threading is complete.
  • Know when to take a break. Five minutes away from the loom every now and then serves to refresh my ability to concentrate. If I do a nonstop marathon, I’m prone to make errors.

Now, what about a tutorial for living? Grace means that we have been given a free tutorial for purposeful living. Jesus brought the grace of God to us. Christmas reminds us of that. It’s the grace of God that instructs us for living. It’s as if we have an ancient weaving draft; and we’ve been given the grace, the tutorial, that shows how to understand the draft to make meaning in the fabric of our lives.

May you catch all your threading errors while they are easy to fix.

Threading Heddles from Warped for Good on Vimeo.

Be sure to drop by on Friday. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve done with the warp-printed fabric from Warp Stamping Is Over!

On purpose,

What Our World Needs

I would rather not stop in the middle, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Now, I am picking up where I left off at the halfway point on the towel. After a week away, I am happy to be back at my weaving loom. Project planning, loom dressing, and weaving. It’s a satisfying perpetual cycle.

Cottolin and cotton for a pretty and thirsty modern towel.
Long pattern blocks create ribs across the width of the towel.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, I am prepared to face continued interruptions. But I will keep coming back to my looms, sneaking in as much weaving time as possible. It’s no secret that I love to weave.

Thick and thin cottolin hand towels on the loom with interesting patterns.
As towel four rolls up on the cloth beam, towel five nears completion.

I feel the same way about praying. It is something I keep coming back to. For someone who loves to pray, prayer itself provides a welcome respite in troubled times. God responds to our heartfelt prayers. He hears and heals. Our world needs that now, more than ever. Perpetual prayer to our Prince of Peace.

May you keep coming back to what you love.

With Christmas in mind,

In Time for Christmas – Or Not

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I am excited to have halvdräll up next on the big loom. Warp chains are white cottolin. The weft is white cottolin for the tabby, and red linen for the pattern. Red and white for Christmas. However, if it is not finished by December 25th, there’s always Valentines Day, right? I would love to have this table square ready for Christmas, but I am not willing to make shortcuts on quality to make that happen. It will be finished when it is finished.

Winding a white warp on the warping reel.
Warping reel is used to measure a warp of bleached 22/2 cottolin. A counting tie goes between every 50 ends.
White cottolin and red linen.
Red 16/1 linen pattern weft will add Christmas (or Valentine) flair to the bleached 22/2 cottolin.

Do you ever find yourself being controlled by circumstances instead of convictions? Convictions are firm beliefs that guide our actions. Convictions are like signposts on an unfamiliar path. It’s like having time-tested weaving techniques that help you navigate any new weaving adventure. In time for Christmas, or not.

May you stay on course. 

With Christmas in mind,

Tapestry Imagining

Tapestry in the evening is a pleasant way to end the day. It does not need to be fast. I am not in a hurry. No need to be. The little girl is taking her sweet time. With innocence, she is daydreaming, wondering about things, and purely enjoying the moment. At least, that’s what I imagine she is doing.

Little girl small tapestry progress.
Little girl small tapestry grows a line at a time, evening by evening.

May you take time to wonder.

Happy weaving,