I know how to write music. I am experienced in playing improvisational music on my cello. And I don’t have a problem making up a tune to sing on the spot. But nothing touches the richness of music’s beauty like getting out the Beethoven Sonatas at the piano, or Bach’s Six Suites for the cello, or singing from an old-fashioned hymnal. Likewise, I do know how to write a weaving draft from scratch, but I usually find my starting point in one of my favored weaving books. There are countless designs and dreamy pictures. From simple to extraordinary. Sometimes I follow the instructions precisely. But most often, the improviser in me examines the elements and finds a new version to “play.”
Here are just a few of my favorite weaving books, and a sampling of what they have produced.
Fine threads. This warp may be the finest yet for me–24/2 cotton. 896 ends are lined up in a row. And, oh, they are soft. This is another fascinating experience for someone who enjoys seeing threads do remarkable things.
The weft for this will be fine, too–20/1 linen. Linen is strong thread in the right conditions. Can you imagine the fabric that will come from these fine cotton and linen threads?! Something lovely will be produced from many hours of winding the warp, dressing the loom, and weaving. When I throw the shuttle back and forth, heirloom-quality fabric will appear! Soft like cotton, and strong like linen.
We often define love by what someone says, knows, or does. I love you. I know how you feel. I will help you. It is possible, though, to say, know, and do nice things, but not have love. At its core, love is unselfishness and humility. Pure love comes from a pure heart. A pure heart that is unselfish and humble extends love as fluently as a weaver’s shuttle going back and forth. An honorable legacy is woven, soft and strong, through a heart of love.
May you weave a legacy of love.
~UPDATE~ Towel Kits ~
I have been delighted by the response for the towel kits, and have enjoyed putting the kits together! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit,is listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop until they are sold out. This is the final release of this kit. There are a few left.
(I may be persuaded to do another limited run of a kit in the future.)
This taqueté uses the same threading as the kuvikas that preceded it. You’ve heard it said, “One change changes everything.” Try changing the tie-up. Everything changes. Treadling sequence, weft arrangement, and picks per inch. I’m struggling like a beginner with this double treadling, double double-bobbin shuttling. But I’m not quitting, because look what it weaves! The cloth is amazing.
One life change, good or bad, can bring a struggle. We try to move forward like we did before, but now it’s not working. Too many things are shifting at once. One thing changed, and now we are searching for sound footing. God is present even in our struggles. The warp is the same, the threading hasn’t changed, and the Grand Weaver is still at his loom. God is a very present help in trouble. God is now and near. Right now, right here. And then we get a glimpse of the cloth he is weaving… It is amazing!
The first time I wove fabric that required a doubled weft I did not use a double-bobbin shuttle. I didn’t own one. I used a regular boat shuttle and sent it across twice, going around the outer warpend. Those first thick and thin towels came out beautifully. So I know it can be done.
The first time I used a double-bobbin shuttle I wondered if it was worth it. It was awkward and clumsy in my hands. Since that rocky introduction a few years ago, I have woven many meters with my double-bobbin shuttles. They have become cherished tools and efficient accomplices to some of my favorite fabric-making endeavors!
Tips for Weaving with a Double-Bobbin Shuttle (and a short video demonstration)
Practice. Make sure you allow extra warp length for practicing. You will probably need it at first. Have fun and laugh, and refrain from throwing the shuttle across the room.
Winding Equal Bobbins. Wind the first quill. Lay it close to the bobbin winder where you can see it easily. As you wind the second quill, attempt to match it in size to the first one. (Winding two quills with equal amounts of thread is no small challenge.)
Sending the Shuttle. Sending the double-bobbin shuttle through the shed is the same as sending a regular boat shuttle across. The best release is done with a flick of the forefinger so the shuttle speeds across. Then, the doubled weft naturally snugs the selvedge, and the two threads are neatly aligned across the shed. With a slower, more timid shuttle send-off, the quills unwind unequally.
Receiving the Shuttle. Receiving the shuttle can be the awkward and clumsy part at first. Especially if you are trying to practice a quicker send-off. I catch the shuttle as for any boat shuttle, palm up. And then, if needed, I fold my two bottom fingers around the threads, guiding them to fall equally across the shed.
Weave. Enjoy the process.
May your practice produce perfection. (Well, maybe not perfection, but at least improvement.)
Each time I remove the temple I step back to review the progress. What does it look like now? It still looks like stripes. Four picks complete one row. The stripes lengthen, pick by pick. I hadn’t originally planned stripes, but seeing the results makes me hopeful.
Every fabric has a structure–the particular way that warp and weft threads crisscross each other. This eight-shaftkuvikas structure sets the stage for weaving block patterns, like the square-within-a-square pattern or these stripes. It’s how the loom is set up. This loom is set up to weave kuvikas.
Truth is a constant. It doesn’t change with the wind. It isn’t subject to our whims. It’s how things are. Truth is the structure of creation’s fabric through good times and bad. Imagine the despair of Jesus’ closest followers as they watch him, their friend and Teacher, die in agony on a cross. Where is truth in this despair?
And then the unimaginable happens. Jesus comes back to them alive! This is the truth of God’s redemptive love–He died for us. Truth awakens hope. Speak truth to your soul. Wait in hope, for glorious fabric is being woven on His loom.