Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen

21 Comments

  • Den says:

    Your weaving is always an inspiration. I look forward to each post. Thank you.

  • Karen says:

    You amaze me! I have too many different hobbies and have to dedicate hours each day to different projects!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, You have some wonderful experiences with using your gifts. I have so much more I want to learn about weaving, and I enjoy digging in to this weaving arena.

      Happy weaving and everything else,
      Karen

  • marianne poling says:

    I love your idea of a “weaving rhythm…” immersing oneself in a “weaving life” that will increase skills and enjoy the gifts weaving brings every day! I tend to weave as a “reward” after all the daily tasks are completed. unfortunately, weaving gets pushed to the back of the line and then I don’t weave as much as I would like to. This was eye-opening for me and I am going to try and find my “weaving rhythm!”

    I really enjoy your blog!
    Marianne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, I like that you identified increasing skill and enjoying the gifts. That does explain why I focus on getting a good rhythm. There are always other necessary things to do to care for family and friends, but it’s good to be mindful of being stewards of the gifts we’ve been given, too. All of life deals with finding priorities and balance.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to think through my own processes and priorities! My challenge is that I make things in a variety of techniques: knitting, weaving, sewing, and quilting…I am so happy I eliminated the rest of them

    Since I only have one floor loom I decided to think of these techniques as my “looms”. Each “loom” requires a slightly different process, and it was very useful to actually take the time to think through each of them, what part do I enjoy the most and what do I tend to put off. You have mentioned that you put finishing first to make sure it gets done. It is interesting how people are different, finishing is the easiest part for me, while dressing the loom tends to be put off, even with a warp waiting.
    Another interesting part for me is to pay attention to which of the different technique requires almost no motivation to get going. Do you see a difference when it comes to your looms? Or the kind of projects you are working on?

    Thank you again for inspiring me to learn and grow!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, From one thinker to another… There’s a fascination to figuring out structures and processes in life. I’m glad to hear this post prompted you to think through some things. You have certainly helped me to think through things, too.

      As far as motivation on different sorts of projects, I do find that I tend to be drawn to the fascination of the drawloom, to weaving a tapestry, and to weaving rag rugs. I need no motivation for those at all. Even so, I find enjoyment in every stage of the process on every one of the looms.

      Thanks for helping me think,
      Karen

  • Pamela Graham says:

    Wow, impressive! You are clearly an inspiration. I am curious about the drawloom; I thought you could only add a drawloom to a VERTICAL countermarch loom.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, It is certainly easier to add a drawloom to a vertical countermarch. We (meaning Steve) modified the horizontal countermarch to fit with the drawloom frame.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Karen!

  • Helen P. says:

    Hello. I liked reading your posts a lot and here last I can see that you have a Glimåkra Ideal, I have the same. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems getting the scales accurately, even though I know how to regulate various things. Maybe you can help me. Do you have an approximate measure of the basic binding to the Ideal loom. That is, the measure from shaft to short stool, the measure from short stool to long stool, the measure from long stool to tramp. Just like that, as a guide. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Helen Pedersen.

    • Karen says:

      Hello Helen, Yes, I have a Glimåkra Ideal. Approximate measurements – from bottom of shafts to the short lamms is about 18cm, from short lamms to long lamms is about 18cm, from long lamms to treadles is about 23cm. The warp is not tied on yet, so these measurements are not exact.

      How many shafts are you using? Sometimes with more than 4 shafts, it is a little tricky to get everything to balance.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I noticed you begin planning the next project while weaving the current project.
    Just one future project? 😉

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

    Nannette

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    Amen xoxo

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    One Question ? Do you keep them all warped and working,Simultaneously ??
    Or one at a time ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, Each loom is on its own independent schedule. They are rarely synchronized so that they are all in weaving mode at the same time. Usually, the looms are operating in different phases of the weaving continuum. So, each day I decide which loom to focus on next. I can only weave on one loom at a time, so sometimes a warp sits on the loom for a while until I can get back to it.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I have a similar process, and have three looms that are usually active.
    When I was a fairly new weaver, I remember Anita Meyer saying that she has one project in the planning stage, one project in the weaving stage and one project in the finishing stage, and then working within the rhythms of her days. I follow a similar rhythm and it keeps me happy. I also have a fourth stage which is documentation and learning. Documentation so that I don’t forget what I have done, and learning because learning is a continuous lifelong adventure.
    Thanks for the inspiration today.
    Barbara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, You have a great system. Documentation is important, yes. I include it in my finishing stage. And I’m with you, learning is a lifelong adventure!

      Thanks for your great input,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Everything Is Peachy on the Drawloom

I canned my first-ever batch of jam last summer. Jars of yummy peach jam were on my mind when I started planning designs for this sample warp on the combination drawloom. Much to my delight, Joanne Hall has included my Jam Jars design in her updated edition of Drawloom Weaving, recently released.

Cotton and linen on the drawloom.
Beginning another variation of the Jam Jars design.
Creating drawloom designs.
Earlier version of Jam Jars, with “Peach” spelled out in cursive letters.
Making jam on the drawloom.
Simple lettering is possible with the pattern shafts. 30 pattern shafts for the jam jar design, including “JAM”, and 5 pattern shafts for the side borders.
Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall. 2nd edition.
Drawloom Weaving, 2nd edition, by Joanne Hall. An essential resource for anyone interested in drawloom weaving.

I am weaving several versions of the jam jars. Each variation has a different set of borders as I test my understanding of the Myrehed combination attachment. I am studying the versatility of this drawloom. Pattern shafts enable pattern repeats for the jam jars and side borders. Single units make it possible to weave the peaches in the corners and “Peachy” across the top. Can you tell if the border across the bottom is made with pattern shafts? Or, is it made with single units?

How to weave Peach Jam!
Everything is Peachy!

Depth of understanding comes from study. Practice makes it real. Go all in; make mistakes, un-do and re-make; have What-now? moments and Aha! moments. Make deliberate observations. It’s all part of the process. That’s what forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ is like. Forgiveness is good news. When we receive his forgiveness he sets us on a path to study, learn, and understand his grace. The depth of which will take an eternity to understand.

May you increase in understanding.

Grace to you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,
    It is wonderful when things come together. Sometimes as planned. Sometimes with the gentle nudge of Christ.
    Last week our home of 33 years sold 9 hours after it was placed on MLS. We will turn over the keys on December 21. 3 days after my husband works his last day. Exciting. Scary. Challenging. 3 hours drive north and another world. That is a lot of 3s.
    Who knew there are parts of this country without reliable internet. Our son has figured out how to overcome this through electronic manipulation outside of my wheelhouse.
    The looms are still not set up while the contents of our lives are gone through to decide what is kept and what is not included in the new home. Packing revealed many more supplies than I realized. My rug making will have no other option but to improve as I work through totes of sewing scraps saved from a lifetime of other projects.
    The one thing I am certain of is God has been with us. He is providing guidance when I see walls.
    Peachy is a very appropriate verb to use when describing this transition.
    Praise God.
    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Transitions in life have great uncertainty. I’m glad you have awareness of God walking through the transition with you. That makes everything workable.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Congratulations on being included in the new book by Joanne Hall, Karen! This pattern is delightful! Draw loom weaving seems a bit like magic to me and looks incredibly challenging. I do wish I had the space for one however there are so many other aspects of weaving for me to still learn so I will just continue to enjoy your artistry.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The most challenging aspect of drawloom weaving is setting up the loom. After that, it’s all fun and games! 🙂 And it does seem magical to be able to weave words and pictures in the cloth. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that sense of magic at the loom.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Tried and True: Wool Skeins into Balls

I am adding about thirty more skeins to my yarn supply to get the colors I need for a new tapestry. At this rate, maybe I will have every single color of Borgs 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö wool on my shelves some day. That’s wishful thinking… But I do have what I need for now to make the butterflies for this special pictorial tapestry.

Preparing to weave a new pictorial tapestry.
Beautiful colors of wool skeins of yarn.

All these new skeins of yarn need to be wound into balls using my Swedish umbrella swift and a ball winder. In the past, I have used a manual ball winder. That means a lot of handle turning, but eventually all the yarn is wound into balls.

Swedish umbrella swift and an electric ball winder.
Skein of yarn is opened and placed on the umbrella swift.

This time is different. I found a new time-saving and arm-saving tool. It’s an electric ball winder, made by Fiber Artist Supply Company. I put the skein on the swift, cut the ties, secure the loose end of yarn to the ball winder, and then turn it on, gradually increasing the speed. In less than two minutes, I have another beautiful ball of yarn to use for making tapestry butterflies.

My new electric ball winder.
End of yarn is secured on the post of the ball winder.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
Dial on the winder allows me to gradually increase the speed. When I see that the skein is unwinding properly, I turn the dial to full speed.
Yarn swift is turning swiftly!
Maybe this is why it’s called a yarn “swift.” Previous pictorial tapestry, Siblings, is seen on the wall.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
One minute, fifty-four seconds later, and we have a ball of yarn.
New ball of yarn from the electric ball winder.
I will wrap the label on this ball of yarn and it will join the yarn collection for this tapestry.
Getting ready to start a new pictorial tapestry!
Linen warp is ready for beaming. Wool weft yarn is being sorted and organized for making butterflies.

May your tools give you more time for weaving.

Making it easier,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Nice looking ball winder! Love that it has a yardage counter.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, The LED number on the ball winder has to do with the speed, not the yardage. Even without a yardage counter, though, it’s very handy for what I need.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    I forgot how beautiful the siblings tapestry is.

    You are a very prolific textile artist. Would you share what method/system you use to store and protect your works when not in use?

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Nannette, Thank you for your sweet sentiments.
      I may not be the right person to ask about storing textiles. I try not to store things. If I have handwoven items that I’m not able to use, I try to give them away. If I weave a pictorial tapestry, I find a place to hang it where it can be seen.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I can’t wait to see what subject you have chosen for this tapestry. My personal favorite is your lizard. This one looks quite large.
    Considering how many skeins of yarn you needed to wind into balls, an automatic winder was definitely a wise purchase. I purchased an electric bobbin/pirn winder several months ago and have not regretted the expense.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Don’t let the number of skeins fool you. This tapestry will be smaller than the others I’ve done, but I needed some nuance in the colors. I will have a lot of yarn left when I’m done, but that’s no problem. It just sets me up in a better position for the next tapestry. 🙂

      Karen

Leave a Reply


Drawloom Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2

I’m curious. How much difference will it make to change the direction of the design? I wove the first Windmill and Taildragger from the side. (See Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom.) This second one, I am weaving from bottom to top. For one thing, I know I can enlarge the image if I turn it upright, giving me more distinct details.

Windmill and Taildragger woven on the drawloom.
Windmill and Taildragger – Version 1, from the side. Beginning of Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2, upright.
Taildragger on the drawloom.
More detail is possible with the expanded size of the image. Center image and lower border use single-unit draw cords. Five pattern shafts are used for the side borders.
Temple in use on the drawloom.
Temple maintains the correct weaving width.
Glimakra Standard loom with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment.
Side view of drawloom with Myrehed combination attachment.

This second Windmill and Taildragger is indeed larger, with smoother detail lines. No surprise. What does surprise me is how much simpler this one is to weave! The single-unit pulls are more manageable now that the design is turned in a lengthwise direction. Enlargement, clarity, and ease—all from a single design adjustment.

Drawloom weaving.
Single-unit draw cords seen in the weaving of the windmill’s blades.
Windmill and Taildragger on the drawloom.
Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2
Drawloom weaving.
Version 1 and Version 2 – Windmill and Taildragger

Spoken wishes express our needs. Our wishes are sincere, but hold no power in themselves. What if we turn the direction of our wishes? When we turn those expressions upward to God they become prayer. Prayer is an expression of belief. Jesus invites us to tell him our needs through prayer. Prayer enlarges and clarifies our hopes. You may be surprised how simple it is to take your needs to the Lord in prayer.

May your prayers bring the help you need.

Peace to you,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Elisabeth says:

    Beautiful work!
    Isn’t it fascinating what we can learn from looking at something from a different perspective or doing something in a slightly different way? Like you said “Enlargement, clarity, and ease—all from a single design adjustment”. You say it so beautifully when it comes to prayer!
    I see the value of this in every task, every challenge, every day; How it helps turn something tedious, something I really cannot seem to enjoy but need to get done, into a not only enjoyable, but exciting task. Sometimes it’s a small adjustment of my approach, other times, an adjustment of my perspective. And I agree with you, the difference it makes is can be quite surprising

    Karen, thank you so much for you wise reminders of the beauty in life! You alway make me think!

    Love,
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth,
      You are right, a change in perspective can change everything. I am very happy to hear that someone like me can help a thinker like you to think.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good evening Karen,
    What a beautiful day!!
    Stood in line for the first time outside the poling place for an election. About a half hour wait. A few texts and a conversation with the guy in front of me and voting ensued.
    It was a wonderful October day. On November 3. The blue-est sky.
    I was at the retirement house last week. Walked into the contents of two trips I missed. Both with 2 full vehicles and trailers. All was waiting for me to make organization out of chaos. Spare shelves. A cordless drill. A broom closet. The small kitchen electronics now have a home. A trip to Menard’s and a marked down indoor outdoor rug outlines the new sewing area in the basement… Now the electrician knows where to locate the overhead task lights and power boxes for the sewing machines and iron.
    No internet. The cell phone is sketchy at best. Starlink… hurry up!! Not able to enjoy this posting until this afternoon.
    I have been opening your post off and on and trying to absorb what you’ve done. The design has the feel of a classic. It is old and new at the same time. Usually given a choice one will usually appeal to me over the other. There is no favorite for me.
    Is there a change in the gage needed by rotating the design 90*
    The colors provide a timeless calm to me. Thank you.
    Nannette .

Leave a Reply