Tapestry of the Heart

It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.

Tapestry weaving that starts with a photo of a beautiful woman.
Photo enlargement is printed and taped onto poster board. I keep it near the loom for reference while I’m weaving.
Planning a new 4-shaft pictorial tapestry!
Cartoon replica is printed and taped to foam board. I plan out butterflies for the first few rows of the tapestry and pin them in their place on the picture. Yarn overflow is on the windowsill beside the loom.

In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.

Beginning wool butterflies for a new tapestry.
First row of the tapestry has only four butterflies. Additional butterflies are added gradually over the next few rows. (Tapestry begins with a few rows of white 6/1 tow linen.)
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of this lovely woman.
Printed reference cartoon helps me check my work as I go along. The cartoon that is under the weaving on the loom is not only larger, it is printed at a lighter setting, which makes a better weaving guide for me.

A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.

May your loved ones benefit from your generosity.

With gratitude,
Karen

Tried and True: Simplify Subtle Color Changes

When I pick up a color of thread I don’t want to have to guess if it’s the right color. Four of the five blues in the weft sequence are close neighbors in value. The one color that is easy to identify is the navy blue, which provides a good contrast among the blues.

Five blues in 8/2 cotton. 8-shaft twill.
Weft color order follows the sequence of the warp color order. Five blues for this 8-shaft twill in 8/2 cotton.

The weft order matches the warp order, and is marked out on a ribbon. I am using a separate boat shuttle for each shade of blue. But how do I know which color is which, when the difference is subtle from one color to the next?

Simplify Subtle Color Changes

  • Give each color a number. Write the numbers next to the colors of the warp order on the Project Notes.
Project Notes for weaving with 5 blues.
Weft colors are the same as the warp colors. The Project Notes show all the details. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” is added to the sheet to give each color a simple number.
  • Label the thread tubes with a small piece of blue painter’s tape. Each tube of thread is numbered to correspond with the numbers on the Project Notes.
Make removable labels with blue painter's tape.
Handy blue painter’s tape is used to make removable labels.
Five blues are labeled for simplicity.
Thread tubes are labeled with their identifying number.
  • Label each boat shuttle with its assigned color number, using a small piece of blue painter’s tape.
There are five blues for this 8-shaft twill.
Each boat shuttle holds its own color.
  • Place wound quills under the rubber band of their respective thread tubes.
Simplify subtle weft color changes.
When I wind an extra quill I place it with its thread tube so I don’t accidentally pick up the wrong color quill.

It is easy to keep track of these five numbers as I follow the weft sequence that is marked on my reference ribbon. Now, it’s shuttle #4’s turn…

Simplify subtle weft color changes.
Next in line…

May you find a way to simplify.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Time to Weave

I would like to finish this skirt project in time to wear the skirt this summer. Huckaback (huck lace) is easy to weave, but it takes time. All I need is time.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
Huckaback with five shafts and five treadles on the Glimåkra Ideal.

Linen weft threads pack in tighter and make better selvedges when they are dampened. I need a tight weave to square the pattern that is coming on the next two skirt tiers. And the edge of the skirt flounce is a selvedge that will be fully exposed, so tidy selvedges are a must. It takes a little bit of time to hold a damp cloth against the thread as I wind a quill, or to wrap a damp cloth around a quill that’s already wound. It’s worth it. In the scheme of things, that little bit of time is nothing…and everything.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
By dampening the 16/1 linen weft I am able to get a tight weave without having to beat as hard.
Linen weft in schoolbus yellow!
The edge with the poppy-thread border will be the lower edge of each tier on the three-tiered skirt. I’m paying special attention to the selvedge, and dampening the linen weft really helps!

We all have a little bit of time. Look at your hand. A lifespan is no longer than the width of your hand. A lifetime is one moment to God. Our life begins and ends in one breath of God. This little bit of time we have is nothing…and everything. This is how God loved us in our little bit of time: he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but have timeless life with him.

May you have a little bit of time.

With you,
Karen

Process Review: Combination Drawloom as a Playground

Aside from the two taildragger banners, the sign for our guest powder room, and the Christmas snowflake hanging, these are test pieces and samples. The combination drawloom is a playground for design ideas. Test pieces and samples are not meant for display. I do want them to be seen on occasion, however. (See Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom.)

Drawloom sign for the powder room.
This is a sign to hang in our guest powder room near a stack of handwoven hand towels.
Shaft drawloom snowflakes/stars.
Snowflakes on the drawloom.

In the September, 2004 issue of Complex Weavers Journal, Jette Vandermeiden wrote about weaving small serviettes to place between her good dishes so they don’t scratch each other. That sparked the idea for me to use my learning experience with the Myrehed combination drawloom attachment to make these small pieces of cloth. The various designs will bring delight as they are uncovered, one by one, when we set the table in our home with the good dishes.

Fun with the Myrehed combo drawloom.
Drawloom playground results using the Myrehed combination attachment.

Enjoy this review of the process of setting up and weaving on this playground.

May you have not-so-hidden treasures in your home.

Cheerful Weaving,
Karen

Palms Up

I distinctly remember the thrill of weaving my first two-block twill on eight shafts. It was a linen table square woven on a Glimåkra Standard loom in Joanne Hall’s delightful Montana studio. That classy linen table square came home with me, …and my first floor loom came soon after–a Glimåkra Standard of my own!

Two-block twill linen table square.
Linen table square, woven at Joanne Hall’s studio.

I can still hear Joanne’s gentle instruction about holding the shuttle. “Palms up.” This way is easy on the hands and wrists. I’ve had considerable practice since those lessons in Montana. Now, I send the shuttle across the warp and catch it securely with ease. That same two-block twill “Linne” pattern is on my Julia loom now, bringing back those fond memories. It comes as no surprise that watching threads on eight shafts become woven cloth is just as thrilling now as it was that very first time.

Linen table runner on 8 shafts.
Linne Table Runner on the Julia in golden bleached, olive green, and midnight blue 16/2 line linen.

Deliberate hands send the shuttle through the shed, and receive it as it comes through to the other side. God’s hand is faithful. Trust-worthy. Think of his hand as open, palm up. Carrying, sustaining, and holding us securely. Trust puts us into the Lord’s faithful hand.

May you remember what you’ve been taught.

Happy Weaving, Karen