Tried and True: Linen

Take a short stroll through our home and you will see and touch linen in all its superb versatility. Linen warp and weft speaks of elegance. Yet, this natural fiber is right at home with ordinary daily living. Linen, oh, how it sings!

I am thrilled to be dressing the Julia now with 16/2 linen on eight shafts. We will have another linen highlight to grace our home—a table runner for our dining room table.

Bockens 16/2 line linen for a handwoven runner.
It is a happy day when new tubes of Bockens 16/2 line linen arrive at the door.
Making a linen warp.
Winding two threads together at a time on the warping reel.
8-shaft Julia and linen warp.
Dividing the warp into three bouts makes it easier to spread and beam the warp with even tension across the warp.
Glimakra Julia 8-shafts. Glorious linen!
Golden bleached linen is a gorgeous backdrop for the olive center section and contrasting midnight blue borders.

Is there anything more vibrant than the sheen of linen saturated with color? And, have you noticed that plain unbleached linen is anything but plain? Linen fills both ends of the spectrum—glowing exuberant color and natural wrinkled humility. Linen, oh, how it sings! There’s always room for more music in the home.

May your home be filled with everyday elegance.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Something New from Something Old

My grandma made a pattern on brown paper for a neck pillow. I suppose she found the pattern in a magazine or newspaper decades ago. I am using my copy of her pattern to make my own neck pillow. Maybe someday my pillow will be as worn and wobbly as Grandma’s well-loved neck pillow that I remember.

My version of Grandma’s neck pillow.

Looking through my pile of handwoven scraps I find the piece of fabric that had been hanging as a Roman shade on the back door of our previous home. This two-block twill in cotton and linen was my first 8-shaft project on my floor loom. Good memories! The fabric, softened and slightly faded through daily use, is perfect for the comfy neck pillow I’m imagining. (Unlike Grandma’s pillow, I’m making this one with a removable cover so it can be easily laundered.)

Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project.
Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project. I wove the linen draw cord on my two-treadle band loom.

Instructions for Constructing a Handwoven Neck Pillow

Supplies:

  • Cotton muslin, pre-washed
  • Handwoven fabric, pre-washed
  • Cluster Fluff, or other cluster fill or polyester fiberfill
  • 7” invisible zipper
  • Sewing machine
  • Invisible zipper foot
  • Sewing thread
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Iron
  • Sleeve board for pressing, optional

Steps:

  1. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the muslin.
  2. Sew two of the muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Sew the other two muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  4. Sew the two parts together, right sides together, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning and stuffing. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  5. Turn the pillow right side out.
  6. Stuff with Cluster Fluff, starting at the furthest end from the opening. Fill to desired fullness.
  7. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  8. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the handwoven fabric.
  9. Serge or zigzag the fabric edges. Press flat.
  10. Insert invisible zipper between two of the pieces.
Making a handwoven neck pillow.
Invisible zipper is sewn into place between two of the panels.
  1. Complete the seams at both ends of the zipper. Press seams open.
  2. Sew the two other pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Open zipper, and sew the two parts together, right sides together. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  4. Turn the pillow case right side out.
  5. Push the muslin pillow into the pillow case. Close the zipper.
Handwoven neck pillow cover.
Inner pillow and outer cover are made from the same pattern to make it a snug fit.
Handwoven neck pillow. How to with construction steps.
Fabric is 16/2 cotton warp and 16/1 linen weft.
  1. Take a nap in your favorite chair with the pillow behind your neck.
Handwoven neck pillow.

If you would like a pdf copy of my grandma’s neck pillow pattern, please click HERE to send me an email request. I will be happy to send the pattern to you.

May you see old treasures in new ways.

Rest and Be Well,
Karen

Now This Year

New year 2017 is beginning! It’s time again to take account of where we stand in our life’s dreams and goals. What can we check off the list? And, what is still in progress? And, maybe there’s something new to add. But first, let me count my blessings. I’m filled with gratitude, thankful for you! What a JOY it is to have friends like you to walk through this weaving journey with me.

Here’s what you’ll find on my looms right now:

Striped cottolin warp for towels.
Glimåkra Ideal loom: Striped warp for the sample kit is all set! Winding quills is next. Then, weaving! If all goes well, a few pre-warped plattväv towel kits will show up in my Etsy shop.

Transparency with linen warp and background weft. Cotton chenille weft inlay.
Glimåkra Standard loom: Weaving a transparency. 16/2 linen warp and background weft. The weft pattern inlay is cotton chenille.

Practice piece on little Hokett loom.
Hokett loom has the start of a simple stripes tapestry practice piece. 12/6 cotton warp, 6/1 Fåro wool weft.

Thank you for joining me through 2016!

May you have joy in the journey.

Happy Weaving New Year,
Karen

Quiet Friday: Going through Phases

You will not often find a bare loom here. But every loom has its phases. The “Big Loom” (Glimåkra Standard 120cm) is in the empty phase right now. I finished weaving the coarse linen twill with rya knots. Now, I wait for the 16/2 linen that I ordered for the next project. Big Loom, don’t worry; you’ll be dressed again soon.

Rya weaving just completed.
Rya pieces ready to make into interesting shaggy pillows.

Glimakra Standard Countermarch Loom 120 cm
Affectionately known as “The Big Loom.” Seldom seen undressed. Glimåkra Standard Countermarch Loom 120cm / 47 inches weaving width.

 

The “Baby Loom” (Glimåkra Ideal 100cm) is in the weaving phase. It has plenty of warp on it, so I am still happily throwing a shuttle. I should get two more towels from this warp.

Red and brown goose-eye towel on the loom.
Color stripes of brown and gold break up the red in this towel on the goose-eye warp.

 

I want to start weaving a band to match the towels on the “Baby Loom,” for the towels’ hanging tabs. That means I need to put more attention on finishing up the current warp on the Band Loom (Glimåkra two-treadle), so I can start the new warp. This is the hurry-up-and-finish phase.

Two-treadle Glimakra band loom in use.
Band loom is situated for weaving in short bursts. I often stop and weave for a few minutes on the way to the “Big Loom” or the “Baby Loom.” Three sisters look on from the stairway wall. (One of those girls is a younger me. Can you guess which one?)

May you make the most of the phase you are in.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

(The discount coupon on my About Page is good for another week. Thank you!)

Now What Are You Counting?

Have you noticed how much counting there is with weaving? I am constantly counting something! This time it’s rya strands. Wrap three threads around a four-inch cardboard template, counting eighteen times around; cut the ends; repeat. Separate into nine groups of three strands each. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine groups. Tie rya knots–one knot, two knots, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine knots; repeat.

Prepared groups of threads for rya knots.
Åsborya wool, Mora wool, and linen are wrapped together around a template, and then cut. The group of threads is held together in a clothespin until ready to use.

I like to count the good things that touch my life. Family, friends, health, beauty in nature, and pleasant adventures, to name a few. These are the things that shine through, even in difficult times. These are the things worth counting.

Separating threads into "triplets" for rya knots.
Group of natural color threads are separated into wool-wool-linen triplets for rya knots.

Thankfulness to God acknowledges that the good things woven into our lives come from his benevolent hand. God is always inviting us to walk with him. Thankfulness steps us into that inspiring walk.

What are some of the good things you’ve been thankful for lately?

May you have more blessings than you can count.

Thankful for you,
Karen

(There is a discount coupon code on my About page just for you, my reader friends, to use in my Etsy Shop during August, 2014.)