On the Road Again was a special challenge issued to members of the San Antonio Handweavers Guild last fall: Pair up (by random selection) with another guild member. Learn where that individual would like to travel and make a handwoven bag that suits her or his needs. I learned that my On-the-Road-Again partner, Donna, is a world traveler and uses small makeup bags to organize her carry-ons. Likewise, I informed Donna that I like small bags that I can use to hold my travel weaving when Steve and I go camping in our Casita travel trailer. Our guild met last week and we got to unveil our special gifts to each other. I had the smart idea to present the bags nested inside each other. Imagine my surprise when I found that Donna had the same smart idea. What fun!
My contribution for Donna is three small zippered bags, and a linen washcloth to take with her on her travels.
Donna’s thoughtful exchange couldn’t be more perfect – three small zippered bags, and a drawstring bag to hold them all together. I have my band-weaving supplies in the bags, ready for my camping trip with Steve in a few days!
Talk about exciting! When something has been on the loom this long it is indeed exciting when the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. I finish weaving the final “bonus” towel. And then, I use up all the quills to make a little piece of scrap fabric (because scrap fabric is always better than leftover quills). And then! Then, I start my cutting-off checklist.
After all this time, the moment we’ve been waiting for is here!
I cut off the warp. And as I unroll the cloth, I am mesmerized by the tactile intricacy that passes through my fingers–Fårö wool for the pattern weft, and 16/2 cotton for slow-as-molasses weft repground cloth. Finishing proves to be the easiest and quickest part of this project. I like the crisp pristine state of the monksbelt runner, so I am not going to wet finish this article. I examine for errors (none found!), wet finish the two towels, hem the table runner and towels, and press. The Priceless Monksbelt Runner now graces our dining room table.
The exceptional value of handwoven textiles makes your home a welcoming place. Time is one of our most valuable assets. That makes the textiles we create priceless!
Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.
May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.
Band weaving is a simple activity that helps you notice the little things. You see how each thread falls into place. How the thread turns the selvedge corner just so. How the pattern threads stand proud in floats or hide in subtle patterns. I enjoy practicing my skills as a band weaver. And more so, now that Steve has turned his attention to making band heddles for me.
Pictures in the following slideshow video tell more of the story.
Edited: Steve has compiled photo documentation of how he made my Spanish Cedar and Walnut heddles. Click HERE to send me an email requesting a PDF copy of Making a Band Heddle.
Dressing the loom with two sets of lease sticks keeps me on my toes. It means I am thinking carefully as I transfer lease sticks from in front of the reed to behind the reed. And, after beaming the warp(s), it means I am counting carefully as I put ends into threading groups of 48 threads each—32 ends of 20/2 cotton, and 16 ends of 22/2 cottolin.
I group ends together before threading. Then, when threading, if there is a discrepancy in the number of ends, it alerts me to find a threading error. Counting out these delicate unbleached cotton threads is challenge enough. Having the layer of cream cottolin threads underneath presents additional complexity. With all these ends, this part of the process is tedious. Still, it’s worth it if it lessens my chance of making threading errors with these 1,472 ends.
The 2021 cloth is cut from the loom. Let’s unroll the year to see how it looks. I see cherished moments. Treasured memories. New friendships. Family relationships enjoyed. Mistakes made. A few heartbreaks. Sorrow and rejoicing are intertwined at times. Besides the finished fabric, there are a few odd remnants worth keeping in my heart. And, like most thrums, there are some things I am not going to hold on to.
Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholder—tapestry of my mom. The Lord used the making and finishing of this woven portrait to reiterate His nearness when I needed it most. 2. Siblings, tapestry from the previous year, earned the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Award at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference last summer. 3. The yellow huckaback three-tiered skirt, Tiers of Joy, ought to earn an achievement award. However, the real reward is a genuine sense of accomplishment through perseverance.
Know when to let go. 2022 is a new warp on the loom. Some things from last year don’t belong. We have a fresh start with no room for complaints. Threads on the loom are rich with hope, ready for the intersection of thoughtful wonder and exploration. Look for results of tangible beauty.
Please enjoy looking back at the weaving journey of 2021 with me. I’m grateful to have you here, and look forward to more good times together!