Process Review: Small Zippered Bags

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!

Give away your best as an expression of love.

May you be blessed to give and to receive.

Love,
Karen

Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video

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!

After weaving a short scrap fabric with thread left on quills, it is time for cutting off the long monksbelt runner and two bonus towels.

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 rep ground 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.

After the Priceless Monksbelt Runner I had enough warp to weave two bonus towels with monksbelt borders. In between the towels I did a small heart-shaped inlay just for play.
Two simple plain weave towels, with monksbelt borders. The tabby weft is 16/2 golden bleached linen. The coral pattern weft and green pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen. The ecru center pattern weft is doubled 6/1 tow linen. Warp is 16/2 cotton. With only one washing so far, the towels still have a wonderful crisp linen hand.

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!

Our dining table is just to the right as you walk through the front door of our home. May all who enter know they are welcome here!

Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.

May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Heddles and Bands

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.

Workshop at Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference 2019 got me started with weaving patterned bands on a rigid heddle.
First heddle by Steve is made from Soft Maple. Band has 21 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled). 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Heddle made from Spanish Cedar. Wood-burned top represents the Texas Hill Country hills that we enjoy. Band has 45 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled), using the heddle’s full width. 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Walnut band heddle in the making.
Torgenrud, H. (2015). Norwegian pick-up bandweaving. Schiffer Publishing; Foulkes, S. (2018). Weaving Patterned Bands. How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads. Schiffer Publishing; Neumüller, K. (2021). Simple Weave. (Language: Swedish). Natur & Kultur, Stockholm.

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.

May you take time to notice the little things.

Love,
Karen

Process Review: Threading Preparation and Two Pairs of Lease Sticks

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.

Two set of lease sticks have been carefully moved from in front of the reed to behind the reed. After straightening all the warp ends, I will beam the warp.

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.

Preparation for threading. Ends are gathered into threading groups and tied together with a loose slip knot.
Each set of lease sticks is tied to the back beam separately, so they can hang at different heights. The lower set is tied around the side frame and over the back beam.
If I stand behind the loom, my back is in a leaning-forward position and not comfortable for long. I placed a child’s chair and cushion behind the loom. Kneeling behind the loom at this height gives me good visibility and access to the threads.
View from the back of the loom. Ends are counted at the center of a pair of lease sticks. These counted ends are tied together in a loose slip knot.
View from behind the loom. Loop of unbleached ends just counted lay on top to clear the view. Ends on lower pair of lease sticks are counted and tied separately. I tied the cotton threads and the cottolin threads separately to make it easier to find an error if I miscounted along the way (which, fortunately, didn’t happen).
Counted ends are dropped into hanging position before moving on to the next grouping. (After taking this picture, I re-tied the lease sticks closer together, making counting easier.)
Threads remain in the reed. I pull threads out of the reed when they are counted.
Pretty sight of counted ends. Ready for threading!

One step at a time.

May you enjoy the process you are in.

Happy Loom Dressing,
Karen

Happy New Warp – Year in Review Video

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.

Cloth beam on the Glimakra Julia. Linen dish cloths.
Final project of 2021. Linen dish cloths, with warp made from what was left on several tubes of linen. Glimåkra Julia, using 8 shafts, 8 treadles.
Glimakra Julia - linen dish cloths!
Good-bye, 2021. Nine linen dish cloths, plus one large blue rectangle at the end. Washing dishes has never looked so good!

Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholdertapestry 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.

Rag rugs up next!
First warp of 2022. Glimåkra Ideal. Double-binding rag rugs coming up. Hooray!

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!

The three highlights: Process Review: Eye of the Beholder, Siblings Tapestry and Process Video, Process Review: Tiers of Joy!

May you know what to hold, and what to let go.

Happy New Warp (Year),
Karen