What Is Creativity?

I can follow a published weaving draft to the letter and expect to get the prescribed results. Or, I can change details and make the project reflect my own ideas. That’s creativity. And that’s why each handwoven piece reveals something about the one who made it.

Two-block broken twill on 8 shafts. Lovely linen!
Two-block broken twill on eight shafts. I like the natural variations in the linen thread.

With every given draft, I determine the width and length for the project I want to weave, and make adjustments accordingly. That may mean adapting the threading sequence to fit. Sometimes I choose a different size of thread. In that case, I change the sett, as needed. Treadling variations also come into play as the fabric takes shape according to my preferences. I almost always choose my own colors. It’s in the colors that I find the most enjoyment of letting my creativity flow. What is your favorite element for creative expression?

Weaving a linen table runner.
Linne, draft by Joanne Hall. The only adjustments I am making are some treadling variations at the start and end of the runner, and the color selection.
Eight-shaft 2-block twill.
Beginning of the runner is wrapping around the slender cloth beam of the Julia.

Creative ability is meant to be an expression of wisdom. Wisdom is a combination of things—experience, intellect, understanding—all put into practice. What you create makes your inmost contemplations visible. Each individual’s creativity is a small example that points to the most astounding example of all. Our Creator reveals his supreme wisdom in every facet of his creation. And you are a prime example of his wise attention to detail.

May your creativity blossom.

Happy 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

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

Threads of Grace

The kneeling wise man in Steve’s hand-carved Nativity reminds me of the heart posture that speaks louder than words. Bowing in humility, we bring our gifts to honor the King of kings. Little did we expect the King to come as an infant, to grow up among his subjects, to give his life for us.

Kneeling wise man is added to hand-carved nativity.
The kneeling wise man is this year’s addition to the hand-carved Nativity. Carvings in Spanish Cedar by Steve Isenhower

How shall we end this year, and begin the next? With humble hearts, grateful for each new day—for each thread of grace woven in our lives by the Grand Weaver’s strong and gentle hands.

Hand-carved Nativity. Drawloom-woven runner.
Hand-carved Nativity by Steve Isenhower. I wove the background piece on the shaft drawloom at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas. Warp is black 16/2 cotton; weft is red and blue 16/1 linen.

May you end this year with gratitude.

Warmly,
Karen

Process Review: Drawloom Weaving without Errors

I found a way to practically eliminate draw cord errors on the single-unit drawloom. After making one too many mistakes while weaving this rag rug, I resolved to find a solution. True, I will still make mistakes, but now I expect them to be few and far between. (To view the first rag rug on this warp, see Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug.)

My most frequent error is having a draw cord out of place, either pulled where it shouldn’t be, or not pulled where it should be. And then, I fail to see the mistake in the cloth until I have woven several rows beyond it. I determined to find a way to eliminate this kind of error. (For an example of this kind of error, see Handweaving Dilemma.)

Test 1. Double check my work. Pull all the needed draw cords for one row and then double check all the pulled cords.
Results: This bogs me down. And I still fail to catch errors.

Test 2. Double check my work little by little. Treat every twenty draw cords as a section—ten white cords and ten black cords. Pull the cords in the first section. Double check. Pull the cords in the next section. Double check. And so on all the way across…
Results: Easy to do. I quickly catch and correct errors.

Now, I am implementing this incremental method of double checking my work on the little bit of warp that remains. With a Happily-Ever-After ending, the short Lost Valley piece is completed with NO draw cord errors! (Lost Valley is the name we’ve given our Texas Hill Country home.)

Woven Rag Rug and Lost Valley process in pictures:

May you learn from experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen