Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Den says:

    Your weaving is always an inspiration. I look forward to each post. Thank you.

  • Karen says:

    You amaze me! I have too many different hobbies and have to dedicate hours each day to different projects!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, You have some wonderful experiences with using your gifts. I have so much more I want to learn about weaving, and I enjoy digging in to this weaving arena.

      Happy weaving and everything else,
      Karen

  • marianne poling says:

    I love your idea of a “weaving rhythm…” immersing oneself in a “weaving life” that will increase skills and enjoy the gifts weaving brings every day! I tend to weave as a “reward” after all the daily tasks are completed. unfortunately, weaving gets pushed to the back of the line and then I don’t weave as much as I would like to. This was eye-opening for me and I am going to try and find my “weaving rhythm!”

    I really enjoy your blog!
    Marianne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, I like that you identified increasing skill and enjoying the gifts. That does explain why I focus on getting a good rhythm. There are always other necessary things to do to care for family and friends, but it’s good to be mindful of being stewards of the gifts we’ve been given, too. All of life deals with finding priorities and balance.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to think through my own processes and priorities! My challenge is that I make things in a variety of techniques: knitting, weaving, sewing, and quilting…I am so happy I eliminated the rest of them

    Since I only have one floor loom I decided to think of these techniques as my “looms”. Each “loom” requires a slightly different process, and it was very useful to actually take the time to think through each of them, what part do I enjoy the most and what do I tend to put off. You have mentioned that you put finishing first to make sure it gets done. It is interesting how people are different, finishing is the easiest part for me, while dressing the loom tends to be put off, even with a warp waiting.
    Another interesting part for me is to pay attention to which of the different technique requires almost no motivation to get going. Do you see a difference when it comes to your looms? Or the kind of projects you are working on?

    Thank you again for inspiring me to learn and grow!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, From one thinker to another… There’s a fascination to figuring out structures and processes in life. I’m glad to hear this post prompted you to think through some things. You have certainly helped me to think through things, too.

      As far as motivation on different sorts of projects, I do find that I tend to be drawn to the fascination of the drawloom, to weaving a tapestry, and to weaving rag rugs. I need no motivation for those at all. Even so, I find enjoyment in every stage of the process on every one of the looms.

      Thanks for helping me think,
      Karen

  • Pamela Graham says:

    Wow, impressive! You are clearly an inspiration. I am curious about the drawloom; I thought you could only add a drawloom to a VERTICAL countermarch loom.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, It is certainly easier to add a drawloom to a vertical countermarch. We (meaning Steve) modified the horizontal countermarch to fit with the drawloom frame.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Karen!

  • Helen P. says:

    Hello. I liked reading your posts a lot and here last I can see that you have a Glimåkra Ideal, I have the same. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems getting the scales accurately, even though I know how to regulate various things. Maybe you can help me. Do you have an approximate measure of the basic binding to the Ideal loom. That is, the measure from shaft to short stool, the measure from short stool to long stool, the measure from long stool to tramp. Just like that, as a guide. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Helen Pedersen.

    • Karen says:

      Hello Helen, Yes, I have a Glimåkra Ideal. Approximate measurements – from bottom of shafts to the short lamms is about 18cm, from short lamms to long lamms is about 18cm, from long lamms to treadles is about 23cm. The warp is not tied on yet, so these measurements are not exact.

      How many shafts are you using? Sometimes with more than 4 shafts, it is a little tricky to get everything to balance.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I noticed you begin planning the next project while weaving the current project.
    Just one future project? 😉

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

    Nannette

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    Amen xoxo

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    One Question ? Do you keep them all warped and working,Simultaneously ??
    Or one at a time ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, Each loom is on its own independent schedule. They are rarely synchronized so that they are all in weaving mode at the same time. Usually, the looms are operating in different phases of the weaving continuum. So, each day I decide which loom to focus on next. I can only weave on one loom at a time, so sometimes a warp sits on the loom for a while until I can get back to it.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I have a similar process, and have three looms that are usually active.
    When I was a fairly new weaver, I remember Anita Meyer saying that she has one project in the planning stage, one project in the weaving stage and one project in the finishing stage, and then working within the rhythms of her days. I follow a similar rhythm and it keeps me happy. I also have a fourth stage which is documentation and learning. Documentation so that I don’t forget what I have done, and learning because learning is a continuous lifelong adventure.
    Thanks for the inspiration today.
    Barbara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, You have a great system. Documentation is important, yes. I include it in my finishing stage. And I’m with you, learning is a lifelong adventure!

      Thanks for your great input,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Process Review: Beaming the Warp

I am making a new ‘cello skirt (a tiered skirt), starting from scratch. The warp is 24/2 cotton, most of it unbleached. Each tier will be edged with a narrow Poppy border. The pattern in the cloth will be a huckaback (huck lace) design, adapted from Little Tablecloth in Huckaback on p.10 in Happy Weaving from VävMagisinet.

Preparing to beam the warp.

Today, I’m beaming the warp. My method includes a combination of things I have learned from these three excellent sources: Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, Dress Your Loom the Vävstuga Way, by Becky Ashenden, and The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Using warping trapeze to beam the warp.
Transferring the lease sticks.
Transferring lease sticks.
Transferring lease sticks.
Transferring lease sticks. Beaming.
Beaming a new warp.
Beaming the warp with a trapeze.
Beaming the warp with a trapeze.
Warping trapeze in use.
Using warping slats.
Placing warping slats.
Beaming with warping slats.
Beaming with warping slats.
Warping trapeze in use.
Warping trapeze in use.
Warping slats for beaming the warp.
Last step in beaming the warp.
Tie the lease sticks to the back beam.
Lease sticks tied to back beam.
Ready to cut the end-of-warp loops.
Cutting loops at end of the warp.
Cutting the loops at the end of the warp.
Beaming a new warp.
All Counted into Threading Groups
Newly beamed warp. Complete process pictures.
Newly beamed warp ready for threading.
Beaming process in pictures.

Do you have any questions about my beaming process? If you warp back to front, like I do, what do you do differently?

May you find yourself beaming.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

32 Comments

  • Ann Kelsall says:

    Hello Karen
    I got confused by the first pictures showing the reed. Do you thread the reed twice – once to accurately spread out the ends and then again after threading the heddles?

    And thank you for the time and trouble you take to show your processes!

    Ann (in France)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ann, I’m glad you asked. Yes, I “pre-sley” a reed to spread out the ends. The pre-sley reed is usually coarser than the reed that will be used for the weaving, so putting the threads through the reed goes relatively fast. This pre-sley reed is 50/10 metric and the weaving reed will be 100/10 metric. As you can see in the pictures, the pre-sley reed then goes in the beater while beaming, so the warp is very evenly spread out.

      It’s a joy to share.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

    • Deborah Brothier says:

      Hello Ann. My name is Deborah and I live in France, in the south near Antibes. I have two contremarche looms, one here in Biot, one in Arles. My question is: by any chance, are you near either of these places/areas, and if so, would you be available to help me through the process? I have these wonderful looms, but I do not know how to beam the warp and do the tie-up by myself. I’ve only begun to weave two years ago by participating in various courses in Sweden. On my own, here in France, I am not making progress. With the Covid situation, I haven’t been able to return to Sweden for more training, and I haven’t been able to find anyone locally who has knowledge of the contremarche (mine are a Glimakra 120cm/10 shaft and an Ulla Cyrus/Oxaback 125cm/8 shaft). So, if you are nearby,(PACA region) maybe we could make contact?

      I have numerous books and good resources, but I am a hands-on learner. So, I have resources to share with you or anyone else who is interested in weaving, particularly on a contremarche or counterbalance.

      PS Your question about pre-sleying/sleying: glad you’ve asked Karen. I, too, await the answer… I have only pre-sleyed (although I have a raddle, which I do not use), but I do not remember how it sits once it is laid on the loom for beaming. Her photos shown here of the process are the most helpful I’ve come across.

      • Ann Kelsall says:

        Hello Deborah
        Unfortunately I am at the other end of France – in Bretagne. Have you thought of joining the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers? I have been a membr for some years and there are others in France who belong. You could ask your question there, and get replies from others who have the same looms as you have. I have a Louet David and a Louet Jane table loom, so different to yours.
        Good luck with your quest!
        Ann

  • Beth Mullins says:

    What a process! I admire your ability to deal with such fine yarn. Can’t wait to see the poppies emerge!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, It’s been a while since I’ve used 24/2 cotton. I need good lighting for this, that’s for sure. You make me imagine poppies dancing along the rim of each tier. 🙂

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Dorothy Gareau says:

    What are the pipes for. I never saw that before. Can’t what to see the finished product…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dorothy, You may be referring to the aluminum beam covers. The beam covers are not essential, but they help protect the wood breast beam and back beam from getting indentations and grooves from the cords, especially during beaming.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Karen says:

    What are you using for weights. This is amazing. I have a 4 shaft 30” table loom that my husband built for me but I always need his help in winding on the warp.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I use 2-lb walking weights. They are like little bean bags. They’re perfect for this because they have “handles” that easily hang from the S-hooks. I found some at a sporting goods store, and the rest I was able to find on Amazon.

      My husband is a really great guy, but I knew I didn’t want to depend on his availability to be able to beam a warp. So, from the beginning, I was determined to learn how to do it single-handedly.

      With your table loom, you may be able to stretch the warp out in front of the loom (put a towel under the warp) and put weights on the warp bouts on the floor. That’s what I did before I had a warping trapeze.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Pam Graham says:

    Hello Karen,
    What a wonderful and useful photo series!
    How do you actually attach the weights to the warp sections? I always struggle with that. They always seem to slip down the warp.

    Thank you,
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, That’s a great question.
      I make a loop in the end of the Texsolv cord (I use beam cord because it has bigger holes than regular Texsolv) and hang that loop just above a choke tie. I have choke ties about every meter of warp. The downward pull of the cord tightens the cord around the warp bout. My choke ties are very tight, as well, so they won’t slip. I hang an S-hook on the Texsolv cord and hang the walking weight on that. As the warp is beamed, I move the position of the Texsolv cord lower, as needed.

      I hope that helps.
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Nothing prettier than a nicely beamed warp. All those threads marching along in order.

  • Murlea Everson says:

    Hi Karen,
    Can you explain how you manage the cross while pre-sleying the reed so that the cross ends up behind the reed?

    Your work and posts are an inspiration-the best way to start my Tuesday’s!

    Thank you,
    Murlea

    • Karen says:

      Hi Murlea, Ah, your sweet words touch my heart.

      About the cross – The lease sticks are transferred from in front of the reed to behind the reed. This can be done before or after the reed is in the beater. I like to transfer the lease sticks before I put the reed in the beater, but the warp does need to be tensioned. Either way, it’s a similar operation.
      1. Untie the lease sticks. 2. Take the lease stick nearest the reed and turn it on its side, up against the reed. This opens a space on the back side of the reed that equals the same shed of that lease stick. Put a third lease stick into that opening behind the reed. 3. Now, you can remove the lease stick directly in front of the reed (that you had turned on its side). 4. Take the remaining lease stick that is in front of the reed and turn it on its side, up against the reed. This forms the opening on the back side of the reed that equals the shed of that lease stick. Put the lease stick you just removed into the new opening behind the reed. 5. Now that both lease sticks are safely behind the reed, tie them securely at both ends. Remove the remaining single lease stick.

      Once you get the hang of it, there’s a shortcut method that doesn’t require an extra stick. But it’s best to do it this way first because it helps you understand the process. It’s easy after you’ve done it a couple times.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joanne Hall says:

    Thank you Karen, I am completing a weaving class for our guild, which I have been doing just by email. So far, it is working well and many of the weavers have been sending photos to the class paticipants, showing their progress on their warping. Today, I am recommending that they view your warping message, as it shows so well the beaming of the warp. Thank you for putting this up at the best time for my email class. Great photos. Joanne

  • D'Anne says:

    Hi, Karen,
    Your warping method is similar to mine except I use a raddle. I love using the 2lb. hand weights you taught me to use. They make warping alone very easy and the tension is so consistent.

    Thank you the excellent photos!
    D’Anne (Danny)

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, You and I had fun putting that blue 8/2 cotton warp on my loom once upon a time. I have never used a raddle, but I know that is a helpful method for many.

      It’s so nice to be able to warp alone, isn’t it?

      Love,
      Karen

  • kim says:

    Karen, what is the size of this loom? And is it an Ideal? How lovely that you can sit inside for threading. Also, the width of your cloth and epi of your thread. Will your weft be the same kind of thread?

    I can’t wait to see this project progress.

    Thanks, Kim

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, This is a 100cm (39”) Ideal. It works great to remove the breast beam, knee beam, and the beater, and then put the bench right in there. The width in the reed is 37.2cm (14 5/8”). The sett is 20 ends per cm (~ 50 epi). The weft will be 16/1 linen.

      I’m excited to get it all set up and going.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • kim says:

    Thank you! I think this might be my dream loom. Kim

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you for postings this! It is always good to be reminded of good methods and habits!! And it looks like I can leave the lamms in place next time.,
    I noticed you mentioned your 2 lbs weights in your response to a previous comment, do you find 2 lbs to be sufficient for all kinds of warps, or do you vary the weight depending on the warp quality/weight?
    I can’t wait to see this fabric in use, I love the idea of the red border!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I remove lamms that aren’t needed. For example, I went from 6 shafts to 4 shafts with this project, so I removed 2 upper and lower lamms. Otherwise, there’s no need to remove any more than that.

      That’s a really good question about the 2-lb weights. I always put at least one weight on each bout, but depending on the thread or yarn being used, sometimes I put on an additional weight, or even 2 more. That extra weight is usually needed with a linen warp or with rug warp. I test the amount of weight by turning the ratchet. If there is not sufficient resistance, I add more weight. To add more weight, I can usually hang 2 of the walking weights on one S-hook; or I can hang another S-hook on the first S-hook.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

      • Elisabeth says:

        Thank you! I have used more weight on some warps, rug warp like you mentioned, and I was afraid it created too much resistance. I now understand this would be appropriate 🙂

  • Corinne Gibson says:

    I bought (used) a Glimakra Ideal Loom. The instruction books I have state that the warp has to be in the middle/center of the heddles. How do I do this on this particular loom?

    Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Corinne, That is an understandable question, especially if you are new to Texsolv heddles. The beauty of Texsolv heddles is that they are easy to move around. I thread the heddles from right to left, starting on the far right. I add heddles on the left side of the shaft if more heddles are needed. When I finish threading all the heddles needed for the project, I tie off any excess heddles in groups of about 50 and remove them from the loom. If the heddles you are using are the only heddles on the loom, they will naturally be centered on the loom.
      Here is a blog post and video that gives you an idea of how I thread Texsolv heddles: You Can Prevent Threading Errors.

      I hope that helps. Enjoy that Ideal!
      Karen

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Process Review: From Drawloom to Garment

I warped the drawloom with gray 6/2 Tuna wool several months ago with the goal to make fabric for a reversible vest. The beautiful drawloom fabric turned into dreamy garment-worthy fabric after washing! (See Process Review: Drawloom Jewels)

Weaving garment fabric on the drawloom.

And then I hit two huge hurdles.

Hurdle 1. Fit.

In order to cut into handwoven drawloom fabric, I need assurance that the end result will fit me. My sewing assistant helped me refine a commercial pattern.

My sewing assistant, Miss Fit.
Meet my sewing assistant, Miss Fit.

After umpteen muslins and two or three mock-ups, I finally got the fit I was after. Confidence to cut!

Hurdle 2. Garment Construction Uncertainties.

Do some detail studies, my dear friend Elisabeth said to me. Her advice got me over the insecurity hurdle. A detail study is making a small sample to test a hypothesis or answer a question. I made a list of everything I wanted to know about constructing a vest from this type of handwoven wool fabric. And then, using some of the extra fabric from the sampling at the beginning of the warp, I did a detail study for each point on the list. Twelve detail studies in all.

(If you are interested in seeing my complete list of 12 detail studies for this project, click HERE to send me an email and ask for my “Detail studies”.)

Here are a few examples of my findings:

  1. Zigzag before or after cutting? // Zigzag before cutting, stitch width 3, stitch length 2 1/2
  2. Lapped seams? 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”? // Yes, lapped seams, overlap 1/2”, stitch basted line to guide placement
  3. Neck and armhole curves – staystitch with hand running stitches or machine stitching? 1 row or 2? // Hand running stitches, 2 rows
Detail studies for handwoven garment construction.
Detail study testing lapped seams.

From the results of the detail studies I was able to compile a step-by-step garment construction plan. Confidence to sew!

Follow my process pictures of the garment construction to see the results:

Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Tracing paper is used for the pattern, which allows me to clearly see the placement of the pattern on the fabric.
How to stitch basted cutting lines.
Making an X with the basting thread at the corners. This helps clarify exactly where to stitch and cut. (One of Elisabeth’s helpful tips.)
Preparing handwoven cloth for garment sewing.
Buttonhole twist thread is used for the basted lines. It makes an easy guide for the sewing machine needle to follow. The zigzag stitches are just inside the line.
Sewing a handwoven garment.
Basting stitch on the front side piece is a guide for positioning the lapped seam.
Sewing a vest from handwoven drawloom fabric.
Handwoven vest. Ready for handwork details.
Ready for hand work.
Hand-stitching work by the fireplace.
Two rows of running stitches around the armholes and neck opening.
Blanket stitch on handwoven garment.
Blanket stitch is used to embellish and strengthen the armholes, neck, front edges, and lower edge of the vest.
Blanket Stitch
Completed vest from drawloom fabric.
Completed vest from drawloom fabric.
Reversible handwoven vest.
Reverse side.
Handwoven reversible vest. Drawloom Woven.

May you find ways to leap over your hurdles.

Love,
Karen

35 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Oh My! It turned out so well, though there was never any doubt in my mind! You must be so proud! I love how it looks on you. You are so inspiring!

  • Tena says:

    This is so stunning! As a beginner weaver, I hope to aspire to constructing woven garments someday!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tena, Constructing woven garments is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I’m glad to see you’re on the same quest!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Marianne says:

    I’ve been peeking at your website for years and have always found it so inspiring! Your creativity seems to be boundless! Your vest turned out beautifully! Thanks for so generously sharing your process in making your projects. I have found so many tips and helpful instruction from you about weaving and also life!

    • Karen says:

      Marianne, Thank you for your heart-warming comment. It is my delight that someone like you comes along on this journey with me!

      Thank you, thank you,
      Karen

  • Bev Romans says:

    An absolutely beautiful result, Karen! And you have taken such care in each step along the way.

    Blessings to you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev! It’s taking time to mind the details that brings about good results, as you know very well in your beautiful quilting projects.

      Blessings to you, too!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    It’s gorgeous, Karen! I am in awe of your patience, as well as your weaving and sewing skills.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, It’s this gorgeous loom of yours that made it possible. I have the pleasure of sitting at the drawloom and making things from it. Yes, it did take an extra degree of patience to push this project to completion.

      Thank you, friend,
      Karen

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I really need to get my Tuna yarn drawloom fabric made into a vest. Thanks for showing us yours. I started to think that I needed to make it a pullover to avoid all the hand stitching in the front. Hmmm. I am still thinking.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I’m eager to see what you do with your beautiful Tuna yarn drawloom fabric! The hand stitching was very pleasant to do. I enjoyed it. I’d sure like to see a picture of your vest when you complete it.

      Happy thinking,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Awesome. Love the pattern and colors.
    Question. Was the back done in 1 piece or 2, if 2 could it have been one piece or to fit properly did it have to have a center seam?

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Thank you!

      Great question. I intended the back to be one piece, and the sides to each be a single piece. But I was able to get a better fit by putting in a back seam, and making a seam down the sides. This was part of my fit dilemma. I wove the fabric with those single pieces in mind, but the outcome of the mock-ups was just too boxy for my petite frame. Someone with more fitting experience may be able to make the single back piece work.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I can’t decide which side I like best! Both look great on you, Karen.

    I am going to download your steps because I hope to get the courage to try sewing with my handwoven fabric someday soon. As I am just a beginning level sewer, I was surprised at all the consideration needed; such as the width of seams, length of stitches, etc.. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Oh, and I recently purchased the book you recommended to me, Karen. The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell. My plan is to do as you recommended and follow through from the beginning.

    Looking forward to your future posts.

  • Shari says:

    You are truly amazing and so capable! How timely to talk about embracing your hurdles! Can’t imagine KI would have hurdles! You and your vest look lovely! There is a woman sheep farmer, weaver environmentalist in CA who has raised the sheep and wove the fiber into yardage and sold the yardage on a limited basis. I bought a small amount and have been thinking about what to make with it. It’s a beautiful white, unused fabric! Your experience and blog posting here will be immensely useful for my sewing project. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, Me and hurdles? oh yes, more than you’ll ever know!

      Your undyed wool yardage sounds lovely! I know you’ll make it into something memorable. I’d love to see pictures when you’re done.

      Thanks for all your kind words,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    The above posting has a typo. The yardage is natural, undyed yardage. I think the weave structure is twill.

  • D'Anne says:

    Beautiful work, Karen! I wish you were here to model it for us at WOW. We miss you!

  • Mary Still says:

    Wow! Beautiful!

  • Allison Grove says:

    Gorgeous fabric! Thanks for sharing your process and how you worked through it.

  • Nancy Martin says:

    Dear Karen, what a find to have found you in cyber space! So enjoy your website and your talents and your sharing and blogs etc. Wow, your work is an inspiration and the vest is beautiful. What a wonderful experience it must be to have totally created this wearable garment from simple thread to weaving to designing and cutting and sewing. Amazing!! God bless you and so glad I “tuned” in. Best regards, Nancy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, You have touched my heart. You so perfectly captured my sentiments! – It is extremely satisfying to start with thread and design actual fabric, and end up with a wearable garment. It feels like a dream come true.

      God bless you,
      Karen

  • Kristin Girod says:

    Your vest is beautiful and looks so lovely on you! Thank you for your generosity in sharing your project experience with us. Your blog is a treasure!

  • Lovely work, it’s nice to see someone doing woven garments rather than tea towels or scarves; much as I love those things I started weaving in order to make my own fabric for sewing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachelle, How fascinating that you started weaving so you could make garment fabric. It’s something I’ve been interested in for quite a while, too. It’s tricky to get all those skills to work together, but it’s fun to keep learning.

      Thanks for chiming in!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    You are such a detail person.
    BEAUTIFUL vest!!!!
    Perfect to go over a sequined gown or jeans.
    I hope you wear it often.

    Nanette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, You’re right, I do enjoy paying attention to detail.

      I don’t have a sequined gown, so mostly it will go with jeans or a simple skirt.

      Thank you so much!
      Karen

  • Ladella Williams says:

    Very interesting to see this view. I recognize many of the responders names. In awe as I only weave on an 8 shaft Bergman. I have woven on others drawlooms though! So am familiar with the process. At least four projects or more. I can enumerate many including one that is in one magazine.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ladella, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Drawlooms are very interesting looms to weave on. There are projects in some Väv Magazine issues that I would like to try.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Process Review: Drawloom Jewels

It is exciting when Maverick walks by. Although he never comes in my drawloom studio, he does stop for a moment to look my way. You’ll see him in the slideshow video below. But what happens inside the studio is even more exciting, especially when it’s time for cutting off!

Drawloom with 16 pattern shafts.
Drawloom, set up with sixteen pattern shafts. I graph out the designs in Excel on my computer. Then, I print out the gridded pattern to use at the loom. I keep my place in the pattern with a magnet and magnet board made for cross-stitch embroidery.

This is Tuna wool, so I expect some shrinkage, but how much? I take careful measurements before and after wet finishing. Besides the main piece of fabric that I’m using for a garment, I have two sample pieces. I can experiment with the samples before wet finishing my garment fabric.

Here are my findings:
Sample 1. Hand wash and air dry.

10% shrinkage in width; 13% shrinkage in length.

Sample 2. Machine wash (3 minutes agitation on a gentle cycle, with a short spin) and machine dry (low setting) till damp, finish with air drying.

13% shrinkage in width; 14% shrinkage in length.

~How to do the shrinkage calculations~
First measurement (on the loom) minus the second measurement (after washing and drying) equals the difference. The difference divided by the first measurement equals the percentage difference.
For example, 50 cm – 43.5 cm = 6.5; 6.5 / 50 = 0.13; 13% shrinkage.

The first sample fabric is softer than the unwashed fabric, but not as soft as I’d like. The second sample fabric is beautifully soft, like a nice warm sweater. So, with confidence, I wet finish the garment fabric—with great results. It’s perfect for the fall/winter vest that I’ll soon be wearing, made from this fabric!

Wool garment fabric from a drawloom.
Like a sweater, this soft fabric will be comfortable to wear.
Making a pattern for handwoven garment fabric.
Muslin pattern for a simple vest. First, I’ll make a vest out of a wool throw, woven on my rigid heddle loom ages ago. Then, I will cut into the new drawloom fabric, with confidence about the fit.

Enjoy this photo show of the drawloom process.

May you enjoy the process you’re in.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

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Tried and True: Five Reasons Sampling Makes Sense

Why sample? It means using more warp and weft. And it means waiting longer to start to the “real” project. What do I gain from it, anyway? Is it a waste of resources and time?

I can’t imagine putting on a warp that didn’t have room up front for sampling. There’s more than one reason to put on sufficient warp to weave a sample. It makes perfect sense, especially if there is anything new or unfamiliar about your planned project.

Five Reasons to Add Extra Warp for Sampling

Drawloom
Sampling to test patterns, weft colors, and beat consistency, before starting on fabric for a garment.


1 Space to play. I want plenty of room to play, and to practice techniques that are new to me.
2 Room to try out designs. By weaving a portion of my designs, I am able to determine what works, and what adjustments need to be made.
3 Warp for testing weft colors. Only when woven can I see the full effect of each potential weft color.
4 Time to gain a consistent beat. When I start the main project, I want to have woven enough to be able to “feel” how firmly or softly I need to move the beater.
5 The best reason of all! It’s always good to have enough warp on the loom that you can invite friends and family to enjoy some weaving time. …Before your main project is in progress.

Drawloom
My weaving friend Betsy came over to see what it is like to weave on a drawloom.
Drawloom
My daughter Melody came for a visit and wanted to see what it was like to weave on a drawloom.
Drawloom, making garment fabric.
Garment fabric. This is to be used for two side panels of a vest I plan to make for myself.
Drawloom, making garment fabric.
This is to be the back panel of the vest.
Drawloom, making garment fabric.
This is the beginning of the front panels for the vest.

May you give yourself room to play.

Yours truly,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Lovely, Karen! Your advice is well taken! Also love seeing your friends checking out the draw loom. 🙂

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Sample, sample, sample. I love to sample. When I need a break from big projects I’ll dress the loom with a narrow warps and play with new-to-me drafts. Great advice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, It’s rewarding to try out new things on samples. That’s where we get some of our best ideas for future projects.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    It is lovely, visiting your Blog, today. There is a Casita gathering Feb. 12th on Lake Belton. If you and Steve could sign up, I think you would thoroughly enjoy it. We play games, at night. Have music (mostly guitars, ukuleles), enjoy potlucks. I usually spend a few minutes with Sarah in her Saori studio and then…we piddle. I can send you more information, if you think you might be free.

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,
    I’ve done samples in others textiles, but never considered samples in weaving. Must do. It would have been one less garage rug when weaving overshot.

    Thank you for your wisdom.

    Nannette

  • Vivian says:

    Ha ha ha! What a novel idea. What a delight that you invite friends and fa,ily to try your loom.

  • Gail Pietrzyk says:

    A sample also gives you an opportunity to test finishing methods–especially if you are using some unlabeled mystery yarns.

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