The Pleasant Surprise of Dots

Honestly, I didn’t know it would come out dotted. If I wanted dotted cloth, I could use surface design, like paint, embroidery, or beading. Instead, I got the pleasant surprise of dots that are woven into the fabric itself!

Wet-finishing differences in huck lace.
Huck lace weft floats, as seen in unwashed cloth (on the left), hand-washed cloth, (center), and machine-washed cloth (on the right).

These shawls have a dark coral warp. The unwashed piece on the left is the one I intend to wear to my daughter’s wedding. You can see the light coral weft in the little weft floats of the huck lace. The other two pieces have a hot pink weft, which gives the cloth a (difficult to photograph) pink-ish coral color. The one in the center was hand washed. Notice that the pink weft floats are barely distinguishable from the rest of the fabric. The piece on the right was washed on the gentle cycle in the washing machine (omitting the spin cycle). Look at the pink dots! They were there all along, but they became subtle, but noticeable, punctuation marks in the cloth through agitation in the washing machine.

Like the dots that are woven into this fabric, truth is woven into our universe. Truth is. And truth is discoverable. It is there all along, but we don’t always understand it or see it. Sometimes, it is when we go through life’s agitations that truth rises to the surface as a pleasant surprise.

May truth be your favorite surprise.

Discovering with you,

Secure with Hemstitching

Easter brings fun things to mind. Spring colors, decorated eggs, pretty dresses. Speaking of pretty dresses, in just one month I will wear my mother-of-the-bride dress, with this handwoven shawl on my shoulders. I am finishing the edge of the shawl with hemstitching on the loom. The hemstitching is decorative, but also has a practical purpose–it secures the warp ends and keeps the cloth from unraveling. If all goes as planned, twisted fringe will hang from the hem-stitched edge.

Hemstitching at the loom. Bamboo shawl.
Using a tapestry needle, every four warp ends are cinched together and connected with the two weft threads nearest the fell line.

Forgiveness, the truest demonstration of love, is the ultimate security. Do you see how forgiveness serves as a finishing edge that gives beauty and definition to real life? When you know you are forgiven, you are secure in knowing you are loved. To be forgiven–that’s the gift, the meaning, the wonder of Easter. This is love. God so loved the world that he offered forgiveness.

May your edges be beautifully finished.

Good Easter to you,

Less Thread Than You Expect

Four cones should be plenty to wind a warp for two huck lace shawls. I knew it would be close, but not THIS close! With several rounds to go on the warping reel, one cone emptied out, and then another, and then another. I finished with just a tiny bit of thread left on one cone. That’s about how I feel about motherhood right now.

Only a tiny bit of bamboo thread left after winding warp!
Four spools of thread unwind in this crate as I wind the warp, four warp ends at a time. When I need to keep stubborn threads separated, I turn the crate on its side and each thread goes through its own opening. This 10/2 bamboo thread behaved beautifully and did not need that kind of intervention.

When I held our baby girl for the first time so many years ago, wedding bells were in the far distant future. Plenty of time for this baby to be a little girl, and eventually grow up. Of course, Melody will always belong in our family; and now we’ll have another son who belongs, too. But when she walks down the aisle in May, this stage of parenthood is finished. Yes, we have had enough time, but it still seems too short. Shouldn’t there be more thread on the cone?

Calculations a little to close for comfort. Barely enough for the warp!
After the third cone was completely empty, I started running contingency plans in my head. Would I need to re-work the draft for fewer ends? I knew these were the last four cones of this color on the shelf when I ordered them, so grabbing one more cone would not be an option.

The greatest sense of belonging comes from being a daughter or son of the most loving Father. He promises to walk with us through every stage. And with his heavenly perspective, he always seems to know exactly how much thread we will need.

May you make the best of your relationships with the time you have.


Tools Day: Why You Need Sample Cards

Make sure you have sample cards from yarn and thread suppliers because you never know when your daughter will get engaged. She finds her perfect wedding dress, and three weeks after that you find your mother-of-the-bride dress. A light and airy dress with a ruffled hem that is perfect for a romantic outdoor wedding under hundred-year-old oak trees. Now, all you need is a light and airy shawl to cover your shoulders. In a specific shade of coral. Then, your friend says, “Why don’t you weave a shawl? You have time.” Really?? Seven weeks before the wedding?! Okay, I can do this. A word of encouragement has amazing impact!

Sample cards make finding the right color easy.
Sifting through yarn and thread samples from Yarn Barn of Kansas to find just the right thread in just the right color(s).
Sample cards for various linen and cotton threads from Bockens.
Sample cards from Bockens, a Swedish company. I use Swedish threads in most of my weaving. There are several good suppliers in the United States. The sources I turn to most are Glimakra USA, Vavstuga, and Lone Star Loom Room.
Yarn Store in a Box from Halcyon Yarn for design and color inspiration.
Yarn Store in a Box from Halcyon Yarn is a visual and tactile delight. I often pull out these cards for design and color inspiration.

I laid out all my sample cards, and quickly found a perfect match on a sample card from Yarn Barn of Kansas. I picked up the phone and called in my order. Three days later I had this beautiful Xie 10/2 Bamboo thread in hand and started winding the warp!

Ready to weave mother-of-the-bride shawl.
Getting ready to weave Mother-of-the-Bride shawl in the perfect shade of coral. I found a delicate huck lace draft for the shawl in “Happy Weaving from VävMagasinet.” I am choosing dark coral for the warp. One shawl is using lighter coral for weft; the second shawl is using hot pink for weft. The best color combination wins!

So, make sure you have sample cards from your favorite suppliers so that you are ready for any happy surprise that comes your way! And, be that encourager that tells a friend, “You can do it!”

May you have what you need at your fingertips.

With Plenty of Time,