Warp Stripes and Surprises

Even through random warp stripes you can see an ordered pattern in the cloth. Linen sitting on the shelf is begging to be used, even though the tubes are partly emptied. So, why not make some linen wash cloths to use every day?

Glimakra Julia Countermarch, 8 shafts.
I wound the warp, not in threading units, but in random sections of color, trying to empty as many partially-used tubes of linen as possible. Eight shafts on the Julia Countermarch loom. 16/2 linen, 10 ends per cm, 32 cm width in the reed.

The weave structure is a classic two-block broken twill, symmetrically threaded across the warp. The asymmetry of the warp stripes is out of sync with the precise threading symmetry in the block weave structure. And, asymmetrical patches of weft are out of step with a strict treadling sequence. The chaos of leftover-linen warp and weft threads has me holding my breath, wondering how this will turn out. Yet, as I weave, the surprise after surprise that appears on the loom fills me with delight. These humble linen wash cloths will yield textile pleasure for years to come.

Humble linen wash cloths on the loom.
Red and white threads alternate in one of the warp stripes.
Glimakra Julia with 8 shafts.
Weft threads include 16/2 linen, 16/1 linen, doubled 16/1 linen, and 6/1 tow linen.
Explosion of color!
This is a fine way to use up quills from previous projects that still have a little linen on them, as well as using up the very tail end of a few tubes of linen.

The Grand Weaver breaks through chaos to reveal his beautiful plan. Despite the hardships we endure in this world, the structure threaded into the Grand Weaver’s fabric holds it all together. He brings our random stripes of emptiness into harmony with his project plan. We find continual delight as we see the surprising glory of his master plan. Jesus, with his deliberate stripes, comes to wash us clean.

May you find beauty wherever you look.

Happily Weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Eye of the Beholder Tapestry and Video

I started planning this tapestry portrait of my mother one year ago. As I was concluding her portrait on my loom, it became evident that her real-life tapestry was also coming to a conclusion. I arrived at Mom’s bedside with the portrait in hand, warp ends dangling. Her smile in that cherished moment is one I will never forget. In the days that followed, she quietly slept. I silently braided the warp-end edging, trimmed the tails on the back, stabilized the tapestry through the lining, and stitched the lining in place. I carefully secured the last stitch. In the wee hours of the next morning, while she was asleep, the Lord Jesus called my mother home. Tapestry complete. Beautiful.

Weaving a pictorial tapestry. Making butterflies.
Making butterflies gets messy. Balls of yarn are everywhere as I combine strands of wool to get just the right blends of color. And then I rubber band every label back on its yarn, and every ball of yarn goes back in its proper bin.
Tapestry portrait. Eye of the Beholder.
I was overjoyed when I was able to see her eyes in the tapestry.

Eye of the Beholder is about my mother who taught me to appreciate beauty. This is a portrait of a woman with an eye for beauty, with beauty in her eyes.

I humbly share my process of weaving Eye of the Beholder in this video:

May you seek beauty that never ends.

Her daughter,
Karen

Tapestry of the Heart

It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.

Tapestry weaving that starts with a photo of a beautiful woman.
Photo enlargement is printed and taped onto poster board. I keep it near the loom for reference while I’m weaving.
Planning a new 4-shaft pictorial tapestry!
Cartoon replica is printed and taped to foam board. I plan out butterflies for the first few rows of the tapestry and pin them in their place on the picture. Yarn overflow is on the windowsill beside the loom.

In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.

Beginning wool butterflies for a new tapestry.
First row of the tapestry has only four butterflies. Additional butterflies are added gradually over the next few rows. (Tapestry begins with a few rows of white 6/1 tow linen.)
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of this lovely woman.
Printed reference cartoon helps me check my work as I go along. The cartoon that is under the weaving on the loom is not only larger, it is printed at a lighter setting, which makes a better weaving guide for me.

A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.

May your loved ones benefit from your generosity.

With gratitude,
Karen

Warp Chains Are Beautiful

The reel spins ‘round, ‘round, ‘round one way, and then ‘round, ‘round, ‘round back the other way. Rhythmic, mesmerizing, and strangely soothing. Counting, as I wind two ends at a time, I find myself whispering “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, ….” The warping reel is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. This warp has seven colors of 22/2 Cottolin for bath towels which are to accompany the hand towels I recently made. I am winding this in four bouts, and there are different color changes in each bout.

Winding a warp for cottolin bath towels.
First bout on the warping reel.
Making cottolin bath towels.
Second bout. Choke ties about every meter keep the ends from shifting as the warp bout is chained and taken to the loom.
Making a warp for handwoven bath towels. Cottolin.
Third bout. Each of the four bouts has nearly the same number of warp ends.
Glimakra warping reel - one of my favorite pieces of equipment!
Fourth bout.

I marvel at the combination of thread colors as I chain each bout off the reel. The warp chains look beautiful. They always do. Warp chains are dreams in the making, where anything is possible. Haven’t you dreamt of handwoven bath towels?

Winding a warp on the Glimakra warping reel.
Came close to running out of thread on some of the tubes. (I did have backup tubes, but not from the same dye lots.)
Beautiful warp chains!
Beautiful warp chains, ready for the loom.

When we listen closely, we can hear the inaudible. Our hearts can hear the softest whisper. “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, …” Even the hairs on our head are numbered by the Grand Weaver who planned our existence. Our days are numbered, as well. And when our heart is listening, we can hear the quiet whisper of the Lord Jesus, “Are you weary and burdened? Come to me, and I will give you rest.”

May you listen for the softest whisper.

Gently,
Karen

Process Review: Garden Rosepath Rag Rugs

A rosepath rag rug puts beauty under our toes. Strange? Yes, strangely wonderful. Let’s fill our homes with handmade goodies. Let’s make smiles happen in every corner. Let’s be different and make a difference. Live with beauty underfoot.

Three of these rugs have already gone to their new homes. (See Tied Up in Knots.) The remaining three rugs bring outdoor garden beauty indoors.

Rosepath rag rugs with a garden theme. Karen Isenhower
From bottom to top: Planting Seeds, Prayer Garden, Mystery Garden.

Come with me now to review the process of making these six rosepath rag rugs.

As Shelter in Place becomes a necessity for many, consider these words of encouragement from the book of Psalms: For He [the Lord] will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity. Psalm 27:5a

May you have smiles in every corner of your home.

Peace,
Karen