Drawloom – Snow Falling

Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.

Nordic star pattern used for Christmas Snowflake towels. Towel begins with a broad brush of red along the lower border.

Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.

Single unit draw cords, held in place on the hook bar, form the snow crystals in the body of the towel. The three large snowflakes at the bottom border are made using pattern shafts. The simple side borders also use pattern shafts.
In Affinity Designer I am able to separate, copy, and move elements of the large snowflake design. These individual elements become the scattered snowflakes and little snow crystals that are “drifting down” the body of the towel.
Snowfall in Texas Hill Country.

We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.

May you see how far you’ve come.

Many blessings,
Karen

Typical Questions for a New Warp

I have questions galore as I begin a new warp on the combination drawloom. Is this the best sett for these threads? How are my sheds? What will orange-ey weft colors do on this pewter and blue warp? Is the image of this first design better face up, or face down? How can I include a couple extra colors in the design? The loom is set up with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units. I’m eager to begin!

Combo drawloom with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.
New drawloom warp.
Myrehed Combo Drawloom attachment.

Sampling at the beginning of the warp gives me answers. The sett is good—18 ends per centimeter, with 16/2 cotton in 6-shaft irregular satin. After some tweaking, the sheds are good—and all the treadles touch the floor when the optimum shed is reached. The weft colors look good—better than expected. And, definitely, the jam jars need to be face down—so, I reverse the image in Affinity Designer on the computer and print out a new chart. I can sneak in some extra colors with narrow weft stripes—beginning and ending borders. I’m ready to roll! New kitchen towels in various designs are moving forward! First up…Peach Jam Jars.

Testing colors on new drawloom warp.
Mirror shows reversed side of drawloom fabric.
Jam Jars drawloom pattern.
Design is reversed for the drawloom.
Testing patterns and colors on new drawloom warp.
Beginning first towel on drawloom warp.
Ready - Sett - Go! New towels on the drawloom.

~It is a joy to have you visit with me every week! It is time for my annual pause for the month of July. I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.~

Until then, may the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.

May your questions get answered.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: How to Count to Three – and Other Weaving Tips

We weavers are resourceful. We enjoy finding solutions that make our time at the loom more efficient, while raising the quality of our weaving. We’ve done some of these little tricks so much we don’t think about them anymore. And then, some innovations are things we think up on the spot because necessity, as you know, is the mother of invention.

Keep Count

Necessity: Keep from losing my place with treadling repeats.
Solution: A strip of blue painter’s tape with “3 2 1” and a rubber band, placed on the breast beam. Move the rubber band on the tape (from right to left) to track repeats.

Weaving tips - low tech solutions.
I need help counting to 3 when it comes to treadling repeats. On the Glimåkra Standard loom, I am able to loosen the warp enough to lift the breast beam so I can put a rubber band on it. Without a removable breast beam, one could use a separate small piece of tape instead of a rubber band to keep track.
Keep track of repeats. Blog post with tips and tricks.
Low tech solution for keeping track.

Shuttle Catch

Necessity: Keep from fumbling the catch, having to reposition the shuttle in my hand to send it back across the warp.
Solution: Keep my eye on the shuttle. If I turn my head to watch the movement of the shuttle, my catching and throwing improves immediately. This makes my selvedges improve, too.

Weaving tips and tricks. Easy tip on how to catch the shuttle perfectly.
It is easy to throw and catch the shuttle without actually looking at your hands. I have to consciously remember to turn my head to follow the shuttle with my eyes.

Leave No Trace

Necessity: Keep from leaving slightly perceptible lines in the woven cloth that reveal every time I stop to move the temple and advance the warp.
Solution: When it is almost time to advance the warp, I move the temple and then weave one or more pattern sequence(s) before advancing the warp. This helps me leave no trace of starting and stopping.

Tips and tricks for the weaving loom.
Almost ready to advance the warp, I remove the temple and reposition the pins on my guide tape. Then, I put the temple back on, near the fell line.
Tips about when to advance the warp.
After moving the temple, I weave one or more complete treadling sequences before advancing the warp.
Three simple weaving tips for efficiency and quality!
After advancing the warp, I know exactly where I left off because of my tape-and-rubber-band counter. My eyes are on the shuttle to continue this segment of weaving.

Do you have a simple tip that improves your efficiency and/or quality at the loom? Please share in the comments.

May you notice what you’re doing.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Simplify Subtle Color Changes

When I pick up a color of thread I don’t want to have to guess if it’s the right color. Four of the five blues in the weft sequence are close neighbors in value. The one color that is easy to identify is the navy blue, which provides a good contrast among the blues.

Five blues in 8/2 cotton. 8-shaft twill.
Weft color order follows the sequence of the warp color order. Five blues for this 8-shaft twill in 8/2 cotton.

The weft order matches the warp order, and is marked out on a ribbon. I am using a separate boat shuttle for each shade of blue. But how do I know which color is which, when the difference is subtle from one color to the next?

Simplify Subtle Color Changes

  • Give each color a number. Write the numbers next to the colors of the warp order on the Project Notes.
Project Notes for weaving with 5 blues.
Weft colors are the same as the warp colors. The Project Notes show all the details. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” is added to the sheet to give each color a simple number.
  • Label the thread tubes with a small piece of blue painter’s tape. Each tube of thread is numbered to correspond with the numbers on the Project Notes.
Make removable labels with blue painter's tape.
Handy blue painter’s tape is used to make removable labels.
Five blues are labeled for simplicity.
Thread tubes are labeled with their identifying number.
  • Label each boat shuttle with its assigned color number, using a small piece of blue painter’s tape.
There are five blues for this 8-shaft twill.
Each boat shuttle holds its own color.
  • Place wound quills under the rubber band of their respective thread tubes.
Simplify subtle weft color changes.
When I wind an extra quill I place it with its thread tube so I don’t accidentally pick up the wrong color quill.

It is easy to keep track of these five numbers as I follow the weft sequence that is marked on my reference ribbon. Now, it’s shuttle #4’s turn…

Simplify subtle weft color changes.
Next in line…

May you find a way to simplify.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Grace at the Loom

The blue threads for this project are delightful! Four shades of blue, from pale blue to sapphire, play across the warp, accented with navy blue stripes. Lucious 8/2 cotton is threaded in eight-shaft twill. The hand of the fabric will be well suited for the chair arm- and headrest- covers I have planned. This blue color sequence is the winning combination from the thread wrappings I showed you in October. (See Warp Sequence Planning.)

Threading heddles for 8-shaft twill.
Project notes sit with me on the loom bench.
Beautiful blue Bockens 8/2 cotton!
Beautiful warp beam gives a glimpse of how the blue flows together.

My warp planning had a calculation error. I went on my merry way, winding the warp, beaming the warp, and threading the heddles. Until, …Surprise! I have three extra ends left after all the heddles are threaded. Fortunately, there is grace at the loom. I pull the navy blue border threads and three light blue threads out of their heddles and re-thread the navy blue border stripe. The three light blue ends will hang off the back, unused. All is well.

Warp color sequence - blue, blue, blue, blue!
Three light blue ends sit on top of the lease stick tied to the back beam. These extra warp threads will hang off the back and stay out of the way of the warp being woven.

Grace is like that. We mess up, find and admit our wrong, and the Lord Jesus forgives, granting us a new start. When we are wrong we need grace. What about when others are wrong? When the errors of others affect us, what shall we do? Forgiveness is our only option. There is no good reason to hold those error threads and weave them into our fabric.

May you be a recipient of grace.

Your friend,
Karen