Process Review: Drawloom Preliminaries

I threaded 888 warp ends. I am getting ready to thread those 888 ends again. It’s part of the preliminary process for a new drawloom project. A drawloom has two sets of heddles. Thread the pattern heddles. Then, thread the ground heddles. I enjoy all the preliminaries because of what they bring about—a delightful new weaving adventure!

Preparing a new drawloom warp.
New drawloom warp of 16/2 cotton is on the warp beam.
Long heddles and lingos for the drawloom.
Long pattern heddles and lingos hang on a pegboard wall in the drawloom studio until needed.

Before I start threading, I count out all the lingos (weights) I need for the pattern heddles. Then, I hang a lingo on each unit of pattern heddles. In this case, there are 148 units, and six heddles in each unit. I move all those prepared units (heddles with lingos) to the back of the loom, get comfortable on my loom bench, and start threading. After a few sessions, I am finished threading the pattern heddles.

Drawloom threading heddles.
Pattern heddles hang at the back of the loom for threading.
Texas hill country Bluebonnets!
On the walking path to my drawloom studio each day I see the startling blooms of our Texas hill country Bluebonnets. Just imagine the unseen preliminaries for this beauty!
Drawloom pattern heddles and lingos.
Threading continues.
Pattern heddles are threaded for the drawloom.
All 888 pattern heddles are threaded! Ground heddles are next…

Next up, I will thread long-eye heddles on six ground shafts. A few more start-up operations after that, and then we will see this big ol’ boat raise its sails and leave the shore for another exhilarating adventure in weaving!

May you enjoy the preliminaries for every new start.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Handwoven Scarves Embellished with Flair

You could say I finished these scarves too late. Winter in Texas has come and gone. But I prefer to think of it as considerably early. When cool weather comes back around in a few months, I’ll be ready. I began with the draft for the lovely Stardust scarf, designed by Mona Nielsen, published in Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet, p.74. I simply substituted the yarn and colors in the book with what I had on hand.

New warp on warping reel for winter scarves.
Warp is mostly 6/2 Tuna wool, with some 7.5/2 Brage wool included.
Stripes on the back beam. What a lovely sight!
Made with yarn on hand. This means that additional stripes have been added to the plan.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter. Mora 20/2, a fine wool, is used for weft.
Two new wool scarves coming off the loom!
Two scarves coming off the loom.
Fringe twisting.
Fringes are cut and twisted.

The scarves are delightful, but the icing on the cake is the addition of fluffy, furry pompoms, an embellishment with youthful flair. And that is exactly what I will put on at the first sign of autumn chill.

Making pompoms to embellish the handwoven scarf.
Some of the thrums are used in making pompoms.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time. I wrapped the yarn around 100 times, making full and thick pompoms.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed. I used 8/2 cotton for the 12″ tie around the center of the pompoms.
Adding pompom embellishments to the scarf.
Each pompom is stitched to 3 – 4 twisted fringes. Seven pompoms at each end of the scarf.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms!
Now, the scarves are ready for wet finishing. Notice how you can see the separate strands of yarn in the pompoms before they are washed.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms, hanging to dry.
Scarves have been washed by hand in warm water in a large sink, with Eucalan delicate wash. I purposely gave them as much agitation as I could by hand. They are hanging to dry. Notice how the pompoms have slightly felted, making them even more soft and furry.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.

Some things are certain. The sun will rise tomorrow. The seasons will follow their schedule. The faithfulness of the Lord our God will never end.

May you dress in youthful flair.

Warmly,
Karen

Quiet Friday: Painting with Yarn and Animated Images

I have often wished I had the skill of artistic drawing. How wonderful it would be to portray a slice of creation using pencil lines, or pastels, or with watercolors and a paintbrush. Instead, though, I’ve been delighted to find that I can “draw” and “paint” with threads and yarn. By capturing a slice of creation through my iPhone camera lens, the hard part has already been done. All I have to do is translate the photo into a woven image. And what a joy that is!

Here is a glimpse of my process of weaving the Texas hill country Cactus and Bluebonnets transparencies.

(Don’t miss the amazing animated images at the end of this post that my son, Daniel, made of these woven transparency projects!)

Yarn for a woven transparency.

Planning a woven transparency.

Beginning cactus woven transparency.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Cactus woven transparency just off the loom!

Woven transparency cactus. Karen Isenhower

Planning a woven transparency.

Beginning bluebonnets in a woven transparency.

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets woven transparency just off the loom!

Woven transparency bluebonnets. Karen Isenhower

Bluebonnets photo morph to woven transparency.

May you find joy in what you’ve been given to do.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Hint of Shadows

I hope this isn’t cheating, but I added a teeny bit of embroidery to the finished bluebonnets. One thing I learned with this transparency is that an image that looks flat can be improved with a hint of shadows.

Woven transparency just off the loom!
Cutting off! First moment of seeing the entire finished transparency from the front.

Woven transparency just off the loom.
Wide casing at the top and bottom of the bluebonnet transparency make it easy to hang for display. I envision it hanging from a stripped and polished cedar rod, harvested from our Texas hill country property.

I’m thankful for my husband’s artful eye. He helped me identify the “off-screen sunlight” that would produce natural shadows. I am adding a few darker stitches to the right-hand side of some of the lighter areas, and a touch at the sides and lower end of the flower stems. My hope is to give the picture a bit more depth.

Embroidery added to finished woven transparency.
A single strand of mora wool in a darker shade is used to embroider some outline stitches on the right side of some of the bluebonnet petals.

Shadows tell us something: There is a light source. Find out where the light is coming from. That is what it’s like for those seeking God. There are shadows everywhere you look. We see the shadows–the effects of a shining light. And we want to find the source.

Texas Bluebonnets transparency. Karen Isenhower
Hint of shadows helps give shape to the otherwise flat transparency.

Go on a search and exploration expedition. Start with small shadows that you see, the circumstances and blessings that hint at an outside light source. Such seekers may discover that God is just off-screen, waiting to be found.

May you follow where the shadows lead.

With joy,
Karen

Tools Day: Paper and Yarn

A folded piece of paper and a seven-inch tail from a yarn butterfly become an answer to a small technical problem. When using a cartoon, like I am for this transparency, it’s imperative to identify the center warp end so I can align the dotted-line center of the cartoon with that one end. Finding the center warp end is my technical problem. The paper and yarn work together as the tool that helps remove the guesswork.

Weaving a transparency. Bluebonnets.
I check the alignment of the cartoon about every inch, and move up the pins that hold the cartoon in place.

With these bluebonnets, if the cartoon slides to the right or left by even one warp end it distorts the picture. It’s not enough to eyeball it. I need a way to make sure I am finding, and marking, the exact center end every time.

How to Find and Mark the Center Warp End

Supplies:

  • Pencil
  • Subscription card from a magazine, folded in half lengthwise
  • Seven-inch tail from a yarn butterfly, or a strand of yarn
  1. Measure the width of the beater and use a pencil to mark the exact center with a vertical line.
  2. Hold the folded edge of the card against the vertical pencil line on the beater, with the bottom edge of the card almost touching the warp.

Finding and marking the center warp end to align with cartoon.

3. Slip the yarn tail under the center warp end, as identified by the bottom corner of the card.

Aligning center warp end with cartoon. Tutorial.

4. Check the alignment of the center line of the cartoon with the center warp end.

How to mark the center warp end.

5. Slide the yarn from the reed to the fell line to check the entire length of the alignment. Reposition the cartoon, if needed.

Aligning cartoon with center warp end. How to.

Bluebonnet woven transparency almost finished!
Ready for one last alignment!

May you find a solution that eliminates guesswork.

All the best,
Karen