Home in Texas on the Drawloom

The sky is the limit! That is my conclusion after weaving a few designs using the Myrehed combination drawloom. The shaft draw and the single unit draw systems are combined on this ingenious apparatus that is attached to an otherwise ordinary loom. The shaft draw system enables me to weave repeated patterns. The single unit system enables non-repeat patterns. This narrow warp is my playground to do both.

Myrehed Combination drawloom - learning its potential.
Pattern shafts (the wood bars) and single units (with black and white draw cords) are combined for this warp. 36 pattern shafts, including the X shaft. 132 single units.
Setting up the Myrehed combination drawloom.
Central design area uses a repeat of 30 pattern shafts threaded in a straight draw. Side borders use a repeat of 5 pattern shafts. Lift heddles and lanyard clips on the single unit draw cords attach the draw cords to the all the individual units (single units) on the pattern shafts.

I use the computer to create designs. ”Home in Texas” shows the back of our house, with its massive stone chimney. The tree in the scene is a tracing of the oak tree that I pass as I walk up the hill to my drawloom studio. The airplane is a copy of the Mooney that our pilot friend took us in to fly over Enchanted Rock. I am delighted to discover that I can use a drawloom to bring features of personal meaning such as these to life.

Making a gridded pattern for weaving on the drawloom.
Photo of our back deck. Using Affinity Photo, I set up a grid on the page to represent 30 pattern shafts. I then import my photo onto the gridded page.
Creating a simple gridded pattern on the computer.
Simple outline is created and saved as a separate image. The filled-in outline becomes my drawloom pattern.
Creating gridded designs in Affinity Photo.
Oak tree that I pass on the hill up to my drawloom studio. After importing the photo, I adjust the opacity to fade the picture, which makes tracing easier.
Tracing a tree in Affinity Photo to make a drawloom pattern.
I use a pen tool in Affinity Photo set at 3 pt to do the tracing. Now I can fill in the outline and copy and paste the image onto my chart that I will print and then use at the loom.
Drawloom weaving, using the Myrehed Combination.
Houses are woven with 30 pattern shafts. The hearts in the corners and the added details above the houses use the single unit draw cords. The tree is beginning to appear between the two houses on the left.
Myrehed Combination drawloom.
Two draw handles are pulled for the pattern on the side borders. Single unit draw cords are pulled and held in place on the hook bar above the beater.
Our Texas Home - woven on the drawloom.
Our Texas Home

The words of the Creator have life in them. It’s as if he puts his thoughts on the loom and weaves them into being. Let there be light! He speaks; and it is so. Listen closely. Hear the Grand Weaver say, Peace to you. And it is woven so. You are his workmanship, bringing his design to life.

Experimental warp on the drawloom.
More ideas are forming, even as this fabric begins to hug the cloth beam.

May your life reveal the Creator’s design.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

25 Comments

  • Kelly says:

    Wow, that is amazing!

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Mind blown! Wow!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, The drawloom attachment changes everything. At the root of it all, though, is normal weaving. The draw handles and cords turn it into a giant counted cross stitch machine. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Wanda says:

    Fabulous! I love seeing what you weave!

  • Judy Goodwin says:

    I took a drawloom class at Vavstuga Studios in MA. I loved being able to create the designs. Would love to do more of it. Your work is wonderful

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, That’s great that you had the drawloom experience at Vavstuga. I’m sure it was wonderful! Creating the designs on the computer has been quite a learning curve for me. I’m beginning to enjoy it. 🙂

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Kevin B says:

    Ah, so much to learn! As always your weaving is beautiful and very inspirational! Thank you for sharing!

  • Betsy says:

    Oh, wow!! Very cool.

  • Charlene says:

    There is a great deal more than the threads of fibre weaving through your blog posts and the story of your art. I catch a thread or two, sometimes in what you write; “May your life reveal the Creator’s design” and sometimes in the comments; “May I add, amen.”

    Comparatively, I find my own weaving journey so intimidatingly small as I read about your journey, but then I remember the joy isn’t in comparison, the joy is in our created uniqueness.

    It is fascinating – both in this created life God has given us and to share your unique contribution with you. Thank you for such detail in both photo and description. I thoroughly enjoy both.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlene, The underlying threads you insightfully detect are at the heart of all my intentions. I’m pleased to have you join me in this little corner of the created life God has given us.

      Your friend,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    You have truly embraced weaving! So much to discover. When I was visiting my best friend Janet in Austin last October we went hiking at Enchanted Rock. Very special place. Be well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, I’m so happy to know that my little mention of Enchanted Rock meant something to you. Having had hiked Enchanted Rock a few times, it was very exciting to get to see it from the air!

      Be well to you and yours,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Lovely. How long does it take you to set up your loom? Where did you learn how?
    Linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, This warp took me a good 12 hours to set up. I was determined to get it done, so I spent about 3 hours, 4 days in a row. I enjoyed the process – it all seems so amazing how the systems work together. But this is why most drawloom weavers put on looooong warps. This current warp is only about 5-6 yards long because this is for planning out designs to use on larger pieces in the future. Besides, I still need the practice of dressing this loom often enough so that I don’t have to start from scratch with my memory.

      I took a drawloom class from Joanne Hall at her studio in Montana. It was excellent!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    I enjoy your posts and weaving inspirations! I hardly know what a draw loom is but it’s cool to see what you produce in it! Most particularly, your intertwining of faith through your weaving is mist inspiring. God continue to bless you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, It wasn’t that long ago that I hardly knew what a drawloom was, either. It’s been an interesting learning journey.

      I’m glad the intertwining of faith through my weaving experiences resonates with you.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Connie says:

    All I can say is, WOW! Thanks for sharing.

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Charted Territory on the Drawloom

The chart that hangs at the left side of the beater gives a glimpse of the overall design of this rag rug. It’s the second page of a three-page chart. It’s not easy to make sense of the design on the loom, seeing only a small slice of the big picture. I am eager to see the whole project woven, to see how it aligns with the design I’ve imagined.

Drawloom rag rug on the loom.
First color block of the rug was brown. The second color block is red. Two different red fabrics alternate.
Following a chart for the single-unit drawloom.
Chart hangs at the left side of the loom. A transparent ruler is clipped to the chart. I move the ruler up, row by row, to keep my place on the chart. Single-unit draw cords that are pulled are held in place along the hook bar just above the beater.

I drew the design in MacStitch, a cross-stitch design program. Then, I imported the gridded image into Photo Affinity to add vertical shaded stripes to match the 10 white-/10 black-cord arrangement of single-unit draw cords on the loom. Lastly, I printed the enlarged chart to use as my guide at the loom.

Drawloom rag rug in the making.
Drawloom rag rug in the making.

How does our present slice of life fit into the overall plan? Only God knows. But one thing is certain. The Grand Weaver has a purpose for your life. It’s a purpose that he will fulfill. You and I are the work of his hands, work that he will not abandon. Yes, we make our plans. The truth is, our best plan is that which aligns with the design he has imagined.

May you get a glimpse of your life’s design.

On purpose,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Oh my goodness!!!

    Just when I think I’ve seen it all, there is more. God is great!

    How are you getting such even widths on your rag warps?

    Kind regards,
    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I like the way you notice detail.

      I’m not sure if you’re asking about the rag wefts, or about the width of the warp overall…

      For the rag wefts –
      I fold the fabric yardage and put it on my cutting mat. I use a clear quilting ruler to measure off 1 cm (3/8”), and slice it off with my large-blade rotary cutter. It takes a lot of cutting for a rug this size with strips this thin. I usually cut 40 strips, then weave them, then cut 40 more, then weave them, and so on.

      For the width of the warp –
      I use a temple, and I bubble the weft. Both factors help keep the warp width uniform size.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

      • Linda Adamson says:

        Curious about the 3/8″ strips. It appears you are using only one strip at a time so the front and back will be different colors. Is that correct?
        What set are you using? Wondering how thick it will be when finished.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Linda, I am using only one fabric strip at a time. The back is the reverse of the front. In other words, where you see the red on front, you will see the predominant warp threads on the back, and vice versa.

          The sett is 7 doubled ends per centimeter (I think that’s about 18 doubled ends per inch), which makes the warp very dense. The first rug from this warp is about the same thickness as my “regular” rag rugs, but I would say the rug is stiffer and feels more densely packed.

          Thanks for asking,
          Karen

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I look forward to seeing the completed rug. This is a very interesting desigtn.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, It will be gratifying to see the whole rug at once. I tried to come up with a design that is simple enough to work with the scale of this rug.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Fascinated by the drawloom. Could I contact you to talk more about it?

  • Elisabeth says:

    That’s impressive, and the design is quite dramatic. Now I am curious to see it finished 🙂
    I like the possibilities a draw loom offers, but I am afraid it would be too complex for me.
    It is a challenge to be content with only seeing today, but to be able to focus on the present day and the task at hand, that’s where I find the beauty of life

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, It helps to know one’s purpose. The drawloom isn’t for everyone. But when you come out to see me, I’d like to give you a swing at mine. 🙂

      I agree with you, that it is so important to focus on the present day we have–a gift that’s been given to us.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Anna Zinsmeister says:

    It looks really interesting. It’s so good to see a rug being woven using the drawloom. It shows that it can be a very versatile loom. I like your work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anna, I am touched by your words of affirmation. Thank you!

      I have always been interested in rag rug weaving, so when I got a drawloom, I knew this was something I wanted to try. Yes, indeed, this is a very versatile loom. I will never run out of things to learn and try on it.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Beautiful work. I’m really new to draw loom and have a question from the photo. Are you using a shaft and individual draw on your loom. The shafts being pulled and on the pegs below the draw attachment. In the photo, right now, there are no individual warp ends selected. Am I interpreting the photo correctly. Thank you, looking forward to seeing the finished rug.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, You are asking pertinent questions. I do have the Myrehed combination draw frame; however, this project is not using the shaft draw system at all. This is completely woven with the single unit draw. In the second picture you can see the shaft draw handles near the top of the draw frame. They are not being used on this project. The single unit draw cords are the black cords and white cords that you see, some of which are pulled and held in place by the pegs on the hook bar. In other words, these draw cords that are pulled are lifting individual units of threads. Whereas, if any of the shaft draw handles were pulled, they would be lifting pattern shafts holding certain units of threads.

      Does that clarify?

      My next “death-defying feat” will be to use the combination–both shaft draw and single-unit draw on the same project. I’m still wrapping my mind about how that will work. Coming soon…!

      Thank you!
      Karen

      • LJ Arndt says:

        It does. I have a shaft draw system that I’ve only used a couple of times and so interested in learning it’s possibilities. Thank you for the great explanation.

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    Super neat!

  • Martha says:

    Karen, this rug is so pretty. I can hardly wait to see it when it is finished.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, I’m glad you like it! It’s a fascinating project to work on. Like you, I am eager to see it rolled out.

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

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Tools Day: Reeds

Eventually, I would like to have a metric reed (or two) in every possible size. Until then, I will be happy with what I have, while I gradually add to my supply, as needed, one reed at a time.

I prefer metric reeds (dents per 10 centimeters) over imperial reeds (dents per inch). For one thing, the math is easier for project planning. And because there are smaller increments between sizes, there are more sett choices with metric reeds. It could be my imagination, but it often seems that the metric reed yields a Goldilocks “just right” sett.

Assortment of weaving reeds.

Supply of reeds. Some purchased new, some second-hand purchases, and some received as gifts. All but one have been used on my looms. The reeds usually reside in my weaving supply closet.

My selection of reeds vary in length, from 70 cm (27″) to 120 cm (47″), to fit the weaving widths of my looms. But Glimåkra countermarch looms have beaters that are open on the sides, so I can use any length reed in any loom.

Beginning cotton warp with M's and O's.

Reed with 120 cm weaving width is being used on this 100 cm Glimåkra Ideal. This is a 22.5 dents/inch reed, sleyed two ends per dent. Notice that the warp is high in the reed? That’s because the front tie-on bar is going over the breast beam.

My all-around favorite reeds are those made by Glimåkra because they are lightweight and easy to handle, …and they come in metric sizes. (Of course, you need to choose reeds that work with your loom.)

Taqueté in Tencel on eight shafts.

This 120 cm reed is a perfect fit for the weaving width of the 120 cm Glimåkra Standard loom. This is a 50/10 metric reed, giving a Goldilocks “just right” sett for this 8/2 tencel taqueté.

I put together a reed conversion chart so that we can see our options at a glance. You never know when a new project will “require” a new metric reed!

Weaving reed metric/imperial conversion chart.

May your next project have a Goldilocks “just right” sett.

Happy weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Julia says:

    Awesome, Karen!
    I’ve recently purchased a loom made in Japan which has a metric reed. It is taking me a while to convert my calculating mind from Imperial to Metric measuring. Your conversion chart will be a tremendous help. Thank you.

  • Thanks for the conversion chart. It will be helpful. I hope you don’t mind that I printed it out to hang on my studio bulletin board.
    Jeny

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for putting this together, Karen! My first loom was made in Hungary, purchased when we were posted there with the military. It came with two reeds, one of which is 65/10 cm and the other (which I’ve not used yet) I think is about 23.6/10 cm. I was ripping my hair out in December, looking for some conversion charts to assist in calculating sett for a handspun scarf. I, too, would like to print out your chart to hang on my studio bulletin board.

    I was thinking this morning, just before sitting at the computer interestingly enough, that I’d like to get more metric reeds for this loom. As the reed holder is a bit of an oddball width here in North America, my choices seem limited. I must explore options further.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, I searched online for a reed conversion chart, so I could link to it, and I couldn’t find one that was as complete as I wanted. So I decided to put a spreadsheet together to do the math, and create my own chart.

      Please use the reed conversion chart however it serves you best.

      Suppliers for metric reeds in the US are quite limited, as imperial reeds are usually the American favorites.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Shirley says:

    thanks, Karen. your chart is just what I need.
    I have Metric reeds,but also like to use patterns from Handwoven magazine.
    So your printed out chart will also hang in my loomroom.

  • Thanks so much for this Karen! I have a mixture of imperial and metric reeds and until recently I have been referring to my 1970’s Toika handbook (the one with the lady setting up the loom on a rocky Finnish beach!) which had a blurry picture of a reed conversion chart. Thank you!

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