Process Review: Snowflake Banners

I reached the end of the drawloom warp on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning, before Steve and I finished loading up the Casita travel trailer, I cut the warp off the loom. I grabbed a handful of thrums, chained them so they wouldn’t tangle, and threw the bundle into a small bag along with my cowgirl band heddle. And off we went for a short little getaway!

Relaxing under shade trees at the campground, I weave what I need for the four towels’ hanging tabs.

Steve is doing some wood carving. I tied my band warp to his chair. I doubled the 16/2 cotton warp threads in the cowgirl band heddle to make the band wide enough for towel hanging tabs.

Back home, after the towels are wet finished and hemmed, I have an “a-ha!” moment: Only one of these cloths shall be used as a towel. The other three cloths will serve as Christmas Snowflake banners.

There is some irony in the fact that I wove hanging tabs for these three cloths that have since been given an alternate purpose as celebratory Christmas banners.

Christmas Snowflake banners. Revisit the process with me, start to finish:

To see the towels from the first half of this warp, click here: Process Review: House and Home Towels. To see more about the cowgirl band heddle, click here: Cowgirl Band Weaving.

May you have “a-ha!” moments that change how you see things.

Love,
Karen

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

Process Review: House and Home Towels

House is a structure. Home is an atmosphere—an atmosphere of love. Three young mothers have made their houses into homes. These are the mothers of my grandchildren, and I am giving a personalized towel to each of them. The combination drawloom is my favorite tool for an undertaking like this. (Be sure to watch the video/slideshow below to see the whole process!)

Myrehed Combination Drawloom, with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.
Glimåkra 120cm Standard Loom with Myrehed Combination Drawloom, using 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.

First up is the Peach Jam towel to hang in my house, where all the families come for flavors of home. Next is Melody’s towel, with a whimsical cottage as Home (which can be read from front or back). Marie’s towel copies the cover of one of her favorite books, The Wise Woman. And Lindsay, a homeschool mom, has a towel that shows the wordplay humor that her family enjoys, Home’s Cool. A house is for people; come on in. A home is for family; welcome home.

Weaving personalized towels on the drawloom.
Whimsical house with whimsical flowers makes a whimsical, joyful home! Single units form the flowers under the houses. Pattern shafts hold the thread units that are raised for the three houses and the side border little squares and flowers.
Ceramic bell from my trip to Germany. Whimsical house.
Melody’s towel design is derived from this ceramic bell that I brought home from my trip to Germany. Melody is especially fond of the bell, which hangs in my drawloom studio.
Drawloom - pattern shafts and single units.
Smoke rises from the chimney, and lush trees surround the home. There is evidence of a growing family here. Chances are, Mom and Dad are reading books by the fire. And seeds are being planted that will mature into living trees.
Drawloom - combination pattern shafts and single units.
Bells ring in the towers of the schoolhouses. Single units are used for the numbers and letters on the side borders, and for the words above the pattern-shaft schoolhouses.

Join me in watching the whole process, all the way to the finished towels (several months compressed into a few minutes):

May your house be a welcome home.

With affection,
Karen

Weave a Melody

I am finishing up a few meaningful (surprise) gifts for certain dearly-loved individuals. Christmas presents. Shhhh… The drawloom part represents untold hours at the loom. The band-loom part is the blink of an eye in comparison.

Cutting off midway so I can easily continue weaving.
Still enough warp for four more towels. I follow Amy Blair’s instructions for this maneuver: A Way to Cut Off the Loom Mid-Warp. This makes it possible to resume weaving with little fuss.
A few new towels from the drawloom.
First few pieces are being removed for finishing as gifts.

For the band, I am using the same blue and gray 16/2 cotton that is in the drawloom warp. I quickly wind a very narrow warp the shortest distance possible on my warping reel—116 centimeters. It’s a snap to beam it on the band loom, thread it, and start weaving. In no time at all, while listening to Christmas carols, I’m at the end of the warp, and cutting off the new woven band. Wouldn’t it be sweet to tie up every gift with a handwoven band? This band, however, will be inside the wrapping, as an embellishment on the gifts.

Glimakra band loom - threading.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Set up is a breeze.
Glimakra 2-treadle band loom.
Band weaving begins with 8/2 cotton for weft. I quickly decide that the finer thread of 16/2 cotton is what I prefer.
Christmas carols and jingle bells while weaving on the band loom.
Jingle bells add festive cheer to the left hand coordination of band loom weaving, while Christmas carols ring out in the house.
Band loom - hanging tabs for handwoven towels.
Plenty!
Band woven on Glimakra band loom.
Perfect embellishment for the gifts that will soon be wrapped.

Melodies are an embellishment of the heart. They can arise in a few moments, yet they are connected to heart-filled sentiments that have taken years to develop. In this Christmas season, songs that are prayers become gifts for the newborn King Jesus. Prayers as songs and songs as prayers open our hearts to worship (adore) the Lord. “O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

A melody-filled Christmas to you,
Karen

Tapestry Cartoon – Zoom In

For this second butterfly sample I am zooming way in, to expose more detail of the delicate stained-glass wing. Transforming the photograph into a weaveable cartoon is a fascinating task in itself. In real life, when do we ever get this close a look at the intricacy of the fluttering wing?

Butterfly wing detail for a tapestry.
Color rows of black, green, yellow, and gold wool weft are woven in a rosepath pattern to frame the beginning of the tapestry. My “go-by” is a smaller replica of the cartoon that is under the warp.

The primary reason for these butterfly samples is for me to gain a better understanding of how the details of the cartoon image relate to the sett of the warp on the loom. My goal is to thoroughly explore this style of tapestry. So, I aim to become adept in creating well-suited cartoons.

You can see the tapestry cartoon under the warp.
In progress. You can see the cartoon under the warp.

Let’s zoom in to the familiar scene of baby Jesus generations ago. The child born in a Bethlehem stable drew the attention of lowly shepherds, not impressive celebrities. Announced by angels, not by stately heralds. The detail clearly depicts something out of the ordinary: There is a kingdom that is not of this world. A King who shows up, not cloaked in royalty, but wrapped in the cloth on hand. What an intricate plan it is that a babe named Jesus would become our Savior King! And, that he transforms the image of those whose hearts invite him in.

May you examine the Christmas story in detail.

Looking forward to Christmas,
Karen