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

Process Review: Jämtlandsdräll with Julia

My intention is to weave fabric for a couple of cushy throw pillows. But after just one pattern repeat, I realize that this cloth on my brand new Glimåkra Julia is something I would like to wear! No pillows this time. Instead, here is my new autumn/winter shoulder wrap, embellished with frisky swinging fringes. Miss Julia has proven her worth on four-shaft Jämtlandsdräll (crackle) in 6/2 Tuna wool. Her next adventure will be something that explores all eight shafts. (See My New Glimåkra Julia Loom.)

Jämtlandsdräll Wool Wrap - woven on Glimåkra Julia.
Finished wrap. Ready for cool weather!

This project starts with the draft for the Jämtlandsdräll Blanket on p.59 of Simple Weaves, by Birgitta Bengtsson Björk and Tina Ignell. Tuna yarn samples, along with Fiberworks Silver for Mac, help me jazz up the color. I settle on three colors for the warp, with burnt orange as the anchor. Six different colors are used for the pattern weft, plus dark teal for the tabby.

Planning my next weaving project on Fiberworks.
Paint chips, Tuna yarn samples, and Fiberworks Silver for Mac aid my planning process.
Colors! Let's see how they work together on the loom.
Colors! Let’s see how they work together on the loom.
Beaming the warp on my new Julia.
Beaming the warp.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (Crackle) on my new Julia.
Daylight, plus colorful yarn. As summer is warming up outside, Julia is dressed warmly inside.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (crackle) on my new Julia.
There is something about weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle that I especially enjoy.
Color gradation in the pattern.
Some color gradation in the pattern.
My new Glimakra Julia!
Miss Julia, filling up her cloth beam.
Crackle (Jamtlandsdrall) in Tuna Wool.
Ending with a few picks of plain weave.
End of warp on my new Glimakra Julia.
Thrums at the end of the warp will serve as fringe.
Cutting off Jamtlandsdrall (crackle)!
Cutting off, giving a view of the back side of the cloth. Front and back have reverse images.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Twisting fringe on Jamtlandsdrall wrap.
Much to my pleasant surprise, after removing (unweaving) my short sample weaving at the beginning, and untying the front tie-on knots, I had the EXACT same length of fringe–to the centimeter–on both ends of the woven wrap.
Chunky, frolicky fringe.
Overhand knots secure the weft. Two groups of four warp strands each form each chunky fringe. Now, this wrap is ready for wet-finishing.

This is one of those times when the weaving is so satisfying that I truly don’t want the warp to come to an end. (…except that I’m excited to start on Julia’s second adventure!)

Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap
Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap

May your adventures never cease.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Drawloom Rag Rug Color Transition

This is a huge project. Four shades of blue from dark to light span the nearly one-and-a-half-meter-long rug. I have reached the final color-transition section. I am eagerly awaiting the day this rug will be rolled out!

Rag rug on the drawloom. Color transition.
Transitioning from one color to the next.

My measuring ribbon shows me where to make the color changes. I alternate two weft colors (C and D) through the transition area to blend the hues. All the while, I stop after every half-unit of four picks to manage the draw cords. A graphed chart tells me exactly which of the 164 draw cords to pull or release. In this way the graphic designs are woven into the rug, row by row. I weave in quiet, allowing me to put full attention on each move.

Drawloom rag rug.
View of the underside of the rug as it goes from the breast beam to the knee beam.
Single unit drawloom rag rug.
Draw cords are arranged by tens, alternating black cords and white cords. I pull the cords as they correspond to the prepared chart hanging at the left side of the loom.

We need hope in these unsettling times. Jesus invites us to admit our fears and failures, and put our trust in him, and follow him. And this is the message Jesus gives his followers: I am always with you. The Lord gives strength and courage. As our Grand Weaver, he has his full attention on us. So be strong and take courage.

May you have hope that lasts.

Love,
Karen

Tapestry Butterflies and Video Tutorial

Wool butterflies are my crayons. I use them to color the spaces of my color-by-number cartoon that’s under the warp. I am using Borgs 6/2 Tuna wool and Borgs 6/1 Fårö wool in this tapestry, combining strands of various colors to get just the right hue, value, and intensity. Getting that right is the hard part. Winding butterflies is the easy part. Especially if you learned it from Joanne Hall, as I did.

Pictorial tapestry beginning.
Start of new tapestry. Butterflies are composed of specific colors to achieve desired results for contrast, shading, and depth.

It is essential to know how to make a good butterfly when you want to weave a tapestry on a big floor loom like this. A good butterfly is compact enough to easily pass through warp ends. And secure enough to stay intact through all those passes. It also needs to have a tail that is simple to extend. A good butterfly never ends up in a knot or a jumble of threads, but instead, gives your hands pure delight as it flows through your fingers to color your tapestry.

Colorful tapestry butterflies.
Detail of colorful tapestry butterflies.
New butterfly is ready to fly in.
New butterfly is ready to find its place in the mix.

This video shows how I make my tapestry butterflies.

May your days be colored with delight.

From the crayon box,
Karen