The 2021 cloth is cut from the loom. Let’s unroll the year to see how it looks. I see cherished moments. Treasured memories. New friendships. Family relationships enjoyed. Mistakes made. A few heartbreaks. Sorrow and rejoicing are intertwined at times. Besides the finished fabric, there are a few odd remnants worth keeping in my heart. And, like most thrums, there are some things I am not going to hold on to.
Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholder—tapestry of my mom. The Lord used the making and finishing of this woven portrait to reiterate His nearness when I needed it most. 2. Siblings, tapestry from the previous year, earned the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Award at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference last summer. 3. The yellow huckaback three-tiered skirt, Tiers of Joy, ought to earn an achievement award. However, the real reward is a genuine sense of accomplishment through perseverance.
Know when to let go. 2022 is a new warp on the loom. Some things from last year don’t belong. We have a fresh start with no room for complaints. Threads on the loom are rich with hope, ready for the intersection of thoughtful wonder and exploration. Look for results of tangible beauty.
Please enjoy looking back at the weaving journey of 2021 with me. I’m grateful to have you here, and look forward to more good times together!
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!)
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.
Join me in watching the whole process, all the way to the finished towels (several months compressed into a few minutes):
As much as I am enthralled with what I am doing at the loom, my concentration ability wanes. It is in those waning moments that errors happen. Also, as you know, I have looms in my home, which means I can weave well into the evening in my pajamas, if I want to. But, I better not exceed my limits, or else…
Weaving on the drawloom demands my undivided attention, as does pictorial tapestry and any intricate pattern weave. All of these are especially tedious to undo. Therefore, mistakes are outlawed! To that end, I have two secret weapons that prevent all most mistakes—
Twenty-Five Minutes On – Five Minutes Off
25 Minutes. Go full strength. Be completely absorbed in the task. 5 Minutes. Take a break. Stand up, walk around, stretch. (I use an app on my phone, Focus Time Activity Tracker, but any timer will do.)
The Cinderella Hour
Know When to Stop
If I am weaving at the end of the day (in my pajamas, or not), I stop when the clock chimes 8 times. I call it my Cinderella hour. My loom turns into a pumpkin after 8:00 pm. If I keep weaving, I can expect to be fixing errors the next day.
I’m in my own little world when I’m at the drawloom. No podcasts, no music going, no interruptions. It’s all deliberate focused attention on this thing I’m doing—following the chart row by row, drawing handles and cords, imprinting trees into cloth. It’s a delightful experience that I don’t want to end.
The simple tree design is scattered across the fabric using the single unit draw system. At the start of this towel, the same tree design was woven on the side borders using the pattern shafts. With this combination drawloom I combine single units and pattern shafts to work in complex harmony, as an expression of my creativity.
The Lord is ready to give us his focused attention. Our complexity is no threat to him. When we allow him to direct our hearts, pulling cords at the right place to imprint his will in us, he faithfully completes the work, to the very last detail. The Lord embraces those who fully trust him. His unseen designs become visible in the lives of those who belong to him. We can just imagine the delight this brings to our Maker.
You never know when you’ll need a piece of blue tape. A roll of blue painter’s tape is among my essential weaving supplies. My favorite way to temporarily mark just about anything is with a piece of blue tape.
Blue Painters Tape for Temporary Markings
Cut (or tear) the tape to size.
Fold one edge of the tape under. This makes a little tab so that the tape is easy to remove or reposition.
Use a fine point Sharpie to write on the tape.
Keep your place. Draw an arrow on a small piece of blue tape. Use the arrow on the tape to follow along the threading or treadlingdraft. This eliminates confusion, especially after a pause.
Measure the space. Draw a straight line on small pieces of tape. Measure the warp width on a tapestry frame or rigid heddle loom. Use the lines on the tape to mark where the first and last warp ends should lie on the loom. This eliminates guessing when warping the loom.
Number with Grace. Write out a series of numbers on a long piece of tape, leaving space between the numbers. Cut the numbers apart. Use the numbers to label pattern shaftdraw handles on the drawloom. Place the numbers directly above the draw handles, arranged in groups of five for easy visual recognition. Use a separate series of numbers for border pattern shafts, if applicable. This temporary numbering system gives the advantage of being able to customize the numbering for each drawloom draft.
Have you found ways to use blue painter’s tape in your weaving studio? Share in the comments!
May your life leave marks that are more than temporary.