When guests come through our front door, this stately 120cm Glimåkra Standard Countermarch loom is the first thing they see. Many folks have never seen a weaving loom. “That looks so complicated,” they say.
The appeal of a Swedish countermarch loom is its simplicity. Pieces of wood, held together with a few wedges, form the frame for an efficient system of synchronized moving parts. “Step on a treadle and see what happens,” I tell them. When you move one part, something else moves, which then causes other parts to move. Now you can send a shuttle through an opening in the threads and weave cloth. “Wow! That’s amazing,” they say. I smile and think, “Yes, it is.” It may be complex, but it’s not complicated.
The world looks complicated. What does God in heaven see when he looks on us? Does he see a complicated mess? God sees us through his eyes of love. We’ve all gone our own messy ways. He loved us anyway and gave his son Jesus to save us from our selfish ways. He appeals to us with this simplicity: say yes to Jesus and no to self. This one move sets things in motion and changes everything! God’s world may be complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Spaced rep rag rugs have a graphic vibrancy that grabs my attention. Like regular rep weave, spaced rep is warp dominant. Unlike regular rep weave, the warp in spaced rep doesn’t completely cover the weft. That’s where rag weaving comes in, because the fabric-strip weft shows between the warps. The rag weft provides just enough color variation to satisfy a rag rug weaver like me.
The pattern for this rug comes from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, p. 87. The threading has dark and light ends that alternate, with four distinct blocks (five, if you count the plain weave block). And thick weft (fabric strips) alternates with thin weft (12/6 cotton rug warp), with four different treadling sequences. All of these factors work together to make the geometric pattern in the rug. It sounds complicated. Truly, though, it is merely a collection of simple systems that all work together. And the possibilities are endless.
You are intricately and wonderfully made. To people who know you, no doubt, you look complicated. Your maker, however, knows your simple systems that all work together. The Lord knows you by name. His plan for you follows a masterful design. In the grand weaver’s hands, the possibilities are endless!
May the pattern of your life set you apart.
Happy Weaving, and welcome back to my studio, Karen
Day after day, pick after pick, this fabric lengthens and becomes ever more significant. As daylight dims, I stay at the loom a while longer. The rhythmic series of weaving motions is soothing. A handweaver finds calm in the complexity and delight in the detail. Challenges that arise are seen as problems to be solved.
This monksbelt table runner has been a good long conversation between the loom and me. In fifteen more centimeters (six inches) I will put the closing exclamation point at the end of this lengthy runner. The warp that remains will be my playground for some creative experimentation.
When our patience is stretched thin, when we forget why we do what we do, when hard times go on longer than we ever anticipated, we need hope. We need more than what we can gain by ourselves alone. Relationship with our heavenly Father brings hope into the fabric of our days. He beckons us to walk with him through Jesus Christ. He wants to sustain us through the long stretches of this day-by-day life. The time will come when we look back with wonder, seeing the colorful threads that have become fabric for a beautiful purpose.
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.
This taqueté uses the same threading as the kuvikas that preceded it. You’ve heard it said, “One change changes everything.” Try changing the tie-up. Everything changes. Treadling sequence, weft arrangement, and picks per inch. I’m struggling like a beginner with this double treadling, double double-bobbin shuttling. But I’m not quitting, because look what it weaves! The cloth is amazing.
One life change, good or bad, can bring a struggle. We try to move forward like we did before, but now it’s not working. Too many things are shifting at once. One thing changed, and now we are searching for sound footing. God is present even in our struggles. The warp is the same, the threading hasn’t changed, and the Grand Weaver is still at his loom. God is a very present help in trouble. God is now and near. Right now, right here. And then we get a glimpse of the cloth he is weaving… It is amazing!