Long Conversation with the Loom

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.

Weaving for a short while in the evening helps wind down the day.

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.

Long monksbelt table runner wraps around the cloth beam.
Monksbelt pattern with weft rep ground weave. 16/2 cotton warp. 6/1 Fårö wool pattern weft in six colors. 16/2 ground weft in three colors.

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.

May you never lose hope.

With you,
Karen

In My Drawloom World

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.

Myrehed combination drawloom. Weaving trees.
Single unit draw cords pull up single units of threads. For the setup on this project one unit is 6 ends.
Weaving trees on the drawloom.
Trees inside and outside.

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.

Myrehed Combination Drawloom on a Glimakra CM loom.
Trees on the side borders, as seen on the cloth below the breast beam, were woven using pattern shafts. Each pattern shaft holds units of ends in a certain order, which enables me to duplicate patterns across the warp or on the sides, as with these trees.
Weaving hand towels on the drawloom.
Near the finishing line for this towel.
Myrehed Combination Drawloom - follow the chart.
Clear ruler moves up the chart, line by line, showing me exactly which black or white single unit cords to draw. The checked borders are produced with the pattern shaft draw handles.

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.

May you find yourself in a big hug.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Weave Amazing Taqueté Like an Octopus

I need this sample section to practice being an octopus at the loom. I switched from kuvikas to taqueté. Now I am weaving with two double-bobbin shuttles and two treadles at a time. With no intervening tabby treadles to balance my foot placement.

Kuvikas first, then taqueté. Same threading, different tie-up.
From kuvikas to taqueté. Changing the tie-up allows the loom to weave more than one structure with the same threading.

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.

Two double-bobbin shuttles for taqueté.
With no tabby picks in between, the double-bobbin shuttles take turns with each other.

Taqueté, with double treadling and double double-bobbin shuttling.
Each pattern block uses two treadles, pressed simultaneously. The treadling sequence changes four times for each complete row of pattern. Each block (a third) of the square-within-a-square pattern has five complete pattern rows.

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!

May you endure through struggles.

Your weaving octopus,
Karen

Kuvikas and Taqueté

Kuvikas and taqueté. There are always new things to try. I’m back to eight shafts. This Glimåkra loom is highly adaptable. It is no problem to set up the loom for a new project. You may have guessed that I like to switch it up. Four shafts or eight shafts, two treadles or ten. And, change the tie-up, too. I don’t mind. With this project, I am going to change the treadle tie-up again at the midway point, switching from kuvikas to taqueté.

Threading eight shafts on my Glimakra Standard loom.
Threading eight shafts. Four pairs of shaft bars have been added to switch from a four-shaft project to an eight-shaft project. Four additional upper lamms and lower lamms have also been added to the loom.

If you know and practice the basics, it’s not frightening to try new weave structures. Every new experience builds on what I’ve learned before. I can trust the system of weaving that I’ve been taught, and that I practice with every project. It makes sense.

Aquamarine cotton. Threading my Glimakra Standard loom.
After the warp is beamed, the warp ends are tied with an overhand knot into groups, according to the threading pattern. In this case, 48 ends are in each group. Counting the ends into groups helps eliminate, or at least reduce, threading errors.

Threading eight shafts for kuvikas and taqueté.
Complex, but not complicated. Warp ends are inserted into specific heddles to set up the loom for a particular type of cloth. Very systematic.

Don’t be afraid. The Lord not only teaches us his ways–his system, but offers us his strength while we learn. I can trust him for that. Trust replaces fear. I don’t have to find my own way, or guess. The system works. It makes sense. I learn to weave, and live, one step at a time, with freedom to enjoy the process.

May you rise above your fears.

All the best,
Karen

This Time in Color

Thick and thin in color. The appeal for me is that something so simple can look so complex. How can plain weave do this? By having thick and thin threads that alternate in a certain way. Add color, and the options multiply!

Thick and thin on the loom, using double bobbin shuttle.
Double bobbin shuttle carries the thick weft. 30/2 cotton for the thin weft adds texture and complexity to the plain weave.

For the thin thread, I use 30/2 cotton. This very thin thread has a big impact on the fabric design. Strategically placed in the warp, it helps define the two blocks. Repeating the thin thread in a weft sequence is what produces a block change while weaving. The thin threads are integral to the design, yet they will barely be noticed after the fabric is wet-finished.

It is fascinating how much impact little things have. Character is revealed in the very little things. It’s the special touch you add, the extra time you give, the kind thoughts you think. It’s how you are at home, doing ordinary things for your family. It’s who you are, what you are thinking, and what you are doing. …when no one is noticing. These are the little things that tell who we are at the core. Faithful in little; faithful in much.

May all your little threads fall into place.

With you,
Karen