Grand Canyon Weaver

I like to come prepared when we travel. Prepared to weave, that is. Our recent camping trip to Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim is no exception. Relaxing after a full morning of hiking? That’s tapestry time. Rainy day? No problem. Time to pull out my small tapestry frame and do some tapestry weaving.

Sitting on a log to do a quick sketch. Widforss Trail on a Sunday morning was a wonderful way to worship our Creator.
Ponderosa Pines fill the North Rim Campground. It is refreshing to sit there for some relaxed tapestry weaving. Weaving from the back, meaning the face of the tapestry is facing away from me.
Weaving outside in the cool afternoon.

To view the incomparable expanse of the Grand Canyon leaves me in awe. It’s as if the glory of our Creator is on full display. Oh, the colors, textures, and breathtaking drama!

Sunset brings a hush over the vast Grand Canyon. Vibrant colors, phenomenal textures, in an unfolding dramatic ending–this is the language of a weaver.
Weaving inside the Casita Travel Trailer until the skies clear up. Messy back of tapestry because I’m not trimming any more than necessary – fewer scraps to keep track of.

Our hearts turn to recognize God’s authority when we view the wonders of his creation. And, in the awe of it all, we pause to consider the vastness of his personal love, such that the Grand Weaver grants us the pleasure of creating something small with colored bits of yarn. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Pondering the deep questions of life.
There is still work to be done. This (second) Rain Girl is not in a hurry. She is ready for me anytime I decide to add more colored bits of yarn.

May you come prepared.

With wonder,
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

Tapestry that Tries to Copy

The jumble of yarn looks like a random play of colors. But if you look a little closer, and push the yarn butterflies out of the way, you can tell that the color choices are deliberate. You see only a hint of the image, though, until you look through the back end of the monocular, or step up on the step stool to have a look from up above the weaving. That’s when you get an overview of what’s on the loom.

New tapestry project.
Yarn butterflies each have a mix of wool, mostly 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö yarn.
Weaving a new tapestry on the floor loom.
The mix of colors in each yarn butterfly is a deliberate selection for the specific hues, values, and intensities I want to portray.
Tapestry of a butterfly wing.
View from my seat on the loom bench.

This warp is a study project. I want to test some tapestry techniques to help me develop my style. I made the cartoon by cropping and enlarging a photograph I took years ago. The butterfly had just emerged from its chrysalis! The subject for my study: the butterfly’s intricate wing.

Tapestry on the floor loom, and how to view it.
Peering through the *wrong* end of the monocular gives me a distant view of the tapestry in progress.
Get a view from higher up to get a better perspective on life.
I stand on a stepstool near the loom to get an even broader view of the tapestry from a distance. This perspective shows me how effective my yarn selections are (or are not) for the image I want to create.
Intricate butterfly wing - subject for tapestry study.
Cartoon in a reduced size helps me see the color distinctions. Photo in black and white helps me see value contrasts.

Who designed the butterfly wing? A stained-glass artist may conceive it. A tapestry weaver may copy it. A silk dyer may imagine it. But only our Creator could bring it to life. God makes himself known. Push the obstacles out of the way. Look for design. Gain a higher perspective. With each woven row, the image becomes more and more clear. When the butterfly wing begins to flutter you know you are witnessing something from the mind of God.

May you see what is hidden.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Wild Dish Cloths

I like having a project on one of my looms that is within reach of any friend who drops by. This new warp on the Julia fits the bill. Since I am using up several nearly empty tubes of linen, I am giving this warp an irregular color sequence. That should be interesting in this very structured 8-shaft broken twill.

Glimakra warping reel, linen warp.
Emptying a few tubes of 16/2 linen.
Glimakra warping reel, linen warp.
Irregular warp stripes are formed on the warping reel.
Finished off some linen! New linen warp.
Odds and ends of linen get used for cloth that will be used.

I am making dish cloths here. Linen dish cloths. Why not wash dishes with something interesting? I am eager to see what develops as I add weft colors. Anyone else who sits at this loom can choose their own mix of colors. I hope we get some wild combinations that bring a smile to the one whose hands are washing dishes.

Ready to weave some linen dish cloths.
Warp chains for some wild dish cloths.

God’s wisdom is a far reach for our human understanding. The complexity of his creation shows us how much we still don’t understand. How could we ever reach that far? Our best efforts are like irregularities in a well-structured cosmos. Good news! God put himself within our reach. He did it at his own expense—the cross of Christ. When we trust in Christ our wild threads are expertly woven into cloth that he can use. Some of our wild combinations probably make him smile.

May you grow in wisdom.

With wild threads,
Karen

What Is Creativity?

I can follow a published weaving draft to the letter and expect to get the prescribed results. Or, I can change details and make the project reflect my own ideas. That’s creativity. And that’s why each handwoven piece reveals something about the one who made it.

Two-block broken twill on 8 shafts. Lovely linen!
Two-block broken twill on eight shafts. I like the natural variations in the linen thread.

With every given draft, I determine the width and length for the project I want to weave, and make adjustments accordingly. That may mean adapting the threading sequence to fit. Sometimes I choose a different size of thread. In that case, I change the sett, as needed. Treadling variations also come into play as the fabric takes shape according to my preferences. I almost always choose my own colors. It’s in the colors that I find the most enjoyment of letting my creativity flow. What is your favorite element for creative expression?

Weaving a linen table runner.
Linne, draft by Joanne Hall. The only adjustments I am making are some treadling variations at the start and end of the runner, and the color selection.
Eight-shaft 2-block twill.
Beginning of the runner is wrapping around the slender cloth beam of the Julia.

Creative ability is meant to be an expression of wisdom. Wisdom is a combination of things—experience, intellect, understanding—all put into practice. What you create makes your inmost contemplations visible. Each individual’s creativity is a small example that points to the most astounding example of all. Our Creator reveals his supreme wisdom in every facet of his creation. And you are a prime example of his wise attention to detail.

May your creativity blossom.

Happy Weaving,
Karen