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

Drawloom Stars and Snowflakes

I am ending this warp with spectacular stars. Or are they snowflakes? I got a new book of patterns just in time. My friend Cathleen shared her innovative source with me—Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich History of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård. This book is filled with beautiful charts, perfect for translating into drawloom designs. It has page after page of classic eight-pointed stars, which look like snowflakes to me.

Eight-pointed stars on the drawloom.
Drawloom weaving.
Drawloom weaving.
Pattern shaft drawloom. 35 pattern shafts.

The star patterns all have an odd number of squares across the chart. My drawloom is currently set up with an even number of pattern shafts. To compensate, I am offsetting the star and adding a vertical dotted line. For the second row of stars I am flipping the offset and switching to a lighter shade of blue weft. I am also pulling the pattern shaft cords for the background around the star pattern. This reverses the pattern and ground, giving a different perspective of the same design, making the star blue and the background white.

In the drawloom studio.
Are they stars or snowflakes.
Stars / Snowflakes on the pattern shaft drawloom.
(Photos by Eddie Fernandez)

Even when our perspective changes, the foundation stays the same. Truth endures. God speaks truth, even through his created designs. Stars in the heavens and snowflakes on the earth attest to the enduring truth of their Designer’s glory.

May the end of your warp be spectacular.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Home in Texas on the Drawloom

The sky is the limit! That is my conclusion after weaving a few designs using the Myrehed combination drawloom. The shaft draw and the single unit draw systems are combined on this ingenious apparatus that is attached to an otherwise ordinary loom. The shaft draw system enables me to weave repeated patterns. The single unit system enables non-repeat patterns. This narrow warp is my playground to do both.

Myrehed Combination drawloom - learning its potential.
Pattern shafts (the wood bars) and single units (with black and white draw cords) are combined for this warp. 36 pattern shafts, including the X shaft. 132 single units.
Setting up the Myrehed combination drawloom.
Central design area uses a repeat of 30 pattern shafts threaded in a straight draw. Side borders use a repeat of 5 pattern shafts. Lift heddles and lanyard clips on the single unit draw cords attach the draw cords to the all the individual units (single units) on the pattern shafts.

I use the computer to create designs. ”Home in Texas” shows the back of our house, with its massive stone chimney. The tree in the scene is a tracing of the oak tree that I pass as I walk up the hill to my drawloom studio. The airplane is a copy of the Mooney that our pilot friend took us in to fly over Enchanted Rock. I am delighted to discover that I can use a drawloom to bring features of personal meaning such as these to life.

Making a gridded pattern for weaving on the drawloom.
Photo of our back deck. Using Affinity Photo, I set up a grid on the page to represent 30 pattern shafts. I then import my photo onto the gridded page.
Creating a simple gridded pattern on the computer.
Simple outline is created and saved as a separate image. The filled-in outline becomes my drawloom pattern.
Creating gridded designs in Affinity Photo.
Oak tree that I pass on the hill up to my drawloom studio. After importing the photo, I adjust the opacity to fade the picture, which makes tracing easier.
Tracing a tree in Affinity Photo to make a drawloom pattern.
I use a pen tool in Affinity Photo set at 3 pt to do the tracing. Now I can fill in the outline and copy and paste the image onto my chart that I will print and then use at the loom.
Drawloom weaving, using the Myrehed Combination.
Houses are woven with 30 pattern shafts. The hearts in the corners and the added details above the houses use the single unit draw cords. The tree is beginning to appear between the two houses on the left.
Myrehed Combination drawloom.
Two draw handles are pulled for the pattern on the side borders. Single unit draw cords are pulled and held in place on the hook bar above the beater.
Our Texas Home - woven on the drawloom.
Our Texas Home

The words of the Creator have life in them. It’s as if he puts his thoughts on the loom and weaves them into being. Let there be light! He speaks; and it is so. Listen closely. Hear the Grand Weaver say, Peace to you. And it is woven so. You are his workmanship, bringing his design to life.

Experimental warp on the drawloom.
More ideas are forming, even as this fabric begins to hug the cloth beam.

May your life reveal the Creator’s design.

Happy Weaving,
Karen