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.
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.
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.
I have questions galore as I begin a new warp on the combination drawloom. Is this the best sett for these threads? How are my sheds? What will orange-ey weft colors do on this pewter and blue warp? Is the image of this first design better face up, or face down? How can I include a couple extra colors in the design? The loom is set up with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units. I’m eager to begin!
Sampling at the beginning of the warp gives me answers. The sett is good—18 ends per centimeter, with 16/2 cotton in 6-shaftirregular satin. After some tweaking, the sheds are good—and all the treadles touch the floor when the optimum shed is reached. The weft colors look good—better than expected. And, definitely, the jam jars need to be face down—so, I reverse the image in Affinity Designer on the computer and print out a new chart. I can sneak in some extra colors with narrow weft stripes—beginning and ending borders. I’m ready to roll! New kitchen towels in various designs are moving forward! First up…Peach Jam Jars.
~It is a joy to have you visit with me every week! It is time for my annual pause for the month of July. I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.~
Until then, may the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.
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.
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?
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.
In the September, 2004 issue of Complex Weavers Journal, Jette Vandermeiden wrote about weaving small serviettes to place between her good dishes so they don’t scratch each other. That sparked the idea for me to use my learning experience with the Myrehed combination drawloom attachment to make these small pieces of cloth. The various designs will bring delight as they are uncovered, one by one, when we set the table in our home with the good dishes.
Enjoy this review of the process of setting up and weaving on this playground.
May you have not-so-hidden treasures in your home.
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.
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.
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.