The linen on my loom last spring was a secret project. I only showed hints of what I was doing. Now that the “secret” linen project is published, let’s go back to see some of the process. Complete instructions for weaving and sewing these Linen Dice Weave pillows are in the January/February 2016 issue of Handwoven magazine. Read how it all came about in Caught by Surprise – in a Good Way.
May you and those you love make meaningful memories on this Christmas day.
I’ve been published! The new issue of Handwoven magazine (January/February 2016) is out. Have you seen it? Sarah Jackson, the weaving editor, had noticed my blue dice weave pillows on Pinterest. When she contacted me to ask if I would consider submitting a project for the linen issue, I was caught by surprise. Who, me?! I simply enjoy weaving. I never thought about having something published. But here we are! The dice weave linen pillows project is in print. This is a milestone in my weaving journey; and an opportunity for which I am immensely grateful! (See the blue dice weave pillows in Invisible Zipper.)
We think everything is going according to our plans, and then we run into surprises. Even a good surprise involves challenges, stretching us out of our comfort zones. God is completely faithful. He has certainly been faithful to me. I find relief in knowing the Grand Weaver is overseeing the fabric of my life. What seems like a surprise to me is actually part of his carefully designed plan.
May you be caught in the act of making something good.
It is time for wet finishing. As curious as I am to see how the linen fabric will emerge through the process, I still hesitate when it is time to put the fabric in the water. Fresh off the loom, the fabric is coarse and stiff, but it looks good! I know that the water, mild soap, and gentle washing machine agitation will absolutely change the character of the cloth. Wet finishing should change the cloth for the better… Finally, I look at my notes again from the wet finished sample piece, and gain the courage to put the linen fabric in the water…
Don’t hesitate to pray. Seek God when things are calm. Today is the best time to pray, when things are going well. Oh yes, there may be changes as a result of your prayers, but the changes are all good.
Do you see the lengthwise raised ridges in this linen fabric? Don’t be fooled. The plain weave panel of this fabric is as flat as can be. Optical illusion. I have two slightly different colors of linen in the warp, unbleached and golden bleached. Instead of strictly alternating the colors, I threaded the warp ends “as they came,” to bring depth and interest to the plain weave fabric.
We can be fooled by what we see. Lines and colors work together to create a false impression. Coming close enough to touch and examine is the best way to help the eyes see what is real. How many things do we misunderstand because we fail to come near enough to truly examine the evidence? We assume that a distant view is reliable.
Humility sets the stage for learning. It removes distance between us and what we need to learn. Instead of trusting only what we see, we step nearer to touch and examine the real thing. The humble are teachable. They know there are things they don’t know, and they are on a quest to learn. With weaving, and with matters of greater importance, like faith and truth, we must come close enough to touch and to learn.
Linen is special. This is nothing new. Even in biblical history, linen is mentioned as fabric for sacred purposes. But weaving with linen requires attentiveness. The inelasticity of linen means extra care is needed in every stage of dressing the loom and weaving. Of first importance is an even warp tension.
This method of tying on* is perfect for weaving rag rugs. The 12/6 cotton rug warp stays snugly in place. Not so with linen. The even warp tension that I have been so careful to maintain can be lost in a moment. The sneaky linen is smooth and slick enough to tie on easily, and then loosen up just as easily. So I take the double precaution of tying an additional overhand knot, AND moistening that knot with a dab of water which helps the linen grip itself. I never have to worry about these knots slipping loose.
What do you worry about? I have bigger things I worry about, too. But my heavenly Father assures me that He has secured all the knots that concern me. “Don’t worry,” he tells me. “Your Father knows your needs.” Be attentive to keep first things first. Put yourself in the Father’s care, and find that he takes care of you. Special you.