Preview of Puckers

Like sunrays rippling on the horizon at dawn. That’s how I think of this emerging cloth. I am hopeful that the ripples we see now will become all-over puckers when this is finished. I am filled with joyful anticipation!

Preview of puckers. Warp is 22/2 cottolin and 20/2 cotton. Weft is 16/1 linen and 16/2 cotton. Differential shrinkage is what I hope to achieve.

However… This is not an effortless weave. This is double-width weaving in a very fine sett. And, 6 ends per dent, no less. I have simple 1-2-3-4 treadling, but the 20/2 cotton warp threads are relentlessly hugging each other. Consequently, I am clearing the shed with the back of my fingers again and again. I expect to have floats to repair when this “sunrise” fabric comes off the loom. With the end in mind, I patiently keep at it. It will be glorious in all its puckers. I am sure of it.

Double-width weaving is double weave that is open on one side and closed on the other side. Finished cloth will unfold and open up to be a small tablecloth.

Every dawn brings the reality of a new day. Every sunrise reveals the glory of God. Night always turns into morning. With the end in mind, our Lord patiently, kindly, gently, opens the shed in our lives again and again. As he loosens our grip on things of this world we get a preview of the glorious fabric he has in mind, puckers and all. In the full light of the risen Son, we can see the love in our Grand Weaver’s hands.

May you catch the sunrise as often as possible.

Hopefully yours,
Karen

Spreading Two Warps at Once

I am spreading this warp (two warps, actually) at the worktable. One warp is 22/2 cottolin, with a narrow selvedge border of 16/2 cotton. The other warp is 20/2 cotton. This intriguing double-width project is in the Nr.3 – 2021 issue of Väv MagazineWinnie’s Linen-Cotton Crinkly Tablecloth, by Winnie Poulsen, p.52. Despite some intrepidation, I am jumping in!

Spreading 2 warps for a double-width project.
First warp has been pre-sleyed, and the loops are held in place on the cloth beam tie-on bar. Now spreading the second warp, and placing both warps’ loops on the long stick in front.

Coordinating two warps onto a single tie-on bar is tricky business. The last time I did the two-warp maneuver at the loom I nearly lost a lease cross and my sanity. The advantage of pre-sleying these warps at the table is that everything is secure. Nothing is teetering. At the worktable I can clearly see what to do for each step. Within minutes, I’m hopeful that this adventure will indeed be worth it. (Pre-sleying a warp on the table is expertly explained in Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, pgs.19-20.)

Two warps for one double-width project.
Second stick holds both warps’ loops.
Spreading two warps in the reed.
Tie-on bar slides in and warps’ loops are secured by tying a string from one end to the other.
Getting ready to weave some differential shrinkage!
Extra stick is removed. Two warps, each with its own set of lease sticks, have been spread in the reed. No mishaps along the way!
Glimakra Julia ready for a new fun warp!
Warp bouts are in the basket. The two sets of lease sticks, the reed, and the cloth beam tie-on bar sit on top. We’re ready to beam this warp on the Julia!

Spreading a warp (or two) is a lot like spreading hope. We come to the Lord Jesus weary, having tried hard to make things work on our own. He welcomes us with open arms and reveals the time-tested way of trusting him, one step at a time. Now, like threads being sleyed across the dents of a reed, threads of hope spread throughout our being. The threads are secured. Come weary; receive rest; spread hope.

May you be ignited with hope.

Your friend,
Karen

Weaving through The Big Book

It took me seven years of study, practice, and mistakes to complete this rigorous Swedish weaving curriculum! You have been with me through much of it right here. I’m talking about The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I made it through the book, sequentially, page by page, warp by warp. 43 warps in all! Remember the blue 12-shaft double-weave blanket I had on the loom in June? That is the final project in the book.

Handwoven double weave blanket. 12 shafts.
Double-weave wool fabric is ready for wet finishing, where it will be transformed into a soft, cozy blanket.

In the short video below, each completed project is presented in order in our Texas hill country home. Watch to the end to see the blue blanket in all its finished glory.

For nitty-gritty details, check out The Big Book of Weaving tab at the top of the page.

I. Secrets to success:

  • mindset of a student
  • determination
  • eyes on the goal
  • no option other than completion

One loom dedicated to the book.


II. Lessons learned:

  • technique
  • processes
  • planning
  • drafting
  • Swedish practices

Any mistake can be remedied.


III. Treasures gained:

  • patience
  • humility
  • endurance
  • focused attention
  • problem solving
  • creative freedom

Confidence.


IV. Prized perspectives:

  • new experiences
  • delight of dressing the loom
  • wonder of cloth-making
  • fresh ideas
  • joy of discovery
  • knowledge and understanding of the loom

Getting lost and absorbed in the whole process of weaving.

V. Favorite project: Old-Fashioned Weaving / Monksbelt (at 4:46 in the video)

Are we determined students of heavenly things? Oh, to know God’s will! Study what’s written, don’t lose heart, eyes on the prize, no option besides completion through Jesus Christ. One life dedicated to know him. Day by day, warp by warp, the Grand Weaver teaches us. We can know God’s will.

May you be a lifelong learner.

Happy Weaving to you,
Karen

Tried and True: Designing with Fibonacci

Before starting, I sketched out several versions of the finished blanket, showing different sizes and arrangements of the rectangle blocks. My favorite version is one with a random look. This twelve-shaft double weave has three blocks. Block 1 is a solid color across the warp. Block 2 has a narrow, vertical contrasting rectangle. Block 3 has a wide, horizontal contrasting rectangle. The warp threading determines the width of the rectangles. But the height of the rectangles is determined by the treadling pattern. I decided to use a Fibonacci sequence of numbers in random order to guide my treadling options as I weave.

Double weave blanket.
Rectangles vary in size.

Low-Tech Random Fibonacci Sequence

1 Determine the desired range of the Fibonacci sequence. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13

2 Determine the number of repeat options for each block (one repeat is 4 picks per double-weave layer).

  • Block 1, solid color – 2 repeats every time
  • Block 2, narrow rectangle – 2, 3, 5, 8, or 13 repeats
  • Block 3, wide rectangle – 1, 2, 3, or 5 repeats

3 Write each number of the sequence on individual squares of paper. Make three sets of these numbers. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13

4 Fold each paper square in half and place in a container at the loom. Mix thoroughly.

Designing with random Fibonacci numbers. Low tech!
Fibonacci numbers are ready for eyes-closed random selection.

5 Randomly select a paper square to reveal the number of repeats for the next narrow or wide rectangle block.

Fibonacci numbers as design tool.
Assignment for the next rectangle block – three repeats. The lines indicate that this number can be used for Block 2 (narrow, vertical) or Block 3 (wide, horizontal).

For this blanket I have a woven hem and border, and then two repeats of Block 1 (solid color) between alternating Block 2 (narrow) and Block 3 (wide) rectangles of varying heights.

Double weave wool blanket.
Back side has reverse colors.
Double weave Tuna wool blanket.
Block 1 (solid blue across) stays a consistent size between the white rectangles.

Surprise is built in which makes it hard to leave the loom. “Just one more block,” I tell myself…

Double weave blanket. Fibonacci for design.
View of the cloth beam reveals the variety of sizes of rectangles. Eager to see it off the loom!

May you be greeted by random (happy) surprises.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Cutting Off a Failure

I made an embarrassing blunder. No wonder this Tuna wool resists all my efforts. It’s the wrong yarn! Tuna is 6/2 wool—twice as thick as the 6/1 wool I should be using. Cowboy Magic won’t solve this sticky problem. (I thought it would, as I expressed in this post: Tame the Wool.)

The yarn is gorgeous, but my frustration level is pushing me to throw in the towel. I tried hard to make this work. I was so convinced I had the right yarn that I missed it even when reader Joan left a gentle comment asking if 6/1 Fårö yarn would work (I’m sorry for not listening, Joan). There is nothing left but to cut off this failure.

Cutting off out of frustration.
Every shed is a struggle. It seems impossible to get a clean shed with this “sticky” yarn. (It’s not the yarn’s fault, though.)
Cutting off a failure. Ouch!
Failed piece is cut off. There are unwanted floats everywhere, and the fabric is like cardboard because of the tight sett.
Cutting off a failed double weave project. Ugh.
Bottom of the double weave has even more unwanted floats than the top layer.

In this lowest moment a thought occurs to me. Re-sley the reed. An ounce of hope rises.

Re-sleying to a coarser sett. Hoping for success.
Reed is changed from 50/10 metric to 40/10 metric. This spreads the warp an additional 19.9 cm (7 3/4″).
Wool for a double weave blanket. Second try.
Sleying is complete and the new reed is placed in the beater.
Wool warp for a double weave blanket.
Warp is tied on and leveling string is tightened. On your mark, get ready, get set…

I re-sley to a coarser reed and tie back on. I hold my breath and step on the treadles. It works. And it’s gorgeous!

Double weave wool blanket on 12 shafts. Glimakra Standard.
Go! Night and day difference in being able to clear each shed.
Double weave at its finest. Wool blanket.
Double weave at its finest.
Weaving into the sunset!
Weaving into the sunset.
Double weave Tuna wool blanket on Glimakra Standard. Success!
Clean lines of double weave, with a (very) few unwanted floats that will be easy to fix later.
Double weave wool blanket. Success after starting over!
This is now a pleasure to weave!

Have you experienced great disappointment and loss of hope? Sometimes our own failure brings us to that point. The Lord makes things new. We come to Jesus with our failed attempts, and he exchanges our used rags of effort with his clean cloth of righteousness. In his forgiveness, the failure is cut off and removed. Our threads are re-sleyed and re-tied to make us gloriously new.

May you know when to cut off and start over.

Love,
Karen