This Myrehed combination drawloom continually fascinates me. It’s all about raising and lowering threads in a purposeful way. Pulling pattern-shaft draw handles for the borders is the easy part. The single units in the body of the towel, however, capture my focused attention. Consistent precision—that’s the secret to completion.
This second towel in the Snowfake series continues the theme of softly falling snow. Meanwhile, Texas bluebonnets, wine cups, varied bright yellow daisy-type flowers, and mealy blue sage are springing up through hard ground all over our backyard. And Thursday morning I spotted the first gaillardia bloom—previewing the next wave of color.
I am acutely aware that you may be experiencing a lingering cold season, and may even yet have snow on the ground. I’m not just referring to weather and flowers. Real-life struggles. Let me assure you that spring is coming. Have faith in the one who raised Jesus from the dead. Your faith captures the Lord’s attention. He brings new life out of hard ground. And the white of falling snowflakes remains a pleasant reminder of his grace. For all who call on the name of Jesus, the grace of his forgiveness falls over us to make us clean, as white as softly falling snow.
Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.
Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.
We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.
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.
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.
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.
You never know when you’ll need a piece of blue tape. A roll of blue painter’s tape is among my essential weaving supplies. My favorite way to temporarily mark just about anything is with a piece of blue tape.
Blue Painters Tape for Temporary Markings
Cut (or tear) the tape to size.
Fold one edge of the tape under. This makes a little tab so that the tape is easy to remove or reposition.
Use a fine point Sharpie to write on the tape.
Keep your place. Draw an arrow on a small piece of blue tape. Use the arrow on the tape to follow along the threading or treadlingdraft. This eliminates confusion, especially after a pause.
Measure the space. Draw a straight line on small pieces of tape. Measure the warp width on a tapestry frame or rigid heddle loom. Use the lines on the tape to mark where the first and last warp ends should lie on the loom. This eliminates guessing when warping the loom.
Number with Grace. Write out a series of numbers on a long piece of tape, leaving space between the numbers. Cut the numbers apart. Use the numbers to label pattern shaftdraw handles on the drawloom. Place the numbers directly above the draw handles, arranged in groups of five for easy visual recognition. Use a separate series of numbers for border pattern shafts, if applicable. This temporary numbering system gives the advantage of being able to customize the numbering for each drawloom draft.
Have you found ways to use blue painter’s tape in your weaving studio? Share in the comments!
May your life leave marks that are more than temporary.
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.