Budding Weavers

Remember potholder looms? I made many such potholders when I was young. It is a natural entry point for a budding weaver. My eight-year-old grandson has mastered potholders. He is ready for a bigger challenge. I ask, “Would you like to try weaving on a floor loom?” Wide-eyed, he says, “Yes!”

Grandson makes potholders with "Designer Colors."
My grandson gravitates toward the bag of loops called “Designer Colors.”
Never too many grandkid-made potholders!
Never too many grandkid-made potholders!
Sit here. 
Practice moving your feet on the treadles: Right foot 1-2-3-4; 1-2-3-4; left foot 5-6-7-8; 5-6-7-8. 
(Can you do it without looking at your feet?) 
Hold the shuttle in your right hand, and send it across the top of the warp over to your left hand. 
Practice gliding the shuttle back and forth on top of the warp several times to get the hang of it. 
Okay, I think you’re ready! Let’s do it!

Within a few minutes he is weaving unassisted. Ahh, the joy of seeing someone take pleasure in making cloth—especially, when that someone is your grandchild!

Eight-year-old weaver on the Glimakra Julia loom. 2-block twill.
Budding weaver at the 8-shaft Julia countermarch loom. Weaving linen in a 2-block twill.
Message from grandson to his grandmother.
Ah, grandson, I certainly will teach you more. I love you, too , Lola

And now, the potholder loom grabs the attention of another grandchild. “Let me do it myself,” she says, like a typical five-year-old. The cycle repeats itself, and Lola (that’s me) smiles.

Potholder loom and a 5-year-old.
This child favors the loops of “Bright Colors.”
Making a potholder. Budding weaver.
“All by myself.”

May you spread your joys to the next generation.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Warp Stripes and Surprises

Even through random warp stripes you can see an ordered pattern in the cloth. Linen sitting on the shelf is begging to be used, even though the tubes are partly emptied. So, why not make some linen wash cloths to use every day?

Glimakra Julia Countermarch, 8 shafts.
I wound the warp, not in threading units, but in random sections of color, trying to empty as many partially-used tubes of linen as possible. Eight shafts on the Julia Countermarch loom. 16/2 linen, 10 ends per cm, 32 cm width in the reed.

The weave structure is a classic two-block broken twill, symmetrically threaded across the warp. The asymmetry of the warp stripes is out of sync with the precise threading symmetry in the block weave structure. And, asymmetrical patches of weft are out of step with a strict treadling sequence. The chaos of leftover-linen warp and weft threads has me holding my breath, wondering how this will turn out. Yet, as I weave, the surprise after surprise that appears on the loom fills me with delight. These humble linen wash cloths will yield textile pleasure for years to come.

Humble linen wash cloths on the loom.
Red and white threads alternate in one of the warp stripes.
Glimakra Julia with 8 shafts.
Weft threads include 16/2 linen, 16/1 linen, doubled 16/1 linen, and 6/1 tow linen.
Explosion of color!
This is a fine way to use up quills from previous projects that still have a little linen on them, as well as using up the very tail end of a few tubes of linen.

The Grand Weaver breaks through chaos to reveal his beautiful plan. Despite the hardships we endure in this world, the structure threaded into the Grand Weaver’s fabric holds it all together. He brings our random stripes of emptiness into harmony with his project plan. We find continual delight as we see the surprising glory of his master plan. Jesus, with his deliberate stripes, comes to wash us clean.

May you find beauty wherever you look.

Happily Weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Linne Runner

Handwoven textiles help make our house a home. Home is where the heart is. And our home is where the art of the heart is. The most recent addition is a linen runner for our dining room table. I also wove a small table mat from the same warp. Linne Runner, design by Joanne Hall. 16/2 linen warp and weft, 8-shaft two-block broken twill. Glimåkra Julia countermarch loom.

Linen runner just cut off the Julia loom!
Linen runner and small table mat just off the Glimåkra Julia loom.
Handwoven linen table runner in a handweaver's home.
Colors for the runner were chosen with our dining room in mind.

Watch the process for creating this runner from beginning to end in this short slideshow video:

May your home be filled with art of the heart.

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