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!”
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!
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.
Even through randomwarp 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?
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.
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.
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.
Watch the process for creating this runner from beginning to end in this short slideshow video:
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.
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.
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.
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.