I have an ample stash of handwoven bands. Still, I am making a new handwoven band that is “just right” for the strap on a simple shoulder bag I am making from a rag rug remnant. I pull several near-empty tubes of 12/6 cotton rug warp from the shelves to wind a five-meter warp. I enjoy finding bits of rug warp that can work together—all left over from various rag rug projects.
I warp the band loom and start weaving. Ah, what a pleasure to make a specific strap for a specific bag! And all of it from what I have on hand. It’s a picture of the way love takes odds and ends like you and me, and finds a way to make us fit together.
It’s like preparing a simple meal for family. You figure out what you have, you scrape together what you can, and you spend time in the kitchen to put it all together. It’s not fancy, nor is it perfect. But it’s good. Love, after all, is the primary ingredient for a good family meal. Love is the primary ingredient for a lot of good things, isn’t it?
I have never woven napkins because napkins that are used get soiled. Why spend time weaving something you have to be so careful about? That is about to change. I am dressing the drawloom for napkins!
The napkins I have in mind are family-friendly napkins for all ages. They will get soiled, of course. They are made with grandchildren in mind–Cottolin warp and linen weft. I have a fun design for each napkin. And we’ll be ready to wipe any messy mouth. Napkins are made to get soiled.
Wisdom is marked by a sense of calm. There is no dread of something ruining the day. If a little (or big) person soils a napkin, so be it. That will just serve to add a bit of history to the cloth. With a little wisdom, I’ll remain undisturbed.
The 2021 cloth is cut from the loom. Let’s unroll the year to see how it looks. I see cherished moments. Treasured memories. New friendships. Family relationships enjoyed. Mistakes made. A few heartbreaks. Sorrow and rejoicing are intertwined at times. Besides the finished fabric, there are a few odd remnants worth keeping in my heart. And, like most thrums, there are some things I am not going to hold on to.
Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholder—tapestry of my mom. The Lord used the making and finishing of this woven portrait to reiterate His nearness when I needed it most. 2. Siblings, tapestry from the previous year, earned the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Award at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference last summer. 3. The yellow huckaback three-tiered skirt, Tiers of Joy, ought to earn an achievement award. However, the real reward is a genuine sense of accomplishment through perseverance.
Know when to let go. 2022 is a new warp on the loom. Some things from last year don’t belong. We have a fresh start with no room for complaints. Threads on the loom are rich with hope, ready for the intersection of thoughtful wonder and exploration. Look for results of tangible beauty.
Please enjoy looking back at the weaving journey of 2021 with me. I’m grateful to have you here, and look forward to more good times together!
House is a structure. Home is an atmosphere—an atmosphere of love. Three young mothers have made their houses into homes. These are the mothers of my grandchildren, and I am giving a personalized towel to each of them. The combination drawloom is my favorite tool for an undertaking like this. (Be sure to watch the video/slideshow below to see the whole process!)
First up is the Peach Jam towel to hang in my house, where all the families come for flavors of home. Next is Melody’s towel, with a whimsical cottage as Home (which can be read from front or back). Marie’s towel copies the cover of one of her favorite books, The Wise Woman. And Lindsay, a homeschool mom, has a towel that shows the wordplay humor that her family enjoys, Home’s Cool. A house is for people; come on in. A home is for family; welcome home.
Join me in watching the whole process, all the way to the finished towels (several months compressed into a few minutes):
It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.
In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.
A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.