Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Den says:

    Your weaving is always an inspiration. I look forward to each post. Thank you.

  • Karen says:

    You amaze me! I have too many different hobbies and have to dedicate hours each day to different projects!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, You have some wonderful experiences with using your gifts. I have so much more I want to learn about weaving, and I enjoy digging in to this weaving arena.

      Happy weaving and everything else,
      Karen

  • marianne poling says:

    I love your idea of a “weaving rhythm…” immersing oneself in a “weaving life” that will increase skills and enjoy the gifts weaving brings every day! I tend to weave as a “reward” after all the daily tasks are completed. unfortunately, weaving gets pushed to the back of the line and then I don’t weave as much as I would like to. This was eye-opening for me and I am going to try and find my “weaving rhythm!”

    I really enjoy your blog!
    Marianne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, I like that you identified increasing skill and enjoying the gifts. That does explain why I focus on getting a good rhythm. There are always other necessary things to do to care for family and friends, but it’s good to be mindful of being stewards of the gifts we’ve been given, too. All of life deals with finding priorities and balance.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to think through my own processes and priorities! My challenge is that I make things in a variety of techniques: knitting, weaving, sewing, and quilting…I am so happy I eliminated the rest of them

    Since I only have one floor loom I decided to think of these techniques as my “looms”. Each “loom” requires a slightly different process, and it was very useful to actually take the time to think through each of them, what part do I enjoy the most and what do I tend to put off. You have mentioned that you put finishing first to make sure it gets done. It is interesting how people are different, finishing is the easiest part for me, while dressing the loom tends to be put off, even with a warp waiting.
    Another interesting part for me is to pay attention to which of the different technique requires almost no motivation to get going. Do you see a difference when it comes to your looms? Or the kind of projects you are working on?

    Thank you again for inspiring me to learn and grow!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, From one thinker to another… There’s a fascination to figuring out structures and processes in life. I’m glad to hear this post prompted you to think through some things. You have certainly helped me to think through things, too.

      As far as motivation on different sorts of projects, I do find that I tend to be drawn to the fascination of the drawloom, to weaving a tapestry, and to weaving rag rugs. I need no motivation for those at all. Even so, I find enjoyment in every stage of the process on every one of the looms.

      Thanks for helping me think,
      Karen

  • Pamela Graham says:

    Wow, impressive! You are clearly an inspiration. I am curious about the drawloom; I thought you could only add a drawloom to a VERTICAL countermarch loom.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, It is certainly easier to add a drawloom to a vertical countermarch. We (meaning Steve) modified the horizontal countermarch to fit with the drawloom frame.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Karen!

  • Helen P. says:

    Hello. I liked reading your posts a lot and here last I can see that you have a Glimåkra Ideal, I have the same. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems getting the scales accurately, even though I know how to regulate various things. Maybe you can help me. Do you have an approximate measure of the basic binding to the Ideal loom. That is, the measure from shaft to short stool, the measure from short stool to long stool, the measure from long stool to tramp. Just like that, as a guide. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Helen Pedersen.

    • Karen says:

      Hello Helen, Yes, I have a Glimåkra Ideal. Approximate measurements – from bottom of shafts to the short lamms is about 18cm, from short lamms to long lamms is about 18cm, from long lamms to treadles is about 23cm. The warp is not tied on yet, so these measurements are not exact.

      How many shafts are you using? Sometimes with more than 4 shafts, it is a little tricky to get everything to balance.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I noticed you begin planning the next project while weaving the current project.
    Just one future project? 😉

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

    Nannette

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    Amen xoxo

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    One Question ? Do you keep them all warped and working,Simultaneously ??
    Or one at a time ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, Each loom is on its own independent schedule. They are rarely synchronized so that they are all in weaving mode at the same time. Usually, the looms are operating in different phases of the weaving continuum. So, each day I decide which loom to focus on next. I can only weave on one loom at a time, so sometimes a warp sits on the loom for a while until I can get back to it.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I have a similar process, and have three looms that are usually active.
    When I was a fairly new weaver, I remember Anita Meyer saying that she has one project in the planning stage, one project in the weaving stage and one project in the finishing stage, and then working within the rhythms of her days. I follow a similar rhythm and it keeps me happy. I also have a fourth stage which is documentation and learning. Documentation so that I don’t forget what I have done, and learning because learning is a continuous lifelong adventure.
    Thanks for the inspiration today.
    Barbara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, You have a great system. Documentation is important, yes. I include it in my finishing stage. And I’m with you, learning is a lifelong adventure!

      Thanks for your great input,
      Karen

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Tried and True: Wool Skeins into Balls

I am adding about thirty more skeins to my yarn supply to get the colors I need for a new tapestry. At this rate, maybe I will have every single color of Borgs 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö wool on my shelves some day. That’s wishful thinking… But I do have what I need for now to make the butterflies for this special pictorial tapestry.

Preparing to weave a new pictorial tapestry.
Beautiful colors of wool skeins of yarn.

All these new skeins of yarn need to be wound into balls using my Swedish umbrella swift and a ball winder. In the past, I have used a manual ball winder. That means a lot of handle turning, but eventually all the yarn is wound into balls.

Swedish umbrella swift and an electric ball winder.
Skein of yarn is opened and placed on the umbrella swift.

This time is different. I found a new time-saving and arm-saving tool. It’s an electric ball winder, made by Fiber Artist Supply Company. I put the skein on the swift, cut the ties, secure the loose end of yarn to the ball winder, and then turn it on, gradually increasing the speed. In less than two minutes, I have another beautiful ball of yarn to use for making tapestry butterflies.

My new electric ball winder.
End of yarn is secured on the post of the ball winder.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
Dial on the winder allows me to gradually increase the speed. When I see that the skein is unwinding properly, I turn the dial to full speed.
Yarn swift is turning swiftly!
Maybe this is why it’s called a yarn “swift.” Previous pictorial tapestry, Siblings, is seen on the wall.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
One minute, fifty-four seconds later, and we have a ball of yarn.
New ball of yarn from the electric ball winder.
I will wrap the label on this ball of yarn and it will join the yarn collection for this tapestry.
Getting ready to start a new pictorial tapestry!
Linen warp is ready for beaming. Wool weft yarn is being sorted and organized for making butterflies.

May your tools give you more time for weaving.

Making it easier,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Nice looking ball winder! Love that it has a yardage counter.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, The LED number on the ball winder has to do with the speed, not the yardage. Even without a yardage counter, though, it’s very handy for what I need.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    I forgot how beautiful the siblings tapestry is.

    You are a very prolific textile artist. Would you share what method/system you use to store and protect your works when not in use?

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Nannette, Thank you for your sweet sentiments.
      I may not be the right person to ask about storing textiles. I try not to store things. If I have handwoven items that I’m not able to use, I try to give them away. If I weave a pictorial tapestry, I find a place to hang it where it can be seen.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I can’t wait to see what subject you have chosen for this tapestry. My personal favorite is your lizard. This one looks quite large.
    Considering how many skeins of yarn you needed to wind into balls, an automatic winder was definitely a wise purchase. I purchased an electric bobbin/pirn winder several months ago and have not regretted the expense.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Don’t let the number of skeins fool you. This tapestry will be smaller than the others I’ve done, but I needed some nuance in the colors. I will have a lot of yarn left when I’m done, but that’s no problem. It just sets me up in a better position for the next tapestry. 🙂

      Karen

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Process Review: Christmas Tree Skirt Fabric

This is a Christmas tree skirt in the making. The next stage of this special project will include appliqué and embroidery. The embellished tree skirt should be complete by the time Steve and I put up our Christmas tree this year. This luscious white-on-white wool cloth is just the beginning. Some colorful handwoven remnants will tell the rest of the story. I’ll let you know when that part is finished…

At the very end, with the back tie-on bar right behind the shafts.
Back tie-on bar is right behind the shaft bars. The shed is compromised, but I am still able to squeeze my shuttle through to weave enough picks to empty my quill.
Just off the loom, unwashed handwoven wool fabric.
Just off the loom, unwashed. 8/1 Möbelåtta unbleached wool warp and 6/1 Fårö bleached wool weft.

I thoroughly enjoyed the one-shuttle monotone weaving. It was a quiet stream amid my other rambunctious color-filled looms.

Handwoven fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Wash on delicate cycle in the washing machine. Place in dryer on low heat for ten minutes. Air dry to finish. Snuggle.

Here’s a view into the process of making this cloth.

May your days be merry and bright…

Happy early Christmas,
Karen

16 Comments

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Monksbelt Flowers on a Shoulder Bag

Remember Joanne Hall’s Swedish Art Weaves workshop that I took a few months ago? With the warp that was left, I explored some of the art weaves in more depth.

Monksbelt (Munkabälte), Dukagång, and Halvkrabba can be seen below the warp.
Monksbelt (Munkabälte), Dukagång, and Halvkrabba can be seen below the warp.

I finished off the linen warp by making a front and back panel for a small shoulder bag. A monksbelt pattern is scattered like flowers on the front. The back has various stripe patterns in weft-faced plain weave. I wove a shoulder strap on my band loom using 6/2 Tuna wool for warp and 12/6 cotton for weft.

Weaving Monksbelt with half heddle sticks.
Half-heddle sticks and batten in front of the back beam, for weaving monksbelt patterns.
Pick up for monksbelt.
Pick-up stick in front of the reed is being used to weave a monksbelt flower “petal.”
Handwoven shoulder bag in progress.
Back panel has varying stripe patterns.
Cutting off.
Cutting off.
Glimakra band loom. Narrow wool band.
Narrow wool band for the bag shoulder strap.

The bag has simple construction, mostly hand-stitched. In one of my remnant bins I found a piece of wool fabric that I wove several years ago. It’s perfect for the sides and bottom of the bag. The lining uses pieces from fabric that went into my latest rag rugs, and has pockets, of course.

Making a handwoven wool bag.
Overhand knots secure the warp ends.
Construction of a wool shoulder bag.
Ready to assemble all the parts.
Constructing a small handwoven wool bag.
Handwoven wool pieces are hand-stitched together.
Handwoven wool bag construction.
Bag construction continues with stitching the back in place.
Magnet closure on a handwoven bag.
Magnet closure is added to the lining before stitching the lining in place. Knots and fringe outline the top of the bag.

This bag with Monksbelt Flowers is for carrying sweet memories, happy moments, and heavenly dreams.

Handwoven shoulder bag.
Inside of handwoven wool bag.
Pockets in the lining.
Monksbelt Flowers handwoven shoulder bag.

Resources: Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall; Heirlooms of Skåne Weaving Techniques, by Gunvor Johansson; Väv Scandinavian Weaving Magazine, 2/2013.

This is the time for my annual pause for the month of July. I appreciate you joining me in this weaving journey!

I look forward to being back with you again Tuesday, August 4. In the meantime, joyfully draw living water from the source, Jesus Christ.

May you carry no more than necessary.

With love,
Karen

20 Comments

  • NancyNancy Malcolm says:

    Beautiful! As always.

  • Beth says:

    It’s wonderful! Love the playful flowers.

  • Averyclaire says:

    This is absolutely marvelous! I am a new weaver and am truly impressed with all your projects. So much to learn so little time! Thank you for sharing your lovely work! I can only dream

    • Karen says:

      Hi Averyclaire, Welcome to the delightful world of weaving. No matter how much time we have, thankfully, there will always be more to learn.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great way to use a class project! It’s such a happy bag 🙂 I think my favorite details are the asymmetrical flowers and the exposed fringe on top. I admire your creative use of remnants.

    Enjoy your pause!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I wanted to make asymmetrical flowers because that is possible only with the pick-up method, and not possible with standard monksbelt threading. The exposed fringe on top is one of my favorite details, too. It came about because it was simpler than trying to fold the edge under.

      Thanks!
      Love,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    I can’t add to above comments..

    Enjoy your sabbatical!!

    Nannette

  • Maria Slayman says:

    I love how it all came together from your stash! Bet that felt good! Beautiful!

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I love how the light colored centers in your monksbelt flowers jump out and say,”look at me”. This is a great design. And I like how you have the knots and linen ends sticking out. That is very effective.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, It was fun to try to make a monksbelt design that would show off the possibilities of this method. This was a fun “playtime” at the loom. The knots and linen ends sticking out was an afterthought, but I liked the idea to show off the light-hearted concept of the scattered flowers.

      Thanks for your encouragement,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    I love the view thru the loom of seeing the weaving that you did at the workshop thru the loom and then the newest weaving still showing on top of the warp.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, That’s my favorite view. There is something intriguing about looking through the warp to the previously-woven fabric.

      Thanks for chiming in,
      Karen

  • Lyna says:

    “May you carry no more than necessary.” A great reminder to cast our cares on Him!
    Have a blessed July!

  • Cynthia says:

    Hey Karen. Lovely. I have gobs of scrap quilt fabric. Too bad we don’t live closer, you could be going through my scraps for linings to your things.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, It’s fun to find ways to use scraps. It’s probably good that I don’t have access to your quilt fabric scraps. I have plenty of my own to use up. 🙂

      All the best,
      Karen

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It Is Going to Be All White

I am getting ready for Christmas. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Helen made a Christmas tree skirt for our family. It was a simple white felt skirt, with added colorful felt silhouettes depicting Christ’s Nativity. I want to reproduce that Christmas tree skirt using handwoven fabric. This fabric on the Ideal loom will be the base of the skirt. I will use some of my myriad handwoven fabric remnants for the colorful Nativity appliqué.

Weaving wool fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Möbelåtta warp on the right, and Fårö weft on the left.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Temple in place for consistent beat and tidy selvedges.

The warp is unbleached 8/2 Möbelåtta wool. The weft is bleached 6/1 Fårö wool. The 6-shaft point twill fabric is delightful. Perfect for what I have in mind. It is peaceful, soothing, restful, and calm. You can see that everything is going to be all white.

Wool fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Six-shaft point twill.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
In anticipation of Christmas.

There is a time for color, action, and noise. But we also need a time for serenity, stillness, and quiet reflection. Going alone to sit in the Lord’s presence gives us just that. It is there that we can pour out our heart in prayer. The Lord meets us where we are when we pray. And He tells the trusting heart that everything is going to be all right.

May your heart be at rest.

With you,
Karen

PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

The towel that was woven without floating selvedges is the same towel that received the most votes. Towel #2!

It seems counterintuitive that weaving twill structures without floating selvedges could produce a pleasing edge. But most of the time the small floats that appear at the edge are inconsequential, especially after wet finishing. (By the way, I am weaving the white point twill mentioned above without floating selvedges, as well.)

Thank you for your wonderful participation!

6 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    That’s a really lovely fabric, Karen. And yes, it’s calm, soothing, and absolutely self-assured. I’m a lover of winter and the can see the joyful little swirls of snow and ice crystals dancing over the blanket of snow. Your tree skirt is going to be stunningly beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, It does look like ice crystals on a layer of snow. It’s pretty. I think it’s going to be a lovely fabric to hold, too. Like a lightweight little blanket.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    Are you sure you live in Texas? Your handling of white on white brings memories of last December.

    Well done.

    Nannette

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great idea for this beautiful fabric! You already know that I really like white on white, not to mention utilizing leftover fabric for the appliqué, love it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I have been carrying this project idea in my mind for a few years. It feels good to get it started. White on white has always been a favorite of mine, too, though I haven’t done much weaving of it.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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