Weave a Melody

I am finishing up a few meaningful (surprise) gifts for certain dearly-loved individuals. Christmas presents. Shhhh… The drawloom part represents untold hours at the loom. The band-loom part is the blink of an eye in comparison.

Cutting off midway so I can easily continue weaving.
Still enough warp for four more towels. I follow Amy Blair’s instructions for this maneuver: A Way to Cut Off the Loom Mid-Warp. This makes it possible to resume weaving with little fuss.
A few new towels from the drawloom.
First few pieces are being removed for finishing as gifts.

For the band, I am using the same blue and gray 16/2 cotton that is in the drawloom warp. I quickly wind a very narrow warp the shortest distance possible on my warping reel—116 centimeters. It’s a snap to beam it on the band loom, thread it, and start weaving. In no time at all, while listening to Christmas carols, I’m at the end of the warp, and cutting off the new woven band. Wouldn’t it be sweet to tie up every gift with a handwoven band? This band, however, will be inside the wrapping, as an embellishment on the gifts.

Glimakra band loom - threading.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Set up is a breeze.
Glimakra 2-treadle band loom.
Band weaving begins with 8/2 cotton for weft. I quickly decide that the finer thread of 16/2 cotton is what I prefer.
Christmas carols and jingle bells while weaving on the band loom.
Jingle bells add festive cheer to the left hand coordination of band loom weaving, while Christmas carols ring out in the house.
Band loom - hanging tabs for handwoven towels.
Plenty!
Band woven on Glimakra band loom.
Perfect embellishment for the gifts that will soon be wrapped.

Melodies are an embellishment of the heart. They can arise in a few moments, yet they are connected to heart-filled sentiments that have taken years to develop. In this Christmas season, songs that are prayers become gifts for the newborn King Jesus. Prayers as songs and songs as prayers open our hearts to worship (adore) the Lord. “O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

A melody-filled Christmas to you,
Karen

Picture Perfect Handwoven Skirt

The skirt in my mind is picture perfect in style and fit. If I could snap my fingers and make the skirt appear, I would. Instead, I find my way to a workable sewing pattern by trial and error—agonizing over every small step. The sewing part doesn’t scare me. But I’m in over my head in the garment design arena.

Using Garment Designer to design a layered tiered skirt.
Quarter-scale pattern pieces give me a way to test and try various ways to put the skirt together. I learn a lot of things that don’t work. There is much sewing, ripping, tweaking, calculating and recalculating, etc. And pulling my hair out, figuratively speaking.
Designing a handwoven skirt using Garment Designer software.
Settling on something that works. One more little mockup should answer most remaining questions. I use Garment Designer (patterning and design software) to create the patterns. I can print quarter-scale and full-scale sewing patterns.

A not-as-simple layered tiered skirt replaces my original idea of a simple three-tiered skirt. The new design has a fitted yoke at the top of the skirt (and a zipper) instead of a super-simple elastic gathered waist. All this, so the distinctive borders of each tier will flutter freely, and not be trapped in seams. The trouble is worth it. I can see the finished skirt in my mind’s eye. It is phenomenal! The fabric is handwoven, made for a purpose. This is a skirt worth waiting for.

Testing ideas for a handwoven skirt.
Testing ideas full scale. After several tries, I finally have a good fit on the skirt yoke, which is encouraging.
Handwoven skirt in the making!
Full-size mockup (not shown) satisfies my fit and style requirements. Floral cotton lining fabric will be concealed under the handwoven tiers. Full-scale sewing pattern is printed and ready…

You were skillfully made for a purpose. Through many trials and errors, lessons in success and failure, we discover why we are here. God created you for this very time. Trust him to guide you, especially through agonizing moments. By his grace, he forms us into the phenomenal masterpiece that he has always had in mind.

May you walk with purpose.

Love,
Karen

Process Review: Rosepath and Butterflies

I allowed the remaining warp to sit on the loom for a little while after cutting off the Eye of the Beholder tapestry. It crossed my mind to be completely done with it. Go ahead, discard the bit of warp that is left, I told myself. But this is linen. I have a hard time discarding linen.

New tapestry, just cut off the loom.
Cutting off Eye of the Beholder tapestry.

The warp on the loom is threaded in rosepath, with a coarse sett of 3 ends per centimeter (7.5 ends per inch). The potential weaving length is no more than 20-30 centimeters. Then, the “what if” happens. What if…I use leftover butterflies from the tapestry as weft for a short rosepath design? One thing leads to another. Now, I have a new favorite purse. The tapestry memories live on!

Linen warp and wool weft in rosepath.
Stick shuttle works to carry various lengths of wool butterflies across the linen warp.
Tapestry butterflies put to use.
Tapestry butterflies are put to use. (Butterflies accumulate with every tapestry.)
Rosepath garden.
Butterflies in the rosepath garden.
Rosepath with leftover tapestry wool butterflies.
Cutting off beautiful linen and wool rosepath!
Cutting off.
Finishing the ends.
Finishing the ends.
Rosepath and Butterflies Purse.
Rosepath and Butterflies Purse.
Handwoven purse, with lining and pocket.
Inside of purse is lined, with a pocket added, of course.
Handwoven strap made from 12/6 cotton rug warp.
Strap is 4.5cm wide and was woven with 12/6 cotton rug warp on the Glimåkra 2-treadle band loom. I sewed the strap to the bag, keeping the warp edging of the rosepath fabric visible, with the braids at the ends as embellishments.
Rosepath and Butterflies Purse. Handwoven.

May you know when to ask, “What if?”

Be blessed,
Karen

Process Review: Eye of the Beholder Tapestry and Video

I started planning this tapestry portrait of my mother one year ago. As I was concluding her portrait on my loom, it became evident that her real-life tapestry was also coming to a conclusion. I arrived at Mom’s bedside with the portrait in hand, warp ends dangling. Her smile in that cherished moment is one I will never forget. In the days that followed, she quietly slept. I silently braided the warp-end edging, trimmed the tails on the back, stabilized the tapestry through the lining, and stitched the lining in place. I carefully secured the last stitch. In the wee hours of the next morning, while she was asleep, the Lord Jesus called my mother home. Tapestry complete. Beautiful.

Weaving a pictorial tapestry. Making butterflies.
Making butterflies gets messy. Balls of yarn are everywhere as I combine strands of wool to get just the right blends of color. And then I rubber band every label back on its yarn, and every ball of yarn goes back in its proper bin.
Tapestry portrait. Eye of the Beholder.
I was overjoyed when I was able to see her eyes in the tapestry.

Eye of the Beholder is about my mother who taught me to appreciate beauty. This is a portrait of a woman with an eye for beauty, with beauty in her eyes.

I humbly share my process of weaving Eye of the Beholder in this video:

May you seek beauty that never ends.

Her daughter,
Karen

Tried and True: How to Remove Guesswork

Documenting your work for repeatability is valuable for any any step-by-step process. With the Lizard tapestry I learned how to do the finishing, including the backing. By the time I was ready to put a backing on the Siblings tapestry, I had limited recall of that first experience. Now that Eye of the Beholder is ready for backing, I need help again. Fortunately, I made note of every detail while constructing the backing for the Siblings tapestry. So, this time I have the benefit of written and photo documentation. No guesswork!

How to Document Your Steps

How to document your process steps.
Photo guidance on the computer corresponds with enumerated steps on my phone. This removes guesswork for the next part of the process.
  1. Do research. Gather your notes, search resources, and get advice from experienced weavers regarding the process you want to document.
  2. Outline the steps. Write out and number all the steps as you understand them. Doing this before you start helps you think through the entire process.
  3. Refine the steps. Begin working through the steps in order. Adjust the steps as you go. You may need to add or eliminate steps, or change the order in which they are done.
  4. Make it visual. Take a photo of any step that benefits from visual clarification.
  5. Finalize. Simplify and clarify the instructions in every step as if they are meant for someone who knows less about this process that you do. Remove redundant and/or unnecessary photos.

May you remove guesswork as much as possible.

All the best,
Karen