Weave Past the Mid Mark

“Mid” marks the halfway point on every pre-measured tape I make. I like to know when I’m starting the second half of something. It’s a target before I reach it, and a passing milestone after I cross that line.

Middle line marks the halfway point in the weaving.

Pre-measured twill tape has a line at the halfway point, marked “Mid.” Tail from a spliced warp end will be trimmed in the finishing process.

As I’m weaving this throw, my thoughts jump ahead. I will have a few skipped threads to fix, and spliced warp ends to clip. I think about how I will hem the piece, and wash and dry it. In what special manner shall I present the finished throw to my beloved daughter-in-law? And, my mind goes to the twelve-shaft double weave towels for my daughter that are up next, with the flowery threads beckoning me from the shelves.

Cotton double weave on the loom.

Double weave with eight shafts. 8/2 cotton.

Shelves of weaving thread!

Do you see the aqua, poppy, marigold, and orchid cottolin threads that are ready to jump off the shelves and be woven into hand towels?

I’d like to know where I am in the span of my life. There is no “Mid” mark, though, is there? I’m not in charge of that measured tape. Faith in Christ, love, and perseverance—these form a foundation. A solid foundation is security for life. In this security, I think about what I need to repair and resolve and finish. And how to leave intangible gifts that outlive me. And I think about the glory that awaits. Imagine fabric of unbridled creativity in colors only heaven knows!

May your second half be better than your first.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Meg says:

    What a awesome, beautiful, fantastic piece. And congrats to midway.

  • Written like the creative soul God created you as.

    Midway is hard to place with life on Earth. It is not as ‘tangible’ as your weaving. I often wonder why some people have a very short midpoint and others…. much longer… What have they left behind to continue on through others?

    Even so, having been gifted hand woven fabric from another generation, I cannot help but look at your sparkling colors and see the colors they will fade to be with time. Is the softness that time brings to dyes also a softness God gives to our memories left behind.

    Blessings,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, The items I have of my grandmother’s handwork is faded, as you say. Her memory lives on in me, and is softly faded to the point I only remember the good things about her.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen. At my age, I have no doubt that I have long since passed my mid point although I didn’t really wake up to that fact until I hit fifty. The first half of my life, I believed the tangible was so important; but in the second half, I believe that it is the intangible we leave behind that will be the longest lasting.
    After seeing so many beautiful handcrafted items in second hand stores, I realized that what I valued as family heirlooms to be handed down through the generations with stories may not be valued as such by the recipient of my work.
    So I just try to concentrate on the enjoyment of creating whatever I make, make what I like and hope that someone else might value it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I agree with you that the intangible seems more important now. The values we pass on will outlast the things we hand down.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Thank you all for your reflections, uncannily, similar to my own recently… the Holy Spirit weaving through our lives. Can you recommend 4 shaft double weave patterns for baby blankets? Though the blankets will probably not last, hopefully the love that weaves them will cover those new little lives.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, The only 4-shaft double weave I’ve done was a double-width throw. The double weave baby blankets I’ve woven were on 8-shafts. Both the double-width and the 8-shaft double weave projects were from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Your love will definitely have the longest-lasting impact.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Wild Linen Rya

Rya knots and loops of threads look chaotic at first. These linen rya knots will never be tame, but that’s to be expected. Linen butterflies have created a swath of wild rya “flowers” planted in a smooth linen “lawn.”

Making rya knots with a bundle of linen threads.

Continuous weft bundle forms loops between rya knots.

Linen rya knots.

Loops are clipped. Green butterfly is for the background plain weave weft.

Each section of rya starts with a butterfly made of several strands of linen in assorted weights and colors. I tie each rya knot on a pair of warp ends, leaving a loop between knots. There are two to three passes of plain weave between each row of knots. When I finish a butterfly, I go back and clip all the loops. After the loops are cut, I trim the tops of the threads to even out the rya “flower garden.”

Linen rya knots on a linen weft-faced background.

Tops of the rya threads are trimmed. I intentionally leave a few shorter and longer threads, for interest.

Linen rya knots on a weft-faced linen background. Tapestry/inlay sampler.

Linen rya knots on a weft-faced linen background. Wild linen “flowers” growing out of a smooth linen “lawn.”

When things around us look a mess and don’t make sense, full of knots and loops, there is one thing we must do. Keep holding on to faith. Fight to keep your faith strong. Faith in Christ Jesus will carry you through uncertainty and will reveal the first ray of hope. The loops will be clipped, the threads will be trimmed. A garden of color will emerge. Faith waits for that.

May your faith be strong.

All the best,
Karen

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When to Start Over

I have started this tapestry sampler three times. The biggest problem was the header. I had so much draw-in that warp ends were breaking at the selvedges. Cut off and tie back on. I knew what to do–bubble the weft. But again, the second time, I had too much draw-in. Maybe I can ease the width back out to where it should be… Nope. After several hours of weaving with beautiful linen butterflies, and breaking more warp ends, I gave up.

Texas hill country wildflowers!

Texas hill country wildflowers fill the landscape with color.

I carefully removed all of the linen weft, and took out all of the header. Start over. Again. I did what I should have done from the start. Bubble the weft MORE. It works! Now I have a great starting place for the tapestry weaving to flourish. Until I had a good header, I was wasting my time trying to make the tapestry work.

Beginning of linen tapestry sampler.

Successful header is the foundation for this hem of bleached and unbleached linen. Tapestry sampler begins with some color shading, using butterfly bundles of linen in vivid colors, borrowed from the wildflowers.

Windows beside the little loom light up the linen tapestry sampler.

Windows let in the Texas hill country sunshine.

Texas wild flower bouquet. Monksbelt cloth on the table.

Monksbelt cloth on the table borrows the colors of the wildflower bouquet.

Words are like a header for our view of the world. Words shape our thinking. Listen carefully to test words, like you test food on your plate by tasting it before eating the whole thing. Test the words you hear. And only swallow what is right and good. If the header is good, your tapestry can flourish.

May you hear words that pass the test.

With you,
Karen

As a follow up to Quiet Friday: Favorite Weaving Books, Besty Greene sent me this picture. I love it!

Hi Karen
I am sending you this message in the theme of your last blog post. Ta da! A rug inspired by your project in Handwoven.
Betsy

Rag rug inspired by Handwoven project.

Rag rug by Betsy Greene.

 

2 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    I’m curious to know what you mean by bubble the warp. I’m unfamiliar with that term.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, Bubbling the weft (not warp) is placing the weft in waves, or bubbles, across the shed. Click here to read my definition in the Weaving Glosssry: Bubbling. And here is a picture of bubbling the weft. I didn’t get a picture of placing the weft for the header, but this is a picture of the hem area of the tapestry.
      Bubbling the Weft

      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Just a Little More Yarn, Please

Cotton, linen, wool. Thick, thin, slick, rough, smooth, bumpy. Yarn comes in so many shapes and sizes. But, oh, it’s the colors that draw me in. I love a wall of yarn! I don’t need to have it all, I just want to look at it. Thread on tubes looks spectacular, piled up in cubbies. Yarn in skeins looks inviting. Yarn, thread, fiber… Whatever you want to call it, may I have just a little more, please?

Wall of Thread at Vävstuga!

I love the circles of colors and the “O’s” of the tubes! It’s as if they all have their little mouths open.

Working with colors at Vävstuga.

Class time at Vävstuga often means playing with colors.

Tubes of Linen Thread at Vävstuga.

Decisions, decisions… Which linen color would you choose?

Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne, MA

Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers, just outside the Vävstuga weaving studio.

Wall of Thread at Vävstuga! Isn't it pretty?

Cotton, anyone? This is a fun wall of color! It is the backdrop to the table where we wind our quills at Vävstuga.

Bridge of Flowers at Shelburne Falls, MA

Another Dahlia that caught my attention! I like the raggedy edges. Imagine blending yarn in these colors.

Skeins of Wool at Vävstuga

Yarn on skeins will be wound into balls to be prepared for weaving.

More Thread Tubes at Vävstuga!

What can I say? I never get tired of seeing the thread color circles!

Please come back next week for the lively conversation I had with Swedish weaving expert and founder of Vävstuga Weaving School, Becky Ashenden, in her living room. Find out what makes her tick!

May your days be filled with color!

Just a little more yarn, pretty please,

Karen

 

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