Share the Joy of Weaving

What a delight to share the weaving experience with a friend! Two of these hot pads were woven by friends with no prior weaving experience. Miniature rag rugs make great hot pads, and provide a perfect learning experience for a guest weaver.

Rag rug hot pads.
Tenth hot pad, woven on 12/9 cotton warp. Fabric strips, previously cut for rag rugs, are used for the weft.
Ten rag rug hot pads are cut from the loom!
Ten hot pads are cut from the loom.
Ten hot pads ready for finishing.
Ten hot pads ready for finishing.
Finished handwoven rag rug hot pads.
Ends are tied in overhand knots and trimmed. Ready to be used!

I hope you are finding opportunities to share your joys with friends. The Christmas season reminds us that we have someone greater who shared His joy with us. He stays by our side, waiting for any call for help, but allows us to make the mistakes that teach us life lessons. As with weaving, every error can be forgiven. There is a remedy for any hopeless situation. Take courage, God is a rescuer. He sent Jesus on a mission to rescue us. And absolutely nothing can stop the mission of God. I am amazed at what he can do with the threads of a willing soul. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King.

May you share your joy.

Merry Christ – mas,
Karen

Counting at the Cross

I am winding a lovely all-blue warp on my warping reel. When I pause, as I do regularly to count the ends, it is easy to put the winding on hold. I tuck the pair of warp ends under a section of wound warp at one of the vertical posts of the reel. That holds it, and keeps threads under tension until I’m ready to continue where I left off.

Winding a warp on a warping reel.
Pair of warp ends are held secure while I stop to count another section of ends.

I stop after winding each section. I do the counting at the cross, always counting twice. A long twisted cord (one of my choke ties) marks my place, section by section. The count needs to be an exact match, of course, with the number of ends in the pattern draft.

Counting warp ends as I wind a warp on the warping reel.
Long twisted cord helps keep track of how many ends have been counted.
Cotton warp just beamed.
After the warp is beamed, each section is counted again to prepare for threading the loom.

The Christmas season reminds us that Jesus brought grace to earth. From manger to cross. The grace of the Lord Jesus is perfectly complete. Like a planned warp, there is nothing more to add. All the threads have been counted. And they match the divine plan. Any threads of my own effort would be threads that don’t belong. The grace of forgiveness comes purely as a gift.

May your counted ends match the pattern.

Christmas blessings,
Karen

Making this Autumn Rag Rug

I enjoy making it up as I go—changing blocks and switching colors. That’s what I did for the first quarter of this long rug. Then, I made notes of what I did so I could reverse the pattern to the middle of the rug. The entire sequence, then, is repeated for the second half. And now, there are only six more inches to weave on this autumn-toned rug.

Rag rug on the loom. Spaced rep.
First rug on this warp is almost complete.

Because of experience I gained by weaving towels with thick and thin threads, I am quite comfortable designing this rug on the loom. Fabric strips and rug warp = thick and thin. I understand it. On the other hand, for every weaving concept I understand, I realize how much more I don’t know at all. Who can be good at it all?

Cloth beam fills up with a long rag rug.
Cloth beam is wrapped with this long rag rug. Kumihimo braided cord that is attached to my Gingher snips hangs on the corner of the breast beam. I “wear” the snips when I sit down to weave.
Rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Thick and thin weft enables interesting patterns in the spaced rep rag rug.

I am pretty good at being “good.” But I’m far from perfect. We know that Jesus went about doing good and helping people. So, yes, we can follow his example. But there’s a problem. Being good is not good enough. Our good will never reach perfection. Fortunately, Jesus gave us more than a good example. He gave his life so that we could receive forgiveness for everything in us that is not good. And that is what we call good news!

May your cloth beam fill up with woven goods.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Breezy Easy Weaving

Let’s take M’s and O’s beyond the ordinary. Treadling variations bring out interesting patterns. And a little bit of color in the right places makes a unique border stripe. What other designs will emerge on the remaining towels, I wonder?

Treadling variations in M's and O's.
Treadling variations produce an interesting pattern in this M’s and O’s fabric.
M's and O's with inventive border pattern.
Border pattern uses one of my favorite techniques, the two-pick stripe, to draw a fine line. The center “ribbon” of the border pattern uses two shuttles to alternate the weft colors.

Some projects on the loom are complicated and tedious. This one isn’t. With primarily one shuttle and simple treadling, this is breezy easy weaving. The hard work was in the hours of preparation, dressing the loom. Threading and sleying 896 ends is no small achievement. But now, because of that work, it’s pure enjoyment to sit here and weave.

M's and O's on the loom.
Ready for the next M’s and O’s design.
Sister comes to visit and gets her first weaving lesson.
My sister came to visit, so, of course, she is persuaded to try her hand at weaving. Lookin’ good, Sis!

Forgiveness is hard work, too. It takes effort to put away bitterness and anger. But we must. It paves the way for unhindered kindness, which our world desperately needs. Forgiveness changes you. If you’ve been forgiven, you know that. A forgiven person becomes a forgiving person. And when we forgive, which is never easy, we are threading heddles and sleying the reed. Our efforts make way for the pure enjoyment of dispensing kindness. And we discover that the fabric of our life is being made into something beyond the ordinary.

May you be on the receiving end of forgiveness.

Love,
Karen

The Discovery Towels workshop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, August 24-26, is filling up! If you’d like to join us, call Debbie (at the number below) right away. I would love to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/1509042016009851/photos/a.1519556898291696.1073741829.1509042016009851/1933085693605479/?type=3&theater

Handwoven Thick and Thin Towels

Do you remember the black and white towels? I love the fascinating results of weaving with thick and thin warp ends, and thick and thin weft threads. That’s why I submitted a project to Handwoven for their November/December 2016 Thick & Thin issue. I gave you only a brief glimpse of the thick and thin towels I wove on an Aquamarine, Teal, and Moss warp, from the palette given me for that issue. (See Tools Day: Loom Cart and This Time in Color.)

Thick and thin towels on the loom.
Double bobbin shuttle carries the doubled weft.
Thick and thin towels at the front beam. Karen Isenhower
Breast beam with thick and thin towels.
Thick and thin towels just off the loom!
Cut from the loom, new colorful thick and thin towels.
Thick and thin towels just off the loom. Karen Isenhower
Towels just off the loom.

Guess what!? My project was accepted for publication. Not only that, these towels that I enjoyed designing and weaving have been placed on the cover! What an unexpected privilege!

Excited to see my Thick and Thin towels on the cover of Handwoven!
Credit: Photograph by Joe Coca from Handwoven November/December 2016 magazine. Copyright © F+W Media 2016.

As great as it is to have your handiwork appear on the cover of a national publication, there is something even greater–being loved. Being on the receiving end of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Love is like that. Love is to be demonstrated. That’s how Christ demonstrated his love to me–kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. His love is printed on the cover of my heart, with instructions written within so that I can learn to love like I’ve been loved. That’s the cover story I like to tell.

May your heart be covered with love.

With love,
Karen

PS I am recovering from back surgery better than anyone expected. I’m not weaving yet, of course, but I have no shortage of things to share with you while I regain my strength! Thanks for your wonderful encouraging words and prayers for my full recovery.

PPS My draft and instructions for the thick and thin towels are in this Handwoven November/December 2016 issue. This is the same draft I used for the black and white towels.
For purchase of the Handwoven November/December 2016 print edition:
http://www.interweavestore.com/handwoven-magazine-november-december-2016-print
For purchase of the digital edition:
http://www.interweavestore.com/handwoven-magazine-november-december-2016-digital
For weavingtoday:
http://www.weavingtoday.com/