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

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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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Process Review: Garden Rosepath Rag Rugs

A rosepath rag rug puts beauty under our toes. Strange? Yes, strangely wonderful. Let’s fill our homes with handmade goodies. Let’s make smiles happen in every corner. Let’s be different and make a difference. Live with beauty underfoot.

Three of these rugs have already gone to their new homes. (See Tied Up in Knots.) The remaining three rugs bring outdoor garden beauty indoors.

Rosepath rag rugs with a garden theme. Karen Isenhower
From bottom to top: Planting Seeds, Prayer Garden, Mystery Garden.

Come with me now to review the process of making these six rosepath rag rugs.

As Shelter in Place becomes a necessity for many, consider these words of encouragement from the book of Psalms: For He [the Lord] will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity. Psalm 27:5a

May you have smiles in every corner of your home.

Peace,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They are beautiful!
    Be well, Karen!

  • Charlotte says:

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh my dearest! I so enjoyed your video! Thank you for sharing the journey accompanied with lovely music. You are dear and precious and it reflects in all you life and that which you create!

    Much love to you…so near and yet so far…Charlotte

  • Angela says:

    Absolutely beautiful rugs!! Such soothing music. I was wondering how wide your fabric strips were.

    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, I’m glad you like the rugs! The music is courtesy of Apple photos, where I create the slideshow.

      I cut my fabric strips 3/4″ (2cm). The hem area strips are half that size – 1cm. This is what I have found to be the norm in most of the Swedish rag rug books I’ve seen.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Margaret Cook says:

    I am going to make a rosepath rag rug. I have linen for the warp and rug strips that I plan to do for some color in the rug. Can you share what sett was used for the rugs. And did you use s tabby in between each pattern weft? This is a new pattern for me and I want to get all the info right.
    Thank you for any help.
    Margaret

    • Karen says:

      Hi Margaret, Hooray for your rosepath rag rug endeavor!

      My sett is 8 epi for the rag rugs. Yes, I used tabby in between each pattern weft, except for one rug that was pattern only, with no tabby. I predict you will have a great time weaving your rug.

      Let me know if you have any more questions I can help you with. You can always reach me through the “Get in Touch” tab at the top of the webpage.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D'Anne says:

    Your rugs are beautiful, Karen! Stay healthy and keep weaving.

  • marlene toerien says:

    Hi Karen please translate plattvav for me, when I googled it your name popped up with an example, it looks like monksbelt but I am not sure that is correct.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, You must be referring to plattväv towels that I made a while back. I don’t know about translating it, except I think platt means flat, so flat weave??

      I’m not an expert, except for my own limited experience with plattväv and monksbelt. They are very similar, both would be considered overshot weaves because they have pattern weft with tabby in between. Monksbelt usually has two pattern treadles, whereas plattväv has only one pattern treadle (at least in the plattväv I have woven.)

      I hope that helps.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Lyna says:

    Another comforting passage is Psalm 91, especially verses 3-7. In uncertain times our Father God is our refuge and solid rock.
    God Bless!

  • Cynthia says:

    Beautiful. You and Steve stay safe I’m praying I don’t run out of thread for quilt making. I may try and call later in the week

  • Sandy says:

    Gorgeous! You’ve inspired me to think about making a few rag rugs for my new home.

    Stay safe and healthy in these troubling times.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, Thank you! I do hope it works out for you to make some rag rugs for your new home. It’s a wonderful way to personalize your space.

      Keep in health and blessings,
      Karen

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Tied Up in Knots

Every time you cut off a warp there is more to do before the woven material is ready for its end purpose. Do you enjoy tying knots? And, hemming rugs by hand? I don’t mind completing these final steps. It’s part of the whole weaving process. Three of the six rosepath rag rugs are now finished. Truly finished.

Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing!
Six rosepath rag rugs. Rugs are cut apart and warping-slat dividers have been removed.

Tying the warp ends in overhand knots permanently secures the weft. These knots won’t work loose. I turn the hem, concealing the knots; and stitch the hem down. After I sew on my label, the work is complete.

Tying knots to finish a rag rug.
Warp ends are tied into overhand knots, four ends at a time.
Rag rug finishing.
Ends are trimmed to 1 inch.
Hand hemming a rosepath rag rug.
Hem is folded under and pressed. The needle catches a warp end from the fold and a warp end from the body of the rug. Rug warp is used as thread for hemming.

Jesus famously said, “It is finished,” when he was on the cross. His completed good work replaces our work of trying to be good enough, trying to fix everything, trying to control our lives. Our knots won’t hold. We can trust that his finished work will never be undone. God loves you. Trusting him is loving him back.

Rosepath rag rug, fresh off the loom.
One completed rug, named “Treasures,” for my neighbor’s home.
Handwoven rag rugs, named "Blessed Assurance." Made for a friend.
Pair of completed rugs, named “Blessed Assurance,” for another neighbor’s home.

May love securely hold you.

Trusting,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Beth says:

    They are beautiful, Karen!
    I’m curious, do you wet finish the rugs before using them on the floor?

  • Charlotte says:

    Blessed assurance…Jesus is mine…oh what a foretaste of Glory divine…

    I adore your two rugs entitled “Blessed Assurance”…absolutely adore them!

    As you may be aware, Art Camp was cancelled. Now…the Bluebonnet Rally is cancelled. For 9 years…our April has been spent serving 250 people in Bandera. Goodness…we are quarantined and home. Now, I have this wonderful time before me to play in the studio. We need to talk!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, The “Blessed Assurance” rugs are showstoppers, much to my surprise, since there is not a bit of blue in them. 🙂

      This is my story, this is my song. Our Lord is song-worthy all the day long.

      Love you,
      Karen

  • ellen b santana says:

    i heard in a sermon that the phrase it is finished in the original language was words used in commerce, to signify that the debt was paid. so cool.

  • Kristin G says:

    Such lovely rugs and words, Karen! I’m so glad I got to see one of them up close at the guild meeting – they really are beautiful. You made my heart smile with the ‘Blessed Assurance” named rugs. What a wonderful song to have playing in my mind today.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m always happy when someone has a song in their heart. Glad to contribute to that!

      Your kind words are such an encouragement to me.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    What a beautiful bunch of rag rugs you have made!
    I am cutting rags at the moment…in between other textile projects 🙂
    We are so blessed to always have something to do, even more so now when staying home has become our new daily life. The healthcare system needs for as many of us as possible to do just that!! My mom has been on lockdown (in Norway) for a week already.
    Take care and stay healthy!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I’m glad to hear you have another rag rug project in the works. I agree, it is a blessing to have no shortage of things to do at home. It’s a good time to pray for our mothers, and those more vulnerable.

      Keep in health.
      Love,
      Karen

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Happy Ending Rag Rug Warp

Welcome to my weaving studio, which doubles as our home, I said, as they walked up to the front door. Our luncheon guests were introduced to the weaving environment of the Texas hill country home that Steve and I enjoy. Our time together was refreshing, filled with lively conversation over a home-cooked meal, complete with discussions about looms, threads, and like-minded pleasures.

Lunch with honored guest, Joanne Hall.
Steve and I enjoy lunch with honored guest, Joanne Hall, and a few members of the San Antonio Handweavers Guild.
Karen, Janis, Joanne Hall, Henriette, Vesna, and Cindy.

Six rosepath rag rugs encompass the cloth beam, with the back tie-on bar just inches behind the heddles. It seems only fitting that the woman who gave me my first rosepath rag-weaving experience should be given the cherished scissors for this momentous occasion. Joanne, will you do us the honor of cutting off? I couldn’t have wished for a happier ending of this warp.

Joanne Hall does the honor of cutting off the rag rugs.
Joanne Hall, ready to cut off the rag rugs.
Cutting off rag rugs.
Cutting off.
Unrolling the cloth beam with new rosepath rag rugs.
Unrolling rugs from the cloth beam.
Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing.
Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing.

We all have wishes, some of which we make public, and some remain as closely-held secrets. It’s those deep wishes that make us who we are. God knows your name. He knows your deep desires. One day, all our secret wishes will be rolled out like a stretch of rag rugs for the Maker to examine. Amazingly, he offers grace to cover the wrongs. And He embroiders his Name on the hand-crafted souls that belong to him.

May your cloth beam keep filling up with deep-hearted wishes.

Your friend,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Just beautiful, and your weaving studio/home is lovely! What fun having Joanne there!

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Thank you to you and Steve for a splendid day in the Hill country. And your rugs are lovely (as are so many other pieces in your home ). You have a great eye for putting colors together.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janis, We sure enjoyed having you. I appreciate your kind compliments. I do get a thrill from putting colors together.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Straight selvages. Even rows. Woven hems with a little ripple to compensate for the shrinkage. And, oh the colors!!! Combinations that pull me in to take a closer look. Beautiful.

    My husband is now t-minus 10 months to retirement. My floor loom is dismantled. Pieces leaning against the wall in a space 2Xs what the warping board takes. A couple milk crates of warp. Two airtight totes holding my books and supplies collected over the decades.

    Not much considering all the beauty such a small space can and has created.

    I am staying put for the next month. Grandbaby #3 is going to meet us by April 3rd.

    Until then… Your wonderful posts will feed my weaving creativity.

    Thank You

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Step by step, things come back together again. Enjoy the process. And congratulations on the coming new family member.

      All the best,
      Karen

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