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,

Tapestry Territory

Here we go on this adventure! The yarn is plentiful, and sorted into color groups by value. I have tweaked and updated the cartoon, putting measurement marks along the edges and adding shading to places where I want texture. I wove a header after the sample, but it drew in too much. I pulled it out and redid it, making sure to use adequate weft this time. I am now ready! I’m walking into four-shaft tapestry territory!

Beginning of a four-shaft tapestry.
Background begins with wool butterflies in shades of black.
Wool butterflies for a four-shaft tapestry on the Glimakra Ideal.
Several butterflies are introduced across the beginning section of the four-shaft tapestry.
Four-shaft tapestry just beginning.
Linen weft is used between some of the wool picks.

Walking. It’s how we live our life. Step by step into an unknown future. To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, we follow the Grand Weaver’s cartoon, which he reveals to us, sometimes row by row. And he supplies us with the yarn butterflies in the right colors and values to create the tapestry of his design. We may never see his whole cartoon, but we have the sure hope of seeing the finished tapestry in all its glory!

May you be ready for an adventure.

Happy weaving,

Skeleton Tie-Up on a Countermarch?

I’ve been told that you cannot do a skeleton tie-up on a countermarch loom. That would require pressing two treadles at the same time, which is not feasible on a countermarch. Guess what? I have a skeleton tie-up, and I’m pressing two treadles at a time for the pattern blocks in this kuvikas structure. On my countermarch!

Kukivas (summer and winter) on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Trying to establish a consistent beat so that the squares are all the same size. Making the squares a little taller than they are wide will, hopefully, produce actual squares in the end. The fabric is expected to shrink more in length than in width when it is cut from the loom, and washed and dried.

It works because the tie-up is carefully planned to avoid conflicting treadle movements. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the square-within-a-square results. Isn’t it fascinating that a design such as this can be fashioned by hand, using a simple wooden loom and a bunch of strings, with a few simple tools? And a non-standard tie-up?

Skeleton tie-up on a countermarch loom for kukivas.
Pressing two treadles at the same time is surprisingly less cumbersome than I had imagined it would be. The whole series of motions feels like a slow majestic dance.

Have you seen the sky on a moonless night? Who made that starlit fabric? Who wove the pattern of the heavens? Who put the sun in place, and set the earth on its axis? How grand and glorious are these constant features of our existence! Our human hands can create no such thing. The heavens reveal the glorious nature of God. They shout the unmistakable truth that God is our Creator. Surely, the fabric we make with our hands serves to confirm that we belong in the hands of our Maker.

May the work of your hands be a reflection of you.

In awe,

Embedded with Elegance

In the afternoon light the linen takes on a golden appearance. The halvdräll pattern in the cloth is no less distinguishable in these low-contrast weft colors. In fact, the pattern seems more embedded in the fabric now than it did with the vibrant red weft in Weaving Christmas. Natural unbleached linen over white bleached cottolin brings monochrome elegance to this table square.

Elegant monochrome halvdräll on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Unbleached and half bleached 16/1 linen are combined for the pattern weft. Bleached 22/2 cottolin is used for the warp and for the tabby weft.
Halvdräll on the loom. View of the back of the cloth.
View of the back of the halvdräll cloth under the advancing warp.

God has a life plan for us that reveals His glory. His instruction gives me wisdom, insight, and understanding for life. It is much like following a halvdräll weaving draft to produce halvdräll fabric, and witnessing the fabric at its best as it glistens in the afternoon sunshine.


May you enjoy the wonder of Christmas.

Happy Halvdräll,

Does Your Weaving Show Your Very Own Style?

Have you developed a style all your own? I can identify some tapestry artists by their work, even before I see their name on the piece. One friend of mine weaves gorgeous silk scarves, and another one makes handtowels with exquisite color. Their woven items consistently showcase their individual style. In our little weaving group we even say, “It looks like you.”

Double binding rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Rag rug on the loom is almost complete. Moving the temple frequently helps produce tight selvedges, which, in turn, help ensure a finished rug that lays completely flat.

For most, personal style happens over time, by repetition of favored designs or techniques, until particular skills become second nature for the artist. One day they wake up and realize they have developed their very own style. In other cases, the unique style is clearly intentional, and artistically so. Either way, it’s admirable. Eventually, someone may see a rug I’ve woven and say, “That looks like Karen!

Everything we see that is glorious is a window into the glory of God. Look through the window. The whole earth is filled with the glory of God. If our small artistic attempts are reflected in what we make, is it inconceivable that the wonders in our universe have the Creator’s signature? Everything glorious puts the Grand Weaver’s personal touch on display.

May you find your personal style.

Happy weaving,