Welcome back into my studio. I have been weaving, finishing, winding warps, and dressing looms. And spending time with friends. What better way to enjoy friends than to go on a floor-loom-weaving expedition together? Weaving Extravaganza at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas is the getaway. The looms are dressed and ready for us when we arrive. Abilities and experience are irrelevant. Anyone can do this!
From the projects available, I choose to weave a textured shawl. Keleen, a rigid heddle weaver (sitting at a floor loom this time), chooses to make fabric for an apron with a monksbelt border. Jan, who has never touched a loom until now, weaves natural-colored-cotton dish towels. Four hours pass in a flash, with weaving and camaraderie. We each complete our handwoven cloth. After returning home our fabrics are washed and finished, ready for use. My shimmering shawl is just right for a cool evening. Keleen’s fabric is soon to become an heirloom apron. And Jan’s first handwoven towels are drying dishes. Success!
Abilities and experience come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who wants to learn, can. Your heart goes in the direction you turn it. The Lord sees your heart. He’s not looking for ability or experience. He reaches the heart that is turned toward him. That’s where his grace comes to life.
It takes only four blocks to weave these lovely summer “flowers.” This five-shafthuckaback uses one tabbytreadle and four pattern treadles. My right foot operates the tabby treadle and my left foot manages the pattern treadles. One treadle remains on the floor (not tied up) between the tabby and pattern treadles, putting a helpful space between right foot and left foot.
Each of the four pattern treadles produces its own block. It couldn’t be simpler. It’s always right foot, left foot. Yet, I can weave the wrong sequence, even while I’m patting myself on the back. For that reason, I stop and examine my work after every few picks. I want to make sure my weaving aligns with the treadling sequence on the draft.
Have you noticed how easy it is to judge someone else’s motives? And how hard it is to notice our own? I can fool myself. The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. It’s his mercy that shows us our impure motives. His grace shows us how to walk in his ways. His love keeps us coming back to align our hearts with his.
The blue threads for this project are delightful! Four shades of blue, from pale blue to sapphire, play across the warp, accented with navy blue stripes. Lucious 8/2 cotton is threaded in eight-shafttwill. The hand of the fabric will be well suited for the chair arm- and headrest- covers I have planned. This blue color sequence is the winning combination from the thread wrappings I showed you in October. (See Warp Sequence Planning.)
My warp planning had a calculation error. I went on my merry way, winding the warp, beaming the warp, and threading the heddles. Until, …Surprise! I have three extraends left after all the heddles are threaded. Fortunately, there is grace at the loom. I pull the navy blue border threads and three light blue threads out of their heddles and re-thread the navy blue border stripe. The three light blue ends will hang off the back, unused. All is well.
Grace is like that. We mess up, find and admit our wrong, and the Lord Jesus forgives, granting us a new start. When we are wrong we need grace. What about when others are wrong? When the errors of others affect us, what shall we do? Forgiveness is our only option. There is no good reason to hold those error threads and weave them into our fabric.
The kneeling wise man in Steve’s hand-carved Nativity reminds me of the heart posture that speaks louder than words. Bowing in humility, we bring our gifts to honor the King of kings. Little did we expect the King to come as an infant, to grow up among his subjects, to give his life for us.
How shall we end this year, and begin the next? With humble hearts, grateful for each new day—for each thread of grace woven in our lives by the Grand Weaver’s strong and gentle hands.
Our family celebrated a birth-day last week. Meet baby Isaac, our ninth grandchild! Also, this week, I am finishing up the pictorial scene of another celebrated birth-day. Each appliqué piece is stitched to the background, using various threads, needles, and simple embroidery stitches to help convey the details of this humble historical event.
Many firsts are represented in these handwoven scraps. My first floor loom project, first handwoven curtains, first 8-shaft weave, first linen warp, first drawloom piece, etc. There are some special family memories here, too—wedding gifts, baby wrap, housewarming… Humble beginnings and handwoven treasures generated by love.
Birth is a picture of the fullness of God’s grace. The birth of our ninth grandchild is as glorious as the birth of the first. Each new child brings yet-unwrapped gifts. The birth of baby Jesus is a picture of the fullness of God’s grace brought within reach of all. His humble beginnings, with manger bed and young parents, animals and stars watching—all so wondrous to ponder. Christ Jesus came into the world, to be wrapped in scraps of cloth! We are still unwrapping the gifts he brought to us from heaven—forgiveness, peace, and enduring joy. God with us, Immanuel.