Budding Weavers

Remember potholder looms? I made many such potholders when I was young. It is a natural entry point for a budding weaver. My eight-year-old grandson has mastered potholders. He is ready for a bigger challenge. I ask, “Would you like to try weaving on a floor loom?” Wide-eyed, he says, “Yes!”

Grandson makes potholders with "Designer Colors."
My grandson gravitates toward the bag of loops called “Designer Colors.”
Never too many grandkid-made potholders!
Never too many grandkid-made potholders!
Sit here. 
Practice moving your feet on the treadles: Right foot 1-2-3-4; 1-2-3-4; left foot 5-6-7-8; 5-6-7-8. 
(Can you do it without looking at your feet?) 
Hold the shuttle in your right hand, and send it across the top of the warp over to your left hand. 
Practice gliding the shuttle back and forth on top of the warp several times to get the hang of it. 
Okay, I think you’re ready! Let’s do it!

Within a few minutes he is weaving unassisted. Ahh, the joy of seeing someone take pleasure in making cloth—especially, when that someone is your grandchild!

Eight-year-old weaver on the Glimakra Julia loom. 2-block twill.
Budding weaver at the 8-shaft Julia countermarch loom. Weaving linen in a 2-block twill.
Message from grandson to his grandmother.
Ah, grandson, I certainly will teach you more. I love you, too , Lola

And now, the potholder loom grabs the attention of another grandchild. “Let me do it myself,” she says, like a typical five-year-old. The cycle repeats itself, and Lola (that’s me) smiles.

Potholder loom and a 5-year-old.
This child favors the loops of “Bright Colors.”
Making a potholder. Budding weaver.
“All by myself.”

May you spread your joys to the next generation.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Handwoven Applique for Christmas

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.

Newborn baby
Welcome to our family, baby Isaac.
Six-shaft twill in Mora wool.
Handwoven remnants for Christmas tree skirt.

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.

Handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
Handwoven applique Nativity project.
Handwoven applique Nativity project.
Handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
Handwoven applique Nativity project.
Stitching handwoven applique.
Reverse side of handwoven Nativity project.
Handwoven Nativity scene.

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.

Christmas tree skirt Nativity. All handwoven!

May your home be filled with heavenly treasures.

Christmas blessings,
Karen

Siblings Tapestry and Process Video

Drum roll please… And now, I present to you: Siblings

Siblings Tapestry by Karen Isenhower

The Siblings tapestry is a woven expression of personal meaning. The tapestry tells a story of a singular incident, almost hidden in the excitement of the occasion. Lucia grasps Ari’s wrist as they approach Sugar Pie, the bunny. In that moment I see something worth keeping—precious sibling love.

Please enjoy this short video of the process of weaving and finishing the Siblings tapestry.

May you know the security of true love.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Wary Weaving

Sugar Pie has been waiting in the wings. Now, his nose wriggles up to the fell line. The day that Ari and Lucia went with me to visit my neighbor, their attention went to the cute furry thing in the rabbit hutch. At first, the bunny was wary, but before long, Sugar Pie was nibbling carrot slivers from Lucia’s hand.

Beginning the bunny in the large pictorial tapestry.
First pick of brown for the bunny’s nose.

Now, I’m the wary one. The rabbit will make or break this tapestry. I made notes when I wove the rabbit on a narrow sample warp several weeks ago. With careful review of my notes, I am inching forward, giving attention to value contrasts that shape and define the animal. The good news is that when I reach the end of Sugar Pie’s soft, furry back, I will be at the tapestry’s finish line.

Color changes are outlined on the tapestry cartoon.
Color changes are outlined on the cartoon with colored pencil.
Pictorial tapestry in progress. "Siblings"
Ari and Lucia, two of my grandchildren, in a moment of childhood wonder. This tapestry tries to capture that wonder.

In trying times, our senses are heightened. Will we flourish, or merely squeak by? In all the confusion, where is clarity? In the chaos, where do we find calm? The Lord extends an open hand. The open hand is an invitation. Come and taste. Trust. Find deep satisfaction that reaches the soul. Courageously inch up to the greatest challenge of your life.

May you step into a worthwhile challenge.

With you,
Karen

Most Unusual Tapestry Tool

Suddenly, I am able to see the tapestry on the loom from a distant vantage point. Aha! I can see that the left shoulder of Lucia is nicely defined, and that her shoulder appears to be in front of the turquoise rabbit hutch. What I am not able to discern up close becomes crystal clear from a distance. I have an unusual tool in the basket at my loom bench that gives me this advantage. Binoculars! I use them whenever I want to get a better sense of the overall context, color, and definition of what I am weaving in the tapestry. By peering through the WRONG side of the binoculars I am able to view the tapestry as if from a great distance. It is just the help I need to keep pursuing this mystery of weaving wool butterflies on a linen warp to make a recognizable, memorable image.

Pictorial tapestry in progress.
Each row is a new adventure.
Pictorial tapestry on the Glimakra Standard loom.
Photo image of the complete scene sits in the windowsill by my loom. I frequently refer to the photo as I weave.
Binoculars - unusual tool at the weaving loom.
I wish I could show you what I can see through the wrong end of the binoculars. It always surprises me how the image is clearly shaped at a distance.
Weaving a picture of my grandchildren.
Skin tones blend for the area of Lucia’s neck that is coming into focus. Before long, I will get to play with her flyaway hair.
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of my grandchildren.
Greater distance from the tapestry provides more clarity of context. But still, we only get to see the slice of the image that is in view on the loom. It takes faith and patience for the rest.

May you gain the perspective you need.

Blessings,
Karen