How far will you travel? How will you know when you have arrived? Do you wish you could know when you are halfway there? Applied to weaving, I like to have the answers to these questions before I begin the “journey.” A pre-measured tape gives me consistency, especially important for multiple pieces in a set. The tape also acts as my “trip odometer.” I can see how far I’ve gone, and exactly how much is left to weave. It satisfies my insatiable need to know how close I am to the end. Are you like that, too?
How to Make and Use a Pre-Measured Tape
Roll of 3/4″ or wider twill tape (or any cloth tape or ribbon that does not stretch, and that pins easily)
Tape measure with inches and/or centimeters
Fine tip permanent marker
Flat head pins
Use the permanent marker to place markings on the twill tape, as measured with the tape measure. Mark the start line 1/2″ from the end of the twill tape, so that the tape can be pinned in front of the mark.
After drawing a line for the starting point and ending point, draw a line at the midway point, labeled MID.
Include dotted lines for hem measurements, if applicable. Write the hem measurement on the twill tape; i.,e., 3/4″ or 2 cm.
Write the weaving length measurement on the twill tape. Include calculation for takeup, if desired; i.,e., 25″ + 3″.
Write the project or item description on the twill tape, if desired, for ease of repeat use; i.e., handtowel.
Add other lines or marks, as needed, for borders, placement of weft colors, or other design elements.
1/2″ after the final marking, cut pre-measured twill tape from the roll of tape.
With the warp under tension, pin the pre-measured twill tape near the right or left selvedge with two flat-head pins. Match the start line of the tape with the beginning of the weaving.
Before each advancement of the warp, move the pin closest to the breast beam to a point near the fell line. In this way, have the pins leapfrog each other, moving only one pin each time. Always keep the warp under tension when moving the pins.
Halvdräll is one of those Swedish weaves that takes your breath away. How can I describe the exquisite simplicity and stunning splendor of this fascinating cloth? With halvdräll, every moment at the loom is pure joy. I keep thinking, I get to weave this! And every weaver knows no comparison to the delight of pulling beautiful just-woven fabric off the cloth beam.
Enjoy the journey with me now as I reflect on the halvdräll fabric from beginning to end.
It is possible to ruin hours and hours of handweaving efforts with a careless or ignorant misstep after the cloth is cut from the loom. Wet finishing intimidates me for that reason. Besides my own limited experience, I rely on instructions from advanced weavers, and any other research I can find. In the end, I take the plunge and hope for the best. If the worst happens, I take notes and chalk it up as a learning experience.
Wisdom is gained by those who pursue it. What is wisdom? Wisdom is truth being applied to real life situations. The wise become wiser still by listening with the intent to hear the meaning. Listening and learning. And then wisdom leads you to take action, often irreversible, because you believe the outcome will be right and good. How delightful when the wet-finished fabric exceeds your highest hopes!
January 1st is more than just another day, isn’t it? It’s a time to review the past year and bring new dreams into the year ahead. This pivot point calls for gratitude. I am especially grateful for friends like you who walk with me on this weaving journey!
First up in the new year I have thick and thin towels to finish, and the halvdräll is oh so close to the end of the warp (didn’t quite make it for Christmas). And one little girl is off the small tapestry loom, waiting for final finishing, mounting, and framing.
I mark “mid” on my measuring ribbon. The ribbon is held in place on the fabric with two flat-head pins that I leap-frog up the ribbon as the warpadvances. Imagine my surprise when the mid mark touched the exact halfway point of the table square being woven! The linen halvdräll pattern has a specific number of repeats for each of two blocks, with the halfway point of the table square at the center of the middle block II. How did I get that kind of precision for three of the four table squares on this warp? Honestly, it surprised me each time. I think it is the loom. Maybe I am finally learning to weave without interfering with the streamline functioning of this Swedish loom. (To see the one table square that didn’t make the mid-mark precision, look carefully at the first photo in Embedded with Elegance.)
A promise fulfilled is like a treasure unearthed. You hope for it, and might even expect it; but it’s a joyful thing when you experience it. We wait for a promise like we wait to see the “mid” mark on the ribbon. The Lord’s promise is a vast treasure. It’s a treasure worth watching for.
May you unearth splendid treasures in the new year.