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,

Weaving Christmas

If it weren’t for Christmas, this would be one of those times I would wish for a longer warp. Why is this halvdräll so enjoyable to weave? Simplicity and complexity, cottolin and linen, two shuttles, and interesting treadling. This peppermint red and white is striking and cheerful, and makes the weaving studio feel like Christmas!

Halvdräll on the loom. Christmas table square.
Red cutting line separates the sample piece from the first table square.

I may have it off the loom by Christmas. I am going to try, because I would love to have this festive cloth on the table Christmas Day as my gift to our family. Our children and their spouses, and the four grandchildren, and one on the way!… All will be here with us to celebrate together. That’s a beautiful gift. Family.

Christmas table square in halvdräll on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Red linen forms the pattern in two blocks.

The most extravagant Christmas gift is the Son given to us. The majestic choral and instrumental lines in Handel’s Messiah have familiarized an ancient prophecy. Can you hear the singing as you read these lyrics?

For unto us a child is born,

unto us

a son is given,

and the government shall be upon his shoulder;

and his name shall be called



Almighty God,

the Everlasting Father,

the Prince of Peace.

May you be surrounded with beautiful gifts.

Weaving Christmas,

In the Challenge of Halvdräll

It is sampling time! Before I weave the first table square with all red pattern weft, I am testing other options. I have several colors of 16/1 linen left from the linen lace weave scarves (Linen Air Scarves). Just what I need!

Linen stash - considering weft options.
Linen in various colors line up as pattern weft options.

This uses a doubled weft. Besides doubled red, there is red with magenta, doubled royal blue, royal blue with periwinkle blue, lime green with periwinkle blue, lime green with unbleached, and unbleached with half bleached. But another reason for this sample is to practice the halvdräll before weaving the “real thing.” This isn’t plain weave, after all. Weaving with two shuttles and being attentive to a changing treadling pattern is quite a challenge. Why is it, then, that I experience such satisfaction weaving this halvdräll? As I’m immersed in weaving, everything else fades away.

Linen quills ready for sampling.
Sample quills for testing color combinations. Each quill is wound with doubled 16/1 linen.
Beginning halvdräll - sampling weft colors.
Temple is moved out of the way to observe how the first picks are working out.
Halvdräll, sampling linen pattern weft colors.
Seven color duos make an interesting sample piece. From bottom to top – Doubled red, red/magenta, doubled royal blue, royal blue/periwinkle blue, lime green/periwinkle blue, lime green/unbleached, unbleached/half bleached, doubled red.

When the world is not making sense, when we’re too busy for our own good, when things are out of control… We need a place of refuge–right in the challenge. My loom bench is a place of refuge like that, where my mind is occupied and my hands are usefully engaged. You find refuge in the place you trust. Take refuge in the Lord. Immersed in his peace and comfort, our soul finds rest in him–right in the challenge.

May your practice prepare you for the real thing.

Merry Weaving Christmas,

If the Warp Is Good

The start of a new warp takes my breath away. It’s magic, isn’t it? It’s at this beginning point that I often feel the wonder of the whole weaving process. Expectation, anticipation, and wonder. A new warp is a fresh start.

Beginning of cottolin warp, set up for halvdräll.
Warp ends are tied on in 1″|2.5cm sections, with 1/2″|1.3cm going over, and the other 1/2″|1.3cm going under the front tie-on bar. The leveling string then flattens the warp by going over and under the little sections of warp ends, being pulled tight and tied through a hole at each end of the tie-on bar.

The loom is dressed through a series of steps. In the Swedish method of back-to-front warping that I have been taught, the steps are logical and systematic. They make sense. If I simply follow the steps, I can expect to have an evenly-tensioned, ready-to-weave warp. If the warp is good, it means I’m off to a good start.

New cottolin warp, set up for halvdräll table squares.
Side view of new cottolin warp, set up for halvdräll table squares.
Start of halvdräll table squares.
Halvdräll is a Swedish block weave that has weft floats. The tabby weft is white 22/2 cottolin, and the pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen.

Christmas is about God offering us a new start through Jesus. It isn’t about trying to be good enough. Being good is never good enough. Trust in God’s goodness instead. Jesus is God coming to us in all his goodness. I can never repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me. What I can do is receive what he has given–a fresh start. Then, as the beginning weft appears across the warp, I see my hopes coming to life.

May you enjoy the wonder of it all.

Happy beginning,

You Can Prevent Threading Errors

Today I am in my little playhouse in the Glimåkra Standard, threading heddles for halvdräll. This draft requires my strict attention. No multitasking. I have one thing in mind: thread the heddles. Threading errors are rare for me. And I’d like to keep it that way. 

In my Glimakra "playhouse" threading heddles!
Cozy spot for threading heddles. With the threading draft in plain sight, good lighting, and plenty of time, I’m ready to go!

There are several things I do to prevent threading errors, or at least to catch them early while they are easy to correct.

Tutorial for Preventing Threading Errors – (Watch the accompanying video below)

  • Count the warp ends at the lease sticks into logical groupings, and bundle the grouped ends together with a loose overhand knot. (In this case, the groups are: 4 selvedge, 18 right side, 27 block I, 57 block II, repeat the 2 blocks 5 times, 18 left side, 4 selvedge.) I ended up with 2 extra ends at the left selvedge, so I worked my way back, re-counting each grouping until I found the spot where I had mis-counted, almost all the way back to the right selvedge ends. If that happens, re-count and re-tie each grouping until it all adds up correctly.
  • Tape or hang your threading draft where it can be easily seen.
  • Take one bundle of ends at a time, starting on the right-hand side, and thread those ends into their heddles, following the threading draft. It helps me to say the threading order out loud as I do the threading.
  • Check your work. Hold the just-threaded ends taut with your left hand, and with your right hand check every end, one by one, to see that it is going through the correct heddle. Make threading corrections, if needed, by pulling out errant ends and re-threading them. Tie that completed grouping with a loose slip knot. Again, I say the threading order out loud as I check the threading.
  • Repeat steps 4 and 5 until threading is complete.
  • Know when to take a break. Five minutes away from the loom every now and then serves to refresh my ability to concentrate. If I do a nonstop marathon, I’m prone to make errors.

Now, what about a tutorial for living? Grace means that we have been given a free tutorial for purposeful living. Jesus brought the grace of God to us. Christmas reminds us of that. It’s the grace of God that instructs us for living. It’s as if we have an ancient weaving draft; and we’ve been given the grace, the tutorial, that shows how to understand the draft to make meaning in the fabric of our lives.

May you catch all your threading errors while they are easy to fix.

Threading Heddles from Warped for Good on Vimeo.

Be sure to drop by on Friday. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve done with the warp-printed fabric from Warp Stamping Is Over!

On purpose,