Tapestry Promise

You will see the front of the Siblings tapestry. I promise. When I cut a tapestry from the loom the weaving is finished. But the tapestry is not complete until the finishing is finished. And I have substantial handwork yet to do before this tapestry is ready for display.

Cutting off a new tapestry!
Cutting off the tapestry.
Back of the Siblings tapestry.
View of the back of the tapestry. Non-distinct imagery.

I am securing the ends in a woven edging. Then, I will trim weft tails, stitch things down around the perimeter, and put on a backing. Additional hand-stitching work will stabilize the whole piece. When you see the Siblings tapestry again, you will see it in full view on the wall right behind my loom.

Woven edging on the new tapestry.
Warp ends are woven together along the edge, and will end with a short braid.
Tapestry just off the loom. Finishing process.
Edge will be folded under and stitched down before the backing is added.

Hope is built on promise. Do not forget God’s promise. Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. And, Jesus expresses the promise to His followers, I will be with you always. We see the tapestry of life from the human side, the unfinished side. Hope, paired with patience, takes us through the uncertain future. We have assurance of the Lord’s grace, His meticulous handwork, bringing His work to completion. In the meantime, we give Him our burdens and He gives us rest. As promised.

May your hope be strong.

With you,
Karen

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Process Review: From Drawloom to Garment

I warped the drawloom with gray 6/2 Tuna wool several months ago with the goal to make fabric for a reversible vest. The beautiful drawloom fabric turned into dreamy garment-worthy fabric after washing! (See Process Review: Drawloom Jewels)

Weaving garment fabric on the drawloom.

And then I hit two huge hurdles.

Hurdle 1. Fit.

In order to cut into handwoven drawloom fabric, I need assurance that the end result will fit me. My sewing assistant helped me refine a commercial pattern.

My sewing assistant, Miss Fit.
Meet my sewing assistant, Miss Fit.

After umpteen muslins and two or three mock-ups, I finally got the fit I was after. Confidence to cut!

Hurdle 2. Garment Construction Uncertainties.

Do some detail studies, my dear friend Elisabeth said to me. Her advice got me over the insecurity hurdle. A detail study is making a small sample to test a hypothesis or answer a question. I made a list of everything I wanted to know about constructing a vest from this type of handwoven wool fabric. And then, using some of the extra fabric from the sampling at the beginning of the warp, I did a detail study for each point on the list. Twelve detail studies in all.

(If you are interested in seeing my complete list of 12 detail studies for this project, click HERE to send me an email and ask for my “Detail studies”.)

Here are a few examples of my findings:

  1. Zigzag before or after cutting? // Zigzag before cutting, stitch width 3, stitch length 2 1/2
  2. Lapped seams? 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”? // Yes, lapped seams, overlap 1/2”, stitch basted line to guide placement
  3. Neck and armhole curves – staystitch with hand running stitches or machine stitching? 1 row or 2? // Hand running stitches, 2 rows
Detail studies for handwoven garment construction.
Detail study testing lapped seams.

From the results of the detail studies I was able to compile a step-by-step garment construction plan. Confidence to sew!

Follow my process pictures of the garment construction to see the results:

Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Cutting lines marked with basting stitches.
Tracing paper is used for the pattern, which allows me to clearly see the placement of the pattern on the fabric.
How to stitch basted cutting lines.
Making an X with the basting thread at the corners. This helps clarify exactly where to stitch and cut. (One of Elisabeth’s helpful tips.)
Preparing handwoven cloth for garment sewing.
Buttonhole twist thread is used for the basted lines. It makes an easy guide for the sewing machine needle to follow. The zigzag stitches are just inside the line.
Sewing a handwoven garment.
Basting stitch on the front side piece is a guide for positioning the lapped seam.
Sewing a vest from handwoven drawloom fabric.
Handwoven vest. Ready for handwork details.
Ready for hand work.
Hand-stitching work by the fireplace.
Two rows of running stitches around the armholes and neck opening.
Blanket stitch on handwoven garment.
Blanket stitch is used to embellish and strengthen the armholes, neck, front edges, and lower edge of the vest.
Blanket Stitch
Completed vest from drawloom fabric.
Completed vest from drawloom fabric.
Reversible handwoven vest.
Reverse side.
Handwoven reversible vest. Drawloom Woven.

May you find ways to leap over your hurdles.

Love,
Karen

35 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Oh My! It turned out so well, though there was never any doubt in my mind! You must be so proud! I love how it looks on you. You are so inspiring!

  • Tena says:

    This is so stunning! As a beginner weaver, I hope to aspire to constructing woven garments someday!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tena, Constructing woven garments is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I’m glad to see you’re on the same quest!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Marianne says:

    I’ve been peeking at your website for years and have always found it so inspiring! Your creativity seems to be boundless! Your vest turned out beautifully! Thanks for so generously sharing your process in making your projects. I have found so many tips and helpful instruction from you about weaving and also life!

    • Karen says:

      Marianne, Thank you for your heart-warming comment. It is my delight that someone like you comes along on this journey with me!

      Thank you, thank you,
      Karen

  • Bev Romans says:

    An absolutely beautiful result, Karen! And you have taken such care in each step along the way.

    Blessings to you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev! It’s taking time to mind the details that brings about good results, as you know very well in your beautiful quilting projects.

      Blessings to you, too!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    It’s gorgeous, Karen! I am in awe of your patience, as well as your weaving and sewing skills.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, It’s this gorgeous loom of yours that made it possible. I have the pleasure of sitting at the drawloom and making things from it. Yes, it did take an extra degree of patience to push this project to completion.

      Thank you, friend,
      Karen

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I really need to get my Tuna yarn drawloom fabric made into a vest. Thanks for showing us yours. I started to think that I needed to make it a pullover to avoid all the hand stitching in the front. Hmmm. I am still thinking.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I’m eager to see what you do with your beautiful Tuna yarn drawloom fabric! The hand stitching was very pleasant to do. I enjoyed it. I’d sure like to see a picture of your vest when you complete it.

      Happy thinking,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Awesome. Love the pattern and colors.
    Question. Was the back done in 1 piece or 2, if 2 could it have been one piece or to fit properly did it have to have a center seam?

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Thank you!

      Great question. I intended the back to be one piece, and the sides to each be a single piece. But I was able to get a better fit by putting in a back seam, and making a seam down the sides. This was part of my fit dilemma. I wove the fabric with those single pieces in mind, but the outcome of the mock-ups was just too boxy for my petite frame. Someone with more fitting experience may be able to make the single back piece work.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I can’t decide which side I like best! Both look great on you, Karen.

    I am going to download your steps because I hope to get the courage to try sewing with my handwoven fabric someday soon. As I am just a beginning level sewer, I was surprised at all the consideration needed; such as the width of seams, length of stitches, etc.. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Oh, and I recently purchased the book you recommended to me, Karen. The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell. My plan is to do as you recommended and follow through from the beginning.

    Looking forward to your future posts.

  • Shari says:

    You are truly amazing and so capable! How timely to talk about embracing your hurdles! Can’t imagine KI would have hurdles! You and your vest look lovely! There is a woman sheep farmer, weaver environmentalist in CA who has raised the sheep and wove the fiber into yardage and sold the yardage on a limited basis. I bought a small amount and have been thinking about what to make with it. It’s a beautiful white, unused fabric! Your experience and blog posting here will be immensely useful for my sewing project. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, Me and hurdles? oh yes, more than you’ll ever know!

      Your undyed wool yardage sounds lovely! I know you’ll make it into something memorable. I’d love to see pictures when you’re done.

      Thanks for all your kind words,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    The above posting has a typo. The yardage is natural, undyed yardage. I think the weave structure is twill.

  • D'Anne says:

    Beautiful work, Karen! I wish you were here to model it for us at WOW. We miss you!

  • Mary Still says:

    Wow! Beautiful!

  • Allison Grove says:

    Gorgeous fabric! Thanks for sharing your process and how you worked through it.

  • Nancy Martin says:

    Dear Karen, what a find to have found you in cyber space! So enjoy your website and your talents and your sharing and blogs etc. Wow, your work is an inspiration and the vest is beautiful. What a wonderful experience it must be to have totally created this wearable garment from simple thread to weaving to designing and cutting and sewing. Amazing!! God bless you and so glad I “tuned” in. Best regards, Nancy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, You have touched my heart. You so perfectly captured my sentiments! – It is extremely satisfying to start with thread and design actual fabric, and end up with a wearable garment. It feels like a dream come true.

      God bless you,
      Karen

  • Kristin Girod says:

    Your vest is beautiful and looks so lovely on you! Thank you for your generosity in sharing your project experience with us. Your blog is a treasure!

  • Lovely work, it’s nice to see someone doing woven garments rather than tea towels or scarves; much as I love those things I started weaving in order to make my own fabric for sewing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachelle, How fascinating that you started weaving so you could make garment fabric. It’s something I’ve been interested in for quite a while, too. It’s tricky to get all those skills to work together, but it’s fun to keep learning.

      Thanks for chiming in!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    You are such a detail person.
    BEAUTIFUL vest!!!!
    Perfect to go over a sequined gown or jeans.
    I hope you wear it often.

    Nanette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, You’re right, I do enjoy paying attention to detail.

      I don’t have a sequined gown, so mostly it will go with jeans or a simple skirt.

      Thank you so much!
      Karen

  • Ladella Williams says:

    Very interesting to see this view. I recognize many of the responders names. In awe as I only weave on an 8 shaft Bergman. I have woven on others drawlooms though! So am familiar with the process. At least four projects or more. I can enumerate many including one that is in one magazine.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ladella, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Drawlooms are very interesting looms to weave on. There are projects in some Väv Magazine issues that I would like to try.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Needles

Even though there are dozens of needles in and around my weaving and sewing spaces, nine stand out from the rest. These go-to needles have earned special favor. As essential tools, these needles have specific holders and permanent homes.

The 9 needles I use most for handweaving.

  • Sharp needles: hand-hemming, hand-sewing, stitching on labels, and stitching a tapestry to a linen mat for mounting (curved needle)
    HOLDER: Pincushion I made in 1980
    HOME: Sewing supply closet, “Needles and Pins” drawer

Sharp needles for hand-hemming. 1980 pin cushion.

Stitching labels onto handwoven towels.

Hand hemming handwoven table runner.

  • Blunt tapestry needles, small and medium: hemstitching, stitching a thread mark to the right side of the fabric, sewing in tapestry weft tails, finishing work—needle-weaving for corrections and repairs
    HOLDER: Remnant of cotton handwoven plain weave fabric
    HOME: Loom-side cart, top drawer

Handy needles to keep by the loom.

Blunt needles by the loom.

Steve sanded and rounded the tips of the needles to make them blunt. A needle with a rounded tip won’t pierce and split the threads.

Hemstitching at the loom.

Sewing in weft tails in the back of a tapestry.

  • Blunt tapestry needles, large: hemstitching, hand-hemming rugs, weaving small tapestries
    HOLDER: Felted inkle-woven tape
    HOME: cutting/work table, Grandma’s old sewing tin

Felted inkle-woven needle holder.

Rag rug hemming by hand.

Hemming a handwoven rag rug.

  • Sacking needles: pulling rag rug warp ends out of scrap weft, threading warp ends back into a wool rug (I did this…once)
    HOLDER: straw-woven pouch from a trip to The Philippines
    HOME: weaving supply closet, top drawer on the left

Woven pouch from The Philippines.

Tying warp ends into knots. Rag rug finishing.

May you find the needle you need when you need a needle.

All the best,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Nanette says:

    Works for you, and a beautiful system! I have several “work stations” (sounds more organized than it is!) on two floors. So, my “system” is four (handwoven of course!) pin cushions, each with a variety of the needles, in various places. Not ideal, I suppose, because often the needles “migrate” and the right one is sometimes not in the right place! Do enjoy all your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nanette, I like how you call them “work stations.” It does sound very orderly. I do understand how those needles can migrate! Mine do that sometimes, too. At least we have some sort of system…

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    I love how you store the different needles you use! It makes so much sense. In addition to being a beautiful way to preserve memories, I really like the make-do approach, too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I enjoy finding creative solutions to keeping things somewhat organized. I may have learned that from you. 🙂
      It is sweet to find ways to use special items, like my Grandma’s sewing tin.

      Merry Christmas,
      Karen

  • Beth says:

    You’re inspiring me to make something out of a handwoven scrap for needles and get them out of the little plastic box.

  • faun says:

    my great aunt did a similar checkerboard pattern
    “https://flic.kr/p/EnVPZE”

    my needles will migrate thanx to the intervention of critters.
    filling your pincushion with wool fleece with the natural lanolin
    will help prevent rusting- cotton will collect moisture and help them rust
    so wool cloth for your pin cushions is better in the long run too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Faun, It looks like your great aunt’s rug uses thick and thin weft, like mine. Nice!

      Thanks for the tip about wool for pincushions. Good to know!

      All the best,
      Karen

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Handwoven Blankets for Babies

Handwoven baby blankets are for cuddling babies. It is a pleasure to weave a baby blanket for a dear friend’s first grandchild. As long as I’m dressing the loom, it makes sense to weave more than one. So the second baby blanket is for cuddling my own grand-babies when they come to visit.

Double weave baby blankets. Cutting off!

Double weave baby blankets unrolled from the cloth beam, ready to be cut off.

Hemming double weave baby blanket.

Double weave top and bottom layers are stitched together by hand at the hems. Contrasting thread is used for a decorative embroidered look.

Embroidered edge of handwoven baby blanket.

Whipstitch in contrasting thread.

Handwoven baby blankets super soft for baby's skin.

Blankets are triple washed for softness. Ready to touch baby’s skin.

Double weave baby blanket.

Double weave has reverse pattern on the back.

Double weave baby blanket.

Same warp, different weft.

Handwoven baby blanket for newborn.

Meet Julian, my friend’s new grandson, wrapped in love.

Handwoven baby blanket. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother's quilt.)

Meet Benjamin, our newest grandson, wrapped in love. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother’s quilt.)

A resting baby is a picture of hope. Hope for the next feeding, hope in the mother’s tender love, hope in the father’s secure arms. No arrogance, no illusion of grandeur. Just quiet rest. Hope in the Lord looks like this. Hope for today, the future, and forever. My soul is at rest—in complete rest and trust. Like a resting baby in his mother’s arms. Like a baby wrapped in a blanket woven especially for him.

May you find rest.

Blessed,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    These are really wonderful. Curious to know what kind of yarn/thread you are using to make these? I was introduced to double weave last year and plan to tackle a small project in the coming new year (once I finish the overshot table runners I’m working on now). Your blog is a regular inspiration to me, both in spirituality and productivity. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, I’m so happy to have you here. If you find something that inspires you, I’ve accomplished my purpose. Thank you!

      I used Bockens 8/2 cotton in warp and weft for these blankets. I like the feel of washed cotton.

      I’m sure your overshot table runners are lovely!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Wow! They are beautiful, Karen! The blankets and the babies. What a great use for double weave.

  • Annie says:

    I haven’t tried double weave yet, but these blankets definitely make me want to try! Unfortunately, all of my grandchildren are too old for swaddling blankets. Guess I will just need to make bigger ones!

    Thank you for the inspiration, both spiritually and weavingly.

    Many blessings,
    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The baby stage doesn’t last very long, does it? Because of the double layers, a double weave blanket would be good for any age. I wouldn’t mind having one my size!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joan says:

    Beautiful- What size do you make your baby blankets?

  • Andrea Bakewell says:

    Hi Karen,
    These are lovely and looks like a great project to learn double weave. Is there a pattern you used or just made it up as you went along? I like the short and long boxes 🙂

    Beautiful work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, This is a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I varied the pattern slightly from the pattern in the book to give the design some of my own details. You’re right, this would be a super project to learn double weave.

      Thanks so much,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    What wonderful love filled blankets to cuddle the wee ones. Nice choice of colors – Lovely weaving as always. The hand made quilt is extra special too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, My friend helped choose the colors for her grandson’s blanket. I like her choice!
      I enjoy keeping my Grandmother’s handmade quilt where I can see it and use it every day. I’m fond of connecting the past generations with the present.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Susie Redman says:

    Dear Karen,
    These are stunning! I’ve done a double weave project in a class using an 8 shaft table loom but I’m not at all sure how to dress my Glimakra floor loom for double weave. Did you use an extra beam ?
    Would be great to see how you dressed your loom for a double weave project.
    I followed your advice on sorting out the length of my treadle cords to improve the shed – worked a treat – thank you.
    Susie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susie, Great question! There wasn’t anything unusual in dressing the loom for this project. No second beam, since both layers are the same plain weave. The double weave is simply set up in the threading. You can find this draft in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Thanks for letting me know the advice about treadle cords worked for you. That makes me very happy!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Your lovely handwoven baby blankets for adorable Benjamin and Julian are destined to become family heirlooms just like your grandmother’s quilt. Wouldn’t your grandmother enjoy knowing you are using and loving her quilt!

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I’m sure my grandmother never imagined how much her handmade quilts would be enjoyed! It’s a sweet thought that my woven blankets could become heirlooms like that.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Tobie says:

    Beautiful! and what a good idea for double weave.

  • Michelle Simon says:

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and the comments. My newest grandchild is only 3 months old and the double weave blanket is a great idea! Many thanks for your thoughtfulness! I, too, enjoy connecting the generations and have been delighted to see in photos my granddaughters with the quilts I’ve made for them–and items I saved from their mother’s childhood being used again!

    Happy Holidays!

    Michelle

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I enjoy reading the comments, too. I’m thrilled when the conversation keeps going.

      Yes, those handmade articles, like your quilts, are threads that make memories and help tie families and generations together.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Rickrack Rag Rug Hemming Video

Hemming a rag rug may be easier than you think. I have used my classic Bernina sewing machine to hem rag rugs; but now, I hem many of them by hand. It’s easier and faster than I once thought. I plan the rug’s hem into the weaving, using half-width fabric strips for the hem area, and end it off with 1 cm of a warp thread heading. After cutting off the rug, I secure and trim the warp ends. There’s only one thing left to do. Hem the rug! (Start with Tools Day: Rag Rug Finishing Video if you haven’t seen it yet.)

Weaving the hem on a rag rug. Video about hemming.

Hem is woven with fabric strips, doubled, cut 1 cm wide. This rug has a 6 cm hem, plus the warp thread heading, that will be folded under and stitched.

Tools and supplies

  • Steam iron
  • Long straight pins
  • Rug warp to match the rug (mine is Bockens 12/6 cotton seine twine)
  • Blunt tapestry needle

Rickrack rag rug. Video tutorial about hemming rag rugs.

Kitchen mat is embellished with woven thin stripes that give the impression of rickrack. It makes me think of rickrack-trimmed dresses my mother made for me when I was a little girl. (See Simplest Rag Rug Stripe to learn how the rickrack stripes are made.)

May you enjoy the work of your hands.

Happy hemming,
Karen

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