I started planning this tapestry portrait of my mother one year ago. As I was concluding her portrait on my loom, it became evident that her real-life tapestry was also coming to a conclusion. I arrived at Mom’s bedside with the portrait in hand, warp ends dangling. Her smile in that cherished moment is one I will never forget. In the days that followed, she quietly slept. I silently braided the warp-end edging, trimmed the tails on the back, stabilized the tapestry through the lining, and stitched the lining in place. I carefully secured the last stitch. In the wee hours of the next morning, while she was asleep, the Lord Jesus called my mother home. Tapestry complete. Beautiful.
Eye of the Beholder is about my mother who taught me to appreciate beauty. This is a portrait of a woman with an eye for beauty, with beauty in her eyes.
I humbly share my process of weaving Eye of the Beholder in this video:
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.
A warp is finished when the woven cloth has been taken to completion. At that point, the loom is free for a new warp. That is the rule I’ve given myself. If I ignore the rule and put on a new warp before its time, the unfinished cloth has a way of staying unfinished for too long.
Thanks to that completion rule, I have a new bag. This fabric includes the various patterns that I wove in Joanne Hall’s workshop on Swedish Art Weaves several months ago. You will also see that I explored some patterns on my own at home. I gained two excellent outcomes from this finishing pursuit—a new bag to use, and a loom that is free for the next warp! (See the first bag here: Monksbelt Flowers on a Shoulder Bag)
Left to myself, I’d rather do what I want. I’d rather start a new project than bring an “old” one to completion. I’m glad my Lord is faithful with me. He completes the work that he began. The Good Shepherd tends his sheep. He leads us to the still waters of peaceful perseverance, saving us from the regret of going our own way. And we have his perfect outcome to look forward to.
I finished off the linen warp by making a front and back panel for a small shoulder bag. A monksbelt pattern is scattered like flowers on the front. The back has various stripe patterns in weft-facedplain weave. I wove a shoulder strap on my band loom using 6/2 Tuna wool for warp and 12/6 cotton for weft.
The bag has simple construction, mostly hand-stitched. In one of my remnant bins I found a piece of wool fabric that I wove several years ago. It’s perfect for the sides and bottom of the bag. The lining uses pieces from fabric that went into my latest rag rugs, and has pockets, of course.
This bag with Monksbelt Flowers is for carrying sweet memories, happy moments, and heavenly dreams.
Resources: Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall; Heirlooms of Skåne Weaving Techniques, by Gunvor Johansson; Väv Scandinavian Weaving Magazine, 2/2013.
This is the time for my annual pause for the month of July. I appreciate you joining me in this weaving journey!
I look forward to being back with you again Tuesday, August 4. In the meantime, joyfully draw living water from the source, Jesus Christ.
I have woven umpteen rag rugs. But never one like this! Eight-shaft satin on the single-unit drawloom brings its own challenges, from managing draw cords to getting a decent shed. Add rag weaving to the mix and we have a whole new experience!
Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warpends is unwieldy in this instance because the threads are extremely dense. By quietly doing some detail studies on a sample, I find a way to finish this unusual rug: Secure the ends with the serger. Then, sew two rows of straight stitches on the sewing machine for added security. Sew a narrow bound hem using some of the fabric that was used as weft in the rug. Steam press to finish.
I have another rag rug to weave on this warp. It will still be a challenge. With what I’ve learned, though, I’m anticipating a satisfying weaving and finishing experience.
We know what to do in normal circumstances. It’s in unusual times that we fall into dismay. Private time with Jesus turns confidential fears to confident faith. He treats our challenges like personal detail studies, showing us the way forward. His grace enables us to conquer the next challenge with confident faith.