Welcome to My Loom

The computer is a worthwhile instrument for creating designs to weave. I like the flexibility and repeatability it gives me for drawloom designs. I’m also using the computer to develop the cartoon for my next pictorial tapestry. The computer work takes time—usually more time than I think it should.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Come in our front door to see what is on the loom. Nearing the end of the first bath towel on this cottolin warp.

When I sit at the loom, though, time slips away unnoticed. This is where I’d rather be.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Deep borders on these towels have treadling changes and contrast-thread inlay for added interest.
Start of the second cottolin bath towel on the loom.
Red cutting line is woven between the first and second towels.
Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard loom.
First bath towel begins to wrap around the cloth beam.

I’m starting the second of four bath towels on my Glimåkra Standard. The loom, with its colored threads and cloth, is the first thing to greet you as you come in our front door. Welcome. Let’s put the computer away for a while and simply enjoy ourselves. There’s no better time than now.

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Previously woven hand towels that match these bath towels have not yet been used. They are presently folded and displayed in a pottery bowl on the dining room table in the next room.

May you make time for making.

Happy Planning and Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Beth says:

    These are beautiful! The loom is also my happy place.

  • Tena says:

    Your posts always inspire me. I’ve been weaving about a year. I hope to be as good as you someday.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tena, Thank you for your kind words. Welcome to the world of weaving. All it takes is to keep going, a step at a time. You’re almost there!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Love this! I have done one kitchen towel in a cottolin warp & weft, and it is wonderfully absorbent! Definitely planning to do more! What kind of loom is the one in these photos? It looks very tall, and I love the way the woven cloth wraps around the front beam with a board in front to protect it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caroline, Yes, my cottolin towels are my favorite because of their absorbency.

      This is a Glimåkra Standard loom, 120cm (47″), countermarche. The fabric protection board at the front is great for protecting the cloth on the breast beam. The fabric protection board also allows me to lean up against it, which takes strain off my back as I reach to throw the shuttle.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    My favorite colors sprung up when I opened your blog. How neat the edges are, rolled under the loom.

    Yes! There is order in the world. ( spent last night in the basement sorting through memories wrapped in 1997 newsprint. 3 piles.. Keep, sell, gift to children. :).) Sweet, sweet organization courtesy of warped for good!!
    Thank YOU.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It’s interesting how certain colors can draw us in. I’m glad that you are finding your way through this transition time. Thank you for your sweet encouragement.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    These towels are gorgeous. Are you really going to let people use them?
    We always had display towels growing up that my mother gave strict instructions to look at, don’t touch! I think these would be perfect for that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Thank you! I understand the sentiment. It gives me joy when people use the towels and other articles I make. These bath towels (and hand towels) are specifically for Steve and me to use. My first attempt at bath towels a few years ago didn’t go so well. Let’s just say those “towels” became bath mats. So we are looking forward to some decent beautiful handwoven bath towels.

      I will be happy if we can use these towels so much that we wear them out. That will mean I get to make some more. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Barbara Mitchell says:

    Like you, I enjoy the slow, thoughtful process of working at the loom, as the stress and cares of the world are forgotten. These towels look calm and peaceful, and yet still a little exciting, with the little runs of twills and colour accents. Simply beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, I agree with you. The loom gives us a chance to take a break from normal stress and cares as we put our attention on the rhythm of weaving.
      My favorite thing about these towels is the little twill accents that run through them. Thank you for your sweet words.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Happy Ending Rag Rug Warp

Welcome to my weaving studio, which doubles as our home, I said, as they walked up to the front door. Our luncheon guests were introduced to the weaving environment of the Texas hill country home that Steve and I enjoy. Our time together was refreshing, filled with lively conversation over a home-cooked meal, complete with discussions about looms, threads, and like-minded pleasures.

Lunch with honored guest, Joanne Hall.
Steve and I enjoy lunch with honored guest, Joanne Hall, and a few members of the San Antonio Handweavers Guild.
Karen, Janis, Joanne Hall, Henriette, Vesna, and Cindy.

Six rosepath rag rugs encompass the cloth beam, with the back tie-on bar just inches behind the heddles. It seems only fitting that the woman who gave me my first rosepath rag-weaving experience should be given the cherished scissors for this momentous occasion. Joanne, will you do us the honor of cutting off? I couldn’t have wished for a happier ending of this warp.

Joanne Hall does the honor of cutting off the rag rugs.
Joanne Hall, ready to cut off the rag rugs.
Cutting off rag rugs.
Cutting off.
Unrolling the cloth beam with new rosepath rag rugs.
Unrolling rugs from the cloth beam.
Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing.
Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing.

We all have wishes, some of which we make public, and some remain as closely-held secrets. It’s those deep wishes that make us who we are. God knows your name. He knows your deep desires. One day, all our secret wishes will be rolled out like a stretch of rag rugs for the Maker to examine. Amazingly, he offers grace to cover the wrongs. And He embroiders his Name on the hand-crafted souls that belong to him.

May your cloth beam keep filling up with deep-hearted wishes.

Your friend,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Just beautiful, and your weaving studio/home is lovely! What fun having Joanne there!

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Thank you to you and Steve for a splendid day in the Hill country. And your rugs are lovely (as are so many other pieces in your home ). You have a great eye for putting colors together.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janis, We sure enjoyed having you. I appreciate your kind compliments. I do get a thrill from putting colors together.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Straight selvages. Even rows. Woven hems with a little ripple to compensate for the shrinkage. And, oh the colors!!! Combinations that pull me in to take a closer look. Beautiful.

    My husband is now t-minus 10 months to retirement. My floor loom is dismantled. Pieces leaning against the wall in a space 2Xs what the warping board takes. A couple milk crates of warp. Two airtight totes holding my books and supplies collected over the decades.

    Not much considering all the beauty such a small space can and has created.

    I am staying put for the next month. Grandbaby #3 is going to meet us by April 3rd.

    Until then… Your wonderful posts will feed my weaving creativity.

    Thank You

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Step by step, things come back together again. Enjoy the process. And congratulations on the coming new family member.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Looms in Transition

July was a roller coaster that took off before I had a chance to buckle my seatbelt! As you may recall, I had just disassembled my Glimåkra Standard loom at the end of June. Happily, that loom is now set up in our Texas hill country home, with a few heddles already threaded. Next, we sold our Houston house. I had prayed that the house would sell quickly. But I was as surprised as anyone when the house sold in one day! Now, a few short weeks later, the house stands empty, ready for a new family to call it home. And, Steve and I are enjoying apartment life in this transition season.

Swedish looms are basically portable.

After all the boxes are unloaded, the loom parts are put back in the trailer to take to the house.

Loom is placed where grand piano used to be.

Loom is reassembled and positioned in the area where previous home owners placed their grand piano.

Reassembling the Glimakra Standard loom.

Little by little, the loom is put back together. Warp beam has a cottolin warp on it, wrapped in a sheet for the move.

Twelve shafts for this double-weave project.

Twelve shafts for this double-weave project.

Threading 12 shafts. View from the back beam.

View from the back beam.

Threading 12 shafts for double weave.

Twelve shafts–much like threading three four-shaft looms right next to each other.

The Ideal loom with the Lizard tapestry had to be dismantled for moving… (more on that in future posts).

Getting ready to dismantle this loom...with the tapestry on it!

Ideal loom with the Lizard tapestry, before dismantling…

Pray. Abiding prayer is that ongoing conversation we have with God as we face the roller coasters that show up at our doorstep. He invites us to bring everything—big and little. Selling the house quickly is a little thing. Saving people is a big thing. Maybe sometimes God answers the little things to remind us that He is here for the big things, too.

May you pray big things.

In Christ,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Maggie says:

    You are so right. I pray all goes well for your new place.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Thanks! We are looking forward to many good years at our new place after we move there in a few months. Our transition into an apartment is a fun adventure until then.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    What a whirlwind of a month! Love the placement of the Glimakra. Wonderful light! It’s good to have you back!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Whirlwind is exactly the word I’ve been using! The loom is in a perfect spot. Natural light and a view are highlights for me.

      It’s good to be back!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    What a lovely spot for a loom! I’m jealous of all that light. 🙂

    Hill Country, eh? If you’re close enough, I hope you’ll visit the San Antonio guild one day – after you’re settled in, of course.

    I hope the rest of the move goes smoothly.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I agree, it is a great spot for the loom!

      I’d enjoy visiting the San Antonio guild after we’re settled in. If you’re in San Antonio, maybe we could meet up sometime! I won’t be far.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Nannette Piasini says:

    WELCOME BACK!!!
    Your post is so appropriate for this summer. Small problems and big problems. Give them all to God.
    Nannette

  • Linda says:

    Quite an adventure! Moving can be a challenge (we have moved many times) but as I recall this was a move you wanted to make. New weavers to teach & friends to make. I’m sure God will use you in many ways.

  • Annie says:

    It’s amazing what all you have accomplished in such a short time! Even warping!

    Congratulations on the sale of the house. Your Hill Country Home is beautiful.

    I am hoping the apartment is close enough for you to still come to some of the WOW meetings, Karen

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I’m actually 10 minutes closer for the WOW meetings, so I plan to be there.

      I found out that I can accomplish what I’m pushed to accomplish! Moving was intense, but I did try to squeeze in bits of weaving activity here and there when I could.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Alice says:

    Happy all worked out so well for you.
    It reminds me of my own moving around with looms…
    I have an ARM loom, originally from Switzerland. It moved to the Netherlands and then it emigrated with us to Canada. Now 15 years later it is in the Yukon Territory (close to the Alaskan border) and I have no place for it any more and it is stored in a LogicShelter where it got some snow damage. I am trying to sell but for the people who like it it is too big as well. Now I am at the point that I give it away because I want it to have a good home and be enjoyed! But it is hard for something so specific to be in lonely corner of the world….In summer we see cars and motorhomes from down south and I wonder….
    Warmly,
    Alice

  • Janet Hageman says:

    Beautiful Glimakra is quite an improvement over a piano! Perfect. The dust will settle soon….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, Well, I do have a piano, too (not a grand piano), but it was relegated to the dining room. 🙂 The loom may be my primary instrument now.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi Karen , guess I should touch basis with Steve soon. I wondered what happen because I hadn’t seen a post in awhile. BTW Steve told me I can come visit (later, of course, must later) to your Texas Hills home. There is a quit shop I want to come see, I love it. I’ve always said I would rather take a beating than move! Best wishes and hope all works out for you. Cynthia

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, We’d love to have you come visit sometime! Moving has gone well for us. We’re looking forward to what’s ahead.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Wow, Karen! What a busy month you’ve had! Congratulations on selling your house so quickly. I agree that we accomplish what we are forced to accomplish. Will you keep a loom at the apartment until the final Move? I will miss you at WOW when you move, but I’ll look forward to you blog posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, We surprised ourselves when we accomplished 2 years of work in 2 weeks. We didn’t know it could be done until we had a real deadline.

      I have a loom in the apartment so I won’t go stir crazy. I’m enjoying this smaller, simplified space.

      See you at WOW,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Cartoon House Cartoon

The fascinating thing about weaving a transparency is that it feels like color-by-number with yarn. There are similarities to tapestry weaving, for sure. But this seems ten times faster. I found it to be engaging and fun! I echo what my transparency-weaving friend says when it’s time to stop and do something else, “Just one more row…”

Linen warp chain awaits beaming.

Warp chain of 16/2 golden bleached linen, before beaming the warp.

Threading heddles in the Glimakra Standard. Coffee and notes at hand.

Threading heddles in my little playhouse, with project notes by my side, and a cup of coffee on the side cart.

Adding the leveling string to a linen warp.

Leveling string is added with extra care so that abrasion of the linen warp is kept to a minimum.

Butterflies are made from the hefty cotton chenille yarn.

Butterflies are made from the hefty cotton chenille yarn.

Weaving a transparency. Glimakra Standard loom.

Weaving without a cartoon. I am counting warp ends to keep the pattern angle consistent.

Transparency weaving on the loom, with buckram cartoon.

Cartoon has been added. The pattern weft follows the lines drawn on the buckram cartoon, which is pinned in place.

Cartoon removed at the end of the transparency weaving.

Cartoon is removed.

Ending a woven transparency.

Now, for the end of the warp…

New transparency, ready for hanging!

After the main transparency with the zigzags, I had room to play on the remaining warp. I made another cartoon–a “cartoon” house. This gave me a chance to use a few more yarn butterflies, without it being overwhelming. Home. Sweet. Home.

Cartoon for playtime at the end of the warp. Transparency weaving.

“Cartoon” house cartoon. Ready for playtime at the end of the warp.

Weaving a small transparency. Cartoon House.

With several butterflies going at once, the transparency weaving gets even more interesting!

Transparency weaving. Linen warp and weft. Cotton chenille pattern weft.

Now, the actual end of the warp is here.

Cartoon house just off the loom!

Cartoon house just off the loom.

Welcome home! Transparency weaving. Karen Isenhower

Welcome home! Home. Sweet. Home.

May you enjoy the fascination of learning something new.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I love these, Karen! You are truly one of the most inspiring weavers out there!

    • Karen says:

      Dear Beth, It fills me with joy to be able to share what I love to do with friends like you. I’m grateful that something I do can inspire others. Your work has certainly inspired me, as well!

      Best to you,
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing your new thing. My guild friends & I will be attending the Mid Atlantic Fiber Arts (MAFA) conference this summer, my friends are taking the workshop “Weaving aTransparency” with Bobbie Irwin. I’m so excited for them! I never heard of weaving transparencies before, you’ve given us a cool demonstration to build our anticipation of the MAFA workshops.
    Looking forward to learning something new in July at MAFA 2017

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, How exciting! I just looked at the MAFA workshop choices. Wow, you have some terrific options! It would be hard to choose. Bobbie Irwin’s class looks great. I think you and your friends are going to have a fabulous time!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    I haven’t done a transparency in years – these are wonderful. I’ve so enjoyed seeing your work in progress. You’re making me want to think about a transparency in the not too distant future.

    And for Sandy who commented above, many years ago my guild brought Bobbie Irwin to teach the transparency workshop – it was the most fun. I went home and tried it using fishing line – a challenge but neat end result.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Cindie, I know I’ll be doing this again in the near future. I hope you do, too. We can compare notes!
      Fishing line!? Now, that’s very interesting! I’d like to see that.

      Karen

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Alpaca Warmth

Now that the fringe is finished, and the scarf has been washed, it is ready to be worn! The textural detail of this scarf is striking. An observer may not be aware that the woven pattern is that of an eight-shaft wavy (undulating) twill. But they are sure to notice the gentle drape of the long, warm scarf. The unique curvy ribbed surface is secondary.

Alpaca scarf in an eight-shaft wavy twill, with lattice fringe.

Alpaca scarf in an eight-shaft wavy twill, with lattice fringe.

I can’t think of anything more rewarding than spending time with beloved family! It’s been super sweet to be surrounded with such special adults and little children the last few days to celebrate Christmas together.

Handwoven undulating twill alpaca scarf.

Wavy twill gives the scarf a distinct textural element.

Soft, warm, and long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Celebrating Christmas joys in Texas hill country.

Handwoven long and soft alpaca scarf.

My daughter Melody models the alpaca scarf. Her husband, Eddie, is the photographer.

You are set apart to be a blessing. Let that blessing begin at home, and reach out from there. As alpaca fiber is known for its warmth and wearability, this scarf is perfect comfort for a cold winter day. May our homes, also, be known for the warmth and comfort that comes from being a place of blessing.

May you stay warm.

Merry Christmas, still,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    The scarf is beautiful and looks so soft! I hope you had a wonderful time with all your family!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, Thanks! The scarf is fun to wear. It’s long enough to wrap around once or twice, but it’s not heavy.
      We really had a great time with family. I hope you did, too!

      Karen

  • Stunning !~! The undulating pattern mesmerizes as I look at it. And alpaca’s incredible lightness creates a jewel of a scarf. Wow. Does it get cold enough where you live for this ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Lynda,
      😉 It doesn’t get cold enough here very often. On those few days that it is cold enough, 2 or 3 days in the last couple weeks, I’m glad to have it around my neck.
      Karen

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