Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen

Quiet Friday: Finally Finished

Finish the finishing, please. I always have a pile of handwovens that need finishing. Don’t you? The finishing smorgasbord includes repairing skipped threads (unintentional floats), securing ends, fringe treatments, hemming, wet finishing, pressing, adding hanging tabs, embellishments, and more. You know you are finally finished when your handiwork is being used and enjoyed.

1. Twisted fringe on bamboo huck lace small tablecloth. This cloth covered an heirloom table, becoming the altar, at Melody’s wedding. (This short piece was at the end of the warp after weaving two shawls.) You can see the shawls HERE, and twisting the fringe HERE.

Bamboo huck lace small tablecloth.
Twisted fringe gives an elegant finishing touch to this small huck lace table covering.

2. Added hanging tabs to handtowels. Installed Ikea rod with basket and hooks to hang handwoven handtowels in the powder room. (When you need tabs for towels, it helps to have a collection of inkle and band loom bands.) You can see the most recent towels HERE – I kept one of the eight for myself; the rest became gifts.

Ikea basket and hooks hold handwoven towels for guests.
Ikea basket and hooks hold assortment of handwoven towels for guests to use in the powder room.

3. Untangled the fringe of alpaca/tencel throw. (A wet finishing nightmare I don’t care to repeat.) You can see what it looked like before washing HERE.

Alpaca Tencel handwoven throw with lattice fringe
Each strand of fringe was carefully separated one-by-one after leaving the alpaca/tencel throw in the washing machine a few minutes too long. Untangling took longer than tying the lattice fringe. Hours and hours.

4. Hand-stitched rolled hem on Swedish lace tablecloth. (I may use this as a curtain for my weaving studio window, hung on rings with clips, on a rod.) HERE are the long curtain panels that hang on windows in my home.

Hand-stitched rolled hem on handwoven Swedish lace cloth.
Swedish lace panel can be used as a tablecloth, or a curtain, or even a light, summery shawl. The hand-stitched rolled hem gives a delicate touch to this elegant piece.

Swedish lace, handwoven cloth. Karen Isenhower
Swedish lace is shown to its best advantage when light is allowed to shine through the cloth. The pressed rolled hem adds a classy touch.

5. Hemmed small sample piece to carry around with me when I have a cup of coffee. (I grab this re-usable “scrap” instead of a paper napkin or paper towel. It also doubles as a coaster wherever I happen to sit down.) The original M’s and O’s towels are HERE; and HERE you can see what I mean about carrying my coffee cup around with me.

Handwoven scrap is used as a napkin/coaster for cup of coffee.
Scrap of handwoven fabric, from a cottolin warp of handtowels, follows my favorite coffee cup around.

6. Replaced nylon cord on handwoven Roman shades with a cord I wove on my band loom. (The “temporary” nylon cord stayed more than a year. We now enjoy seeing this on our kitchen door every day, finally fully finished.) The only place I have a picture of the original nylon cord, and of the fabric on the loom for the Roman shades is in my Projects on Weavolution HERE. (I’m not sure if you can see it without logging in to the site.)

Handwoven on Glimakra band loom - pull cord for Roman shades.
Linen and cotton threads that match the handwoven Roman shades were used to weave the pull cord. Cord woven on Glimakra two-treadle band loom.

Handwoven Roman shades in two-block twill. Karen Isenhower
Handwoven Roman shades finally have a matching pull cord. When the shades are lowered at night, the two-block twill structure is seen covering the whole kitchen door window. Woven on 8-shaft Glimakra Standard loom.

Opening the handwoven Roman shades. Please come on in!
Opening the shades to start the day and welcome you. Please come in!

May you reduce your finishing pile (I know you have one).

Forever finishing,
Karen

Romance and Whimsy

Our Melody was princess of the day. You could see the white chairs from a distance that told the world, “Wedding!” It was a romantic outdoor setting, under a canopy of majestic old oak trees, appropriate for wedding vows spoken with lifetime integrity. Lights in the trees, mason jars with flowers, and popsicles brought whimsy and laughter to the celebration. (There was an evening breeze that made the air surprisingly cool. I was thankful for the warmth of my handwoven huck lace bamboo shawl.) Everything beckoned guests to come closer. And if you were close enough, you could smell the fragrance of the purple larkspur in Melody’s bridal bouquet!

Bride's wedding dress and bouquet is displayed on bound rosepath by her mother and hope chest built by her father.
Melody’s bridal bouquet in her grandmother’s Fostoria vase, rests on my handwoven bound rosepath piece that is laying on the hope chest built by her father. Melody’s memorable wedding dress completes the scene.

Our heavenly Father is like that, beckoning us to come take a closer look. Close enough to enjoy warmth in the breeze, smell the flowers, and wonder at the mystery of true love.

Bride and Mom just before the wedding.
Bride and Mom sharing laughter and smiles just before the wedding!

May you come close enough to enjoy the details prepared for you.

With Romance in the Air,
Karen

Tools Day: Fringe Twister

A hemstitched edge deserves twisted fringe. You have to overlook the amount of time it takes to put this finishing touch on your handwoven articles (often as much, or more, time than it took to weave the cloth in the first place). You do it because you care about the end result. The hemstitching and fringe are the mat and frame for your work of art. Begin well and finish well.

Tools for twisting fringe.
Step 1: (First, with fabric not yet washed and dried, cut all fringe strands on both ends of article to an equal and even length.) A pair of two-pound walking weights holds the fabric in place for tying knots. This fringe twister tool has a long handle and four little alligator clips.

Steps for making twisted fringe.
Step 2: Tie an overhand knot a fingertip-length away from the end, securing four ends together. (Other projects may have more than four ends grouped together.) This extra step holds the secret to clean cut fringe ends (see step 7).

Fringe twister at work.
Step 3: Let each little alligator grab a knot in it’s teeth, four in a row. Crank the handle around until the twisted threads begin to kink back on themselves. Count the number of turns of the handle and repeat that same number of turns for each grouping.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step.
Step 4: Grab the strands from the first two alligators’ mouths, being careful not to let the strands unwind. Combine the two thread groups and tie an overhand knot a fingertip-width away from the first knots.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step pics.
Step 5: After the knot is tied, let the strands unwind in your hand, keeping them from tangling with neighboring threads. Snug the knot by holding the knot and pulling on the two smaller knots, one at a time.

Bamboo Shawl, ready to trim edges of fringe. Explanation about twisting fringe.
Step 6: Wet finish the fabric by a method suitable for the type of thread or yarn being used. Air dry completely, or other suitable method for drying. While still damp, separate and straighten each twisted fringe.

Secret for clean cut fringe ends.
Step 7: First set of knots are cut off, removing the frayed ends, and leaving clean cut ends.

Finished Bamboo Huck Lace Shawl. Karen Isenhower
Step 8: Wear your lovingly handmade creation to a very special occasion, such as to your daughter’s wedding.

This is a lesson for raising children and letting them go, too. You weave for years, give time-consuming attention to the finishing touches while they are in your hands, and then you let them go. Wedding in four days!

May you take the time to finish well.

Love,
Karen

Quiet Friday: Coral Shawl for a Memorable Occasion

Have you ever experienced a chain of events, where the dominos start falling, and you just try to keep up? That is the story of this shawl. My daughter got engaged, so I bought a dress to wear at her wedding. The dress is sleeveless, so I wanted a shawl to wear over my shoulders. Not knowing where to find a matching shawl, I decided to weave one. To weave a shawl, I had to finish weaving these towels that were on the loom, plan the draft for a shawl, and order thread.

Thread and yarn record notebook.
New 10/2 bamboo thread samples added to my thread/yarn record book.

The excitement of dressing the loom, trying out weft color options, weaving the delicate huck lace pattern, twisting fringe, wet finishing the cloth, and waiting for the wet cloth to dry, is all intensified because of the meaning of the event where I will wear the shawl. The shawl, itself, is a minor player that will serve best if it is not even noticed. The attention will be on Melody and Eddie as they pledge their love and faithfulness to each other, embracing companionship for a lifetime. Three weeks to go!

Threading heddles with coral bamboo thread for huck lace.
Threading heddles for huck lace.

Sleying the reed on Glimakra Ideal.
Reed is sleyed with two ends per dent in a 12 dent reed, which means the sett is 24 ends per inch.

Every thread is ready. Let the weaving begin!
Every thread stands at attention, each in their proper place. Let the weaving begin!

Weft color auditions on coral bamboo warp. Karen Isenhower
Trying out the weft colors in the late afternoon on the dark coral warp. First, coral weft; and then, hot pink weft.

Coral pink bamboo shawl in huck lace.
Pink coral shawl was woven first. The hot pink huck lace weft floats are on the back side of the cloth, visible as the cloth angles toward the knee beam.

Hemstitching on the loom. Huck lace bamboo shawl.
Hemstitching at the beginning of the coral shawl. Notice the subtle border treatment that starts with plain weave and three closer rows of huck lace before the body of the shawl.

Twisting fringe.
Twisting groups of warp ends together to create twisted fringe that embellishes the ends of the shawl.

Wet finishing begins for coral huck lace shawl.
There is nothing that makes me more nervous than wet finishing. A mistake at this point can ruin the handwoven masterpiece. For this reason, I first wet finished the sample piece, and then the pink coral shawl. Now, I am confident about throwing the coral shawl into the washing machine with a half-capful of no rinse delicate wash concentrate.

Bamboo shawl, laying flat to dry.
After gently rolling the wet cloth in towels to remove excess water, I lay it out smoothly on my longest countertop, and leave it to dry overnight.

Trimming the fringe after washing. Frayed ends removed.
After the cloth is fully dry, knots at the ends of the twisted fringe are trimmed off, removing frayed ends and leaving clean-cut ends.

Finished handwoven coral bamboo huck lace shawl. Karen Isenhower
Ready for a special occasion!

May those you love know how much you love them.

With Anticipation,
Karen