Tried and True: Organized Reeds

My weaving history includes very fine threads all the way to heavy-duty rug warps. As a result, I have acquired a wide selection of reeds over time. All five of my looms have beaters that will accommodate any length or height of reed. When I plan a project, one of the first things I consider is whether I have the size reed that is needed. To keep my reeds organized, I need two things. One, a simple method to manage the reeds I have, tracking the reeds as they go in and out of use. Two, a place to store all the reeds, arranged in order by dents per cm and dents per inch.

Reed Organization

  • Reed Inventory

I keep a list in my Notes app on my phone with the sizes and lengths of reeds that I have. If a reed is in use, I note which loom. If a reed will be needed for a planned project, I also note that. As soon as I remove a reed from the beater at the end of a project, I put the reed away and update my Reed Inventory list.

Simple system for tracking reeds in and out of use.
Sample Reed Inventory note. When I am planning, I look at the note on my phone to see what reeds I have that are available. “Next” reserves the reed for the loom that needs it next.
  • Reed Holder

Steve created a storage solution for my reeds. The holder goes along the back wall of my drawloom studio for about six feet. Here are the details, using nominal board sizes. The reeds sit on a 1” x 6” board at the base, which is supported against the wall by a 1” x 4” board. The base, with a 1” x 2” lip, sits about 12” off the ground. The reed dividers are 3/8” x 5 3/4” dowels that are sunk into a 1” x 3” board that is attached to the wall, which sets the dowels about 27” above the base.

DIY Reed Holder behind my drawloom.
Reed holder is fastened to the wall behind the drawloom. (Notice that the drawloom rag rug warp has come over the back beam…)
Organized reeds!
The dowels are placed at a height that will hold even my shortest reeds.
Reed holder stores weaving loom reeds. DIY
Reeds are in order by dent size. Metric reeds are separate from those with dents per inch.

If you would like a PDF copy of Steve’s diagram that shows all the dimensions, click HERE to send me an email request.

May you have a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

Yours,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    That handy husband of yours! What a nice solution, and I like the pegboard with hanging lams, etc. very nice,

  • Marianne says:

    Thanks for sharing! Weaving requires so much paraphernalia so i am always curious how other weavers organize their studios. Thank you you for inviting us into yours!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, Yes, paraphernalia is a good description of all the tools and supplies needed for weaving. Learning ways to organize things seems to be a requirement for weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Ha! In the first picture of the storage rack, I thought it was attached to the wall at an angle, with the shortest reeds on the right. Nice optical illusion. And very nice storage solution.

  • Elisabeth says:

    Very neat idea! I agree, it’s so helpful to have a good system for storing tools and accessories. Thank you for sharing!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, It’s much more relaxing to have everything in its place. And it saves money because I’m not buying duplicates of things I already have, but couldn’t find.

      Thanks!
      Karen

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Handweaving Dilemma

I am making great progress on my drawloom rag rug, closing in on the final segment. And then, I take a picture and the camera reveals something I had failed to see. A mistake! Here is the dilemma that I’m sure other weavers face, too. It’s an internal dialogue. I can live with the error. Or, can I? No one will notice. Well, I certainly will notice. But I am sooo close to the end. I really don’t want to undo the last forty minutes of weaving. What would you do?

Drawloom rag rug.
Error in the rug escapes my notice.
Mistake in the weaving, exposed by taking a photo.
Photo reveals my mistake.

Back it up. Using the chart that I follow for pulling draw cords, unit by unit, I work my way back until I get to the error. On reflection, doing the task is easier than thinking about doing it.

Removing weft to fix an error.
Backing up.
Single-unit drawloom.
One single unit draw cord makes all the difference. This cord should have been drawn in the affected rows.
Rag weft is taken out to correct an error.
Undone. Weft is removed. The mistake has been taken out.
Drawloom rag rug. Correcting an error.
Ready to start fresh from here.

My feelings can fool me. I don’t feel like going back and correcting my mistake. This is the time to pause and listen. Wisdom is at the door. Wisdom requires thinking, and listening, and time. Time is my friend, if I refrain from hurry. Wisdom is much like the skill of an experienced craftsman—one who understands precision and artistic expression and do-overs. Wisdom knows that patience is powerful. The easiest way to do something often forfeits the greatest rewards.

May you keep your ear at wisdom’s door.

Peace,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Such a wonderfully wise decision and if anyone can do it – make that small mistake go away and result in a perfect weave – you can and DID! I am always so inspired by your work, and follow along with great joy! Thanks for sharing – inspiring as always!
    Will you tell me what the blue cloth is? So beautifully bold and it looks like a hand dye or print. I am a fairly new weaver and love experimenting and making rag rugs.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bethany, One of the best things about making rag rugs is getting to play with beautiful fabrics. There are two different blue fabrics here. They alternate. One is a solid blue with some variance in color, and the other is a small bright floral print. Both are 100% cotton quilting fabrics that I have left over from other rag rug weaving projects. Combining the two fabrics makes the blue very rich.

      Thanks for your kind words!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    Wisdom and patience and un-weaving prevailed. 40 minutes of weaving taken out. Wise! You would have spent the lifetime of the rug with your eye going to the mistake. Wisdom…a wonderful gift to us! He perfects us only a daily basis, if we allow. Always, I seek His wisdom and ask that He bless the work of my hands. This oftentimes means…un-weaving due to my mistake. I began weaving my sheep, late yesterday. When I removed the temple, I realized one had only 3 legs. You know the rest of my story….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, Yes, if I had kept going (and I came so close to doing that), I would always have seen that one spot on the rug.

      Oh, yes, I know the rest of your story. Another lesson learned.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Donns says:

    I just faced the same dilemma. Something didn’t look right after several inches of weaving a project from Handwoven. So I stopped and googled “Handwoven corrections 2019” and sure enough there was a correction to the draft. I had to walk away and let it all sink in before I could unweave and then decide how to proceed. As I always tell myself, it’s only time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donns, Wise words – “it’s only time.” Time is something we all have. I’m glad you caught the mistake while you could still do something about it.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Wisdom…. A blessing to take another look before proceeding. I’ve learned so much from walking away to clear my head… Then when I return, the mistake is obvious.

    Is wisdom what happens between finishing and enjoying the journey?

    Blessings upon your journey.

  • Betsy says:

    Isn’t that always the way? It’s soooo difficult in our minds, but easy once we actually do it. Happens over and over to me.

    Can’t wait to see this off the loom!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I don’t know why I have to learn the same lesson over and over. Oh, for wisdom and patience to sink in.

      It will be a few more days, now, but I’m near the end of the rug.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Allison says:

    You are right, taking it out actually takes less time than thinking about taking it out!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison, Next time, maybe I will just do it instead of thinking about not wanting to do it. It sounds like you’ve been there, too.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Yvonne Taylor says:

    Well I would just take a large darning needle anf go over the mistake and hide the ends. You will be more careful from now on Im sure. Ha ha. Who hasn’t done something like this?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Yvonne, Trust me, I considered doing just that. And I will probably need to darn other mistakes that I’ve missed. But I’m glad I went back to fix the error now. Easier, really, than covering it up later.

      I think we’ll all done something like this, haven’t we?

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Lizard in Black and White

Some things are better seen without color. Hence, an enlarged version of my lizard in black and white. Variances in value are not as easily discerned in the full-color print. These subtle value distinctions bring realism to the lizard tapestry. For this reason, I sort all the yarn into small groups of color and value, which clarifies my choices for each wool butterfly.

Lizard portrait in black and white for tapestry project.

Lizard portrait in black and white shows nuances in color value.

Yarn Sorting Process:
1. Select yarn colors for the tapestry.

2. Group like colors together.

Sorting wool yarn for a tapestry. Tutorial.

Wool yarn, much of which has been accumulated from previous projects.

For each color group (I have seven color groups):
1. Arrange yarn on a white background in value order, from light to dark. Take a picture.

Arranging yarn by color value for tapestry.

Green, from light to dark.

2. Take another picture using the smart phone black and white setting (“Noir” in the filters on my iPhone).

Yarn in order by value. Blog post explanation.

Photo shows that a couple adjustments are needed for the yarn-value order.

3. Adjust yarn to make value order corrections.

Yarn in order by color value. Suggestions on blog post.

Adjustments made.

4. Divide the yarn into three value sections. 1. light, 2. medium, 3. dark.
5. Label baskets to hold each yarn section; i.e., “G 3” for green, dark.

The preparation for a project like this is immense. And tedious. But this is a weaving adventure. Indeed, the results may very well be astounding. That’s my hope.

Yarn for tapestry sorted by color and value. Tutorial.

Little baskets of yarn next to the loom, sorted by color and value.

Life itself is a full color project. Immense and tedious. Rise above these earthly things. Our Grand Weaver sees the value distinctions that we miss with our natural eye. What hope this gives! Trusting him through this real life adventure brings assurance of astounding results. Setting my mind on these “above” things turns troubles into treasures whose values will be evident in the final real tapestry.

May you persevere.

With you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Annie says:

    I like the reminder of value distinction. I think it is hard to remember or believe that a life lived in quiet, following Christ teachings has just as much value as the life lived containing one grandeous moment of self sacrifice.

  • Now we know why the art teachers insisted on pencil before pastels.
    What a great visual. Thank you.

    I am going to step out of topic and call on you and your readers to pray for all who share the roads. We lost a young man the day before Fathers’ day. A woman turned left into his Harley. She was trying to go onto a highway on-ramp. Late morning… dry pavement… sun out… mind not paying attention to oncoming traffic.

    Please add all people in their daily travels to your prayers and care on the roads. His death shattered 3 families.

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What the Shadow Reveals

Sometimes things do not go as you hope or expect. I thought this color-and-weave effect would be more distinct. Yes, I chose low-contrast colors. I wanted the pattern to be subtle. But this may be too subtle. I have to use my imagination to see anything other than a faint checked pattern. It’s not a complaint. It’s just not how I thought it was supposed to be.

Linen on the loom.

All 8/2 linen. Stripes in the warp and stripes in the weft. I intended more than a simple check pattern.

I am taking pictures from all different angles, thinking the camera lens might show more than I can see with my eye.

Warp and weft stripes in linen.

Detail of warp and weft stripes. A simple, yet pleasing pattern.

Weaving 8/2 linen upholstery fabric.

Crosswise view.

Linen upholstery fabric on the loom.

View at an angle. No significant difference.

And, to my great surprise, there it is! The pattern I am hoping for shows up when I snap a photo of the underside. What happened? It’s all in the lighting. In this case, I need shadows to reveal the pattern in the weave.

Color-and-weave effects in linen upholstery fabric.

Pattern shows up underneath.

Color-and-weave patterns in linen.

Same fabric, different look. This is what I intended all along. Hidden in the shadows.

Shadow reveals the pattern in this linen color and weave.

To test my hypothesis about the shadows, I cup my hand over the fabric. Where a shadow is formed the pattern is revealed.

Endure. When you walk through shadows of life, the patterns that are woven in you become evident. If you depend on the Lord’s might to walk through and endure day-by-day challenges, that same power will be with you when you walk into a major shadow and need endurance the most. In fact, it is in that shadow that the image of Christ is most clearly seen in you.

With you,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Trick of the light! I love this.

  • cuyler says:

    Amazing! Thanks for the excellent photos. That really helps understand your point, and view.

  • Elisabeth says:

    It is when walking through the shadows of life we learn to see things in depth, it is almort like you experience life without a filter…it is raw, real, painful, yet beautiful at the same time… beauiful in the presense of wonder. Your pictures so well illustrate the beauty present in the shadows, as well as a great reminder not to fear the difficult times! Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Elisabeth, yes, beauty can be found in the shadows. It’s not easy to remember that when you’re going through a hard time.

      Thanks for your words of wisdom,
      Karen

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What to Do about Weaving Errors

I’ve been waiting for a bright sunshiny day to thoroughly examine this tightly-woven linen satin dräll fabric. Today is perfect. Fixing errors must be done before the fabric is washed, when the weave will become even tighter. I am looking for unwanted floats where the shuttle skipped threads, and for loops at the selvedges.

In my examination I did find an errant float and a few small selvedge loops. Let’s get started.

Tools:

  • Blunt-tip needle. Sharp needle tip has been sanded to a rounded tip.

Blunt needle for fixing weaving errors.

  • Thread. Use the same weft or warp thread that is in the area needing repair.
  • Good lighting. If the fabric has a complex structure, good lighting is essential.
  • Magnification. I take a photo on my iPhone, and then zoom in to see the minute details.

Zoom in on iPhone photo to magnify details.

 

How to Mend Skipped Threads:

1 Locate the error. Here is a long weft float.

What to do with skipped threads. Tutorial.

2 Thread the blunt-tip needle with a length of the same thread as the float.

Tutorial on fixing weaving errors.

3 Following the exact under-over pattern of the weave, start one inch before the float and needle-weave toward the float. I lay my iPhone nearby, with the magnified iPhone photo clearly showing the weave pattern.

Needle weaving to mend a weaving error. How to.

4 Needle-weave the correct path of the thread through the float area. Continue needle-weaving along the same thread pathway, going one inch beyond the float.

How to fix skipped threads in weaving.

5 Check the front and back of the fabric to see if your stitches match the correct pattern of the weave.

Skipped threads in weaving. Fixed!

6 When you are certain that the float thread has been accurately replaced, clip the float and remove it (or, leave it and trim it after washing). Leave two-inch tails on the replacement thread, and trim after wet finishing. (I leave the replacement tails so I can find and check the repair after it is washed. This also allows for shrinkage before trimming.)

Clip off the float AFTER repair thread is in place.

 

How to Fix a Small Selvedge Loop

1 Locate the loop.

How to fix a loop in the selvedge.

2 Using the blunt-tip needle, gently ease the excess thread to spread over four or five stitches inside the selvedge.

Easing in a loop at the selvedge. Short how-to.

3 The thread that has been eased in (just above the needle) will completely smooth out in wet finishing.

Eliminate an errant loop at the selvedge.

What skipped threads and loops would be found if I were examined this closely? Would I leave them and hope no one notices? Or, would I allow re-weaving and cutting away? A negative attitude is replaced with a thread of thankfulness. A loop of complaining is eased back in. The result is joy. A thankful heart knows joy. When the fabric is washed, the errant floats and loops are gone. What remains is the woven fabric with lustrous threads of joy.

May you have a bright sunshiny day.

With you,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Re-weaving and cutting away in life – what a great analogy.

    I am fascinated by your snips (scissors). Are they surgical snips? Those curved blades! I’d love a pair of my own.

    Here’s to a day full of joy!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Finding those personal flaws can be a little painful for me, but putting in a better thread is worth it.

      These snips with curved tips work great! I found them at a vendor at the quilt festival in Houston a few years ago. I picked up another similar pair at a needlework shop a couple years ago.

      Joy to you!
      Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Good morning, Karen! I loved your analogy! The lazy part of me would think no one might notice because change is difficult. But then the good Catholic guilt takes over and I must do something about myself!

    The same with corrections in my weaving. My first thought is will anyone really see that? But I can’t unsee it, so it must get fixed!

    One thing I never knew though, was that the loopy selvedges could be corrected. Thank you for sharing this technique, Karen. I am always eager to learn how to improve and correct, though I sometimes have to do a bit of self talk first!

    Enjoy the sun today.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The wonderful thing about grace is that someone greater than us does the fixing. He can see clearly what needs to be done.

      You are right about not being able to unsee a flaw. If there is something I can do about it, I will. If it can’t be fixed, then, I will chalk it up to the reality of being handmade.

      The loop I showed here would probably correct itself in the wash, but it wasn’t hard to ease in the thread, so I did.

      Happy to have another day with sunlight!
      Karen

  • Mary Still says:

    Beautiful piece and I like what you say at the end! Bless You!
    Mary

  • Linda Cornell says:

    You are a gifted writer as well as weaver. Thank you for sharing both!

  • Marion Darlington says:

    Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

    “My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    He weaveth steadily.

    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.

    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned

    He knows, He loves, He cares;
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.

    … as quoted by Corrie ten Boom

  • Virginia says:

    Thanks! Very helpful and encouraging.

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