Warp Chains Are Beautiful

The reel spins ‘round, ‘round, ‘round one way, and then ‘round, ‘round, ‘round back the other way. Rhythmic, mesmerizing, and strangely soothing. Counting, as I wind two ends at a time, I find myself whispering “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, ….” The warping reel is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. This warp has seven colors of 22/2 Cottolin for bath towels which are to accompany the hand towels I recently made. I am winding this in four bouts, and there are different color changes in each bout.

Winding a warp for cottolin bath towels.
First bout on the warping reel.
Making cottolin bath towels.
Second bout. Choke ties about every meter keep the ends from shifting as the warp bout is chained and taken to the loom.
Making a warp for handwoven bath towels. Cottolin.
Third bout. Each of the four bouts has nearly the same number of warp ends.
Glimakra warping reel - one of my favorite pieces of equipment!
Fourth bout.

I marvel at the combination of thread colors as I chain each bout off the reel. The warp chains look beautiful. They always do. Warp chains are dreams in the making, where anything is possible. Haven’t you dreamt of handwoven bath towels?

Winding a warp on the Glimakra warping reel.
Came close to running out of thread on some of the tubes. (I did have backup tubes, but not from the same dye lots.)
Beautiful warp chains!
Beautiful warp chains, ready for the loom.

When we listen closely, we can hear the inaudible. Our hearts can hear the softest whisper. “2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, …” Even the hairs on our head are numbered by the Grand Weaver who planned our existence. Our days are numbered, as well. And when our heart is listening, we can hear the quiet whisper of the Lord Jesus, “Are you weary and burdened? Come to me, and I will give you rest.”

May you listen for the softest whisper.

Gently,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Beautiful colors! I’m looking forward to seeing the warp spread across the reed. Best to you and yours!

  • Nannette says:

    The promise of the future beauty. The beginning of a process that completes at the plans and skills of the weaver. Time will tell.

    I always gorge on your color choices.

    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, There’s always an element of time that holds the promise. I’m glad you enjoy the color choices. Choosing colors one of the most exciting parts about weaving for me.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Beautiful colors, looking forward to seeing the towel sets when they are complete and put together as the sets.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Making towel sets for our bathroom is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time. It’s nice to see it coming to pass. Thanks for your encouragement.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    Karen,
    Thank you for your thoughts about listening to the whispers in our lives. Your words are always a breath of fresh air and I appreciate your reminders to look closely into my life and know that God is working his miracles in the smallest things. Looking forward to seeing your bath towels – wrapping up in a handwoven bath towel is such a luxury!
    Blessings to you and yours.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I like your words that God is working his miracles in the smallest things. So true!

      I suppose that handwoven bath towels are a luxury. It’s nice to be surrounded by handwoven articles, simple luxuries.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

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It Is Going to Be All White

I am getting ready for Christmas. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Helen made a Christmas tree skirt for our family. It was a simple white felt skirt, with added colorful felt silhouettes depicting Christ’s Nativity. I want to reproduce that Christmas tree skirt using handwoven fabric. This fabric on the Ideal loom will be the base of the skirt. I will use some of my myriad handwoven fabric remnants for the colorful Nativity appliqué.

Weaving wool fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Möbelåtta warp on the right, and Fårö weft on the left.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Temple in place for consistent beat and tidy selvedges.

The warp is unbleached 8/2 Möbelåtta wool. The weft is bleached 6/1 Fårö wool. The 6-shaft point twill fabric is delightful. Perfect for what I have in mind. It is peaceful, soothing, restful, and calm. You can see that everything is going to be all white.

Wool fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Six-shaft point twill.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
In anticipation of Christmas.

There is a time for color, action, and noise. But we also need a time for serenity, stillness, and quiet reflection. Going alone to sit in the Lord’s presence gives us just that. It is there that we can pour out our heart in prayer. The Lord meets us where we are when we pray. And He tells the trusting heart that everything is going to be all right.

May your heart be at rest.

With you,
Karen

PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

The towel that was woven without floating selvedges is the same towel that received the most votes. Towel #2!

It seems counterintuitive that weaving twill structures without floating selvedges could produce a pleasing edge. But most of the time the small floats that appear at the edge are inconsequential, especially after wet finishing. (By the way, I am weaving the white point twill mentioned above without floating selvedges, as well.)

Thank you for your wonderful participation!

6 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    That’s a really lovely fabric, Karen. And yes, it’s calm, soothing, and absolutely self-assured. I’m a lover of winter and the can see the joyful little swirls of snow and ice crystals dancing over the blanket of snow. Your tree skirt is going to be stunningly beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, It does look like ice crystals on a layer of snow. It’s pretty. I think it’s going to be a lovely fabric to hold, too. Like a lightweight little blanket.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    Are you sure you live in Texas? Your handling of white on white brings memories of last December.

    Well done.

    Nannette

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great idea for this beautiful fabric! You already know that I really like white on white, not to mention utilizing leftover fabric for the appliqué, love it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I have been carrying this project idea in my mind for a few years. It feels good to get it started. White on white has always been a favorite of mine, too, though I haven’t done much weaving of it.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug

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!

Cutting off drawloom rag rug.
Cutting off in 1-inch sections to make it easy to tie back on for the second rug on the warp.

Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warp ends 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.

Drawloom rag rug finishing details.
Serger cuts off the ends as it overlocks the edge. I pull out the scrap header little by little just ahead of the serger needles and blade.
Finishing drawloom rag rug - steps.
Two rows of straight stitching.
Bound hem on a drawloom rag rug.
Lightweight woven fusible interfacing backs the fabric used for the narrow bound hem.
My Grandma's thimble.
My Grandma’s thimble helps me hand stitch the back side of the bound hems.
Drawloom rag rug finished!
Finished and pressed.
Stony Creek Rag Rug woven on single-unit drawloom! (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)
Dream come true! Stony Creek Rag Rug (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)

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.

May your confidence grow.

With faith,
Karen

31 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Thank you for the beautiful description of a beautiful rug finish.

    Hem finishes is something I’ve struggled with. My sister works in a medical rehab facility and asked for personal medical masks to be given to staff and residents.. Finished with.my least favorite finish….. binding. And God provided a beautifully done technique for my next rugs..

    Now, onto the orchard in transit. The first nursery let me know fruit and nut trees/bushes are on their way to turn the retirement property into a perma-forest.

    Will I reap the fruits of the all the trees? Only God knows. But God will make sure a hungry soul will find them. Your posting this morning fed my soul. .

    Blessings to all.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Rugs can be finished in so many ways. I’m glad you have a use for this option of bound hems.

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Oh Karen, what a wonderful rug! It looked perfect in your lovely home!

  • Kay says:

    Absolutely lovely. You have inspired me to do a rag rug in the near future.

  • Beth Mullins says:

    It’s beautiful, Karen! I really like the bound finishing. Bravo!

  • Linda Miller says:

    Love reading your posts. Thank you for reminding me to find God in everything.

  • Betsy says:

    It’s just gorgeous, Karen! Wonderful job!!

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Such a beautiful rug. It makes me realize I need to start using the draw attachment on my loom and get to know it better. Your posts are so inspiring.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Oh I hope you do get familiar with your draw attachment! The possibilities are endless, and it is so much fun.

      Thank you, thank you,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Very beautiful rug, you worked hard on this one and it shows. Stunning! Job well done.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Karen!
    What a nice rug!The colors, the neat finish…
    I just admire the way you work.
    Best regards
    Eirini

  • D'Anne says:

    Beautiful rug! You do exquisite work, Karen!

  • Gail Bird says:

    Beautiful rug.
    Enduring thoughts concerning confident faith.
    Thank you.

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful rug! I’m impressed you could secure the warp threads like that, I really like how it opened up for that beautiful finish.
    Do you think the warp ends could be secured like that when making a wowen hem for a regular rag rug, too? I struggled to secure warp ends without tying knots, I tried but wasn’t able to “catch” the warp threads with the sewing machine needle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, Thank you!

      I have had the same experience on other rugs with trying to secure warp ends with the sewing machine. The needle doesn’t catch all the ends. What made the difference with this one is that there are so many threads close together. The serger was able to catch most of the ends. I set a short stitch length on the sewing machine, too, to make even more certain that every warp end would be stitched, with two rows of stitching.

      I will still tie knots on a usual rag rug, with the normal 3 epc sett. The sett on this one is 7 doubled ends per centimeter. A big difference.

      Also, I’ve learned some things. For the next rug on this drawloom warp I will weave a longer header, instead of the 8-pick header I did on this one. Then, I will be able to secure the ends AND fold it under, which will help to secure them even more.

      Long answer. 🙂 Thanks for asking.
      Karen

      • Elisabeth says:

        Thank you! This explains the difference. I have a problem with a few warp ends on one of my door mats which has a wowen hem. I have been able secure them on the back (not very pretty) and it has endured several rounds in the washer since 🙂

  • Tercia says:

    Beautiful and a great piece…saving that and need to give it a try!

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Having seen a small section of this rug up close and personal when it was on your draw loom, all I can say is WOW when I see the finished piece.
    Fabulous job

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Drawloom Rag Rug Color Transition

This is a huge project. Four shades of blue from dark to light span the nearly one-and-a-half-meter-long rug. I have reached the final color-transition section. I am eagerly awaiting the day this rug will be rolled out!

Rag rug on the drawloom. Color transition.
Transitioning from one color to the next.

My measuring ribbon shows me where to make the color changes. I alternate two weft colors (C and D) through the transition area to blend the hues. All the while, I stop after every half-unit of four picks to manage the draw cords. A graphed chart tells me exactly which of the 164 draw cords to pull or release. In this way the graphic designs are woven into the rug, row by row. I weave in quiet, allowing me to put full attention on each move.

Drawloom rag rug.
View of the underside of the rug as it goes from the breast beam to the knee beam.
Single unit drawloom rag rug.
Draw cords are arranged by tens, alternating black cords and white cords. I pull the cords as they correspond to the prepared chart hanging at the left side of the loom.

We need hope in these unsettling times. Jesus invites us to admit our fears and failures, and put our trust in him, and follow him. And this is the message Jesus gives his followers: I am always with you. The Lord gives strength and courage. As our Grand Weaver, he has his full attention on us. So be strong and take courage.

May you have hope that lasts.

Love,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Thank you for the words of encouragement today.

    God bless you.

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Please send a photo when the rug is finished. Happy Easter! He is risen!

  • Nannette says:

    Pretty colors. I noticed the pattern is reversed on the back. Or, is there an actual back once it is cut from the loom?

    We now have a Palm Sunday grandson. He came quickly. 15 minutes from leaving the house.

    In their hospital, dads were allowed in with admission, but have to stay the entire time. They are not allowed in if they leave. This is where modern technology comes to play. 31 seconds of video played over and over by the toddler who is fascinated by his baby brother.

    We are watching the toddler and entertaining him with driveway chalk art. The neighbors are enjoying this as much are he is.

    The stories to be told at future Thanksgiving tables…. none of which are relevant to your beautiful weaving. Except… the enjoyment of God’s gifts.

    And of course. This is Wisconsin. The game playing with this year’s election. It makes my head hurt.

    This is a remarkable Holy Week.

    Thank you for making the world a better place.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, You are correct, the pattern is reversed on the back. Who knows, maybe I’ll use the back as the main side. Or, probably flip it over from time to time.

      I’m glad your new grandson had a healthy entrance. Congratulations!

      With resurrection in mind,
      Karen

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Tied Up in Knots

Every time you cut off a warp there is more to do before the woven material is ready for its end purpose. Do you enjoy tying knots? And, hemming rugs by hand? I don’t mind completing these final steps. It’s part of the whole weaving process. Three of the six rosepath rag rugs are now finished. Truly finished.

Six new rosepath rag rugs, ready for finishing!
Six rosepath rag rugs. Rugs are cut apart and warping-slat dividers have been removed.

Tying the warp ends in overhand knots permanently secures the weft. These knots won’t work loose. I turn the hem, concealing the knots; and stitch the hem down. After I sew on my label, the work is complete.

Tying knots to finish a rag rug.
Warp ends are tied into overhand knots, four ends at a time.
Rag rug finishing.
Ends are trimmed to 1 inch.
Hand hemming a rosepath rag rug.
Hem is folded under and pressed. The needle catches a warp end from the fold and a warp end from the body of the rug. Rug warp is used as thread for hemming.

Jesus famously said, “It is finished,” when he was on the cross. His completed good work replaces our work of trying to be good enough, trying to fix everything, trying to control our lives. Our knots won’t hold. We can trust that his finished work will never be undone. God loves you. Trusting him is loving him back.

Rosepath rag rug, fresh off the loom.
One completed rug, named “Treasures,” for my neighbor’s home.
Handwoven rag rugs, named "Blessed Assurance." Made for a friend.
Pair of completed rugs, named “Blessed Assurance,” for another neighbor’s home.

May love securely hold you.

Trusting,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Beth says:

    They are beautiful, Karen!
    I’m curious, do you wet finish the rugs before using them on the floor?

  • Charlotte says:

    Blessed assurance…Jesus is mine…oh what a foretaste of Glory divine…

    I adore your two rugs entitled “Blessed Assurance”…absolutely adore them!

    As you may be aware, Art Camp was cancelled. Now…the Bluebonnet Rally is cancelled. For 9 years…our April has been spent serving 250 people in Bandera. Goodness…we are quarantined and home. Now, I have this wonderful time before me to play in the studio. We need to talk!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, The “Blessed Assurance” rugs are showstoppers, much to my surprise, since there is not a bit of blue in them. 🙂

      This is my story, this is my song. Our Lord is song-worthy all the day long.

      Love you,
      Karen

  • ellen b santana says:

    i heard in a sermon that the phrase it is finished in the original language was words used in commerce, to signify that the debt was paid. so cool.

  • Kristin G says:

    Such lovely rugs and words, Karen! I’m so glad I got to see one of them up close at the guild meeting – they really are beautiful. You made my heart smile with the ‘Blessed Assurance” named rugs. What a wonderful song to have playing in my mind today.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m always happy when someone has a song in their heart. Glad to contribute to that!

      Your kind words are such an encouragement to me.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    What a beautiful bunch of rag rugs you have made!
    I am cutting rags at the moment…in between other textile projects 🙂
    We are so blessed to always have something to do, even more so now when staying home has become our new daily life. The healthcare system needs for as many of us as possible to do just that!! My mom has been on lockdown (in Norway) for a week already.
    Take care and stay healthy!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I’m glad to hear you have another rag rug project in the works. I agree, it is a blessing to have no shortage of things to do at home. It’s a good time to pray for our mothers, and those more vulnerable.

      Keep in health.
      Love,
      Karen

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