Applique from Handwoven Remnants

This is the Christmas-tree-skirt project. I wove 3 1/2 meters of background fabric with 8/1 Möbellåtta warp and 6/1 Fårö wool weft. Now, having sorted through all my handwoven remnants, big and small, I have colors and textures for telling the Nativity story in appliqué. My friend with appliqué experience has advised me on materials and technique, for which I am enormously grateful.

Applique from handwoven remnants.
Remnant from the warp for towels I wove for my daughter becomes part of Mary’s garment.
Handwoven remnants cut for applique Nativity.
Donkey shape is cut from remnants from my wool vest project on the drawloom. Paper is on both sides of the double-sided fusible product. One side is peeled off to adhere the fusible to the back of the appliqué piece. (Always remember to draw the reverse side of the image onto the paper on the fusible.)
Applique from handwoven drawloom fabric.
Appliqué piece is face up, ready to be fused to the background.
Making handwoven applique Nativity.
Blue star is from opphämta on the drawloom. Green palm trees are from a long-ago rigid heddle scarf and from a warp of cottolin towels. Manger is pieced from some of my earliest floor loom fabrics. Swaddling cloth is fine cotton M’s and O’s. Baby’s halo is from Swedish lace curtain fabric. Every piece of fabric has a story.

Using a double-sided fusible product, I carefully cut out each shape. After laying all the pieces out in the proper arrangement, I fuse them, layer by layer, to the background fabric. The Nativity narrative is formed, piece by piece. I still have handwoven remnants to add to the lower edge, and embroidery to stitch around some of the appliqué shapes. I’m hopeful to complete all of it before Christmas.

Making a handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
This is the felt tree skirt I saw every year around our family’s Christmas tree when I was a girl.
Handwoven Christmas tree skirt.
Planning the arrangement of the appliqué pieces onto the background fabric.
Making a handwoven applique Nativity scene.
I start by fusing the manger into place because the head of baby Jesus is at the very center of the whole length of cloth.
Handwoven applique Nativity scene.
Wide variety of handwoven fabrics tell the Nativity story. Threads of linen, cotton, wool, and bamboo.
Handwoven applique Nativity project.
Scraps of paper backing indicate that all the pieces have been fused into place. Next, embroidery and other handwork, while considering the meaning of Christmas.

My remnant scene tells the story of God with us. The holy babe in a pieced-together manger reminds us that God loved us by sending Jesus to our worry-ridden world. Worries are the little things and big things that we would like to control, but can’t. Can we add one moment to our lifespan by worrying? Trust in Jesus replaces worry because it puts control back in the right hands.

May you live worry free.

Love,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Oh my goodness! It’s going to be a gorgeous heirloom! How will you keep the edges of the cut woven pieces of cloth from fraying? I can’t wait to see this finished. No doubt you will have it completed before Christmas.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I think you’re right that this will become a cherished heirloom. I envision having it out year after year.

      Most of the cut edges are secured with the fusible that I used. And the embroidery that I’m planning to do will serve a dual purpose – stitching around vulnerable edges, as well as being decorative.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,
    What did we do before fusibles?

    Textiles. Taking scraps of this and that and with blessings of creativity from God something wonderful happens where before for waste.

    Who knew playing with fluff would end up spun yarn? Or, looping that yarn would lead to cloth. Or stains would lead to dyes. Or mended holes would lead to lace.

    We are blessed with the end result of those ‘discoveries’ and the ever present ‘waste not want not’ that makes sure we use every last scrap of our hard work.

    Please forgive my getting into the weeds. I am trying to figure out how there are 6 plastic container lids of varying sizes left over from packing up my crafts. I think this is in the realm of socks and dyers….

    Beautiful tree skirt. I am looking forward to the finished project under the Christmas tree this year.

    Kind regards,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hello Nannette, I enjoy your thoughtful response so much. Using every last scrap has a way of showing us that when we think we are all used up, the Lord whispers that He’s not quite done with us.

      Thank you for your lovely communication,
      Karen

  • Karen says:

    Just beautiful!

  • Geri Rickard says:

    What an amazing project this is! Every piece tells a story, with each piece being a part of THE STORY. So meaningful in so many ways, and very inspiring. I can’t wait to see the finished tree skirt, but I say that about all of your projects! Thank you for sharing this process…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geri, You express my sentiments perfectly, about being a part of THE STORY. What a grand story to be in. Thank you for contributing your thoughts!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Cynthia says:

    Wow please post when your finished, Would love to see.

  • Loyanne says:

    Oh! So very wonderful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

  • Karen Simpson says:

    This will be so moving…..

  • Elisabeth says:

    It is absolutely beautiful, what a treasure! And such a great use of remnants from all those projects.

  • Carolyn Penny says:

    That is just sweet. Blessings to you and yours!

  • Kristin G says:

    I’m very glad you’ve shared this process with us, Karen. It’s so inspiring! I love that you took what others might think of as waste and worthless (only to a non-weaver, of course ) and are turning it into a treasure! What a beautiful reminder of God’s redemption.

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Warp Sequence Planning

When I wrap potential warp sequences on folded index cards it brings design thoughts out into the open. It makes the ideas tangible, helping me plan a pleasing warp. For this 8/2 cotton warp I am choosing colors from the plentiful selection I already have on my shelves.

Planning warp stripes with 8/2 cotton.
8/2 cotton left from previous projects fills the shelves. Each warp wrapping sparks ideas for more possible warps.

This warp will be woven as eight-shafttwill yardage, about 15 1/2 inches wide. The fabric will be cut and hemmed to make colorful arm and headrest covers for my mother-in-law’s comfy off-white recliner. I will increase the width of the stripes proportionately to fill the warp width. My mother-in-law will have the final say, but if you could help her decide, which set of warp stripes would you choose? Please let us know in the comments.

Planning warp stripes.
Planning warp stripes.
Planning warp stripes with 8/2 cotton.

What if our attitudes were made tangible? What would our thoughts look like if they were out in the open, wrapped like colored threads around our actions? With the love of Christ in us, forgiveness is the recurring thread. Forgiveness is for the undeserving. That is who we forgive. Because that is who we are when we are forgiven by God.

May the thread of forgiveness be woven in your life’s fabric.

With you,
Karen

30 Comments

  • Jo says:

    Hi Karen,
    I have enjoyed your weaving and your threads of wisdom for quite a while. This post on forgiveness is on target . Thank you for your insightful messages. I would choose the blue with salmon , yellow and orange. The yellow stands out like sunshine (Sonshine) of God’s forgiveness.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jo, Thank you for letting me know you are a part of this weaving journey. I enjoy hearing your reason for your choice of the warp wrappings.

      Hugs,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    A very good reminder. We forgive because we are forgiven.

    The wraps are so beautiful in themselves. I lean toward 1 or 3 or 5…..blues with pop of color. It will be fun to see what your mother-in-law picks!

  • #2 and my reasoning is simple – bright, joyful and a reminder that your warmth and loving arms are surrounding her with the skills you have to share. Blessings!
    Bethany in Kingston ON Canada

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    Prefaced with not knowing what else is in the room and color preferences of your MOL…I am drawn to number 2.

    The warm colors bring a spark of excitement to the a
    off white chair.

  • Maria says:

    I look forward to reading your wonderful words each time you post. You inspire me to weave and be a better person! I would choose #3 and #5. I like the play of blue with the red and yellow.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, I’m encouraged by your kind words. It’s a joy to have you along. Thanks for giving your opinion on the warp wrappings.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • patricia ahrens says:

    I agree with Karen. #2

  • Ellen Sturtevant says:

    #2 or 3. Like the pop of color in both. Hard to say tho without knowing what other colors are in her room. I’m sure you’ve considered color with all your selections.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, You are right, I tried to include colors that would work in her room. And I didn’t include green at all because I know it’s not one of her favorite colors.

      Thanks for participating,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    For me personally I would pick 2 or 3. I like lots of color. If she doesn’t like as much color then 6 has potential as you get variations of blues with a touch of black. A more restful but interesting warp.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I included #6 for the very reasons you describe. It truly does look very restful. The black is actually navy blue. The iPhone camera does pretty good, but just can’t get it quite right. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    Good morning, dearest!

    As I picture the off-white recliner…#6 seems to pop in my mind. It would hide possible soil marks and be stunning against the recliner. But, then…you might want something more cheerful. What is her personality? What are her favorite colors, I wonder. No matter the color choices…the end product will surely bless her more than there are color choices to make.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, I like your reasonable approach. Yes, there are several factors to consider. Personality – delightful and fun. Favorite colors – I know she favors blue, and also likes other colors in colorful things. It will be a great pleasure for me to make these for the woman who has enriched my life so much.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen.

    Rather a scary premise to have all of our thoughts out in the open for everyone to see! However, I do believe that God sees them all and that knowledge keeps me working on improving.

    My eyes keep returning to wrap #3. Bethany said it best, though, when she said any of them will be a reminder of your warm and loving arms around your mother in law. She is very blessed to have you for a daughter in law.

    Can’t wait to see what she chooses.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Thankfully, God’s grace through Jesus supplies what we need to live for him. I’m glad to know your choice on the wraps. Yes, Bethany had a sweet way of expressing it.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Number three for this old lady. Blue for the sky of Heaven, yellow for the Light that shines upon us all, and red for the love of our Maker. Back to the primary, cheerful colors, unmuddied by doubt. Lucky Mama to get such a thoughtful gift!

  • Jan says:

    Good morning Karen

    I choose No 2 for your MIL to wrap around her gentle precious body.

    I enjoy reading your posts, thank you for your inspirations.

  • Joanne Hall says:

    When I saw #3, my immediate thought was that I need to remember this and use it on something sometime. Charlotte is right about the blue #6, very practical and blue is very calming. But that #3, I really like it.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I, too, like #3. It seems well balanced and tidy, and most of all, cheerful. When I finished wrapping that one, it felt very familiar, as if I had done that same arrangement before. Maybe my memory copied a previous project?? 🙂

      Thanks for your input,
      Karen

  • Mary says:

    Hello, Karen! I like #1, which reminds me of a lovely sunset after a summer day filled with everything I love to do; #4 with a nod to the bright yellow that shines out of the dark contrasts, the light with which we are all acquainted; and am drawn to the orderliness of #3.And thank you for the gentle reminder of the importance of ‘forgiveness for the undeserving’. Important, yet challenging. I will work on that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Oh yes, I can see the summer sunset in #1. What a wonderful description that fits. And the bright yellow in #4 does make the whole arrangement shine. Yes, #3 seems tidy to me, as I mentioned to Joanne. So many aspects to consider!

      Forgiveness for the undeserving is extremely challenging. I’m thankful we have been given an example.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Jenna says:

    great idea. I hate doing samples but I could handle wraping the warp around cards.
    Thanks
    Jenna

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenna, This is very easy and pretty fun. I fold a regular index card in half and put double stick tape on the back side to hold the threads.

      Happy wrapping,
      Karen

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One More Swedish Art Weaves Bag

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.

Joanne Hall's Swedish Art Weaves workshop in San Antonio, Texas.
Ready to pack up after the Swedish Art Weaves workshop and take my loom back home. The Joanne Hall workshop was sponsored by the enthusiastic San Antonio Handweavers Guild a few months ago.
Monksbelt woven with pick-up.
Monksbelt pattern continued at home.
Swedish art weaves - dukagång.
Woven from the back, this dukagång pattern came from a Swedish publication I borrowed from the San Antonio Handweavers Guild library.
Weaving krabbasnår and other Swedish art weaves.
Krabbasnår, just behind the fell line, is from a pattern in Heirlooms of Skåne, Weaving Techniques, by Gunvor Johansson.

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)

Making a bag from Swedish art weaves.
Side piece, krabbasnår, is hand-stitched in place. From the top of the bag to the bottom – krabbasnår (krabba), rölakan, halvkrabba, dukagång, munkabälte (monksbelt), each section separated by plain weave stripe variations.
Handwoven bag made from Swedish art weaves.
On this side of the finished bag, from top to bottom – halvkrabba, dukagång, munkabälte. I made the hard decision to take out a section of rölakan I had woven in order to be able to put the knots from the linen warp at the top of the bag.
Handwoven bag made from Swedish art weaves.
Bag is lined and has pockets, and has a magnetic snap closure. The 6/2 Tuna wool shoulder strap was woven on my Glimåkra band loom.
Handwoven Swedish art weaves bag just finished. Now, on to the next warp!
Now, on to the next warp!

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.

May you resist doing what you’d rather do.

With you,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Wow! You never cease to amaze me, Karen. It’s lovely!

  • Karen says:

    Absolutely lovely…so colorful and lively. I just love this!

  • Joanne Hall says:

    Hi Karen, what a great bag you have made. I think you will have fun using it. It is so colorful and playful. Thanks for sharing this. I have a few samplers that I could make into more bags.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I think this will become a favorite bag to use for special occasions. Every time I look at it I’m reminded of how much fun we had in that workshop! Making a bag is a great way to use a sampler.

      Thanks so much,
      Karen

  • Denise Schryver says:

    Very beautiful Karen!
    Our guild had a Swedish art weaves workshop with Joanne scheduled but was cancelled due to covid. I may have to try on my own after seeing your lovely work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise, I hope you do give these beautiful weaves a try. The Väv 2/2013 issue has very good instructions, as well as the book I mentioned in the post. Nothing beats being taught by Joanne in person; however, you can still do it on your own. And hopefully after things get back to normal, your guild will have Joanne come then.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    Basis the condition of both our homes as we push through transition to retirement, I’ve been deaf to God’s direction for a long time.

    One hour home repairs finally done.

    Long forgotten ‘ must make ‘ textile projects rediscovered in a mystery bag stuffed in a basement box.

    Projects started by beloved long gone, and never finished.

    Love your posting.

    Nannette

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Love your “bag” which I would call a work of art. Thanks for sharing your posts. God Bless!!!

  • Elisabeth says:

    Beautiful, and great use of the Swedish art weave fabric!
    And I really like that rule, I don’t think we were meant to procrastinate 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, Things go better if we don’t procrastinate. I’ve had to relearn that more than a few times. The Swedish art weaves are so beautiful, so it’s nice to have a way to show them off.

      Thank you,
      Karen

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Handwoven Detail Notes

It is the smallest of details that set handwoven towels apart from ordinary towels. With that in mind, I am writing some detail notes in the margin of my project notes. Borders: Towel 1 – sea blue, apple green – contrast thread – ultramarine; Towel 2 – ultramarine, sea blue – contrast thread – maize; Towel 3 – apple green, ultramarine – contrast thread – sea blue; Towel 4 – dusty, sea blue – contrast thread – apple green.

Cottolin bath towels coming up!
Beaming the cottolin warp for bath towels.
Warp is tied on and leveling string is attached.
Warp is tied on and leveling string is attached.
Preparing to weave 7-color bath towels.
Seven different colors of wound quills. All seven colors are in each towel, warp and weft. The weft sequence varies with each towel.
Boat shuttles vie for the starting line, like in a regatta.
One boat shuttle for each color. This reminds me of sailing with my dad and my sisters. Boat captains would vie for the regatta starting line, shouting, “Starboard!”

There are seven colors of cottolin in the warp, and the same seven colors in the weft, just like the accompanying hand towels I completed in April. (See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels.) Narrow warp-wise and weft-wise stripes of broken twill produce interesting patterns in the cloth. The deep borders I am planning on the bath towels give me a chance to add simple details that only a handweaver can do.

White ribbon shows where to place details on the handwoven bath towel.
After weaving a short section to test the threading, I start the first towel. A red line, as always, denotes the cutting/starting line. I placed marks on the white ribbon at the left that show me where to place details along the length of the towel.
Simple handwoven details make all the difference.
Single ultramarine thread is laid in with the sea blue to outline a change of treadling. A simple handwoven detail.

Have you ever identified a master craftsman by the specific details that show up in the hand-crafted article? In the same way, we can recognize our Maker’s hand through the magnificence of the details we see in each other. You are his masterpiece. Hand-written instructions guide the details. When we come to the Lord as our Maker and Redeemer, we find his hand-written details woven into our hearts, something only the Grand Weaver can do.

May you attend to the details.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    These towels are so beautiful…and as always, your words of faith, reminding us of the blessings we have been given by God. Thank you for your inspiration! I know you give the credit for all you do to our Lord. God Bless you! 🙂

  • Beth says:

    Beautiful color choices and details!

  • So pretty. I hope one day to be able to make towels like this. Thank you for your help to the weaving world.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Brigitte, One step at a time, and before you know it, you’re weaving the very things you were hoping to do. This has been my story, and I’m sure it will be yours, too!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    It is the details between common chocolate cookies and Boston cream pie.

    May we all enjoy Boston cream pie from a master craftsman.

  • Joanna says:

    Isn’t broken twill a blast to thread? I just love it. Your towels will be lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, Yes, I do enjoy a threading pattern that requires thinking. The treadling is that way, too, with these towels. This is the kind of project that is very satisfying to do.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Anonymous says:

    Always love your posts! I love the way you incorporate a story into each post. I hope to weave this well one day! I’m a super beginner.

    • Karen says:

      Hi super beginner, You have a kind way of expressing yourself. Thank you for the encouraging words! I have no doubt by you will reach excellence in weaving. All it takes is time, practice, and patience. Enjoy the journey!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kristin G says:

    I look forward to seeing the finished towels. I’m sure they will be gorgeous! And I particularly enjoyed hearing about the memory of sailing with your family. Those must be precious memories!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Those sailing memories are memories I cherish! I’m looking forward to putting these towels to use as soon as they’re finished.

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

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Mug Rugs to Remember

Knowing I would be away from my floor looms for a while, I put a narrow cottolin warp on my little Emilia rigid heddle loom to take with me. Mug rugs—perfect for travel weaving, to use bits of time here and there. I had some bulky wool yarn and a few rag rug fabric strips to take for weft. In a burst of hopeful inspiration, I grabbed a bag of Tuna/Fårö wool butterflies, leftover from my Lizard tapestry (see Quiet Friday: Lizard Tapestry) a couple years ago, and tossed it in my travel bag as we were going out the door.

Mug rugs on Glimåkra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Glimåkra Emilia 35cm (13.5″) rigid heddle loom. Narrow cottolin warp is from a previous warp-winding error that I had chained off and saved.
Mug rugs on my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Blue bulky wool yarn left from a long-ago project makes a good thick weft for mug rugs. Picks of navy blue tow linen are woven between picks of thick weft on some of the mug rugs.
Weaving mug rugs on my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Wool butterflies for the weft are made of several strands of Tuna and Fårö yarn.

Those colorful wool butterflies turned out to be my favorite element! They not only gave me colors to play with, they also provided variety, the spice of weaving. The forgotten Lizard butterflies will now be remembered as useful and pretty textiles.

30 mug rugs on the rigid heddle loom.
The end of the warp.
Mug rugs just off the rigid heddle loom.
Rag rugs for mugs!
Rag rug fabric strips are used for a few of the mug rugs. Rag rugs for mugs!
Mug rugs ready to be hemmed.
Mug rugs are cut apart to prepare for hemming.
Making handwoven mug rugs.
Hems have been folded and pressed under. Choosing bobbin colors to sew the hems.
Wool handwoven coasters.
Wool butterflies provided many different colors.
Handwoven wool coasters woven on a rigid heddle loom.
Alternating two different colors of wool butterflies was my favorite way to play with color.
Mug rugs for gifts.
Completed mug rugs, ready to be sent out as gifts.

How do you want to be remembered? Like my tapestry-specific butterflies put away on a shelf, our carefully-crafted words will soon be forgotten. Actions speak longer than words. Our deeds of faithful love will outlive us. Our actions that reveal the kindness of our Savior will stand the test of time. And that is a good way to be remembered.

Coffee or tea, anyone? Handwoven mug rug.
Coffee or tea, anyone?

May you be remembered for your deeds of faithful love.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

15 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Very lovely Mug Rugs, but even more, your words of faith and encouragement! Thanks for sharing your skills and your faith! Very inspiring! God Bless! 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Amazing! Love the usefulness of leftover yarn!!! Even the small butterflies! Lovely!

  • Nannette says:

    WELCOME BACK TO THE BLOG!!! Hope you had wonderful travels.

    I love your reference to our gifts of today out living us. I repurposed crocheted lace of my long gone great grandmother. Wearing it with pride.

    In the case of textiles…. Everyday reminders of those beloved we never knew except through the work of their hands. What a blessing.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Thank you! It’s great to be back. Textiles are a vivid example of the work of our hands outlasting us. It is wonderful to see and use the quilts and needlework treasures of family members who came before us.

      Love,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Beautiful, I don’t have butterflies but I do have thrums that I think may fit the bill. I’ll have to take them on my next trip.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, I think this would be a fabulous use of thrums! I definitely plan to make more of these mug rugs. Maybe I’ll need to start saving all my thrums again. Thanks for the idea.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Barbara says:

    To everything a purpose. Your little video and bursts of colour brought a smile to my face this morning.

  • Anastasia says:

    These are beautiful. What a great project.

    When you fold the hem bit under… do you fold it twice (back on itself), and stich through what would then be three layers? So that a little strip of the “between the tops weaving” would still be visible on the bottom, but the cut edge would be secured?

    Please pardon my newbie questions. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anastasia, Newbie questions are the best! You described the hems perfectly. Only one more detail to add— I serged the edges before folding and pressing them under, so nothing will unravel over time.

      When I do this again, I may make the hems longer. In which case, the edges will be zigzagged or serged, and the hems folded under twice, then stitched. That way the hem will show at the edges, not just underneath. I like them either way— hems hidden underneath, or hems as visual borders.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Kim Mills says:

    Thank you for your post. I’ve now have a new way to use up all those leftovers I have been collecting. Thanks as well for your inspirational words.

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