Last of the Lizard Toes

Every time I advance the warp, more of the lizard disappears. After I finish the tips of these toes, the rest of the weaving will be background—the log on which the green anole is perched. The lizard is more interesting to weave than the log. But without the background, the lizard itself would be incomplete. It’s all part of the journey. Every bit of the picture is needed to tell the full story.

Lizard tapestry. Only the tips of the toes are left.

More than half of the tapestry is complete. Most of the lizard image is under the breast beam out of view.

Lizard tapestry. Four-shaft tapestry on a Glimakra Ideal.

More of the lizard disappears every time I advance the warp.

Four-shaft tapestry Lizard. Glimakra Ideal.

Only the tips of the lizard’s toes remain. After this, it is all background.

Tapestry detail. Texture and shading.

Log detail. I am enjoying the many opportunities for color blending and shading in the background portion of the picture.

Journey. We are on a journey. We see the scenery changing as we move from one point to another in our seasons of life. There’s the main focus, plus the background. All of which tells our story. Knowing that we never see the whole tapestry while it’s on the loom, let’s ask God to watch over our journey. As a request, not a demand. And then, express gratitude with joy as we see that we’ve indeed been granted safe passage.

May your journey be joyful.

Happy weaving,
Karen

13 Comments

Leave a Reply


Quiet Friday: Halvdräll

Halvdräll is one of those Swedish weaves that takes your breath away. How can I describe the exquisite simplicity and stunning splendor of this fascinating cloth? With halvdräll, every moment at the loom is pure joy. I keep thinking, I get to weave this! And every weaver knows no comparison to the delight of pulling beautiful just-woven fabric off the cloth beam.

Enjoy the journey with me now as I reflect on the halvdräll fabric from beginning to end.

Choke tie serves as a counting thread as the cottolin warp is wound.

Choke tie serves as a counting thread as the cottolin warp is wound.

Red linen to be used as pattern weft on white cottolin warp.

Red linen is anticipating a starring role as pattern weft.

Sampling various linen color options for halvdräll table squares.

Sampling various color options for the pattern weft. Red may be one star among several.

Halvdräll table squares on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Second table square has blue and green for block I and red for block II. The back of the first table square, with all red pattern weft, is seen between the breast beam and the knee beam.

Halvdräll table squares on the loom. Elegant neutral tones.

Neutral tones with subtle elegance.

Weaving in the afternoon sunlight.

Light play dances on the colorful woven fabric.

Halvdräll table squares, with linen pattern weft, just off the loom!

Celebration time! When the cloth is cut from the loom the weaver is able to see a complete view of the woven fabric for the first time. Woo hoo!

Folding edge under for hemming. Handwoven table squares.

Wet finished and pressed. Ready for hemming.

How to do a blind hem. Very simple for handwovens.

Blind hem, with sewing needle and thread. Needle goes under one warp end, and is inserted through folded edge of hem for 1/4 inch. Continued stitching across the hem is virtually invisible when complete.

Label added.

Label added.

Hemmed, pressed, and ready to make a statement!

Hemmed, pressed, and ready to dress up a table.

Handwoven halvdräll table square. Karen Isenhower

May you find delight in your journey.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

13 Comments

  • Betsy says:

    Karen
    Thanks for sharing the whole process. I can’t decide which one is my favorite!
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Betsy, It was hard for me to decide on a favorite, too! I am keeping one, and the other three are going as gifts and/or Etsy items. (I am keeping the one that goes the best with my china — The one with red and blue, and a little bit of green.)

      Karen

  • Suzie C. says:

    It’s interesting to me how we all have different tastes. As a beginner, I can appreciate your woven pieces because I’m not at that level.
    However, for me, the colors above just aren’t my taste, but MOST of your work I simply adore! I DO love red and white, or blue and white, but only on certain things. Now, I DO love the neutral tones above, but as I keep studying it, I think it’s the pattern that I’m not especially attracted to.
    Do you find that true among weavers, that everyone prefers certain patterns over others, and seem to be drawn to certain colors/color combos than others?
    When I look through weaving magazines, there are some things that I’m instantly drawn to because of the colors or patterns, even if it’s an item I wouldn’t want to weave. I worked as an artist/designer before my current profession, and as I traveled around the country working with other artists, I found it fascinating that we all had such a variety of tastes. But then again, it’s so important that we’re not all the same, or else we wouldn’t have the variety we do!
    Unrelated to that, where do you get your labels? I’d love to order some as I hope my next project will be good enough to give to some family members. It would be great to put that label on so they realize it truly was handmade!
    Oh, and also unrelated to the color/pattern comment, I find it fascinating how a project ‘changes’ after it’s wet-finished. I’ve only done a few projects, and they were so simple that I didn’t see too much of a transformation. I’m anxious to see how my current project will look when off the loom and wet finished, as it’s a little more complicated than what I’ve done so far!
    Thank you for your blog–you are inspiring with every post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzie,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I love variety, so I think it would be a shame if everyone liked all the same things. 🙂 I do think that over time I grow to enjoy some things more, like a acquired taste in music, or culinary arts. The more I study something, the easier it is for me to know why I like one thing and not another. As a weaver, it’s an important part of the process because you learn what you want to spend your time on; and, conversely, where you’re happy for the experience, but don’t care to do more of it.

      I get my labels from Heirloom Woven Labels. Your family members will appreciate that label that shows them you really did weave it!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kris Stark says:

    Stunning! Thank you for showing the entire process in one blog! I so enjoy all your blogs. God Bless, Kris

  • linda says:

    Karen: color choice is in the mind of the weaver. The artist sees in their mind the finished product and where it will go in their life. My pallet is not as open and inventive as yours, but I’m not you. ALL your pieces have been perfect as to color, pattern, and usage. JUST RIGHT. Swedish weaving has strong colors, perhaps because the natural background is so white. Have you ever done a krogbrog rug ? now there’s a colorful piece of weaving on 3 shafts. So many ideas so little time. Karen I love your weaving. LP&J,linda

    ps going to vermont to work on a burnt orange runner in colonial overshot. weft is bouclet on 20/2 warp. It’s old ski patrol colors and will go on my dining table. it’s also the new color in my house at home. love ya!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,

      The artist sees in their mind the finished product and where it will go in their life.

      What a wonderful way to express it! So true.

      I do have a wide range in my personal color palette, and I am constantly trying to push myself to incorporate colors that wouldn’t be my “first pick.” I like to see if I can make them work — I love that challenge. And sometimes they don’t work that well, but many times I am pleasantly surprised at the results. And, you really don’t know how well the colors will play with each other until all the final finishing is finished. 🙂

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your vote of confidence!

      I have not done a krogbrog rug… yet. I will do one at some point. Yes, they are beautifully laden with color.

      Your colonial overshot runner sounds wonderful! Send me a picture when you have it finished. I’d love to see it!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Janie Payne says:

    They are all so beautiful! I wouldn’t want to eat on them, spills, etc!!!!

    • Janie Payne says:

      Oh I forgot, where do you buy your red linen? I tried to read the label, but was unable to get a clear view. Thank you, Janie

    • Karen says:

      Janie, Thank you! I know the feeling about not wanting handwoven specialty items to get messed up! But I plan to use mine where I can see it and enjoy it. I can always wash it! 🙂

      The linen is 16/1 line linen by Bockens, color #517. I purchased mine from GlimakraUSA. Other suppliers that carry Bockens are Vavstuga and Lone Star Loom Room.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Gretchen says:

    So beautiful as always Karen… I would love to see your draft for these at our next WOW meeting! I have technical questions! Happy Weaving… See you soon.

Leave a Reply


Little Chapel Tapestry

This little chapel tapestry is growing line by line. I am weaving from the back, left to right, a single line at a time, following a cartoon. I create shades of color by blending three strands of soft Fåro wool in seemingly thousands of combinations.

Weaving small tapestry while traveling.

Weaving small chapel while waiting for my delayed flight at the airport. Chapel steeple in cartoon presents a challenge.

I knew all along that the slim spire of the steeple would be a challenge. Will I have to leave off the uppermost thin line and cross? Honestly, leave the cross off the chapel? I don’t think so. Maybe wrap around a single warp end with half-hitches, and weave the short horizontal line over just three warps… Hmm, that doesn’t work–too robust for this little chapel spire.

First steeple cross attempt fails.

First attempt to weave the steeple cross. Bulky and distracting.

Take it out.

Working on the steeple cross.

Black yarn that formed the cross is removed, leaving a gap.

Weave through the empty spaces.

Undoing part of the tapestry.

Some of the sky is removed in order to sufficiently weave over the gap.

Weaving small tapestry from the back.

Closing the gap by weaving existing threads across, and weaving removed threads back in.

Study the scene…

Adding a cross to the small chapel steeple.

Chapel steeple without a cross.

Aha! …Embroider a single-thread cross.

Embroidery on a small tapestry.

Single strand of Fåro wool is used to backstitch a cross on the steeple top.

Yes, that works.

Small tapestry chapel. Karen Isenhower

Elevated cross on the chapel’s steeple gives meaning to the woven scene.

Keep your eyes on the destination. If a cross is needed on the tip of the spire, keep trying until you find a way. With your heart set on the destination, the Lord gives strength for the journey. Don’t give up when things are not working out. Take a step back to view the whole scene, and you will see how the cross completes the picture.

May you have strength for the journey.

With love,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love this one! Step back for a minute and you will see a different way that works better!
    Thanks,
    Liberty

  • linda says:

    This is meant as helpful……Your yarn is too heavy. Next time use 1 one strand. Takes longer, but the finished product is more realistic, because the weaver can actually make the colors look like they’re not stepped. There is a technique for rounded edges that lays in a thread along the color change edge to make it look smoother. Your answer to the cross problem is great.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your input. I could use one strand of Faro wool if I started with a finer sett. I might do that next time. Or I might choose a picture that doesn’t have as small of detail as this one.
      Karen

  • linda says:

    Hi,There is no “rule” and if you do the church in fine and the trees or sky in heavier it should work just fine. The sett need not be changed it will just take more “shots” for the fine wool of the church to catch up with the trees/background. Play with it. love ya, linda

  • linda says:

    Karen: are you using slit technique? Do you know shared warp? It doesn’t have to be every row; you can skip a couple of rows then share that warp. It really works well especially if one of the wools is fine. The heavier wool becomes the dominate and hides the fine. If the line of fine wool is only one warp thread wide than share on either side unevenly. Start as slit, share one warp on left then on right continue slit for 3-4 rows then share.

    —- ~ —– ~ = fine —– =other
    —- ~ —-
    —-~~ —-
    —- ~~— linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, for the small tapestries I use slit technique primarily, but I can see how shared warp would help on scenes like this. I know that technique, but I haven’t used it enough to be “fluent” in it. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Karen

  • Karen Reff says:

    I’m so impressed with your tapestry! It looks like it’s painted with yarns instead of with inks!

  • Kimberly Stevens says:

    Hi Karen,
    What loom is this? I like the metal pins for holding the warp threads.
    Blessings, Kimberly

Leave a Reply


True Treasure

I already own a plentiful selection of handwoven towels. I am weaving the fifth towel on this warp, and there will be at least three more towels after that. So, you might think I am storing up towels. Even so, whatever I am weaving at the moment becomes my favorite thing, like a precious treasure. The intricacies of the goose-eye twill and the color interaction seem special, with fancy treadling footwork and several colors of 16/2 cotton to play with. It is a journey of discovery–of learning and being delighted with the visual and physical impact of it all. In the end, though, it’s just a towel–a thing. (I will keep one towel for my collection. The rest will go in Etsy and/or become gifts.)

Goose-eye twill towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Temple in place, weaving goose-eye towels progresses. Viewing the cloth as it comes over the breast beam.

The greatest treasures are intangible; and the most valuable ones are hidden, to be discovered by those who are seeking. Beware of false treasures. When we make things we hold in our hands more important than they should be, we risk overlooking the true treasures. Uncovering and collecting those timeless treasures becomes life’s most exciting adventure.

May your treasure hunt make you rich (on the inside).

Happy Discovering,
Karen

(~As a thank-you for coming here, I have a discount coupon for you on my About Page to use in my Etsy Shop during the month of August, 2014.~)

Leave a Reply