These Sensational Towels!

What can compare to the thrill of unrolling freshly-woven cloth? Pulling, and pulling, and pulling until you get to the very beginning of the warp. As every towel unwinds, I do a micro evaluation, knowing that complete scrutiny comes later. I could not be happier with these towels! They are every bit as sensational off the loom as they were to weave. What a joy to be a weaver!

Towels galore just coming off the loom!

Back to the beginning! Cottolin thick and thin handtowels are coming off the loom.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was winding lopsided quills, dropping the shuttle more than occasionally, and struggling to understand weaving drafts. Desire and a willingness to learn have pushed me through these and other barriers.

Handwoven towels ready to be hemmed.

Ready for hemming.

Black and white and a little red. Handwoven towels.

Black and white and a little red, ready for hemming.

Photo shoot for new handwoven towels. Karen Isenhower

Getting set up for a photo shoot. Photos are used in Etsy listings.

Willingness is more important than capability. Being willing sets the stage for learning. We all start incapable. God doesn’t expect us to be capable. He does expect us to be willing. God weaves His purposes on earth, not through the capable people, but through the willing. In weaving, and in life overall, I want to embrace and preserve the willingness factor that keeps me learning.

Thick and thin structure is a handweaver's playground. Karen Isenhower

Thick and thin structure is a playground for a handweaver to imagine and develop designs. Cottolin handtowels and table runner. Designer kitchen, anyone?

And as we yield our will to our Creator, what joy is ours as we learn how to truly live!

May you never stop learning.

(You can see a few of these items now in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop.)

Happy Weaving,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Marie Kulchinski says:

    Great job! Beautiful collection. Would make a wonderful weaving monograph on what you can do with one warp by being creative. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Marie! I love your idea of a weaving monograph. I wouldn’t have thought of that! I need to do a little research on how to do something like that.

      Karen

  • Dianeore says:

    A beautiful set of towels, Karen! Reminds me of a draft I saw in an old Weavers – I may have to dig that one up now! Happy hemming!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you! The hemming wasn’t bad. I finished it in a couple days. I hemmed the table runner by hand; and I hemmed the towels on my sewing machine so they can stand up to years of washing and drying.

      All the best!
      Karen

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love them, all that black and white with a wee bit of red! Beautiful!

  • Karen says:

    They really are sensational! Striking!

  • Karen says:

    Liberty and Karen,

    What a treat for me to get to enjoy this weaving journey with you!

    Thank you!
    Karen

  • Claudia says:

    Those towels and the table runner are so exciting!
    What keeps them from unraveling until you do the hemming?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claudia,
      I’m thrilled by your enthusiasm!! The fabric is tightly woven, so it does not unravel easily. Even so, when I cut the towels apart, I stitch the cut ends with my serger (overlock) sewing machine. You could do the same thing with a zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine. Great question! Thanks for asking.

      Karen

  • Annette says:

    Beautiful collection! What structure did you use?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annette, I’m glad you like this collection of towels.

      This is plain weave, using thick threads and thin threads in the warp and weft.

      Thank you,
      Karen

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Textured Textiles for Christmas

This is exactly what I had hoped for! Wet finishing made textured textiles out of flat fabric. One look at these pot holders and you know they have been through the washer and dryer. The rag weave table runner tells the same story. It’s true, wet finishing made positive permanent changes.

Rag weave table runner in M's and O's - on the loom.

Rag weave table runner on the loom. M’s and O’s, with Cottolin warp, and narrow cotton fabric strips for weft.

M's and O's pot holders and table runner cut from the loom.

Time to celebrate cutting the pot holders and table runner from the loom.

Rag weave table runner and string yarn pot holders in M's and O's. Karen Isenhower

Textured textiles, after wet finishing and hemming. Twisted cording was added to pot holders for hanging loops.

Detail of textured textiles. M's and O's with creative treadling.

Creative treadling for two pot holders produced design variations.

Christmas is a true story. Love came down. You have heard the story: Jesus came as a baby, grew up, and gave up his life to save us, all in the name of love. When this Jesus story is written on our hearts it changes everything. This love story is the wet finishing we need. It is the only thing that can truly complete us. Your life already tells a story. It is an open book that people read. When we let the Christmas story of God’s love shape us, the fabric of our life becomes characterized by the texture of love.

May your loved ones enjoy reading “your” book.

(Shoppes at Fleece ‘N Flax in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is carrying a few of my rugs. If you are near the area, drop by the shop and say Hi to Debbie!)

Happy Holy Day,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Debbie says:

    Thanks for mentioning the shop, Karen! People are noticing your rugs – have had many nice comments about them!

  • Anne Wolf says:

    How did you finish the mugrugs?

    • Karen says:

      Anne, I cut them apart, and then secured the ends with my serger. I then washed them in the washing machine on the regular cycle, with hot water; and then, into the dryer, on hot. After they came out of the dryer, I ironed them slightly, and pressed the hems. Then, turned the hems under and stitched them, adding a twisted hanging loom near the end of one hem.

      Does that answer your question?

      They are actually a little big for mug rugs, but just right for a hot pad on the table for a small dish, or as a light hot pad for taking something small out of the oven. But, now that you mention it, I think they would work fine as mug rugs, especially for large mugs. 🙂 I am about to list a few of them on Etsy, so I thank you for this new description to add.

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Change the Texture

This nine-inch-wide (23 cm) warp looks pretty on the loom, but just wait until you see it finished off the loom! With M’s and O’s weave structure, the character of the fabric will change from flat and linear to puckered and textured. The cottolin warp and the cottolin plain weave hems are ordinary, but wet finishing will cause the unbleached cotton mini string yarn (stränggarn) to showcase the interesting structure as threads shrink into place. The finished textured square should be just right for a handy pot holder or hot pad. I will add a woven hanging loop on the corner, as a useful embellishment. A few pot holders will be given as Christmas gifts, and the rest will go on Etsy. (The draft for a project similar to this is found on the 2014 Väv Calendar.)

Pot Holder in M's and O's.

Weave structure is M’s and O’s. When off the loom and wet finished, everything will draw in, creating textural prominence.

Once this fabric texture changes through the wet finishing process, there is nothing that can make this cloth revert back to its original state. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. When we receive his love, it makes irreversible changes in us. God’s love is inseparable from those who find it. It’s forever a part of who we are.

May you love and be loved.

Lovingly,
Karen

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