Bold Hemstitching

An embroidered trim is what I have in mind for this scarf. Hemstitching is just that. Instead of the usual single strand, I am using two strands of the 8/2 cotton weft in a contrasting color to accentuate the embroidered look. The hemstitching marks the beginning and the end. You can make hemstitching barely noticeable if you want, or you can make it so bold it can’t be missed, like I am doing with this one.

Hemstitching, with Contrasting Color:


  • Weave an inch/2.5 cm or more of fabric for a header.
  • Thread a blunt tapestry needle with a single or doubled strand of weft thread four times the weaving width.
  • Starting an inch/2.5 cm away from the right-hand selvedge, weave the needle over and under, next to the first weft thread in the weaving, going toward the selvedge.

Begin contrast hemstitching.

  • Pull the stitching thread almost all the way, leaving the end woven into the selvedge. Capture the woven end within the first several stitches of the hemstitching.

Thread secured at beginning of hemstitching. Hemstitching how-to.

First step of hemstitching. Tutorial.

Step 1

  • From right to left, take the needle under several warp ends. In this example, the needle goes under six ends.

Hemstitching in four easy steps!

Step 2

  • Pull the thread all the way through, keeping it taut at the woven edge.

Hemstitching step two.

Step 3

  • Take the needle back over the same (six) warp ends, and go under the same (six) warp ends, bringing the point of the needle back up between wefts, two or more rows away from the woven edge. In this example, the needle comes up between the third and fourth rows of weft.

Hemstitching in 4 easy steps. How-to with pics.

Step 4

  • Pull the thread all the way through, keeping it taut at the woven edge.

Hemstitching instructions.


  • Repeat Steps 1 – 4 across the entire width.
  • Finish by needle weaving the stitching thread back into the selvedge for an inch/2.5 cm. Trim off the remaining stitching thread end.

Continue hemstitching, back to step one.

Hemstitching as embroidery.  How-to with pics.

Hemstitching at the end of the woven fabric:

Starting on the right-hand side, secure the end of the stitching thread as before, and follow Steps 1 – 4 for hemstitching across the width. The only difference is that the needle comes toward you under the cloth in Step 3, instead of away from you.

Bold hemstitching at end of cotton lace weave scarf. Karen Isenhower
Cotton lace-weave scarf in springtime colors. Bold hemstitching at the end.

Everything that has a beginning has an end. Since the beginning of time, and through the ages, our Maker has been unfolding His mystery of life and love. There will come a day, though, when the mystery is finished. Certainly, there will be bold hemstitching at the end of the cloth as the Maker, the Grand Weaver himself, brings time as we know it to a close.

May your days begin and end with an embroidered edging of love.

By hand,

Tools Day: Temples

Draw-in happens. It is a natural part of weaving. Sending a weft thread across the warp, weaving over and under, naturally pulls the warp threads closer together–this is draw-in. But excessive draw-in ruins selvedges, causes warp ends to fray and/or break, and wastes time because it creates problems. The width across the fell line needs to be the same as the width of the warp in the reed. If the cloth is narrower at the fell line, there is abrasion on the outer warp ends from the reed, as the beater comes to the cloth.

Two things work together to help prevent excessive draw-in:

1) Angling the weft. Placing the weft across the warp at an angle adds extra length to the weft, which helps to accommodate for the natural draw-in.

2) Using a temple (stretcher). The purpose of a temple is to maintain consistency in the width of the cloth. It does this by “stretching” the cloth out, holding it in place with little spikes on each end of the tool. Moving the temple frequently uses the tool to its best advantage. I move mine about every inch of weaving. For more instruction on how to set a temple, please see one of my most popular posts, Tools Day: Temple Technique.

I weave with a temple more often than not. The temple must be set properly, to the precise width, so I have several sizes in my growing collection of temples. Sometimes it works to combine two different sizes to get the measurement that is needed.

My first temple was a make-do tool that I used with my rigid heddle loom on lightweight weaving. It is not adjustable, so it only works with one specific warp width.

Make-do temple for a rigid heddle loom.
Slat with clothes pins glued on the ends makes a simple lightweight temple for a rigid heddle loom.

My wooden temples are from Glimåkra. They serve me well, and are the ones I use most often. Since they are adjustable, they cover a wide range of possible widths.

Wooden temples (Glimakra) for weaving.
Wooden temples (mine are Glimåkra) work well for any type of weaving.
Switching parts to two sizes of temples. Info about temples on the blog.
Switching parts on two different sizes of temples can increase the range of possible sizes. And, yes, some of my temples have an extra hole, added by my husband, to increase the range of the temples’ adjustability.
Tips for using a temple!
Perfect width of temple for this cotton lace-weave scarf found with combination of two different sizes.
Handmade extension for temple. Temple tips...
Steve made an extension for my longest temple when I needed a really l-o-o-o-o-ng temple. He used finishing nails for the little spikes. It’s perfect!

The metal temples are heavier, with thicker teeth, and work well for coarser weaving, especially rugs.

Metal temples for weaving, especially rag rugs.
Metal temples work well for weaving rugs. Like the wooden temples, these also have interchangeable parts, which can extend the range of possible widths.
Temple in place in scrap weft between rag rugs. Temple tips.
Temple is set in the scrap weft between rag rugs. Ready for the start of another rag rug!

May your selvedges shine, and your broken ends be few.

Happy Weaving,

Copying Springtime Colors

Does fear of making a mistake keep you from experimenting with color? To be on the safe side, repeat something that you have done before. Or at least copy someone else. Isn’t that why we love Pinterest? You don’t have to think something up; just do what somebody else has done.

Color combination for a cotton scarf.
8/2 cotton, with the self-imposed challenge of using seven different colors of weft on the light green warp.

I have woven some wild color combinations. Including some that I regret. You know, the what-was-I-thinking kind of experiments. Those pieces get hidden away; or, I keep them only for personal use, but never for show. But here I go again, trying to make a handful of colors work together. We won’t see the overall results until the scarf is off the loom, when it is too late to undo it.

Cotton puckered scarf on the loom. Springtime colors!
Final scarf on this cotton warp. Three different shades of green are separated by narrow stripes of springtime colors, with slightly longer floats in the narrow stripes. Will it work? We will see…

All of us have done things we regret. There’s no chance for a do-over, so we just hide it. We have to be careful not to be shaped by our regrets. Fear of making a mistake can keep us frozen in indecision. Yet, when I come to Jesus, he is able to keep me from stumbling, from repeating my missteps. Yes, I learn from my mistakes; but even better than that, the Master Weaver gives me an example to “copy.” His example is tried and true.

May your regrets be few.

Always learning,

Practice Weaving Like a Musician

As a classically trained musician, I tend to approach my time at the loom as practice. This means being mentally alert–for every little gesture, the synchronization of movements, and the quality being produced. Little by little, with this mindfulness, I see improvement in releasing and catching the shuttle, treading my feet on the treadles, and efficiency of movement overall. I still struggle with getting an even beat and with keeping my place in the treadling pattern. My pace of weaving is increasing, though.

Hemstitching at the beginning of another cotton scarf.
Hemstitching begins another cotton lace scarf. The ease of weaving with only one shuttle allows ample opportunity to focus on improvement of weaving technique.

Will I ever reach perfection in these skills? I don’t think so. I have come a long way, but have you noticed that learning never ends? My practice won’t make me perfect, but it does provide a way for me to grow as a weaver.

Faith is more than a belief, it is a practice. Faith in Jesus is always the entrance door into the Kingdom of heaven. And don’t think of heaven simply as a destination. Think of heaven as a Kingdom where everything is right. The day will come when that Kingdom is no longer a mystery. In the meantime, let’s practice weaving worthwhile cloth.

May you practice what you believe.

With you,

Weave What You Wish For

I am looking forward to the end product–soft and squishy scarves! I have finished weaving the first scarf, and hemstitched both ends at the loom. The long warp floats don’t worry me, because I know that wet finishing will give me what I wish for–soft, puckered cloth. (You can see how the sample turned out in Puckered Sample.)

Cotton lace weave scarf as it rolls onto the cloth beam below the weaving surface.
Warping slats on the cloth beam, the first time around, give the fabric a smooth surface to roll onto. Hemstitching separates the fringe area from the woven cloth that will become a scarf.

Some things you wish for are simply out of your control. That is how I felt two weeks ago when my mother went to the hospital with life-threatening illness. Wishful thinking is nice, but it doesn’t actually change anything. Prayer does change things. I’m not saying that prayer will necessarily keep someone alive if their body has worn out. I am saying that prayer makes a difference in how things play out in any circumstance.

Things happen when you pray. In this case, my mother beat the odds and left the hospital. Alive! You and I need each other. When we humble ourselves and ask for help, help comes. When we pray and ask God for help, sometimes sick people get better, and weak people get stronger. Our prayers for each other are heard and answered. This is better than wishes come true.

May you have the benefit of someone else’s prayers.