I Forgot to Tie the Cross

It’s not a good feeling when you discover that you did not tie the lease cross on one of the warp bouts. When you wind a warp, it’s the cross that keeps the ends in proper order. I carefully tie both sides of the cross before removing the bout from the warping reel. This time, though, I inadvertently tied only part of the cross, which is, essentially, not tying the cross at all.

Realigning threads at the cross.
Working from right to left, I separate one pair of ends at a time to try to recreate the proper order of the warp ends. After every few strands, I insert the lease sticks and tie the cross. Fortunately, the bout on the left was tied properly before it left the warping reel.
Ready to pre-sley the reed and beam the warp.
Ready to pre-sley the reed and beam the warp.

I make my best guess to recreate the thread order, inserting the lease sticks little by little. And as I beam the warp there are several twists that threaten the whole process, getting hung up at the reed. But I coax the warp through at a snail’s pace, not forcing anything.

New wool warp being beamed.
I beam the warp and stop frequently to check the yarn for twists on the front side of the reed. No combing my fingers through the warp, which could lead to uneven warp tension. I lightly flick any twist-ups in front of the reed with my fingers to help keep them moving.

Eventually, the warp is successfully beamed. What a relief!

New warp ready for threading.
Now that the warp is beamed, there is no more concern about misaligned ends. The ends are now in the proper order as they appear on the lease sticks.

Things that matter become misaligned when we or those around us mess up. Some of the ensuing twists and conflicts spell disaster. It’s not a good feeling. We start to imagine that we’re alone and forgotten. You are not forgotten. Baby Jesus of the real Christmas story grew to manhood for a clear purpose. He came in pursuit of you and me, gently calling, never forcing, ever loving us, to put our threads back in order again through his cross. What a relief!

May your threads be put in order.

Good Christmas,
Karen

Beaming Double Weave

This is double weave on twelve shafts. One layer is the gorgeous lapis lazuli blue. The other layer is neutral almond for contrast. I am spreading and beaming this 6/2 Tuna wool warp with two sets of lease sticks—one set for each layer/color.

Big fat warp chains. Tuna wool for double weave.
Big fat warp chains. Double weave on twelve shafts, with 6/2 Tuna wool for warp and weft.

When you have two sets of lease sticks, though, it is a serious challenge to get the two colors to alternate correctly as you move the end loops to a separate stick. The ends on the stick are then transferred to the back tie-on bar. I did breathe a sigh of relief when everything was finally lined up and in order.

Double weave. Ready to beam the wool warp.
Two sets of lease sticks carries the challenge of having clear visibility of the lease cross in both warp layers. After one or two do-overs, all the yarn is successfully moved to the back tie-on bar. Moving from right to left, I separate and straighten each warp end on the tie-on bar. Only a few more left to straighten.
Ready to beam this wool double weave warp.
Back tie-on bar all in order. Now ready to move the pre-sley reed to the beater and begin beaming the warp.

And I’m reminded again how beautiful a beamed warp is. It’s worth the challenges.

Tuna wool warp on Glimakra Standard.
Warp beam and back beam show the beamed warp.
Wool warp separated into threading groups.
Separated into threading groups for the next phase of dressing the loom.

That beautifully ordered wool on the back tie-on bar, now hidden from view, is an essential element for quality handwoven cloth. Kindness is that way. It’s a core trait deep in one’s character that is revealed in interactions with others. Kindness makes you beautiful. It’s not something you try to be. It’s something we wear. It’s our inner being dressed in the character of Christ.

May you be dressed in kindness.

Affectionately yours,
Karen

Tools Day: Measure Once

It occurs to me that I am unnecessarily doing something the hard way. Repeatedly. For every new project, I pull out my tape measure to find the right set of lease sticks. The tape measure also helps me select the temple needed for the current weaving width. No more! I do like my tape measure, but why am I measuring these things every time? Why not measure them once and label them?

Solution

  • Measure the lease sticks and write the length in centimeters and in inches on one stick of each pair, in pencil.
  • Use a wood burner to trace the pencil markings. (My husband Steve does this part for me.)

Weaving tip: Measurements on lease sticks.
Wood burner is used to write the length measurement on the end of a lease stick. Centimeters and inches are indicated because I use metric or imperial units, depending on the project.

  • Thread a cord through one end of each pair of lease sticks, to keep pairs together. Hang the lease stick pairs with the measurements clearly visible.

Weaving tip: Measured lease sticks paired together for hanging.
Looped cord is threaded through the lease stick holes to provide an easy way to hang pairs together.

Paired lease sticks, ready for hanging.
Paired lease sticks, ready for hanging.

Lease sticks hanging in the weaving studio.
Pairs of lease sticks hang beside my worktable in my weaving room. My ol’ Beka rigid heddle loom on the wall happens to provide just the right little hanging post for the measured lease sticks.

  • Look up the temple sizes on a website that sells them, and write the size range in centimeters and in inches on each temple, in pencil.
  • Use a wood burner to trace the pencil markings. (Steve, again.)

Weaving tip: Measure the temples.
Range of temple widths is important information when I’m choosing a temple. Weaving width of a project must fit in that range.

  • Store the temples in a manner in which the marked measurements are easily seen.

Weaving tip: Find the right temple size the first try!
No more trying different temples to find one that fits. Now I can look at the markings and select the correct temple the first time.

Now I have permanent at-a-glance measurements for each of these frequently-used tools!

May you find something to simplify.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Anticipation in the Final Stretch!

I can see the end of the warp! Finishing is in sight. And then, my daughter phones, “Mom! I’m headed to the hospital. This baby is ready!” Weaving suddenly becomes far less important… That was two weeks ago, and little Ari was born. Now, back at the loom, I’ll cross the finish line on this linen upholstery fabric before the day is over.

End of warp is near.
End of warp is seen on the back tie-on bar as it makes its final round on the warp beam.

Cotton double weave baby blanket covers newborn grandson.
Double weave cotton baby blanket covers baby Ari as he peacefully sleeps.

When the back tie-on bar becomes visible, it’s the beginning of the end. And then, the moment the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam I celebrate. It’s the final stretch!

Linen color-and-weave upholstery fabric.
Linen color-and-weave upholstery fabric.

Over the back beam, and lease sticks are removed.
Lease sticks are untied and removed after the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. Two pairs of lease sticks were used with this striped warp.

We are participants in a great mystery! Christ in us. For those unfamiliar with the tools and methods of handweaving, it’s a mystery how threads can become cloth. But the handweaver knows. The great mystery of God is that Christ may dwell in us. For those who receive him, the peace of Christ rules within. His presence is woven in.

Short distance left to weave this linen fabric!
Short distance left to finish weaving this linen fabric.

The anticipation of finished cloth is nothing in relation to the anticipation of a new baby in the family. Imagine the anticipation of our holy Father to see the glorious threads of Christ woven in us.

May you participate in the mystery.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Transferring Warp Ends Takes Courage

There are four pairs of overlapping warp chains, with stripes to line up. I created a mess. A few options to consider: 1. Give up. 2. Weave it as is, destroying the design. 3. Use two sets of lease sticks, and expect problems with threading (2,064 ends). 4. Transfer all ends to a single set of lease sticks, arranging threads in order for each stripe.

Eight warp chains...to correct a huge winding error.
Each of four warp chains were duplicated when I realized I had wound only half the correct number of ends in each chain.

Option 4 seems the riskiest. If I lose the cross while transferring threads, I have an even bigger mess. It’s all or nothing. Go for it! Fortunately, my apprentice, Juliana, arrives in the nick of time to give me a hand.

Transferring color stripes to one set of lease sticks.
Lease cross is tied separately for each color “partial” stripe.

Transferring two warp chains to a single set of lease sticks.
Stripes from the two warp chains are transferred to a single set of lease sticks. Now the stripe colors are at their full correct width.

Preparing to transfer warp ends.
For the four center warp chains, each section of color is separated and tied at the cross. It takes an extra set of hands to transfer them in order to the primary set of lease sticks.

Delicate transfer of warp ends accomplished!
All warp ends are now successfully transferred to a single set of lease sticks. Let the loom dressing begin!

It worked! All the threads are successfully transferred to one pair of lease sticks. What a relief! I can beam the warp knowing that all is well. A beautiful double weave throw is imminent.

Pre-sleying the reed at the loom.
Warp is pre-sleyed at the loom. So far, so good.

Double weave warp ready to beam!
Ready to beam! Looking forward to this dressing and weaving experience.

We all have made a mess of our lives, and we know it. We hear of options to fix things, but one seems the riskiest: Transfer everything to God. But what if I mess that up, too? There’s good news. God transfers us. When we place our trust in Jesus Christ, God transfers us from our messy state to his good order. And the result is a weaving that showcases his workmanship—a beautiful you.

May you take a worthy risk.

With you,
Karen