Our family celebrated a birth-day last week. Meet baby Isaac, our ninth grandchild! Also, this week, I am finishing up the pictorial scene of another celebrated birth-day. Each appliqué piece is stitched to the background, using various threads, needles, and simple embroidery stitches to help convey the details of this humble historical event.
Many firsts are represented in these handwoven scraps. My first floor loom project, first handwoven curtains, first 8-shaft weave, first linen warp, first drawloom piece, etc. There are some special family memories here, too—wedding gifts, baby wrap, housewarming… Humble beginnings and handwoven treasures generated by love.
Birth is a picture of the fullness of God’s grace. The birth of our ninth grandchild is as glorious as the birth of the first. Each new child brings yet-unwrapped gifts. The birth of baby Jesus is a picture of the fullness of God’s grace brought within reach of all. His humble beginnings, with manger bed and young parents, animals and stars watching—all so wondrous to ponder. Christ Jesus came into the world, to be wrapped in scraps of cloth! We are still unwrapping the gifts he brought to us from heaven—forgiveness, peace, and enduring joy. God with us, Immanuel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This warp will be woven as eight-shaft–twill 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May you be remembered for your deeds of faithful love.
Every time you cut off a warp there is more to do before the woven material is ready for its end purpose. Do you enjoy tying knots? And, hemming rugs by hand? I don’t mind completing these final steps. It’s part of the whole weaving process. Three of the six rosepath rag rugs are now finished. Truly finished.
Tying the warp ends in overhand knots permanently secures the weft. These knots won’t work loose. I turn the hem, concealing the knots; and stitch the hem down. After I sew on my label, the work is complete.
Jesus famously said, “It is finished,” when he was on the cross. His completed good work replaces our work of trying to be good enough, trying to fix everything, trying to control our lives. Our knots won’t hold. We can trust that his finished work will never be undone. God loves you. Trusting him is loving him back.