Made to Fade?

You will always come back to what you love. I came back to this arrangement of stripes because I love the harmonious way the colors work together. Now used as a weft sequence, this is one of the color wrappings that I did when planning this towel warp. (You can see the rest of the color wrappings HERE.) But really, it’s just towels, it’s just colors, it’s just things that wear out.

Color wrapping used to inspire weft sequence. Karen Isenhower
Color wrapping for possible warp arrangement is now used as weft sequence. Except, since I ran out of light blue thread (remember THIS?), I am using dark blue in its place.

Everything we can touch and everything we can see is in the process of fading. Physical things deteriorate over time; they just do. The handwoven articles I so carefully make may last a human lifetime, or maybe longer. But eventually they will be no more, and any meaning they have now will be lost. (Even with my grandmother’s quilts and rugs, like THESE, I don’t know what they meant to her, and she’s no longer around to ask.) It doesn’t make sense to love things. Sure, we can touch and see them, and our me-first self wants them. But they are all going away.

It does make sense to investigate the non-physical things that never decay. When we align with the desires of our grand weaver and discover the plans he has had from the beginning of time, we are investing in heavenly pursuits that carry rewards that never fade. Ever.

May the work of your hands outlast you.

101 Thanks! Thank you, dear friend, for coming to my virtual weaving studio again and again. If you are one of the small handful (there are about eight or ten of you) that started with me 101 blog posts ago (HERE is the first post), a BIG thank-you to YOU! If you are one of the more recent guests, helping to grow this space to more than 1,200 guests a month, I am HUGELY grateful to YOU, too! You are welcome here. I am so glad you came!

Gratefully Yours,

Relaxed Rosepath Rag Rugs

As soon as the cloth is cut from the loom, the threads begin to relax. On the loom, the warp width for these rag rugs was 27 inches (68.5 cm). How quickly everything can change! Now, spread out on the floor, the width has already narrowed to 25 inches (63.5 cm). In a week or two, the width will have narrowed by another 1/2 inch (1.25 cm). [How do I know? THIS CHRISTMAS RUG, cut from this same warp a few weeks ago, is now 24 1/2 inches (62.25 cm) wide.] Since all the looming tension is over, these rugs can just lay back and relax. Haha! That’s how I feel whenever a few demanding weeks or months finally come to a close.

Rosepath Rag Rugs just off the loom!
Not yet cut apart, three new rosepath rag rugs await final finishing. Wefts will be secured by tying warp ends into knots; and hems will be pressed and stitched.

We do need the experiences that stretch us, and we need the relaxed times as well. Life will always have its ups and downs, but there is one thing that brings consistency through it all. Faith. Faith looks back and remembers being rescued; and faith looks forward into the unknown with courage. A life of faith is a life that is full. Not full of stuff or projects, but full of meaning.

Love. Belief. Joy. These are the gifts we bring to our rescuer. Our faith in him is rewarded with his own nearness. So, whether stretched or at ease, we know with confidence that we are loved.

May your faith be renewed.


I’m Weaving on a Jet Plane

Steve and I just returned from visiting our son, daughter-in-law, and our adorable three-year-old granddaughter in The Philippines. So, I was away from my floor looms for a couple weeks! But thanks to my husband, I have a miniature tapestry loom that works perfectly for travel. About the size of an iPad, it is small enough that I can weave on the go, even on an airplane.

Hand-built miniature tapestry loom, size of an iPad, for travel.
Hand-built small frame tapestry loom, designed with offset brass nails to hold the warp, with tensioning device at the top.

Why not take along knitting, crochet, or tatting, you ask? I agree, that would be sensible; but I am a weaver, and I would rather weave.

Weaving small tapestry while on airplane.
With cartoon in place under the warp, and thread selection collected in a small pouch, and thread cutter to hang around my neck, I have everything I need to weave on the airplane. Oh, and a small book light for weaving in the middle of the night. Haha!

Your creator has a meaningful role for you that is perfectly suited for your skills. Wouldn’t it be silly for me to try to use this frame loom to swing at a tennis ball, or strum it like a guitar? Steve made this loom specifically for me to weave small tapestries. This simple frame works beautifully for that purpose, giving credit to its maker. When we find that satisfying role that allows us to practice using our gifts to their best advantage, it reflects well on our maker.

Young family

May you find a way to do what you do best.

From my home to yours,

Weaving Basics

I love making bands! I started weaving bands in the 1980’s on my inkle loom; and more recently, I have been weaving bands on my Glimåkra two-treadle band loom, like these bands. Now, I am also learning to weave bands with a small rigid heddle. (The pattern for this Sámi band is from this book – not an affiliate link.)  There are rudiments of weaving that form a basis for understanding and developing skills. In the arena of faith, convictions are the rudiments that form a basis for learning and growing.

Rigid Heddle Band Weaving
Doubled 8/2 purple cotton thread forms the pattern, and single strands of 8/2 unbleached cotton are used for the background. Tools used are a rigid heddle, a shaped band knife, and a band lock.
  • Keep warp ends in order
  • Maintain even warp tension
  • Prepare your shuttle with carefully-wound weft
  • Pay attention to selvedges
  • Stay consistent with weft density
  • Follow a written draft, or a pattern passed down, or one committed to memory

Understanding these and other basics will give you a good foundation for any type of weaving, large or small. If I keep these essentials in mind as I practice, I have every hope that I will end up with something worthwhile.

Convictions of the heart form the basis for learning how to live in a meaningful way. When these convictions arise out of faith in our master weaver, they are accompanied with unfailing, unwavering, and unending hope. And hope assures that the journey is worthwhile.

May hope be your lifelong companion.

Reviewing the basics,

Linen and Beads

After threading nearly 200 beads on a length of linen thread, and then winding it oh so carefully on a stick shuttle… I had a clumsy mess! The beads were too big (these pretty blue beads), and there were too many to manage at once. Time to start over. Smaller and fewer beads on the strand of linen was the solution. Now I can successfully weave them in. Smaller and fewer. You cannot measure success by size and quantity. You cannot measure generosity that way, either.

Glass beads lined up to place in a row of weaving.
Small glass beads arranged in a row before taking them to the loom.
Weaving small glass beads into the linen textile.
I found success when I threaded the beads on the linen thread at the loom. one row at a time.

We usually measure generosity by how much someone gives, but I’m not sure that is a true measure. When I give from my surplus, that is easy giving, no matter how much I give away. Most of us can do that. What about giving money, time, or resources from my personal supply? Now, that’s another story. A heart of generosity shows when I give what I would prefer to keep for myself.

Authentic generosity is a rare virtue. I am not completely there yet, but if I start with just a few beads, being intentional about selfless giving, I’ll be able to look back and smile at the results.

May you find something meaningful to give away.

With love,