Melody Towels

I am stepping out of the box with this combination, trusting that what is seen only in my mind’s eye will have an extraordinary impact. This warp will become towels for my daughter Melody. I chose cottolin threads in colors that remind me of the colorfully painted homes we saw on our visit to Chile a few years ago when Melody was living there. Aqua, light poppy, marigold, and orchid.

New warp on the warping reel.
Mix of colors that remind me of Chile.
Warping reel. Winding a new colorful warp!
First of three bouts on the warping reel.
Beaming the warp with a warping trapeze.
Beaming the warp with the help of the warping trapeze.
Cottolin towel warp being beamed.
Warp beam with new cottolin warp for towels.

We trust what we can see—a chair to hold us, and an airplane to fly us. But unseen things are also part of our trust—the chair maker’s glue, and the air that aerodynamic engineers depend on. Earth and heaven, seen and unseen. Jesus, seen on earth, made the unseen God visible. Trust the unseen.

May you step out of the box.

Trusting,
Karen

Quiet Friday: Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug

My introduction to rosepath rag rugs was on a room-size loom in Joanne Hall’s magical Montana studio. I was so happy at that moment that I actually cried. It’s no surprise, then, that I relish every opportunity to weave a rosepath rag rug. And even better, to share the joy with other handweavers who may not have tried it yet. Look what came in the mail this week! The March/April 2017 issue of Handwoven, with a project by yours truly–Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug!

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.
Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Not everyone loves weaving rag rugs. That’s fine. But if you’re a weaver, there is probably something that draws your interest and brings delight. A certain weave structure, silky fibers, fine threads, complex patterns, bold colors. Something. And if you’re not a weaver, there is something else that triggers your pursued interest. Find that spark that ignites joy in you!

Beginning a rag rug.
Besides using a pre-measured tape, taking a picture at the beginning of the rug, with the yellow tape measure in view, makes it easy to replicate the hem at the end of the rug.
Temple in place, weaving Swedish rosepath rag rug.
Temple is in place, keeping the rugs a consistent width. Metal rug temples are good, but I still prefer a regular wooden Glimåkra temple for weaving rag rugs.
Weaving rosepath rag rugs. Fun!
Many rosepath variations are possible. The rug on the cloth beam uses a similar design, with different colors.
Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug. Karen Isenhower
Making paths of roses. Rosepath.
Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug.
Progress!
Seeing the reverse side of the rosepath rag rug on the loom.
Reverse side of the rug has a subtly different pattern.
Swedish rosepath rag rug on the loom. Rug in March/April 2017 Handwoven.
Cloth beam fills up with rag rugs. Pleasant sight for a rag rug weaver!
Ending the rosepath rag rug on the loom.
Ending the rug on the loom. Following the markings removes guesswork.

Keep a song in your heart. Sing. Sing for joy. Sing praise to the Grand Weaver who put the seed of searching in you. A seed that bursts open with joy when ignited with a spark, and flourishes into something distinguishable. Trust the Lord with all your heart. Your heart will find its melody.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.
Published in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

May your heart sing a joyful tune.

ATTENTION: The draft for the  Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug from Handwoven is written for a sinking shed loom. Therefore, for a jack loom, you must tie up the “white” empty squares instead of the numbered squares for the pattern to show right side up as you weave.

If you are interested in weaving rag rugs, take a look at Rag Rug Tips, a new tab at the top of the page.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Choosing Rag Rug Fabric is Like Song Writing

Choosing fabric for a rag rug reminds me of song writing. I like to start with a pretty melody. Add some harmony. Write a good accompaniment to finish the song. Be sure to include a good balance of harmony and dissonance to make the music exciting. That’s a good description of my thought process for selecting fabric for a rag rug design.

  1. Start with a melody–a fabric in the color(s) that you want to use in your design.
  2. Add harmony–one other fabric that compliments the first one.
  3. Write the accompaniment–with the chosen pair of fabrics on the table (or in the shopping cart at the fabric store), lay other fabrics beside them, one at a time. Select compatible colors that enhance the “melody” and “harmony.” Eliminate fabrics that “sing a different tune;” but don’t be afraid of unusual combinations. Some dissonance can work in your favor to add interest and excitement to the mix.

Here are a few examples of fabric combinations I am playing around with as I plan my next double binding rag rug design.

Fabric combinations for rag rug planning. Simple tutorial.
Starting with the blue fabric at the top, I added the bold multi-color print as harmony. The black acts as contrast. The two remaining pieces could be used as accents.
Choosing fabric for double binding rag rug.
Bold multicolor print takes the melody line, and the red batik adds harmony. Two more selections bring out the yellow-green and the reds and oranges in the melody piece.
How to select fabrics for weaving rag rugs.
Dark print with green as the base color is complemented with the reddish brown. Other fabrics are included to add contrast and interest.
Process for choosing rag rug fabrics. Short tutorial.
Summer print is enhanced with the harmonizing light pink. Dark pink in small portions makes a good contrast. White serves as a unifying backdrop. Two more prints, used sparingly, could be added for interest.

You can view my double binding rag rugs on Etsy to examine some of the fabric choices I have made for previous rugs.

Classic Check; Autumn Clouds; Improvisation; Woodland Walk; Black and Red SquaresForest at Dawn; Opportunity in Disguise; Painting Sunsets.

May you find a good balance of harmony and dissonance.

With a song in my heart,
Karen

Best Kind of Music You Have Ever Seen

Do you have a melody? Being a musician at heart, it’s fun to think of my weaving loom as a musical instrument. This is an instrument that produces fabric instead of harmonies. Throwing a shuttle takes practiced precision, as does gliding my bow across the strings of my ‘cello. When I step on treadles to change sheds on the loom, I imagine myself on the bench of a majestic pipe organ, playing the low notes with my feet. Every pass of the shuttle brings the formation of a melody in color and pattern. Rosepath is the prettiest melody of all. And rhythm, of course, is felt and heard as I play the loom instrument.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.
Rosepath rag rugs on the loom. Doing my favorite thing again.

I make textural melodies on my weaving loom. I am certain my maker takes note of the music I make here. Whatever you do with a thankful heart becomes a song. And that song is your gift to your maker. When you turn what you do into an instrument of praise you experience the smile of God.

I have a melody, and I have a Melody, whose birthday is today, and whose wedding is eleven days away. Maybe she needs a new rug as a housewarming gift…

May you sing your melody out loud.

With a thankful heart,
Karen

Weaving a Song

This three-treadle weave was not complicated to thread; and with only three treadles and one shuttle, it is simple to weave. The beads certainly give a festive look, but most of the fabric is woven without the added sparkle. This weave creates an interesting striped pattern, giving physical and visual texture to the fabric, even without beads. Singing adds that kind of interest and pleasant consistency to life, even during times that don’t *sparkle* with happiness.

16/1 linen three-treadle weave, with beads.
A zig-zag treadling pattern, using three treadles, results in fabric with a striped look. Woven-in beads embellish this linen fabric.

Singing is a sign of a joyful heart, and the only instrument you need is a voice. My dad was a great example of this. He couldn’t carry a tune in a basket, but that did not keep him from singing. The thread of joy was woven in him from the beginning to the end of his life–through good times and hard times.

An inner melody of joy gives strength and consistency to make it beyond the happy sparkle times in life. Singing is a natural response to the grand weaver’s personal attention. So, go ahead and sing! Don’t be embarrassed–your voice is the grand weaver’s delight!

May you sing through your day.

Joyfully,
Karen