Hazards and Rewards of Weaving a Portrait

When you want a better photograph you snap another picture. When you want a better tapestry you take out what you’ve woven and weave it another way. I recently showed you my progress on the tapestry of my mother. (See Tapestry of the Heart.) As I viewed the tapestry in photographs I could see that the 6/1 tow linen that weaves between the rows of wool was too bright. The golden bleached linen is lovely on its own, and melts into the background on the sides of the portrait. But this bright linen draws undo attention to itself within the darker portions of the tapestry because of the stark contrast. The day after that post I undid everything back to the starting line.

Weaving a four-shaft tapestry portrait.
Take One, with golden bleached 6/1 tow linen weft threads interspersed.

Undoing a few weeks of tapestry weaving is not physically hard to do, but making the decision to undo it is hard, indeed. Since then, I have been weaving every day to get back to the point where I stopped everything. This time, I am using a different color tow linen that will make all the difference.

Wool butterflies for a tapestry portrait.
Take Two. Golden beige tow linen, as seen in the header rows, is interspersed in the weaving.
Tapestry portrait in progress.
I was able to save and reuse some of the wool butterflies from the first take.
Tapestry portrait of my mother.
Almost back to where I stopped. Besides changing the linen weft color, weaving a second time allowed me to make other improvements to the tapestry, as well.
Is that a look of approval?
Small sample of each butterfly is pinned to the picture beside my loom. I choose colors for each wool bundle in correlation to its adjacent colors, working out the colors a few steps ahead of my weaving. …Is that a look of approval?

Now, instead of golden bleached, the linen thread is a golden beige that disappears into the fabric, while holding everything together. Come to think of it, that is an apt picture of a mother’s influence.

May you know when to go back to the beginning.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Grace at the Loom

The blue threads for this project are delightful! Four shades of blue, from pale blue to sapphire, play across the warp, accented with navy blue stripes. Lucious 8/2 cotton is threaded in eight-shaft twill. The hand of the fabric will be well suited for the chair arm- and headrest- covers I have planned. This blue color sequence is the winning combination from the thread wrappings I showed you in October. (See Warp Sequence Planning.)

Threading heddles for 8-shaft twill.
Project notes sit with me on the loom bench.
Beautiful blue Bockens 8/2 cotton!
Beautiful warp beam gives a glimpse of how the blue flows together.

My warp planning had a calculation error. I went on my merry way, winding the warp, beaming the warp, and threading the heddles. Until, …Surprise! I have three extra ends left after all the heddles are threaded. Fortunately, there is grace at the loom. I pull the navy blue border threads and three light blue threads out of their heddles and re-thread the navy blue border stripe. The three light blue ends will hang off the back, unused. All is well.

Warp color sequence - blue, blue, blue, blue!
Three light blue ends sit on top of the lease stick tied to the back beam. These extra warp threads will hang off the back and stay out of the way of the warp being woven.

Grace is like that. We mess up, find and admit our wrong, and the Lord Jesus forgives, granting us a new start. When we are wrong we need grace. What about when others are wrong? When the errors of others affect us, what shall we do? Forgiveness is our only option. There is no good reason to hold those error threads and weave them into our fabric.

May you be a recipient of grace.

Your friend,
Karen

Process Review: Perfectly Imperfect

I waded into deflected double weave for the first time. It took me one full scarf to figure out what I was doing. By the second scarf, I had a much better sense of how the pattern fits together and what to do with the shuttles (most of the time). Both scarves are quite imperfect (no one will ever know…). The loom behaved perfectly, though. This is my Julia’s first project using all eight shafts. Now, I know that this sweet loom is up to any challenge I give her.

20/2 Mora wool by Borgs for a lovely scarf.
20/2 Mora wool by Borgs. Yarn is temporarily secured by pulling a loop behind the warp at the nearest upright on the warping reel.
Putting a new warp on the 8-shaft Glimakra Julia.
Preparing to dress the loom. The lease cross end of the warp chain is placed through the beater.
Glimakra Julia 8- shaft loom is ready to weave!
Warp is beamed and tied on, and the treadles and lamms are tied up.
Wool deflected double weave.
First scarf gives me a chance to learn. Beat consistency is getting better with practice.
Learning ins and outs of deflected double weave.
Trickiest part about deflected double weave is understanding how the shuttles interact so that the color from one shuttle (the salmon color) never goes to the selvedge.
Trying to learn deflected double weave.
Gaining confidence and consistency on the second scarf.
My first deflected double weave!
Stiff Mora wool will soon soften in the wash. After cutting off, I discover that a tiny misunderstanding gave me a consistent wrong thread all along one selvedge on the back side. Maybe we should call this defective double weave. (But, really, no one will ever know.)
O, the joy of twisting fringe!
Bundles of light and dark threads are twisted into swinging fringes before the scarves are washed.

By the way, I like the finished airy scarves, even with their flaws.

Deflected double weave scarf in Mora wool.
Finished scarf has delightful pattern and character. Mora wool is sufficiently softened through washing and drying, to make a supple fabric.
Texas hill country foggy day and new handwoven scarf to go with it.
Perfect (imperfect) scarf to brighten up a foggy day in Texas hill country.

May you wade into a new experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Jubilation Bath Towels

Jubilation Bath Towels are completed, just in time for Christmas! They go with the Jubilation Hand Towels I wove earlier this year, named with my father in mind. (See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels.) Nothing deterred my father from deep abiding joy. These bath towels are a tribute, as well, to my husband’s patience. He requested handwoven bath towels a few years ago. Laughably, my first eager attempt resulted in towels scratchy enough to be used as sandpaper back scratchers. Now, finally, we have absorbent and soft handwoven cottolin bath towels suitable for my Prince Charming.

Cottolin bath set. Handwoven bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths.
Jubilation Bath Set. Four bath towels, four hand towels, two wash cloths. Cottolin warp and weft. Six-shaft broken and reverse twill.

Don’t you love it when the end of the warp yields bonus results? Just enough warp to make a pair of wash cloths, in which every one of the seven colors of quills was emptied. Hurrah!

Handwoven bath towel set. Glimakra Standard loom.
Cottolin bath towel set, soft and absorbent. All quills were emptied off in the final length of warp, making colorful wash cloths.

Enjoy the start-to-finish process with me in this slideshow video:

May jubilation reside in your home.

With the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth,
Karen

Everything Is Peachy on the Drawloom

I canned my first-ever batch of jam last summer. Jars of yummy peach jam were on my mind when I started planning designs for this sample warp on the combination drawloom. Much to my delight, Joanne Hall has included my Jam Jars design in her updated edition of Drawloom Weaving, recently released.

Cotton and linen on the drawloom.
Beginning another variation of the Jam Jars design.
Creating drawloom designs.
Earlier version of Jam Jars, with “Peach” spelled out in cursive letters.
Making jam on the drawloom.
Simple lettering is possible with the pattern shafts. 30 pattern shafts for the jam jar design, including “JAM”, and 5 pattern shafts for the side borders.
Drawloom Weaving, by Joanne Hall. 2nd edition.
Drawloom Weaving, 2nd edition, by Joanne Hall. An essential resource for anyone interested in drawloom weaving.

I am weaving several versions of the jam jars. Each variation has a different set of borders as I test my understanding of the Myrehed combination attachment. I am studying the versatility of this drawloom. Pattern shafts enable pattern repeats for the jam jars and side borders. Single units make it possible to weave the peaches in the corners and “Peachy” across the top. Can you tell if the border across the bottom is made with pattern shafts? Or, is it made with single units?

How to weave Peach Jam!
Everything is Peachy!

Depth of understanding comes from study. Practice makes it real. Go all in; make mistakes, un-do and re-make; have What-now? moments and Aha! moments. Make deliberate observations. It’s all part of the process. That’s what forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ is like. Forgiveness is good news. When we receive his forgiveness he sets us on a path to study, learn, and understand his grace. The depth of which will take an eternity to understand.

May you increase in understanding.

Grace to you,
Karen