Fringe Benefits

Did you notice I didn’t hemstitch these alpaca scarves on the loom? Instead, small overhand knots secure the weft. The knots provide a base for lattice fringe on one scarf, and for twisted fringe on another.

Finishing ends on a long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Purple mohair thread marks the right side of the fabric. The thread is added before the fabric is cut from the loom. Six warp ends at a time are formed into overhand knots that cinch up to the edge of the scarf.

Making lattice fringe.

Three offset rows of overhand knots form the lattice fringe.

Fringe is finished. Ready for washing and drying.

Knots at the tips of the fringe will be trimmed off after washing and drying.

Tying knots for lattice fringe is meticulous. And twisting the fringe is not much faster. But it’s not about how long it takes. I’m not a production weaver. I’m a one-of-a-kind weaver who enjoys the process of turning threads into unique cloth, no matter how long it takes. After the fringes are done, I will hand wash the scarves and let them hang to dry. Slow and steady, the scarves take shape. From the very beginning, I work with the end in mind–handcrafted artisan designer scarves.

Twisting fringe on a handwoven scarf.

By inserting a long straight pin through the center of each knot as it is formed, I can pierce the foam board at the spot where I want the knot to end up–right at the woven edge of the scarf.

Twisted Fringe

Twisted fringe dangles from the edge of the soft scarf.

Time is a gift. Time to make things. Time to finish what we make. And time to undergo our own finishing. Look up. The one who made us takes the time to do the finishing we need. Our Maker doesn’t rush or hurry. He has a beautiful end in mind. We look up to heaven as we pray, acknowledging that our Grand Weaver is on his throne. We can be thankful that our times are in his hands.

May your finishing bring beautiful results.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Linda Sloan says:

    Wonderful message…love your blog and work. What an inspiration you are!! Linda

  • Kris says:

    This message brought tears to my eyes, Karen. I don’t remember how I found you, but I am so grateful that I did!! Advent Blessings to you! You are such a Blessing to us, your readers!

  • Katie says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m curios about one of your photo captions about using the purple mohair to mark the right side of your fabric. Is this simply to make it easy to know which side is up or is there another reason for it having to do with tying the knots?

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Katie, It makes me smile to know someone reads the captions. 🙂

      I mark the right side of the fabric with a thread when it comes off the loom because sometimes it’s not easy to tell the right side from the reverse side. If it’s that close, it doesn’t usually matter, but I still like to know. By marking it right away, I don’t have to guess about it or hold it up to the light to try to tell the difference, etc.

      Secondly, if I am tying knots for fringe, like this time, I want the right side of the fabric up. My overhand knots have a front and a back to them, and I want the consistency of having the front of the knots on the right side of the fabric. These are details that most won’t notice. But that’s what sets handcrafted goods apart, isn’t it?

      I hope that makes sense.

      Thanks so much for asking!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Pam says:

    You’re right. It is HIS perfect timing that makes us who we are. HE is the author and the finisher of out faith.
    I always say that every thing we do has a little secret to tell us. The trick with the pin in the center of the knot, as it is made to insure its proper place, is just such a secret. I wondered how to do that. Now my work will be better. Thank you,Karen.
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam,

      Yes, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. I’m thankful that the Lord planned in the little things that make us who we are.
      So glad you found a helpful tip here!

      Karen

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End of Warp Surprise

The end of the warp is a fantastic way to try out ideas for future weaving projects. I have some kid mohair/silk yarn on my shelf in blue, lavender, and tan. I wove some pretty shawls with this angelic yarn a few years ago on my rigid heddle loom. Hmm… would kid mohair/silk work as weft on the alpaca warp? This is a good way to learn. If it works, I know I can do it again, but on a larger scale. If it doesn’t work, I know what to avoid. The point is to learn.

Kid mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Lavender mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Alpaca warp and kid mohair/silk weft for a dreamy scarf.

As handweavers, we learn by doing. And in daily life, we learn by doing–walking in this manner or that. We do not walk alone. The Lord stands ready to teach every inquiring soul. My prayer is, “Lord, teach me; help me understand; help me walk.” Sometimes what we learn surprises us. The trial weft may be even better than the one we originally planned.

May you enjoy lifelong learning.

Blessed,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Carolyn Penny says:

    Yes, life long learning. The path is pleasant.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Karen,
    This is a very beautuful way to use mohair-silk as weft. Just wondering what the sett is for this pattern and where you found the draft?
    I have some kid mohair-silk yarn that is intended as knitting yarn but I would prefer to use it in weaving – I have a poncho in mind- and I am looking for a suitable draft that I could use or adapt.
    Thank you for sharing this very lovely project, it is most inspiring.
    Kind regards,
    Chris

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris, The kid mohair-silk is dreamy yarn. I used a draft from “The Big Book of Weaving,” by Laila Lundell, p. 116. The warp was 3-ply alpaca yarn.
      I used a 30/10 metric reed (equivalent to 7.6 Imperial), and the sett was 6 epc, or about 15 epi.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Chris says:

    Hi Karen,
    Thank you very much for sharing this. I will check it out, the book you mention is in our Guild library.
    I’ve only very recently found your blog and I am hooked! Thanks for all the interesting posts and for your openness and honesty about the good times and not so good times in weaving
    Kind regards,
    Chris

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Tools Day: Enough Shuttles for Now

If I line up all my weaving shuttles, end to end, how far do you think they will reach? The accumulation started slowly, adding a shuttle here and there, as needed. My husband contributed to my collection by handcrafting some of the shuttles for me. “I could use a stick shuttle in such-and-such a size.” “Okay, dear,” he would say, before going out to the garage to whip up yet another yardstick shuttle for my rigid heddle loom.

Ski shuttles are for rag weaving. Boat shuttles are for almost everything else. Most of my boat shuttles are traditional Swedish shuttles. All these fascinating shuttles, such simple tools, work the wonder of weaving.

Hand-crafted walnut stick shuttles for rigid heddle loom. Mohair/silk/alpaca shawl.

Shawl woven on 32-inch rigid heddle loom, with super kid mohair/silk and baby alpaca. Smooth, handcrafted walnut stick shuttles were used for this project.

Novelty yarn woven on inkle loom.

Tapered edge on pine inkle loom shuttle helps for beating in the weft. I have been known to weave with crazy novelty yarns on my inkle loom.

Hand-carved maple band loom shuttles, and woven bands.

Maple band loom shuttles, hand-carved by my husband, *live* in a small handmade bag that hangs on the back corner of the band loom. This shaped shuttle is perfect for the tricky one-handed manipulation that is needed. If they are too smooth and polished, however, they slip right out of my hand.

Ski shuttles for rag rug weaving. This rug used 3 shuttles at a time.

My favorite ski shuttle is the beautiful cherry wood shuttle made by my husband, Steve. It helps to have several ski shuttles. The “Creative Expression” Rosepath Rag Rug used three shuttles at a time to get the gradient color effect.

Boat shuttles ready to weave.

Boat shuttles eager to weave. Do you hear them? … “Pick me”…”No, pick ME!”

A few of my favorite things. Karen Isenhower

These are a few of my favorite things. Swedish woven goods made on a Swedish loom with Swedish boat shuttles. (I’m the only thing not Swedish here.)

34 1/2 feet of weaving shuttles.

How far will my shuttles reach? 34 1/2 feet (that’s 11 1/2 yards, or 10 1/2 meters long). I ran out of room, so the last one is standing on end.

May you fascinated with things that work.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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Quiet Friday: Christmas Textiles

Grateful for a few quiet days before the new year begins, I reflect on the trials and treasures from 2013 and wonder what 2014 will bring. I encourage you to take time to ponder. If you weave some quiet into your schedule you will hear things you’ve never heard before. You will see things you have never noticed. You will love more because you won’t always be at your frazzled end. Even when the world around you is full of noise, you can be quiet on the inside.

Weaving and pondering go well together. All the more reason to weave.

Handwoven mohair throw for softness under the Christmas tree.

Mohair throw, woven in hound’s tooth twill, creates a soft setting under the Christmas tree.

Handwoven cotton towel from The Philippines.

Traditional Filipino cotton towel used as decorative cloth on a side table.

Handwoven design, unique to the Philippines, holds vintage Santa display.

Well-worn and well-used stacking Santas adorn the colorful cloth. The unique Filipino handwoven design of this cloth brings special Christmas cheer to the front room in our home.

Rosepath rag rug and gingerbread boy and girls.

With another Christmas rolled up, gingerbread boy and girls rest on the rosepath rag rug.

May your new year bring dreams come true.

Quietly,
Karen

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