Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Den says:

    Your weaving is always an inspiration. I look forward to each post. Thank you.

  • Karen says:

    You amaze me! I have too many different hobbies and have to dedicate hours each day to different projects!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, You have some wonderful experiences with using your gifts. I have so much more I want to learn about weaving, and I enjoy digging in to this weaving arena.

      Happy weaving and everything else,
      Karen

  • marianne poling says:

    I love your idea of a “weaving rhythm…” immersing oneself in a “weaving life” that will increase skills and enjoy the gifts weaving brings every day! I tend to weave as a “reward” after all the daily tasks are completed. unfortunately, weaving gets pushed to the back of the line and then I don’t weave as much as I would like to. This was eye-opening for me and I am going to try and find my “weaving rhythm!”

    I really enjoy your blog!
    Marianne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, I like that you identified increasing skill and enjoying the gifts. That does explain why I focus on getting a good rhythm. There are always other necessary things to do to care for family and friends, but it’s good to be mindful of being stewards of the gifts we’ve been given, too. All of life deals with finding priorities and balance.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to think through my own processes and priorities! My challenge is that I make things in a variety of techniques: knitting, weaving, sewing, and quilting…I am so happy I eliminated the rest of them

    Since I only have one floor loom I decided to think of these techniques as my “looms”. Each “loom” requires a slightly different process, and it was very useful to actually take the time to think through each of them, what part do I enjoy the most and what do I tend to put off. You have mentioned that you put finishing first to make sure it gets done. It is interesting how people are different, finishing is the easiest part for me, while dressing the loom tends to be put off, even with a warp waiting.
    Another interesting part for me is to pay attention to which of the different technique requires almost no motivation to get going. Do you see a difference when it comes to your looms? Or the kind of projects you are working on?

    Thank you again for inspiring me to learn and grow!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, From one thinker to another… There’s a fascination to figuring out structures and processes in life. I’m glad to hear this post prompted you to think through some things. You have certainly helped me to think through things, too.

      As far as motivation on different sorts of projects, I do find that I tend to be drawn to the fascination of the drawloom, to weaving a tapestry, and to weaving rag rugs. I need no motivation for those at all. Even so, I find enjoyment in every stage of the process on every one of the looms.

      Thanks for helping me think,
      Karen

  • Pamela Graham says:

    Wow, impressive! You are clearly an inspiration. I am curious about the drawloom; I thought you could only add a drawloom to a VERTICAL countermarch loom.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, It is certainly easier to add a drawloom to a vertical countermarch. We (meaning Steve) modified the horizontal countermarch to fit with the drawloom frame.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Karen!

  • Helen P. says:

    Hello. I liked reading your posts a lot and here last I can see that you have a Glimåkra Ideal, I have the same. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems getting the scales accurately, even though I know how to regulate various things. Maybe you can help me. Do you have an approximate measure of the basic binding to the Ideal loom. That is, the measure from shaft to short stool, the measure from short stool to long stool, the measure from long stool to tramp. Just like that, as a guide. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Helen Pedersen.

    • Karen says:

      Hello Helen, Yes, I have a Glimåkra Ideal. Approximate measurements – from bottom of shafts to the short lamms is about 18cm, from short lamms to long lamms is about 18cm, from long lamms to treadles is about 23cm. The warp is not tied on yet, so these measurements are not exact.

      How many shafts are you using? Sometimes with more than 4 shafts, it is a little tricky to get everything to balance.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I noticed you begin planning the next project while weaving the current project.
    Just one future project? 😉

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

    Nannette

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    Amen xoxo

  • Angela M Roberts says:

    One Question ? Do you keep them all warped and working,Simultaneously ??
    Or one at a time ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, Each loom is on its own independent schedule. They are rarely synchronized so that they are all in weaving mode at the same time. Usually, the looms are operating in different phases of the weaving continuum. So, each day I decide which loom to focus on next. I can only weave on one loom at a time, so sometimes a warp sits on the loom for a while until I can get back to it.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I have a similar process, and have three looms that are usually active.
    When I was a fairly new weaver, I remember Anita Meyer saying that she has one project in the planning stage, one project in the weaving stage and one project in the finishing stage, and then working within the rhythms of her days. I follow a similar rhythm and it keeps me happy. I also have a fourth stage which is documentation and learning. Documentation so that I don’t forget what I have done, and learning because learning is a continuous lifelong adventure.
    Thanks for the inspiration today.
    Barbara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, You have a great system. Documentation is important, yes. I include it in my finishing stage. And I’m with you, learning is a lifelong adventure!

      Thanks for your great input,
      Karen

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Handwoven Scarves Embellished with Flair

You could say I finished these scarves too late. Winter in Texas has come and gone. But I prefer to think of it as considerably early. When cool weather comes back around in a few months, I’ll be ready. I began with the draft for the lovely Stardust scarf, designed by Mona Nielsen, published in Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet, p.74. I simply substituted the yarn and colors in the book with what I had on hand.

New warp on warping reel for winter scarves.
Warp is mostly 6/2 Tuna wool, with some 7.5/2 Brage wool included.
Stripes on the back beam. What a lovely sight!
Made with yarn on hand. This means that additional stripes have been added to the plan.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter. Mora 20/2, a fine wool, is used for weft.
Two new wool scarves coming off the loom!
Two scarves coming off the loom.
Fringe twisting.
Fringes are cut and twisted.

The scarves are delightful, but the icing on the cake is the addition of fluffy, furry pompoms, an embellishment with youthful flair. And that is exactly what I will put on at the first sign of autumn chill.

Making pompoms to embellish the handwoven scarf.
Some of the thrums are used in making pompoms.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time. I wrapped the yarn around 100 times, making full and thick pompoms.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed. I used 8/2 cotton for the 12″ tie around the center of the pompoms.
Adding pompom embellishments to the scarf.
Each pompom is stitched to 3 – 4 twisted fringes. Seven pompoms at each end of the scarf.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms!
Now, the scarves are ready for wet finishing. Notice how you can see the separate strands of yarn in the pompoms before they are washed.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms, hanging to dry.
Scarves have been washed by hand in warm water in a large sink, with Eucalan delicate wash. I purposely gave them as much agitation as I could by hand. They are hanging to dry. Notice how the pompoms have slightly felted, making them even more soft and furry.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.

Some things are certain. The sun will rise tomorrow. The seasons will follow their schedule. The faithfulness of the Lord our God will never end.

May you dress in youthful flair.

Warmly,
Karen

25 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Very pretty! I love the pompoms!

    Take care!!

  • Charlotte says:

    So, so, so precious! And! Your scarf is pretty special, as well!!!

  • Marianne says:

    It’s gorgeous! What a clever way to add Pom poms!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, Thank you so much! The idea for the pompoms came from the book Happy Weaving. That’s what drew me to this scarf pattern.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Hi, Karen!

    I love the colors and pattern of this scarf. And the pom poms are the perfect touch. Thank you telling us how they were made and attached. I always learn from you.

    Please stay safe and healthy.

    Annie

  • Janet says:

    Love the addition of Pom Poms. I haven’t used tuna wool before but recently purchased many skeins for a throw. I know you’ve used quite often, what do you find the best sett for a lovely drape for a twill structure?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, My favorite twill blanket from Tuna wool is the one I made at Vävstuga. You can see the info for the project here: Swedish Wool Blanket.
      Tuna wool is an excellent choice for a throw. I think you will enjoy weaving with it, too!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful and “happy” scarf I have never seen this pom pom maker before, a neat tool, thank you for showing us!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I happened upon the pompom maker while browsing at Hobby Lobby. I knew I wanted this embellishment for my scarves, so I was happy to find a helpful tool. It beats cutting out cardboard circles to wrap with yarn–one fluff ball at a time. It wouldn’t be hard to make a similar tool at home.

      I, too, think of this as a “happy” scarf.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Such a fun scarf!

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    What a pretty scarf. With the early Spring in Wisconsin, it is too warm to wear it here until November. More time for anticipation.

    My looms were taken to the retirement home Friday. The chipper was brought back so my sister can dispatch the 5 mature trees she dropped.

    Now I am going through my sewing room. Oh My, Why did I buy some of the things I am finding? Three piles. Donate, Sell, Take with me. Too many decisions. Where did I get all those cards of snaps from 1960?

    Are any of your readers in health care? I am wondering if the cloth face masks being shown as projects are something that can be used in the medical system, or are they just fashion statements? When the other grandchildren were born I would take a home made treat to leave with the nurses. This year I could leave some cheerful cloth masks…

    This latest grandson can come at any time.

    Blessings to all.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Congratulations on your coming grandson. Life is full of twists and turns. I’m glad you have a place for looms in your new home. That gives you something to look forward to.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Betty Morrissey says:

    Beautiful! May I ask, when weaving with a stretchy wool warp, do you tension it tightly so the stretch is maxed out?
    The pom poms are a great use of ends. Thank you for your kindness, always.

    Betty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betty, Great question! No, I don’t tension tightly to max out the stretch of the wool. I don’t want to over-stretch the wool. You have to find a happy medium so that it is tight enough that the shuttle doesn’t fall through, but not so tight that it will stretch the fibers out too far.

      I’m always happy when I can find a good use for some of the thrums. Who knows, maybe I’ll start putting pompoms on everything. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Jan says:

    These are gorgeous. I am so inspired by your weaving and sharing.
    Thank you

  • Barbara Mitchell says:

    Love these scarves and the pom-poms. I tried to put pom-poms on a scarf, but couldn’t get them tightly enough tied on to the end of the twisted fringe so they just ended up looking goofy and wishy-washy, so I cut them off again. Do you have a secret?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, Thanks for asking! I think what helps is stitching the pom pom to a group of 3 or 4 twisted fringes, and the individual fringes are fairly thick. The tapestry needle with 8/2 cotton for the stitching thread goes through the fringes just above the knots and then through the center loop of the pom pom. I take the thread back around 3 or 4 times and then secure it with several small (hidden) stitches in the fringe/knot.

      Maybe you’ll have a chance to try it again. It does make a fun finishing for a scarf.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Danie says:

    Very nice!
    I would like to try this colorshifts, but i cannot figure out how .
    Could you please explain this ?
    Thanks
    Danie

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My Four-Shaft Tapestry – Will it Work?

Is this going to work? Yes, I think so. I am testing things out. So far, so good. Can I follow the cartoon? Yes. Do I have a good way to hold the cartoon in place? Yes. And to put the color and value key where I can see it? Yes. Do I have enough yarn in each of the colors, values, and thicknesses that I need? No. I see some gaps, especially in the mid-to-dark value range. I am ordering more yarn today. Is four-shaft tapestry going to be as delightful an experience as I’ve long hoped? Most probably, yes! Word of the day: Yes!

Wool yarns for four-shaft tapestry.

Testing, testing. Blending of yarns, blending of colors, checking value contrasts.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses for tapestry.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses gives interesting results. This is practice for some of the background area of the tapestry.

Testing new approach to tapestry weaving.

Finding out if I can follow details on the cartoon. Experimenting with adding floats in places as texture to enhance the design.

Trying out four-shaft tapestry.

Will I be able to handle multiple yarn butterflies? I think so.

Practicing technique for a new tapestry on the Glimakra Ideal loom.

Testing some of the green hues for part of the main subject of the tapestry. Also keeping an eye on selvedges, so they don’t draw in.

Testing various elements before starting the *actual* tapestry.

Plenty of warp is available for practice. I want to test all the critical elements before I start the *actual* tapestry. This tapestry will be woven horizontally.

Words. I am affected by words—spoken by others, and spoken from my own mouth. Grace in our words can be an invitation of kindness and relief to someone who is testing our framework. When Christ’s words dwell in us, the richness of his words affect our being. And then, our words of yes and no are grace-filled bearers of hope.

May you see hope on your horizon.

With hope,
Karen

6 Comments

  • The practice weaving is lovely. Timeless….

    May the fourth be with you– 🙂

    Nannette

  • Joanne Hall says:

    You have a great start on this project. Keep sending us updates. Joanne

  • Michele Dixon says:

    I’m interested in how you attached your cartoon to the loom. I’ve never done it on a horizontal loom so I’m not sure what I’ll do when the time comes.

    Love your practice piece. I can’t wait to see what you actually weave.

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Quiet Friday: Painting with Yarn and Animated Images

I have often wished I had the skill of artistic drawing. How wonderful it would be to portray a slice of creation using pencil lines, or pastels, or with watercolors and a paintbrush. Instead, though, I’ve been delighted to find that I can “draw” and “paint” with threads and yarn. By capturing a slice of creation through my iPhone camera lens, the hard part has already been done. All I have to do is translate the photo into a woven image. And what a joy that is!

Here is a glimpse of my process of weaving the Texas hill country Cactus and Bluebonnets transparencies.

(Don’t miss the amazing animated images at the end of this post that my son, Daniel, made of these woven transparency projects!)

Yarn for a woven transparency.

Planning a woven transparency.

Beginning cactus woven transparency.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Weaving a transparency. Cactus.

Cactus woven transparency just off the loom!

Woven transparency cactus. Karen Isenhower

Planning a woven transparency.

Beginning bluebonnets in a woven transparency.

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Woven transparency. Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets woven transparency just off the loom!

Woven transparency bluebonnets. Karen Isenhower

Bluebonnets photo morph to woven transparency.

May you find joy in what you’ve been given to do.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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Hint of Shadows

I hope this isn’t cheating, but I added a teeny bit of embroidery to the finished bluebonnets. One thing I learned with this transparency is that an image that looks flat can be improved with a hint of shadows.

Woven transparency just off the loom.

Wide casing at the top and bottom of the bluebonnet transparency make it easy to hang for display. I envision it hanging from a stripped and polished cedar rod, harvested from our Texas hill country property.

I’m thankful for my husband’s artful eye. He helped me identify the “off-screen sunlight” that would produce natural shadows. I am adding a few darker stitches to the right-hand side of some of the lighter areas, and a touch at the sides and lower end of the flower stems. My hope is to give the picture a bit more depth.

Embroidery added to finished woven transparency.

A single strand of mora wool in a darker shade is used to embroider some outline stitches on the right side of some of the bluebonnet petals.

Shadows tell us something: There is a light source. Find out where the light is coming from. That is what it’s like for those seeking God. There are shadows everywhere you look. We see the shadows–the effects of a shining light. And we want to find the source.

Texas Bluebonnets transparency. Karen Isenhower

Hint of shadows helps give shape to the otherwise flat transparency.

Go on a search and exploration expedition. Start with small shadows that you see, the circumstances and blessings that hint at an outside light source. Such seekers may discover that God is just off-screen, waiting to be found.

May you follow where the shadows lead.

With joy,
Karen

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