Combination Drawloom – Simple and Engaging

I am constantly improving my methods of operating the drawloom. I pull and release draw handles and draw cords, check for errors, and throw the shuttle for each unit of threads (six times per unit with the current setup). Everything is in order. And, while I’m actively absorbed with this mental and physical choreography, I experience freedom from every other care.

Hem of towel is bleached 16/1 linen weft, and then green 16/2 linen weft. The pattern area of the towel is woven with royal blue 16/1 linen weft.
Solid row of pattern across the warp requires that all pattern shaft draw handles are pulled. It always seems thrilling to me to see all the handles down at once!
Lower border of the towel is the easy part. Pattern shafts are used for making a repeated pattern, and no single unit cords are involved.
Pattern shaft draw handles are now relegated to the side borders. The center body of the towel uses single unit draw cords to create non-repeated pattern. The single units give me freedom to design a (planned) random snowfall expression.
Snowflake Towel 01 is wrapping around the cloth beam. Snowflake Towel 02 is going over the knee beam. Snowflake Towel 03 is being woven. Snowflake Towel 04 will be the final towel on this warp. (But, who knows what I’ll be able to weave after that to the very end of the warp?)

These snowflake patterns are delightful to weave. There is enough consistency with the border pattern shafts to make it simple. And there is enough (planned) random snowflakes using single units and pattern shafts to keep it engaging. All I have to do is follow the graphed chart. As I weave, the snowflakes emerge, as if by magic. But it’s not really magic, is it?

Standard procedure is to always have a temple in place. I have rubber bands on the first and last draw handles for the side border pattern, and on the center handle for the border pattern (not pulled in this photo).
Everything works together! …for the good of the fabric being woven.
Sometimes one single unit is enough to make the next row of pattern.
I keep the chart at eye level and constantly refer to it. Closely following the chart is the only way I can hope to weave something worthwhile on the combination drawloom.

If you believe in Jesus you must walk with him. And as you do, you come to know the truth. Truth is found by walking in it. The pattern on the chart is true, and gives direction. The delight comes as we see the real-time results emerge in our own hearts. That’s freedom in its purest form.

May your search for truth bring freedom.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Snow in Springtime at the Drawloom

This Myrehed combination drawloom continually fascinates me. It’s all about raising and lowering threads in a purposeful way. Pulling pattern-shaft draw handles for the borders is the easy part. The single units in the body of the towel, however, capture my focused attention. Consistent precision—that’s the secret to completion.

Single units of threads are raised by placing draw cords on the hook bar. The black cords and white cords are arranged in groups of ten. I mentally split each group of ten so I am focusing on five single units at a time.w
Side borders use fifteen pattern shafts. Each pattern-shaft draw handle raises units of threads across the warp. That enables me to pull handles for the pattern that shows up on both the right and left borders.

This second towel in the Snowfake series continues the theme of softly falling snow. Meanwhile, Texas bluebonnets, wine cups, varied bright yellow daisy-type flowers, and mealy blue sage are springing up through hard ground all over our backyard. And Thursday morning I spotted the first gaillardia bloom—previewing the next wave of color.

Texas bluebonnets were the first flowers to burst into bloom.
Myrehed Combination drawloom enables me to combine pattern shafts (8 draw handles are pulled here) and single units (several draw cords are pulled in this picture) in a single project. I truly enjoy all the variables!

I am acutely aware that you may be experiencing a lingering cold season, and may even yet have snow on the ground. I’m not just referring to weather and flowers. Real-life struggles. Let me assure you that spring is coming. Have faith in the one who raised Jesus from the dead. Your faith captures the Lord’s attention. He brings new life out of hard ground. And the white of falling snowflakes remains a pleasant reminder of his grace. For all who call on the name of Jesus, the grace of his forgiveness falls over us to make us clean, as white as softly falling snow.

May you see signs of new life.

Happy spring weaving,
Karen

Drawloom – Snow Falling

Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.

Nordic star pattern used for Christmas Snowflake towels. Towel begins with a broad brush of red along the lower border.

Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.

Single unit draw cords, held in place on the hook bar, form the snow crystals in the body of the towel. The three large snowflakes at the bottom border are made using pattern shafts. The simple side borders also use pattern shafts.
In Affinity Designer I am able to separate, copy, and move elements of the large snowflake design. These individual elements become the scattered snowflakes and little snow crystals that are “drifting down” the body of the towel.
Snowfall in Texas Hill Country.

We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.

May you see how far you’ve come.

Many blessings,
Karen

Process Review: House and Home Towels

House is a structure. Home is an atmosphere—an atmosphere of love. Three young mothers have made their houses into homes. These are the mothers of my grandchildren, and I am giving a personalized towel to each of them. The combination drawloom is my favorite tool for an undertaking like this. (Be sure to watch the video/slideshow below to see the whole process!)

Myrehed Combination Drawloom, with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.
Glimåkra 120cm Standard Loom with Myrehed Combination Drawloom, using 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.

First up is the Peach Jam towel to hang in my house, where all the families come for flavors of home. Next is Melody’s towel, with a whimsical cottage as Home (which can be read from front or back). Marie’s towel copies the cover of one of her favorite books, The Wise Woman. And Lindsay, a homeschool mom, has a towel that shows the wordplay humor that her family enjoys, Home’s Cool. A house is for people; come on in. A home is for family; welcome home.

Weaving personalized towels on the drawloom.
Whimsical house with whimsical flowers makes a whimsical, joyful home! Single units form the flowers under the houses. Pattern shafts hold the thread units that are raised for the three houses and the side border little squares and flowers.
Ceramic bell from my trip to Germany. Whimsical house.
Melody’s towel design is derived from this ceramic bell that I brought home from my trip to Germany. Melody is especially fond of the bell, which hangs in my drawloom studio.
Drawloom - pattern shafts and single units.
Smoke rises from the chimney, and lush trees surround the home. There is evidence of a growing family here. Chances are, Mom and Dad are reading books by the fire. And seeds are being planted that will mature into living trees.
Drawloom - combination pattern shafts and single units.
Bells ring in the towers of the schoolhouses. Single units are used for the numbers and letters on the side borders, and for the words above the pattern-shaft schoolhouses.

Join me in watching the whole process, all the way to the finished towels (several months compressed into a few minutes):

May your house be a welcome home.

With affection,
Karen

Tried and True: Prevent Weaving Mistakes with Two Secret Weapons

As much as I am enthralled with what I am doing at the loom, my concentration ability wanes. It is in those waning moments that errors happen. Also, as you know, I have looms in my home, which means I can weave well into the evening in my pajamas, if I want to. But, I better not exceed my limits, or else…

Combination drawloom. Towels for gifts.
Seven pattern shafts are being used for the border “windows.” The center area uses single units to make the design that includes numerals and letters.

Weaving on the drawloom demands my undivided attention, as does pictorial tapestry and any intricate pattern weave. All of these are especially tedious to undo. Therefore, mistakes are outlawed! To that end, I have two secret weapons that prevent all most mistakes—

Combination drawloom for weaving towels.
Same towel, same weft, same time of day as previous picture. A change of viewing angle highlights the rust in the brown-rust 16/1 linen weft. I notice things like this when I get up and take a break.

Five-Minute Breaks

Twenty-Five Minutes On – Five Minutes Off

25 Minutes. Go full strength. Be completely absorbed in the task.
5 Minutes. Take a break. Stand up, walk around, stretch.
(I use an app on my phone, Focus Time Activity Tracker, but any timer will do.)

The Cinderella Hour

Know When to Stop

If I am weaving at the end of the day (in my pajamas, or not), I stop when the clock chimes 8 times. I call it my Cinderella hour. My loom turns into a pumpkin after 8:00 pm. If I keep weaving, I can expect to be fixing errors the next day.

Weaving in the evening in my pj's. Monksbelt.
Weaving monksbelt in the evening (in my pajamas). Oh listen, I hear the clock chiming…1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. Time to put the shuttles down.

May you know when to take a break.

Happy Restful Weaving,
Karen