Swedish Overshot Experience

Experience builds on experience. The more I practice the classic Swedish weave structures, the more freedom I have in the process. Dice weave, halvdräll, and, now, this monksbelt, are all related. These are variations of overshot. I am putting what I know into practice, even though this is the first time I have woven monksbelt on my own loom. (My prior experience with monksbelt was first in a workshop with Joanne Hall, and then, under Becky Ashenden’s tutelage at Vävstuga Swedish Classics.)

Colorful Fårö wool is used for the monksbelt pattern weft.
Colorful Fårö wool is used for the monksbelt pattern weft.

Plan projects from start to finish, dress the loom single-handedly, use complex threading and complicated treadling, and weave with multiple shuttles. Do you relish these challenges? It is possible to weave things that don’t require as much training or practice. You can find a pattern on Pinterest or in a magazine, and do what “everybody” is doing. Not much is required of “everybody” in the crowd.

Classic monksbelt pattern with innovative color variations.
Classic monksbelt patterning is repeated with different color variations.
Swedish overshot, such as monksbelt, uses two shuttles--one for fine thread, and one for the thicker pattern weft. Warp is 16/2 cotton. Ground weave weft is 16/2 cotton. Pattern weft is 61 Fårö wool. Sett is 22 1/2 ends per inch. Weft density is 30 pattern picks per inch, with 2 tabby picks in between.
Swedish overshot, such as monksbelt, uses two shuttles–one for fine thread, and one for the thicker pattern weft. Warp is 16/2 cotton. Ground weave weft is 16/2 cotton. Pattern weft is 6/1 Fårö wool. Sett is 22 1/2 ends per inch. Weft density is 30 pattern picks per inch, with 2 tabby picks in between.

But some people strive to learn, and practice what they learn, building on previous experience. Consider truth. You are responsible for the truth you know. The more you are taught, the more that is required of you. And as you practice the truth you know, you discover the freedom that comes along in the process.

May you grow in experience.

Happy weaving,

Weaving Slowly

After a solid hour of weaving, I have produced only two more inches (5 cm) of woven fabric. I am completely enthralled with the process, though, of this intriguing monksbelt weave. Some of the best things take the most time.

Monksbelt on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Walnut boat shuttle is an Ebay find. It appears to be an antique Swedish shuttle. I like the way it fits in my hand. The fabric measures 4 inches (10cm) from the beginning of the Rust and Brick section to the fell line.

I long to feel the completed cloth in my hands. This weft rep monksbelt is new to me. I honestly don’t know how the hand and drape of the final cloth will be. There is nothing I can do but wait. And, at two inches (5 cm) per hour, that’s a long wait. But I won’t give up. I have enough experience at the loom to know that this is going to be a treasured piece…if I don’t get impatient and cut it off early.

Monksbelt on the loom.

Monksbelt with 9 colors of Faro wool pattern weft. Karen Isenhower
Palette of nine wool pattern colors has been selected for this monksbelt project. Changing the ground weft and the pattern weft at differing intervals produces an active cloth, reminding me of musical counterpoint.
Monksbelt on the loom in the late afternoon.
Weaving in the late afternoon–a relaxing and satisfying experience. Temple awaits on the beater, to be re-positioned when the photo op is over.

Do you have a prayer waiting to be answered? Sometimes it takes a while. Does that mean that God didn’t hear, or that he doesn’t care? If we could see the invisible, I think we would see things being woven into place–at the right time, in the right way. Do not give up on God. Ask, seek, knock. And remember that our heavenly Father has good in mind for us.

May you rest in the wait.


Textiles from The Philippines

Steve and I returned this week from travels to The Philippines. We had a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving there with our son’s family in Makati. During our eleven-day visit, I encountered many examples of beautiful handwoven articles and other fascinating textile goods. It probably won’t surprise you that I tucked a few textile treasures in my suitcase to bring home with me. (Remember last year? Quiet Friday: Philippine Textiles)

Handwoven cotton towels from Sunday market in Makati, Philippines
Lovely cotton hand towels from Beth’s Loomweaving at the Makati Sunday Market.
Cotton towel detail shows green weft for stripes.
Detail of cotton towel shows that the darker stripes are created with green weft.
Variety of scarves and wraps from markets in The Philippines.
With an over-abundance of scarves and wraps to choose from (in bargain prices), I escaped with only these few. Some are for gifts; and some are for personal use. All are sources of design and color inspiration.
Example of backstrap weaving from Mindanao, Philippines.
Lightweight table runner or scarf was made by a weaver in Mindanao, the southernmost island of The Philippines. This exquisite example of backstrap weaving is made from very fine cotton, and is completely reversible.
Detail of backstrap weaving from Mindanao, Philippines.
Backstrap weaving detail reveals the intricacy of the tapestry-like design.
Traditional Filipino weave structure showcases pattern and color.
Pillow cover is well-planned and executed, showing striking color combinations in a traditional Filipino weave structure.
Detail of handwoven pillow cover from The Philippines.
Detail of pillow cover shows the pointillistic appearance of this weave.
Filipino bag woven from piña fibre.
Made from the leaves of a pineapple plant, piña fibre was used to weave this sturdy little open plain weave bag.
Detail of bag made from piña fibre.
Piña fibre has a natural luster.
Handwoven Elegant Filipino Table Runner
Not the expected mix of bright colors, this elegant table runner has black weft floats on a white warp of fine cotton. The traditional Filipino weave uses a multi-stranded black cotton (or cotton/poly blend) for the pattern, alternating with the fine white cotton threads for the tabby. This one-sided cloth, similar to overshot, has weft floats only on the top side.
Detail of weft pattern floats in traditional Filipino weave.
Detail of black and white table runner. The patterned black floats almost give the cloth the look and feel of cut velvet.
My very favorite treasures from our visit to The Philippines.
My very favorite treasures from our visit to The Philippines.

May you find textile treasures in your travels.

PS Two more new rag rugs from my latest run of rugs are now in the Etsy shop, if you are interested. These two may be my favorite yet!

A little jet lagged,

Quiet Friday: Philippine Textiles

You may remember that I recently returned from a visit to The Philippines. It may not surprise you that I am always on the lookout for interesting textiles, and especially handwoven fabrics. I don’t mean to do that; it just happens… Well, when I met sweet Beth at the Sunday market, I felt like I hit the jackpot! Beth and I had a common language – Handweaving! (She speaks fine English, too, of course; but you know what I mean.)

I tried to gather a few pictures of textiles that you would enjoy seeing.

If you don’t have time to look at all the textile pictures today, at least scroll down and see my little granddaughter carrying her big umbrella on the way to the market. Umbrellas are always in season in Metropolitan Manila. For the rain in the rainy season (our visit), and for shielding your skin from the sun all the rest of the time. (You can always come back later and finish looking at the rest of the pictures. Smile.)

Tie-dye scarf found in Makati, Philippines.
I am wearing a cotton tie-dye scarf I found in a Makati store. We learned interesting World War II history on our day trip to Corregidor Island.
Painted metal gate in Makati, Philippines - would be great tapestry design!
Interesting painted metal gate in Makati. I instantly saw it as a potential tapestry design.
Filipino and American handweavers meet at market in Makati.
Found a fellow handweaver at the Sunday market. Beth has ten looms in her workshop in Vigan, where she and other weavers produce beautiful cloth, mostly from cotton thread. 40/1 cotton is Beth’s most used fiber.


Textile unique to The Philippines. By handweaver Beth.
Beth identified this weave pattern as the most unique to The Philippines. I am sorry I failed to write down the Tagalog name for this and the weaves in the following pictures when Beth told me what they were.
Filipino Overshot, at Makati market.
Beth is a third-generation weaver. She has woven this pattern for many years, but just learned four years ago that it is called “Overshot” in English.
HandWoven Wonders by Beth's Loomweaving, at Makati market
HandWoven Wonders by Beth’s Loomweaving. Stunning turquoise cotton table runner is two yards long.
Tiny ikat woven coin purses from The Philippines.
Ayala Museum has fascinating displays depicting various aspects of Philippine culture and history, including a display of 1800’s handwoven and embroidered clothing (picture-taking not allowed). I found these ikat woven coin purses in the museum gift shop. The woven plaid zipper pouch is from another market vendor.
Mannequin with handwoven skirt at Manila Airport shop.
Mannequin in airport shop is dressed in a pleated handwoven skirt. The sash above the skirt is adorned with a shaped “rose,” formed from a handwoven wide band. (Click photo to enlarge)
"Ribbon rose" made from wide handwoven band to embellish sash on skirt. Manila Airport shop.
Wide handwoven band is gathered and stitched to form a “ribbon rose” that embellishes the sash.
Colorful handwovens at Manila airport shop.
Neatly folded piles of colorful handwoven items at a shop in the Manila airport. You didn’t expect me to come home empty-handed, did you?
Vibrant colorful table runner from Manila.
Vibrant multi-colored cloth with intricate design. Perfect for a Christmas table runner.
Reverse side of colorful cloth from Manila.
Notice the long thread floats and knots on the reverse side of the red cloth.
Cheerful colorful striped cloth from Manila.
Cheerful colorful stripes!
Colorful striped cloth from Manila.
Detail of the warp-faced weave of the colorful striped cloth.

May you step into a joyful journey.

Happy Weaving,