Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video

Talk about exciting! When something has been on the loom this long it is indeed exciting when the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. I finish weaving the final “bonus” towel. And then, I use up all the quills to make a little piece of scrap fabric (because scrap fabric is always better than leftover quills). And then! Then, I start my cutting-off checklist.

After all this time, the moment we’ve been waiting for is here!

After weaving a short scrap fabric with thread left on quills, it is time for cutting off the long monksbelt runner and two bonus towels.

I cut off the warp. And as I unroll the cloth, I am mesmerized by the tactile intricacy that passes through my fingers–Fårö wool for the pattern weft, and 16/2 cotton for slow-as-molasses weft rep ground cloth. Finishing proves to be the easiest and quickest part of this project. I like the crisp pristine state of the monksbelt runner, so I am not going to wet finish this article. I examine for errors (none found!), wet finish the two towels, hem the table runner and towels, and press. The Priceless Monksbelt Runner now graces our dining room table.

After the Priceless Monksbelt Runner I had enough warp to weave two bonus towels with monksbelt borders. In between the towels I did a small heart-shaped inlay just for play.
Two simple plain weave towels, with monksbelt borders. The tabby weft is 16/2 golden bleached linen. The coral pattern weft and green pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen. The ecru center pattern weft is doubled 6/1 tow linen. Warp is 16/2 cotton. With only one washing so far, the towels still have a wonderful crisp linen hand.

The exceptional value of handwoven textiles makes your home a welcoming place. Time is one of our most valuable assets. That makes the textiles we create priceless!

Our dining table is just to the right as you walk through the front door of our home. May all who enter know they are welcome here!

Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.

May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Monksbelt Surprise Ending

Monksbelt has been on the Glimåkra Standard for months. I expect the table runner to be fabulous when it finally comes off the loom, so I’m not complaining. The time spent weaving only adds to its worth. The runner is finished, so why not cut it off now and count the remaining warp as excess thrums? That shows how eager I am to put this monksbelt runner to use!

Long monksbelt runner is woven. End of warp has room for two plain weave towels with a monksbelt accent.
16/2 cotton warp. Coral 16/1 linen hem. Unbleached 16/2 linen ground weft. Coral 16/1 linen, doubled, outline pattern weft. Camel 6/1 tow linen, doubled, pattern weft.

The truth is, there is enough warp left for one, or maybe two, tea towels. After experimenting with several weft ideas, I am excited about weaving to the very end of the warp! Monksbelt gives us a surprise ending. A plain weave towel with a monksbelt border—this is a happy ending to a good long story.

May you keep going until the very end.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Rag Rug Block Party!

I am happy to say that with only four shafts we have exactly what we need for a checkerboard rag rug. Thank you to Megan for asking about it. ”I am searching for a 4-shaft draft for a checkboard pattern. I am limited to only 4 shafts.” Double binding opens up a world of opportunity!

Checkered rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Let’s talk about blocks. A block is a specific sequence of warp ends or weft picks. Double binding on four shafts has two blocks for the warp and two blocks for the weft.

One of several possible threading and tie-up plans for double binding. Add two plain weave treadles if you want to weave plain weave hems.
Plain weave hem starts a new double-binding rag rug.

Have a Block Party!

→ Use graph paper to plan the configuration of your blocks.

For the threading blocks, use two rows of squares. One row is for Block A and one row is for Block B. Each square on the paper represents one threading unit. You can make a checkerboard pattern by uniformly alternating the A blocks and B blocks. Or, you can make a wildly different geometric pattern by varying the size of alternating blocks. Your two-row graph becomes a profile draft to use as your threading key.

For the weft blocks, use the same arrangement of blocks as for the threading, and turn them vertically for the treadling draft. Or, use your creativity to make a unique configuration of weft blocks. The sky is the limit!

Three possible block configurations for the threading. The bottom example is a part of the sequence for the rug currently on my loom.
Weaving with two ski shuttles. Glimåkra Ideal. 4 shafts, 6 treadles.
Printout shows me where the blocks change in the weft.

Check out these resources for more double-binding rag rug ideas: Alla Tiders Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Så Fint med Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Älskade Trasmattor att väva som för, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs, by VävMagasinet; Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet.

May you discover a world of opportunity.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Weaving with Friends

Welcome back into my studio. I have been weaving, finishing, winding warps, and dressing looms. And spending time with friends. What better way to enjoy friends than to go on a floor-loom-weaving expedition together? Weaving Extravaganza at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas is the getaway. The looms are dressed and ready for us when we arrive. Abilities and experience are irrelevant. Anyone can do this!

From the projects available, I choose to weave a textured shawl. Keleen, a rigid heddle weaver (sitting at a floor loom this time), chooses to make fabric for an apron with a monksbelt border. Jan, who has never touched a loom until now, weaves natural-colored-cotton dish towels. Four hours pass in a flash, with weaving and camaraderie. We each complete our handwoven cloth. After returning home our fabrics are washed and finished, ready for use. My shimmering shawl is just right for a cool evening. Keleen’s fabric is soon to become an heirloom apron. And Jan’s first handwoven towels are drying dishes. Success!

Textured Shawl woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Textured Shawl, mixed fibers, plain weave.
Textured Shawl woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Golden yarn is used for weft stripes near the border.
Monksbelt apron fabric woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Monksbelt apron fabric, cotton, plain weave and two-shuttle monksbelt pattern weave.
Natural colored cotton dish towels woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Natural-colored-cotton dish towels, plain weave.
Natural Colored Cotton Dish Towels woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Towels are made with all natural colors of cotton thread. This set uses a brown weft.

Abilities and experience come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who wants to learn, can. Your heart goes in the direction you turn it. The Lord sees your heart. He’s not looking for ability or experience. He reaches the heart that is turned toward him. That’s where his grace comes to life.

May you have true friends.

Your friend,
Karen

Mug Rugs to Remember

Knowing I would be away from my floor looms for a while, I put a narrow cottolin warp on my little Emilia rigid heddle loom to take with me. Mug rugs—perfect for travel weaving, to use bits of time here and there. I had some bulky wool yarn and a few rag rug fabric strips to take for weft. In a burst of hopeful inspiration, I grabbed a bag of Tuna/Fårö wool butterflies, leftover from my Lizard tapestry (see Quiet Friday: Lizard Tapestry) a couple years ago, and tossed it in my travel bag as we were going out the door.

Mug rugs on Glimåkra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Glimåkra Emilia 35cm (13.5″) rigid heddle loom. Narrow cottolin warp is from a previous warp-winding error that I had chained off and saved.
Mug rugs on my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Blue bulky wool yarn left from a long-ago project makes a good thick weft for mug rugs. Picks of navy blue tow linen are woven between picks of thick weft on some of the mug rugs.
Weaving mug rugs on my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
Wool butterflies for the weft are made of several strands of Tuna and Fårö yarn.

Those colorful wool butterflies turned out to be my favorite element! They not only gave me colors to play with, they also provided variety, the spice of weaving. The forgotten Lizard butterflies will now be remembered as useful and pretty textiles.

30 mug rugs on the rigid heddle loom.
The end of the warp.
Mug rugs just off the rigid heddle loom.
Rag rugs for mugs!
Rag rug fabric strips are used for a few of the mug rugs. Rag rugs for mugs!
Mug rugs ready to be hemmed.
Mug rugs are cut apart to prepare for hemming.
Making handwoven mug rugs.
Hems have been folded and pressed under. Choosing bobbin colors to sew the hems.
Wool handwoven coasters.
Wool butterflies provided many different colors.
Handwoven wool coasters woven on a rigid heddle loom.
Alternating two different colors of wool butterflies was my favorite way to play with color.
Mug rugs for gifts.
Completed mug rugs, ready to be sent out as gifts.

How do you want to be remembered? Like my tapestry-specific butterflies put away on a shelf, our carefully-crafted words will soon be forgotten. Actions speak longer than words. Our deeds of faithful love will outlive us. Our actions that reveal the kindness of our Savior will stand the test of time. And that is a good way to be remembered.

Coffee or tea, anyone? Handwoven mug rug.
Coffee or tea, anyone?

May you be remembered for your deeds of faithful love.

Happy Weaving,
Karen