Be Weave-Able

I call her the ”Rain Girl.” She comes from an illustration in a very old children’s book on our bookshelf. The small tapestry is cute. But with its many slits and single warp wrappings, it falls short of what it could be. I compromised best practices to make it work.

New small tapestry - Rain Girl.
Small tapestry gets its start on a camping trip. Paint stir stick holds the cartoon in place under the warp.
Weaving a small tapestry from the back.
Weaving from the back. Long car rides are good for portable tapestry weaving.
Cartoon is not going to work for this small tapestry.
Checking the cartoon again.
Small tapestry almost finished. Rain Girl.
Finishing up the weaving of Rain Girl just before pulling back into our driveway after a long trip.

The main fault is with the cartoon. It isn’t weave-able. The image is too small for this sett. There must be a better way to weave this image.

Mounting a small tapestry on foam core board covered with flannel and linen.
Hems are stitched down. 1/2″ foam core board is covered with a layer of cotton flannel, and then natural colored linen.
Mounted small tapestry. Rain Girl.
Rain Girl, first version.

I am starting over with a whole new cartoon! I have now learned that Affinity Designer (computer graphics software) gives me the ability to create vertical parallel lines equivalent to my sett. With those lines in view I can see exactly how each part of the cartoon fits the warp spacing. I am turning the image on its side and enlarging it, and then, cropping to size. This cartoon is going to be weave-able.

Affinity Designer to create a new tapestry cartoon.
Screen shot from Affinity Designer. Image from book illustration is positioned on its side, enlarged, and cropped. View shows vertical lines that match the sett for the tapestry.
Creating a new tapestry cartoon in Affinity Designer.
New Rain Girl cartoon is ready for printing.

All of us have gone our own way. We insistently follow our own cartoon, compromising best practices, while struggling to make it work. There is a better way. Jesus Christ gave himself so that the Grand Weaver’s cartoon could be written on our hearts. In his hands we become his beloved tapestry. Be weave-able.

May your cartoon be just right.

Hopeful,
Karen

Warp Stripes and Surprises

Even through random warp stripes you can see an ordered pattern in the cloth. Linen sitting on the shelf is begging to be used, even though the tubes are partly emptied. So, why not make some linen wash cloths to use every day?

Glimakra Julia Countermarch, 8 shafts.
I wound the warp, not in threading units, but in random sections of color, trying to empty as many partially-used tubes of linen as possible. Eight shafts on the Julia Countermarch loom. 16/2 linen, 10 ends per cm, 32 cm width in the reed.

The weave structure is a classic two-block broken twill, symmetrically threaded across the warp. The asymmetry of the warp stripes is out of sync with the precise threading symmetry in the block weave structure. And, asymmetrical patches of weft are out of step with a strict treadling sequence. The chaos of leftover-linen warp and weft threads has me holding my breath, wondering how this will turn out. Yet, as I weave, the surprise after surprise that appears on the loom fills me with delight. These humble linen wash cloths will yield textile pleasure for years to come.

Humble linen wash cloths on the loom.
Red and white threads alternate in one of the warp stripes.
Glimakra Julia with 8 shafts.
Weft threads include 16/2 linen, 16/1 linen, doubled 16/1 linen, and 6/1 tow linen.
Explosion of color!
This is a fine way to use up quills from previous projects that still have a little linen on them, as well as using up the very tail end of a few tubes of linen.

The Grand Weaver breaks through chaos to reveal his beautiful plan. Despite the hardships we endure in this world, the structure threaded into the Grand Weaver’s fabric holds it all together. He brings our random stripes of emptiness into harmony with his project plan. We find continual delight as we see the surprising glory of his master plan. Jesus, with his deliberate stripes, comes to wash us clean.

May you find beauty wherever you look.

Happily Weaving,
Karen

Step Back to See Your Tapestry Details

The contours of the face are more evident now that the lips are in place. Every cartoon line requires decisions. Shift the color at this warp end?…or, one over? Does this butterfly have too much pink?…maybe it needs more pink? The portrait image happens almost invisibly, thread by thread.

Four-shaft tapestry.
Tapestry detail.
Tapestry portrait.
Tapestry portrait.

I step back often so I can see what I am weaving. Up close, the details are obscure. I step up on the loom bench (very carefully, holding on to the top of the loom) and look through the back end of my binoculars. A distant view of the tapestry comes into focus. It’s encouraging! I can clearly see that the details are working out.

Tapestry portrait in progress.
View from a distance.
Portrait tapestry in progress.
Looking through the back end of the binoculars gives a distant view. I’m looking for distinct lines of contrast and smooth transitions.

We may be too close to our own circumstances to see the details clearly. We make decision after decision, and we hope against hope that things will turn out okay. How can we know what is right? Step away to pray. Slip away with the Lord Jesus to get His view on things. Only when we consult a higher view can we see the bigger tapestry that the Grand Weaver is creating. Prayer, as a conversation with the Lord, helps us see that the details are working out according to his purpose.

May your details become clear.

With purpose,
Karen

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

Tried and True: Wool Skeins into Balls

I am adding about thirty more skeins to my yarn supply to get the colors I need for a new tapestry. At this rate, maybe I will have every single color of Borgs 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö wool on my shelves some day. That’s wishful thinking… But I do have what I need for now to make the butterflies for this special pictorial tapestry.

Preparing to weave a new pictorial tapestry.
Beautiful colors of wool skeins of yarn.

All these new skeins of yarn need to be wound into balls using my Swedish umbrella swift and a ball winder. In the past, I have used a manual ball winder. That means a lot of handle turning, but eventually all the yarn is wound into balls.

Swedish umbrella swift and an electric ball winder.
Skein of yarn is opened and placed on the umbrella swift.

This time is different. I found a new time-saving and arm-saving tool. It’s an electric ball winder, made by Fiber Artist Supply Company. I put the skein on the swift, cut the ties, secure the loose end of yarn to the ball winder, and then turn it on, gradually increasing the speed. In less than two minutes, I have another beautiful ball of yarn to use for making tapestry butterflies.

My new electric ball winder.
End of yarn is secured on the post of the ball winder.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
Dial on the winder allows me to gradually increase the speed. When I see that the skein is unwinding properly, I turn the dial to full speed.
Yarn swift is turning swiftly!
Maybe this is why it’s called a yarn “swift.” Previous pictorial tapestry, Siblings, is seen on the wall.
Electric ball winder. Time-saver and arm-saver!
One minute, fifty-four seconds later, and we have a ball of yarn.
New ball of yarn from the electric ball winder.
I will wrap the label on this ball of yarn and it will join the yarn collection for this tapestry.
Getting ready to start a new pictorial tapestry!
Linen warp is ready for beaming. Wool weft yarn is being sorted and organized for making butterflies.

May your tools give you more time for weaving.

Making it easier,
Karen