It Is Going to Be All White

I am getting ready for Christmas. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Helen made a Christmas tree skirt for our family. It was a simple white felt skirt, with added colorful felt silhouettes depicting Christ’s Nativity. I want to reproduce that Christmas tree skirt using handwoven fabric. This fabric on the Ideal loom will be the base of the skirt. I will use some of my myriad handwoven fabric remnants for the colorful Nativity appliqué.

Weaving wool fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Möbelåtta warp on the right, and Fårö weft on the left.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Temple in place for consistent beat and tidy selvedges.

The warp is unbleached 8/2 Möbelåtta wool. The weft is bleached 6/1 Fårö wool. The 6-shaft point twill fabric is delightful. Perfect for what I have in mind. It is peaceful, soothing, restful, and calm. You can see that everything is going to be all white.

Wool fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Six-shaft point twill.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
In anticipation of Christmas.

There is a time for color, action, and noise. But we also need a time for serenity, stillness, and quiet reflection. Going alone to sit in the Lord’s presence gives us just that. It is there that we can pour out our heart in prayer. The Lord meets us where we are when we pray. And He tells the trusting heart that everything is going to be all right.

May your heart be at rest.

With you,
Karen

PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

The towel that was woven without floating selvedges is the same towel that received the most votes. Towel #2!

It seems counterintuitive that weaving twill structures without floating selvedges could produce a pleasing edge. But most of the time the small floats that appear at the edge are inconsequential, especially after wet finishing. (By the way, I am weaving the white point twill mentioned above without floating selvedges, as well.)

Thank you for your wonderful participation!

6 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    That’s a really lovely fabric, Karen. And yes, it’s calm, soothing, and absolutely self-assured. I’m a lover of winter and the can see the joyful little swirls of snow and ice crystals dancing over the blanket of snow. Your tree skirt is going to be stunningly beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, It does look like ice crystals on a layer of snow. It’s pretty. I think it’s going to be a lovely fabric to hold, too. Like a lightweight little blanket.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    Are you sure you live in Texas? Your handling of white on white brings memories of last December.

    Well done.

    Nannette

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great idea for this beautiful fabric! You already know that I really like white on white, not to mention utilizing leftover fabric for the appliqué, love it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I have been carrying this project idea in my mind for a few years. It feels good to get it started. White on white has always been a favorite of mine, too, though I haven’t done much weaving of it.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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Rya, Rya, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Lay the groundwork; add a row of rya knots. Because of the coarser sett, and the thickness of this doubled linen weft, this rya weaving is progressing faster than the previous one. Tying all 36 knots across the warp is still the slowest part. But I can see progress. I like to see something happening, don’t you?

Rya knots (wool and linen) covering coarse linen cloth.

Green strands of thick Åsborya wool, fine Mora wool, and 16/1 linen, sit in a cluster, ready to be separated. Each rya knot is made of three strands, one of each type of yarn/thread.

I weave about an inch / 2.5 cm of point twill linen background first. It provides a framework to hold the mixed wool and linen rya knots. This means throwing the shuttle at a good pace for a short distance, and then stopping to add another row of rya. Through this moving – stopping – moving – stopping, progress is made. A little green and beige garden is growing on the surface of the linen structure. It is during the slow part that the “growing” happens.

Are you troubled about anything today? Don’t lose hope. If progress seems slow, you may be in a growing season. The Lord rebuilds ruined places and replants desolate fields. It feels slow now, but in time, you will look back and see a garden covering what once was ruins. Keep going, you’re going to make it.

May your garden grow.

(I did finish the previous slow rya project and turned it into three fun pillows. You can find two of them in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop!)

Making progress,
Karen

3 Comments

  • […] to fit, filled lightly. Now I have a cloud-soft rya pillow. (Read about weaving this fabric in Rya, Rya, How Does Your Garden Grow? and Now What Are You […]

  • Lori Gonzalez says:

    This is beautiful!
    I’m weaving a rya bench cover, using the yarn/draft from the Big Book of Weaving. One thing that never gets mentioned anywhere, is that do you wet finish this bench cover?
    Thank you-
    Lori

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori, I had the same questions when I was working on my rya pieces. I tested a small piece and that helped me decide NOT to wet finish the rya pieces. The wool came out fuzzy in the one I washed, very gently, with little to no agitation. I like the more pristine look of the unwashed wool, so I chose to leave the rest unwashed.

      I hope that helps!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Rya Over Linen This Time

Slow and deliberate, rya knot tying is a satisfying exercise of patience. This background cloth feels like coarse canvas. You can imagine how robust the fabric is, with a hefty 8/2 linen warp, and the same, doubled, for weft. Threaded in a point twill, the cloth is simple, but texturally vibrant. The yarn pile, called rya, is made with combined threads of thick Åsborya wool, fine Mora wool, and fine 16/1 linen. (You can see my previous rya project in the post, Are You in a Pretty Mess? And if you want to see exactly how to make rya knots, check out this post –  Quiet Friday: Making Rya Knots.)

Forming rya knots in coarse linen fabric.

Rya knots are formed one at a time by wrapping around, under, and through each pair of raised warp ends. The background is woven between rows of rya knots with doubled linen weft, using a double bobbin shuttle.

I simply step on the “pile” treadle, which raises only shaft four, and tie rya knots around pairs of the raised ends. This process works because the fabric was planned and designed to have rya knots inserted on its surface. In a similar fashion, people are designed to receive God’s helping hand.

God wants to give us the ability to flourish in life. That’s his grace. We are made for that, and it happens when we offer “humble” threads. We must wear the cloth of humility as we interact with each other, revealing our coarse, simple, honest self. This is where God inserts his grace. In this process of his, he patiently makes us his work of art.

May you flourish in the things that matter.

Respectfully yours,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Thank you so much. We serve such a great GOD. I need to know how to double weave and with that, browsing through your vocabulary list to identify and refresh terms I needed, I found this entry that not only showed me the function of the double bobbin shuttle, but gave me the encouraging words of GOD’s love for me and that HE wants me to succeed. Thank you, Karen for the encouraging word.
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Dear Pam, Our Lord is so timely. I love it when He sends a word at the moment we need it–even through a blog post about weaving. Thank you for giving such a sweet reply.

      All the best,
      Karen

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