Bold Color and Weave

Remember the placemats I started on my Texas hill country loom in Colors on Trial? The pattern in the fabric looks nice and pretty. But it doesn’t display the striking color-and-weave effect that I expected. The problem is not the threading, nor the colors.

Color and weave using single weft instead of doubled weft.

Nice and pretty, but lacking the boldness of the planned color-and-weave effect.

Aha! I overlooked an important detail on the treadling draft—the weft is supposed to be doubled. That changes everything! Since there is very little excess warp for this project I need to back up and start over.

Backing up the weaving. Clipping through weft threads. Yikes!

Backing up. After loosening warp tension, I carefully clip the weft threads down the center of the warp. I go at a snail’s pace to avoid accidentally snipping any warp ends.

Backing up. Weft removal, one pick at a time.

Removal, one pick at a time. I press the treadles in reverse order to pull out each row of weft threads.

Weft has been removed. Now ready to start over!

Back to the start. Sufficient weft has been removed. Now I am ready to start over.

I am losing the nice and pretty fabric. But it is being replaced with something better—fabric with a bold color-and-weave effect.

Two double-bobbin shuttles with color and weave.

This is the color-and-weave effect I was looking for! Two double-bobbin shuttles carry the weft threads.

Color and weave for placemats.

First placemat is a “Joseph’s coat” combination of colors. Bold color-and-weave effect has a striking pattern.

I would like my life to be nice and pretty, easy and comfortable. But if I get closer to the Grand Weaver’s intentions, I see something different—a bold strength of purpose. Not necessarily easy. God’s will is better than mine. When we aim to understand his will, we see details that we’ve overlooked. It affects how we walk through life. We take his doubled weft threads to replace our well-meaning attempts. The result is a beautiful display of striking life-changing effects.

May you be mindful of the important details.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Annie says:

    I love your analogy and courage to cut out all that work. It did look nice before but wow! Such a great difference with such a small change. An encouragement to make small changes in life as they may lead to great overall improvements.

    Have a great day, Karen!

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi Karen, I used to work for your husband in Tulsa. Love your work. My cousin weaves and I have shared your blog with her, she sure enjoys.

  • Ruth says:

    Good Morning Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your technique for unweaving. To correct mistakes I’ve literally thrown the shuttle across my warp threads to take back many inches of weaving. This seems a much gentler way to save a warp. I like your calm approach to correcting an error and enjoying the outcome. Blessings to you and yours, Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I do think removing the weft this way is less damaging to the warp. Even if I don’t clip through the center, I usually cut the weft and pull it out rather than send it back with the shuttle if it’s more than one or two picks. This is especially important if the warp is linen, which is much more susceptible to breakage from abrasion than this cotton warp I have here.

      One thing I enjoy about weaving is that just about anything can be corrected!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • SM says:

    These are, as all your projects are, beautiful! Is this a little like doubleweave? You see the back on the front and the front on the back?

    • Karen says:

      Hi SM, I appreciate your sweet compliment!

      This is much simpler than double weave. This is actually plain weave with two treadles. It’s the arrangement of stripes in warp and weft that give it visual complexity. This fabric is the same on front and back. It’s amazing what can happen with color and weave!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Scissors

Whatever you do, choose good tools. Scissors are probably the most frequently used small tools in my weaving room and sewing space, so it makes sense to use quality scissors. I started with Gingher many years ago, and have never been disappointed in their performance, so there are several in my collection.

Painted leather sheath for scissors, from the Philippines.

Painted red leather sheath, found on one of my trips to the Philippines, protects this pair of five-inch Gingher Sewing Scissors. These scissors live in a holder on the table where I wind all my quills.

I have a variety of scissors, and each has their own special place to call home. A few sit in custom felt sheaths. To make the sheaths, I wove a variegated wool band on my inkle loom, which I then machine washed and dried vigorously to cause the wool to felt. I then cut and stitched each little sheath to size.

Small scissors in inkle loom woven felt sheath.

Five-inch Gingher Sewing Scissors that live in the loom bench basket by my Glimakra Standard. I clip threads as I go, so these must be in easy reach. The felt sheath doubles as a pin cushion.

And, as your mother always told you, never ever use the fabric scissors to cut paper. There are paper scissors for that.

Gingher Dressmaker's Shears

Eight-inch Gingher Dressmaker’s Shears for cutting fabric, and only fabric. Cutting the warp off the loom counts as cutting fabric.

Small pretty scissors and inkle-woven felt sheath.

Pretty little scissors that live on my sewing/cutting table. These are used for clipping sewing threads and for some finishing work.

Famore Rainbow Colored Snips. Great for snipping threads as I sew!

Famore 4.5″ Rainbow Colored Snips also live on my sewing/cutting table. They come with me to the sewing machine for quick and easy snipping of threads.

Clover thread cutter, with handwoven band for hanging around neck.

Travel thread cutter lives in the bag with my travel tapestry loom. The handwoven band, worn around my neck, keeps the Clover cutter at my fingertips.

Gingher Thread Snips, with handwoven inkle band for neck strap.

Gingher Thread Snip is the most recent addition to my cutting collection. It lives on my Glimakra Ideal loom, hanging on the corner of the front beam. While weaving, I wear the inkle-woven band around my neck, so the snips are always at hand.

Collection of scissors and their sheaths.

It must be bedtime for the scissors, snippers, and cutters!

May your tools serve you well.

On the cutting edge,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Eileen says:

    My mother, always surrounded by textiles in progress, was adamant about not using the “shears” for cutting anything but cloth! She is 85 now, sews less, but I wouldn’t dream of touching her good shears for anything but cloth…I make cloth, and love every thread.

    • Karen says:

      Your response makes me smile, Eileen! Good for your mother! Look at the value she passed down to you – your enjoyment of not only fashioning with cloth, but making cloth, as well.

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