When Things Are Unraveling

I love weaving rag rugs, especially Swedish-style rugs. Even though I have a design in mind when I start, I often work out details at the loom. Each rug needs a header–a few inches of weaving that secures the wefts so the rug will stay together when it comes off the loom. The header is woven right before and after the rug, and is removed during rug finishing. It was in the header for this rug that I worked out the treadling and color sequence for the rosepath (rosengång).

Rosepath Rug edge finishing. Ends tied, then trimmed, then hem is folded and stitched.
Ends are pulled from the header and tied, two and two, into square knots to secure the end of the two-inch (5 cm) hem. After all the ends are tied into knots, the threads will be trimmed to 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm), and the hem will be folded under and stitched.

What do you do when life unravels? Hold what you have and try to fix what is failing? If we could see the whole picture, we might see that the part we want to hold onto is the header before the rug. That header may be where the design of the weaver is formed in us, to be repeated in another setting. The header was necessary, but now it is time to let it go.

When things are falling apart, we must look to the master weaver. Yes, the trouble is immense and we don’t know how to fix it. So, we speak to the one who holds the design. We do not know what to do; but, master weaver, our eyes are on you.

May your eyes see hope on the horizon.

Being woven,

It Is What It Is

A closer sett (30 epi instead of 24 epi) would have produced a firmer fabric, more suitable for bag-making. But, as Steve would say,

It is what it is.

I did make one very pretty bag, lined with blue satin. But because of the airy weave, I was not enthused about making three more bags. The fabric itself is stunning; it’s just not bag fabric. When things do not turn out the way we envision, it feels confusing and unsettling.

Handwoven linen and beads fancy bag and iridescent wrap.
Two-toned beaded linen wrap and beaded linen bag. The fabric is woven with 16/1 linen, warp and weft, in a traditional Swedish three-treadle weave structure.

I invested much time, attention, and resources into this unique iridescent cloth that has little glass beads woven into it (click HERE to see it on the loom)… Now what? In my unsettled thoughts I struggled to find a good solution.

And then…In a playful moment, I threw the cloth over my shoulders and looked in the mirror. Ahhh, pretty! Then I wrapped it around my neck like a scarf. Ohhh, nice! Being 100% linen, it is a little stiff, but putting it through the gentle cycle of the washer has softened it. Wearing it will soften it even more.

In times of uncertainty, we may think we missed the creator’s plan. Be on the lookout, though, for his nearness. The part of the plan that we do not see until we are smack dab in the middle of it is the part where his nearness is revealed.

May you find solutions to your biggest challenges.

Creatively speaking,

Wrap Up in a Handwoven Shawl

Next up on the big loom (Glimåkra Standard): Alpaca and tencel blend yarn, golden brown, to be woven in lace and plain weave to make a shawl. Wear faith and love as a protection for your heart, as you would wrap yourself with a handwoven shawl for comfort and warmth. Be prepared for the cool days of autumn and winter.

Alpaca-tencel for a shawl to be woven in plain weave and lace weave.
Alpaca 65% Tencel 35%, approximately 2400 yards per pound. This very fine, lightweight yarn should be perfect for a lacy shawl.

I am thankful our creator has given us security in the shawl of faith and love he has woven for us.

May you stay warm and secure as the days get cool.

In faith,

You Need a Tapestry Cartoon

I dabble in tapestry weaving–still in the insecure beginner stage. Tapestry weavers use a visual guide for weaving, called a cartoon, which is simply a drawing of the picture being woven. Placed directly under the weaving area, the cartoon shows the distinct lines to follow. It keeps everything in context with the overall design. Some people go through life without a meaningful guide, just hoping things turn out okay in the end.

Tapestry Miniature, one inch wide.
Miniature self-portrait tapestry, one inch wide, has a simple cartoon sketched on a sticky note. Abundance of embroidery floss (left over from cross-stitch days in the 1980’s) provides plenty of colors for shading.

Granted, my finished piece does not always end up looking like the cartoon. I am not trying to produce a masterpiece; but paying attention to what works and what doesn’t brings gradual improvement.

Life is an adventure, holding an unknown future. If you plunge forward, making up your own rules as you go, you risk ending up in an aimless mess. What if our master weaver has a cartoon designed for us, a map for our lives? I would rather choose that guided path rather than one with no direction. And when I miss the mark, he finds a way to fix it or weave around it. In the end, it becomes his masterpiece.

May the lines guiding your life tapestry be clearly drawn for you.

By design,

The Windows Are Opening Now!

Windows fascinate me. I even have a Pinterest board, Houses and Windows, because I enjoy images of windows. The windows in this cloth capture me! The fun part was seeing it happen. When I cut the cloth from the loom, I could immediately see the windows begin to form as the threads started relaxing. After letting the cloth rest a few days, the windows appeared even more. But the WOW happened when I gently kneaded the fabric in warm water, and hung it to dry. Seeing these handwoven lace windows made me silly with childish excitement!

Swedish Lace, also known as Mosquito Lace, or kneaded lace blocks
Handwoven Swedish lace, also known as mosquito lace or kneaded block lace. The spaces have opened up dramatically in the “windows” after having been gently washed and dried. Ready now for pressing.

(Compare these open windows with this before picture, while the fabric was still on the loom.)

What if we are little houses, and our soul has windows? Shall I keep the curtains closed, so no one can see in? But then, I can’t see out, either.

When I think of our grand weaver, and how he is so close by, I imagine him looking out those windows with me. He is not distant, but near. He stays involved, pointing out things he sees. Making the common and ordinary into articles of wonder and beauty. Stiff pieces of thread with a vague shape become wide open windows where the refreshing breeze blows through.

May the view from your windows be delightful.

Enjoying the breeze,