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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Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

These towels make me think of my father. He was a brilliant architect. As an architect’s daughter, I learned to appreciate the interaction of structure, design, and color. This fabric has it all! These towels are also an expression of joy, a prominent aspect of my dad’s personality. If you could create a tangible article of jubilation, this would be it.

Broken and reverse twill structure. Handwoven towels.
Broken and reverse twill structure. Using all the same colors, each towel has a different sequence of weft color order.

After weaving three towels, I eliminated the floating selvedges. Which one of the four towels do you think was woven without floating selvedges? Leave your answer in the comments. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.)

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

Here’s a short slideshow video that shows the process from start to finish:

Jubilation bath towels are up next on the Glimåkra Standard!

May your jubilation rub off on your family and friends.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

47 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Number 4

  • Nancy says:

    They are all beautiful!

    I think it is number 4 that didn’t have a floating selvage. I know those edges anywhere! Ha ha

  • Kristin Martzall says:

    The towels are gorgeous ! I think I would have liked to have met your father…….
    !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m sure you would have enjoyed my father. He was a very likable guy. Thank you for your compliment on the towels!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    The richness in color and design…goodness…gracious…such beauty have you created! I and going with #3, to be the one without a floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. Thanks for making a guess. Stay tuned… I will reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They are beautiful, Karen!

  • Rachel says:

    I believe it is 4. My question is why? These towels are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, If your question is why would I eliminate the floating selvedges, I have a few reasons. Primarily, though, I can get a much better rhythm in weaving without them. And in most cases, I find they are unnecessary.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • My guess is #2. Only because it looks a little different than the others. Did you start out without one and then decide it would be A little easier to use one?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, I started out with the floating selvedges because I thought I needed them because of the reverse twill. After three towels I decided to chance it and cut the floating selvedges off. I was pleasantly surprised. It leaves only small floats at the selvedge (which are unnoticeable after wet finishing), and it was much easier for me to weave without them. I only had to toss and catch the shuttle, so my hands didn’t have to stay so close to the warp.

      Thanks for making a guess. I’ll reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Bethany Garner says:

    What a glorious video Karen… the loom, the threading, the weaving and the music brought me great joy this morning. Be safe and well! You are loved!
    Bethany in Kingston, ON Canada

  • Kristin G says:

    I’m guessing #2. These towels are gorgeous, Karen! The video with all of its loveliness brought a smile to my face this morning (and I needed it – I was feeling like a grump!) Your father sounds like such a wonderful man. Thank you for spreading joy today 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Well, I’m glad this had that effect on you because the world needs your beautiful smile! You would have liked my father, and I know he would have liked you.

      Thanks for your guess. Stayed tuned for next week….

      Hugs,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen. Your craftsmanship is so precise I couldn’t pick out the missing salvage with a laser pointer and a flashing neon light.

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    The towels are lovely. Your colors are always so interesting. If I am not being too forward, your edge in the picture where the towel is still on the look looks so firm. Would you share how you did this? Thank you, Loyanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, It’s good to hear from you.

      While on the loom, the edges stay firm for two reasons. 1. I generally keep the tension fairly tight. This is especially possible with a countermarch loom. 2. I always use a temple. The temple helps me weave tight selvedges—the weft is very snug at the selvedge, which helps keep the outer warp ends firm.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • jane n wolff says:

    These are lovely. Cam you share what yarn you used?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, Thank you for asking. The warp and weft is 22/2 Bockens Nialin (Cottolin). The cotton and linen blend is perfect for making absorbent towels.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • KimG says:

    Well, I LIKE the edge of number 2 the best. Where is the pattern from, how many shafts and what are the were and warp threads? Absolutely stunning!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, Thanks! I like knowing what you like the best.

      I started with a draft for wool blankets from Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell. I adjusted it for size and sett to make the towels, and chose my own colors. This uses 6 shafts and 6 treadles. Cottolin for warp and weft.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Kevin B says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Beautiful colors and fabulous weaving! I’m guessing #4 is the one without the floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin, I have enjoyed these colors immensely. It’s fun to find a set of colors to play around with. Thanks for making a guess! I’ll let you know the answer next week…

      Thanks for your sweet encouragement.
      Karen

  • D'Anne says:

    I suspect you inherited your father’s precise workmanship and creativity as your work is always exquisite. He sounds like a delightful father. I think #2 is the one without the floating selvedge, but I look forward to your answer. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, Your cheerful encouragement means so much to me! If I inherited my dad’s workmanship and creativity that’s saying a lot. You have a keen eye. We’ll see if you’re right about the selvedges.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Jan says:

    Beautiful towels Karen. I think No 1 is the one without the floating selvedge.

  • Linda says:

    My guess is #4. I always use a FS with twill and it makes me laugh that I am having such a hard time seeing the difference! Beautiful towels!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Floating selvedges are very common. I’m pleased to know that it is not easy to tell the difference. Weaving is far simpler for me without them. Thank you!!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kat says:

    My goodness! These towels are just stunning, color, pattern, all of it! My guess is number 2. It just looks different form the other three, and I prefer the look of that edge!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kat, Your descriptive words really warm my heart! I’m glad these towels look good to you.

      Thanks for including your guess – and your reasons.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Hi Karen,
    Your towels are wonderful. I love the combination of reverse and broken twill.
    Is this your original pattern or is it from another source?

    The video was enjoyable to watch as well.

    Can’t wait to see what your Jubilation towel project will be!
    Regards, Janis

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janis, I’m very happy with the reverse and broken twill combination. It puts a lot of action in the design.
      I started with a pattern for wool blankets in Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell, and made adjustments to turn it into towels.

      The next Jubilation Towels will be very similar, only bigger! Bath size.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Nothing beats the feel of hand wowen towels, I am sure they will be wonderful as bath towels, too 🙂
    My guess is # 2, for two reasons… the edge looks different, and I think I recognize the colors from the last towel you wove where you made this change.

  • Tobie R LuriTobie says:

    Hi Karen-The towels are beautiful but I have a question about rag rugs. I cleaned out my linen closet and discovered I have too many sheets and think they will make very good rugs. I plan to cut them in strips and dye them. My question is how wide should I make these strips–1 inch/2 inches? These are older cotton sheets so are pretty soft. What do you think? And thanks for advice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tobie, That’s great that you have cotton sheets that you can use for rag rugs. I recommend you test some different widths of strips after you get the loom warped before you cut all the strips. I use a sett of 8 epi (3 epc) with 12/6 cotton rug warp. Most of my fabric strips are 3/4″ wide. If the fabric is thin, I cut them a little wider, up to 1 inch. If you want thicker weft, 2 thinner weft strips will pack in and lay better than one wider strip. Most of the Swedish rag rug books I refer to use fabric cut to 2cm (about 3/4″), so that’s what I try to follow.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Lora says:

    Number 2. Gorgeous towels.

  • […] 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 […]

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Tried and True: Outsmart the Rag Rug Weft Tails

What do you do with weft tails on a rag rug? Normally, you wrap the weft tail around the outer warp end and tuck it back into the shed. But what about color changes? If you have several color changes in a row, you can end up with extra bulk on one selvedge or another from those tucked-in tails.

3 Ways to Outsmart Rag Rug Weft Tails

  • TWO PICKS For a two-pick stripe, leave a tail of several inches on the first pick. For the second pick, lay the weft tail from the first pick in the shed. Lay in the second pick, and cut the fabric strip to overlap the weft tail in the shed. This eliminates any extra bulk at the selvedges. (All tails are cut at a steep angle.)
  • CARRY IT When feasible, carry the weft up the side. If a weft is out of play for only one or two rows, do not cut it. When another weft enters the shed, make sure it encircles the idle weft.
  • DISTRIBUTE Whenever possible, avoid tucking in weft tails two picks in a row. Wait, and tuck in the tail on a subsequent pick.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:

How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Gray weft ends with weft tail tucked in. White tabby weft tail is not tucked in.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Rosepath pattern weft for a two-pick stripe. Loooooong weft tail.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft goes around the rosepath pattern weft, and is tucked in the shed.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft comes through the shed and lays over the tucked-in tail.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft is beaten in.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Pattern weft is laid in the shed, with tails overlapping near the center of the warp.
Tabby weft is beaten in, and weft tail is tucked in. In the middle of the rosepath medallion the orange print weft is carried up the side until it is used again. For the gray strip that follows the last white tabby pick, the weft tail is tucked in on the second gray pick.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Rosepath medallion with several color changes.

One more thing. Cut the weft tail extra long if you are tucking it in a row with weft floats, as in rosepath (Like the center pick in this medallion). This helps keep that weft tail from popping out of place. You don’t want those tails to start waving at you.

May you pay attention to the details.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • I’ve thought of doing a post like this as a visual for my students. Now I don’t have to! I will just refer them to your beautiful rug!

    One thing you didn’t mention was the single black pick. How I do a single pick is to cut the strip half the width of my other strips. I cut the length a bit longer than twice the width, allowing for the angle and the overlap and tapered ends. I insert it with a stick shuttle leaving both ends hanging out and beat. Both ends then wrap around the end warp or the weft being carried up the side and have the tapered ends overlap somewhere in the center.

    Excellent tutorial!

    Jenny Bellairs

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, Basics like this are always good to review. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Your method for weaving a single pick is excellent, and eliminates another tail at the selvedge.
      I don’t usually take that extra step, though, of cutting a strip half width. So my single picks do have a long tail tucked in.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Brilliant! Thank you.

    I’m working on a strip quilt project with an abundance of leftovers. 4″ will be cut down to 1″ widths and woven into the extra rose path warp on the loom.

    A very timely posting.

    Nannette

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Tried and True: Five Steps for Rag Rug Selvedges and a Quick Tip Video

What do you look for in a handwoven rag rug? How do you detect quality of craftsmanship? I look at the selvedges. First thing. I look for selvedges that are nice and tight, and that have a uniform twist at the edge. A few simple steps, consistently practiced, produce the kind of quality you can see and feel. It’s one more reason I find delight in weaving rag rugs.

Rag rug selvedges. Short quick tip video.
Rag rug selvedges. Weft is snugly wrapped around the selvedge warp ends.

Five Steps for Firm Selvedges on a Rag Rug

  1. Throw the shuttle, leaving a loop of the fabric-strip weft at the selvedge.
  2. Hold the weft out taut, and turn the weft under twice at the selvedge.
  3. Untwist the weft in the shed, straightening it, as needed.
  4. Pull the weft tight against the selvedge.
  5. Position the weft in the shed and beat it in.
Weaving a rag rug. Tutorial video of a quick tip.
Beater swings forward to beat in the weft with its just-formed firm and tidy selvedge.
Filming a short video on weaving rag rug selvedges.
Set up for filming the short tutorial. My husband does the filming and proves his patience through several retakes.

Watch this Quick Tip video for a short demonstration.

Rag rug on the loom. Tutorial about selvedges.

May the quality of your work be the first thing noticed.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

26 Comments

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Weaving Hearts

Pulling the draw handles for each four-thread unit of weaving is like doing counted cross stitch on the loom. I enjoyed cross stitch in the 1980’s and I am enjoying this drawloom version now. Very much. I started this Heart-Shaped Baskets table runner on Valentine’s Day—a fun way to celebrate the day!

Heart-Shaped Baskets. Adapted from pattern in Damask and Opphämta, by Lillemor Johansson.
Heart-Shaped Baskets. Adapted from a pattern in Damask and Opphämta, by Lillemor Johansson.
Drawloom hearts.
Red 16/2 cotton weft on unbleached 16/2 cotton warp. The dark weft on a light warp makes consistency in beating that much more important.

Like weaving on any floor loom, I want to have consistency in my beat and in my selvedges. Inconsistencies in these basics can detract from the drawloom imagery of the final cloth. The main thing is to keep paying attention. And keep joyfully pulling those draw handles to create more hearts of love.

Drawloom hearts.
Stripes at the edges prove to be a challenge for getting consistent selvedges.
Table runner on the drawloom.
Table runner is woven in broken twill on four ground shafts, with eleven pattern shafts.

Grace is a gift of favor, not an earned reward. Forgiveness is the giving of grace. And gratitude results from receiving grace. Grace makes us graceful. Giving and receiving grace with consistency is what we’d like to see in ourselves. That’s when the love of God, in whose image we’ve been made, is most clearly seen in us. So we practice what we know to do. And pay attention. And keep joyfully weaving a heart of love, by God’s grace.

May you be grace – full.

Gratefully yours,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Nancy Malcolm says:

    I have seen that draft in the book. It is so Beautiful on your loom!! I hope to convert my loom for drawloom someday. Enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, You have a lot to look forward to! It is fun to use patterns like this from a book. And it’s not that hard to make your own patterns, too!

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Janet says:

    Very nice Karen! Looks like you are having a great time 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, Thanks! Yes, I’m having a great time. There is so much more to try. I have yarn waiting in the wings for my next warp on this drawloom!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I am amazed by what you are able to do with your draw loom, Karen! Not only is this heart pattern delightful but also the other towels I can catch glimpses of. I definitely understand why you wanted a draw loom and I am so happy that your dream came true.

    You are the most graceful woman I know, Karen and a wonderful inspiration as a Christian and a weaver.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, It’s fascinating to me, too, how much the drawloom can do. I have worlds more to uncover on this loom!

      Your kind words are very touching. That means a lot to me.
      All the best,
      Karen

  • Kelly says:

    The more I see draw loom weaving, the more I start to think that I need a draw loom! For now, I will have to relegate it to a “one day” possibility and appreciate the looms I already have.
    Your hearts are beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelly, Maybe there’s a double meaning to the word “draw” in draw loom, as we are “drawn” to it. It’s a good thing to appreciate what we have.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Good afternoon Karen,

    There is so much to learn. Thank you for leading.

    Your prayer on grace touched my heart.

    Nannette

  • Karen says:

    Isn’t it fun?! I love playing with my drawloom!

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