Handwoven Scarves Embellished with Flair

You could say I finished these scarves too late. Winter in Texas has come and gone. But I prefer to think of it as considerably early. When cool weather comes back around in a few months, I’ll be ready. I began with the draft for the lovely Stardust scarf, designed by Mona Nielsen, published in Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet, p.74. I simply substituted the yarn and colors in the book with what I had on hand.

New warp on warping reel for winter scarves.
Warp is mostly 6/2 Tuna wool, with some 7.5/2 Brage wool included.
Stripes on the back beam. What a lovely sight!
Made with yarn on hand. This means that additional stripes have been added to the plan.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter.
Weaving by the fire in the middle of winter. Mora 20/2, a fine wool, is used for weft.
Two new wool scarves coming off the loom!
Two scarves coming off the loom.
Fringe twisting.
Fringes are cut and twisted.

The scarves are delightful, but the icing on the cake is the addition of fluffy, furry pompoms, an embellishment with youthful flair. And that is exactly what I will put on at the first sign of autumn chill.

Making pompoms to embellish the handwoven scarf.
Some of the thrums are used in making pompoms.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time.
With the Pom and Tassel Maker by Red Heart I can make seven pompoms at a time. I wrapped the yarn around 100 times, making full and thick pompoms.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed.
Each furry ball is shaped and trimmed. I used 8/2 cotton for the 12″ tie around the center of the pompoms.
Adding pompom embellishments to the scarf.
Each pompom is stitched to 3 – 4 twisted fringes. Seven pompoms at each end of the scarf.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms!
Now, the scarves are ready for wet finishing. Notice how you can see the separate strands of yarn in the pompoms before they are washed.
Handwoven scarves with pompoms, hanging to dry.
Scarves have been washed by hand in warm water in a large sink, with Eucalan delicate wash. I purposely gave them as much agitation as I could by hand. They are hanging to dry. Notice how the pompoms have slightly felted, making them even more soft and furry.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.
Winter scarf amid spring bluebonnets in Texas hill country.

Some things are certain. The sun will rise tomorrow. The seasons will follow their schedule. The faithfulness of the Lord our God will never end.

May you dress in youthful flair.

Warmly,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Very pretty! I love the pompoms!

    Take care!!

  • Charlotte says:

    So, so, so precious! And! Your scarf is pretty special, as well!!!

  • Marianne says:

    It’s gorgeous! What a clever way to add Pom poms!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marianne, Thank you so much! The idea for the pompoms came from the book Happy Weaving. That’s what drew me to this scarf pattern.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Hi, Karen!

    I love the colors and pattern of this scarf. And the pom poms are the perfect touch. Thank you telling us how they were made and attached. I always learn from you.

    Please stay safe and healthy.

    Annie

  • Janet says:

    Love the addition of Pom Poms. I haven’t used tuna wool before but recently purchased many skeins for a throw. I know you’ve used quite often, what do you find the best sett for a lovely drape for a twill structure?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, My favorite twill blanket from Tuna wool is the one I made at Vävstuga. You can see the info for the project here: Swedish Wool Blanket.
      Tuna wool is an excellent choice for a throw. I think you will enjoy weaving with it, too!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful and “happy” scarf I have never seen this pom pom maker before, a neat tool, thank you for showing us!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I happened upon the pompom maker while browsing at Hobby Lobby. I knew I wanted this embellishment for my scarves, so I was happy to find a helpful tool. It beats cutting out cardboard circles to wrap with yarn–one fluff ball at a time. It wouldn’t be hard to make a similar tool at home.

      I, too, think of this as a “happy” scarf.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Such a fun scarf!

  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    What a pretty scarf. With the early Spring in Wisconsin, it is too warm to wear it here until November. More time for anticipation.

    My looms were taken to the retirement home Friday. The chipper was brought back so my sister can dispatch the 5 mature trees she dropped.

    Now I am going through my sewing room. Oh My, Why did I buy some of the things I am finding? Three piles. Donate, Sell, Take with me. Too many decisions. Where did I get all those cards of snaps from 1960?

    Are any of your readers in health care? I am wondering if the cloth face masks being shown as projects are something that can be used in the medical system, or are they just fashion statements? When the other grandchildren were born I would take a home made treat to leave with the nurses. This year I could leave some cheerful cloth masks…

    This latest grandson can come at any time.

    Blessings to all.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Congratulations on your coming grandson. Life is full of twists and turns. I’m glad you have a place for looms in your new home. That gives you something to look forward to.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Betty Morrissey says:

    Beautiful! May I ask, when weaving with a stretchy wool warp, do you tension it tightly so the stretch is maxed out?
    The pom poms are a great use of ends. Thank you for your kindness, always.

    Betty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betty, Great question! No, I don’t tension tightly to max out the stretch of the wool. I don’t want to over-stretch the wool. You have to find a happy medium so that it is tight enough that the shuttle doesn’t fall through, but not so tight that it will stretch the fibers out too far.

      I’m always happy when I can find a good use for some of the thrums. Who knows, maybe I’ll start putting pompoms on everything. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Jan says:

    These are gorgeous. I am so inspired by your weaving and sharing.
    Thank you

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Tried and True: Designing Handwoven Towels

How do you come up with a design for standout hand towels? Sometimes it’s nice to start with someone else’s ideas. There is a gorgeous wool throw, designed by Anna Svenstedt, in Favorite Scandinavian Projects To Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home, by Tina Ignell. This Colorful Throw—Reverse Twill makes a perfect template for designing eye-catching hand towels.

New handwoven towels.
Warp chains with seven colors of 22/2 cottolin for standout hand towels.

Decisions:

  • Colors – a set of seven colors, to be used in warp and weft
  • Fiber – 22/2 cottolin for warp and weft
  • Reed and sett50/10 metric reed, 10 ends per centimeter (~ 12-dent reed, 24 ends per inch)
  • Finished size of towel – 39.5 cm x 63 cm (15.5” x 24.5”)
  • Number of towels – 2 pairs of towels = 4 total
  • Spacing of warp stripes – add two more narrow stripes at each selvedge to balance the pattern

These decisions enable me to prepare a project plan, make calculations, and write a new weaving draft.

New handwoven towels.
Testing, testing…

When the loom is dressed, the design process continues as I begin weaving a sample section. This is where I decide what weft colors to use, the spacing of weft stripes, and specific treadling patterns. I add these notes to my project sheet, which I keep at the loom as my weaving roadmap.

Measuring for weft stripes.
I place my measuring twill tape along the reed to mark the spacing of the warp stripes. I will use that same spacing for weft stripes to make plaid towels.
Testing colors and patterns.
Sample weaving to try out colors, stripe spacing, and treadling patterns. And, simply to practice this broken reverse twill treadling, which requires concentration.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.

These hand towels are a preview. If they turn out as hoped, I may have to make some bath towels to match.

May your designs stand out.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Charlotte says:

    You will love the cottolin for your bath towels. I’ve used cottolin for warp and linen for weft. That works well. But, the balance of cottolin for warp and weft makes a wonderful bath towel.

    Your hand towels will be a treasure!!! The colors are smashing!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, I like the idea of using linen for weft with a cottolin warp. You would get the softness of the cotton in the cottolin and the extra absorbency of the linen. I may consider that for the bath towels. What size linen do you recommend for that?

      I’m already thinking these may be my favorite hand towels.

      Thanks!
      Karen

      • Charlotte says:

        I am sitting here at home, sipping my first cup of coffee. Hence, I don’t have my notes available to answer your question. But, I usually try a weft and weave a few rows of blocks to make certain I can square the block. If the yarn is too thick for the weft, but I’m crazy about it…I’ll weave 1/2 blocks for the cloth. I’ll treadle 1, 2, 3 and change to the next pattern row: 4, 5, 6. Does this make sense?

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Gorgeous colors. Eight shaft?

  • Joanna says:

    I wish you more joy with your plaid than I have had with mine. It’s been stalled on the loom forever. What was your inspiration for the color choices? I keep looking for echoes of your beautiful Texas Hill Country.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I know it is disappointing when something on the loom is less than what we’d hoped. What if you just finished your towels off with a single weft color, having only the warp stripes? Would that work? At least you could get them off the loom sooner.

      I have a set palette of colors for our home in Sherwin-Williams paint chips. I spread those paint chips out when deciding on thread colors for weaving that will be used in our home. I have yarn samples of all the main yarn/thread that I use (Yarn in a Jar from Vavstuga is fantastic for this) so I can spread the yarn colors out, too, and find pleasing arrangements.

      I hope you find a way to put joy back into your towel weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kevin says:

    Really beautiful! I love the colors and the pattern!

  • Barb says:

    Love the idea of using the warp stripe pattern as the spacing for the weft colors! It is an idea i will sample on the striped cotton towels on my loom. Thanks so much for sharing, I always find inspiration in your weaving journey.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, Copying the warp stripe spacing is an easy way to bring a cohesive look to the towels. Good for you to sample the idea for yourself.

      I sure appreciate your kind encouragement.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Beautiful weave.Love your color choices.

    Thank you. Much needed as I sit next to totes being filled with decades of craft supplies to be moved to the retirement home and the empty boxes to be filled for the anticipated rummage sale. The Reed Pleater will have to be sold. Can I let go of the silk screening supplies from my college days?

    In the next 9 months there is much to do to make the transition.

    Between you and Curmugeom66 my creative soul is renewed. (His last VLOG was snow blowing his yard just south of Green Bay.) That said, he has posted quite a few VLOGs using cottalin.

    Thank you for keeping me in the loop with your wonderful projects..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I understand. I, too, had to let go of many prized saved things when we prepared for our retirement move. Happily, I have no regret of letting go, and I have not missed any of it. The move became my chance to start fresh. That doesn’t make your challenge any easier, but I hope you will be encouraged. You have a bright future to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Weaving Some Simple Borders

I need to free up this little loom in order to put on a different warp that has a deadline. So, now that I have returned from my travels, my attention is going to these towels. My friend is letting me weave this lovely cottolin warp that she got at Vavstuga.

Simple border stripe in first towel of the Vavstuga towel kit.
Simple border stripe in first towel. Straight twill.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Point twill on four shafts.
Point twill on four shafts. Three horizontal stripes made with half-bleached tow linen weft.

Straight twill, point twill, broken twill, and now “rick-rack.” And after that, a couple towels in plain weave. Everyone who weaves this Vavstuga towel kit and follows the instructions will end up with the same six towels. True? Not necessarily. I like to step off the expected path. That is why I vary the weft and include some type of simple border design on each towel.

Loom with a view. Texas Hill Country.
Three colors of 8/1 tow linen sit on the little blue table as choices for weft. Half-bleached, Unbleached, and Bronze.
Broken twill for a cottolin towel.
Changed the tie-up to broken twill, which allows me to keep a simple straight treadling pattern. Dashed weft pattern for the border stripe is produced by alternating the bronze linen weft with the half-bleached linen weft.
Color-blocked towel uses three neutral weft colors.
Long wavy vertical lines give the appearance of rick-rack. Again, I changed the tie-up to keep the simple straight treadling pattern. I use all three weft colors in this color-blocked towel.
Cottolin towels with 8/1 tow linen weft.
Plain weave, with four shafts and two treadles. The main body of the towel uses the unbleached linen weft. Two picks of half-bleached linen are sandwiched between several rows of bronze linen weft.

There is a wide path that is crowded with many people. It’s the common and expected way of life. It’s where you stay if you want to fit in with everyone else. But if you search for it, you’ll find an uncommon path. It’s narrow; and few find it. It’s the path of life that is found in Jesus Christ. Stand in the narrow path. That is where your unique features will show up as border designs that set you apart as a cherished child of God.

May you be set apart.

Happy weaving,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    What a timely post this is! I have a long striped towel warp on that I was getting seriously bored with after only two towels. Right now it’s 4S/2T in a straight draw, but I was mulling over putting more treadles on and fiddling with the tie-up. Thanks for helping me decide (I’m prone to dithering). Bless you, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I tend to thrive on variety. Maybe you’re like me in that regard? I have changed the tie-up three times on this warp so far. With only four shafts, it’s an easy way to change things up. The instructions that came with the Vavstuga towel kit gave different tie-up options, so I thought – why not do them all? 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kristin Martzall says:

    Your posts are so inspiring! How do you use the grosgrain ribbon? as a measuring device? Like a cash register tape bit not as bulky and fragile.?
    Thanks ,in advance ,for your help in explaining that process!

    Kris

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Welcome!
      The marked grosgrain ribbon came with the Vavstuga towel kit. I normally use twill tape for the same purpose – to pre-measure the desired length of what I am weaving. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it: Tools Day: Measured Weaving

      Happy weaving!
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Welcome home, Karen! I am sure that you missed your looms! Were you able to finish the tapestry from Big Bend?
    I also like to try different tie ups or striping when I make towels. I like the combination of striping and pattern you have with those colors.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I made some good progress on my Big Bend tapestry while away. But my floor looms have a louder voice in calling me than the portable frame loom does. I guess I better set aside some quiet evening time to finish the tapestry.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Five sentences, so precious, choose the narrow path!

    Thank you and Blessings.

    Linda

  • Pam Cauchon says:

    Thank you, Karen, for such wise words. I had been questioning my decision to simplify my life. While simplification is good for contemplation it can be a bit lonely. Weaving provides those moments for contemplation and it is encouraging to hear from someone who is like-minded. To know Christ’s narrow path is well worth it. Then I realize I’m not so lonely after all. Indeed, thank you for the encouraging words.

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Glorious Weft Leftovers

I didn’t know it could look like this. The pleasant color interaction is astounding! Had I known, I may have woven the whole throw in this manner. This is the end of the warp, after 16 centimeters for the sample, 166 centimeters for the throw, and 50 centimeters for the lap blanket.

Double weave throw on the loom.

For the lap blanket I am spacing the blocks differently than for the throw. The deep plum weft has narrow and wider stripes that separate the squares into groups of three.

An ending sample is a perfect opportunity to use up weft left on the quills, and even some quills of 8/2 cotton left over from other projects. When the dark plum quill empties, others colors take its place. I put the colors one right after the other, without the dark plum separating them into squares. The fabric image that appears in front of me is mesmerizing!

Double weave sample on the loom. May be my favorite sample yet!

Softer color transitions are made by eliminating the deep plum weft stripes between colors.

Double weave sample. Karen Isenhower

Cutting off! Double weave in 8/2 cotton.

Back of fabric highlights the warp stripes, with deep plum squares. Now, for the finishing work!

Image. What we do with what we know contributes to the image of who we are. When we trust in Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, our image is renovated. We are renewed in our knowledge, aligning our image with God. What a magnificent thought! How differently we might live if we only knew how glorious the outcome will be. The Grand Weaver turns our leftover weft into his astounding masterpiece.

May you find glorious surprises in your leftover threads.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Rachel Lohman says:

    The joy of color is like being a little kid and opening your first big box of Crayons and seeing all the lovely colors – breathtaking! Thank you for that memory! Love your pieces – love your God references! Have a joyful day as you began mine!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, Yes, it is very much like that cherished box of crayons! Color seems to be an outward expression of joy.

      Thanks for your uplifting words!
      Karen

  • Karen, my first thought when seeing your final photos was that of crayons. We may be happy with the box of 24, but God gives us so many more colors if we open ourselves to Him. Your Weaving is lovely.

    Would you mind if I use part of your ending message to send to a friend soon undergoing cancer surgery to her jaw? You have such a great way with words.
    Jenny

    • Karen says:

      Jenny, Your thought about opening ourselves up to God’s abundant colors, instead of thinking our 24 is all there is, really gave me something to think about. Thank you!!

      I am honored any time you find something here you would like to share. Please do!

      Touched,
      Karen

  • 5 colors. So many variations. God is good.
    Nannette

  • Annie says:

    Quite an astounding difference! I, also, thought immediately of crayons and love what Jenny said about it. Perhaps this will be the pattern for future throws?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your loom and your hospitality with me, Karen. Unfortunately, I will not be able to come for the dressing of the loom this morning.

    I hope you have a blessed day, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Interesting that several thought of crayons. I love that! Yes, I am going to keep this in mind for future throws, towels, scarves, and what-have-you.

      We’ll miss you this morning.

      Thanks!
      Karen

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Almost Like Weaving Outdoors

I am practically outdoors in the middle of trees when I’m weaving. It’s refreshing to weave between corner windows. That’s how it is with the little loom at our Texas hill country home. I have windows beside my other looms, too. But this is different. Here, I have windows beside me and in front of me.

Color and weave plain weave placemats on the loom.

Corner windows for weaving pleasure. Color-and-weave plain weave placemats on the little loom.

Nature is resplendent with ornamentation and flourishes that influence my weaving. Colors, patterns, shading, and playful surprises. They work their way into my thinking and planning. Aren’t the Creator’s designs amazing?! So, to be surrounded by all that inspiration while weaving raises the enjoyment at the loom all the more.

Indian Paintbrush in Texas hill country.

Colors.

Texas hill country Algerita.

Patterns.

Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom in Texas hill country.

Shading.

Barrel cactus in bloom in Texas hill country.

Playful surprises.

Color and weave plainweave placemats.

Color – variation, pattern – color and weave, shading – two-pick stripes, playful surprise – offset warp stripes.

It is refreshing to experience the enjoyment of nature. We need that. Our minds need refreshing, too. Our minds can be freshened up. When we grow in the knowledge of God—who he is, what he is like, and what he wants—our minds are refreshed and renewed. It’s a breath of fresh air for our thinking. Like weaving out in the middle of the trees.

May you be refreshed.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    I am glad you see the wonders that Christ provides; they are reminders of His presence and you add to His creation when you weave with His inspirations! Thanks for sharing your faith from God! Happy weaving! Blessed weaving! 🙂

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Such beautiful inspiration! You are indeed fortunate.

  • Annie says:

    I enjoyed seeing the photos of nature through your eyes. It gave me a fresh perspective. As do your thoughts on our Heavenly Father. I always enjoy your posts and learn from them.

    Do you move your loom from place to place, Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, This little loom stays in that spot by the corner windows. Steve built the loom for me specifically for our Texas hill country home, so I could have a loom to weave on when we go there. I have two other larger looms that stay in place in our Houston home.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Thank you for including photos of Texas Hill country. It is beautiful and inspirational.

    The triad of purple / orange / green blessed by God.

    Thank you and may God continue to bless.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, The purple / orange / green triad in nature always seems stunning to me! Texas hill country has many visual delights!

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

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