Tried and True: How to Count to Three – and Other Weaving Tips

We weavers are resourceful. We enjoy finding solutions that make our time at the loom more efficient, while raising the quality of our weaving. We’ve done some of these little tricks so much we don’t think about them anymore. And then, some innovations are things we think up on the spot because necessity, as you know, is the mother of invention.

Keep Count

Necessity: Keep from losing my place with treadling repeats.
Solution: A strip of blue painter’s tape with “3 2 1” and a rubber band, placed on the breast beam. Move the rubber band on the tape (from right to left) to track repeats.

Weaving tips - low tech solutions.
I need help counting to 3 when it comes to treadling repeats. On the Glimåkra Standard loom, I am able to loosen the warp enough to lift the breast beam so I can put a rubber band on it. Without a removable breast beam, one could use a separate small piece of tape instead of a rubber band to keep track.
Keep track of repeats. Blog post with tips and tricks.
Low tech solution for keeping track.

Shuttle Catch

Necessity: Keep from fumbling the catch, having to reposition the shuttle in my hand to send it back across the warp.
Solution: Keep my eye on the shuttle. If I turn my head to watch the movement of the shuttle, my catching and throwing improves immediately. This makes my selvedges improve, too.

Weaving tips and tricks. Easy tip on how to catch the shuttle perfectly.
It is easy to throw and catch the shuttle without actually looking at your hands. I have to consciously remember to turn my head to follow the shuttle with my eyes.

Leave No Trace

Necessity: Keep from leaving slightly perceptible lines in the woven cloth that reveal every time I stop to move the temple and advance the warp.
Solution: When it is almost time to advance the warp, I move the temple and then weave one or more pattern sequence(s) before advancing the warp. This helps me leave no trace of starting and stopping.

Tips and tricks for the weaving loom.
Almost ready to advance the warp, I remove the temple and reposition the pins on my guide tape. Then, I put the temple back on, near the fell line.
Tips about when to advance the warp.
After moving the temple, I weave one or more complete treadling sequences before advancing the warp.
Three simple weaving tips for efficiency and quality!
After advancing the warp, I know exactly where I left off because of my tape-and-rubber-band counter. My eyes are on the shuttle to continue this segment of weaving.

Do you have a simple tip that improves your efficiency and/or quality at the loom? Please share in the comments.

May you notice what you’re doing.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Drawloom Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2

I’m curious. How much difference will it make to change the direction of the design? I wove the first Windmill and Taildragger from the side. (See Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom.) This second one, I am weaving from bottom to top. For one thing, I know I can enlarge the image if I turn it upright, giving me more distinct details.

Windmill and Taildragger woven on the drawloom.
Windmill and Taildragger – Version 1, from the side. Beginning of Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2, upright.
Taildragger on the drawloom.
More detail is possible with the expanded size of the image. Center image and lower border use single-unit draw cords. Five pattern shafts are used for the side borders.
Temple in use on the drawloom.
Temple maintains the correct weaving width.
Glimakra Standard loom with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment.
Side view of drawloom with Myrehed combination attachment.

This second Windmill and Taildragger is indeed larger, with smoother detail lines. No surprise. What does surprise me is how much simpler this one is to weave! The single-unit pulls are more manageable now that the design is turned in a lengthwise direction. Enlargement, clarity, and ease—all from a single design adjustment.

Drawloom weaving.
Single-unit draw cords seen in the weaving of the windmill’s blades.
Windmill and Taildragger on the drawloom.
Windmill and Taildragger – Version 2
Drawloom weaving.
Version 1 and Version 2 – Windmill and Taildragger

Spoken wishes express our needs. Our wishes are sincere, but hold no power in themselves. What if we turn the direction of our wishes? When we turn those expressions upward to God they become prayer. Prayer is an expression of belief. Jesus invites us to tell him our needs through prayer. Prayer enlarges and clarifies our hopes. You may be surprised how simple it is to take your needs to the Lord in prayer.

May your prayers bring the help you need.

Peace to you,
Karen

Swedish Art Weaves with Joanne Hall

Krabbasnår (or Krabba), Rölakan, Halvkrabba, Dukagång, and Munkabälte (Monksbelt). These unique weaves have intrigued me since I first saw photos of them. Some of the designs look like hand-stitched embroidery. The Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall introduces the simple techniques used for weaving these traditional patterns. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to learn how to weave these beautiful designs for myself.

Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall.
Joanne brought examples of Swedish art weaves for the students to view.

Joanne’s presentation to the San Antonio Handweavers Guild was enlightening. Photos of her travels to Sweden show how the rich weaving heritage there continues to thrive. That, along with Joanne’s knowledge of Swedish weaving traditions, gives context to these Swedish art weaves.

Krabbasnår, a Swedish art weave.
Krabbasnår (krabba) is a laid-in technique with a plain weave ground. The pattern uses three strands of wool Fårö yarn. The warp is 16/3 linen.
Weaving Krabba, a Swedish art weave.
Besides maintaining warp width, the temple is useful for covering up the weft tails to keep them out of the way.
Workshop with Joanne Hall. Swedish Art Weaves.
Joanne explains the next step to workshop participants.
Swedish Art Weaves sampler, with Joanne Hall.
Dukagång is another laid-in technique with a plain weave ground. A batten is placed behind the shafts to make it easy to have the pattern wefts cover two warp threads. (A jack loom can do the same by using half-heddle sticks in front of the shafts.) Dukagång can be woven as a threaded pattern, but then the weaver is limited to that one structure, instead of having different patterns all in the same woven piece.
Fascinating way to weave monksbelt!
With threaded monksbelt, as I have woven previously, the monksbelt flowers are in a fixed position. With this art weaves monksbelt, the monksbelt flowers can be placed wherever you want them. Half-heddle sticks at the back, batten behind the shafts, and a pick-up stick in front of the reed–a fascinating way to weave this traditional pattern.
Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall. So much fun!
Last loom standing… Time to pack up. As I prepare the loom for transport, I detach the cloth beam cords. Now we can see the right side of what I have woven.
Swedish Art Weaves with Joanne Hall. Fun!
From the top: Krabbasnår, Rölakan Tapestry, Halvkrabba, Dukagång, and Munkabälte.

Väv 2/2013 has instructions for the art weaves. I have the magazine issue, but Joanne’s workshop brings the historical techniques to life and makes them understandable. That is exactly the prompting I needed to begin exploring these fascinating patterns on my own loom.

Weaving Swedish art weaves from the back.
Back at home, my little loom is getting ready to weave some more beautiful Swedish art weave designs.

May something historical be your new interest.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Rosepath Unlimited

This seems unreal, like pulling an item right out of my imagination and touching it with my hands. It is exhilarating to watch a concept sketch develop into a tangible rag rug on the loom. Even though I enjoy designing at the loom, I relish the challenge of preparing a design in advance. In order to make a workable sketch I must study, think, and explore. It’s in this process that I realize the design options are limitless for rosepath rag rugs. This compels me to keep pressing in to learn and explore even more.

Beginning a new rag rug.
Hem, woven with narrow strips, follows the gold warp thread header. First wide border of the rug uses an assortment of green fabric strips.

The concept sketch is a scaled-down map of the rosepath rag rug. Each square on the gridded paper represents 6 centimeters. The sketch shows me which fabrics to use where, and specifies the placement of each design element—borders, plain weave, rosepath diamonds, dashes and dots of specific colors, etc. I add notes to the page as I weave, like specific treadling sequences and measurements, so that I can mirror them on the second half of the rug.

Concept sketch by the loom is my roadmap for weaving the details.
Concept sketch sits at the windowsill by my loom. I use it as a roadmap for weaving the details.
Weaving rag rugs with a temple. Always!!
Stretched-out temple is a necessity when I weave rag rugs. The wooden Glimåkra temple is my favorite because I can place it near the fell without risk of damaging the beater. This makes it possible to move the temple frequently, adding to weaving consistency.
Designing a rosepath rag rug.
Deep purple “dots” at the center of the rosepath diamonds serve as accents among these colors for a Texas hill country home.

Nothing can measure the greatness of the Lord. His greatness is truly limitless. Greatness is compelling. We step closer to search the unsearchable, and know the unknowable. God reveals himself, sketch after sketch, until we finally realize that we need all eternity to fully know him.

Rosepath rag rug - My favorite thing to weave!
Satisfaction of watching a concept sketch become a tangible rag rug.

May your concepts become tangible.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Guest Weavers

We finished another placemat over the weekend. We, meaning a few guest weavers – and me. I had a small tribe of eager weavers, aged eleven to seventeen. I didn’t give beginner work to these beginners. We did what was required for this color-and-weave project on the loom—double-bobbin shuttles, two (and sometimes three) shuttles at a time, two-pick stripes, advancing the warp, placing the temple, and more. Another placemat completed, with only one broken warp end along the way. I call that a win!

Guest weaver. First time, but not the last!
Quietly watching me, and taking in the details, this young weaver grasped the essentials, and began weaving in a graceful manner. After just a few minutes, Madison told me she could do this all day. That sounds like a budding weaver to me!

New weaver, with great attention to detail!
Sean is an attentive listener, closely following every instruction. He happily donned the weaving apron. And the Gingher snips on a woven band were hanging around his neck, ever ready to be used.

Young weavers at the loom.
Jenson joins in to lend his observation skills while his brother does the weaving.

New young weaver.
Ashley is someone who takes initiative. She enjoyed the challenge of learning something new, and quickly was weaving with very little assistance.

Cotton placemats on the loom.
Broken warp end repaired. Placemat complete. Eight more placemats to go!

Isn’t it delightful to share what you enjoy, and then see the spark of delight and accomplishment on a young person’s face? This is another good reason to make and keep family friends.

May you share your delights.

Love,
Karen