Linen is special. This is nothing new. Even in biblical history, linen is mentioned as fabric for sacred purposes. But weaving with linen requires attentiveness. The inelasticity of linen means extra care is needed in every stage of dressing the loom and weaving. Of first importance is an even warp tension.
This method of tying on* is perfect for weaving rag rugs. The 12/6 cotton rug warp stays snugly in place. Not so with linen. The even warp tension that I have been so careful to maintain can be lost in a moment. The sneaky linen is smooth and slick enough to tie on easily, and then loosen up just as easily. So I take the double precaution of tying an additional overhand knot, AND moistening that knot with a dab of water which helps the linen grip itself. I never have to worry about these knots slipping loose.
What do you worry about? I have bigger things I worry about, too. But my heavenly Father assures me that He has secured all the knots that concern me. “Don’t worry,” he tells me. “Your Father knows your needs.” Be attentive to keep first things first. Put yourself in the Father’s care, and find that he takes care of you. Special you.
This band was giving me fits! First, the 12/6 cotton (rug warp) is a little heavy for a band. Secondly, I created tension problems by adding two green stripes of 22/2 cottolin. Thirdly, a wider band like this is unwieldy to weave with my small hands. Fourth, I goofed in the threading. And, lastly, I couldn’t see the goof in my threading because I was pulling the weft too tight. Nothing was going right.
Cut it off and throw the whole thing away. It’s only three yards. Hold on… I don’t want to give up that easily. Yes, cut off the woven mess. But why not correct the threading and at least try weaving a little bit? As it turns out, the threading error had contributed to most of the problems. Times like this remind me to carefully examine what I am doing.
Examine everything. Hold on to what is good; and abandon evil. We need to practice the good, even when the good seems difficult and we want to take the easy way out. Repeat the good; don’t let the good slip away. And you will find yourself making progress in the right direction.
May you not give up too easily.
P.S. Many of you have shared my Twisting Fringe on the Loom tutorial video! Thank you!!
In answer to your requests about my finishing process for the wool blanket, including the fringe, look for a series of short videos in my Quiet Friday post at the end of this week!
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The cloth beam is filling up with rugs. The fuller the cloth beam gets, the more muscle it takes for me to crank up the warp tension. I put all my weight into it. Literally. First, I agressively turn the wheel at the back beam to tighten the ratchet. Then, I grab two spokes of the breast beam‘s wheel, put a knee or foot on another spoke, and pull back with all my might, adding an appropriate grunt!
Why keep the tension so extremely tight? Because of the outcome–good rugs. Rugs that are sturdy, have snug selvedges, and lay completely flat. Hopefully, my effort will outlast me, as the rugs continue to serve people long after I’m gone.
It takes tremendous effort to hold on to courage when hope is slipping. After cranking up the tension for so long, the thought of keeping it up becomes overwhelming. One word of en-courage-ment from a friend breaks through hopelessness: God will see you through. Hope is restored, not based on feelings or positive thoughts, but based on believing God.
Keep up your courage. Only a few more turns and you’ll be there. The rugs will be finished; and you will know you did what you were called to do. Keep up your courage, friend.
Those pesky warpends! I am getting loose warp ends on the outer edges again. The last time this happened, it was near the end of the warp, and I rigged up a makeshift solution. (You can read about it and see pictures HERE.) This time, I began having trouble from the start; so, when I finished weaving the first piece, I cut it off, and re-tied the warp. There must be a better way!
How do you handle recurring problems? I get tired of stumbling over the same old thing. I wanted to find a solution to this warp issue, so I started digging through my weaving books to see what I could find. Aha! On page 254 in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, I find helpful advice.
The outer ends of the warp are looser than the rest
(You mean I’m not the first person to have this problem?)
This can be adjusted by pressing an extra slat down at an angle inside the loose sections.
Seekers find secrets. The seeking itself shows you recognize your own need. This is what prayer is about. Come to God asking, seeking, knocking. These are the prayers he answers. Simple, heartfelt, persistent. Never give up. There are secrets to be found.
A warp that has not been properly wound on at the start will be full of problems every inch of the way, compromising the quality of the finished cloth. One thing that helps ensure an evenly wound warp is tension. I lay warp chains on the floor in front of the loom, weighted down with bricks and walking weights. The weights provide resistance for winding the warp over the back beam onto the warp beam, giving tight and even tension. People need tension, too.
Given a choice, I would like no tension, thank you. Just give me some slack. Do you know that the tension you and I would rather avoid could be the very thing that makes us shine?
Tension is uncomfortable, stretches our limits, and can bring out the worst in us. It tests us. But testing has positive results. Our maker knows that. His testing of our hearts reveals our true identity by confirming our deeply held convictions. Any loose or broken threads hidden in the warp become apparent, so they can be repaired or replaced. And we are made ready for the rest of the weaving.
May you find gold and silver threads shining in your warp as you become refined through testing.
Your friend, Karen
Have you ever been refined through tension?
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