Snow in Springtime at the Drawloom

This Myrehed combination drawloom continually fascinates me. It’s all about raising and lowering threads in a purposeful way. Pulling pattern-shaft draw handles for the borders is the easy part. The single units in the body of the towel, however, capture my focused attention. Consistent precision—that’s the secret to completion.

Single units of threads are raised by placing draw cords on the hook bar. The black cords and white cords are arranged in groups of ten. I mentally split each group of ten so I am focusing on five single units at a time.w
Side borders use fifteen pattern shafts. Each pattern-shaft draw handle raises units of threads across the warp. That enables me to pull handles for the pattern that shows up on both the right and left borders.

This second towel in the Snowfake series continues the theme of softly falling snow. Meanwhile, Texas bluebonnets, wine cups, varied bright yellow daisy-type flowers, and mealy blue sage are springing up through hard ground all over our backyard. And Thursday morning I spotted the first gaillardia bloom—previewing the next wave of color.

Texas bluebonnets were the first flowers to burst into bloom.
Myrehed Combination drawloom enables me to combine pattern shafts (8 draw handles are pulled here) and single units (several draw cords are pulled in this picture) in a single project. I truly enjoy all the variables!

I am acutely aware that you may be experiencing a lingering cold season, and may even yet have snow on the ground. I’m not just referring to weather and flowers. Real-life struggles. Let me assure you that spring is coming. Have faith in the one who raised Jesus from the dead. Your faith captures the Lord’s attention. He brings new life out of hard ground. And the white of falling snowflakes remains a pleasant reminder of his grace. For all who call on the name of Jesus, the grace of his forgiveness falls over us to make us clean, as white as softly falling snow.

May you see signs of new life.

Happy spring weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Heddles and Bands

Band weaving is a simple activity that helps you notice the little things. You see how each thread falls into place. How the thread turns the selvedge corner just so. How the pattern threads stand proud in floats or hide in subtle patterns. I enjoy practicing my skills as a band weaver. And more so, now that Steve has turned his attention to making band heddles for me.

Workshop at Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference 2019 got me started with weaving patterned bands on a rigid heddle.
First heddle by Steve is made from Soft Maple. Band has 21 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled). 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Heddle made from Spanish Cedar. Wood-burned top represents the Texas Hill Country hills that we enjoy. Band has 45 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled), using the heddle’s full width. 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Walnut band heddle in the making.
Torgenrud, H. (2015). Norwegian pick-up bandweaving. Schiffer Publishing; Foulkes, S. (2018). Weaving Patterned Bands. How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads. Schiffer Publishing; Neumüller, K. (2021). Simple Weave. (Language: Swedish). Natur & Kultur, Stockholm.

Pictures in the following slideshow video tell more of the story.

Edited: Steve has compiled photo documentation of how he made my Spanish Cedar and Walnut heddles. Click HERE to send me an email requesting a PDF copy of Making a Band Heddle.

May you take time to notice the little things.

Love,
Karen

Drawloom – Snow Falling

Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.

Nordic star pattern used for Christmas Snowflake towels. Towel begins with a broad brush of red along the lower border.

Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.

Single unit draw cords, held in place on the hook bar, form the snow crystals in the body of the towel. The three large snowflakes at the bottom border are made using pattern shafts. The simple side borders also use pattern shafts.
In Affinity Designer I am able to separate, copy, and move elements of the large snowflake design. These individual elements become the scattered snowflakes and little snow crystals that are “drifting down” the body of the towel.
Snowfall in Texas Hill Country.

We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.

May you see how far you’ve come.

Many blessings,
Karen

Process Review: Drawloom Preliminaries

I threaded 888 warp ends. I am getting ready to thread those 888 ends again. It’s part of the preliminary process for a new drawloom project. A drawloom has two sets of heddles. Thread the pattern heddles. Then, thread the ground heddles. I enjoy all the preliminaries because of what they bring about—a delightful new weaving adventure!

Preparing a new drawloom warp.
New drawloom warp of 16/2 cotton is on the warp beam.
Long heddles and lingos for the drawloom.
Long pattern heddles and lingos hang on a pegboard wall in the drawloom studio until needed.

Before I start threading, I count out all the lingos (weights) I need for the pattern heddles. Then, I hang a lingo on each unit of pattern heddles. In this case, there are 148 units, and six heddles in each unit. I move all those prepared units (heddles with lingos) to the back of the loom, get comfortable on my loom bench, and start threading. After a few sessions, I am finished threading the pattern heddles.

Drawloom threading heddles.
Pattern heddles hang at the back of the loom for threading.
Texas hill country Bluebonnets!
On the walking path to my drawloom studio each day I see the startling blooms of our Texas hill country Bluebonnets. Just imagine the unseen preliminaries for this beauty!
Drawloom pattern heddles and lingos.
Threading continues.
Pattern heddles are threaded for the drawloom.
All 888 pattern heddles are threaded! Ground heddles are next…

Next up, I will thread long-eye heddles on six ground shafts. A few more start-up operations after that, and then we will see this big ol’ boat raise its sails and leave the shore for another exhilarating adventure in weaving!

May you enjoy the preliminaries for every new start.

Happy weaving,
Karen

Process Review: Perfectly Imperfect

I waded into deflected double weave for the first time. It took me one full scarf to figure out what I was doing. By the second scarf, I had a much better sense of how the pattern fits together and what to do with the shuttles (most of the time). Both scarves are quite imperfect (no one will ever know…). The loom behaved perfectly, though. This is my Julia’s first project using all eight shafts. Now, I know that this sweet loom is up to any challenge I give her.

20/2 Mora wool by Borgs for a lovely scarf.
20/2 Mora wool by Borgs. Yarn is temporarily secured by pulling a loop behind the warp at the nearest upright on the warping reel.
Putting a new warp on the 8-shaft Glimakra Julia.
Preparing to dress the loom. The lease cross end of the warp chain is placed through the beater.
Glimakra Julia 8- shaft loom is ready to weave!
Warp is beamed and tied on, and the treadles and lamms are tied up.
Wool deflected double weave.
First scarf gives me a chance to learn. Beat consistency is getting better with practice.
Learning ins and outs of deflected double weave.
Trickiest part about deflected double weave is understanding how the shuttles interact so that the color from one shuttle (the salmon color) never goes to the selvedge.
Trying to learn deflected double weave.
Gaining confidence and consistency on the second scarf.
My first deflected double weave!
Stiff Mora wool will soon soften in the wash. After cutting off, I discover that a tiny misunderstanding gave me a consistent wrong thread all along one selvedge on the back side. Maybe we should call this defective double weave. (But, really, no one will ever know.)
O, the joy of twisting fringe!
Bundles of light and dark threads are twisted into swinging fringes before the scarves are washed.

By the way, I like the finished airy scarves, even with their flaws.

Deflected double weave scarf in Mora wool.
Finished scarf has delightful pattern and character. Mora wool is sufficiently softened through washing and drying, to make a supple fabric.
Texas hill country foggy day and new handwoven scarf to go with it.
Perfect (imperfect) scarf to brighten up a foggy day in Texas hill country.

May you wade into a new experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen