Quiet Friday: Woven Baby Wrap Baby

A new life in the family is cause for celebration and thanksgiving! I had the privilege of weaving a baby wrap while my daughter carried the new little life inside of her. A wrap being woven to hold Lucia, and a baby being woven in the womb. Beautiful and more beautiful. God’s blessings on Eddie and Melody as they love the gift they have been given.

Handwoven baby wrap holding new baby.
Handwoven baby wrap with baby Lucia. Photo credit: Eddie Fernandez (Lucia’s daddy)



Woven baby wrap, handwoven by the baby's grandmother.
In her mother’s arms… Photo Credit: Eddie Fernandez (Lucia’s daddy)

May you love and be loved.

Lola (Grandma)

What Our World Needs

I would rather not stop in the middle, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Now, I am picking up where I left off at the halfway point on the towel. After a week away, I am happy to be back at my weaving loom. Project planning, loom dressing, and weaving. It’s a satisfying perpetual cycle.

Cottolin and cotton for a pretty and thirsty modern towel.
Long pattern blocks create ribs across the width of the towel.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, I am prepared to face continued interruptions. But I will keep coming back to my looms, sneaking in as much weaving time as possible. It’s no secret that I love to weave.

Thick and thin cottolin hand towels on the loom with interesting patterns.
As towel four rolls up on the cloth beam, towel five nears completion.

I feel the same way about praying. It is something I keep coming back to. For someone who loves to pray, prayer itself provides a welcome respite in troubled times. God responds to our heartfelt prayers. He hears and heals. Our world needs that now, more than ever. Perpetual prayer to our Prince of Peace.

May you keep coming back to what you love.

With Christmas in mind,

Quiet Friday: Blanket Sample Thanksgiving

This warp for the double-width wool blanket is taking some down time while I complete a finishing sample. The five-fold purpose of the sample is to 1) check the sett and 2) the weft density, and 3) to examine the fold to see if I need more, or less, weft at the turn, and 4) to test the wet-finishing process, and 5) to see the effect of brushing the finished piece.  I am thankful for family, friends, fellowship, and finishing. (Thankful for blog friend Marie for first suggesting a finish sample.) I hope you, friend, get to have time with the ones you love, and have some down time to enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Just cut off sample for finishing. Wool double weave blanket.
Sample piece is cut from the loom. Warp will be tied back on to the front tie-on bar.
One side of the double weave sample.
One half of the double-width blanket sample. The fold is at the yellow.
Other side of double weave sample.
Other side of the double-width sample. The fold is at the yellow.
Double weave fold revealed in sample piece.
Blanket fold revealed. Weaving double width means you only see one half until it is cut from the loom.
Double width sample washed and air dried.
Wet Finishing. Sample has been washed and dried. Washed on delicate cycle in washing machine for 3 minutes, no spin cycle. Air dried flat.
Double weave fold in sample after wet finishing.
Examining the fold after wet finishing. Also, notice the improved weft density in the final segment (brown weft at the bottom), when I applied a lighter beat.
Double width blanket sample after being washed. Karen Isenhower
Blanket finishing sample.
Blanket sample - brushed.
Blanket sample brushed on one side, using a stiff dog brush.
Comparing brushed and not brushed sides of sample.
Compare the brushed top side on the left to the unbrushed bottom side on the right.
Brushed double weave blanket sample. Karen Isenhower
Brushed double weave finishing sample. Hmm… Could this be my new Christmas tree skirt?

May your family and friends experience your thankfulness.

Thankful for you,

Can I Cut it Off Now?

Four rugs woven, with hardly enough warp left to weave anything worthwhile. I am eager to cut off the planned and finished rugs, and move on to the next thing. There is only a short span of warp left, so why waste time weaving a runt-sized rug? It won’t hurt to cut it off now. I am not losing that much of the warp.

Coming to the end of the warp.
When the back tie-on bar comes up over the back beam, you know you are at the end of the warp. I have heard that there is a saying in Sweden that when the end of the warp comes over the back beam you must complete the remainder of the weaving in one sitting.

All I have left are scraps–fabric strips that were cut for previous rug designs. …Wait a minute… Could this be an opportunity in disguise? A chance try out another design idea, using fabric strips that are already cut? If I think of this as a welcome challenge, instead of a waste of time, I start seeing everything differently.

Little square rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Design limitations help expand creative ideas. This piece uses only fabric leftovers from previous rugs, and is limited to about 26 inches / 66 cm of warp.

The natural progression of a negative thought goes from bad to worse. Unless something intervenes to stop the progression, it can end in results far worse than cutting off a rug warp too soon. Giving thanks to God breaks the negative progression, and opens us up to an unseen world. A world of beauty and purpose. A place where scraps are used to make new and beautiful things. And where using the rest of the warp is never seen as wasted time.

May your Thanks-giving celebration begin early and continue far beyond the norm.

With gratitude,

Do You See What I See?

Thanksgiving 2013 is over and the house is quieter now. I am back to weaving bound rosepath (rosengång). This piece will be a table mat for next year’s Thanksgiving dinner, with the turkey pilgrims facing one side of the table. (Click HERE to see more about weaving the turkey pilgrims.) It makes sense, then, to have pilgrim men facing the other side. This means weaving the pilgrim men upside down. As I am weaving, it is difficult to determine if the upside down image is forming properly. I courageously weave on, hoping I am correctly interpreting the diagram. Faith takes courage like that.

Bound Rosepath Pilgrims on Thanksgiving table mat
A small hand mirror gives an upright view of the woven pilgrim men that are facing away from the orange pilgrim turkeys.

I used Numbers on my iPad to design the bound rosepath pilgrim motif. The image is only seven squares across the graph sheet, and must be entirely symmetrical from side to side. This mere-seven-pixel-wide picture is a design challenge because of its narrow limit.

Bound Rosepath Diagram using iPad Numbers app
iPad screen shot of pilgrim diagram in Numbers (spreadsheet) app.

Putting our faith into action when we don’t know all the answers takes courage. It is like following the diagram when the picture doesn’t make sense. I imagine that kind of faith courage pleases our creator. It was only after I finished weaving the row of pilgrims that I thought of holding up a mirror to see the upright image. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t shrink back. When you press into the picture with faith, your life becomes a positive reflection of your maker’s skillful design.

May you live with courageous faith.