Time Lapse: Windmill and Taildragger on the Drawloom

Come, look over my shoulder as I weave a windmill and taildragger image on the drawloom. The central design is woven using 103 single-unit draw cords. I have a simple motif for the borders that uses only three pattern shafts. In the video below, watch as the three draw handles for those pattern shafts appear and disappear throughout the weaving.

Drawloom weaving, with time-lapse video.
Draw cords are used to raise single units of threads to create the image, one row at a time.
Windmill and taildragger woven on the drawloom.
Woven from the side.

I recorded my weaving in time-lapse form so you can watch three hours of effort compressed into three-and-a-half minutes. In the video you will see my hand pulling the draw cords, and then touching all the pulled cords from right to left to double check my work. That double checking saved me from dreaded do-overs.

Windmill and Taildragger Silhouette from an old "Flying" magazine.

When our good friends, Jerry and Jan, saw my drawloom they brought this picture to my attention. — Forty years ago Jerry discovered the silhouetted windmill and airplane tucked away on a back page in an old issue of Flying magazine. Because of his affinity for airplanes and windmills he cut out the tiny picture and saved it. Years later, Jan found the picture and had it enlarged and framed. — After learning about my loom’s pictorial capability, Jerry and Jan wondered aloud if this special image could be woven on a drawloom…

Windmill and Taildragger woven on the drawloom. With time-lapse video.

Enjoy the video, and hold on to your hat!

May you ride the wind.

Happy Weaving,


  • Ruth says:

    What I loved most was your DH appearing and disappearing at speed!

  • Joyce says:

    Very, very beautiful! And yes, the time lapse is great, but leaves out all the time and tedious work of creating such a work of art! Thanks for sharing! Happy Weaving! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joyce, I know what you mean. The time lapse doesn’t show all the effort. Hopefully, it gives a snapshot of how much fun it is to weave on a drawloom.

      Thank you,

  • AnneloesF says:

    That is stunning!

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Wow! That was so interesting to watch.Thanks for filming it. Your drawloom adventures are amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, The drawloom is a fascinating contraption. In some ways it is very complex, but all the parts are actually pretty simple. It’s a fun learning journey. Thanks for joining in!

      Happy weaving,

  • Cynthia H says:

    It just amazes me how you do this. Have you ever thought about weaving Navajo style?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, I admire Navajo-style weaving, and have done a tiny bit of that type of weft-faced weaving. My main focus is on Swedish-style weaving and Swedish techniques. There are so many intriguing forms of weaving!


  • Marian says:


  • Annie says:

    I am gobsmacked!Airplanes and windmills are also my favorite things, as well as my husband’s. When we bought our home in the panhandle, we specifically looked for land with a windmill. Greg flies remote control planes and I joined the Air Force due to my fascination.

    If you are up to making a second one of these weavings, I would love to purchase it from you.

    As always, I cannot express enough my admiration for your creativity and talent.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I am thrilled to learn that airplanes and windmills are your favorite things! How fun to see how this woven image suits you and Greg.

      I will send you an email to answer your question about weaving another one.

      Hugs and well wishes, and THANK YOU for your service to our nation in the Air Force!

  • kim says:

    Amazing! I am curious as to your decision to weave the image sideways instead of vertically. How did you choose to do that?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, I like your question! To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure which direction would give best results. I wove this one from the side only because the width of the picture is shorter than the length. I plan to weave another one straight on, so I can see if one way is better than the other. That fits the purpose of this warp – experimental and sampling.


  • Nannette says:

    Hi Karen,
    Watching you weave at the draw down loom brought back memories of my Aunt practicing for Sunday service at the church organ. Both artists.

    Thanks for the long forgotten memory in the format of your 20th century subject..


    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I have church organists in my extended family, too. I have often thought of my loom bench as an organ bench, and with the drawloom, even more so, as if I’m pulling stops, playing the keys, and working the pedals with my feet.

      How sweet that my weaving at the drawloom related to you in that way.

      Hold the memories,

  • […] 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 […]

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Quiet Friday: Unroll the Cloth Beam

If you are a weaver, you know this thrill. I weave the very last pick, and then I hold my breath as the finished cloth is unrolled from the cloth beam. All ten meters / eleven yards of it! I don’t usually have an audience for the unrolling, but this time I want to share the experience with you, my friends.

If you stay to the end, you will see the cap I made from the sample pieces at the beginning and end of the warp.

And, one more thing, I added a little 3 1/2-minute time-lapse video at the very end. I hope it makes you smile.

Just finished weaving 10 meter warp.

Final pick in place.

Release warp tension before cutting off the warp.

Release ratchets on cloth and warp beams to loosen warp tension.

Cutting off the finished cloth.

Get out the big Gingher shears and start cutting.

Cutting the fabric from the loom.

First good view of the last towel on the warp. The last shall be first…

Unrolling the towels...

The Nine Color Towel.

Unrolling more towels...

Keep unrolling.

More towels...

Still more to come..

Red striped towel coming off the loom.

Each one is different.

Now for the brown towels...

Seeing brown now, so we know we are getting near the end/beginning.

Now we see the beginning of the warp!

Finally, we made it to the tie-on bar!

Slats on the floor after unrolling the cloth beam.

I love the final sound–warping slats falling to the floor as the last round of cloth is pulled from the cloth beam.

Empty cloth beam. Love it!

There it is. Now I want to get something else on the loom so I can do this all over again!

Goose eye towels just off the loom. Karen Isenhower

Ta da!

Cap made from handwoven pieces of goose eye twill.


And now I invite you to join me as I weave the Nine Color Towel. Remember that this is time lapse–I really do not weave this fast.

May you be filled with joy.

Very Happy Weaving,


  • Claudia says:

    Have you ever experienced tendonitis from weaving? I’m curious about how you hold your shuttle and throw with your right hand- I can’t tell in the video. I have thumb tendonitis and haven’t been able to weave for several months. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Claudia, I have never experienced tendonitis from weaving. I’m so sorry you have to endure that.

      I always hold my shuttle with my palm up – to throw the shuttle and to catch it. Joanne Hall taught me, “thumbs up.” I think that may be more friendly to the hands and wrists than grasping the shuttle with thumbs down.


  • Mary says:

    Gorgeous fabric and your hat is adorable!!! Did you have a pattern for the hat?

    • Karen says:

      Mary, I used a McCall’s sewing pattern for the hat. I made one first out of fabric from the store to make sure it was a good fit. So, now I have two new hats that are fun to wear.

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you like the fabric!

      Happy Weaving,

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Hi Karen,
    What Beautiful Towels! I love that you’re chomping at the bit to get another batch going.

    I watched your video twice! How nice to be able to watch your process at the loom. You have a lovely work room. I love that big Glimakra shuttle. I also admired your bobbin winder. Didn’t your husband make that for you? I love how much he supports with your love of weaving. Good man.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Laurie! It’s that much more fun when friends enjoy it with me!

      Yes, my husband made the bobbin winder. He’s my go-to guy for nifty tools.

      I appreciate your enthusiastic comments!


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Quiet Friday: Warping Trapeze

When I was a girl I dreamed of being a flying trapeze artist. No fooling! I practiced stunts on our backyard swingset, including hanging from my toes. I grew out of that. My new stunt now, is with a different kind of trapeze. A warping trapeze. (Some people call it a warping valet, but let’s call it a trapeze, okay?)

The warping trapeze is used for beaming the warp. The warp comes over the breast beam, under the foot beam, and then over the cross bar of the trapeze. I use two-pound walking weights and S-hooks to weight the warp bouts, since the warp needs to be under sufficient tension as it is wound onto the warp beam. The warping trapeze makes it easy to single-handedly beam a warp with even tension.

Warping trapeze set up for beaming the warp.

Warping Trapeze: Two tall boards set into place just inside the sides of the loom, angled at the base, between the cloth beam and the breast beam. I clamp them on the sides for extra security. The top piece slips into a cut-out opening at the top of the side boards. Reed will be moved to the beater before beaming.

Walking weights are used to weight the warp bouts for beaming the warp.

Two-pound walking weights are perfect for hanging from S-hooks to weight the warp bouts. I can easily increase the amount of weight by adding more walking weights, as needed. For a longer warp, I tie a piece of texsolv cord in a slip knot around the warp bout, and hang the S-hooks and weights on that cord, moving it down as the warp is wound on.

Warping trapeze explained. Karen Isenhower

The trapeze is ready, with the warp weighted. Next steps: Remove the support sticks; move the lease sticks to behind the reed; straighten warp ends; place reed in the beater; slide lease sticks toward the reed. Okay, go! Wind the warp onto the beam.

(Did you notice Becky Ashenden’s flippy book, Dress Your Loom the Vävstuga Way: A Bench-Side Photo Guide on my cart? I still like to follow her step-by-step instructions to make sure I’m not missing anything.)

Enjoy this little time-lapse video I created of myself dressing the loom using the warping trapeze. (You will not see me hanging from my toes.)

I fly through the air with the greatest of ease, my threads all in place with the warping trapeze…

Thank you to Becky Ashenden for introducing me to a warping trapeze at Vävstuga Weaving School.
Many thanks to my talented husband for creating my very own warping trapeze. He’s the best!

May you come up with fantastic new stunts.

Happy Weaving,


  • cyndi says:

    I have a wonderful visual of you hanging by your toes! Great job of explaining the trapeze.

  • Gretchen says:

    Karen, I would love to talk to you more about your trapeze. I have been intrigued since I discovered them via blogs and you tube. I think Matt could build me one as well. Sometime, I would love to come see your set up as it seems a little different from others I have seen on the internet. So clever and doesn’t require fixing anything to the ceiling! It was wonderful to see you this week! Happy weaving!

    • Karen says:

      Gretchen, I would love to show it to you! The next time I’m getting ready to start a new warp, I could let you know and you could come over and see how it all works. Anyone could make this. Steve made it so it’s easy for me to use and store.

    • d'Anne Craft says:

      Could I come see your trapeze, too? I’ve been wanting one for a while now, and I am sure Bob could make it for me.

      Great explanation of how it works, Karen!

  • Mary says:

    Great job, Karen! I have yet to try this, but hope to in due time. At the moment, looking forward to finishing some looper rugs!

  • Karen says:

    Hi Mary! Looper rugs sound like great fun!

    The warping trapeze makes dressing the loom so much simpler. But everything in due time, I know. There are so many great ideas, and you can’t do everything at once!

    I hope you are doing well. I’m glad you find time to weave, between enjoying your fascinating animals and taking care of your shop. Thanks so much for dropping by here!

    Happy Weaving,

  • […] some articles about a “warping valet, which is kind of the same principle as the trapeze. Warped for Good is a blog that has pictures and a video. She also has an Etsy […]

  • Rita says:

    I love your video and loom. What brand of loom is in the picture ? I have been seriously thinking about those lovely Countermarch looms.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Rita,
      I’m glad you asked! The loom in the picture is a 120cm (47″) Glimakra countermarch loom. I also have a 100cm (39″) Glimakra countermarch. It is pure joy to weave on these looms. Let me know if there are any questions that I might answer for you.
      Happy Weaving,

  • Tom Z. says:

    I’ve been using a trapeze for a while now. I can’t imagine warping any other way.
    Great video too. I’m using handweights now also.
    I first saw a video from Laura Fry ‘beaming mats.mpg’ on youtube. 10 meters in 10 minutes!

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