Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video

Talk about exciting! When something has been on the loom this long it is indeed exciting when the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. I finish weaving the final “bonus” towel. And then, I use up all the quills to make a little piece of scrap fabric (because scrap fabric is always better than leftover quills). And then! Then, I start my cutting-off checklist.

After all this time, the moment we’ve been waiting for is here!

After weaving a short scrap fabric with thread left on quills, it is time for cutting off the long monksbelt runner and two bonus towels.

I cut off the warp. And as I unroll the cloth, I am mesmerized by the tactile intricacy that passes through my fingers–Fårö wool for the pattern weft, and 16/2 cotton for slow-as-molasses weft rep ground cloth. Finishing proves to be the easiest and quickest part of this project. I like the crisp pristine state of the monksbelt runner, so I am not going to wet finish this article. I examine for errors (none found!), wet finish the two towels, hem the table runner and towels, and press. The Priceless Monksbelt Runner now graces our dining room table.

After the Priceless Monksbelt Runner I had enough warp to weave two bonus towels with monksbelt borders. In between the towels I did a small heart-shaped inlay just for play.
Two simple plain weave towels, with monksbelt borders. The tabby weft is 16/2 golden bleached linen. The coral pattern weft and green pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen. The ecru center pattern weft is doubled 6/1 tow linen. Warp is 16/2 cotton. With only one washing so far, the towels still have a wonderful crisp linen hand.

The exceptional value of handwoven textiles makes your home a welcoming place. Time is one of our most valuable assets. That makes the textiles we create priceless!

Our dining table is just to the right as you walk through the front door of our home. May all who enter know they are welcome here!

Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.

May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Monksbelt Surprise Ending

Monksbelt has been on the Glimåkra Standard for months. I expect the table runner to be fabulous when it finally comes off the loom, so I’m not complaining. The time spent weaving only adds to its worth. The runner is finished, so why not cut it off now and count the remaining warp as excess thrums? That shows how eager I am to put this monksbelt runner to use!

Long monksbelt runner is woven. End of warp has room for two plain weave towels with a monksbelt accent.
16/2 cotton warp. Coral 16/1 linen hem. Unbleached 16/2 linen ground weft. Coral 16/1 linen, doubled, outline pattern weft. Camel 6/1 tow linen, doubled, pattern weft.

The truth is, there is enough warp left for one, or maybe two, tea towels. After experimenting with several weft ideas, I am excited about weaving to the very end of the warp! Monksbelt gives us a surprise ending. A plain weave towel with a monksbelt border—this is a happy ending to a good long story.

May you keep going until the very end.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Hazards and Rewards of Weaving a Portrait

When you want a better photograph you snap another picture. When you want a better tapestry you take out what you’ve woven and weave it another way. I recently showed you my progress on the tapestry of my mother. (See Tapestry of the Heart.) As I viewed the tapestry in photographs I could see that the 6/1 tow linen that weaves between the rows of wool was too bright. The golden bleached linen is lovely on its own, and melts into the background on the sides of the portrait. But this bright linen draws undo attention to itself within the darker portions of the tapestry because of the stark contrast. The day after that post I undid everything back to the starting line.

Weaving a four-shaft tapestry portrait.
Take One, with golden bleached 6/1 tow linen weft threads interspersed.

Undoing a few weeks of tapestry weaving is not physically hard to do, but making the decision to undo it is hard, indeed. Since then, I have been weaving every day to get back to the point where I stopped everything. This time, I am using a different color tow linen that will make all the difference.

Wool butterflies for a tapestry portrait.
Take Two. Golden beige tow linen, as seen in the header rows, is interspersed in the weaving.
Tapestry portrait in progress.
I was able to save and reuse some of the wool butterflies from the first take.
Tapestry portrait of my mother.
Almost back to where I stopped. Besides changing the linen weft color, weaving a second time allowed me to make other improvements to the tapestry, as well.
Is that a look of approval?
Small sample of each butterfly is pinned to the picture beside my loom. I choose colors for each wool bundle in correlation to its adjacent colors, working out the colors a few steps ahead of my weaving. …Is that a look of approval?

Now, instead of golden bleached, the linen thread is a golden beige that disappears into the fabric, while holding everything together. Come to think of it, that is an apt picture of a mother’s influence.

May you know when to go back to the beginning.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tapestry of the Heart

It is a daunting task to weave a tapestry of an important person. Do I have enough skill to give what this project deserves? I started with a photograph of a beautiful woman in her eventide years, and made a workable cartoon. The person in the picture is someone who has significantly influenced my appreciation of beauty all around. This is my mother.

Tapestry weaving that starts with a photo of a beautiful woman.
Photo enlargement is printed and taped onto poster board. I keep it near the loom for reference while I’m weaving.
Planning a new 4-shaft pictorial tapestry!
Cartoon replica is printed and taped to foam board. I plan out butterflies for the first few rows of the tapestry and pin them in their place on the picture. Yarn overflow is on the windowsill beside the loom.

In preparation for the tapestry, I have been weaving sample areas of the cartoon. The eyes, the chin and neck, the mouth, the edge of the ear. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to exaggerate contrasts in value, and to dull the colors that are adjacent to colors that I want to appear bright. It’s time to step out and give myself to the task. This is where I aspire to show more than the unique features of my mother’s face. It’s where I show her heart.

Beginning wool butterflies for a new tapestry.
First row of the tapestry has only four butterflies. Additional butterflies are added gradually over the next few rows. (Tapestry begins with a few rows of white 6/1 tow linen.)
Weaving a pictorial tapestry of this lovely woman.
Printed reference cartoon helps me check my work as I go along. The cartoon that is under the weaving on the loom is not only larger, it is printed at a lighter setting, which makes a better weaving guide for me.

A generous heart always has enough. Giving out of our surplus is not generosity. However, if I give you what I’d rather keep, I give you some of myself. Give time, resources, support. Share talents, fascinations, insights. Mom, thanks for giving me so much of yourself.

May your loved ones benefit from your generosity.

With gratitude,
Karen

Process Review: Weaving Rhythm

“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.

Glossary

Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.

Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.

Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.

When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.

First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.

  1. Finishing
  2. Dressing
  3. Weaving

Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.

Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), vertical countermarch. My first floor loom. Weaving the third of four bath towels, 6-shaft broken and reverse twill, 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels.
Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. Weaving hanging tabs for bath towels. 22/2 cottolin warp and weft.
Glimakra 100cm Ideal. Sweet little loom.
Glimåkra Ideal, 100cm (39″), horizontal countermarch. My second floor loom. Dressing the loom in 24/2 cotton, five-shaft huckaback, for fabric to make a tiered skirt. Ready to start sleying the reed.
Hand-built Swedish loom.
Loom that Steve built, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. My third floor loom. Weaving the header for a pictorial tapestry sample, four-shaft rosepath, 16/2 linen warp, Tuna/Fårö wool and 6/1 tow linen weft.
Sweet little Glimakra Julia 8-shaft loom.
Glimåkra Julia, 70cm (27″), horizontal countermarch. This is my fifth (and final?) floor loom. Weaving the first of two scarves, eight-shaft deflected double weave, 8/1 Mora wool warp and weft.
Weaving lettering on the drawloom.
Glimåkra Standard, 120cm (47″), horizontal countermarch, with Myrehed combination drawloom attachment. This is my fourth floor loom. Weaving some lettering for the seventh pattern on this sample warp, six-shaft irregular satin, 16/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft. 35 pattern shafts, 132 single unit draw cords.

Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.

Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.

May you always give thanks.

With a grateful heart,
Karen