Welcome to My Loom

The computer is a worthwhile instrument for creating designs to weave. I like the flexibility and repeatability it gives me for drawloom designs. I’m also using the computer to develop the cartoon for my next pictorial tapestry. The computer work takes time—usually more time than I think it should.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Come in our front door to see what is on the loom. Nearing the end of the first bath towel on this cottolin warp.

When I sit at the loom, though, time slips away unnoticed. This is where I’d rather be.

Cottolin bath towels on the loom.
Deep borders on these towels have treadling changes and contrast-thread inlay for added interest.
Start of the second cottolin bath towel on the loom.
Red cutting line is woven between the first and second towels.
Weaving bath towels on the Glimakra Standard loom.
First bath towel begins to wrap around the cloth beam.

I’m starting the second of four bath towels on my Glimåkra Standard. The loom, with its colored threads and cloth, is the first thing to greet you as you come in our front door. Welcome. Let’s put the computer away for a while and simply enjoy ourselves. There’s no better time than now.

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Previously woven hand towels that match these bath towels have not yet been used. They are presently folded and displayed in a pottery bowl on the dining room table in the next room.

May you make time for making.

Happy Planning and Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: How Far Will Your Quill Go?

Do not overfill your quills. It may seem efficient to load the quill as much as possible so you can weave as far as possible. Like me, you may have to learn this the hard way. A too-chubby quill that has to be coaxed through the shed takes more time and effort than winding a few extra quills. So much for efficiency.

Cottolin bath towels on the Glimåkra Standard.
Cottolin bath towels on the Glimåkra Standard, in twill, broken twill, and reverse twill.

It helps to have an idea of how far the thread on a quill will go. With this information, you can wind a few in advance without ending up with an excess of wound quills at the end of your project. I like to have the next quill ready to go when I am weaving so that I can put the new quill in my shuttle and keep weaving with very little interruption. This is especially helpful when the treadling sequence is tricky, like with the reverse twill in every other large color block on these cottolin bath towels. 3-2-1-6-5-4

How to Estimate Weaving Distance for Filled Quills

1 Start a new quill, leaving a 4 – 5 cm tail on the surface of the cloth. Or, start a new quill at the beginning of a color change.

How to measure how far a quill will weave.
End of one thread. Ready for a new quill.
How to know how far a quill will weave. Tutorial.
With the threads overlapping in the shed, the tail of the thread on the new quill lies on the surface.

2 Weave until the quill has emptied. Leave a 4-5 cm tail on the surface of the cloth.

How to know how far a full quill will weave.
Quill has emptied. Tail is brought out to the surface of the cloth.

3 Replace the empty quill in the shuttle with a new quill and continue weaving 1 – 2 cm further.

4 Measure the distance from the first weft tail, or line of color change, to the second weft tail. Place a straight pin, in line with the first weft tail, directly under the second weft tail. Measure from the pin to the second weft tail. This is the approximate weaving distance you can expect to cover with a new quill. Notate the quill’s estimated weaving distance on your project notes for future reference.

Tutorial on how to know how many quills you need to wind.
Measure the woven distance.

5 Trim the weft tails close to the surface.

6 Increase accuracy by repeating the process three times, and then use the average as your quill’s estimated weaving distance.

The large color blocks on this bath towel are 14 cm long. A single full quill will weave 5 1/2 – 6 cm; therefore, I make sure I have 2 full quills, plus at least another half-filled quill before I start a new color block section. It’s nice to be able to leave my foot on the treadle while I change out quills, so I don’t lose my place.

Cottolin bath towels.

May your efforts prove to be efficient.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

My New Glimåkra Julia Loom

My family of looms just welcomed a new little sister—Julia! This 8-shaft countermarch is Glimåkra’s smallest floor loom. I dressed the loom right away in 6/2 Tuna wool for 4-shaft Jämtlandsdräll to try out the loom. So far, so good. An 8-shaft project using 20/2 Mora wool is up next. Would you believe this is my new portable loom? Surprisingly, the Julia fits in the back of our vehicle, without disassembling. This is the loom you can expect to see with me at future workshops.

My new Glimakra Julia Loom delivered!
One of the boxes delivered to my front door.
Assembling my new Glimakra Julia loom!
Loom assembly in our foyer.

My Julia Observations:

  • It goes together like you’d expect from a Glimåkra. Instructions are minimal, and quality is high. It’s a well-designed puzzle.
  • The assembled loom is easy to move around to gain space needed for warping, or simply to change location for any reason.
  • The breast beam is not removable like it is on my other Glimåkra looms, which makes it a stretch to thread the heddles from the front. However, by hanging the shaft bars from the beater cradle at the very front I can thread the heddles without back strain. (Or, if you are petite and don’t mind climbing over the side, you can put the bench in the loom for threading.)
  • Tying up lamms and treadles is not much different than it is for my Ideal. Everything is well within reach from the front. It helps to take the lamms off the loom to put in the treadle cords, and then put the lamms back on the loom. With one extra person available, it is entirely feasible to elevate the loom on paint cans, upside-down buckets, or a small table to make tie-ups easier, but I didn’t find it necessary to do that.
Swedish loom corner in the living room. New Glimakra Julia.
Loom that Steve built sits near the windows in our living room. Julia sits nearby. Sister looms.
Glimåkra Standard and Glimåkra Julia in the living room.
Glimåkra Standard sits by the windows at the front of the living room. Julia sits a few steps away. Loom sisters.
  • Weaving on the Julia is a delight, as it is with my other countermarch looms. Everything works. With four shafts, the sheds are impeccable.
  • The bench adjusts to the right height.
  • The hanging beater is well balanced, sturdy, and has a good solid feel. I can move the beater back several times before needing to advance the warp.
  • I thought the narrower treadles might prove annoying, but I’ve been able to adjust quickly. After weaving a short while, I forget about the treadle size.
Jämtlandsdräll in Tuna wool.
Double-bobbin shuttle for the pattern weft, and new boat shuttle that came with the loom for the ground weave weft. All 6/2 Tuna wool. Jämtlandsdräll.

Steve is the loom assembler in our family. I stand by and give a hand when needed. I hope you can feel our excitement as you watch this short video of us discovering what’s in the boxes and figuring out how it all goes together.

May you enjoy the puzzles that come to your doorstep.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Designing with Fibonacci

Before starting, I sketched out several versions of the finished blanket, showing different sizes and arrangements of the rectangle blocks. My favorite version is one with a random look. This twelve-shaft double weave has three blocks. Block 1 is a solid color across the warp. Block 2 has a narrow, vertical contrasting rectangle. Block 3 has a wide, horizontal contrasting rectangle. The warp threading determines the width of the rectangles. But the height of the rectangles is determined by the treadling pattern. I decided to use a Fibonacci sequence of numbers in random order to guide my treadling options as I weave.

Double weave blanket.
Rectangles vary in size.

Low-Tech Random Fibonacci Sequence

1 Determine the desired range of the Fibonacci sequence. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13

2 Determine the number of repeat options for each block (one repeat is 4 picks per double-weave layer).

  • Block 1, solid color – 2 repeats every time
  • Block 2, narrow rectangle – 2, 3, 5, 8, or 13 repeats
  • Block 3, wide rectangle – 1, 2, 3, or 5 repeats

3 Write each number of the sequence on individual squares of paper. Make three sets of these numbers. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13

4 Fold each paper square in half and place in a container at the loom. Mix thoroughly.

Designing with random Fibonacci numbers. Low tech!
Fibonacci numbers are ready for eyes-closed random selection.

5 Randomly select a paper square to reveal the number of repeats for the next narrow or wide rectangle block.

Fibonacci numbers as design tool.
Assignment for the next rectangle block – three repeats. The lines indicate that this number can be used for Block 2 (narrow, vertical) or Block 3 (wide, horizontal).

For this blanket I have a woven hem and border, and then two repeats of Block 1 (solid color) between alternating Block 2 (narrow) and Block 3 (wide) rectangles of varying heights.

Double weave wool blanket.
Back side has reverse colors.
Double weave Tuna wool blanket.
Block 1 (solid blue across) stays a consistent size between the white rectangles.

Surprise is built in which makes it hard to leave the loom. “Just one more block,” I tell myself…

Double weave blanket. Fibonacci for design.
View of the cloth beam reveals the variety of sizes of rectangles. Eager to see it off the loom!

May you be greeted by random (happy) surprises.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Weaving Some Simple Borders

I need to free up this little loom in order to put on a different warp that has a deadline. So, now that I have returned from my travels, my attention is going to these towels. My friend is letting me weave this lovely cottolin warp that she got at Vavstuga.

Simple border stripe in first towel of the Vavstuga towel kit.
Simple border stripe in first towel. Straight twill.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Point twill on four shafts.
Point twill on four shafts. Three horizontal stripes made with half-bleached tow linen weft.

Straight twill, point twill, broken twill, and now “rick-rack.” And after that, a couple towels in plain weave. Everyone who weaves this Vavstuga towel kit and follows the instructions will end up with the same six towels. True? Not necessarily. I like to step off the expected path. That is why I vary the weft and include some type of simple border design on each towel.

Loom with a view. Texas Hill Country.
Three colors of 8/1 tow linen sit on the little blue table as choices for weft. Half-bleached, Unbleached, and Bronze.
Broken twill for a cottolin towel.
Changed the tie-up to broken twill, which allows me to keep a simple straight treadling pattern. Dashed weft pattern for the border stripe is produced by alternating the bronze linen weft with the half-bleached linen weft.
Color-blocked towel uses three neutral weft colors.
Long wavy vertical lines give the appearance of rick-rack. Again, I changed the tie-up to keep the simple straight treadling pattern. I use all three weft colors in this color-blocked towel.
Cottolin towels with 8/1 tow linen weft.
Plain weave, with four shafts and two treadles. The main body of the towel uses the unbleached linen weft. Two picks of half-bleached linen are sandwiched between several rows of bronze linen weft.

There is a wide path that is crowded with many people. It’s the common and expected way of life. It’s where you stay if you want to fit in with everyone else. But if you search for it, you’ll find an uncommon path. It’s narrow; and few find it. It’s the path of life that is found in Jesus Christ. Stand in the narrow path. That is where your unique features will show up as border designs that set you apart as a cherished child of God.

May you be set apart.

Happy weaving,
Karen