Picture Perfect Handwoven Skirt

The skirt in my mind is picture perfect in style and fit. If I could snap my fingers and make the skirt appear, I would. Instead, I find my way to a workable sewing pattern by trial and error—agonizing over every small step. The sewing part doesn’t scare me. But I’m in over my head in the garment design arena.

Using Garment Designer to design a layered tiered skirt.
Quarter-scale pattern pieces give me a way to test and try various ways to put the skirt together. I learn a lot of things that don’t work. There is much sewing, ripping, tweaking, calculating and recalculating, etc. And pulling my hair out, figuratively speaking.
Designing a handwoven skirt using Garment Designer software.
Settling on something that works. One more little mockup should answer most remaining questions. I use Garment Designer (patterning and design software) to create the patterns. I can print quarter-scale and full-scale sewing patterns.

A not-as-simple layered tiered skirt replaces my original idea of a simple three-tiered skirt. The new design has a fitted yoke at the top of the skirt (and a zipper) instead of a super-simple elastic gathered waist. All this, so the distinctive borders of each tier will flutter freely, and not be trapped in seams. The trouble is worth it. I can see the finished skirt in my mind’s eye. It is phenomenal! The fabric is handwoven, made for a purpose. This is a skirt worth waiting for.

Testing ideas for a handwoven skirt.
Testing ideas full scale. After several tries, I finally have a good fit on the skirt yoke, which is encouraging.
Handwoven skirt in the making!
Full-size mockup (not shown) satisfies my fit and style requirements. Floral cotton lining fabric will be concealed under the handwoven tiers. Full-scale sewing pattern is printed and ready…

You were skillfully made for a purpose. Through many trials and errors, lessons in success and failure, we discover why we are here. God created you for this very time. Trust him to guide you, especially through agonizing moments. By his grace, he forms us into the phenomenal masterpiece that he has always had in mind.

May you walk with purpose.

Love,
Karen

Wild Dish Cloths

I like having a project on one of my looms that is within reach of any friend who drops by. This new warp on the Julia fits the bill. Since I am using up several nearly empty tubes of linen, I am giving this warp an irregular color sequence. That should be interesting in this very structured 8-shaft broken twill.

Glimakra warping reel, linen warp.
Emptying a few tubes of 16/2 linen.
Glimakra warping reel, linen warp.
Irregular warp stripes are formed on the warping reel.
Finished off some linen! New linen warp.
Odds and ends of linen get used for cloth that will be used.

I am making dish cloths here. Linen dish cloths. Why not wash dishes with something interesting? I am eager to see what develops as I add weft colors. Anyone else who sits at this loom can choose their own mix of colors. I hope we get some wild combinations that bring a smile to the one whose hands are washing dishes.

Ready to weave some linen dish cloths.
Warp chains for some wild dish cloths.

God’s wisdom is a far reach for our human understanding. The complexity of his creation shows us how much we still don’t understand. How could we ever reach that far? Our best efforts are like irregularities in a well-structured cosmos. Good news! God put himself within our reach. He did it at his own expense—the cross of Christ. When we trust in Christ our wild threads are expertly woven into cloth that he can use. Some of our wild combinations probably make him smile.

May you grow in wisdom.

With wild threads,
Karen

Quills of Summer Yellow

Yellow is everywhere right now. A profusion of wildflowers stretches across our backyard, and much of it is yellow. The bright yellow linen weft fits right in! This is skirt fabric in the making. Wearing the skirt will be as if I’m wearing my own little summer flower garden.

Five more wound quills ready to go!

One shuttle, one color. There are no decisions to make about the weft. Just keep these quills full of glowing yellow thread. When the last of the filled quills is in the shuttle, I weave until I find a good stopping place. Then, it’s time to get up and wind a handful of quills again. Replenish before the quill in the shuttle is bare.

Huckaback skirt fabric. Linen weft.
24/2 cotton warp, 16/1 linen weft, 5-shaft Huckaback.

To be full of faith is to be faithful. We say we trust Jesus. But can Jesus trust us? Faith-ful means you not only believe in him, you abide in him. You believe, and you live what you believe. Day, after day, after day. Quill, after quill, after quill. Replenish regularly to keep getting filled up. Never depleted. Always ready for the next pick.

May you never be depleted.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Time to Weave

I would like to finish this skirt project in time to wear the skirt this summer. Huckaback (huck lace) is easy to weave, but it takes time. All I need is time.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
Huckaback with five shafts and five treadles on the Glimåkra Ideal.

Linen weft threads pack in tighter and make better selvedges when they are dampened. I need a tight weave to square the pattern that is coming on the next two skirt tiers. And the edge of the skirt flounce is a selvedge that will be fully exposed, so tidy selvedges are a must. It takes a little bit of time to hold a damp cloth against the thread as I wind a quill, or to wrap a damp cloth around a quill that’s already wound. It’s worth it. In the scheme of things, that little bit of time is nothing…and everything.

Weaving fabric for a tiered skirt.
By dampening the 16/1 linen weft I am able to get a tight weave without having to beat as hard.
Linen weft in schoolbus yellow!
The edge with the poppy-thread border will be the lower edge of each tier on the three-tiered skirt. I’m paying special attention to the selvedge, and dampening the linen weft really helps!

We all have a little bit of time. Look at your hand. A lifespan is no longer than the width of your hand. A lifetime is one moment to God. Our life begins and ends in one breath of God. This little bit of time we have is nothing…and everything. This is how God loved us in our little bit of time: he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but have timeless life with him.

May you have a little bit of time.

With you,
Karen

Palms Up

I distinctly remember the thrill of weaving my first two-block twill on eight shafts. It was a linen table square woven on a Glimåkra Standard loom in Joanne Hall’s delightful Montana studio. That classy linen table square came home with me, …and my first floor loom came soon after–a Glimåkra Standard of my own!

Two-block twill linen table square.
Linen table square, woven at Joanne Hall’s studio.

I can still hear Joanne’s gentle instruction about holding the shuttle. “Palms up.” This way is easy on the hands and wrists. I’ve had considerable practice since those lessons in Montana. Now, I send the shuttle across the warp and catch it securely with ease. That same two-block twill “Linne” pattern is on my Julia loom now, bringing back those fond memories. It comes as no surprise that watching threads on eight shafts become woven cloth is just as thrilling now as it was that very first time.

Linen table runner on 8 shafts.
Linne Table Runner on the Julia in golden bleached, olive green, and midnight blue 16/2 line linen.

Deliberate hands send the shuttle through the shed, and receive it as it comes through to the other side. God’s hand is faithful. Trust-worthy. Think of his hand as open, palm up. Carrying, sustaining, and holding us securely. Trust puts us into the Lord’s faithful hand.

May you remember what you’ve been taught.

Happy Weaving, Karen