It Is Going to Be All White

I am getting ready for Christmas. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Helen made a Christmas tree skirt for our family. It was a simple white felt skirt, with added colorful felt silhouettes depicting Christ’s Nativity. I want to reproduce that Christmas tree skirt using handwoven fabric. This fabric on the Ideal loom will be the base of the skirt. I will use some of my myriad handwoven fabric remnants for the colorful Nativity appliqué.

Weaving wool fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Möbelåtta warp on the right, and Fårö weft on the left.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Temple in place for consistent beat and tidy selvedges.

The warp is unbleached 8/2 Möbelåtta wool. The weft is bleached 6/1 Fårö wool. The 6-shaft point twill fabric is delightful. Perfect for what I have in mind. It is peaceful, soothing, restful, and calm. You can see that everything is going to be all white.

Wool fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
Six-shaft point twill.
Fabric for Christmas tree skirt.
In anticipation of Christmas.

There is a time for color, action, and noise. But we also need a time for serenity, stillness, and quiet reflection. Going alone to sit in the Lord’s presence gives us just that. It is there that we can pour out our heart in prayer. The Lord meets us where we are when we pray. And He tells the trusting heart that everything is going to be all right.

May your heart be at rest.

With you,
Karen

PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

The towel that was woven without floating selvedges is the same towel that received the most votes. Towel #2!

It seems counterintuitive that weaving twill structures without floating selvedges could produce a pleasing edge. But most of the time the small floats that appear at the edge are inconsequential, especially after wet finishing. (By the way, I am weaving the white point twill mentioned above without floating selvedges, as well.)

Thank you for your wonderful participation!

6 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    That’s a really lovely fabric, Karen. And yes, it’s calm, soothing, and absolutely self-assured. I’m a lover of winter and the can see the joyful little swirls of snow and ice crystals dancing over the blanket of snow. Your tree skirt is going to be stunningly beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, It does look like ice crystals on a layer of snow. It’s pretty. I think it’s going to be a lovely fabric to hold, too. Like a lightweight little blanket.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Karen,
    Are you sure you live in Texas? Your handling of white on white brings memories of last December.

    Well done.

    Nannette

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great idea for this beautiful fabric! You already know that I really like white on white, not to mention utilizing leftover fabric for the appliqué, love it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I have been carrying this project idea in my mind for a few years. It feels good to get it started. White on white has always been a favorite of mine, too, though I haven’t done much weaving of it.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

These towels make me think of my father. He was a brilliant architect. As an architect’s daughter, I learned to appreciate the interaction of structure, design, and color. This fabric has it all! These towels are also an expression of joy, a prominent aspect of my dad’s personality. If you could create a tangible article of jubilation, this would be it.

Broken and reverse twill structure. Handwoven towels.
Broken and reverse twill structure. Using all the same colors, each towel has a different sequence of weft color order.

After weaving three towels, I eliminated the floating selvedges. Which one of the four towels do you think was woven without floating selvedges? Leave your answer in the comments. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.)

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

Here’s a short slideshow video that shows the process from start to finish:

Jubilation bath towels are up next on the Glimåkra Standard!

May your jubilation rub off on your family and friends.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

47 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Number 4

  • Nancy says:

    They are all beautiful!

    I think it is number 4 that didn’t have a floating selvage. I know those edges anywhere! Ha ha

  • Kristin Martzall says:

    The towels are gorgeous ! I think I would have liked to have met your father…….
    !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m sure you would have enjoyed my father. He was a very likable guy. Thank you for your compliment on the towels!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    The richness in color and design…goodness…gracious…such beauty have you created! I and going with #3, to be the one without a floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. Thanks for making a guess. Stay tuned… I will reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They are beautiful, Karen!

  • Rachel says:

    I believe it is 4. My question is why? These towels are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, If your question is why would I eliminate the floating selvedges, I have a few reasons. Primarily, though, I can get a much better rhythm in weaving without them. And in most cases, I find they are unnecessary.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • My guess is #2. Only because it looks a little different than the others. Did you start out without one and then decide it would be A little easier to use one?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, I started out with the floating selvedges because I thought I needed them because of the reverse twill. After three towels I decided to chance it and cut the floating selvedges off. I was pleasantly surprised. It leaves only small floats at the selvedge (which are unnoticeable after wet finishing), and it was much easier for me to weave without them. I only had to toss and catch the shuttle, so my hands didn’t have to stay so close to the warp.

      Thanks for making a guess. I’ll reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Bethany Garner says:

    What a glorious video Karen… the loom, the threading, the weaving and the music brought me great joy this morning. Be safe and well! You are loved!
    Bethany in Kingston, ON Canada

  • Kristin G says:

    I’m guessing #2. These towels are gorgeous, Karen! The video with all of its loveliness brought a smile to my face this morning (and I needed it – I was feeling like a grump!) Your father sounds like such a wonderful man. Thank you for spreading joy today 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Well, I’m glad this had that effect on you because the world needs your beautiful smile! You would have liked my father, and I know he would have liked you.

      Thanks for your guess. Stayed tuned for next week….

      Hugs,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen. Your craftsmanship is so precise I couldn’t pick out the missing salvage with a laser pointer and a flashing neon light.

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    The towels are lovely. Your colors are always so interesting. If I am not being too forward, your edge in the picture where the towel is still on the look looks so firm. Would you share how you did this? Thank you, Loyanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, It’s good to hear from you.

      While on the loom, the edges stay firm for two reasons. 1. I generally keep the tension fairly tight. This is especially possible with a countermarch loom. 2. I always use a temple. The temple helps me weave tight selvedges—the weft is very snug at the selvedge, which helps keep the outer warp ends firm.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • jane n wolff says:

    These are lovely. Cam you share what yarn you used?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, Thank you for asking. The warp and weft is 22/2 Bockens Nialin (Cottolin). The cotton and linen blend is perfect for making absorbent towels.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • KimG says:

    Well, I LIKE the edge of number 2 the best. Where is the pattern from, how many shafts and what are the were and warp threads? Absolutely stunning!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, Thanks! I like knowing what you like the best.

      I started with a draft for wool blankets from Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell. I adjusted it for size and sett to make the towels, and chose my own colors. This uses 6 shafts and 6 treadles. Cottolin for warp and weft.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Kevin B says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Beautiful colors and fabulous weaving! I’m guessing #4 is the one without the floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin, I have enjoyed these colors immensely. It’s fun to find a set of colors to play around with. Thanks for making a guess! I’ll let you know the answer next week…

      Thanks for your sweet encouragement.
      Karen

  • D'Anne says:

    I suspect you inherited your father’s precise workmanship and creativity as your work is always exquisite. He sounds like a delightful father. I think #2 is the one without the floating selvedge, but I look forward to your answer. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, Your cheerful encouragement means so much to me! If I inherited my dad’s workmanship and creativity that’s saying a lot. You have a keen eye. We’ll see if you’re right about the selvedges.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Jan says:

    Beautiful towels Karen. I think No 1 is the one without the floating selvedge.

  • Linda says:

    My guess is #4. I always use a FS with twill and it makes me laugh that I am having such a hard time seeing the difference! Beautiful towels!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Floating selvedges are very common. I’m pleased to know that it is not easy to tell the difference. Weaving is far simpler for me without them. Thank you!!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kat says:

    My goodness! These towels are just stunning, color, pattern, all of it! My guess is number 2. It just looks different form the other three, and I prefer the look of that edge!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kat, Your descriptive words really warm my heart! I’m glad these towels look good to you.

      Thanks for including your guess – and your reasons.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Hi Karen,
    Your towels are wonderful. I love the combination of reverse and broken twill.
    Is this your original pattern or is it from another source?

    The video was enjoyable to watch as well.

    Can’t wait to see what your Jubilation towel project will be!
    Regards, Janis

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janis, I’m very happy with the reverse and broken twill combination. It puts a lot of action in the design.
      I started with a pattern for wool blankets in Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell, and made adjustments to turn it into towels.

      The next Jubilation Towels will be very similar, only bigger! Bath size.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Nothing beats the feel of hand wowen towels, I am sure they will be wonderful as bath towels, too 🙂
    My guess is # 2, for two reasons… the edge looks different, and I think I recognize the colors from the last towel you wove where you made this change.

  • Tobie R LuriTobie says:

    Hi Karen-The towels are beautiful but I have a question about rag rugs. I cleaned out my linen closet and discovered I have too many sheets and think they will make very good rugs. I plan to cut them in strips and dye them. My question is how wide should I make these strips–1 inch/2 inches? These are older cotton sheets so are pretty soft. What do you think? And thanks for advice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tobie, That’s great that you have cotton sheets that you can use for rag rugs. I recommend you test some different widths of strips after you get the loom warped before you cut all the strips. I use a sett of 8 epi (3 epc) with 12/6 cotton rug warp. Most of my fabric strips are 3/4″ wide. If the fabric is thin, I cut them a little wider, up to 1 inch. If you want thicker weft, 2 thinner weft strips will pack in and lay better than one wider strip. Most of the Swedish rag rug books I refer to use fabric cut to 2cm (about 3/4″), so that’s what I try to follow.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Lora says:

    Number 2. Gorgeous towels.

  • […] PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels […]

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Tried and True: Something New from Something Old

My grandma made a pattern on brown paper for a neck pillow. I suppose she found the pattern in a magazine or newspaper decades ago. I am using my copy of her pattern to make my own neck pillow. Maybe someday my pillow will be as worn and wobbly as Grandma’s well-loved neck pillow that I remember.

My version of Grandma’s neck pillow.

Looking through my pile of handwoven scraps I find the piece of fabric that had been hanging as a Roman shade on the back door of our previous home. This two-block twill in cotton and linen was my first 8-shaft project on my floor loom. Good memories! The fabric, softened and slightly faded through daily use, is perfect for the comfy neck pillow I’m imagining. (Unlike Grandma’s pillow, I’m making this one with a removable cover so it can be easily laundered.)

Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project.
Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project. I wove the linen draw cord on my two-treadle band loom.

Instructions for Constructing a Handwoven Neck Pillow

Supplies:

  • Cotton muslin, pre-washed
  • Handwoven fabric, pre-washed
  • Cluster Fluff, or other cluster fill or polyester fiberfill
  • 7” invisible zipper
  • Sewing machine
  • Invisible zipper foot
  • Sewing thread
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Iron
  • Sleeve board for pressing, optional

Steps:

  1. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the muslin.
  2. Sew two of the muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Sew the other two muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  4. Sew the two parts together, right sides together, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning and stuffing. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  5. Turn the pillow right side out.
  6. Stuff with Cluster Fluff, starting at the furthest end from the opening. Fill to desired fullness.
  7. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  8. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the handwoven fabric.
  9. Serge or zigzag the fabric edges. Press flat.
  10. Insert invisible zipper between two of the pieces.
Making a handwoven neck pillow.
Invisible zipper is sewn into place between two of the panels.
  1. Complete the seams at both ends of the zipper. Press seams open.
  2. Sew the two other pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Open zipper, and sew the two parts together, right sides together. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  4. Turn the pillow case right side out.
  5. Push the muslin pillow into the pillow case. Close the zipper.
Handwoven neck pillow cover.
Inner pillow and outer cover are made from the same pattern to make it a snug fit.
Handwoven neck pillow. How to with construction steps.
Fabric is 16/2 cotton warp and 16/1 linen weft.
  1. Take a nap in your favorite chair with the pillow behind your neck.
Handwoven neck pillow.

If you would like a pdf copy of my grandma’s neck pillow pattern, please click HERE to send me an email request. I will be happy to send the pattern to you.

May you see old treasures in new ways.

Rest and Be Well,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    This is wonderful! A lovely tribute to your Grandma!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, My Grandma was very resourceful. She probably made her pillow from a leftover scrap from her sewing fabrics, or from a garment too worn to wear. I think she would be happy with my humble version.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Nice demonstration of what to do with hand woven fabrics. A 2nd life for a beautiful fabric.

    My Grandma left behind recipes and gingham cross stitched textiles. I cut up a skirt with her embroidery to add to a wedding memory quilt made for my daughter and husband.

    You have a hug from your grandma every time you recline.

    How wonderful.

  • Linda Mesavage says:

    My grandmother was not a Weaver but she was the seller and did a lot of things out of leftovers. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! I love your project.

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Tried and True: Designing Handwoven Towels

How do you come up with a design for standout hand towels? Sometimes it’s nice to start with someone else’s ideas. There is a gorgeous wool throw, designed by Anna Svenstedt, in Favorite Scandinavian Projects To Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home, by Tina Ignell. This Colorful Throw—Reverse Twill makes a perfect template for designing eye-catching hand towels.

New handwoven towels.
Warp chains with seven colors of 22/2 cottolin for standout hand towels.

Decisions:

  • Colors – a set of seven colors, to be used in warp and weft
  • Fiber – 22/2 cottolin for warp and weft
  • Reed and sett50/10 metric reed, 10 ends per centimeter (~ 12-dent reed, 24 ends per inch)
  • Finished size of towel – 39.5 cm x 63 cm (15.5” x 24.5”)
  • Number of towels – 2 pairs of towels = 4 total
  • Spacing of warp stripes – add two more narrow stripes at each selvedge to balance the pattern

These decisions enable me to prepare a project plan, make calculations, and write a new weaving draft.

New handwoven towels.
Testing, testing…

When the loom is dressed, the design process continues as I begin weaving a sample section. This is where I decide what weft colors to use, the spacing of weft stripes, and specific treadling patterns. I add these notes to my project sheet, which I keep at the loom as my weaving roadmap.

Measuring for weft stripes.
I place my measuring twill tape along the reed to mark the spacing of the warp stripes. I will use that same spacing for weft stripes to make plaid towels.
Testing colors and patterns.
Sample weaving to try out colors, stripe spacing, and treadling patterns. And, simply to practice this broken reverse twill treadling, which requires concentration.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.

These hand towels are a preview. If they turn out as hoped, I may have to make some bath towels to match.

May your designs stand out.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Charlotte says:

    You will love the cottolin for your bath towels. I’ve used cottolin for warp and linen for weft. That works well. But, the balance of cottolin for warp and weft makes a wonderful bath towel.

    Your hand towels will be a treasure!!! The colors are smashing!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, I like the idea of using linen for weft with a cottolin warp. You would get the softness of the cotton in the cottolin and the extra absorbency of the linen. I may consider that for the bath towels. What size linen do you recommend for that?

      I’m already thinking these may be my favorite hand towels.

      Thanks!
      Karen

      • Charlotte says:

        I am sitting here at home, sipping my first cup of coffee. Hence, I don’t have my notes available to answer your question. But, I usually try a weft and weave a few rows of blocks to make certain I can square the block. If the yarn is too thick for the weft, but I’m crazy about it…I’ll weave 1/2 blocks for the cloth. I’ll treadle 1, 2, 3 and change to the next pattern row: 4, 5, 6. Does this make sense?

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Gorgeous colors. Eight shaft?

  • Joanna says:

    I wish you more joy with your plaid than I have had with mine. It’s been stalled on the loom forever. What was your inspiration for the color choices? I keep looking for echoes of your beautiful Texas Hill Country.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I know it is disappointing when something on the loom is less than what we’d hoped. What if you just finished your towels off with a single weft color, having only the warp stripes? Would that work? At least you could get them off the loom sooner.

      I have a set palette of colors for our home in Sherwin-Williams paint chips. I spread those paint chips out when deciding on thread colors for weaving that will be used in our home. I have yarn samples of all the main yarn/thread that I use (Yarn in a Jar from Vavstuga is fantastic for this) so I can spread the yarn colors out, too, and find pleasing arrangements.

      I hope you find a way to put joy back into your towel weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kevin says:

    Really beautiful! I love the colors and the pattern!

  • Barb says:

    Love the idea of using the warp stripe pattern as the spacing for the weft colors! It is an idea i will sample on the striped cotton towels on my loom. Thanks so much for sharing, I always find inspiration in your weaving journey.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, Copying the warp stripe spacing is an easy way to bring a cohesive look to the towels. Good for you to sample the idea for yourself.

      I sure appreciate your kind encouragement.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Beautiful weave.Love your color choices.

    Thank you. Much needed as I sit next to totes being filled with decades of craft supplies to be moved to the retirement home and the empty boxes to be filled for the anticipated rummage sale. The Reed Pleater will have to be sold. Can I let go of the silk screening supplies from my college days?

    In the next 9 months there is much to do to make the transition.

    Between you and Curmugeom66 my creative soul is renewed. (His last VLOG was snow blowing his yard just south of Green Bay.) That said, he has posted quite a few VLOGs using cottalin.

    Thank you for keeping me in the loop with your wonderful projects..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I understand. I, too, had to let go of many prized saved things when we prepared for our retirement move. Happily, I have no regret of letting go, and I have not missed any of it. The move became my chance to start fresh. That doesn’t make your challenge any easier, but I hope you will be encouraged. You have a bright future to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

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What to Do with Linen Leftovers

These waffle-weave washcloths are made out of my linen leftovers. For years, I’ve been saving linen scraps: the small amount left on the tube, quills that weren’t used up, thrums that I couldn’t bear to discard, and skinny warp chains from the times I accidentally wound a few extra warp ends.

Using linen leftovers for a new warp.
To make this warp, I finished off about a dozen tubes that had small amounts of 16/2 linen.
Winding a linen warp.
Putting leftover threads together.

The warp is 16/2 linen. I alternated two colors at a time in the warp, so there are interesting color-and-weave effects that outline the “waffles” in the weave.

New linen warp.
Heddles are threaded in point twill for waffle weave, alternating two colors at a time.
Afternoon sun on a new warp.
Afternoon sun is a pleasant sight on a new warp.

The linen for the weft is everything from fine 16/1 line linen to coarse 8/1 tow linen. I am purposely leaving weft tails exposed. I expect significant shrinkage, so I will trim the tails shorter after wet finishing.

How to use linen leftovers.
Linen “weft-overs” include thrums, end of tubes, and accidental warp chains.

Ideas for this project originated with Clean with Linen, by Sanna Ignell in Väv 2016 No.2, p.6, and Handtowels made of linen, by Elisabet Jansson in Happy Weaving from Vävmagasinet, p.31.

Linen waffle weave.
Linen waffle weave.

Do you have precious leftovers you’ve saved from your journey through life? Memories we don’t want to lose. And memories we wish we could forget. All these leftover threads serve as reminders that we are meant for more than what we can produce on our own. Here’s the good news. Love invites us to hand over our collection of scraps. Listen to Love. His name is Jesus. He takes our linen discards, and, with nothing wasted, weaves his beautiful story of redemption in us.

May your leftovers be given new life.

Love,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Beautifully said, Karen! And great idea! 🙂

  • Robin says:

    Fantastic idea!
    Would love to see pix of the finished wash cloth. Perhaps a future post?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin, Thanks for giving your thoughts! I will be happy to show pictures of the wash cloths when they are finished! I’ll be as surprised as you at the results. I expect to get 10 wash cloths from this warp, so hang on, it may take a while.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    An album quilt I made for my daughter’s wedding was cobbled together of the obvious dress fabric from her childhood, but also needle work from her ancestors. Textiles too fragile to use as originally designed, but reinforced and added to the beauty of the quilt designed for the next generations to come.

    One block included a piece of weaving done on a home made loom by my husband’s grandmother.

    Leftovers from earlier generations kept to build something useful and beautiful.

    Nothing goes to waste in God’s world.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Your quilt sounds fantastic. What a wonderful gift, full of meaning.

      “Nothing goes to waste in God’s world.” Amen!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Beautifully said!

  • Laurie says:

    Is that a plainweave hem? Does it contract the same as the waffleweave?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurie, Yes, I am doing a plain weave hem. I am sure it will not contract the same as the waffle weave. I expect the hem to look a bit wavy. Since this is my first time to do waffle weave, I’m waiting to see what it does for sure. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    I cannot believe, yet I must! The timing of your post – waffleweave wash cloths to my drawdown for the next project – waffleweave wash cloths! Isn’t this fun?!?!?!
    Mine will be 12/6 seine twine. The warp on the drawloom is nearly tweaked for a new run of Casita bath towels – Cottolin. The wash cloth warp will go on Julia once my Marines have come and gone. Also, for the Casita.

    The Inkle loom is warped for the hang loops…it’ll go to the mountains with us.

    Oh how I love the direction of our path and sharing it, such a sweet gift!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, How fun! And believe it or not, yesterday I finished the drawdown for my next project on the Standard – Cottolin bath towels! Wow, you and I are really in sync.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Betty Morrissey says:

    HI!
    Can’t’ wait to see them. Love how everything finds its purpose.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betty, With purpose there’s hope. And we all need hope. I’ll keep you posted on the progress and finishing of these washcloths. Stay tuned…

      All the best,
      Karen

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