Forty-Four New Butterflies

The tapestry is now at forty centimeters, and the lizard is slowly crawling his way around the breast beam. I treat every ten centimeters as a milestone. It’s a good time to examine the work and make additional butterflies. I see that I need forty-four new butterflies to make it through the next ten centimeters! No two butterflies are identical. I vary the combination of yarns for each color set. These subtle color and textural variations add interest and depth to the piece.

Making butterflies for tapestry.

Various wool yarns, light green and white. I combine strands to make a bundle that is approximately equivalent in size to four strands of 6/2 Tuna wool.

Wool butterflies for tapestry of a lizard.

Green and white wool butterflies are each a little bit different.

Butterflies for weaving a tapestry.

Butterflies hang in order on a length of seine twine within easy reach of weaving.

Lizard tapestry in progress.

Color blending and color gradation is possible through the careful selection of prepared butterflies for each section.

Me. It’s all about me. That’s exactly what the tempter wants me to think. Everything should revolve around me. Wait a minute. There’s a tapestry being woven that is much bigger than me. I may be a single wool butterfly. I’m unique. And my colors and textures contribute to the tapestry in important ways. But I mustn’t forget the Grand Weaver. He carefully and deliberately wound these strands of yarn over his loving fingers to create the color he wanted to see in his tapestry. It’s not about me. It’s about the One who holds me in his hands.

May your unique colors contribute to the tapestry.

Happy Weaving,


Leave a Reply

Rag Rug Playground

This is a rag rug playground! I am weaving miniature rugs—rosepath rag rug hot pads. My small countermarch loom is perfect for this exploration. Without tabby or with tabby? Planned weft or hit and miss? Vibrant colors or soft neutrals? Weft inlay or plain and simple? So many possibilities! My “idea bank” is exploding.

Mini rag rugs for hot pads.

Reverse treadling adds a diamond design element at both ends of this mini rug.

Handwoven hot pads. Mini rosepath rag rugs.

Color choices are inspired by views outside this Texas hill country window.

My goal is to weave as many different versions as possible. No two alike! Sure, they all have the same 12/9 cotton warp and all-cotton-fabric-strips weft, but with all sorts of variations. Most will be gifts. Handwoven hot pads, making it to the kitchens of friends, to serve them well.

Rosepath detail in mini rag rugs. Making hot pads.

Rosepath detail.

Rosepath rag rug hot pads on the loom.

White fabric strips are used as tabby weft to highlight the blue rosepath pattern.

Rosepath inlay with mini rag rugs--hot pads.

Deep purple fabric strip is used for weft rosepath inlay over a plain weave background. Woven hot pads wind their way around the cloth beam, separated by scrap weft and warping slats.

There is no one like you, with your hopes, dreams, and pains. You touch others like no one else can. Your life makes a difference. Your life matters because it matters to God. Your Creator had good things in mind when he formed you. Lord, place us where we will best show your handiwork, where we can humbly serve those you’ve given us to love.

May you live on purpose.

Your friend,


  • Angela Roberts says:

    Great inspiration as always, creatively and spiritually xoxo

  • Annie says:

    It is good to be reminded that our Heavenly Father has made us all as uniquely diverse as your hot pads. Perhaps there is the bit of the weaver in him.

    And I can’t quite decide which hot pad I like best! But it seems fun experimenting!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, It’s fun to have a project on the loom that allows for experimentation.

      Yes, I’d say our Heavenly Father positively has a weaver side to him.

      All the best,

  • Gayle says:

    Love the variations, we want to see them laid out on the floor when you cut them off!!!

  • Janet says:

    Fantastic idea and I need some office gifts!! How do you finish your ends?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, I plan to tie the ends into overhand knots and then trim them to about 1/4-3/8″ or so. I could have woven hems on them with thin fabric strips and then turn the hems under and stitch, but I haven’t done that this time. It’s possible to bind the edges (after tying knots) with fabric, but that doesn’t always stay looking great, especially if they are washed frequently.

      These weave up nice and fast! …Besides being so much fun to do. Great idea for office gifts!

      Happy weaving!

      • Karen says:

        One more thing… If you plan to tie knots, it is helpful to have at least 4 inches of warp for tying. So I try to put about 8″ between mats, with scrap weft and slats. You can tie knots with less than 4″, but it can get a little tricky. I always regret it when I shorten the distance to try to save warp.

  • Kathryn says:

    Hello Karen,

    These are beautiful! What a wonderful way to play with new patterns and colors while using up fabric scraps. Plus, they’re very useful!

    Can you tell me, how long is your warp and how many potholders do you think you’ll end up with? I don’t have a lot of cotton fabrics laying around, but I’m sure wool scraps would work just as well, don’t you think? In fact, with wool being naturally fire retardant, they might be a good choice:)

    Thank you for sharing. I always look forward to your blog posts!!


    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn, I wish I could tell you how long the warp is. This started as a tapestry/inlay project. After finishing the first of four panels, I decided I didn’t want to weave three more. The original warp was probably about 5 or 6 yards. Instead of cutting off the rest of the warp, I decided to do something fun and easy – hot pads! I have not been counting, so I can’t even tell you how many I have so far – maybe 6 or 8. And I’m guessing I’ll get 3 or 4 more.

      If I were planning this from the start, I would figure the length of the hot pad (mine are about 5-6″ long), plus 4″ on both ends for tying knots (or 2″ on each end for weaving hems, plus the 4″ for knots). Multiply by the number of hot pads you want. Add about 15% take-up and shrinkage. Add loom waste. (Hmm… maybe I should do a blog post about project calculations…)

      I think wool fabric would be a great choice for hot pads. I didn’t know about wool being naturally fire retardant. That’s good to know!

      Thanks for asking great questions!

  • Limor Johnson says:

    Hi Karen,
    What is the sett on these beautiful rugs? What size reed are you using?

    Thanks for sharing, great work and pictures,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Limor, The sett is approximately 6 epi. I’m using a metric 25/10 reed, the rough equivalent of which is a 6-dent reed. One end per heddle, and one end per dent.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      All the best,

Leave a Reply

Color Wrapping

What would you do with nine colors of 16/2 cotton thread? Play with color, I hope! I have hand towels in mind, in a subtle three-shaft twill weave. I challenged myself to create a pleasing arrangement of stripes for the warp. Hmm, should I use a Fibonacci number sequence…or evenly-spaced stripes? Random color order…or planned color order? I came up with several possible color arrangements; each one is unique. You and I are colorful and unique, too.

Color wrapping for stripe design. Some use Fibonacci.

Assorted colors of 16/2 cotton from my stash. Wrapping the threads on folded index cards is an easy way to try out different stripe patterns. Two of the patterns have evenly-spaced stripes. The other three use a Fibonacci number sequence to set the width of the stripes.

I love considering the options at the start of a project in order to have the best results in the end. Maybe our grand weaver is like that, too. “This person will be given a subtle arrangement of colors, evenly spaced; that person will have more intense colors, passionately vibrant. This other person will be given a large stroke of turquoise, because my world needs more turquoise.”

The grand weaver has designed you with certain colors as a gift to you–for you to enjoy life. The way to take full advantage of that gift is by using your colors to serve others. First, receive the gift with open hands. And then, whenever possible, give your gift away.

Which of the five arrangements of stripes in the picture appeals to you the most? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments! I am curious to see if the one I decided on receives any votes.

May you unwrap your gift.



  • Birthe P says:

    Number 2 and 5 looks best to me – can’t decide which of the two!

    • Karen says:

      Well, Birthe, I had a hard time deciding which one to go with. I changed my mind three times. haha!
      Thanks for giving your vote. I’ll reveal my choice next week. (I finished winding the warp last night.)

  • Cyndi says:

    They are all beautiful – just like your descriptive comments about the colors of life. So very glad our paths have crossed.

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    These color cards makes me think of groups of people. All five of these combinations have a place and a time, both among people and in the things we surround us with.

    How I perceive them:
    Number 1 as a group that lacks balance and where most members have strong opinions.
    Number 2 as a group with a strong leader and colorful members.
    Number 3 as a balanced group working behind the scenes where all members play an equal role.
    Number 4 as a balanced group with very high energy members…to the point of hyperactive 🙂
    Number 5 is interesting…a group with a couple of strong but not so visible members (red) are keeping this group from falling apart despite its lack of focus and diverse members.

    A hand towel is such a small part of our life; at the same time it serves an important function. It affects us every time we touch it, either it is drying off our hands or folding it after it has been washed. It affects us every time we glance at it in between uses. It affects us every time we open up the drawer or the cabinet door where it is stored.

    My favorite is number 3. I would enjoy the balanced subtlety because a hand towel has such a quiet purpose despite its frequent use.

    Other people see the world differently and would need different things in their life. Subtlety happens to bring joy to my life, you best know what brings joy to your life. There is not right or wrong here, just different.

  • Grethe says:

    I’ll vote for number 5, Have you tried to take a black and white foto, then you can see the balance between dark and light.

  • Barbara says:

    I like how the black contrast makes the other colors “pop.” But I think my favorite is the last one – kind of between the most subtle and the most bold. I’m trying to find the right balance in this transition period between my past occupation and where God is leading me next. I’ve applied for an open position with a local crisis pregnancy center. Pretty excited about the possibilities and the eternal impact it has.

  • Karen says:

    It is very interesting to hear everyone’s point of view. I love the thoughts you are writing in the comments.

    I agree with Elizabeth, that there is no right or wrong here, just preference. There is right and wrong, and there are preferences – and it’s good to know the difference.

    Grethe, great advice! I didn’t even think of taking a black and white photo to see the balance. I’m going to try that right now.

    Finding the right mix of colors in a season of life is a challenge and an exciting adventure. Way to go, Barbara!

  • claudia w says:

    I like the fifth combination of colors. It’s balanced, but has differences, like people in general.

  • Judith says:

    I like the middle one. I’m not fond of dark colours in tea towels. However, this
    year at our Guild sale all the dark coloured tea towels sold first! They are popular now.
    I really like more natural colours. I am sure whatever you pick will be beautiful as they all look nice. Actually 16/2 cotton also makes a nice light weight scarf! Did some beautiful ones at a workshop last summer.

    • Karen says:

      Judith, I’m glad to get your vote! I enjoyed reading your thoughts behind it.
      I made scarves out of 8/2 cotton once, and they were too chunky. I think 16/2 cotton would be much better. I’ll have to put that on my list of things to try.

  • Wende says:

    I like 3 and 5 best. Both are beautiful!

Leave a Reply