Tried and True: Measurement Tape

You can measure what you are weaving. A set of towels will all be the same length. A table runner will fit the table as planned. A rug will be the right size for the designated floor space. All it takes is a dependable way to measure. (Thanks to Elisabeth S. for writing me, “I’d love to have a better way to measure my work as I’m weaving it.”)

Dependable way to measure on the loom!

Measurement Tape (accompanying video below)

Supplies:

  • Calculator
  • Project notes
  • 5/8” polyester twill tape
  • Fine point indelible marker
  • Tape measure
  • 2 flat-head straight pins

Make Calculations

  • Determine the finished length.
    • Consider the Golden Ratio, 1:6.
    • Consider where the finished textile will be placed.
  • Estimate take-up and shrinkage.
  • Include these measurements in your project notes.

Prepare a Measurement Tape

  • Draw the beginning line about 2 cm from the end of the tape. If there is a hem, draw a second line to mark the hem’s length.
  • Write the item description on the tape.
  • Write ” ___ (finished length) + ___ (take-up and shrinkage) = ___ (total length)” on the tape.
  • Measure the total length from the first line (or from the hem) on the tape. Draw a line at the end (add hem, if needed).
  • Cut the tape about 2 cm after the ending line.
  • Find the middle of the tape. Draw a line and write “MID”.
How to measure your weaving on the loom.
Place the first line of the measurement tape directly over the beginning picks of the woven article.

Prepare a Half Measurement Tape

  • Do the same as for a full-length measurement tape, except divide the total length measurement in half. Draw a line on the tape at the halfway point. Write “MID” before the line.
  • Cut the tape about 2 cm after the MID line.

Weave and Measure (Always with the warp under tension)

  • Use two straight pins to pin the measurement tape to the weaving near one selvedge. Place the beginning line of the tape directly over the beginning of the woven article.
  • As weaving progresses, remove the pin closest to the breast beam. Leapfrog over the remaining pin. Reinsert the removed pin through the tape near the fell line.
Using a measurement tape for weaving consistent lengths.
Move one pin at a time. I usually move the pin right before I advance the warp.
  • If using a half measurement tape, weave past the MID line. Mark the spot with a pin. Remove the measurement tape. Turn the tape and pin into place to weave the second half.
How to make a half measurement tape.
When you reach the MID line on a half measurement tape, keep the measurement tape in place until you have woven a few more centimeters.
How to make and use a Measurement Tape for weaving accurate lengths.
Place one pin through the cloth, pointing to the MID line. Then, it’s safe to remove the measurement tape and turn it around. Go your merry way, weaving the second half of the Monksbelt runner, or whatever you have on your loom.

Here’s a demonstration of making and using a measurement tape:

(For a previous discussion of this topic, see Tools Day: Measured Weaving.)

Since you can measure what you are weaving, do relax and enjoy the ride.

May you reach the mid point at just the right time.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Happy New Warp – Year in Review Video

The 2021 cloth is cut from the loom. Let’s unroll the year to see how it looks. I see cherished moments. Treasured memories. New friendships. Family relationships enjoyed. Mistakes made. A few heartbreaks. Sorrow and rejoicing are intertwined at times. Besides the finished fabric, there are a few odd remnants worth keeping in my heart. And, like most thrums, there are some things I am not going to hold on to.

Cloth beam on the Glimakra Julia. Linen dish cloths.
Final project of 2021. Linen dish cloths, with warp made from what was left on several tubes of linen. Glimåkra Julia, using 8 shafts, 8 treadles.
Glimakra Julia - linen dish cloths!
Good-bye, 2021. Nine linen dish cloths, plus one large blue rectangle at the end. Washing dishes has never looked so good!

Three weaving highlights: 1. Eye of the Beholdertapestry of my mom. The Lord used the making and finishing of this woven portrait to reiterate His nearness when I needed it most. 2. Siblings, tapestry from the previous year, earned the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Award at the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference last summer. 3. The yellow huckaback three-tiered skirt, Tiers of Joy, ought to earn an achievement award. However, the real reward is a genuine sense of accomplishment through perseverance.

Rag rugs up next!
First warp of 2022. Glimåkra Ideal. Double-binding rag rugs coming up. Hooray!

Know when to let go. 2022 is a new warp on the loom. Some things from last year don’t belong. We have a fresh start with no room for complaints. Threads on the loom are rich with hope, ready for the intersection of thoughtful wonder and exploration. Look for results of tangible beauty.

Please enjoy looking back at the weaving journey of 2021 with me. I’m grateful to have you here, and look forward to more good times together!

The three highlights: Process Review: Eye of the Beholder, Siblings Tapestry and Process Video, Process Review: Tiers of Joy!

May you know what to hold, and what to let go.

Happy New Warp (Year),
Karen

Process Review: House and Home Towels

House is a structure. Home is an atmosphere—an atmosphere of love. Three young mothers have made their houses into homes. These are the mothers of my grandchildren, and I am giving a personalized towel to each of them. The combination drawloom is my favorite tool for an undertaking like this. (Be sure to watch the video/slideshow below to see the whole process!)

Myrehed Combination Drawloom, with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.
Glimåkra 120cm Standard Loom with Myrehed Combination Drawloom, using 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units.

First up is the Peach Jam towel to hang in my house, where all the families come for flavors of home. Next is Melody’s towel, with a whimsical cottage as Home (which can be read from front or back). Marie’s towel copies the cover of one of her favorite books, The Wise Woman. And Lindsay, a homeschool mom, has a towel that shows the wordplay humor that her family enjoys, Home’s Cool. A house is for people; come on in. A home is for family; welcome home.

Weaving personalized towels on the drawloom.
Whimsical house with whimsical flowers makes a whimsical, joyful home! Single units form the flowers under the houses. Pattern shafts hold the thread units that are raised for the three houses and the side border little squares and flowers.
Ceramic bell from my trip to Germany. Whimsical house.
Melody’s towel design is derived from this ceramic bell that I brought home from my trip to Germany. Melody is especially fond of the bell, which hangs in my drawloom studio.
Drawloom - pattern shafts and single units.
Smoke rises from the chimney, and lush trees surround the home. There is evidence of a growing family here. Chances are, Mom and Dad are reading books by the fire. And seeds are being planted that will mature into living trees.
Drawloom - combination pattern shafts and single units.
Bells ring in the towers of the schoolhouses. Single units are used for the numbers and letters on the side borders, and for the words above the pattern-shaft schoolhouses.

Join me in watching the whole process, all the way to the finished towels (several months compressed into a few minutes):

May your house be a welcome home.

With affection,
Karen

Process Review: Tiers of Joy!

Would you believe me if I told you I had the exact length of fabric needed to cut out the three tiers for this skirt, with not a millimeter to spare? It’s true. Despite a profusion of fitting conundrums, detail studies, do-overs, ripping outs, mind-bending problem solving, and to-the-thread close calls, I never considered giving up. That’s not true. I did think of throwing in the towel. But, thankfully, my cheerleader husband won’t let me take that option.

Handwoven skirt in the making.
Measure thrice, cut once. When I changed the skirt pattern, my original measurements no longer applied. I made paper patterns for the tiers. That’s when I discovered just how close the length of fabric was to the length needed.

I have a deeper respect now for my friends whose sweet spot is garment design and construction. This Tiers of Joy experience has reminded me that handweaving is my sweet spot. It’s the thing I do that makes me say, “I was made for this.” When I’m at the loom I am soaring. What is your sweet spot? Let the breath of God make you soar.

Tiers of Joy handwoven skirt! designed and woven by Karen Isenhower.

Happily, I have a memorable handwoven skirt to wear on my date with Steve to the Symphony of the Hills Christmas concert next week.

Here’s a short slideshow video of this thread-to-garment story:

I am giving thanks for you! I’m glad you and I get to walk through this weaving (and sewing) journey together.

May your heart soar with thanksgiving.

Happy Giving Thanks,
Karen

Process Review: Glimåkra Siru – First Time Around the Block

This is the completion of my first warp of three shaft twill on a rigid heddle loom. One step beyond plain weave, this opens the door to further exploration of double-heddle weaving on the rigid heddle loom. I already have two 50 cm (12-dent) heddles in hand for my next project, which will enable me to get an even finer/tighter cloth than with the 40 cm (10-dent) heddles I used for this project.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park and weaving outside.
Glimåkra Siru rigid heddle loom, beside the Weber grill on the picnic table. Weaving outside in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas.
Cottolin warp, and cottolin and linen wefts, make lightweight, but sturdy colorful face cloths. 1/2 weft-faced twill.

The Glimåkra Siru Rigid Heddle loom is the star of this show. Follow along as I take a quick look back through the process of weaving this light fabric. The cotton and linen squares are perfect for face cloths and light wash cloths.

May you be blessed.

Happy Weaving,
Karen