Process Review: Threading Preparation and Two Pairs of Lease Sticks

Dressing the loom with two sets of lease sticks keeps me on my toes. It means I am thinking carefully as I transfer lease sticks from in front of the reed to behind the reed. And, after beaming the warp(s), it means I am counting carefully as I put ends into threading groups of 48 threads each—32 ends of 20/2 cotton, and 16 ends of 22/2 cottolin.

Two set of lease sticks have been carefully moved from in front of the reed to behind the reed. After straightening all the warp ends, I will beam the warp.

I group ends together before threading. Then, when threading, if there is a discrepancy in the number of ends, it alerts me to find a threading error. Counting out these delicate unbleached cotton threads is challenge enough. Having the layer of cream cottolin threads underneath presents additional complexity. With all these ends, this part of the process is tedious. Still, it’s worth it if it lessens my chance of making threading errors with these 1,472 ends.

Preparation for threading. Ends are gathered into threading groups and tied together with a loose slip knot.
Each set of lease sticks is tied to the back beam separately, so they can hang at different heights. The lower set is tied around the side frame and over the back beam.
If I stand behind the loom, my back is in a leaning-forward position and not comfortable for long. I placed a child’s chair and cushion behind the loom. Kneeling behind the loom at this height gives me good visibility and access to the threads.
View from the back of the loom. Ends are counted at the center of a pair of lease sticks. These counted ends are tied together in a loose slip knot.
View from behind the loom. Loop of unbleached ends just counted lay on top to clear the view. Ends on lower pair of lease sticks are counted and tied separately. I tied the cotton threads and the cottolin threads separately to make it easier to find an error if I miscounted along the way (which, fortunately, didn’t happen).
Counted ends are dropped into hanging position before moving on to the next grouping. (After taking this picture, I re-tied the lease sticks closer together, making counting easier.)
Threads remain in the reed. I pull threads out of the reed when they are counted.
Pretty sight of counted ends. Ready for threading!

One step at a time.

May you enjoy the process you are in.

Happy Loom Dressing,
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

Process Review: Linne Runner

Handwoven textiles help make our house a home. Home is where the heart is. And our home is where the art of the heart is. The most recent addition is a linen runner for our dining room table. I also wove a small table mat from the same warp. Linne Runner, design by Joanne Hall. 16/2 linen warp and weft, 8-shaft two-block broken twill. Glimåkra Julia countermarch loom.

Linen runner just cut off the Julia loom!
Linen runner and small table mat just off the Glimåkra Julia loom.
Handwoven linen table runner in a handweaver's home.
Colors for the runner were chosen with our dining room in mind.

Watch the process for creating this runner from beginning to end in this short slideshow video:

May your home be filled with art of the heart.

Happy Weaving,
Karen