Process Review: Christmas Tree Skirt Fabric

This is a Christmas tree skirt in the making. The next stage of this special project will include appliqué and embroidery. The embellished tree skirt should be complete by the time Steve and I put up our Christmas tree this year. This luscious white-on-white wool cloth is just the beginning. Some colorful handwoven remnants will tell the rest of the story. I’ll let you know when that part is finished…

At the very end, with the back tie-on bar right behind the shafts.
Back tie-on bar is right behind the shaft bars. The shed is compromised, but I am still able to squeeze my shuttle through to weave enough picks to empty my quill.
Just off the loom, unwashed handwoven wool fabric.
Just off the loom, unwashed. 8/1 Möbelåtta unbleached wool warp and 6/1 Fårö bleached wool weft.

I thoroughly enjoyed the one-shuttle monotone weaving. It was a quiet stream amid my other rambunctious color-filled looms.

Handwoven fabric for a Christmas tree skirt.
Wash on delicate cycle in the washing machine. Place in dryer on low heat for ten minutes. Air dry to finish. Snuggle.

Here’s a view into the process of making this cloth.

May your days be merry and bright…

Happy early Christmas,
Karen

16 Comments

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Tried and True: Checklist for Winding a Warp

I am winding a narrow warp for my next drawloom project. My warping reel is in a little four-foot-by-four-foot corner of my drawloom studio, and has just enough room to maneuver. When I am ready to wind a warp the first thing I pull out is my trusty checklist. I use a checklist for efficiency. It keeps me on track. And it’s more dependable than my memory.

Checklist for Winding a Warp

__ Weigh warp thread and write the amounts on the project notes. By weighing the thread before and after a project, you will know exactly how much warp thread was used in the project.

__ Stick a sample four-inch thread to each thread label; put a rubber band around the tube. After you finish winding the warp, you can quickly pair each yarn with its correct label because of the sample thread stuck to the label.

__ Bring supplies to the warping reel. If your warping reel is in a different room, or in a separate building, like mine is, make sure you have all you need before you head to the warping reel.

+ Thread for the project

+ Thread stand, if not already in place

+ Scissors

+ Choke ties

+ Project notes, with fully completed draftAn incomplete draft may give faulty information. Also, a review of the project notes and draft is a good idea, especially if weeks or months have passed since you wrote it all down.

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Set up the warping reel for warp length. Use a guide string, or measure the distance needed to place the pegs and turning pin at the right place on the warping reel for the warp you are going to wind.

Checklist for winding a warp.
Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Set out the thread on the thread stand. Wind the warp with two or more threads at the same time, for best results.

__ Hang or tape up the project notes at eye level. Project notes show the warp sequence and other vital information.

__ Take note of warp length, number of bouts, and number of ends in each bout. Aim for 25 cm (10”) or less in the reed, or 200 or fewer ends, per bout. For the drawloom, wind the warp in pattern unit increments when possible.

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Wind first bout, counting warp ends. Use a cord between groups of ends to keep track of the counting.

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Visually check the warp order. Check to see that the warp order on the warping reel matches the warp sequence on the project notes. (I added this step to my checklist after the time I omitted 6 threads at the center of a warp, discovered after threading the loom.)

__ Tie off around the turning pin or the outside peg. Always wind the last pass with two or more threads together so you can tie them around the pin or peg.

__ Tie the lease cross; and tie choke ties on the warp. Tie the cross first, and tie any passes of the warp directly above the cross. Then, spin the wheel and tie the warp wherever it passes on the side opposite the cross. Also tie at the turning pin, at the top and bottom of the loop.

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Chain the warp bout. Start the chain by holding the loop at the turning pin, and pull out the pin. Chain the warp, ending at the cross. (I use my knee, not so gracefully, to control the turning of the reel as I chain the warp.)

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Place the warp bout on the loom, with the lease cross end going through the beater.

__ Wind remaining bouts, following the same procedure. When you place the warp chain on the loom double check the warp sequence to make sure the bouts are in the right order.

Checklist for winding a warp.
Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Roll up the thread tubes, replace labels, weigh thread and write down amounts, and place thread tubes in project bin. Each loom has its own project bin to hold the thread for that project.

Checklist for winding a warp.

__ Put away the choke ties, scissors, and thread holder.

__ Fold up the warping reel.

Checklist for winding a warp.

Get ready to dress the loom!

Checklist for winding a warp.

May you enjoy the process.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much! I realize it has been awhile, long enough to forget the steps. I’ll wind a warp today following these instructions. Then I will have two towel warps and can hopefully dress the loom without my usual long pause I’ll weave the easy one first, to get back into it, and have as a goal to have some towels ready as Christmas gifts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I’m glad you can use this! A checklist really helps me when I’ve been away from the loom for a while. I don’t have to re-think everything. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your towels. They will be beautiful, I’m sure!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Ah, yes, tie the cross. I don’t know how many times I’ve come *this close* to forgetting that step.

  • Karen Simpson says:

    Thank you so much….I’ve never weighed before to determine usage amount…will do. I also number my bouts with a sticky…learned the hard way..ha….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way, too. 🙂 I also weigh my weft thread before and after. The accumulated data helps when planning new projects.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Barbara says:

    I use a different color tie at the top of the lease cross so I know which way is up when taking the warp bout to the loom. Got confused once with a striped warp, took a bit of “undoing” to be sure I didn’t have the same colored stripes next to each other.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, Thanks for sharing your helpful tip. Getting the warp bouts mixed up at the loom is not fun. Some of our best lessons come through fixing our mistakes!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Summa Irukalam says:

    This is terrific! Thank you.

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Process Review: Drawloom Weaving without Errors

I found a way to practically eliminate draw cord errors on the single-unit drawloom. After making one too many mistakes while weaving this rag rug, I resolved to find a solution. True, I will still make mistakes, but now I expect them to be few and far between. (To view the first rag rug on this warp, see Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug.)

My most frequent error is having a draw cord out of place, either pulled where it shouldn’t be, or not pulled where it should be. And then, I fail to see the mistake in the cloth until I have woven several rows beyond it. I determined to find a way to eliminate this kind of error. (For an example of this kind of error, see Handweaving Dilemma.)

Test 1. Double check my work. Pull all the needed draw cords for one row and then double check all the pulled cords.
Results: This bogs me down. And I still fail to catch errors.

Test 2. Double check my work little by little. Treat every twenty draw cords as a section—ten white cords and ten black cords. Pull the cords in the first section. Double check. Pull the cords in the next section. Double check. And so on all the way across…
Results: Easy to do. I quickly catch and correct errors.

Now, I am implementing this incremental method of double checking my work on the little bit of warp that remains. With a Happily-Ever-After ending, the short Lost Valley piece is completed with NO draw cord errors! (Lost Valley is the name we’ve given our Texas Hill Country home.)

Woven Rag Rug and Lost Valley process in pictures:

May you learn from experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Geri says:

    Wow, more beautiful weaving and I love your new pieces!

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    Your work as always is stunning. Forgive me if you have mentioned your weft material before. The materials look shiny. Could you share what you use for weft. Thank you
    Loyanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne,

      The weft is 100% cotton fabric cut in 1 cm strips. It has some variance to it because of the way the strips turn in the shed, and because I alternated 2 different fabrics for each color block area.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Well worth all the suspense! The pieces are amazing.

  • Nannette says:

    Hurray!!

    I hate rework almost as much as I hate looking at the mistakes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I don’t think any of us enjoy doing the rework. There’s usually a solution to a recurring problem if we take the time to think it through.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Barbara Mitchell says:

    Oh, Karen, after seeing only a little bit at a time, how exciting to see your rugs off the loom and finished. Beautiful work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, I’m with you. Even being the one at the loom, I have to wait to see the whole thing. It’s always an exciting moment to unroll it!

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Karen Reff says:

    I found that I made less errors by outlining the pattern areas with a dark black, thin marker. That line made all the difference for me.
    Your rug is Gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, Thank you for that helpful tip. I will try it. I definitely found that my chart must be clearly in focus and have adequate contrast for the pattern areas. I reprinted my chart a couple times to make improvements. You have my wheels turning now. I may be able to add that outline on the computer in Affinity Photo where I make the chart. I will test that out!

      Many thanks!
      Karen

  • Marie says:

    Hi Karen
    Love your work. I have woven and owned both a Glimarka Single and an Oxaback combination drawlooms. They both have overhead draw systems. When I designed repeat patterns for the single unit, I always wove a sample of the design first. At the same time, I would add leashes to the cords for pattern selection. If design was a complete repeat, I would just push the leashes back and start over. If the design was on a point, I would weave to the point then return reverse pulling the leashes. I don’t know if this is possible on a Myrehed draw system?
    I also use a highlighter every ten squares on my design paper to correspond to the 10 dark thread in the draw warp.

    Have lots of fun

    Marie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie, The overhead draw system sounds very useful. I have seen pictures of them. I don’t think the Myrehed system has the capability to save leashes, at least I am unaware of it.

      That’s a great suggestion to use a highlighter to mark the design paper. Anything that makes the chart more readable is a great idea! Thanks so much.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful result, as always, it is so intriguing what you are able to create on your drawloom! And what a great idea for the short warp you had left.
    Double checking your work little by little is a great idea! It is far from comparable to this, but I divide into “twenties” when casting on for knitting, placing markers as dividers. Like you said, it is so much easier to catch errors. I never thought about it for weaving, but now I know 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, We use this concept of double checking many times in the weaving process–in winding the warp, threading, sleying, and even in making calculations for planning a warp. It only makes sense to use the same concept in other processes.

      Thank you,
      Karen

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Process Review: Jämtlandsdräll with Julia

My intention is to weave fabric for a couple of cushy throw pillows. But after just one pattern repeat, I realize that this cloth on my brand new Glimåkra Julia is something I would like to wear! No pillows this time. Instead, here is my new autumn/winter shoulder wrap, embellished with frisky swinging fringes. Miss Julia has proven her worth on four-shaft Jämtlandsdräll (crackle) in 6/2 Tuna wool. Her next adventure will be something that explores all eight shafts. (See My New Glimåkra Julia Loom.)

Jämtlandsdräll Wool Wrap - woven on Glimåkra Julia.
Finished wrap. Ready for cool weather!

This project starts with the draft for the Jämtlandsdräll Blanket on p.59 of Simple Weaves, by Birgitta Bengtsson Björk and Tina Ignell. Tuna yarn samples, along with Fiberworks Silver for Mac, help me jazz up the color. I settle on three colors for the warp, with burnt orange as the anchor. Six different colors are used for the pattern weft, plus dark teal for the tabby.

Planning my next weaving project on Fiberworks.
Paint chips, Tuna yarn samples, and Fiberworks Silver for Mac aid my planning process.
Colors! Let's see how they work together on the loom.
Colors! Let’s see how they work together on the loom.
Beaming the warp on my new Julia.
Beaming the warp.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (Crackle) on my new Julia.
Daylight, plus colorful yarn. As summer is warming up outside, Julia is dressed warmly inside.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (crackle) on my new Julia.
There is something about weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle that I especially enjoy.
Color gradation in the pattern.
Some color gradation in the pattern.
My new Glimakra Julia!
Miss Julia, filling up her cloth beam.
Crackle (Jamtlandsdrall) in Tuna Wool.
Ending with a few picks of plain weave.
End of warp on my new Glimakra Julia.
Thrums at the end of the warp will serve as fringe.
Cutting off Jamtlandsdrall (crackle)!
Cutting off, giving a view of the back side of the cloth. Front and back have reverse images.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Twisting fringe on Jamtlandsdrall wrap.
Much to my pleasant surprise, after removing (unweaving) my short sample weaving at the beginning, and untying the front tie-on knots, I had the EXACT same length of fringe–to the centimeter–on both ends of the woven wrap.
Chunky, frolicky fringe.
Overhand knots secure the weft. Two groups of four warp strands each form each chunky fringe. Now, this wrap is ready for wet-finishing.

This is one of those times when the weaving is so satisfying that I truly don’t want the warp to come to an end. (…except that I’m excited to start on Julia’s second adventure!)

Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap
Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap

May your adventures never cease.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Bom dia! Ficou lindo essa peça.Sou brasileiro, professor aposentado e estou tecendo a pouco tempo em um tear de quatro eixos que eu mesmo fiz. Gostaria de saber qual é a medida do tecido pronto? E onde encontro esse padrão para quatro eixos. Muito obrigado por compartilhar seu trabalho

    • Karen says:

      Google Translate: Good Morning! This piece was beautiful. I am Brazilian, retired teacher and I am recently weaving on a four axis loom that I made myself. I would like to know what is the measure of the finished fabric? And where do I find this pattern for four axes. Thank you so much for sharing your work

      Bom dia, Reinaldo!
      Thank you very much. The finished piece is 47cm (18 1/2”) wide and 146cm (57 1/2”) long, plus 14cm (5 1/2”) fringe on each end.

      This pattern is in the book “Simple Weaves,” p.59 “Jämtlandsdräll (Crackle) Blanket,” by Birgitta Bengtsson Björk and Tina Ignell, published by Trafalgar Square Books, Vermont, 2012. I changed the colors in the pattern.

      The weave structure is Jämtlandsdräll, also known as Crackle.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Yep, a much better wrap.

    Beautiful !

    Can’t wait to see your next creation.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It would have made a pretty throw cushion, but I already have plenty of those. This will be fun to wear!

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Betsy Greene says:

    That’s a beautiful wrap! Thanks for sharing your design process.
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing a bit of my design process. I don’t usually use the weaving software, but this makes me want to put it to use more often. It helped to see different possibilities on the screen.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Simply lovely! I so enjoy following along with your projects. You inspire me to try new techniques/projects with my looms. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, When I got the Julia, I decided to use the loom to weave something I haven’t done before on my own. (I wove Jämtlandsdräll at Vavstuga once, and have wanted to weave it again ever since.)

      It’s so exciting to try new things!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nancy says:

    Beautiful! Love your style!

  • Elisabeth says:

    Gorgeous colors! And if not pillows, the wrap can double as a runner for a special holiday or something 🙂
    I love that you have looms in several spaces, with your dedication it makes sense. And you get a glimpse of your projects as you move around, what a joyful experience!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I had the same thought that I could use this as a runner. The colors fit right in.

      It is a joyful experience to have looms scattered around. Each one has its place and purpose, and I’m free to let them work or rest, as needed.
      I always enjoy your thoughtful responses.

      Love,
      Karen

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My New Glimåkra Julia Loom

My family of looms just welcomed a new little sister—Julia! This 8-shaft countermarch is Glimåkra’s smallest floor loom. I dressed the loom right away in 6/2 Tuna wool for 4-shaft Jämtlandsdräll to try out the loom. So far, so good. An 8-shaft project using 20/2 Mora wool is up next. Would you believe this is my new portable loom? Surprisingly, the Julia fits in the back of our vehicle, without disassembling. This is the loom you can expect to see with me at future workshops.

My new Glimakra Julia Loom delivered!
One of the boxes delivered to my front door.
Assembling my new Glimakra Julia loom!
Loom assembly in our foyer.

My Julia Observations:

  • It goes together like you’d expect from a Glimåkra. Instructions are minimal, and quality is high. It’s a well-designed puzzle.
  • The assembled loom is easy to move around to gain space needed for warping, or simply to change location for any reason.
  • The breast beam is not removable like it is on my other Glimåkra looms, which makes it a stretch to thread the heddles from the front. However, by hanging the shaft bars from the beater cradle at the very front I can thread the heddles without back strain. (Or, if you are petite and don’t mind climbing over the side, you can put the bench in the loom for threading.)
  • Tying up lamms and treadles is not much different than it is for my Ideal. Everything is well within reach from the front. It helps to take the lamms off the loom to put in the treadle cords, and then put the lamms back on the loom. With one extra person available, it is entirely feasible to elevate the loom on paint cans, upside-down buckets, or a small table to make tie-ups easier, but I didn’t find it necessary to do that.
Swedish loom corner in the living room. New Glimakra Julia.
Loom that Steve built sits near the windows in our living room. Julia sits nearby. Sister looms.
Glimåkra Standard and Glimåkra Julia in the living room.
Glimåkra Standard sits by the windows at the front of the living room. Julia sits a few steps away. Loom sisters.
  • Weaving on the Julia is a delight, as it is with my other countermarch looms. Everything works. With four shafts, the sheds are impeccable.
  • The bench adjusts to the right height.
  • The hanging beater is well balanced, sturdy, and has a good solid feel. I can move the beater back several times before needing to advance the warp.
  • I thought the narrower treadles might prove annoying, but I’ve been able to adjust quickly. After weaving a short while, I forget about the treadle size.
Jämtlandsdräll in Tuna wool.
Double-bobbin shuttle for the pattern weft, and new boat shuttle that came with the loom for the ground weave weft. All 6/2 Tuna wool. Jämtlandsdräll.

Steve is the loom assembler in our family. I stand by and give a hand when needed. I hope you can feel our excitement as you watch this short video of us discovering what’s in the boxes and figuring out how it all goes together.

May you enjoy the puzzles that come to your doorstep.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

26 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Too cool.
    What a great video of putting together the 3d wooden puzzle. It reminds me of sewing a tailored jacket. All those pieces with no rhyme nor reason until it starts to come together.
    When I think about it… That is what weaving is.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Nancy says:

      Thank you for the glowing review! I was ready to purchase one, but was told it isn’t the wood like in the regular Glimakra loims, but plywood. Also told the front and back beams get grooves in them from the warp threads.
      Waiting for your updates in about 2 months.
      Thanks!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Nancy, If you haven’t heard enough about it in a couple months, send me a note and I’ll give an honest update.

        The wood is most definitely beautiful solid wood, not plywood at all. Any wooden breast beam and back beam will show wear from warp threads and beam cords. This loom is no different. I don’t think it’s a problem.

        Happy weaving,
        Karen

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you very much! I will get back to you! Perhaps this dealer was trying to upsell me?
          Nancy

          • Karen says:

            Nancy, I look forward to hearing from you. I hope the dealer had better intentions than that. Anyway, if you keep doing your research you will end up with a good loom.

            Karen

          • Nannette says:

            Hi Nancy,
            Decades ago I was enamored with English smocking and took two classes from two different instructors.on maintenance and care of the pleater. The first class I took we were told to NEVER EVER take the pleater completely apart as it was not possible to ever get it back together and working properly. The second class I took began with the instructor ‘accidentally’ dismantelling the pleater. We were taught how to care for a very simple tool.
            Maybe your dealer is not familiar with the loom?
            It sounds like you have a support system in this blog to help you through any challenges.
            Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It’s very interesting how all those tinker-toy sticks fit together perfectly!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

      • Nancy says:

        Karen, is there some way you can email with me?
        My email is camel heights at msn dot com.
        Strange I know, it’s a street I lived on in Evergreen, Colorado. On the side of a mountain.
        I have more questions about this loom.
        Thank you very much!
        Nancy

  • Betsy says:

    She’s adorable! May you have many happy workshops together.

  • Kristin G says:

    Loved the video – I could feel the excitement! I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful items you will create with her 🙂

  • Julia says:

    I can agree with you there. The Julia is a great little loom, I speak from the experience of a proud owner. I can therefore fully understand the joy of unpacking, because it was very similar to me last fall, only that it was my first loom… Greetings from Berlin, Julia

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, It’s good to hear from you. Oh, the excitement of putting together your first loom! That is the best of all. The Julia is a perfect first loom! Or second, or third, or fourth, or fifth… 🙂

      Very Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    What a darling little loom! I wish I had room for one more. I don’t always reply but always read you posts, Karen. Not only do I always learn something but I just enjoy feeling that we are keeping in touch.

    Please tell Steve I think he is the best husband a weaver could ever have!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, It’s satisfying to know you read these posts. I do like keeping in touch, too.

      I’ll tell Steve. He’s definitely the best husband this weaver could ever have!
      Love,
      Karen

  • Gretchen says:

    Congratulations on your new loom Karen! How exciting!! And there os just nothing more beautiful than a new loom! May Julia bring you many happy hours of weaving. Sending love from WA. Gretchen

  • marlene toerien says:

    i am green with envy, I would love to own a Julia, or even a Mighty Wolf from Schacht, as I am living in South Africa where looms are a big luxury at the moment with our exchange rate, and my studio space is taking over our home, it will stay a dream. I do have 5 Varpapu looms, 3 table looms, 2 floor looms.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene, Thanks for chiming in!
      I’m glad that you have some good Varpapu looms to work with. The Julia is a sweet little loom in the family of Glimakra looms. The Glimakra Standard is still my favorite.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Marina says:

    Great video! What are the thingies under the feet of the loom in the background?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marina, I’m glad you enjoyed the video! What you are seeing under the feet of my other looms are Stadig Loom Feet. They keep the loom from “walking,” and they help absorb the impact of the beater when firm beating is needed, such as for weaving rugs. I get them from GlimakraUSA.com.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • […] My intention is to weave fabric for a couple of cushy throw pillows. But after just one pattern repeat, I realize that this cloth on my brand new Glimåkra Julia is something I would like to wear! No pillows this time. Instead, here is my new autumn/winter shoulder wrap, embellished with frisky swinging fringes. Miss Julia has proven her worth on four-shaft Jämtlandsdräll (crackle) in 6/2 Tuna wool. Her next adventure will be something that explores all eight shafts. (See My New Glimåkra Julia Loom.) […]

  • MitzyG says:

    Is your Julia made of pine?

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