Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video

Talk about exciting! When something has been on the loom this long it is indeed exciting when the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. I finish weaving the final “bonus” towel. And then, I use up all the quills to make a little piece of scrap fabric (because scrap fabric is always better than leftover quills). And then! Then, I start my cutting-off checklist.

After all this time, the moment we’ve been waiting for is here!

After weaving a short scrap fabric with thread left on quills, it is time for cutting off the long monksbelt runner and two bonus towels.

I cut off the warp. And as I unroll the cloth, I am mesmerized by the tactile intricacy that passes through my fingers–Fårö wool for the pattern weft, and 16/2 cotton for slow-as-molasses weft rep ground cloth. Finishing proves to be the easiest and quickest part of this project. I like the crisp pristine state of the monksbelt runner, so I am not going to wet finish this article. I examine for errors (none found!), wet finish the two towels, hem the table runner and towels, and press. The Priceless Monksbelt Runner now graces our dining room table.

After the Priceless Monksbelt Runner I had enough warp to weave two bonus towels with monksbelt borders. In between the towels I did a small heart-shaped inlay just for play.
Two simple plain weave towels, with monksbelt borders. The tabby weft is 16/2 golden bleached linen. The coral pattern weft and green pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen. The ecru center pattern weft is doubled 6/1 tow linen. Warp is 16/2 cotton. With only one washing so far, the towels still have a wonderful crisp linen hand.

The exceptional value of handwoven textiles makes your home a welcoming place. Time is one of our most valuable assets. That makes the textiles we create priceless!

Our dining table is just to the right as you walk through the front door of our home. May all who enter know they are welcome here!

Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.

May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Weaving with Friends

Welcome back into my studio. I have been weaving, finishing, winding warps, and dressing looms. And spending time with friends. What better way to enjoy friends than to go on a floor-loom-weaving expedition together? Weaving Extravaganza at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas is the getaway. The looms are dressed and ready for us when we arrive. Abilities and experience are irrelevant. Anyone can do this!

From the projects available, I choose to weave a textured shawl. Keleen, a rigid heddle weaver (sitting at a floor loom this time), chooses to make fabric for an apron with a monksbelt border. Jan, who has never touched a loom until now, weaves natural-colored-cotton dish towels. Four hours pass in a flash, with weaving and camaraderie. We each complete our handwoven cloth. After returning home our fabrics are washed and finished, ready for use. My shimmering shawl is just right for a cool evening. Keleen’s fabric is soon to become an heirloom apron. And Jan’s first handwoven towels are drying dishes. Success!

Textured Shawl woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Textured Shawl, mixed fibers, plain weave.
Textured Shawl woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Golden yarn is used for weft stripes near the border.
Monksbelt apron fabric woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Monksbelt apron fabric, cotton, plain weave and two-shuttle monksbelt pattern weave.
Natural colored cotton dish towels woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Natural-colored-cotton dish towels, plain weave.
Natural Colored Cotton Dish Towels woven at Homestead Fiber Crafts.
Towels are made with all natural colors of cotton thread. This set uses a brown weft.

Abilities and experience come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who wants to learn, can. Your heart goes in the direction you turn it. The Lord sees your heart. He’s not looking for ability or experience. He reaches the heart that is turned toward him. That’s where his grace comes to life.

May you have true friends.

Your friend,
Karen

Process Review: Happy Blues

Cutting off is like reading the ending of a good short story. Even though you are eager to get to the end, when you reach the final paragraph it seems to soon for the story to be over. Fortunately, even though I am cutting off these happy blues, I still get to enjoy the fabric a while longer as I bring it through the finishing process.

Handwoven cotton fabric. Happy Blues.
All blue. 8/2 cotton in eight-shaft twill. Soft and cushiony.

The 8/2 cotton fabric is woven, washed and dried (multiple times), and ready for its final step. I will cut and hem individual pieces to be used as covers for the arm rests and the headrest for my mother-in-law’s recliner. I can’t think of a better place for this story to end up.

Enjoy this little video slideshow of the making of this cloth:

May you keep starting and finishing good stories.

Love,
Karen

Process Review: Perfectly Imperfect

I waded into deflected double weave for the first time. It took me one full scarf to figure out what I was doing. By the second scarf, I had a much better sense of how the pattern fits together and what to do with the shuttles (most of the time). Both scarves are quite imperfect (no one will ever know…). The loom behaved perfectly, though. This is my Julia’s first project using all eight shafts. Now, I know that this sweet loom is up to any challenge I give her.

20/2 Mora wool by Borgs for a lovely scarf.
20/2 Mora wool by Borgs. Yarn is temporarily secured by pulling a loop behind the warp at the nearest upright on the warping reel.
Putting a new warp on the 8-shaft Glimakra Julia.
Preparing to dress the loom. The lease cross end of the warp chain is placed through the beater.
Glimakra Julia 8- shaft loom is ready to weave!
Warp is beamed and tied on, and the treadles and lamms are tied up.
Wool deflected double weave.
First scarf gives me a chance to learn. Beat consistency is getting better with practice.
Learning ins and outs of deflected double weave.
Trickiest part about deflected double weave is understanding how the shuttles interact so that the color from one shuttle (the salmon color) never goes to the selvedge.
Trying to learn deflected double weave.
Gaining confidence and consistency on the second scarf.
My first deflected double weave!
Stiff Mora wool will soon soften in the wash. After cutting off, I discover that a tiny misunderstanding gave me a consistent wrong thread all along one selvedge on the back side. Maybe we should call this defective double weave. (But, really, no one will ever know.)
O, the joy of twisting fringe!
Bundles of light and dark threads are twisted into swinging fringes before the scarves are washed.

By the way, I like the finished airy scarves, even with their flaws.

Deflected double weave scarf in Mora wool.
Finished scarf has delightful pattern and character. Mora wool is sufficiently softened through washing and drying, to make a supple fabric.
Texas hill country foggy day and new handwoven scarf to go with it.
Perfect (imperfect) scarf to brighten up a foggy day in Texas hill country.

May you wade into a new experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: One Small Skein

I have a single skein of colorful cotton/bamboo sock yarn that a sweet friend gave to me. I’m not a knitter. What can I do with a mere 50 grams of silky-soft yarn? My 13.5” Glimåkra Emilia rigid-heddle loom is perfect for the task. When I’m at home I weave on floor looms. When I travel I like to take Emilia along.

"Make Do" warping while away from home.
This is called “Make Do” warping while away from home.
Glimakra 13.5" Emilia rigid heddle loom, ready to tie on and start weaving.
Emilia is beamed and the heddle is threaded. Ready to tie on and start weaving.
Weaving in the Casita Travel Trailer.
Now, a trip to visit some wonders of creation in Texas. Time to bring Emilia along. Weaving in “La Perlita,” our Casita Travel Trailer.
Weaving outside while camping.
Weaving outside the Casita in the shade of a tree is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
Weaving outdoors.
Two shades of bamboo thread are used for the weft–hot pink and coral–woven in alternating blocks of color.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with poppies in the foreground.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. Poppies in the foreground provide color inspiration for more weaving projects.
Hemstitching at the end of a scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
Hemstitching at the end of the scarf, easiest to do while still on the loom.

One skein of this yarn yields just enough to make the warp for a short scarf with fringe. I am using Xie Bamboo thread for the weft, left from the huck lace shawl I wove for myself to wear to my daughter’s wedding six years ago (See Quiet Friday: Coral Shawl for a Memorable Occasion). This thinner weft gives me a loose weave, and the color blends in a way that allows the changing color of the warp to take center stage.

Trimming fringe on a handwoven scarf.
Back home again, doing the finishing. Fringe is trimmed to an even length.
Trimmed.
Trimmed.
Twisting fringe.
Twisting fringe. (For more on twisting fringe, see Tools Day: Fringe Twister.)
Twisting fringe.
Fringe twisted.
Handwoven scarf before washing.
Before hand washing.
Rigid heddle scarf made with sock yarn.
Scarf has been air dried, and the fringe knots have been trimmed. This soft short scarf is just right to wear with a light jacket in the Texas autumn air.

Now that this scarf is finished, the only thing left to do is make sure I have a new warp ready for Emilia in time for our next travel adventure.

May you take your joys with you.

Happy travel weaving,
Karen