Cowgirl Band Weaving

Remember the rigid heddles for band weaving that Steve made for me? (See Process Review: Heddles and Bands) Soft maple, Spanish cedar, and walnut. Steve says they are missing the “cuteness factor.” So, what does he do? He makes a cowgirl heddle out of cherry that is cute as can be!

Miss Cherry Cutie has a warp of 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin, mixed in an asymmetrical design. Steve converted a little sett tool into a shuttle by bevelling the long edge and carving the sides into curves to hold the wrapped thread.

Well, Miss Cherry Cutie wants to flip over while weaving. A little quilter’s clip on the bottom adds just enough weight. Problem solved. Now Steve wants to make one that has more weight on the bottom half.

Quilter’s clip at the bottom gives Miss Cherry Cutie the balance she needs to stay upright while weaving.
Quilter’s clip serves a dual purpose. Besides adding weight for balance while weaving, the clip holds everything together nicely. I can drop this small bundle in a bag, and add a belt and a band lock, and off we go!

Here comes Miss Cutey II in Spanish cedar, with a longer skirt. She doesn’t tip all the way, but she does lean this way and that. The clip helps her, too. Conclusion? The shorter version, with the clip, is more compact and is our favorite design.

Miss Cutie II has a petticoat that hangs below her skirt. This extra length makes her a bit more stable than Miss Cherry Cutie. I cut Miss Cherry Cutie’s warp in half to give Miss Cutie II a warp. These are the same threads, but arranged in a more symmetrical order. She has her own sett tool shuttle, too.
Miss Cutie II also benefits from the added weight of a quilter’s clip.

Look who shows up! Miss Cutie III in Spanish cedar. It’s time for a band weaving party, y’all!

Miss Cutie III shows up unexpected. She waits to be threaded with a few ends from the thrums of the Priceless Monksbelt Runner. (See Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video.)
Facedown for threading, Miss Cutie III receives the 16/2 cotton threads for her warp. This warp has five doubled pattern threads.
Threaded and ready for a 5-thread pick-up pattern.
Narrow band, with a subtle zigzag pattern.
Back of band has soft floats in triangular shapes.

Persistence comes from having an end in mind. Prayer is like that. We know our heavenly Father hears us when we pray. We know his outcome is good. Faith compels us to persist in prayer. As we do, the Lord guides our heart to align with his will. All the while, he works behind the scenes to bring his answer, which is better than anything.

May you persist as needed.

In his time,
Karen

Process Review: Heddles and Bands

Band weaving is a simple activity that helps you notice the little things. You see how each thread falls into place. How the thread turns the selvedge corner just so. How the pattern threads stand proud in floats or hide in subtle patterns. I enjoy practicing my skills as a band weaver. And more so, now that Steve has turned his attention to making band heddles for me.

Workshop at Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference 2019 got me started with weaving patterned bands on a rigid heddle.
First heddle by Steve is made from Soft Maple. Band has 21 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled). 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Heddle made from Spanish Cedar. Wood-burned top represents the Texas Hill Country hills that we enjoy. Band has 45 ends (with 5 pattern threads, doubled), using the heddle’s full width. 8/2 cotton and 22/2 cottolin.
Walnut band heddle in the making.
Torgenrud, H. (2015). Norwegian pick-up bandweaving. Schiffer Publishing; Foulkes, S. (2018). Weaving Patterned Bands. How to Create and Design with 5, 7, and 9 Pattern Threads. Schiffer Publishing; Neumüller, K. (2021). Simple Weave. (Language: Swedish). Natur & Kultur, Stockholm.

Pictures in the following slideshow video tell more of the story.

Edited: Steve has compiled photo documentation of how he made my Spanish Cedar and Walnut heddles. Click HERE to send me an email requesting a PDF copy of Making a Band Heddle.

May you take time to notice the little things.

Love,
Karen

Threads of Grace

The kneeling wise man in Steve’s hand-carved Nativity reminds me of the heart posture that speaks louder than words. Bowing in humility, we bring our gifts to honor the King of kings. Little did we expect the King to come as an infant, to grow up among his subjects, to give his life for us.

Kneeling wise man is added to hand-carved nativity.
The kneeling wise man is this year’s addition to the hand-carved Nativity. Carvings in Spanish Cedar by Steve Isenhower

How shall we end this year, and begin the next? With humble hearts, grateful for each new day—for each thread of grace woven in our lives by the Grand Weaver’s strong and gentle hands.

Hand-carved Nativity. Drawloom-woven runner.
Hand-carved Nativity by Steve Isenhower. I wove the background piece on the shaft drawloom at Homestead Fiber Crafts in Waco, Texas. Warp is black 16/2 cotton; weft is red and blue 16/1 linen.

May you end this year with gratitude.

Warmly,
Karen

Tried and True: Organized Reeds

My weaving history includes very fine threads all the way to heavy-duty rug warps. As a result, I have acquired a wide selection of reeds over time. All five of my looms have beaters that will accommodate any length or height of reed. When I plan a project, one of the first things I consider is whether I have the size reed that is needed. To keep my reeds organized, I need two things. One, a simple method to manage the reeds I have, tracking the reeds as they go in and out of use. Two, a place to store all the reeds, arranged in order by dents per cm and dents per inch.

Reed Organization

  • Reed Inventory

I keep a list in my Notes app on my phone with the sizes and lengths of reeds that I have. If a reed is in use, I note which loom. If a reed will be needed for a planned project, I also note that. As soon as I remove a reed from the beater at the end of a project, I put the reed away and update my Reed Inventory list.

Simple system for tracking reeds in and out of use.
Sample Reed Inventory note. When I am planning, I look at the note on my phone to see what reeds I have that are available. “Next” reserves the reed for the loom that needs it next.
  • Reed Holder

Steve created a storage solution for my reeds. The holder goes along the back wall of my drawloom studio for about six feet. Here are the details, using nominal board sizes. The reeds sit on a 1” x 6” board at the base, which is supported against the wall by a 1” x 4” board. The base, with a 1” x 2” lip, sits about 12” off the ground. The reed dividers are 3/8” x 5 3/4” dowels that are sunk into a 1” x 3” board that is attached to the wall, which sets the dowels about 27” above the base.

DIY Reed Holder behind my drawloom.
Reed holder is fastened to the wall behind the drawloom. (Notice that the drawloom rag rug warp has come over the back beam…)
Organized reeds!
The dowels are placed at a height that will hold even my shortest reeds.
Reed holder stores weaving loom reeds. DIY
Reeds are in order by dent size. Metric reeds are separate from those with dents per inch.

If you would like a PDF copy of Steve’s diagram that shows all the dimensions, click HERE to send me an email request.

May you have a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

Yours,
Karen

Tools Day: Countermarch Loom Pros and Con

When my long-held dream of weaving on a floor loom became a possibility, I started my journey with questions. What are the pros and cons of the different types of looms? After considerable research, a winner emerged—the Swedish countermarch loom!

Pros and Con of Countermarch Looms
(My experience is with Glimåkra. Other countermarch looms may differ.)

Pros

  • Weave anything. Rag rugs to lace-weight fabric.
  • Hanging beater. Swinging beater has momentum that enables a firm beat. No strain to shoulders, arms, or wrists. Asset for weaving rag rugs, and superb control for cloth with an open weave. Beater placement is adjustable, making it possible to weave longer before advancing the warp.
  • Rear-hinged treadles. Pressing treadles is effortless, no matter how many shafts. No strain on back, legs, knees, or ankles, even with robust weaving. Because treadles are close to each other, I press correct treadles with sock- or bare-footed ease…without having to watch my feet. Ample foot rest makes it easy to trade feet when using many treadles.
  • Clean shed. Stepping on a treadle raises and lowers shafts at the same time, so a great shed is not only possible, but usual.

Horizontal countermarch. Info about CM looms.
Glimåkra Ideal with horizontal countermarch. The cords from the countermarch jacks at the top of the loom go straight down through the warp to the lower lamms. The lower lamms connected to treadles cause shafts to lift when a treadle is depressed.

  • Even warp tension. Because shafts are both raised and lowered, tension is equal on raised and lowered warp ends. Even warp tension is good for all types of weaving. This even tension makes a tight warp possible. Perfect for linen, and for rugs.

Vertical Countermarch Loom - info about CM
Gimåkra Standard loom with vertical countermarch. Cords from the countermarch jacks go over the side of the loom to the lower lamms below. The upper lamms (not pictured) attached to treadles cause shafts to sink when a treadle is depressed.

Threading ease of countermarch looms.
Bench sits in the loom for threading heddles. I call this my little playhouse.

  • Texsolv heddles. Heddles can be easily added or removed from shafts (shafts are also easily added or removed). Quiet. Easy to thread.
  • Perfect fit. A petite person like me can weave on a large loom (my Standard is 47”/120cm) as comfortably as someone with longer arms and legs. Able to sit in upright posture for weaving.
  • Wooden. The loom is primarily wood. Bonus if you appreciate natural beauty of wood. Held together with wooden wedges and a few bolts. No screws or wing nuts.
  • Scandinavian clarity. Because of the Swedish loom, I adopt Swedish weaving practices and have an interest in traditional Scandinavian textiles. The loom fits the style. Streamlined design, precision, systematic and logical processes, and beauty with function.

Con

  • Treadle tie-ups. Shafts are connected to upper lamms and lower lamms. Treadle cords with a bead at one end are hung in the lamms. Lamms are then attached to treadles. Treadle tie-ups normally fall under the Pros category, because this is what enables the loom to have the clean shed it’s known for. But since I just finished tying up ten shafts to ten treadles (that’s 100 treadle cords), this is my least favorite part right now. 😉 (The weaving pleasure more than makes up for it, though.)

Countermarch treadle cords. Pros and cons.
One hundred treadle cords hang from upper and lower lamms. The only thing left is to attach all the cords to treadles. 😉

Treadle cords for 10 shafts! 5-shaft satin coming up!
Treadle cords are attached. Little anchor pins lock each cord into position under the treadle. After a few adjustments, the shed on each treadle is good. The loom is dressed! Five-shaft satin dräll coming up!

Conclusion:
When I weave on my Glimåkra Standard countermarch loom, I am soaring like an eagle. I’m sailing with the spinnaker up. I am a pipe organ maestro. I am dreaming while fully awake. This is everything I imagined weaving could be, only better.

Countermarch looms - pros and con.
Testing weft options. Gorgeous handcrafted damask shuttle, Chechen wood, made by Moberg Tools. Five-shaft satin dräll–a weaver’s dream.

For more in-depth information about countermarch looms, comparisons of looms, and other fantastic resources, see articles written by Joanne Hall, found at Glimåkra USA.

May you live your dream.

Very Happy Weaving,
Karen