Grand Canyon Weaver

I like to come prepared when we travel. Prepared to weave, that is. Our recent camping trip to Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim is no exception. Relaxing after a full morning of hiking? That’s tapestry time. Rainy day? No problem. Time to pull out my small tapestry frame and do some tapestry weaving.

Sitting on a log to do a quick sketch. Widforss Trail on a Sunday morning was a wonderful way to worship our Creator.
Ponderosa Pines fill the North Rim Campground. It is refreshing to sit there for some relaxed tapestry weaving. Weaving from the back, meaning the face of the tapestry is facing away from me.
Weaving outside in the cool afternoon.

To view the incomparable expanse of the Grand Canyon leaves me in awe. It’s as if the glory of our Creator is on full display. Oh, the colors, textures, and breathtaking drama!

Sunset brings a hush over the vast Grand Canyon. Vibrant colors, phenomenal textures, in an unfolding dramatic ending–this is the language of a weaver.
Weaving inside the Casita Travel Trailer until the skies clear up. Messy back of tapestry because I’m not trimming any more than necessary – fewer scraps to keep track of.

Our hearts turn to recognize God’s authority when we view the wonders of his creation. And, in the awe of it all, we pause to consider the vastness of his personal love, such that the Grand Weaver grants us the pleasure of creating something small with colored bits of yarn. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Pondering the deep questions of life.
There is still work to be done. This (second) Rain Girl is not in a hurry. She is ready for me anytime I decide to add more colored bits of yarn.

May you come prepared.

With wonder,
Karen

Dive in – Be Immersed in Color and Yarn

I started this warp as a place to test some tapestry techniques. I have studied, practiced, and evaluated my own results from techniques used by various tapestry artists. What I have learned is that I prefer the techniques that I am already familiar with, that I learned from my friend Joanne Hall. I am ready to dive in one more time on this warp to refine my own approach to pictorial tapestry weaving.

Tapestry tests and samples are on this warp. My mind is made up. I’m ready to start again.

This little hand-built loom has been sitting idle long enough. It’s time to start again. Starting takes courage. The cartoon is almost ready. Soon, this little loom will be back in action as my favorite place to be immersed in color and yarn.

Piecing pages together to make the cartoon. Only a few more adjustments are needed in the cartoon. The cartoon is being developed from a recent watercolor sketch of morning coffee and fresh figs.

May you start as soon as you can.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Mug Rug for Every Good Cup of Coffee

First thing every morning I pour myself a really good cup of coffee. And before I pour that cup, I select a mug rug to put under my coffee mug. A handmade mug rug makes a good cup of coffee that much better. I like having a mug rug under my cup as I walk, to catch any drips. And then, the mug rug protects the table surface, as well. So, in the early morning, with hot coffee and mug rug in hand, I go sit in my favorite chair to read, think, and pray. And I sip my coffee, thankful for a new day.

Morning Coffee! I keep a selection of handmade mug rugs to choose from. My sister and I had a short phase of basket weaving in the 1980’s. This is a basket I made at that time.

I have made, acquired, and given away too many mug rugs to count. Here are a few favorites that I keep within daily reach.

Mug rugs such as these sometimes come in conference goody bags.
When my grandmother crocheted these decorative potholders many years ago, I’m sure she never imagined that her granddaughter would put them to use as mug rugs.
Blue, brown, and green M’s and O’s. Dark wool butterflies left from tapestry weaving, woven on the Emilia Rigid Heddle loom. Green stringyarn for a rosepath mini rug.
From a recent page in my sketchbook. A portion of this sketch is the basis for my next tapestry cartoon.

May your handiwork show up as embellishments for daily living.

Good morning,
Karen

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

Long Conversation with the Loom

Day after day, pick after pick, this fabric lengthens and becomes ever more significant. As daylight dims, I stay at the loom a while longer. The rhythmic series of weaving motions is soothing. A handweaver finds calm in the complexity and delight in the detail. Challenges that arise are seen as problems to be solved.

Weaving for a short while in the evening helps wind down the day.

This monksbelt table runner has been a good long conversation between the loom and me. In fifteen more centimeters (six inches) I will put the closing exclamation point at the end of this lengthy runner. The warp that remains will be my playground for some creative experimentation.

Long monksbelt table runner wraps around the cloth beam.
Monksbelt pattern with weft rep ground weave. 16/2 cotton warp. 6/1 Fårö wool pattern weft in six colors. 16/2 ground weft in three colors.

When our patience is stretched thin, when we forget why we do what we do, when hard times go on longer than we ever anticipated, we need hope. We need more than what we can gain by ourselves alone. Relationship with our heavenly Father brings hope into the fabric of our days. He beckons us to walk with him through Jesus Christ. He wants to sustain us through the long stretches of this day-by-day life. The time will come when we look back with wonder, seeing the colorful threads that have become fabric for a beautiful purpose.

May you never lose hope.

With you,
Karen