Show Me the Evidence

Few things are as important as even warp tension if you are hoping for quality results in your weaving. Eight warping slats are placed, one by one, across the warp as I begin beaming the warp onto the octagonal warp beam. After three full revolutions, I do it again, with eight more slats; and repeat the process until the warp is fully beamed. This effective technique gives a solid “platform” every few rounds for the warp ends, promoting even tension across the warp.

Beaming new rug warp on Glimakra Ideal.

Warping slats lay in a pile behind the warp beam. Counting out eight slats at a time helps me know when I have covered the eight sides of the octagonal warp beam.

The warping slats are hidden between the layers of warp ends. Having the slats in place means I can confidently tighten this rug warp to the max, giving me the best conditions for a handwoven rug.

Nothing is hidden that will not become evident. In other words, when I tighten my warp I can tell without looking that the slats are in place. And better than that, the rugs that are produced will have the consistency that a tight, even warp provides. The warping slats are like faith. Faith hidden in your heart becomes light that is seen in your life. How you live is evidence of what is in your heart. Faith always bears evidence.

May your light shine.

All the best,
Karen

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No Motivation Needed

You never need to motivate me to sit at the loom, or convince me to make time for weaving. I’m not sure why I am this way, but something in me longs to make fabric. I weave nearly every day, not to be productive, but simply because I love to weave.

Nine goose-eye towels, pressed and ready to hem. Karen Isenhower

Nine new towels, with hems pressed. Each towel will have a matching hanging tab stitched into the hem.

Ten meters / eleven yards gave me nine towels and two generous samples (Just wait. Next week I will show you what I am making from the samples!). Now, I am weaving hanging tabs on the band loom to match the towels. Meanwhile, the linen dice weave is progressing nicely on the big loom, as well. I am not just a person with weaving looms. …I am a handweaver.

Band loom weaving, making hanging tabs for handwoven towels.

Short two-yard warp will weave up quickly, giving me plenty of hanging tabs for the towels, plus extra length of woven band to put in my “band stash.”

You do what is in your heart to do. The commitments you make from the heart define you. Fruit in my life reveals what is in my heart. What does good fruit look like? Unselfish generosity, showing integrity in every interaction, and treating others with respect. I want to be the kind of person that lives this way, not because I “should,” but because that is what is in my heart to do.

May your good fruit basket be full.

(These towels will show up in my Etsy Shop soon. If you have your eye on one, let me know, and I will be happy to reserve it for you.)

Have a fruitful day,
Karen

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Tools Day: Enough Shuttles for Now

If I line up all my weaving shuttles, end to end, how far do you think they will reach? The accumulation started slowly, adding a shuttle here and there, as needed. My husband contributed to my collection by handcrafting some of the shuttles for me. “I could use a stick shuttle in such-and-such a size.” “Okay, dear,” he would say, before going out to the garage to whip up yet another yardstick shuttle for my rigid heddle loom.

Ski shuttles are for rag weaving. Boat shuttles are for almost everything else. Most of my boat shuttles are traditional Swedish shuttles. All these fascinating shuttles, such simple tools, work the wonder of weaving.

Hand-crafted walnut stick shuttles for rigid heddle loom. Mohair/silk/alpaca shawl.

Shawl woven on 32-inch rigid heddle loom, with super kid mohair/silk and baby alpaca. Smooth, handcrafted walnut stick shuttles were used for this project.

Novelty yarn woven on inkle loom.

Tapered edge on pine inkle loom shuttle helps for beating in the weft. I have been known to weave with crazy novelty yarns on my inkle loom.

Hand-carved maple band loom shuttles, and woven bands.

Maple band loom shuttles, hand-carved by my husband, *live* in a small handmade bag that hangs on the back corner of the band loom. This shaped shuttle is perfect for the tricky one-handed manipulation that is needed. If they are too smooth and polished, however, they slip right out of my hand.

Ski shuttles for rag rug weaving. This rug used 3 shuttles at a time.

My favorite ski shuttle is the beautiful cherry wood shuttle made by my husband, Steve. It helps to have several ski shuttles. The “Creative Expression” Rosepath Rag Rug used three shuttles at a time to get the gradient color effect.

Boat shuttles ready to weave.

Boat shuttles eager to weave. Do you hear them? … “Pick me”…”No, pick ME!”

A few of my favorite things. Karen Isenhower

These are a few of my favorite things. Swedish woven goods made on a Swedish loom with Swedish boat shuttles. (I’m the only thing not Swedish here.)

34 1/2 feet of weaving shuttles.

How far will my shuttles reach? 34 1/2 feet (that’s 11 1/2 yards, or 10 1/2 meters long). I ran out of room, so the last one is standing on end.

May you fascinated with things that work.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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Shuttles at Work

With a flick of the wrist, the shuttle glides across the warp. The curved, narrow end of a traditional Swedish boat shuttle slides right into my hand. This dice weave uses one shuttle for the plain weave background, and a second shuttle for the pattern weft.

Dice weave on the loom, with the luster of linen in the warp and weft.

Dice weave with 16/2 linen warp and weft. The blue plain weave weft and the brown pattern weft are woven on alternating picks in the pattern blocks.

From my bin of shuttles I choose the ones best suited for the warp that is on the loom. When a shuttle fits my hand, as the Swedish ones do, that’s even better. As the weaver, I am usually the only one who sees the shuttles at work, but that makes them no less important. The one purpose of a weaving shuttle is to carry weft thread across the warp, by the weaver’s hand.

How do you find your purpose? Discover your calling by putting others first. Like most people, I would rather put my own self first. But our grand weaver calls us to be last. He calls us to be servants of each other. In that role where we carry the thread without being noticed, we do our most important work. And that is where we finally find our great value in the weaver’s hands.

May your shuttles glide effortlessly.

On purpose,
Karen

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No Crossed Threads Here

Properly dressing the loom means no thread out of place, no crossed threads, no missed threads. Every linen end is threaded through a heddle on one of four shafts, following a draft for dice weave (pattern weft on a plain weave background). I insert each thread one by one in a specific order. My fingers are the only tools I use for this task, and I love touching and directing every single thread.

Dressing the loom with linen.

Pattern repeat has twenty-four ends, repeated across the warp.

Someone great is looking after you. Our Father in heaven knows what is going on in your life, details and all. He knows the placement of every single thread in your personality. He knows the ins and outs of our needs, hurts, and desires. Father knows what we need before we ask. And yet, he invites us to ask. That’s a good invitation.

May you feel cared for.

Happy Threading,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Suzie C says:

    Once again, you’ve written a post that was meant JUST for me today!
    If you should ever get discouraged in your blog writing, please remember that the Lord is using you greatly to encourage your readers!
    Thank you SO much, and may the Lord continually bless you in this ministry–because it truly IS a ministry!!

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate that so much, Suzie! Sometimes I do get discouraged, but I’m certain this is what I’m supposed to be doing, so I keep writing. It helps me to know the Lord uses it to touch you.
      Love, Karen

  • Barbara says:

    Agreeing with Suzie. Your words are always thoughtful and encouraging. Keep it up.

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