Fringe Benefits

Did you notice I didn’t hemstitch these alpaca scarves on the loom? Instead, small overhand knots secure the weft. The knots provide a base for lattice fringe on one scarf, and for twisted fringe on another.

Finishing ends on a long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Purple mohair thread marks the right side of the fabric. The thread is added before the fabric is cut from the loom. Six warp ends at a time are formed into overhand knots that cinch up to the edge of the scarf.

Making lattice fringe.

Three offset rows of overhand knots form the lattice fringe.

Fringe is finished. Ready for washing and drying.

Knots at the tips of the fringe will be trimmed off after washing and drying.

Tying knots for lattice fringe is meticulous. And twisting the fringe is not much faster. But it’s not about how long it takes. I’m not a production weaver. I’m a one-of-a-kind weaver who enjoys the process of turning threads into unique cloth, no matter how long it takes. After the fringes are done, I will hand wash the scarves and let them hang to dry. Slow and steady, the scarves take shape. From the very beginning, I work with the end in mind–handcrafted artisan designer scarves.

Twisting fringe on a handwoven scarf.

By inserting a long straight pin through the center of each knot as it is formed, I can pierce the foam board at the spot where I want the knot to end up–right at the woven edge of the scarf.

Twisted Fringe

Twisted fringe dangles from the edge of the soft scarf.

Time is a gift. Time to make things. Time to finish what we make. And time to undergo our own finishing. Look up. The one who made us takes the time to do the finishing we need. Our Maker doesn’t rush or hurry. He has a beautiful end in mind. We look up to heaven as we pray, acknowledging that our Grand Weaver is on his throne. We can be thankful that our times are in his hands.

May your finishing bring beautiful results.

With you,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Linda Sloan says:

    Wonderful message…love your blog and work. What an inspiration you are!! Linda

  • Kris says:

    This message brought tears to my eyes, Karen. I don’t remember how I found you, but I am so grateful that I did!! Advent Blessings to you! You are such a Blessing to us, your readers!

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Small Tapestry Front and Back

My small tapestries are a mess of threads on the back. I weave from the back, so I get used to seeing the mess. I admire the tapestry weavers who sew all the weft tails in. Front and back, the tapestry is finished and clean. So, I am sewing in the weft tails on this little Lucia patch.

Back of tapestry, sewing in weft tails.

Sewing in weft tails, one thread at a time. Threaded on a needle, weft tail is sewn through the back of an adjacent ridge, and then the tail is clipped off close to the surface of the weaving.

Back of small tapestry, stitching in weft tails.

When completed, the back is as finished as the front.

Lucia, woven with my youngest granddaughter in mind.

Lucia, our youngest grandchild, is the reason for this small tapestry. I may need to weave the names of the other four…

Sometimes we hit a patch in life that is filled with a mess of troubles. Take troubles to the Lord. He hears when we call. The Lord answers every little prayer. Each little trouble is taken care of, step by step. When the finished tapestry is revealed, we see that He knows our name. And a bit of every one of the messy threads is woven into our back story. Front and back, the tapestry is finished and clean.

May you be known by name.

Yours truly,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Julia says:

    Gorgeous. The weaving, the finishing and the reminder of our constant guidance from God. Thank you.

  • Beth says:

    Karen, Everything about this little tapestry and your parallel to life, is wonderful! I imagine that your other Grandchildren would want their names woven by their sweet Grandma. I so admire your work.

    • Karen says:

      Beth, you are so sweet! Thank you for your thoughtful words. That means a lot to me.

      I think you are right about the other grandchildren. I’ve begun the planning in my head.

      Karen

  • Louise Yale says:

    Your photo of the finishing technique for small tapestry is clear and the answer to a question I had about small tapestry work.
    Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louise, This is just one way to do the finishing on the back. I’m certainly not an expert in this area, but I find ways that work for me. I’m glad you found this helpful.

      Karen

  • Angie says:

    Beautiful message, along with the tapestry.
    All the best to you

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End of Warp Surprise

The end of the warp is a fantastic way to try out ideas for future weaving projects. I have some kid mohair/silk yarn on my shelf in blue, lavender, and tan. I wove some pretty shawls with this angelic yarn a few years ago on my rigid heddle loom. Hmm… would kid mohair/silk work as weft on the alpaca warp? This is a good way to learn. If it works, I know I can do it again, but on a larger scale. If it doesn’t work, I know what to avoid. The point is to learn.

Kid mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Lavender mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Alpaca warp and kid mohair/silk weft for a dreamy scarf.

As handweavers, we learn by doing. And in daily life, we learn by doing–walking in this manner or that. We do not walk alone. The Lord stands ready to teach every inquiring soul. My prayer is, “Lord, teach me; help me understand; help me walk.” Sometimes what we learn surprises us. The trial weft may be even better than the one we originally planned.

May you enjoy lifelong learning.

Blessed,
Karen

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Quiet Friday: Plattväv Towels and Thanksgiving Prayer

Start to finish, the plattväv towels have been a handweaver’s joy. Narrow stripes on the warp beam are strangely invigorating. Does it take extra effort to wind a warp with many stripes? Yes–cut off one color and tie on a new color, over and over. But when the loom is dressed and ready to go, the weaving is a breeze. Being cottolin, the warp is fully compliant; and with a little care, the linen weft becomes a weaver’s friend. Plattväv, the icing on the cake, gives me a simple pattern weft that dresses up these plain weave towels. (And, yes, I am in the process of developing a kit for these plattväv towels.)

Planning handwoven towels.

Cottolin warp with counting cord.

Striped warp for plattväv towels.

Threading the loom for plattväv towels.

Tying up treadles the easy way.

Weft auditions for plattväv towels.

Plattväv towels on the loom, with linen weft.

Plattväv towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Blue linen pattern weft.

Beautiful blue linen pattern weft.

Plattväv towels coming off the loom!

Off the loom and ready for trimming threads.

Band loom weaving.

Plattväv towels ready to roll!

Plattväv towels. Karen Isenhower

The joy of weaving is a blessing, as is the joy of friendships across the miles. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

Thanksgiving prayer: Thank you, Lord, for everything.

May you overflow with blessings and reasons for giving thanks.

Thankful for you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    These towels are just beautiful. Thank you for all the work you do to help us with our weaving. Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

  • Martha says:

    Love the photo of the towels rolled up- very interesting to view. Beautiful work as always.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, The linen is predominant in these towels, and linen begs to be rolled. I had fun playing around with them to take pictures.
      Thanks for your kind words!

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Anne says:

    I will definitely be interested win the kit! Beautiful!

  • Theresa says:

    The towels are lovely. I too will be watching out for kit information.
    I’m wondering if hemp would be worth a whirl in place of linen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Theresa, I’m excited about putting the kit together. It’s good to know you are keeping an eye on it.
      I have never woven with hemp. From what I’ve heard, it weaves much like linen. So I’m certain it would work for this.
      I love the Bockens and the Borgs Swedish linen, so I haven’t branched out much in that regard.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Two Long Alpaca Scarves

The end is near. I can see the end of the pre-measured tape. These two long scarves could be named “too long” scarves. The repeating pattern of this eight-shaft twill is very…repetitive. And the color is very…monotone. Soft and warm, they will certainly be beautiful scarves…eventually. Can you tell I am ready to be finished?

Soft and cozy handwoven long alpaca scarves.

Soft 3-ply alpaca yarn is used for the warp and the weft. The end is in sight!

I don’t always have patience. I want things to hurry up; I want to be finished now. And I don’t want trouble along the way. Obstacles make me lose my patience; and my attitude becomes unattractive. As much as I try to stay positive, the negative thoughts can get the best of me. When we’re at our worst we need kindness the most. Kindness changes us. Kindness reminds us to look at what is being woven.

Woven fabric at the cloth beam. Warping slats between the scarves keeps the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

Woven fabric forms layers around the cloth beam. Warping slats are added at the cloth beam between the scarves to keep the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

We all need and desire kindness, even when we don’t deserve it. Grace is pure kindness toward the unworthy. God gives great grace. He takes an unworthy subject like me and pours on kindness. In that grace I find the patience I need for today. Oh, how lovely that scarf will be!

May you give and receive generous amounts of kindness.

Giving thanks,
Karen

15 Comments

  • These scarves are beautiful. Your selvages are impressive. I can almost feel the softness of these alpaca scarves. Lovely, lovely work. I’m curious to know how you do these hem stitching. I need to go back and look through your tutorials. I’m not a new weaver but an inexperienced one for sure and I’m very much enjoying your blog.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Cate, It’s a pleasure to meet you. The alpaca yarn is great to work with, and it seems like it just falls into place at the selvedges. I have not done hem stitching on these scarves because I am going to tie a lattice fringe, and I didn’t want a hem-stitched border. When I take these off the loom I will need to be very, very careful to keep from disturbing the wefts at the ends of the scarves.

      I do have a tutorial on hem stitching at this link: Bold Hemstitching.

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Fran says:

    Very ice they will be, but i know what you mean about repetition .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, Its good to have someone who understands. The repetition does eventually come to an end. I finished the second scarf last night. Now, I’m playing with other yarns until I get to the end of the warp.

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Beautiful Karen! I love that pattern.
    Santa is coming early for me this year (tomorrow) my sweet husband got me a 8 shaft Baby Wolf! I’m so excited! Can’t wait to get going on it and try some new patterns!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, I’m excited for you! You are entering some new adventures. I’m sure you’re already planning your first projects!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Louise says:

    Interested in the packing on the cloth beam….if you were not having fringe on the scarves and were weaving the entire warp, would you pack the cloth beam?

    On a different topic…
    Sumac
    Have you used this technique (there are many different sumac designs) as an edge on any scarf, blanket, etc.?

    • Karen says:

      Louise, I do put warping slats on the cloth beam for the first turn of fabric around the beam. After that, if I didn’t have the unwoven warp, I would not have added more slats.

      I am not familiar with sumac being used in this way- as an edge on fabric. I only have a very small acquaintance with sumac as a tapestry technique, but I don’t know it well enough to use it very often. If you have more information about this topic, I’d love to see some resources to learn more.

      Thanks,
      Karen

      • Louise Yale says:

        First – I misspelled it. The correct spelling is
        soumak
        Have also used this technique in tapestry many decades ago.

        The book I am using as a reference for the various stitches is
        Jean Wilson’s Soumak Workbook
        Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing, NY were the original publishers.

        Apparently the title was purchased by Interweave Press, 1982.

        I am in the process of putting a narrow cotton scarf warp on the loom and doing Soumak in place of hemstitching. Will report later.

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