Wavy Twill Rythym

I’m happy when I find my weaving rhythm, and I’m almost there with this scarf. This alpaca yarn is a weaver’s dream. No warp ends are breaking, and the weft compliantly scoots into place. That means I can put most of my attention on other details.

All those "oops" as I learn the treadling at the beginning of the warp.

Getting the kinks out at the start of the warp. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8; 1-3-5-7; 2-4-6-8. I always plan enough warp to be able to practice first. I have plenty of “oops” in the first few inches.

This wavy 8-shaft twill has straight twill threading, which means the pattern is in the treadling. It’s not difficult treadling…once you get the hang of it. But, as usual, it takes practice. It is tricky to find and correct errors because of the subtle curve in the pattern. The more practice I get, the smoother the weaving goes, and the fewer errors I make. There is no shortcut to the kind of confidence that comes from attentive practice.

Alpaca scarf, weaving in the afternoon sun.

Weaving in the afternoon sun. Whimsically weaving a bit of sunlight into the cloth.

Alpaca scarf on the loom. 8-shaft wavy twill.

When weaving rhythm takes off, quality improves, as does weaving enjoyment.

Did you know you are gifted? There are skills and insights that come easier for you than for other people. The gifts that God put in you, that are in your DNA, set you apart. Practice them to gain confidence. Put your attention on using your gifts. You may be surprised how much your gifts bless others. Finding your rhythm is worth the effort it takes. (And, on the subject of DNA, here’s an interesting perspective from Sarah H. Jackson, Textile Artist.)

May you unwrap your gifts.

With you,


  • Julia says:

    Oooo! Undulating twill. When I was a relatively new weaver, I was delighted to learn I could weave something so complex looking on my four harness loom. Yours is gorgeous and the alpaca yarn must feel so soft and delicious. I love the gentle color of your yarn.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, Yes, this alpaca yarn is amazingly soft; and the natural alpaca color is so soothing to work with. And the undulating twill never gets old. It’s a very satisfying project.


  • Lynette says:

    Karen, I enjoy so much reading your posts. It helps me in my weaving skills and gives me neat ideas to try. It also is encouraging to me in my walk with God. I recently got an older Glimakra standard loom I’m having fun getting acquainted with. What is the easiest way to move the beater back (and then forward again) on the notches? Do you use both hands, and put one under he beater and one on the upper cross bar to hoist it back? Mine weaves 52″ so is a rather heavy beater. I don’t want to have to get up to do it, because that is why I’m moving it – to avoid having to get up as often to release the ratchet. Just wondering how to do it with the least amount of body strain.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, It makes me so happy that you find value in what you read here.

      On my smaller Ideal loom, I can “pick up” the beater at the upper crossbar with both hands and move it back or forward a notch. Not so on the Standard. Mine is 47″, and it’s heavy for me, so I move one side at a time. I put one hand under the beater, with my elbow on the breast beam for support. The other hand is on the upper cross bar. I mostly use the front two notches. To move it to the third notch is a bit of a strain for me, so I usually avoid that.

      Happy weaving,

  • Laura Rider says:

    Hi Karen, Looking forward to seeing the Alpaca scarf when finished…too bad we won’t be able to feel it…soft and cuddly, I’m sure, not to mention beautiful. I’m really curious about the breast beam on the loom, can you tell us about it.
    Happy weaving and thank you,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, I sure wish you could come over here and feel this soft and cuddly alpaca!

      The breast beam has an aluminum guard on it. What you see at the front of the breast beam is the fabric protector, aka “belly board.” It is a thin piece of wood that slips in at sides of the front of the breast beam, and protects the fabric from abrasion as it rounds the breast beam. As the weaver, I can lean right onto the breast beam without rubbing the fabric.


  • Nanette says:

    Would you explain how you are using the tape/ribbon as a measuring device? I REALLY need to improve my system! Enjoying your posts very much. Nanette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nanette, Thanks for asking.

      I use twill tape, but grosgrain ribbon works, too. I mark the beginning and end measurement of the project onto the tape with a fine tip Sharpie. If there are hems, I include markings for that, too. I like to write the total # of inches or cm on the tape so I can reuse it without measuring it. I mark a line on the tape at the midway point, and if it’s a long project, I mark the 1/4 and 3/4 points on the tape. When you have an inch or two woven, line up the starting line and pin the tape to the woven fabric using two straight pins. Leapfrog the pins as you advance the warp.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Happy weaving,

      • Nanette says:

        Very professional! If I can find some tape on hand I will use this idea for the baby blanket I just started. You are very kind to answer all the questions people ask of you–and still get so much done! Nanette

  • Margaret says:

    New reader of your blog here, thanks for your interesting projects! Are you willing to share your draft for this turned undulating twill? I fiddled around on the weaving software and couldn’t quite get mine to look like yours. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Margaret, Welcome! It’s great to have you.

      Many of my drafts start from ideas in Swedish weaving books, and I write the draft out with pencil and graph paper. This one came from “The Big Book of Weaving,” by Laila Lundell. I don’t have the book in front of me right now, so I’m sorry I can’t tell you the page number. The project in the book has “Wavy Twill” in the title.

      Thanks for your interest,

  • Missie Hills says:

    Yes! I’m always telling people that everyone has a gift. You just have to find it. Then when you do, you should respect it by putting in the hours to develop it into something great.

    • Karen says:

      Missie, Good point. It does take hours and hours to develop a gift. Sometimes we think if we are gifted at something we shouldn’t have to work at it. But success comes when effort and time are invested in the gift.


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Quality Rug Warp

After a few weeks of having to refrain from weaving, I am thankful that there was warp to weave one more rug. The quality of warp thread matters because it is the core of the rug. Never underestimate the value of good, strong warp thread for weaving rag rugs.

Rosepath rag rug almost complete!

First hem is going around the cloth beam. Weaving is almost complete!

I like to use 12/6 cotton from Bockens. This rug warp is a six-strand thread with high twist. The smooth, nearly-unbreakable thread enables me to ratchet up the tension on the warp. That high tension helps produce sturdy, tightly packed rugs with tidy selvedges. Knowing you are making a rug that will last is a very satisfying and enjoyable weaving experience.

Cutting off never gets old!

Cutting off never gets old.

Rosepath rag rug just finished. Karen Isenhower

Ta da! Hems are folded under for the picture. As soon as the hems are stitched, this rosepath rag rug will have its Etsy photoshoot.

With finishing nearly complete, this rag rug will be enjoyed on the floor of someone’s home. Most people aren’t aware of the structural elements of a rag rug, but they do notice quality in the finished work. People, too, have an inner core–the heart. The heart matters. The strength of our inward framework determines our outward attitudes and actions. Since true quality is found in a life that serves others, most everything comes down to a matter of the heart.

May your quality of life be noticeable.

Happy weaving,


  • Barbara says:

    It’s amazing how a bunch of leftovers can be combined into something so beautiful. I’m so glad you are back to weaving again.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Barbara, it’s good to be back in the saddle. I’ve seen you turn leftovers from the refrigerator into a beautiful meal. Now, that’s amazing! 🙂


  • Martha says:

    Beautiful rug! Have you tried linen rug warp or poly/cotton rug warp in your work. Both of them are supposed to last far longer than cotton.

    Love your article in Handwoven magazine – lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, That’s a good discussion point. I have used linen rug warp for a wool rug. It’s great for that; and I think it would work well for rag rugs, but it raises the expense considerably. I’m not sure I’d find buyers for that.
      I haven’t tried poly/cotton rug warp. Some of the comparisons may be against the popular 8/4 cotton rug warp, which will certainly have a shorter life.
      It would take a lot to wear out the 12/6 cotton in a rug.

      I’m glad you saw the Handwoven article! Thanks for the compliment.


  • D'Anne Craft says:

    Wonderful to hear you are back at the loom! Take care of yourself so you can weave on and on and on………….

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Plain Rosepath

This is a stash-busting rug, using leftover cut strips from previous rugs. Like my other rag rugs, I start with a plan. Then, I get out my fabric and make my color selections. It’s plain rosepath, without tabby picks in between, perfect for a stash buster. Snip, snip, snip. Fabric snippets are taped to my idea sheet. These are my blueprints–weaving draft, treadling order, and idea sheet with fabric snippets. I am weaving!

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Without tabby picks the rosepath pattern takes on a compressed form.

I can, and do, make adjustments at the loom. But I keep one question in mind. Will my choices along the way fit with the overall design of the rug? My idea sheet serves as a guiding compass. It’s a reminder of the big picture that forms a cohesive design.

Idea sheet for rag rug design.

Idea sheet hangs from the beater clip on the Glimakra Ideal loom. The treadling pattern, penciled on graph paper, and fabric snippets provide a quick reference while weaving.

Guiding principles shape our lives and enable us to make wise decisions. A compass sets the course. Use a true compass. Live in a way that pleases God. This is a valid compass for all choices and decisions. The Grand Weaver has the comprehensive design. Amazingly, He weaves our leftover fabric strips into his design, and uses them to make something useful and beautiful.

May you see your part in the overall design.

Happy weaving,


  • Linda de Roy Landry says:

    I do enjoy and look forward to reading all of you postings. Though we have not met in person, I think of you as a kindred spirit as we seem to think alike in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing and blending your faith and knowledge of weaving. It always adds a ray of light to my day and some inspiration to my weaving.
    Kind and warm regards, Linda

  • JANET PELL says:

    Dear Linda, I want to thank you for your blog, I dont make many comments but I wanted you to know that I am brightened and inspired so much by you.
    Im English and live in Italy, in the 11 years I have lived here I have only met one other weaver, I am a self taught weaver and love it, but its a lonely trek, so wanted you know how your encouragement lifts my days.

    • Karen says:

      Janet, It blesses me tremendously to know that my words and pictures reach someone like you. Good for you for pressing on, even without the camaraderie of other weavers. I’m so glad you are coming here. Make yourself at home. 🙂

      Happy weaving,

  • Jane Smith says:

    Yes, I agree with Janet. Like her, I am pretty much a self-taught weaver who travels a lonely path. Blogs like these remind me of something that I think CS Lewis said: “We read to know we are not alone”. I am English, living in South Africa.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, You make me so happy! I love the thought of connecting weavers to a community. And it’s great to hear someone quote one of my favorite authors!

      Thank you for encouraging me today.


  • Jane Smith says:

    I really like the idea of “connecting weavers to a community”, Karen, and this blog certainly helps to do that.

    In fact, you’ve got me thinking!

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Tools Day: Texsolv Heddle Round Up

The great thing about Texsolv heddles is that they are easy to move around. If you know how to tie them together, it is simple to add heddles, remove heddles, or switch heddles to different shafts. When I’m getting ready to thread the loom, I get my box of bundled heddles and put it on the cart right beside the loom. Then, I can easily add heddles if needed. And when threading is finished, I tie any unused heddles into bundles and put them in the heddle box, ready for the next project.

Threading complete for alpaca scarves. Texsolv heddles.

Tie Texsolv Heddle Bundles on One Shaft

  • Step 1 Take a cord (I use my choke tie cords) through the heddles below the heddle eyes.

How to remove Texsolv heddles. Tutorial

  • Step 2 Wrap the cord one time around, below the heddle eyes.

Removing Texsolv heddles. How to --

  • Step 3 Cross diagonally up with the cord, and take the cord through the heddles above the heddle eyes.

How to tie up Texsolv heddles.

  • Step 4 Wrap the cord one time around, above the heddle eyes.

Tying up Texsolv heddles to remove them.

  • Step 5 Join the two ends of the cord with a bow knot.

Removing Texsolv heddles after threading is complete.


Tie Texsolv Heddle Bundles on More than One Shaft

  • Step 1 Take the cord through the heddles below the heddle eyes, right to left, one shaft at a time, front shaft to back shaft.

Removing Texsolv heddles from multiple shafts.

  • Step 2 Take the end of the cord from the back shaft, and wrap the cord around one time through the heddles, below the heddle eyes, right to left, one shaft at a time, front shaft to back shaft.

Removing Texsolv heddles from multiple shafts.

  • Step 3 Cross diagonally up with the cord, and take the cord through the heddles above the heddle eyes, from right to left, one shaft at a time, front shaft to back shaft.

How to remove Texsolv heddles. Tutorial

  • Steps 4 & 5  Wrap the cord one time around, above the heddle eyes, from right to left, one shaft at a time, front shaft to back shaft. Join the two ends of the cord with a bow knot.

Removing Texsolv heddles. How to --


Remove Heddles from Shafts

  • Step 1 Remove shaft pin from the lower shafts, and slip the bottom of the heddles off the shafts. Replace the shaft pin.

Removing Texsolv heddles.

  • Step 2 Remove shaft pin from the upper shafts, and slip the top of the heddles off the shafts. Replace the shaft pin.

Texsolv heddles are easy to move around!

  • Step 3 Place tied heddle bundles in the heddle box. Put the box away, ready for the next project.

Texsolv heddles ready for the next project!

May you always have enough heddles when and where you need them.

Loom dressing,


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Autumn Alpaca

Autumn is the perfect time of year to plan alpaca scarves. This three-ply alpaca yarn is dreamy. The thing I love about winding a warp like this is the feel of the soft yarn as it goes through my fingers. This warp is going on the big loom for an eight-shaft wavy twill.

Winding a warp of alpaca yarn for scarves.

Counting cord is used to keep track of the number of ends that are wound onto the warping reel. This warp was counted 40 ends at a time.

The first pass around the warping reel must be correct, which is why I measure the distance first with a guide string. After the first pass, I simply follow the correct path around until all 136 alpaca ends have been included. I am already starting to dream about the eventual soft and cozy scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn, preparing warp for weaving scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn.

Alpaca warp chain.

Following the path of the guide string is like having faith to follow Christ. Faith grows in good soil. And there is no better soil than Christ himself. I don’t yet see the scarves, but it’s not hard for me to imagine what they will be like. I have touched the yarn, and the completed warp chain is a sweet preview. When we see what Christ has completed, faith takes root and gives us reason to trust him for everything else.

May your roots grow down into good soil.

The Three Rosepath Rag Rugs For Now have been hemmed and are listed in my Etsy shop. Take a look!



  • Missie says:

    I hope to see your alpaca scarves in your Etsy shop!

  • Olivia Stewart says:

    Like you, I have some alpaca waiting to be used. But as a new weaver, I have hesitated. Could you share what your plans are for the sett and also the weft? The alpaca is so beautiful, I want to be sure I use it correctly. Thank you for the help.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Olivia, Alpaca is such a lovely fiber, it makes sense to hesitate and do your research before putting it on the loom. One thing that will make a difference for the sett is the size of the yarn. The weave structure also makes a difference.

      The yarn I am using here is Yarn & Soul Superfine 400 from WEBS, a 3-ply, about 1814 yd/lb. I am using a sett of about 16 epi (2 ends per dent in an 8-dent reed), 16 ppi. (same yarn for weft) structure – Twill

      Here are alpaca yarns in other weights I have used, and the setts for those:
      Berroco Ultra Alpaca 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool from Yarn Barn KS, about 983 yd/lb. Sett 10 epi, 10 ppi (same yarn for weft) structure – Goose-eye twill
      Knit One Crochet Too Cria Lace 65% Fine Alpaca, 35% Tencel from WEBS, about 2504 yd/lb. Sett 15 epi, 15 ppi (same yarn for weft) – plain weave and lace weave

      Happy Weaving,

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