Goose Eyes

Do you see a goose looking at you? This goose-eye twill is aptly named, as seen in the diamond motif that is woven in the fabric. You can see the motif best where the warp and weft are in contrasting colors. But even where there is little or no contrast, the goose-eye is still there. It’s in the structure.

Cotton towels in goose-eye twill on four shafts.

Beginning of the third towel on this warp. The hem is woven in a smaller goose-eye pattern in a stone color. A narrow gold stripe within a wide brown stripe begins an overall checked design for this towel.

I find it fascinating that one simple repeated geometric shape can set the tone for the whole cloth. It reminds me of what the great classical composers could do with a single musical motif. Think of what Beethoven did with just four notes in his famous Fifth Symphony! Bah-bah-bah Baahm... Joy is that kind of repeated motif that sets the tone for our days.

Joy is the urge to sing on the inside. And it shows up in your countenance on the outside. God loves to see a glad, singing heart. He knows that joy is good for your soul. Sometimes the motif is less visible because of the threads that are crossing your life at the moment. But abiding joy in your structure keeps the melody line alive.

May joy be woven in your fabric.

With love,


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Rya, Rya, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Lay the groundwork; add a row of rya knots. Because of the coarser sett, and the thickness of this doubled linen weft, this rya weaving is progressing faster than the previous one. Tying all 36 knots across the warp is still the slowest part. But I can see progress. I like to see something happening, don’t you?

Rya knots (wool and linen) covering coarse linen cloth.

Green strands of thick Åsborya wool, fine Mora wool, and 16/1 linen, sit in a cluster, ready to be separated. Each rya knot is made of three strands, one of each type of yarn/thread.

I weave about an inch / 2.5 cm of point twill linen background first. It provides a framework to hold the mixed wool and linen rya knots. This means throwing the shuttle at a good pace for a short distance, and then stopping to add another row of rya. Through this moving – stopping – moving – stopping, progress is made. A little green and beige garden is growing on the surface of the linen structure. It is during the slow part that the “growing” happens.

Are you troubled about anything today? Don’t lose hope. If progress seems slow, you may be in a growing season. The Lord rebuilds ruined places and replants desolate fields. It feels slow now, but in time, you will look back and see a garden covering what once was ruins. Keep going, you’re going to make it.

May your garden grow.

(I did finish the previous slow rya project and turned it into three fun pillows. You can find two of them in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop!)

Making progress,

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Rya Over Linen This Time

Slow and deliberate, rya knot tying is a satisfying exercise of patience. This background cloth feels like coarse canvas. You can imagine how robust the fabric is, with a hefty 8/2 linen warp, and the same, doubled, for weft. Threaded in a point twill, the cloth is simple, but texturally vibrant. The yarn pile, called rya, is made with combined threads of thick Åsborya wool, fine Mora wool, and fine 16/1 linen. (You can see my previous rya project in the post, Are You in a Pretty Mess? And if you want to see exactly how to make rya knots, check out this post –  Quiet Friday: Making Rya Knots.)

Forming rya knots in coarse linen fabric.

Rya knots are formed one at a time by wrapping around, under, and through each pair of raised warp ends. The background is woven between rows of rya knots with doubled linen weft, using a double bobbin shuttle.

I simply step on the “pile” treadle, which raises only shaft four, and tie rya knots around pairs of the raised ends. This process works because the fabric was planned and designed to have rya knots inserted on its surface. In a similar fashion, people are designed to receive God’s helping hand.

God wants to give us the ability to flourish in life. That’s his grace. We are made for that, and it happens when we offer “humble” threads. We must wear the cloth of humility as we interact with each other, revealing our coarse, simple, honest self. This is where God inserts his grace. In this process of his, he patiently makes us his work of art.

May you flourish in the things that matter.

Respectfully yours,

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Serve the Best Color

It is surprising how much difference this cream color makes. If I use the same gold color for the weft that is in the warp, as I had planned, the gold weft looks harsh across the gold warp. Switching to a weft in a lighter shade tones down the gold in the warp and gives the cloth a softer appearance. It makes sense to use weft colors that enhance the warp, even when it means changing my plans.

Goose-eye handtowels on the loom. Choosing the lighter shade weft.

Goose-eye handtowels. This is the beginning of a 10-meter / 11-yard warp.

You have the opportunity to create the best outcome for others by adjusting to meet their needs. We get to serve others through the gifts God gives us. You are gifted. Maybe in speaking encouraging words, or in hands-on helping. Whatever your gifts, when you use them to serve others, you are the hands of God’s grace. And that grace may be the color someone else needs to soften their circumstances.

Loving one another means serving, giving God’s grace to each other. That is when relationships flourish, when we adjust our plans to the other person’s advantage. In other words, I choose the weft that makes you look good.

May your gifts bring the best color to your relationships.

Happy Weaving,

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How Soft Is Your Pillow?

I have three short sample pieces from rug warps, where I had experimented with colors and design. I am making these samples useful by turning them into pillow covers. To complete them, I made pillow inserts to fit inside.

Rag rug cushion covers, with pillow inserts made to fit inside. Karen Isenhower

Rag rug pillow covers, with pillow inserts made to fit inside.

To get the most loft out of the polyester fiberfill, I run my fingers through clumps of it, pulling and easing it apart. I stuff these airy clouds into the pillow insert forms that I have sewn and then serge the edge of the insert closed. The durable and hearty rag rug pillow covers are pretty, but they are flimsy and floppy until the cloud-soft pillow forms are placed inside.

Like the pillow covers, your strongest asset is invisible. When we adorn our inner person with gentleness and a quiet spirit it brings clarity and courage to our outward demeanor. You would not fill the pillow cover with rocks, would you? Having cloud-soft humility instead of hard-headed stubbornness enables us to face any difficulty without becoming fearful or resentful. The beauty of your unique design is put in its best light by the loft of the pillow inside.

May you respond to difficulty with a gentle and quiet spirit.

(These three pillows are the newest additions to the Warped for Good Etsy Shop!)


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