Quiet Friday: Linen Chair Seats

This week I crossed something off my Weaving Bucket List: Use handwoven fabric to upholster chairs. Remember the color-and-weave linen fabric? It’s part of my collection of fabrics designed specifically for our Texas hill country home. I covered four barstool seats with this linen upholstery fabric!

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric.

Weaving the fabric is the easy part. But I’m a newbie at upholstering. As such, using my “precious” handwoven cloth is unnerving. But I was fortunate enough to receive terrific advice and encouragement from friends, including one who conferred on my behalf with professional upholsterers she knows. And another friend generously loaned her power staple gun to me. I also referred to a book (Matthew Haly’s Book of Upholstery, by Matthew Haly) that I picked up a few years ago in hopes that I might someday reach this item on my bucket list.

Testing handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Trying out handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Removing staples, to re-cover the seat.

Covering seats with batting and muslin.

Reupholstering chair seats. Muslin first.

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric. Covering chair seats.

Handwoven linen upholstery for chair seats.

Backing the upholstered chair seats. Handwoven upholstery.

Upholstery backing in place. Handwoven upholstery project.

Finished handwoven linen chair seat! Ta da!

Underside of re-covered chair seats.

Four newly upholstered chair seats. Handwoven Upholstery.

Handwoven linen upholstery. Newly covered chair seats.

Newly covered chair seats. Handwoven Linen!

I count this as practice and a first step of experience. Eventually, I may work up the courage to reupholster our eight dining room chairs. Hmm… the thought of getting to design the fabric makes that challenge rather appealing.

May you cross something off your bucket list.

Your amateur upholsterer,
Karen

30 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They look fantastic, Karen!

  • Shirley Haeny says:

    You did a great job. I`m sure your dining room chairs will turn out just as good.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Shirley, I appreciate the encouragement! The dining room chairs will have to get in line. I have a few other projects in mind before I tackle more chairs.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Awesome! Have you put a Scotch Guard on the fabric. I would be afraid to use the chairs. lol

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I hear you! As a matter of fact, we have Scotchguard on our list for errands this morning, to treat the seats before we install them on the chairs.

      And little children will sit on a towel until I get some child covers made for the seats.

      And when the chairs become too stained and worn, I’ll make some more fabric and recover the seats. 🙂

      Karen

  • From your photos, it looks like you were given good advice. It is nice that you had flat seat bottoms to work with first. If you ever work with curved bottoms, make sure you staple the front and back in the middle first and then work out toward the sides. Sides are next from the center towards the corners. Corners are last, just as you did with your seats.

    For a first timer, they turned out beautifully. Start planning fabric for those dining room chairs!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, Sounds like you are another person I can come to for advice! Thanks for the tip; that makes a lot of sense. I need all the help I can get.

      I’m going to start collecting fabric ideas for the dining room chairs. I already know the main colors I want to include.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    Beautifully done, Karen! Congratulations on your “new” stools!

  • Rachel says:

    You inspire me – thank you. I have upholstered chairs but planning fabric for a stool my husband stained for me years ago – I can do this through your inspiring blog. God bless your fingers and mind as you share your talent.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, What a worthy project you have in mind! That will make your stool all that much more special.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    One bite of elephant, and before you know it…. The project is complete. Great job.

  • Karen says:

    Very “clean” and elegant. That fabric would fit with classic to contemporary style. They look lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, We’re trying to develop a hint of Arts and Crafts style in this home, with a contemporary touch. Hopefully, this works with that! I like hearing how you see it.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Michele says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of work. You did a fabulous job. They look perfect. Congratulations.

  • Joanna says:

    Oh wow! Perfect!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Karen
    They look wonderful. I just love them. I’m so proud of you!
    Liberty

  • D’Anne says:

    Wonderful job, Karen! You’re braver than I am. I wove the fabric and had the chairs covered professionally.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, That was a wise move to have your chairs covered professionally. This seemed like a “safe” project to see if I could do it myself. I’m sure your chairs are beautiful!

      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    Those turned out incredible. I’m going to need new seat cushions, just the kind you tie on, I might have to give thought to weaving the fabric for those.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindie, I hope you do weave your fabric for new seat cushions. That’s one of the perks of being a handweaver. We can make our own fabric! 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Mary says:

    What fun! The chairs look great! I encourage you to continue to create cloth for upholstery! Yay!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Thanks for the prompting. It makes a lot of sense to weave cloth for upholstery. I think I will do more of it!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Kay Larson says:

    They look Fantastic! Maybe one day I will have the courage to weave the fabric and then redo our barstools and dining chairs.

  • Ruth says:

    Nothing amature about this project! You are a professional and so talented. Lovely, lovely work. Blessings

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Weave Past the Mid Mark

“Mid” marks the halfway point on every pre-measured tape I make. I like to know when I’m starting the second half of something. It’s a target before I reach it, and a passing milestone after I cross that line.

Middle line marks the halfway point in the weaving.

Pre-measured twill tape has a line at the halfway point, marked “Mid.” Tail from a spliced warp end will be trimmed in the finishing process.

As I’m weaving this throw, my thoughts jump ahead. I will have a few skipped threads to fix, and spliced warp ends to clip. I think about how I will hem the piece, and wash and dry it. In what special manner shall I present the finished throw to my beloved daughter-in-law? And, my mind goes to the twelve-shaft double weave towels for my daughter that are up next, with the flowery threads beckoning me from the shelves.

Cotton double weave on the loom.

Double weave with eight shafts. 8/2 cotton.

Shelves of weaving thread!

Do you see the aqua, poppy, marigold, and orchid cottolin threads that are ready to jump off the shelves and be woven into hand towels?

I’d like to know where I am in the span of my life. There is no “Mid” mark, though, is there? I’m not in charge of that measured tape. Faith in Christ, love, and perseverance—these form a foundation. A solid foundation is security for life. In this security, I think about what I need to repair and resolve and finish. And how to leave intangible gifts that outlive me. And I think about the glory that awaits. Imagine fabric of unbridled creativity in colors only heaven knows!

May your second half be better than your first.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Meg says:

    What a awesome, beautiful, fantastic piece. And congrats to midway.

  • Written like the creative soul God created you as.

    Midway is hard to place with life on Earth. It is not as ‘tangible’ as your weaving. I often wonder why some people have a very short midpoint and others…. much longer… What have they left behind to continue on through others?

    Even so, having been gifted hand woven fabric from another generation, I cannot help but look at your sparkling colors and see the colors they will fade to be with time. Is the softness that time brings to dyes also a softness God gives to our memories left behind.

    Blessings,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, The items I have of my grandmother’s handwork is faded, as you say. Her memory lives on in me, and is softly faded to the point I only remember the good things about her.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen. At my age, I have no doubt that I have long since passed my mid point although I didn’t really wake up to that fact until I hit fifty. The first half of my life, I believed the tangible was so important; but in the second half, I believe that it is the intangible we leave behind that will be the longest lasting.
    After seeing so many beautiful handcrafted items in second hand stores, I realized that what I valued as family heirlooms to be handed down through the generations with stories may not be valued as such by the recipient of my work.
    So I just try to concentrate on the enjoyment of creating whatever I make, make what I like and hope that someone else might value it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I agree with you that the intangible seems more important now. The values we pass on will outlast the things we hand down.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Thank you all for your reflections, uncannily, similar to my own recently… the Holy Spirit weaving through our lives. Can you recommend 4 shaft double weave patterns for baby blankets? Though the blankets will probably not last, hopefully the love that weaves them will cover those new little lives.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, The only 4-shaft double weave I’ve done was a double-width throw. The double weave baby blankets I’ve woven were on 8-shafts. Both the double-width and the 8-shaft double weave projects were from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Your love will definitely have the longest-lasting impact.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Tapestry Territory

Here we go on this adventure! The yarn is plentiful, and sorted into color groups by value. I have tweaked and updated the cartoon, putting measurement marks along the edges and adding shading to places where I want texture. I wove a header after the sample, but it drew in too much. I pulled it out and redid it, making sure to use adequate weft this time. I am now ready! I’m walking into four-shaft tapestry territory!

Beginning of a four-shaft tapestry.

Background begins with wool butterflies in shades of black.

Wool butterflies for a four-shaft tapestry on the Glimakra Ideal.

Several butterflies are introduced across the beginning section of the four-shaft tapestry.

Four-shaft tapestry just beginning.

Linen weft is used between some of the wool picks.

Walking. It’s how we live our life. Step by step into an unknown future. To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, we follow the Grand Weaver’s cartoon, which he reveals to us, sometimes row by row. And he supplies us with the yarn butterflies in the right colors and values to create the tapestry of his design. We may never see his whole cartoon, but we have the sure hope of seeing the finished tapestry in all its glory!

May you be ready for an adventure.

Happy weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Jan Hayman says:

    Hi Karen
    I’m watching this project unfold with a lot of interest! I’m curious about why you are using more than two shafts for a tapestry. Are you going after a blended edge along your color changes? Are you threading in a twill or rosepath?
    Your warp colors are adding some color to the cloth.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jan, The four shafts enable me to use a rosepath threading. Unlike traditional tapestry, this is not completely weft faced, so the warp colors do show intentionally. I’m not sure that it gives a more blended edge along the color changes, but this style of tapestry weaving has an appeal to me because I can weave a larger pictorial tapestry at a little faster pace. I also have the option of adding some texture in places to enhance the design. So far, these first few inches remind me of weaving transparencies, which I very much enjoy.

      Thank you for joining in! It’s even better when I get to enjoy this with others.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Karen,
    Your words have me thinking. It is at the end we all see the tapestry. There are colors that are experienced once in their glory and never again. Without them the tapestry would not shine. There are colors much like the warp that is always there as a foundation to hold all the color woven under and over and — peaking through just enough to modify the woven colors. And when all is complete…. are we not by the grace of God all parts of the tapestry?

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Almost Like Weaving Outdoors

I am practically outdoors in the middle of trees when I’m weaving. It’s refreshing to weave between corner windows. That’s how it is with the little loom at our Texas hill country home. I have windows beside my other looms, too. But this is different. Here, I have windows beside me and in front of me.

Color and weave plain weave placemats on the loom.

Corner windows for weaving pleasure. Color-and-weave plain weave placemats on the little loom.

Nature is resplendent with ornamentation and flourishes that influence my weaving. Colors, patterns, shading, and playful surprises. They work their way into my thinking and planning. Aren’t the Creator’s designs amazing?! So, to be surrounded by all that inspiration while weaving raises the enjoyment at the loom all the more.

Indian Paintbrush in Texas hill country.

Colors.

Texas hill country Algerita.

Patterns.

Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom in Texas hill country.

Shading.

Barrel cactus in bloom in Texas hill country.

Playful surprises.

Color and weave plainweave placemats.

Color – variation, pattern – color and weave, shading – two-pick stripes, playful surprise – offset warp stripes.

It is refreshing to experience the enjoyment of nature. We need that. Our minds need refreshing, too. Our minds can be freshened up. When we grow in the knowledge of God—who he is, what he is like, and what he wants—our minds are refreshed and renewed. It’s a breath of fresh air for our thinking. Like weaving out in the middle of the trees.

May you be refreshed.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    I am glad you see the wonders that Christ provides; they are reminders of His presence and you add to His creation when you weave with His inspirations! Thanks for sharing your faith from God! Happy weaving! Blessed weaving! 🙂

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Such beautiful inspiration! You are indeed fortunate.

  • Annie says:

    I enjoyed seeing the photos of nature through your eyes. It gave me a fresh perspective. As do your thoughts on our Heavenly Father. I always enjoy your posts and learn from them.

    Do you move your loom from place to place, Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, This little loom stays in that spot by the corner windows. Steve built the loom for me specifically for our Texas hill country home, so I could have a loom to weave on when we go there. I have two other larger looms that stay in place in our Houston home.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Thank you for including photos of Texas Hill country. It is beautiful and inspirational.

    The triad of purple / orange / green blessed by God.

    Thank you and may God continue to bless.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, The purple / orange / green triad in nature always seems stunning to me! Texas hill country has many visual delights!

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

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Weave Two Connected Layers

Two layers of cloth exchange places in this double weave structure. One layer of warp is solid deep plum. The other layer has stripes of bold colors. Clean lines occur where the layers switch places. So, with deep plum weft alternating with orange, blue, green, and red weft, we get a message written in clearly-defined blocks: Be invigorated with vibrant color!

Magic of double weave!

Dark plum weft alternates with the blue weft. The reverse side of the fabric has dark plum squares in long vertical color stripes.

Double weave throw. Karen Isenhower

Colors of the warp stripes are used as colors for the weft stripes. As a result, you can see the “pure” colors in a diagonal line–orange, blue, green, red–where the warp and weft colors are the same.

Double weave magic!

Variance in the blocks of colors gives the cloth a dynamic appearance. Not including the dark plum background, there are sixteen different colors of blocks as a result of the four colors being used as warp and weft.

Message. We have a message from heaven. When Jesus came to earth, he not only brought the message, he was the message. Not that we should try to be good like him. Nor that we are already good enough. But that he, the direct link to heaven, would suffer the consequences for all our misdeeds. And rise again. He willingly switched places with us—the great heaven and earth exchange. This good message brings hope and grace to all of us who live on this earthly layer. Thanks to our Grand Weaver’s faithful love, we are woven into a vibrant-color existence through faith, on this layer and the next.

May you see your surroundings in living color.

Joyful weaving,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Meg says:

    This is terribly interesting. The colors are so delicate.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg, The contrast between the deep plum and the other colors has a surprising effect. Working with colors never grows old!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Chris says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love doubleweave, so many interesting effects possible. This is a terrific project.:)
    I am so pleased I discovered your blog.
    Kind regards
    Chris

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris, Doubleweave is fascinating! This project stretches me—literally, side to side—making it a delightful challenge to weave.

      I’m delighted you found your way here!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Janet H says:

    This is just beautiful! And timely. I am currently trying to design a similar doubleweave windows draft for a throw and have come across 2 sources that explain the block design differently. I have been trying to work this out in my head, one vs the other, in my planning process and how to apply it. I confuse myself and have had to keep setting it aside and studying it again later. Seeing this post of yours, I just now realized that you have been posting about this same block design all along and your pictures are now helping me work through it. I am planning a gray background with 10-11 shades of blues, greens, purples in the “windows” for the front. I may vary the heights and widths of the windows throughout the throw…haven’t progressed to that decision yet.
    My first source for this project is in the book Loom Controlled Double Weave by Paul R. O’Connor, on pp. 42-43.
    The second source I found online: https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/opr_8s.pdf pp. 2-4
    The two may actually be the same thing, just explained differently, so I was having a little difficulty figuring it out in my head. In the second, they are using Dark/Light instead of color letters. If I use gray for both the D and L in Block A, I’m thinking it would be the same as O’Connor’s threading. If I used the second threading, and used gray as D and my colors as L throughout, I think it would only change the appearance of the back. Am I right? If I want gray to predominate on both sides, I think I just follow O’Connor’s threading, but I think the second source (using D/L) shows the tie-up in conjunction with the treadling and would be more helpful in setting up my loom.
    I went back through your previous posts about your throw and it appears you used the second approach, the D/L threading in both blocks A and B. I would really like to know what the back of yours looks like, but I still think I want to follow the O’Connor threading. It has been incredibly helpful looking back at your posts at this point in my design process! I feel like a light went on and suddenly it is making sense to me.
    Thank you so much!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, I haven’t studied doubleweave like you have. The draft I’m using is similar to the one in the arizona.edu file. I don’t have the O’Connor book to reference. The draft I am using is from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, p. 176, if you want to compare it. I wound the warp with 2 ends–plum, plum; and plum, other color. The threading alternates the plum with the other color in the blocks with squares.
      I’ll post a picture of the back in a little bit.

      It’s great when a light comes on like that! Hooray!
      Karen

    • Karen says:

      Janet, Here’s a picture of the back side of the fabric!
      Back side of double weave.

      Karen

  • Janet H says:

    Karen, thank you for the view of the back! I think I understand the difference in the 2 threadings now. I also pulled out another book I have (and forgot to look at–head slap), Doubleweave by Jennifer Moore), and found an example done using the O’Connor threading that also showed how the back looks in that case.
    When I first started my comment above, it was going to be asking you a lot of questions to help me make sense of it all. As I typed, that light kept getting brighter, and I answered most of my own questions before they even got typed, so I ended up with a completely different comment than when I started. So, without even knowing it, you enlightened me! Sorry, I do tend to run on when I get wound up….
    Don’t mistake me for someone that knows what I’m doing. I think I am more of a technician (& perfectionist) than a creative artist, so I have to understand how things work (and then modify them). I do it when I sew also. Unfortunately, it means I spend more time planning (or “studying”) my projects than actually doing them. I would probably learn more if I just dove in and made things, but I guess I’m not made that way.
    I have put a request in to the library for the Lundell book, and I imagine I will end up buying it. As a technician, I am also a collector of resources and tools.
    Love your blog! You are an inspiration.

    • Karen says:

      Janet, There are many different learning styles. It’s great that you understand how you are wired! I think I’m also a technician to some degree. I enjoy systems and knowing how something works, and being able to alter that, too. But I’m also finding that I learn a lot by doing, even when I don’t understand. My mistakes — like the several I’ve made with this project — take me to greater understanding and experience. Learning is a lifelong pursuit. I’m glad about that!

      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Love those colors, Karen! The purple becomes a neutral background.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I never would have thought of purple being a neutral, but you’re right. It’s almost like a deeply colored black that sets off the other colors.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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