Sley, Sley Again

I have never re-sleyed a warp after weaving the sample. Until now. It’s a drastic measure; but it’s better than fighting with the warp the whole way. I’m doing inlay on a rag rug, with rya knots and other techniques. It didn’t take long to see that the ends needed to be spaced further apart. But this is why we sample, right?

Beginning sample of rag rug weaving with rya knots.

Rya knots quickly add bulk to the rag rug sample. Three rows of rag knots are already creating a little hill in the weft.

Cutting off a sample piece. Painter's tape as cutting template.

Four inches are marked on a piece of painter’s tape to use as a template for cutting the warp. I want enough length on the sample piece being cut off to be able to tie the ends in square knots.

It was not an easy decision to re-sley. I had anticipated an enjoyable day of rag rug weaving. Instead, I spent the day cutting off, pulling the ends out of the reed, switching reeds, re-sleying, dealing with extra warp width, tying back on, and beginning a new sample. Is this called learning the hard way? Nope. This is simply called learning.

Rag rug sample with inlay techniques.

Warp has been re-sleyed and is ready for weaving a new sample. First sample piece includes rya knots, loop technique, and HV technique on weft rep, using fabric strips for weft and weft inlay.

Rag rug sample, trying out rya knots.

After re-sleying, I start a second sample. I am happy to see that the rya knots fit into place without adding excessive bulk to the weaving.

Weaving, relationships, and purposeful living. Learning takes time–a lifetime. I want the Lord to teach me how to live. Even when it means messy beginnings and do-overs that use up my day. We have a lot to learn. Lord, teach me, and lead me on your path. More than a prayer in crisis, this is a lifetime prayer for a lifetime of learning.

May you know when to start a do-over.

Still learning,
Karen

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Thread, Thread Again

I enjoy threading the loom, but who wants to thread the same thing four times? The first time, I thought the selvedge threading confused me, leaving me with extra ends. I took it all out and started over. It still didn’t come out right. I counted all the threads at the lease sticks. 404. And counted again to make sure. There must be a threading error, right? I started over again, vowing to be more careful this time…

Threading the loom for rag rugs.

Threading 404 warp ends goes quickly when there are two threads per heddle… Unless you make a mistake and have to start over two or three times.

Threading Glimakra Standard for a rag rug, two ends per heddle.

Rag rug warp, threading two ends per heddle.

I depend on my planning sheet. That sheet of paper has all the pertinent details. Besides the draft, it has the sett, width in reed, number of warp ends… Oops! I found the mistake. I miscalculated the number of warp ends. But I threaded the loom three times before I traced the problem back to this calculation error! I was working from a faulty planning sheet. Fortunately, I can adjust the selvedge threading to accommodate the extra threads, and thread the loom successfully. Finally!

Selvedge threading for rag rug on Glimakra Standard loom.

Two ends go through each heddle, except at the selvedges, where there are three ends per heddle, four times each side, plus two more times each side to make up for the miscalculation of warp ends.

Human promises can fail, like my faulty planning sheet. The Lord’s promises never fail. A weaving draft and project sheet are proven true as the loom is dressed and fabric is woven on the loom. The Lord’s promises are proven true as we live our lives by his directions. We can depend on that.

May you need to thread only once.

Truly yours,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Oh I feel your pain. Once is plenty with that number of threads. I hope the rest of the project goes smoothly.

    Kate

  • linda says:

    welcome to the “I’m sure i did the math right…I checked 3x’s….it doesn’t look right….let me count again… i give up lets just see what happens when I weave” club. I’ve had ends left after threading, I’ve been short, and I’ve added more ends to the start side after it’s all threaded. This is where ingenuity and determination to get it on the loom comes in. Remember we can only strive to be perfect some little something will most likely be off. I’m not very religious, but I know only God is perfect, but my errors are fixable. President of THE CLUB, linda :)

  • Liberty says:

    Hi! I’ve done it so many times, but I’m getting better every warp!! The last warp I did didn’t have any mistakes first time!!! Shocking!!! Oh well it’s all learning!
    But I wanted you to know Sunday night I ordered thread for your beautiful cream and pink pillows!! I’m so excited about it can’t wait to try them. Thanks for the inspiration. Oh also I decided to use cotton but just for the price factor! I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Thanks, Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Oh Liberty, I’m so excited that you are doing the dice weave pillows! I think cotton will work beautifully. Please do keep me posted!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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These Sensational Towels!

What can compare to the thrill of unrolling freshly-woven cloth? Pulling, and pulling, and pulling until you get to the very beginning of the warp. As every towel unwinds, I do a micro evaluation, knowing that complete scrutiny comes later. I could not be happier with these towels! They are every bit as sensational off the loom as they were to weave. What a joy to be a weaver!

Towels galore just coming off the loom!

Back to the beginning! Cottolin thick and thin handtowels are coming off the loom.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was winding lopsided quills, dropping the shuttle more than occasionally, and struggling to understand weaving drafts. Desire and a willingness to learn have pushed me through these and other barriers.

Handwoven towels ready to be hemmed.

Ready for hemming.

Black and white and a little red. Handwoven towels.

Black and white and a little red, ready for hemming.

Photo shoot for new handwoven towels. Karen Isenhower

Getting set up for a photo shoot. Photos are used in Etsy listings.

Willingness is more important than capability. Being willing sets the stage for learning. We all start incapable. God doesn’t expect us to be capable. He does expect us to be willing. God weaves His purposes on earth, not through the capable people, but through the willing. In weaving, and in life overall, I want to embrace and preserve the willingness factor that keeps me learning.

Thick and thin structure is a handweaver's playground. Karen Isenhower

Thick and thin structure is a playground for a handweaver to imagine and develop designs. Cottolin handtowels and table runner. Designer kitchen, anyone?

And as we yield our will to our Creator, what joy is ours as we learn how to truly live!

May you never stop learning.

(You can see a few of these items now in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop.)

Happy Weaving,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Marie Kulchinski says:

    Great job! Beautiful collection. Would make a wonderful weaving monograph on what you can do with one warp by being creative. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Marie! I love your idea of a weaving monograph. I wouldn’t have thought of that! I need to do a little research on how to do something like that.

      Karen

  • Dianeore says:

    A beautiful set of towels, Karen! Reminds me of a draft I saw in an old Weavers – I may have to dig that one up now! Happy hemming!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you! The hemming wasn’t bad. I finished it in a couple days. I hemmed the table runner by hand; and I hemmed the towels on my sewing machine so they can stand up to years of washing and drying.

      All the best!
      Karen

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love them, all that black and white with a wee bit of red! Beautiful!

  • Karen says:

    They really are sensational! Striking!

  • Karen says:

    Liberty and Karen,

    What a treat for me to get to enjoy this weaving journey with you!

    Thank you!
    Karen

  • Claudia says:

    Those towels and the table runner are so exciting!
    What keeps them from unraveling until you do the hemming?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claudia,
      I’m thrilled by your enthusiasm!! The fabric is tightly woven, so it does not unravel easily. Even so, when I cut the towels apart, I stitch the cut ends with my serger (overlock) sewing machine. You could do the same thing with a zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine. Great question! Thanks for asking.

      Karen

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Almost Forgot the Hanging Tabs

My band loom has been sitting idle for months with a partially-woven warp. As soon as I cut the black and white towels from the loom it occurred to me that I had not yet woven their hanging tabs. I am eager to put on a new black and white band warp to weave these towel loops; but first, I must weave off the existing band. (You originally saw this band in Weave the Portable Way.)

Glimakra two-treadle band loom.

Two treadles are used for changing the shed on this Glimåkra Band Loom. It takes practice to coordinate the actions of both hands and feet. What was awkward to learn becomes second nature through repetition.

Glimakra band loom with completed band.

This band is complete. It will go in the box I call my “band stash.” When I need a strap, ribbon, or trim for anything, I look in my band stash box to see what I can find.

What had been sitting for months is finished in a day. And the black and white warp is on the loom before day’s end. What made the difference? Why is it suddenly easy to finish something that had been lagging for months? One word. Decision. (Some of the towels on which these hanging tabs will adorn are in Quiet Friday: Thick and Thin and in Even Better After.)

Starting black and white band on band loom.

Starting the black and white band.

Simple narrow band for hanging tabs on handwoven towels.

Simple narrow band is made to coordinate with black and white handwoven towels. As with the towels, this is cottolin warp and weft.

Woven band for hanging tabs on handwoven black and white towels. Karen Isenhower

With enough woven to make hanging tabs for ten handtowels, the warp is cut and secured. The remainder of the warp will be woven off and added to the “band stash” box.

All our important actions derive from purposeful decisions. And my best decisions shape the course of my life in a positive way. You can choose the direction you travel. When you choose to walk the path of virtue, the path before you becomes more and more clear. Finding the motivation to do the right thing often comes down to making a firm decision. As a result, we are able to remove the old, and move on to weaving today’s important task.

May you make great decisions.

Motivated,
Karen

2 Comments

  • linda says:

    Karen: Bands,! what a way to dress up a fleece vest, 1/2 zip, or jacket. especially since you have such a varied width and pattern stash. I really must get to work. LP&J linda

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Quiet Friday: Halvdräll

Halvdräll is one of those Swedish weaves that takes your breath away. How can I describe the exquisite simplicity and stunning splendor of this fascinating cloth? With halvdräll, every moment at the loom is pure joy. I keep thinking, I get to weave this! And every weaver knows no comparison to the delight of pulling beautiful just-woven fabric off the cloth beam.

Enjoy the journey with me now as I reflect on the halvdräll fabric from beginning to end.

Choke tie serves as a counting thread as the cottolin warp is wound.

Choke tie serves as a counting thread as the cottolin warp is wound.

Red linen to be used as pattern weft on white cottolin warp.

Red linen is anticipating a starring role as pattern weft.

Sampling various linen color options for halvdräll table squares.

Sampling various color options for the pattern weft. Red may be one star among several.

Halvdräll table squares on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Second table square has blue and green for block I and red for block II. The back of the first table square, with all red pattern weft, is seen between the breast beam and the knee beam.

Halvdräll table squares on the loom. Elegant neutral tones.

Neutral tones with subtle elegance.

Weaving in the afternoon sunlight.

Light play dances on the colorful woven fabric.

Halvdräll table squares, with linen pattern weft, just off the loom!

Celebration time! When the cloth is cut from the loom the weaver is able to see a complete view of the woven fabric for the first time. Woo hoo!

Folding edge under for hemming. Handwoven table squares.

Wet finished and pressed. Ready for hemming.

How to do a blind hem. Very simple for handwovens.

Blind hem, with sewing needle and thread. Needle goes under one warp end, and is inserted through folded edge of hem for 1/4 inch. Continued stitching across the hem is virtually invisible when complete.

Label added.

Label added.

Hemmed, pressed, and ready to make a statement!

Hemmed, pressed, and ready to dress up a table.

Handwoven halvdräll table square. Karen Isenhower

May you find delight in your journey.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

13 Comments

  • Betsy says:

    Karen
    Thanks for sharing the whole process. I can’t decide which one is my favorite!
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Betsy, It was hard for me to decide on a favorite, too! I am keeping one, and the other three are going as gifts and/or Etsy items. (I am keeping the one that goes the best with my china — The one with red and blue, and a little bit of green.)

      Karen

  • Suzie C. says:

    It’s interesting to me how we all have different tastes. As a beginner, I can appreciate your woven pieces because I’m not at that level.
    However, for me, the colors above just aren’t my taste, but MOST of your work I simply adore! I DO love red and white, or blue and white, but only on certain things. Now, I DO love the neutral tones above, but as I keep studying it, I think it’s the pattern that I’m not especially attracted to.
    Do you find that true among weavers, that everyone prefers certain patterns over others, and seem to be drawn to certain colors/color combos than others?
    When I look through weaving magazines, there are some things that I’m instantly drawn to because of the colors or patterns, even if it’s an item I wouldn’t want to weave. I worked as an artist/designer before my current profession, and as I traveled around the country working with other artists, I found it fascinating that we all had such a variety of tastes. But then again, it’s so important that we’re not all the same, or else we wouldn’t have the variety we do!
    Unrelated to that, where do you get your labels? I’d love to order some as I hope my next project will be good enough to give to some family members. It would be great to put that label on so they realize it truly was handmade!
    Oh, and also unrelated to the color/pattern comment, I find it fascinating how a project ‘changes’ after it’s wet-finished. I’ve only done a few projects, and they were so simple that I didn’t see too much of a transformation. I’m anxious to see how my current project will look when off the loom and wet finished, as it’s a little more complicated than what I’ve done so far!
    Thank you for your blog–you are inspiring with every post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Suzie,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I love variety, so I think it would be a shame if everyone liked all the same things. :) I do think that over time I grow to enjoy some things more, like a acquired taste in music, or culinary arts. The more I study something, the easier it is for me to know why I like one thing and not another. As a weaver, it’s an important part of the process because you learn what you want to spend your time on; and, conversely, where you’re happy for the experience, but don’t care to do more of it.

      I get my labels from Heirloom Woven Labels. Your family members will appreciate that label that shows them you really did weave it!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kris Stark says:

    Stunning! Thank you for showing the entire process in one blog! I so enjoy all your blogs. God Bless, Kris

  • linda says:

    Karen: color choice is in the mind of the weaver. The artist sees in their mind the finished product and where it will go in their life. My pallet is not as open and inventive as yours, but I’m not you. ALL your pieces have been perfect as to color, pattern, and usage. JUST RIGHT. Swedish weaving has strong colors, perhaps because the natural background is so white. Have you ever done a krogbrog rug ? now there’s a colorful piece of weaving on 3 shafts. So many ideas so little time. Karen I love your weaving. LP&J,linda

    ps going to vermont to work on a burnt orange runner in colonial overshot. weft is bouclet on 20/2 warp. It’s old ski patrol colors and will go on my dining table. it’s also the new color in my house at home. love ya!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,

      The artist sees in their mind the finished product and where it will go in their life.

      What a wonderful way to express it! So true.

      I do have a wide range in my personal color palette, and I am constantly trying to push myself to incorporate colors that wouldn’t be my “first pick.” I like to see if I can make them work — I love that challenge. And sometimes they don’t work that well, but many times I am pleasantly surprised at the results. And, you really don’t know how well the colors will play with each other until all the final finishing is finished. :)

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your vote of confidence!

      I have not done a krogbrog rug… yet. I will do one at some point. Yes, they are beautifully laden with color.

      Your colonial overshot runner sounds wonderful! Send me a picture when you have it finished. I’d love to see it!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Janie Payne says:

    They are all so beautiful! I wouldn’t want to eat on them, spills, etc!!!!

    • Janie Payne says:

      Oh I forgot, where do you buy your red linen? I tried to read the label, but was unable to get a clear view. Thank you, Janie

    • Karen says:

      Janie, Thank you! I know the feeling about not wanting handwoven specialty items to get messed up! But I plan to use mine where I can see it and enjoy it. I can always wash it! :)

      The linen is 16/1 line linen by Bockens, color #517. I purchased mine from GlimakraUSA. Other suppliers that carry Bockens are Vavstuga and Lone Star Loom Room.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Gretchen says:

    So beautiful as always Karen… I would love to see your draft for these at our next WOW meeting! I have technical questions! Happy Weaving… See you soon.

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