Shuttle Catching

I am already a quarter of the way on this baby wrap. Simple plain weave with one shuttle is fast and uncomplicated, making this the perfect setting to improve weaving technique. Surely, I can gain efficiency by examining some of my practices.

First quarter woven on baby wrap.

Twill tape has marks that show 1/4, Mid (1/2), and 3/4 of the length of woven baby wrap. The first quarter used about seven full quills of light blue weft.

Under scrutiny, I see that I am not consistent in how I catch the shuttle. It makes a difference where I make contact with the shuttle as it glides into my hand. I often have to reposition the shuttle in my hand to prepare it for the return throw. That’s not very efficient. Solution? Look at the hand that is catching the shuttle. All I have to do is turn my head to look, and the hand does the job. It’s amazing how that works. It pays to pay attention.

Beginning sample comes around the cloth beam. Baby wrap.

Beginning sample meets the cloth beam. View is from the front of the loom, looking under the breast beam.

Following Jesus can be compared to finding a breakthrough in weaving technique. It’s more than just meeting him, and trying to go the right way. That is weaving by habit, doing it like I’ve always done it. Jesus gives all to those who give him all. Breakthrough comes when I give up my habits to find a better way–his way.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

– Jim Elliot

May your eyes help your hands.

With love,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Kerry Fagan says:

    You explain so nicely the thought processes we(I) have when weaving – how to do it better, more consistently and how will this piece end up. That is the buzz that keeps us weaving again and again.

  • Randi says:

    I’m loving your blog and your whispers of Jesus.

  • ruth says:

    Thanks for the reminder to use twill tape for measuring the total length of a project! I’m ready to begin weaving a couple of table runners and had forgotten to “use the tape”. I’m changing treadling during this project and will add notes to the tape to remind myself of when those changes occur. You’ve saved me lots of time and measuring headaches with your post.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, Oh good! I’m so glad this served as a reminder for you. Using the tape to make notes of treadling changes is a great idea. I’ve done that before, but I don’t always think of it. So you’ve given me a reminder, too!

      I love hearing what other people are weaving. I’m sure your table runners will be beautiful!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Straight Draw Thinking

I can let my mind wander for this part. I am threading 664 warp ends in a straight draw, one warp end at a time (1-2-3-4). This is repetitive and easy. Relaxing. Of course, I have safeguards to prevent mind-wandering errors. First, I count the ends into threading groups before I start threading. Second, I double-check each threaded group of heddles, one warp end at a time.

Color mixing in warp of woven baby wrap.

Two shades of blue are mixed with two shades of purple for transition between the blue and purple wide stripes in the warp.

In quiet moments like this, my mind drifts over recent events, and ponders plans for the near and distant future. I think about friends and family–dear ones going through struggles. I remember things I’m thankful for, and who I’m thankful to. I often wish threading could go on a little longer. I like to linger there.

Threading cotton warp for woven baby wrap.

Groups of 32 warp ends are tied into slip knots at the back beam. Each group is threaded and then checked for accuracy before tying the threaded ends into a slip knot.

Threading brightly-colored warp for handwoven baby wrap.

Sitting in my “playhouse” in the loom, threading from right to left, I slow down near the end so I can linger a while longer.

The wondrous thing is that I can turn all these thoughts into prayers. The Lord hears us when we pray. The Lord hears the sound of your voice. In our quiet moments we have the sweet assurance that when we call upon the Lord, he bends down and listens. Instead of wishful thinking or fruitless worrying, prayer turns thoughts into faith.

May you linger in quiet moments.

All the best,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Maggie ackerman says:

    I also enjoy threading, especially straight draughts, and letting my mind wander. In fact, Great reminder to check group before knotting. So much easier than going back to correct (been there, done that!)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who enjoys threading! Yes, checking as you go is much better than making corrections later. (I’ve been there, done that, too. Not fun.)

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

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Time to Weave a Baby Wrap

Weaving a baby wrap is something I have been interested in doing. I am pleased, therefore, that my daughter wants to try babywearing. It’s the perfect excuse for me to put a colorful warp on the loom–a warp with wide stripes of blended colors. After research and careful planning, I am ready to start. Baby Lu will be here before we know it!

Thread for woven baby wrap.

New tubes of 8/2 cotton thread combine with colors I already had on my shelves.

It is exciting to weave something on purpose to give to someone you love. The whole process has meaning–from planning, to dressing the loom, to throwing the shuttle. You hope it turns out as you envision, or better. Making something to give is the best kind of making. The thought you put into it shows up as a gift of love.

Winding warp for a cheerful baby wrap.

Cheerful start to the warp with “Pumpkin” and “Sunshine” alternating threads.

Winding warp for colorful baby wrap.

Second bout adds in “Plum” and “Mulberry” threads.

Warp for woven baby wrap!

“Sapphire” and “Teal” threads make up most of the third bout.

Our words can be thoughtful gifts, as well. It takes thought to speak sentences and paragraphs, and conversations, that bless and enrich. Our considerate words give our recipient the means for wrapping someone else with love. Words can heal. These are the words to speak, words that give life. Weave comfort and encouragement into the things you say, touching others with kindness. Let the little ones be wrapped in their mother’s love. And let the rest of us practice sweet thoughtfulness day after day.

Three warp chains for a woven baby wrap!

Dividing the warp into three bouts helps distribute the threads for even tension during beaming.

May your words be thoughtful gifts from your heart.

With love,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Beachweaver says:

    Karen,

    Your colors are so beautiful! I can’t wait to see it take shape on your loom. Are you working from a draft in a book or magazine or have you created your own? I’ve wanted to make a baby wrap, but haven’t stepped up to it yet. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beachweaver, the colors are exhilarating to work with!
      I created my own draft for this after studying several others. I have the “Baby Wrap EBook” by Handwoven from Weaving Today. And the Väv magazine issue that covered baby wraps. Searching “woven wraps” in Google and on Pinterest gave even more ideas.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

      I’m new to this baby-wrap weaving, so maybe you can learn from my mistakes as we go along. Ha!

      • Beachweaver says:

        Hi Karen,

        I have the Handwoven ebook on Baby Wraps. I doubt you’ll make many mistakes (certainly not as many as I do!) but I will happily learn from watching your project develop. I can’t wait to see it take shape on the loom.

        Thanks for sharing!

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Swedish Overshot Experience

Experience builds on experience. The more I practice the classic Swedish weave structures, the more freedom I have in the process. Dice weave, halvdräll, and, now, this monksbelt, are all related. These are variations of overshot. I am putting what I know into practice, even though this is the first time I have woven monksbelt on my own loom. (My prior experience with monksbelt was first in a workshop with Joanne Hall, and then, under Becky Ashenden’s tutelage at Vävstuga Swedish Classics.)

Colorful Fårö wool is used for the monksbelt pattern weft.

Colorful Fårö wool is used for the monksbelt pattern weft.

Plan projects from start to finish, dress the loom single-handedly, use complex threading and complicated treadling, and weave with multiple shuttles. Do you relish these challenges? It is possible to weave things that don’t require as much training or practice. You can find a pattern on Pinterest or in a magazine, and do what “everybody” is doing. Not much is required of “everybody” in the crowd.

Classic monksbelt pattern with innovative color variations.

Classic monksbelt patterning is repeated with different color variations.

Swedish overshot, such as monksbelt, uses two shuttles--one for fine thread, and one for the thicker pattern weft. Warp is 16/2 cotton. Ground weave weft is 16/2 cotton. Pattern weft is 61 Fårö wool. Sett is 22 1/2 ends per inch. Weft density is 30 pattern picks per inch, with 2 tabby picks in between.

Swedish overshot, such as monksbelt, uses two shuttles–one for fine thread, and one for the thicker pattern weft. Warp is 16/2 cotton. Ground weave weft is 16/2 cotton. Pattern weft is 6/1 Fårö wool. Sett is 22 1/2 ends per inch. Weft density is 30 pattern picks per inch, with 2 tabby picks in between.

But some people strive to learn, and practice what they learn, building on previous experience. Consider truth. You are responsible for the truth you know. The more you are taught, the more that is required of you. And as you practice the truth you know, you discover the freedom that comes along in the process.

May you grow in experience.

Happy weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Alaa says:

    I’ve yet to try Monk’s Belt but your weaving is inspiring.

  • Marie says:

    I have never woven Monks Belt but find it so exciting as I watch it come off of
    your loom. It looks like magic. I have put it on the list of projects for my
    4 shaft loom. Then I check out dice weave and halvdrall and my mind started to race with possibilities. Weaving is great for starting the creative process.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Marie, It does seem like magic to me, too, as the pattern shows up on the loom. I never tire of seeing the pattern develop with color.

      Thank you for your thoughts!
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    I love your monk’s belt with all the color changes in both pattern and ground.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindie, Changing the color in the ground weave gives monksbelt a whole new dimension that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’m glad you like it!

      Karen

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Tools Day: Loom Lighting

Let there be light! I now have exceptional lighting at my weaving looms. Steve installed a snake arm lamp on both of my Glimåkra looms. This wonderful illumination gives me greatly improved visibility, especially when working with fine threads. These lamps meet my lighting needs much better than the floor lamps I had been using. Good riddance, floor lamps!

Supplies

  • Snake arm shop light with clamp (mine are Rockler 24″ Snake Arm Shop Lights)
  • Light bulb, preferably close to natural light
  • Wood block, sized to fit on loom (mine is installed on the countermarch frame; 8 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ x 3/4″ for the Glimåkra Standard 8-shaft loom; 6 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ x 3/4″ for the Glimåkra Ideal 6-shaft loom)
  • Electric drill and pilot bit
  • 2 drywall screws
  • Short three-prong extension cord

Steps

  • Prepare wood block by drilling screw holes (screw threads slip through the holes without biting)
  • Position prepared wood block on loom, mark loom for screw placement
  • Drill pilot holes
  • Screw wood block in place
Mounting on Glimakra Ideal loom for a loom lamp.

Block of wood is screwed into place on the Glimåkra Ideal loom countermarch frame for mounting the loom lamp.

 

  • Position lamp and clamp into place
Mounting a loom lamp on the Glimakra Standard loom.

Lamp is positioned on the mounting that is attached to the Glimåkra Standard countermarch frame.

Snake arm loom light gives flexibility in directing light where it's needed.

Snake arm gives flexibility for directing the light onto the weaving surface, or over the area of work; e.g., threading, sleying the reed, etc.

Loom lamp is clamped onto a mounting on the countermarch frame.

Lamp is clamped onto the mounting. Project notes hang for easy referral while weaving. The back of the sheet shows yarn snippets used in the project.

 

  • Plug lamp cord into extension cord; plug extension cord into outlet
Loom light shines on monksbelt weaving.

Simple on/off switch controls the lamp. Monksbelt picks are easier to count with the new loom light turned on.

 

  • Illuminate!
Monksbelt on the Glimakra Standard loom. Well lit.

Lamp cord runs along the frame of the loom and down to the floor, where an extension cord continues to a wall outlet.

 

May the work of your hands be illuminated.

Wishing you the best,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Geri Rickard says:

    GREAT LOOM LIGHTING!! Looks like a winning situation there!

  • linda says:

    If your loom is light weight this will not work. The loom shaking each time you beat causes the filaments to break easily. I’m afraid us small loom weavers have to put up with floor lamps, but we (my husband the woodworker and myself) have been using a headlamp. a light that straps on your head and directs light where your working. Fondly called a “DORK LIGHT” Maybe that will work for some .LP&J, linda

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