Tools Day: Just Me Bell

My weaving studio is usually a place of solitude where I can slip into deep concentration. I am counting warp ends; or I am paying close attention to synchronizing shuttle, treadles, and beater for greater efficiency and speed; or I am doing calculations to plan my next project. Or I am examining the cloth on the loom with a magnifying glass, counting picks per inch; or I am trying to wind a quill with just enough, but not too much, yarn. Without realizing it, I get absorbed in my thinking.

Bell for breaking silence before entering studio of concentrating artist.

Old little brass bell hangs in the hallway on the way to the weaving studio.

When I am in this state of being immersed in weaving, I am easily startled by any innocent interruption. My husband has solved the problem of seeing me jump and hearing me gasp when he walks into my concentration bubble. He has hung a little brass bell a few steps outside the doorway to my weaving room. “Ring-a-ling-a-ling…,” the bell quietly announces, “It’s just me…” Now, with fewer incidents jolting me from solitude, I may live longer, as well.

May you welcome those who come near.

Come on in,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Eileen Crawford says:

    You have described one of the joys I have found in weaving…the ability to truly lose oneself in thought! Although the outsider may consider weaving as a physical application process with complicated rules, one must simultaneously find oneself drawn in by the function of the brain. For me, there are always more questions than answers, and each project leads to possibilities that thought and the artistic process are stimulated to consider.

  • linda says:

    I’m an only child and my brain works a little differently than one who is use to siblings and constant background noise. I hear conversations I have with myself in my head. I guess that is the sib background noise. I jump when weaving, caculating especially warp ends needed for a coverlet with three length on the loom without re threading, reading a great mystery, doing ancestry work, sewing,etc…. I’m so wrapped up I don’t even hear the phone. I’ll have to get a bell. love, peace and joy, linda

    • Karen says:

      Linda, I thought it was only me. I guess getting wrapped up in our thoughts is one of the common joys of weaving (at least for some weavers), as Eileen expressed, too.

      Karen

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How I Remember Woven Details

A picture works better than memory. By the time I get to the opposite end of this rug, I doubt I will remember the details of this starting hem. Technology makes it simple. This is one reason I keep my iPhone handy when I am at the loom. Click. Now I have a visual record of the hem that will do the remembering for me.

Take picture with smartphone to remember hem details.

Four picks of rug warp between hem sections gives a good edge when turning the hem under.

Some things are worth the effort to remember. Remember the good. When times are difficult, waiting to see the Lord’s goodness requires strength and courage of heart. It requires remembering the good from before. Wait for the Lord with faith–the faith that looks like courage. Faith is that picture of good that made an impression on your soul, that’s been tucked away for a while. Maybe it’s time to pull it out and remember.

May you build many good memories.

Yours Truly,
Karen

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Who Says Plain Weave Must Be Plain?

Do you see the lengthwise raised ridges in this linen fabric? Don’t be fooled. The plain weave panel of this fabric is as flat as can be. Optical illusion. I have two slightly different colors of linen in the warp, unbleached and golden bleached. Instead of strictly alternating the colors, I threaded the warp ends “as they came,” to bring depth and interest to the plain weave fabric.

Dice weave on the loom. View from under the weaving.

View from under the weaving, the cloth is seen going over the knee beam. This dice weave, with 16/2 linen, has colorful squares of weft pattern floats. A panel of plain weave follows the patterned cloth.

We can be fooled by what we see. Lines and colors work together to create a false impression. Coming close enough to touch and examine is the best way to help the eyes see what is real. How many things do we misunderstand because we fail to come near enough to truly examine the evidence? We assume that a distant view is reliable.

Humility sets the stage for learning. It removes distance between us and what we need to learn. Instead of trusting only what we see, we step nearer to touch and examine the real thing. The humble are teachable. They know there are things they don’t know, and they are on a quest to learn. With weaving, and with matters of greater importance, like faith and truth, we must come close enough to touch and to learn.

May you hold valued fabric in your hands.

With much to learn,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    Great advice. Thanks.

  • linda says:

    this is from a weaving perspective only. It looks like your floats are over about 5 threads? You may find the floats pull out because there are no tie down threads. If this does happen consider putting in a couple of tie down threads with the floats, they can be evenly spaced or scattered. I’d like to know how this works when it’s off the loom. peace, love and joy, linda
    ps love the effect of the two colors of linen.

    • Karen says:

      Linda, you are correct, this weave has floats that are longer than usual. Dice weave is a simplified Monk’s belt, and the floats are part of the desired look. The floats are actually over 10 threads on the front and 14 threads on the back. I have a special way to secure the beginning and ending of the pattern weft so it won’t pull out. When the fabric is wet-finished it all pulls together beautifully. I have already wet-finished my sample, and I’m ready now to do the rest. I’ll show more in a later post.

      I’m glad you like the effect of mixing the colors in the warp. I’m pleased with how it came out.

      Karen

  • Beautiful view of the fabric!

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Rag Rug Tapestry

Bold striped hems and four white stripes across this rug stabilize the unpredictable design. This is the rug that uses up several remnants from my fabric stash. My main agenda was to use up fabric.

Double binding twill rag rug.

Final rug from this warp of double binding twill rag rugs. The striped hem is created by alternating picks of dark and light fabric strips.

I like rugs for the way they give the impression of a pathway. A place to put down your feet and walk. This rug does look like a path to me. Like a tapestry, this rug tells a story. I can see irregular changes of scenery. And the white stripes are like scheduled events that add structure and definition. It is good to have a path for your feet, and for your life.

Life is filled with changing seasons, and with schedules and interruptions. It isn’t always easy to see the right path. The Shepherd leads us on a path lined with goodness and mercy. These qualities are woven in. Like this double binding rug, mercy is always on the other side of goodness. And goodness backs up mercy. When these elements of kind-hearted design can be seen in our lives, though only as remnants and fragments, that is when we know we are on the right path.

May goodness and mercy follow you around.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Fran says:

    You said it well, Karen; this is the best rug yet! Almost a tapestry!

    • Karen says:

      Fran, you have made my day!
      You are in good company. This is my husband’s favorite rug, too. He is the one who pointed out to me that it looks like a tapestry.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Beautiful rug. Love the pathway imagery and how the path changes color. What a great use of your stash.

    Kate

  • linda says:

    I was actually thinking pictorial tapestry. More So. west Indian or NE seaside with boats and light houses. The rug is very nice, as is all your work, but I’m challenging you to go big and be UNSAFE. love, peace and joy, linda

    • Karen says:

      I love the idea, Linda. I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to tackle that. I have a few project ideas lined up for the looms that will last me awhile. I’ll let the idea simmer and brew, though, so I can add that to my list of accomplishments one day!

      Thank you!
      Karen

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