Quiet Friday: Favorite Weaving Books

I know how to write music. I am experienced in playing improvisational music on my cello. And I don’t have a problem making up a tune to sing on the spot. But nothing touches the richness of music’s beauty like getting out the Beethoven Sonatas at the piano, or Bach’s Six Suites for the cello, or singing from an old-fashioned hymnal. Likewise, I do know how to write a weaving draft from scratch, but I usually find my starting point in one of my favored weaving books. There are countless designs and dreamy pictures. From simple to extraordinary. Sometimes I follow the instructions precisely. But most often, the improviser in me examines the elements and finds a new version to “play.”

Here are just a few of my favorite weaving books, and a sampling of what they have produced.

Some of my favorite weaving books!

Favored weaving books, in no particular order. Do you see a theme? Yes, I like to weave Swedish patterns from Swedish books on my Swedish Glimåkra looms.

Turned rosepath from "The Big Book of Weaving."

Rosepath band with turned rosepath.
Lundell, Laila, and Elisabeth Windesjö. “The Big Book of Weaving: Handweaving in the Swedish Tradition: Techniques, Patterns, Designs, and Materials.” North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 2008.

From "Älskade Trasmattor." Rosepath rag rug.

Rosepath rag rug.
Hallgren, Ann-Kristin, and Monica Hallén. “Älskade Trasmattor: att Väva Som Förr.” Kalmar: Akantus, 2006. (“Beloved Rag Rugs: To Weave As Before”)

Rosepath rag rug. Karen Isenhower

My version of this rosepath rag rug makes itself at home in our Texas hill country getaway.

Rosepath rag rug from "Favorite Rag Rugs," by Tina Ignell.

Rosepath rag rug. My very first rosepath rag rug is positioned in a prominent place in our home where it is seen and stepped on every day. Much to my delight.
Ignell, Tina, and Catherine Zienko. “Favorite Rag Rugs: 45 Inspiring Weave Designs.” North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Books, 2007.

Rosepath rag rug in "Alla Tiders Trasmattor."

Another rosepath rag rug. No end to rosepath rag rug possibilities, it seems.
Hallgren, Ann-Kristin, and Monica Hallén. “Alla Tiders Trasmattor.” Akantus Edition, 2007. (“All Time Rag Rugs”)

Rosepath rag rug.

Rosepath rag rug uses alternating weft colors in the plain weave sections, adding visual texture.

"Stardust" scarf from "Happy Weaving from Vävmagasinet."

Called “warp-faced combination weave” in the book. I don’t know what else to call it. I wove this scarf when I didn’t know exactly what I was doing yet. If you see any mistakes, just think of them as “design elements.”
Johansson, Lillemor, Charlotta Bosson, Conny Bernhardsson, and Katie Zienko. “Happy Weaving from Vävmagasinet.” Glimåkra: Vävhästen, 2004.

Classic twill towels, from "Simple Weaves," by Björk and Ignell

Cottolin twill towels. I have a small sample piece. All the towels I wove are happily drying hands and dishes in homes of family and friends.
Björk, Birgitta Bengtsson, Tina Ignell, and Bengt Arne Ignell. “Simple Weaves: over 30 Classic Patterns and Fresh New Styles.” North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 2012.

Double binding rag rug, from "Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs."

Double binding rag rug. This sweet rug is resting in my Etsy shop, waiting for a new home.
Johansson, Lillemor, Pia Wedderien, Marie Rolander, Conny Bernhardsson, and Katie Zienko. “Swedish Rag Rugs: 35 New Designs.” Glimåkra: Vävhästen, 1995.

May you play as much music as you can find.

…and speaking of Etsy! The original River Stripe Towels and Table Centerpiece Cloth that I wove are now listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop. And there may still be one River Stripe Towel Set Pre-Wound Warp Instructional Kit (Workshop in a Box) left! UPDATE: THE KIT HAS BEEN SOLD.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • "Blekinges sommarfågel" says:

    You are an inspiration to those who are not able attend weaving courses in Sweden, but successfully forge ahead experimenting guided by the skillfully written and illustrated Swedish weaving texts, using high quality, oftentimes fine gauge imported yarn of natural materials. Keep weaving and inspiring others with your blog!

    • Karen says:

      “Blekinges sommarfågel,” The skillfully written and illustrated Swedish weaving texts open up a world of possibilities. I love to take a stack of the books and thumb through the pages, just to dream of what I might weave someday.

      Thank you for sending such encouraging words!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • kim says:

    I’ve lately been thinking about weaving as I think about cooking, and weaving book as I think about cook books.

    While we are learning, we start with something we see in a book or magazine (a recipe) and maybe weave that as it is, or make some small change like color (ingredients.) Maybe we are brave enough to tweak the “recipe” and use a different fiber, or a thicker one or thinner one. Then, once we have the basics down (boiling eggs, steaming rice, mashing potatoes) we can build on that knowledge and compose our own recipes (pattern combinations.)

    Books are inspiration. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for YOUR endless inspiration.

Leave a Reply


Weave Heirloom Fabric

Fine threads. This warp may be the finest yet for me–24/2 cotton. 896 ends are lined up in a row. And, oh, they are soft. This is another fascinating experience for someone who enjoys seeing threads do remarkable things.

Lease sticks keep warp ends in order.

Lease sticks keep the ends in order.

Ordered threads on the back tie-on bar.

Ordered threads on the back tie-on bar.

The weft for this will be fine, too–20/1 linen. Linen is strong thread in the right conditions. Can you imagine the fabric that will come from these fine cotton and linen threads?! Something lovely will be produced from many hours of winding the warp, dressing the loom, and weaving. When I throw the shuttle back and forth, heirloom-quality fabric will appear! Soft like cotton, and strong like linen.

Beaming eight-meter warp.

Beaming eight meters of warp.

Cotton warp ends.

Brown paper is on the warp beam after running out of warping slats. Warp ends have been counted and loosely tied into threading groups.

We often define love by what someone says, knows, or does. I love you. I know how you feel. I will help you. It is possible, though, to say, know, and do nice things, but not have love. At its core, love is unselfishness and humility. Pure love comes from a pure heart. A pure heart that is unselfish and humble extends love as fluently as a weaver’s shuttle going back and forth. An honorable legacy is woven, soft and strong, through a heart of love.

May you weave a legacy of love.

Love,
Karen

~UPDATE~ Towel Kits ~

I have been delighted by the response for the towel kits, and have enjoyed putting the kits together! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, is listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop until they are sold out. This is the final release of this kit. There are a few left.

(I may be persuaded to do another limited run of a kit in the future.)

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

4 Comments

Leave a Reply


Weave Amazing Taqueté Like an Octopus

I need this sample section to practice being an octopus at the loom. I switched from kuvikas to taqueté. Now I am weaving with two double-bobbin shuttles and two treadles at a time. With no intervening tabby treadles to balance my foot placement.

Kuvikas first, then taqueté. Same threading, different tie-up.

From kuvikas to taqueté. Changing the tie-up allows the loom to weave more than one structure with the same threading.

This taqueté uses the same threading as the kuvikas that preceded it. You’ve heard it said, “One change changes everything.” Try changing the tie-up. Everything changes. Treadling sequence, weft arrangement, and picks per inch. I’m struggling like a beginner with this double treadling, double double-bobbin shuttling. But I’m not quitting, because look what it weaves! The cloth is amazing.

Two double-bobbin shuttles for taqueté.

With no tabby picks in between, the double-bobbin shuttles take turns with each other.

Taqueté, with double treadling and double double-bobbin shuttling.

Each pattern block uses two treadles, pressed simultaneously. The treadling sequence changes four times for each complete row of pattern. Each block (a third) of the square-within-a-square pattern has five complete pattern rows.

One life change, good or bad, can bring a struggle. We try to move forward like we did before, but now it’s not working. Too many things are shifting at once. One thing changed, and now we are searching for sound footing. God is present even in our struggles. The warp is the same, the threading hasn’t changed, and the Grand Weaver is still at his loom. God is a very present help in trouble. God is now and near. Right now, right here. And then we get a glimpse of the cloth he is weaving… It is amazing!

May you endure through struggles.

Your weaving octopus,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Betsy says:

    Is there a trick to pushing two treadles at once on a Glimakra? I thought one couldn’t do that, and I’ve never tried it on my Standard.

    That fabric is gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Yes, there is a trick! It is an unusual tie-up. It works because the tie-up is done with two freestanding groups, so they can be double treadled. And some of the shafts are not tied up. I’m using a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, pp. 164-165, where this set up is explained. I am fascinated by this fabric, and the whole fact that this is even possible!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Annette says:

    I appreciate your comments. In a world gone mad your voice is the calm in the middle of a storm – it reminds us who is in charge. God Bless.

Leave a Reply


Tools Day: Double-Bobbin Shuttle

The first time I wove fabric that required a doubled weft I did not use a double-bobbin shuttle. I didn’t own one. I used a regular boat shuttle and sent it across twice, going around the outer warp end. Those first thick and thin towels came out beautifully. So I know it can be done.

Weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle. Tips.

Square pattern peeks through from below. Double-bobbin shuttle carries the doubled tencel weft for this kuvikas fabric.

The first time I used a double-bobbin shuttle I wondered if it was worth it. It was awkward and clumsy in my hands. Since that rocky introduction a few years ago, I have woven many meters with my double-bobbin shuttles. They have become cherished tools and efficient accomplices to some of my favorite fabric-making endeavors!

Tips for Weaving with a Double-Bobbin Shuttle (and a short video demonstration)

  • Practice. Make sure you allow extra warp length for practicing. You will probably need it at first. Have fun and laugh, and refrain from throwing the shuttle across the room.
  • Winding Equal Bobbins. Wind the first quill. Lay it close to the bobbin winder where you can see it easily. As you wind the second quill, attempt to match it in size to the first one. (Winding two quills with equal amounts of thread is no small challenge.)
Winding equal quills for a double-bobbin shuttle.

Visibility of the first wound quill is key for judging how much thread to wind on the second quill.

Winding quills for double bobbin shuttles.

Knowing when to stop is the trick. The ideal is for both quills to become empty at the same time. This only happens in your dreams. But sometimes you can get pretty close.

  • Sending the Shuttle. Sending the double-bobbin shuttle through the shed is the same as sending a regular boat shuttle across. The best release is done with a flick of the forefinger so the shuttle speeds across. Then, the doubled weft naturally snugs the selvedge, and the two threads are neatly aligned across the shed. With a slower, more timid shuttle send-off, the quills unwind unequally.
Weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle.

Holding the shuttle palm up, the forefinger launches the shuttle to glide quickly through the shed.

Results of timid shuttle send-off.

Timid or sluggish shuttle send-off lays unequal lengths of threads in the shed.

How to tips for weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle.

Deliberate send-off of the shuttle helps the threads to lay across the shed in equal lengths.

  • Receiving the Shuttle. Receiving the shuttle can be the awkward and clumsy part at first. Especially if you are trying to practice a quicker send-off. I catch the shuttle as for any boat shuttle, palm up. And then, if needed, I fold my two bottom fingers around the threads, guiding them to fall equally across the shed.
Using a double-bobbin shuttle. Tips.

After catching the shuttle, I gently close my fingers around the two threads, as needed, to guide them to fall evenly across the warp.

  • Weave. Enjoy the process.
Shuttle shadows. Karen Isenhower

Shuttle shadows.

May your practice produce perfection. (Well, maybe not perfection, but at least improvement.)

Happy weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    I have a stupid question. Why do you need to weave with two threads? Why not use one larger one?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, That’s a very smart question! It seems like it would make sense to weave with a larger thread instead of two thinner ones. Certainly easier. But two thinner threads have a way of laying better than one thicker thread, and fill the space better. Many drafts with a ground weave and pattern use a doubled weft for the pattern. Part of the difference is seen in wet finishing, too. The combined threads blossom out more than a single thread would.

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Pattern in the Kuvikas

Each time I remove the temple I step back to review the progress. What does it look like now? It still looks like stripes. Four picks complete one row. The stripes lengthen, pick by pick. I hadn’t originally planned stripes, but seeing the results makes me hopeful.

Kuvikas stripes.

Lengthwise stripes on a solid-color warp are possible with a block weave, such as this kuvikas (summer and winter).

Every fabric has a structure–the particular way that warp and weft threads crisscross each other. This eight-shaft kuvikas structure sets the stage for weaving block patterns, like the square-within-a-square pattern or these stripes. It’s how the loom is set up. This loom is set up to weave kuvikas.

Love my double-bobbin shuttle!

Tencel pattern weft is in the double-bobbin shuttle. The regular boat shuttle carries 8/2 cotton for the tabby weft.

Truth is a constant. It doesn’t change with the wind. It isn’t subject to our whims. It’s how things are. Truth is the structure of creation’s fabric through good times and bad. Imagine the despair of Jesus’ closest followers as they watch him, their friend and Teacher, die in agony on a cross. Where is truth in this despair?

Kuvikas - Weaving lengthwise stripes on a solid-color warp.

Each complete row of pattern is made with four picks–tabby, pattern, tabby, pattern.

And then the unimaginable happens. Jesus comes back to them alive! This is the truth of God’s redemptive love–He died for us. Truth awakens hope. Speak truth to your soul. Wait in hope, for glorious fabric is being woven on His loom.

May you never lose hope.

With joy,
Karen

6 Comments

Leave a Reply