Stay Ahead of Empty Quills

What a delight to weave with just one shuttle for a change! It is relaxing to weave this Swedish lace wrap. Even moving the temple and getting up to advance the warp becomes part of the natural rhythm of weaving.

Exchanging empty quill for a filled one.

Empty quill is replaced with a filled quill from the loom bench basket. Smooth operation. My foot needn’t even leave the treadle.

There is one thing that breaks my stride. An empty quill. If I have to stop in the middle of a sequence to wind more quills, I lose momentum and sometimes I even lose my place. Solution? Stop ahead of time at a sensible place in the sequence and wind quills to put in my loom basket. Then, while weaving, it’s a seamless motion to change quills and keep going. It’s a pause instead of a dead stop.

Hemstitching at the end of this wrap.

Hemstitching at the end brings the weaving stage of this piece to a close.

We need to prepare for those times when people seem harder to love. It helps to think ahead, and fill our heart basket with the thoughts of kindness and humility that are essential to keep going. We have a good reason to love each other. We have been loved first. God so loved us that he gave his son. This is the Christmas news. God sent his son to be born here on this earth to be with us hard-to-love people and to save us. That’s good news worth celebrating!

May your heart basket be filled with love.

Christmas Blessings,
Karen

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Counting at the Cross

I am winding a lovely all-blue warp on my warping reel. When I pause, as I do regularly to count the ends, it is easy to put the winding on hold. I tuck the pair of warp ends under a section of wound warp at one of the vertical posts of the reel. That holds it, and keeps threads under tension until I’m ready to continue where I left off.

Winding a warp on a warping reel.

Pair of warp ends are held secure while I stop to count another section of ends.

I stop after winding each section. I do the counting at the cross, always counting twice. A long twisted cord (one of my choke ties) marks my place, section by section. The count needs to be an exact match, of course, with the number of ends in the pattern draft.

Counting warp ends as I wind a warp on the warping reel.

Long twisted cord helps keep track of how many ends have been counted.

Cotton warp just beamed.

After the warp is beamed, each section is counted again to prepare for threading the loom.

The Christmas season reminds us that Jesus brought grace to earth. From manger to cross. The grace of the Lord Jesus is perfectly complete. Like a planned warp, there is nothing more to add. All the threads have been counted. And they match the divine plan. Any threads of my own effort would be threads that don’t belong. The grace of forgiveness comes purely as a gift.

May your counted ends match the pattern.

Christmas blessings,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Martha says:

    Beautiful blue warp! Love your warping reel, how many yards does it hold?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, This is a Glimakra warping reel, 8′ in diameter. I’m not positive how many yards it will hold, but I’m guessing probably 14-15 yards. So far, my longest warps have been about 10-12 yards. The reel works great, and I really enjoy winding warps on it.

      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    What a lovely warp! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it!

  • S says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the time you take to write it. I have a question, too: I’ve read where you mention “counting the sections” several times for threading. What do you mean by that? What sections are you counting? Are they sections of the threading draft, and if so, how do I know what a section is on the draft?

    • Karen says:

      Hi S, That is a good clarifying question. Thanks for asking!

      What I mean by “section” is a pre-determined number of warp ends. In the case of this warp, there are regular color changes with a certain number of threads in each color, so I am counting sections of color. Many projects have all one color warp, or colors distributed in various ways. In those cases, I decide how many threads to count at a time–maybe 40, or 50–and that number of warp ends will make a “section” for counting purposes. The number of threads in a “section” doesn’t necessarily relate to the threading draft, except, of course, that the total number of warp ends must match up.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • S says:

    Thank you! That makes sense and I’m going to incorporate that into my warping process. Cheers!

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Handwoven Blankets for Babies

Handwoven baby blankets are for cuddling babies. It is a pleasure to weave a baby blanket for a dear friend’s first grandchild. As long as I’m dressing the loom, it makes sense to weave more than one. So the second baby blanket is for cuddling my own grand-babies when they come to visit.

Double weave baby blankets. Cutting off!

Double weave baby blankets unrolled from the cloth beam, ready to be cut off.

Hemming double weave baby blanket.

Double weave top and bottom layers are stitched together by hand at the hems. Contrasting thread is used for a decorative embroidered look.

Embroidered edge of handwoven baby blanket.

Whipstitch in contrasting thread.

Handwoven baby blankets super soft for baby's skin.

Blankets are triple washed for softness. Ready to touch baby’s skin.

Double weave baby blanket.

Double weave has reverse pattern on the back.

Double weave baby blanket.

Same warp, different weft.

Handwoven baby blanket for newborn.

Meet Julian, my friend’s new grandson, wrapped in love.

Handwoven baby blanket. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother's quilt.)

Meet Benjamin, our newest grandson, wrapped in love. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother’s quilt.)

A resting baby is a picture of hope. Hope for the next feeding, hope in the mother’s tender love, hope in the father’s secure arms. No arrogance, no illusion of grandeur. Just quiet rest. Hope in the Lord looks like this. Hope for today, the future, and forever. My soul is at rest—in complete rest and trust. Like a resting baby in his mother’s arms. Like a baby wrapped in a blanket woven especially for him.

May you find rest.

Blessed,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    These are really wonderful. Curious to know what kind of yarn/thread you are using to make these? I was introduced to double weave last year and plan to tackle a small project in the coming new year (once I finish the overshot table runners I’m working on now). Your blog is a regular inspiration to me, both in spirituality and productivity. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, I’m so happy to have you here. If you find something that inspires you, I’ve accomplished my purpose. Thank you!

      I used Bockens 8/2 cotton in warp and weft for these blankets. I like the feel of washed cotton.

      I’m sure your overshot table runners are lovely!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Wow! They are beautiful, Karen! The blankets and the babies. What a great use for double weave.

  • Annie says:

    I haven’t tried double weave yet, but these blankets definitely make me want to try! Unfortunately, all of my grandchildren are too old for swaddling blankets. Guess I will just need to make bigger ones!

    Thank you for the inspiration, both spiritually and weavingly.

    Many blessings,
    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The baby stage doesn’t last very long, does it? Because of the double layers, a double weave blanket would be good for any age. I wouldn’t mind having one my size!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joan says:

    Beautiful- What size do you make your baby blankets?

  • Andrea Bakewell says:

    Hi Karen,
    These are lovely and looks like a great project to learn double weave. Is there a pattern you used or just made it up as you went along? I like the short and long boxes 🙂

    Beautiful work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, This is a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I varied the pattern slightly from the pattern in the book to give the design some of my own details. You’re right, this would be a super project to learn double weave.

      Thanks so much,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    What wonderful love filled blankets to cuddle the wee ones. Nice choice of colors – Lovely weaving as always. The hand made quilt is extra special too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, My friend helped choose the colors for her grandson’s blanket. I like her choice!
      I enjoy keeping my Grandmother’s handmade quilt where I can see it and use it every day. I’m fond of connecting the past generations with the present.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Susie Redman says:

    Dear Karen,
    These are stunning! I’ve done a double weave project in a class using an 8 shaft table loom but I’m not at all sure how to dress my Glimakra floor loom for double weave. Did you use an extra beam ?
    Would be great to see how you dressed your loom for a double weave project.
    I followed your advice on sorting out the length of my treadle cords to improve the shed – worked a treat – thank you.
    Susie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susie, Great question! There wasn’t anything unusual in dressing the loom for this project. No second beam, since both layers are the same plain weave. The double weave is simply set up in the threading. You can find this draft in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Thanks for letting me know the advice about treadle cords worked for you. That makes me very happy!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Your lovely handwoven baby blankets for adorable Benjamin and Julian are destined to become family heirlooms just like your grandmother’s quilt. Wouldn’t your grandmother enjoy knowing you are using and loving her quilt!

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I’m sure my grandmother never imagined how much her handmade quilts would be enjoyed! It’s a sweet thought that my woven blankets could become heirlooms like that.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Tobie says:

    Beautiful! and what a good idea for double weave.

  • Michelle Simon says:

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and the comments. My newest grandchild is only 3 months old and the double weave blanket is a great idea! Many thanks for your thoughtfulness! I, too, enjoy connecting the generations and have been delighted to see in photos my granddaughters with the quilts I’ve made for them–and items I saved from their mother’s childhood being used again!

    Happy Holidays!

    Michelle

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I enjoy reading the comments, too. I’m thrilled when the conversation keeps going.

      Yes, those handmade articles, like your quilts, are threads that make memories and help tie families and generations together.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Dots of Sunshine at the Selvedges

This double-weave cotton baby blanket has sunshine yellow for the bottom layer, and aquamarine for the upper layer. The selvedges are delightfully dotted with specks of the sunshine yellow as the two wefts interlock at the sides.

Double weave cotton baby blanket on the loom.

Second baby blanket on this warp. First blanket used aquamarine weft for the bottom layer. This blanket has aquamarine weft for the top layer.

Weaving with two shuttles always requires extra attention to know which shuttle goes where. And with double weave, especially, I need to know where to set a shuttle down, which shuttle goes across first, which thread goes over or under the other thread, etc. Consistency matters because the proper arrangement of weft threads at the selvedge will appropriately “stitch” the two layers closed. And the final result here is a cohesive baby blanket with decorative edges. Besides looking pretty, the carefully-placed weft threads hold the edges together.

Cotton double weave baby blankets on the loom.

View of cloth under the breast beam reveals the bottom layer of this two-layer cloth.

Sunshine yellow weft thread decorates the selvedge.

Sunshine yellow weft thread creates a decorative stitch at the selvedge.

Love is like that, too. Love holds people together. It stitches our loose edges into a cohesive fabric. It makes us into something that can work together instead of going our own way as separate pieces. Love from you refreshes the hearts of others and puts a delightful decorative edge on all your relationships.

May all those who encounter you know what it is like to be loved.

Love,
Karen

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Make Magical Fabric

Another magical experience at the loom! Double weave lets you weave two separate layers of fabric simultaneously. And then, the top and bottom layers can switch places in defined blocks. I don’t know who thought this up, but they were brilliant!

Double weave cotton baby blanket on the loom.

Cotton baby blanket for a dear friend’s first grandchild. This friend is amazed at the weaving process, and says that this woven fabric looks calming. Careful arrangement of the two shuttles ensures that the double-weave selvedges are woven closed.

The hard part was tying up the treadles. For a countermarch, working with eight shafts requires a more delicate balance under the loom. For a while, I was concerned that I might not get more than two decent sheds on this. But after several adjustments, I finally got a great shed with every treadle! Someone who looks at the final cloth will never know the effort that took place behind the scenes. But they may wonder at the amazement of handwoven cloth. Or not. (You’ve probably met someone who is not duly impressed with handwoven goods.)

Double weave baby blanket on the loom.

Long stripes in the middle of the baby blanket. I added dashed lines at the ends of the stripes for added detail interest.

Double weave cotton baby blanket on the loom.

Beginning sample reaches the cloth beam. Sample area at the beginning of the warp was used to test weft colors and to practice getting the appropriate weft density.

What do we see as ordinary that, truth be known, is full of wonder? One person may interpret an unusual event as an amazing sign from God. Another person experiences the same event and considers it nothing more than happenstance. If I say I won’t believe until I see evidence, I will never find evidence that satisfies me …even if I come face-to-face with a miracle. Keep the wonder. When you see handwoven cloth, let the work of the Maker’s hands bring wonder and awe. And know there are significant hidden details that are beyond our grasp.

May your fabrics be magical.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Betty A Van Horn says:

    WOW – it is absolutely gorgeous – two ‘sea colors!’ I definitely want to be on the look out for His amazing provision.

    Blessings!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betty, These are enjoyable colors to work with!
      If we keep our eyes open to look for His provision, we will certainly see it in our lives.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Julia Weldon says:

    Gorgeous weaving, as always! Each day we all see miracles right before our eyes. Our very lives are a miracle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, It’s fascinating to think of the intricacies of how we are made. It’s not hard to see the Creator’s handiwork if we are looking for it.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    What a lovely gift to be weaving. So interesting to be working on a double weave blanket for my son and his wife at the same time you are doing the baby blanket. Gifting to special people is part of the joy of weaving.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I agree, it’s a joyful thing to give handwoven treasures to special people. That’s cool that you have double weave on your loom, too.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’m dressing my loom right now for dish towels in the same way, I’m excited to try it! I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Hugs,
    Liberty

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