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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Linen Air Scarves

This linen scarf is for embellishment, not for warmth. Wear it as a summer shawl, and it will make you feel pretty without adding any weight to your shoulders. Making this scarf was like weaving air, and wearing it is like wearing air.

Linen lace weave scarves just off the loom.

Lace weave scarves, woven with 16/1 linen, just off the loom.

Twisting fringe on linen scarves.

Fringe is trimmed, knotted, twisted, and knotted again. Then, after washing by hand in hot water with mild soap, the scarves are hung to dry.

The wrinkly nature of linen gives character to this netting-like lace weave. In The Big Book of Weaving, this draft is written for a project using paper yarn to make room dividers. I didn’t know if it would work to substitute linen for paper yarn… Or, if the fabric off the loom would work as scarves… Result? Two fabulously light linen scarves, wearable even in Houston.

Linen lace weave scarves. Karen Isenhower

Long and lightweight, the airy fabric is suitable to serve as a scarf, shawl, or even a long sash. Being linen, it embellishes a nice dress, or adds style to comfortable blue jeans.

Fringe detail on linen scarves.

Long fringe, twisted in small sections, accentuates the linen character of the scarves.

Concerns that turn into burdens are like scarves that are too heavy for the present season. We keep wearing the scarf, even though it makes us miserable. Our Heavenly Father is a burden lifter who knows our concerns. He bears our burdens. Though he is great and glorious, he lifts the burdens that are on our shoulders and carries them for us. In place of the burdens, we get to wear peace instead. Light and airy, and wearable with everything… peace.

May your burdens become light as air.

With grace,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    Wow, they came out beautiful!! Wish I could touch them!
    I’ll have to add linen to my list of thing to try soon!
    Thank you,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Liberty, if you’re ever near Houston, stop by and you can touch the scarves all you want! Lol
      Linen can be finicky, but the results make it worth learning how to manage it. My suggestion is to start with a short and narrow warp, and try a two-ply, like Bockens 16/2 linen, for a first time out. Let me know how it goes when you decide to give it a whirl!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Dee Dee Woodbury says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just finished winding a singles linen warp for summer scarves. I hope mine weave up as lovely as yours.

  • Charline says:

    Can you give me any hints about how to weave these, such as how do you get the spacing? (I would understand the spacing of a warp, but the weft is what I need help with) thanks!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charline,

      Yes, I’ll tell you what worked for me. The warp spacing actually helped weave the loosely-placed weft. The warp was “crammed and spaced,” and I could feel a point of slight resistance as I placed the weft. I really had to pay attention and “feel” the weft going into place, and try to be consistent. I wove a sample first, and tried weaving it a couple different ways so I could compare, and then I cut it off to see how it came out when it was washed. That helped me know how lightly to place the weft to get the look I wanted.

      Spacing the weft this loose certainly takes practice, so I recommend adding a little extra length to the warp to sample and play around with. And have fun!

      Thanks for the great question!
      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Johanna McDonald says:

    Hi Karen,
    These are lovely and look as though Australia where I live, would also be ideal for these in summer. Thank you for sharing.

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Hi, Karen! I saw your note about trying a sample, using a 2 ply linen, like Bockens. I was fascinated by your colors and if I may ask, what is the source of your linen? I saw that yarnbarn-ks has variegated, handprinted linen, but did not know if that would work. Thanks for your beautiful work and even more, your witnessing! God Bless! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joyce, I get most of my linen from Vavstuga, but I’m sure there are several places that sell Bockens linen. Yarnbarn-ks has some great supplies, as well. I haven’t tried variegated linen, but I’m sure it would be beautiful. I do like the Swedish yarns – Bockens and Borgs, because I know they are high quality I can depend on. I’m not always sure if I can trust that quality from other companies.

      Thanks!
      Karen

      • Joyce Lowder says:

        Thanks so much, Karen!
        An aside: I was on the phone trying to return an item and I said to the agent, “Have a nice day.” She replied, “I am looking up and He’s looking down, so it is a
        blessed day!” It’s amazing, how God speaks to us, yes? Every day! Peace and joy to you, Karen, for how you speak His message to others! 🙂

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Textiles from The Philippines

Steve and I returned this week from travels to The Philippines. We had a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving there with our son’s family in Makati. During our eleven-day visit, I encountered many examples of beautiful handwoven articles and other fascinating textile goods. It probably won’t surprise you that I tucked a few textile treasures in my suitcase to bring home with me. (Remember last year? Quiet Friday: Philippine Textiles)

Handwoven cotton towels from Sunday market in Makati, Philippines

Lovely cotton hand towels from Beth’s Loomweaving at the Makati Sunday Market.

Cotton towel detail shows green weft for stripes.

Detail of cotton towel shows that the darker stripes are created with green weft.

Variety of scarves and wraps from markets in The Philippines.

With an over-abundance of scarves and wraps to choose from (in bargain prices), I escaped with only these few. Some are for gifts; and some are for personal use. All are sources of design and color inspiration.

Example of backstrap weaving from Mindanao, Philippines.

Lightweight table runner or scarf was made by a weaver in Mindanao, the southernmost island of The Philippines. This exquisite example of backstrap weaving is made from very fine cotton, and is completely reversible.

Detail of backstrap weaving from Mindanao, Philippines.

Backstrap weaving detail reveals the intricacy of the tapestry-like design.

Traditional Filipino weave structure showcases pattern and color.

Pillow cover is well-planned and executed, showing striking color combinations in a traditional Filipino weave structure.

Detail of handwoven pillow cover from The Philippines.

Detail of pillow cover shows the pointillistic appearance of this weave.

Filipino bag woven from piña fibre.

Made from the leaves of a pineapple plant, piña fibre was used to weave this sturdy little open plain weave bag.

Detail of bag made from piña fibre.

Piña fibre has a natural luster.

Handwoven Elegant Filipino Table Runner

Not the expected mix of bright colors, this elegant table runner has black weft floats on a white warp of fine cotton. The traditional Filipino weave uses a multi-stranded black cotton (or cotton/poly blend) for the pattern, alternating with the fine white cotton threads for the tabby. This one-sided cloth, similar to overshot, has weft floats only on the top side.

Detail of weft pattern floats in traditional Filipino weave.

Detail of black and white table runner. The patterned black floats almost give the cloth the look and feel of cut velvet.

My very favorite treasures from our visit to The Philippines.

My very favorite treasures from our visit to The Philippines.

May you find textile treasures in your travels.

PS Two more new rag rugs from my latest run of rugs are now in the Etsy shop, if you are interested. These two may be my favorite yet!

A little jet lagged,
Karen

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Tools Day: Enough Shuttles for Now

If I line up all my weaving shuttles, end to end, how far do you think they will reach? The accumulation started slowly, adding a shuttle here and there, as needed. My husband contributed to my collection by handcrafting some of the shuttles for me. “I could use a stick shuttle in such-and-such a size.” “Okay, dear,” he would say, before going out to the garage to whip up yet another yardstick shuttle for my rigid heddle loom.

Ski shuttles are for rag weaving. Boat shuttles are for almost everything else. Most of my boat shuttles are traditional Swedish shuttles. All these fascinating shuttles, such simple tools, work the wonder of weaving.

Hand-crafted walnut stick shuttles for rigid heddle loom. Mohair/silk/alpaca shawl.

Shawl woven on 32-inch rigid heddle loom, with super kid mohair/silk and baby alpaca. Smooth, handcrafted walnut stick shuttles were used for this project.

Novelty yarn woven on inkle loom.

Tapered edge on pine inkle loom shuttle helps for beating in the weft. I have been known to weave with crazy novelty yarns on my inkle loom.

Hand-carved maple band loom shuttles, and woven bands.

Maple band loom shuttles, hand-carved by my husband, *live* in a small handmade bag that hangs on the back corner of the band loom. This shaped shuttle is perfect for the tricky one-handed manipulation that is needed. If they are too smooth and polished, however, they slip right out of my hand.

Ski shuttles for rag rug weaving. This rug used 3 shuttles at a time.

My favorite ski shuttle is the beautiful cherry wood shuttle made by my husband, Steve. It helps to have several ski shuttles. The “Creative Expression” Rosepath Rag Rug used three shuttles at a time to get the gradient color effect.

Boat shuttles ready to weave.

Boat shuttles eager to weave. Do you hear them? … “Pick me”…”No, pick ME!”

A few of my favorite things. Karen Isenhower

These are a few of my favorite things. Swedish woven goods made on a Swedish loom with Swedish boat shuttles. (I’m the only thing not Swedish here.)

34 1/2 feet of weaving shuttles.

How far will my shuttles reach? 34 1/2 feet (that’s 11 1/2 yards, or 10 1/2 meters long). I ran out of room, so the last one is standing on end.

May you fascinated with things that work.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

14 Comments

  • elizabeth says:

    love your article on your shuttles and that your husband made half of them enjoy

  • PJ says:

    That picture of your shuttles is just too wonderful!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Karen,
    I too would love to know the specs on the little band shuttles made by your husband. They are so cute!! I have been reading your blog and enjoying it immensely. Your weaving is beautiful!

    Geri in FL

  • Geri Rickard says:

    I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW THE SPECS ON THE LITTLE BAND SHUTTLES YOUR HUSBAND MAKES FOR YOU. THANKS!
    GERI

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geri, I’ll be happy to share the specs. I will send you an email with the information.

      I’m thrilled that you enjoy the blog! Thanks for reading!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Caarolee says:

    Do you sell the band weaving shuttles on etsy that you husband makes? Would love to buy a few. 🙂
    Thanks,
    Carolee

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolee,

      Steve and I do not have any shuttles to sell, but we are happy to share specs that you could take to a woodworker to have some made. I will send you an email with the information.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Carolee says:

    Thanks for the info Karen! Looking forward to reading more on your wonderful blog!
    Carolee

  • Hugh S. Myers says:

    Karen,
    So delighted to have found this page!! I’m slowly getting my feet wet again with weaving—band weaving and you are one of the few who knows what the traditional shuttle looks like and kind enough to offer specs!! Could you add me to your email list? I have some lovely storm downed cherry that should allow me both a woodworking and a weaving fix 🙂

    Thanks,
    Hugh

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hugh, I’m very happy to send you an email with the specs for the band loom shuttle! Cherry wood will make a beautiful little shuttle.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Finally Finished

Finish the finishing, please. I always have a pile of handwovens that need finishing. Don’t you? The finishing smorgasbord includes repairing skipped threads (unintentional floats), securing ends, fringe treatments, hemming, wet finishing, pressing, adding hanging tabs, embellishments, and more. You know you are finally finished when your handiwork is being used and enjoyed.

1. Twisted fringe on bamboo huck lace small tablecloth. This cloth covered an heirloom table, becoming the altar, at Melody’s wedding. (This short piece was at the end of the warp after weaving two shawls.) You can see the shawls HERE, and twisting the fringe HERE.

Bamboo huck lace small tablecloth.

Twisted fringe gives an elegant finishing touch to this small huck lace table covering.

2. Added hanging tabs to handtowels. Installed Ikea rod with basket and hooks to hang handwoven handtowels in the powder room. (When you need tabs for towels, it helps to have a collection of inkle and band loom bands.) You can see the most recent towels HERE – I kept one of the eight for myself; the rest became gifts.

Ikea basket and hooks hold handwoven towels for guests.

Ikea basket and hooks hold assortment of handwoven towels for guests to use in the powder room.

3. Untangled the fringe of alpaca/tencel throw. (A wet finishing nightmare I don’t care to repeat.) You can see what it looked like before washing HERE.

Alpaca Tencel handwoven throw with lattice fringe

Each strand of fringe was carefully separated one-by-one after leaving the alpaca/tencel throw in the washing machine a few minutes too long. Untangling took longer than tying the lattice fringe. Hours and hours.

4. Hand-stitched rolled hem on Swedish lace tablecloth. (I may use this as a curtain for my weaving studio window, hung on rings with clips, on a rod.) HERE are the long curtain panels that hang on windows in my home.

Hand-stitched rolled hem on handwoven Swedish lace cloth.

Swedish lace panel can be used as a tablecloth, or a curtain, or even a light, summery shawl. The hand-stitched rolled hem gives a delicate touch to this elegant piece.

Swedish lace, handwoven cloth. Karen Isenhower

Swedish lace is shown to its best advantage when light is allowed to shine through the cloth. The pressed rolled hem adds a classy touch.

5. Hemmed small sample piece to carry around with me when I have a cup of coffee. (I grab this re-usable “scrap” instead of a paper napkin or paper towel. It also doubles as a coaster wherever I happen to sit down.) The original M’s and O’s towels are HERE; and HERE you can see what I mean about carrying my coffee cup around with me.

Handwoven scrap is used as a napkin/coaster for cup of coffee.

Scrap of handwoven fabric, from a cottolin warp of handtowels, follows my favorite coffee cup around.

6. Replaced nylon cord on handwoven Roman shades with a cord I wove on my band loom. (The “temporary” nylon cord stayed more than a year. We now enjoy seeing this on our kitchen door every day, finally fully finished.) The only place I have a picture of the original nylon cord, and of the fabric on the loom for the Roman shades is in my Projects on Weavolution HERE. (I’m not sure if you can see it without logging in to the site.)

Handwoven on Glimakra band loom - pull cord for Roman shades.

Linen and cotton threads that match the handwoven Roman shades were used to weave the pull cord. Cord woven on Glimakra two-treadle band loom.

Handwoven Roman shades in two-block twill. Karen Isenhower

Handwoven Roman shades finally have a matching pull cord. When the shades are lowered at night, the two-block twill structure is seen covering the whole kitchen door window. Woven on 8-shaft Glimakra Standard loom.

Opening the handwoven Roman shades. Please come on in!

Opening the shades to start the day and welcome you. Please come in!

May you reduce your finishing pile (I know you have one).

Forever finishing,
Karen

4 Comments

  • analia says:

    Gracias por compartir tus conocimiento. Es muy enriquecedor ver tus trabajos..
    Hace pocos meses que he comenzado con un telar de peine Maria. de 90 cm y me da un poco de miedo invertir en un telar de 4 peines porque no se si podre dominarlo.
    Cariños desde Argentina.

    • Karen says:

      Muchas gracias!

      I am happy that you enjoy weaving! I have a 36-inch rigid heddle loom similar to yours that I used for many years. Weaving on your Maria loom is very good practice for weaving on a floor loom with 4 shafts. I hope you get to try weaving on 4 shafts. I know you can do it!

      Thank you for your kind compliments!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • What a lovely set of inspirational works! I particularly love the swedish lace tablecloth. It would be so perfect as curtains in the kitchen! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jessica,

      I’m thrilled to hear you love the Swedish lace! You are absolutely right – the Swedish lace is perfect for curtains. The tablecoth is an extra piece; I wove curtains first, at my husband’s request. We enjoy looking through the Swedish lace every day.

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