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

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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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Romance and Whimsy

Our Melody was princess of the day. You could see the white chairs from a distance that told the world, “Wedding!” It was a romantic outdoor setting, under a canopy of majestic old oak trees, appropriate for wedding vows spoken with lifetime integrity. Lights in the trees, mason jars with flowers, and popsicles brought whimsy and laughter to the celebration. (There was an evening breeze that made the air surprisingly cool. I was thankful for the warmth of my handwoven huck lace bamboo shawl.) Everything beckoned guests to come closer. And if you were close enough, you could smell the fragrance of the purple larkspur in Melody’s bridal bouquet!

Bride's wedding dress and bouquet is displayed on bound rosepath by her mother and hope chest built by her father.

Melody’s bridal bouquet in her grandmother’s Fostoria vase, rests on my handwoven bound rosepath piece that is laying on the hope chest built by her father. Melody’s memorable wedding dress completes the scene.

Our heavenly Father is like that, beckoning us to come take a closer look. Close enough to enjoy warmth in the breeze, smell the flowers, and wonder at the mystery of true love.

Bride and Mom just before the wedding.

Bride and Mom sharing laughter and smiles just before the wedding!

May you come close enough to enjoy the details prepared for you.

With Romance in the Air,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    Congratulations! I have been thinking about you a lot this last week. Especially on Saturday, which came up with the perfect weather for an outdoor wedding ceremony. The two of you are so beautiful! A wedding day is a very special day, not just for the bride, but for the mom, too.

    I am very happy to have realized that being a mom doesn’t stop on our child’s wedding day 🙂 To have learned that there will be many more very special days to share — where we are brought closer together in “good times and in bad”. Which is something that has made me, if not enjoy, so at least appreciate the value of bad times as much as the joy of good times.

    From one mom to another!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your wisdom, Elisabeth. I’m always learning from you!

      The weather couldn’t have been better. We were so very thankful for a beautiful sun-shiney (but not too hot) day!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Wende says:

    Lovely!

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Tools Day: Fringe Twister

A hemstitched edge deserves twisted fringe. You have to overlook the amount of time it takes to put this finishing touch on your handwoven articles (often as much, or more, time than it took to weave the cloth in the first place). You do it because you care about the end result. The hemstitching and fringe are the mat and frame for your work of art. Begin well and finish well.

Tools for twisting fringe.

Step 1: (First, with fabric not yet washed and dried, cut all fringe strands on both ends of article to an equal and even length.) A pair of two-pound walking weights holds the fabric in place for tying knots. This fringe twister tool has a long handle and four little alligator clips.

Steps for making twisted fringe.

Step 2: Tie an overhand knot a fingertip-length away from the end, securing four ends together. (Other projects may have more than four ends grouped together.) This extra step holds the secret to clean cut fringe ends (see step 7).

Fringe twister at work.

Step 3: Let each little alligator grab a knot in it’s teeth, four in a row. Crank the handle around until the twisted threads begin to kink back on themselves. Count the number of turns of the handle and repeat that same number of turns for each grouping.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step.

Step 4: Grab the strands from the first two alligators’ mouths, being careful not to let the strands unwind. Combine the two thread groups and tie an overhand knot a fingertip-width away from the first knots.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step pics.

Step 5: After the knot is tied, let the strands unwind in your hand, keeping them from tangling with neighboring threads. Snug the knot by holding the knot and pulling on the two smaller knots, one at a time.

Bamboo Shawl, ready to trim edges of fringe. Explanation about twisting fringe.

Step 6: Wet finish the fabric by a method suitable for the type of thread or yarn being used. Air dry completely, or other suitable method for drying. While still damp, separate and straighten each twisted fringe.

Secret for clean cut fringe ends.

Step 7: First set of knots are cut off, removing the frayed ends, and leaving clean cut ends.

Finished Bamboo Huck Lace Shawl. Karen Isenhower

Step 8: Wear your lovingly handmade creation to a very special occasion, such as to your daughter’s wedding.

This is a lesson for raising children and letting them go, too. You weave for years, give time-consuming attention to the finishing touches while they are in your hands, and then you let them go. Wedding in four days!

May you take the time to finish well.

Love,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    You do such beautiful work! I love the subtlety of the pattern and that the finishing touches are so clean and simple. Isn’t it interesting how what appears subtle and simple can sometimes be the most time consuming and challenging to make?

    And what a perfect way to prepare for your daughter’s wedding — to take the time to do something relaxing and peaceful in what is typically a very stressful period of a mother’s life.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Love,
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Elisabeth, you are right about handwork being relaxing and peaceful. It’s like sitting in an oasis that is hidden somewhere in the center of a bustling city. With your hands busy, you are not in a rush, and you have time to sit and reflect and enjoy the quiet. I think there are very few people that “get” that.

      Thank you for the blessing dear friend.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Donde venden ese aparato para torcer los hilos?, quizas algun conocido me lo puedan comprar y traer, gracias

    Where they sell this device to twist the wires ?, maybe one known me what to buy and bring Thanks

  • Ashlee says:

    I recently wove a blanket for my little girl and wondered how to get around ending up with those frayed ends so this is exactly what I was needing! Thank you so much for posting! When you use the item and then wash it again does it fray at that point? Thank you again!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashlee, I’m happy that you found this information useful! How special to weave a blanket for your little girl!

      I think you can expect the ends of the fringe to come out more fuzzy after washing, but they should stay pretty even, especially after it is dry. It will depend on what fibers you used and the washing method.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Coral Shawl for a Memorable Occasion

Have you ever experienced a chain of events, where the dominos start falling, and you just try to keep up? That is the story of this shawl. My daughter got engaged, so I bought a dress to wear at her wedding. The dress is sleeveless, so I wanted a shawl to wear over my shoulders. Not knowing where to find a matching shawl, I decided to weave one. To weave a shawl, I had to finish weaving these towels that were on the loom, plan the draft for a shawl, and order thread.

Thread and yarn record notebook.

New 10/2 bamboo thread samples added to my thread/yarn record book.

The excitement of dressing the loom, trying out weft color options, weaving the delicate huck lace pattern, twisting fringe, wet finishing the cloth, and waiting for the wet cloth to dry, is all intensified because of the meaning of the event where I will wear the shawl. The shawl, itself, is a minor player that will serve best if it is not even noticed. The attention will be on Melody and Eddie as they pledge their love and faithfulness to each other, embracing companionship for a lifetime. Three weeks to go!

Sleying the reed on Glimakra Ideal.

Reed is sleyed with two ends per dent in a 12 dent reed, which means the sett is 24 ends per inch.

Every thread is ready. Let the weaving begin!

Every thread stands at attention, each in their proper place. Let the weaving begin!

Weft color auditions on coral bamboo warp. Karen Isenhower

Trying out the weft colors in the late afternoon on the dark coral warp. First, coral weft; and then, hot pink weft.

Coral pink bamboo shawl in huck lace.

Pink coral shawl was woven first. The hot pink huck lace weft floats are on the back side of the cloth, visible as the cloth angles toward the knee beam.

Hemstitching on the loom. Huck lace bamboo shawl.

Hemstitching at the beginning of the coral shawl. Notice the subtle border treatment that starts with plain weave and three closer rows of huck lace before the body of the shawl.

Twisting fringe.

Twisting groups of warp ends together to create twisted fringe that embellishes the ends of the shawl.

Wet finishing begins for coral huck lace shawl.

There is nothing that makes me more nervous than wet finishing. A mistake at this point can ruin the handwoven masterpiece. For this reason, I first wet finished the sample piece, and then the pink coral shawl. Now, I am confident about throwing the coral shawl into the washing machine with a half-capful of no rinse delicate wash concentrate.

Bamboo shawl, laying flat to dry.

After gently rolling the wet cloth in towels to remove excess water, I lay it out smoothly on my longest countertop, and leave it to dry overnight.

Trimming the fringe after washing. Frayed ends removed.

After the cloth is fully dry, knots at the ends of the twisted fringe are trimmed off, removing frayed ends and leaving clean-cut ends.

Finished handwoven coral bamboo huck lace shawl. Karen Isenhower

Ready for a special occasion!

May those you love know how much you love them.

With Anticipation,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Diane says:

    Lovely and a perfect match with your dress!

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Gorgeous Shawls – and love the one you’re wearing with your beautiful dress. I was really impressed with your yarn swatch book. I just have a bunch of 3 x 5 cards held together with a ring, but yours makes so much more sense. I think I’ll make one for myself over the summer! I know that the wedding is going to be a beautiful affair. Enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Laurie, I love snipping off a meter of any new yarn and putting it in the yarn record book. There’s nothing wrong with 3 x 5 cards – you have a good start! I’ll do a Tools Day post sometime about the yarn record book.
      Thanks for your blessing and kind words! It’s a good reminder to enjoy the day!!

  • maliz says:

    That´s really a wonderful shawl !
    Next time I´´ll weave one, I should think about hemstitching.
    I really understand your nervousness before wet finishing, as I once ruined a big double woven blanket because I didnt try it out with a sample.
    I had used two different sorts of yarn which felted differently. When it came out of the washing machine the blanket was damaged and completely useless., I could have cried…
    Wish you a nice weekend
    maliz

    • Karen says:

      Maliz,
      Oh no! That’s too bad about your double weave blanket. I think everybody has ruined something in the washing machine at least once. I’ve done it!

      Hemstitching is easy to do on the loom. It’s a great edging for anything that has fringe.

      Wish you a nice weekend, too.
      Karen

  • […] was an evening breeze that made the air surprisingly cool. I was thankful for the warmth of my handwoven huck lace bamboo shawl.) Everything beckoned guests to come closer. And if you were close enough, you could smell the […]

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