Feeling Empty or Filling Empty?

This Swedish lace warp is finally cut off! The big loom now stands empty. I don’t like to let a loom stay naked for very long, so I will wind the next warp soon. That desire to keep the loom dressed will give me momentum through the finishing details and sewing of the dreamed-about curtains. Like this loom, we humans face times of feeling empty in daily life, and don’t like to stay in that unpleasant state very long.

Cutting off Swedish lace from the loom.

Cutting off the warp always feels like a celebration! Now I have a piece of fabric in hand to sew into curtains. Ta da!

When we experience that feeling of emptiness, we try to find a way to overcome our bare state. We get super busy, stuff our life with things or food, or isolate ourselves to our own detriment.

The good news is that we do not have to stay alone and empty. Amazingly, our creator desires to live with us, not just above us. And that is when our soul is filled–when we make room for our creator. And being filled, we say, Bring on the next warp!

May your loom always be ready for the next warp.

Making room,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Irene says:

    Your Swedish lace looks beautiful! Do you know why it is called Swedish lace? Haven’t heard that name here in Sweden…

    And, I like your saying: May your loom always be ready for the next warp!

    • Karen says:

      Great question, Irene! A few weeks ago I tried to find out why it is called Swedish lace, so I could put it in my Weaving Glossary, but I could not find an explanation in any of my books. So my answer is, “I don’t know.” It is called Swedish lace in The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell, p.114 in the project notes, Plain weave and Swedish lace ‘mosquito lace’ block.

      Thank you for coming by!

  • Jane Morrow says:

    I have no idea if this is correct but, for example, French lace is made using bobbins. Swedish lace is made on the loom and weaving is so traditional in Sweden that it could almost be called woven lace.

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Weaving Windows of Time

The 8/2 cotton threads are doubled, and form an outline around the delicate 20/2 cotton threads, creating this Swedish lace. I see the 8/2 outline as a window frame around panes of glass. A repeating geometric pattern like this is a visual impression of the cycles that form our backdrop for life. The sun rises and sets; seasons follow their sequence; years come and go. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Handwoven Swedish lace using double bobbin shuttle

By using a double bobbin shuttle, the thicker outline threads are placed in the shed together without twisting.

Life hands us constant changes, but one thing we can always expect is a new day. We have been given a lifetime of tomorrows. Even when we are not able to see the sun because of clouds, the sun still rises.

In that consistency of tomorrow, no matter what the present day offers, there is a knowing that runs deep in every soul. In moments of solitude we feel it: The creator loves me. No matter what. New every morning.

May your soul be refreshed today and tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on…

Lovingly,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Bev says:

    His mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed, thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto thee!

    Are you singing to the Lord as you weave this pattern, Karen? Praises to our faithful Lord! Love to you as you weave away. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Bev, when I weave, I’m doing more concentrating than singing, ha ha. But that old familiar hymn certainly rings true. I never get tired of thinking about his faithfulness–through ages and ages of time, and his mercies–new every day. Old and new, perfectly combined.

  • […] these open windows with this before picture, while the fabric was still on the […]

  • JEAN says:

    Hello,
    I am new to your blog site. My nephew has asked me to weave curtains for his kitchen window in his new home. I love the ones you have made. Do you have directions for them that I can use? Thank you so much.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jean, Welcome!

      You can find instructions for the Swedish lace curtains in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, “Cotton Summer Curtains,” p. 114.

      I think your nephew is very fortunate to have you!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

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The One Thing You Cannot Control

Pick after pick, the weaving continues. We won’t see the effect of this Swedish lace weave until it is off the loom and gently washed. That is when the lace magic happens. (See Laura Fry’s expert advice, such as this post, about wet finishing.) In the meantime, I keep throwing the shuttle, expecting a good outcome. Life is pick after pick, too. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, much less, next year. But we optimists do hope for the best.

Handwoven Swedish Lace on the loom

Swedish lace forms where the weft crosses these open spaces in the warp.

The future is unknown and uncertain, even in the best of times. And insecurity is that much greater when facing difficult circumstances. When I try to figure it all out, or attempt to manage everything, I realize how little I am actually able to control.

The great paradox is that when I give up my control to the one who created me, I gain everythng that matters. A few years ago I met James, a wise old stranger (an angel in disguise?) on a flight to Kansas City. James told me his approach to life. His words were a gift I still cherish today. He said, I don’t know what the future holds; but I put my life in the hands of the one who does.

May your pick after pick yield beautiful results.

Still weaving,
Karen

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The Surprising Thing about Color

While weaving this one-color-white fabric, I let colors dream away in my mind. I understand the elegance of simply white, but I find vibrant color combinations invigorating. Nature is full of intriguing mixtures of color, including some outlandish examples of wild color play.

Swedish lace curtains being woven

Woven Swedish lace fabric progresses to the cloth beam, where it is neatly rolled up.

Since this Swedish lace fabric is well underway, it is time to plan my next project. After all, I wouldn’t want my loom to sit idle… smile. I am choosing colors now for the 16/1 linen warp that is up next. Colors are like children playing dress up–they are full of surprises, and they change identity easily. She is Miss Pink while seated next to Mr. White, but the same thread becomes Miss Lavender when she’s beside Mr. Blue. Experience helps predict how colors will work together, but I still get surprises. I never know for sure how colors will behave until they are interlaced in the woven fabric.

I witnessed a gorgeous sunset recently. Saturated colors of purple, red, orange, pink, and yellow produced a tapestry in motion. This joyful display of color is surely nature’s response to the creator. The sky is singing praises that we can see!

May you be delighted with surprising expressions of color.

Joyfully,
Karen

1 Comment

  • Gretchen says:

    Hi Karen! Your Swedish Lace is looking wonderful and I just LOVE the photos of it on your loom! So lovely! Looking forward to catching up tomorrow. xx

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When Love Is Not Easy

With this big Swedish loom, it is easy for me to get a firm beat. I can swing that hanging beater like nobody’s business! But that doesn’t serve me well for this delicate fabric. The streaks in this cloth are evidence that I’m struggling to get a consistent light beat. It is easy to show love to someone who loves us back, and like swinging the beater on this loom, brings positive momentum we feel good about. But what about the times love isn’t easy? …when a gentle touch takes more effort?

Swedish lace curtains in the making.

Loosely woven fabric is good practice for beating the weft in evenly. The Swedish lace pattern “windows” will become more visible after the first washing.

Anyone can be nice to someone who is nice; but can we show kindness to someone we’re at odds with? Thoughtfulness to the ungrateful, love to people who won’t love back… Not easy! Gentleness toward those with rough edges? That is the test of love.

If I only love those who love me back, I haven’t learned love yet. Love belongs to the greatest and the least, the grateful and the ungrateful. It is demonstrated by the master weaver, whose skilled hand taps each thread in with consistent grace. Never underestimate the gentle strength of love.

May love find its way to you and from you.

Gently,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Wende says:

    What a great reminder for all of us…graciously put.

  • Laurie says:

    Dear Karen,
    I was thrilled to find your web site. I’ve enjoyed your posts and seeing your work on Weavolution, so I was already familiar with you.

    Your handwork is beautiful, and your heartfelt words are just lovely.

    I look forward to your future posts.

    Best regards,

    Laurie M.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurie, I’m so pleased that you took time to leave a comment! Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot!
      You’re welcome here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the posts as we go along.
      Karen

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