Tried and True: Color Gradation

When I decided to use up some of the quills that have collected, I stumbled on one of my favorite techniques—color gradation. The weft colors change gradually instead of making distinct weft stripes. Remember the placemats on the little countermarch loom? I am weaving the last few.

Color gradation on plain weave with color and weave effects.

Using up thread left on quills for some color gradation play.

Doubled weft gives opportunity for easy color gradation.

Color and weave effects on plain weave. 8/2 cotton weft is doubled.

The quills on a double-bobbin shuttle don’t always empty at exactly the same time. The quill that has thread remaining on it goes in a box for later use. Those quills in the box are what I’m using here. For this placemat I’m letting gradient color changes happen in varying increments, according to the amount of thread left on the quill. I have five shades of 8/2 cotton, ranging from coral pink to pumpkin.

Colors for gradient weaving.

Color “sisters” play well together.

This is the perfect setup for some subtle color gradation: Five closely-related hues, a double-bobbin shuttle, and a supply of leftover quills. For best effect, I arrange the colors in order, from light to dark, or dark to light.

Color Gradation

  • Weave a section with two quills of color A (the lightest color)
  • Weave the next section with one quill of color A and one quill of color B (one shade darker than color A)
  • Weave the next section with two quills of color B
  • Weave the next section with one quill of color B and one quill of color C (one shade darker than color B)

And so on…

What could be simpler?

Color gradation.

Pumpkin color adds a pleasing subtle accent to the corals and reds in the cloth.

May you make something beautiful with the little bits that you have.

Happy weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Ruth Terry says:

    Such a lovely way to play with color. I often transition from one color to another without a hard line by weaving 1 pick with new color, 4 picks with old color, 2 picks with new color, 3 picks with old color, 3 picks with new color, 2 picks with old color, 4 picks with new color, 1 pick with old color and transition complete. Will try your double bobbin change next time I am ready to play with colors. Blessings during this advent season, Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, Thanks for sharing another way to transition the colors. That’s a great way to achieve a lovely gradient.

      It would be fun to do a sample piece with various ways to do color gradations. Or, that would be an interesting study group project.

      Advent blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    We turned on the Spurs game the other night and I took one look at the other team’s uniform and said “gradient!” Not something you often see in a basketball uniform, lol.

    Love the placemat!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, That’s too funny! Who else is even going to notice such things? …unless we call it the popular name-“ombré,” meaning shaded in French.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Vivian says:

    I realized on a recent project the subtle transition between two light colours, in different tones added depth. I decided to shake up the mix and make the transitions much narrower in the next project and didn’t have as near an interesting effect. It needed large areas each for contrast.
    I love your pattern too

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Tied On and Tied Up

Our transition to Texas hill country is finalized this week! The looms and I will be residing in the same house again. Let the weaving resume! One loom is dressed and waiting for me. Tied on above, and tied up below. Ready to weave!

The warp is tied on to the front tie-on bar in 1-inch bundles, with 1/2-inch bundles at the selvedges. And then, I add the leveling string which makes it look neat and tidy and READY.

Leveling string flattens and evens out the warp for no-waste weaving.

Warp is tied on to the front tie-on bar. Leveling string flattens and evens out the warp for no-waste weaving.

The upper and lower lamms are positioned, and the treadle cords are added and secured. It’s fascinating how simple and basic the whole system is. And how something this simple and basic can be the framework for boundless creative expression.

Under the warp. Intriguing view.

I sit on the treadle beam when I position the lamms, and then place the treadle cords in their holes. I’m always intrigued by the view of the warp and heddles from this vantage point.

Treadle cords on eight shafts.

Treadle tie-ups don’t frighten me. It all makes sense, and is part of the loom-dressing process that I enjoy.

If we think of prayer as something that gets us out of a crisis, or words to say in order to get what we want from God, we miss the whole point of prayer. And we face disappointment. Prayer always works. The work is not our clever words, nor the checking off of our wish list. Prayer is the framework of deep trust that stands ready for the Lord’s boundless creative expression. We pray because we trust him. Christmas—the birth of Christ—shows us that God always steps in at the right time.

May your framework be sure.

Advent greetings,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Sue Hommel says:

    Beautiful words to awaken to this morning Karen! I’ve recently added a countermarch to my studio, and I believe your blog and joy with your Glimakra helped me in my quest for the right loom to add. I chose the Julia and after some panic at the prospect of having to build it, I just took one step…then the next, and finally, I’m weaving and loving its simplicity and design. Looking forward to see what your new warp will become!

    • Karen says:

      Good morning Sue, How exciting! The simple beauty and functionality of these looms make them a joy to weave on. They also provide a constant learning experience, which is a good thing. There’s always a discovery just ahead!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Susan San Martin says:

    I love my Toika countermarche for the same reason: simplicity, plus an endless opportunity to adjust the loom . It is easy to understand how to fiddle with the sticks after awhile. The loom expresses the deep logic of creation!

  • Anneloes says:

    “Prayer is the framework of deep trust that stands ready for the Lord’s boundless creative expression. ”

    Would you believe that this was the exact thing I’ve been praying over these last few days? Beautifully written.

    Before I started weaving, I thought dressing the loom would be a tiresome process to rush through in order to dtart the REAL weaving. But it turned out to be my most favourite part of weaving, and every bit as real.

    Thank you again for your beautiful words and pictures.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anneloes, I’m constantly amazed at how the Lord ties things together for us!

      I can relate. I was afraid that dressing the loom would be too complicated or difficult to do. What a pleasant surprise to find it so rewarding and not hard at all! It’s a joy.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
      Karen

  • Martha Winters says:

    Hello, Karen,
    I have learned so much about weaving, and how it relates to life, from your blog. Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections so freely and beautifully.
    I would love to know a bit more about the ‘leveling string’ at the start of your warp. I’m not familiar with this and it looks quite useful for evening out the threads from the get-go. Much appreciation for your knowledge and awesome weaving!!

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Another Loom?

Guess what? I added another loom. You might think I already have plenty of looms. This one is a beautiful, well-cared-for 120 cm Glimåkra Standard countermarch loom. It’s the first real step toward another big dream—drawloom weaving. What a pleasant surprise for me to find out that the dear person handing off this loom is one of my blog friends from right here at Warped for Good! And not far from our Texas hill country home. Thank you, friend!

Bringing a loom home!

Glimakra Standard, 120 cm. The side gables fit, but just barely, in the covered bed of our Tacoma pickup truck.

Bringing a loom home with me!

Sticks. A Swedish loom is mostly a pile of sticks all fitted together just so.

There are a few things to be done before drawloom weaving becomes a reality for me.

  • Read, re-read, and review everything I can get my hands on about drawlooms and drawloom weaving, especially Joanne Hall’s new book, Drawloom Weaving, and Becky Ashenden’s DVD, Dress Your Swedish Drawloom.
  • Fix up the light-filled room in the hangar (did I tell you we have an airplane hangar on our property?) where there is ample room for the extended-length drawloom.
  • Order the drawloom attachment and supplies.
  • Move the loom to its special room in the hangar.
  • Assemble the drawloom.

In the meantime, I’ll weave a couple projects on this loom while it sits in a prized corner in our home. In our little piece of hill country. (We make our final move there next week!)

Setting up a Glimakra Standard loom.

Setting up the loom.

New loom, ready and waiting.

Ready and waiting.

Loom with a view of Texas hill country.

Loom with a view of Texas hill country. Perfect temporary spot.

May you take a step closer to your biggest dreams.

With deep gratitude,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    What a lovely blog friend! Most likely, she couldn’t think of anyone more deserving. The temporary spot is, well, perfect!

  • Betsy says:

    What a beautiful, light-filled spot for her! I’m sure she’ll be happy there.

  • Michele Dixon says:

    What a wonderful gift. The temporary space is fantastic. Love all the light and of course, our beautiful Texas views. Congratulations.

  • That is something I’ve wanted to do too – drawloom weaving. I heard that Glimakra is designing a drawloom attachment right now that will fit their little Julie countermarche loom. Eager to see and hear about your new adventure!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I have so much to learn. It will be an adventure indeed. I’m glad to hear that you’re interested.

      I know you can put a drawloom on the Ideal, but I hadn’t heard that about the Julia.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    I saw my first drawloom this past weekend at Heritage Fair in Waco. The loom was so big and tall! A hangar is a good place for one. I couldn’t even begin to figure out how to weave with it. I am looking forward to hearing and seeing your adventures on this, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, That’s the very loom that got me interested in drawloom weaving! My three times of weaving at Homestead on that loom got me hooked.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Wow!!
    So much to learn. I look forward to your posts as you explore the new loom.

    Nannette

  • Vivian says:

    Wonderful big step! Wonderful story! Thank you

  • Janet says:

    Karen
    I am also looking for a drawloom or a suitable loom I can convert, if you should come across one in the future would appreciate if you keep me in mind.
    Janet

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, Where do you live? I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.

      This gives me a great idea for a future post – Where to look for used weaving equipment.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Janet says:

    I’m just down from Red Scottie fibers but willing to take a road trip. Thanks Karen, still loving the rug I made with you at Debbie’s 🙂

  • Ruth says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post. The first few pictures remind me of my recent purchase, move and set up of my Glimakra loom. You inspired me to learn to weave on a Glimakra loom and I took the plunge. I’m close to finishing setting at my “new” loom and taking her for a test spin – just tying up treadles is left and we are ready to go (I think). It is always a pleasure to learn from you. Blessings, Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, That’s Fantastic! Oh, you have a wonderful learning journey in front of you. Enjoy the ride!

      Let me know if I can assist in any way!

      Love,
      Karen

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Two Kinds of Dressing

Before everyone arrives for our Thanksgiving family gathering, I am making pie crust for the pecan pie, dough for my “famous” cranberry bread, and doing the prep to make Gram’s turkey dressing. Each family is bringing their contributions to the meal (feast). Thanksgiving Day is a flurry of activity with too many cooks in the kitchen—just how we like it! And sitting at the table with the feast before us, we give thanks. Thanks to each other, and to our Creator. We are blessed!

Making perfect pecan pie for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving feast prep. It takes two pastry chefs to make the perfect pecan pie.

And before everyone arrives I also manage to sley the reed on the Standard. A different kind of dressing—loom dressing.

Sleying the reed.

Two ends per dent in a 45/10 metric reed.

Sleying the reed.

I sit “inside” the loom on my loom bench to sley the reed.

Next step - tying on!

After the reed is sleyed, I remove the loom bench, lower the shafts, and move the countermarch to the front of the loom. Then, I place the reed in the beater and make sure it is centered. Next step–tying on!

Fresh warp on the back beam. Magical!

Getting dressed. Oh the beauty of a fresh warp going over the back beam! Magical.

A feast for the eyes and hands and heart. Thankful indeed!

May you give thanks,
Karen

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Thankfully No Cartoon

My small tapestry isn’t following a cartoon. This time, I am making it up as I go. It’s an exercise in spontaneity, which is good for someone who is most comfortable when she knows exactly what comes next.

I know enough of the fundamentals of tapestry weaving that I can “wing it.” It also helps that I have enough past mistakes in my experience to have learned a few things. Think of this improvisation as another dimension of practice. A challenge that turns into a learning experience. I have much to learn, so I’m thankful for the experience.

Small frame-loom tapestry. Travel weaving!

Small frame-loom tapestry. Fåro wool weft, 12/6 cotton warp.

Sometimes life’s turns give us some weaving to do without a comfortable cartoon to follow. We make it up as we go. An exercise in spontaneity? Yes. Even in this, though, we see the improvised design emerge. Give thanks. The Grand Weaver who taught you how to get this far has your learning experience in mind when He brings you to another challenge. Knowing we have much to learn, let’s give Him thanks!

May you learn enough to enjoy “winging it.”

Happy Thanks-Giving,
Karen

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