Now This Year

New year 2017 is beginning! It’s time again to take account of where we stand in our life’s dreams and goals. What can we check off the list? And, what is still in progress? And, maybe there’s something new to add. But first, let me count my blessings. I’m filled with gratitude, thankful for you! What a JOY it is to have friends like you to walk through this weaving journey with me.

Here’s what you’ll find on my looms right now:

Striped cottolin warp for towels.

Glimåkra Ideal loom: Striped warp for the sample kit is all set! Winding quills is next. Then, weaving! If all goes well, a few pre-warped plattväv towel kits will show up in my Etsy shop.

Transparency with linen warp and background weft. Cotton chenille weft inlay.

Glimåkra Standard loom: Weaving a transparency. 16/2 linen warp and background weft. The weft pattern inlay is cotton chenille.

Practice piece on little Hokett loom.

Hokett loom has the start of a simple stripes tapestry practice piece. 12/6 cotton warp, 6/1 Fåro wool weft.

Thank you for joining me through 2016!

May you have joy in the journey.

Happy Weaving New Year,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I love the “Year in Review” and see so many favorites. Your work is simply beautiful and inspiring. You are brimming with talent!

    Happy New Year, Karen!

  • Jennifer says:

    A lovely and inspiring post! I enjoyed the video of your weaving year.

  • Truly Blessed, thanks for all you share.

  • Loyanne says:

    Thanks for sharing. Seeing the Faro piece bring to mind a question. I am working on a Whig Rose scarf. Trying to weave according to tradition and the warp is 8/2, weft is Faro and 16/2 for tabby. Just wondered if you had used cotton and wool and how you wet fingers she’d it ? Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, I’m sure your scarf is beautiful! The monksbelt does use 16/2 cotton for tabby, and Faro wool for pattern weft. I’m not sure of your question… I have a feeling that spellcheck gremlins took over. Could you try asking again?

      Karen

      • Loyanne says:

        Boy did the gremlins take over. I wondered how you wet finish a piece out of cotton and wool?
        Thanks.

        • Karen says:

          Ok, now that question makes sense. 🙂 That’s a great question! I did not wet finish my piece because I am going to use it for a hanging, so I wanted it to soften up or get distorted through washing. I did steam press it, though, which helped to tighten everything up and straighten it out.

          I think if I were going to wet finish this cotton and wool combination I would gently hand wash in cool water with mild soap, like Eucalan, with as little agitation as possible. And then hang or lay flat to dry. If I had a sample piece, I would try washing that first, before submerging the main article.

          I wish I could give you a better answer…

          Thanks for asking,
          Karen

  • Fran says:

    A year of accomplishing lots! You do black and white especially well. I enjoy your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, The black and white was a new experience for me. It was a surprise to me to find out how much I enjoyed working with it! Thanks for stopping by!

      Happy New Year,
      Karen

  • Cindy says:

    I just joined in on your posts! It’s part of my goals for 2017 to surround myself with others who love weaving, and to be inspired and motivated to continue learning from them. Thanks for having this blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, A big welcome to you! I do love weaving, and you will find many who comment here are the same way. I love it that we can all learn from each other.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Lynette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed seeing your transparency, because I have used the same 16/2 linen to weave pictorial transparencies for the last 10 years or so. Is your sett 12 epi? How many selvedge warps are doubled on each side? I have never tried using chenille for the inlay, but this gives me a new idea to try!
    Happy New Year, and God bless you and your family!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I’m excited to hear that you weave pictorial transparencies! This is my first attempt, and I’m enjoying it very much. I would love to see some of your work. Can you send me pictures?

      I am using a metric 50/10 reed, which is just a little more dense than 12 epi, but pretty close. I doubled 4 selvedge warps on each side, as instructed in The Big Book of Weaving.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen, Happy New Year! Thank you so much for all the work you do for us, your posts are always beautiful and informative. I have been sick for a bit but I can’t wait to get back to my loom soon.
    Happy weaving,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, It’s no fun to be under the weather. I hope you’re all better very soon!

      I always appreciate your sweet encouragement.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Tom Z says:

    The year in review is so Inspiring Karen!

    Sometimes we don’t look back to view where we’ve come from. We just keep plowing forward. The past gives us a much needed perspective on where we’re going. Your video reminded me of that simple face. And the music was perfect for that reflection.

    Thank you Karen. Keep up the ‘good’ work.
    Happy weaving new year!
    Tom Z in IL

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tom,
      I completely agree! Perspective can make a world of difference.
      I appreciate your thoughtful words so much!

      Happy weaving new year to you!
      Karen

  • Pat McNew says:

    I love your web page. I look forward to each one. I have learned a lot from you even tho I have been weaving for about 12 years.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pat, This is such a sweet thing for you to say! It’s my goal to be a help to others, so I’m thrilled to hear you’ve learned some things here.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to spread a little kindness. 🙂
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Alpaca Warmth

Now that the fringe is finished, and the scarf has been washed, it is ready to be worn! The textural detail of this scarf is striking. An observer may not be aware that the woven pattern is that of an eight-shaft wavy (undulating) twill. But they are sure to notice the gentle drape of the long, warm scarf. The unique curvy ribbed surface is secondary.

Alpaca scarf in an eight-shaft wavy twill, with lattice fringe.

Alpaca scarf in an eight-shaft wavy twill, with lattice fringe.

I can’t think of anything more rewarding than spending time with beloved family! It’s been super sweet to be surrounded with such special adults and little children the last few days to celebrate Christmas together.

Handwoven undulating twill alpaca scarf.

Wavy twill gives the scarf a distinct textural element.

Soft, warm, and long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Celebrating Christmas joys in Texas hill country.

Handwoven long and soft alpaca scarf.

My daughter Melody models the alpaca scarf. Her husband, Eddie, is the photographer.

You are set apart to be a blessing. Let that blessing begin at home, and reach out from there. As alpaca fiber is known for its warmth and wearability, this scarf is perfect comfort for a cold winter day. May our homes, also, be known for the warmth and comfort that comes from being a place of blessing.

May you stay warm.

Merry Christmas, still,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    The scarf is beautiful and looks so soft! I hope you had a wonderful time with all your family!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, Thanks! The scarf is fun to wear. It’s long enough to wrap around once or twice, but it’s not heavy.
      We really had a great time with family. I hope you did, too!

      Karen

  • Stunning !~! The undulating pattern mesmerizes as I look at it. And alpaca’s incredible lightness creates a jewel of a scarf. Wow. Does it get cold enough where you live for this ?

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Lynda,
      😉 It doesn’t get cold enough here very often. On those few days that it is cold enough, 2 or 3 days in the last couple weeks, I’m glad to have it around my neck.
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Fringe Benefits

Did you notice I didn’t hemstitch these alpaca scarves on the loom? Instead, small overhand knots secure the weft. The knots provide a base for lattice fringe on one scarf, and for twisted fringe on another.

Finishing ends on a long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Purple mohair thread marks the right side of the fabric. The thread is added before the fabric is cut from the loom. Six warp ends at a time are formed into overhand knots that cinch up to the edge of the scarf.

Making lattice fringe.

Three offset rows of overhand knots form the lattice fringe.

Fringe is finished. Ready for washing and drying.

Knots at the tips of the fringe will be trimmed off after washing and drying.

Tying knots for lattice fringe is meticulous. And twisting the fringe is not much faster. But it’s not about how long it takes. I’m not a production weaver. I’m a one-of-a-kind weaver who enjoys the process of turning threads into unique cloth, no matter how long it takes. After the fringes are done, I will hand wash the scarves and let them hang to dry. Slow and steady, the scarves take shape. From the very beginning, I work with the end in mind–handcrafted artisan designer scarves.

Twisting fringe on a handwoven scarf.

By inserting a long straight pin through the center of each knot as it is formed, I can pierce the foam board at the spot where I want the knot to end up–right at the woven edge of the scarf.

Twisted Fringe

Twisted fringe dangles from the edge of the soft scarf.

Time is a gift. Time to make things. Time to finish what we make. And time to undergo our own finishing. Look up. The one who made us takes the time to do the finishing we need. Our Maker doesn’t rush or hurry. He has a beautiful end in mind. We look up to heaven as we pray, acknowledging that our Grand Weaver is on his throne. We can be thankful that our times are in his hands.

May your finishing bring beautiful results.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Linda Sloan says:

    Wonderful message…love your blog and work. What an inspiration you are!! Linda

  • Kris says:

    This message brought tears to my eyes, Karen. I don’t remember how I found you, but I am so grateful that I did!! Advent Blessings to you! You are such a Blessing to us, your readers!

  • Katie says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m curios about one of your photo captions about using the purple mohair to mark the right side of your fabric. Is this simply to make it easy to know which side is up or is there another reason for it having to do with tying the knots?

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Katie, It makes me smile to know someone reads the captions. 🙂

      I mark the right side of the fabric with a thread when it comes off the loom because sometimes it’s not easy to tell the right side from the reverse side. If it’s that close, it doesn’t usually matter, but I still like to know. By marking it right away, I don’t have to guess about it or hold it up to the light to try to tell the difference, etc.

      Secondly, if I am tying knots for fringe, like this time, I want the right side of the fabric up. My overhand knots have a front and a back to them, and I want the consistency of having the front of the knots on the right side of the fabric. These are details that most won’t notice. But that’s what sets handcrafted goods apart, isn’t it?

      I hope that makes sense.

      Thanks so much for asking!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Pam says:

    You’re right. It is HIS perfect timing that makes us who we are. HE is the author and the finisher of out faith.
    I always say that every thing we do has a little secret to tell us. The trick with the pin in the center of the knot, as it is made to insure its proper place, is just such a secret. I wondered how to do that. Now my work will be better. Thank you,Karen.
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam,

      Yes, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. I’m thankful that the Lord planned in the little things that make us who we are.
      So glad you found a helpful tip here!

      Karen

Leave a Reply


End of Warp Surprise

The end of the warp is a fantastic way to try out ideas for future weaving projects. I have some kid mohair/silk yarn on my shelf in blue, lavender, and tan. I wove some pretty shawls with this angelic yarn a few years ago on my rigid heddle loom. Hmm… would kid mohair/silk work as weft on the alpaca warp? This is a good way to learn. If it works, I know I can do it again, but on a larger scale. If it doesn’t work, I know what to avoid. The point is to learn.

Kid mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Lavender mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Alpaca warp and kid mohair/silk weft for a dreamy scarf.

As handweavers, we learn by doing. And in daily life, we learn by doing–walking in this manner or that. We do not walk alone. The Lord stands ready to teach every inquiring soul. My prayer is, “Lord, teach me; help me understand; help me walk.” Sometimes what we learn surprises us. The trial weft may be even better than the one we originally planned.

May you enjoy lifelong learning.

Blessed,
Karen

2 Comments

Leave a Reply


Two Long Alpaca Scarves

The end is near. I can see the end of the pre-measured tape. These two long scarves could be named “too long” scarves. The repeating pattern of this eight-shaft twill is very…repetitive. And the color is very…monotone. Soft and warm, they will certainly be beautiful scarves…eventually. Can you tell I am ready to be finished?

Soft and cozy handwoven long alpaca scarves.

Soft 3-ply alpaca yarn is used for the warp and the weft. The end is in sight!

I don’t always have patience. I want things to hurry up; I want to be finished now. And I don’t want trouble along the way. Obstacles make me lose my patience; and my attitude becomes unattractive. As much as I try to stay positive, the negative thoughts can get the best of me. When we’re at our worst we need kindness the most. Kindness changes us. Kindness reminds us to look at what is being woven.

Woven fabric at the cloth beam. Warping slats between the scarves keeps the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

Woven fabric forms layers around the cloth beam. Warping slats are added at the cloth beam between the scarves to keep the unwoven yarn (for fringe) from slipping off the cloth layers at the sides.

We all need and desire kindness, even when we don’t deserve it. Grace is pure kindness toward the unworthy. God gives great grace. He takes an unworthy subject like me and pours on kindness. In that grace I find the patience I need for today. Oh, how lovely that scarf will be!

May you give and receive generous amounts of kindness.

Giving thanks,
Karen

15 Comments

  • These scarves are beautiful. Your selvages are impressive. I can almost feel the softness of these alpaca scarves. Lovely, lovely work. I’m curious to know how you do these hem stitching. I need to go back and look through your tutorials. I’m not a new weaver but an inexperienced one for sure and I’m very much enjoying your blog.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Cate, It’s a pleasure to meet you. The alpaca yarn is great to work with, and it seems like it just falls into place at the selvedges. I have not done hem stitching on these scarves because I am going to tie a lattice fringe, and I didn’t want a hem-stitched border. When I take these off the loom I will need to be very, very careful to keep from disturbing the wefts at the ends of the scarves.

      I do have a tutorial on hem stitching at this link: Bold Hemstitching.

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Fran says:

    Very ice they will be, but i know what you mean about repetition .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, Its good to have someone who understands. The repetition does eventually come to an end. I finished the second scarf last night. Now, I’m playing with other yarns until I get to the end of the warp.

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Beautiful Karen! I love that pattern.
    Santa is coming early for me this year (tomorrow) my sweet husband got me a 8 shaft Baby Wolf! I’m so excited! Can’t wait to get going on it and try some new patterns!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, I’m excited for you! You are entering some new adventures. I’m sure you’re already planning your first projects!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Louise says:

    Interested in the packing on the cloth beam….if you were not having fringe on the scarves and were weaving the entire warp, would you pack the cloth beam?

    On a different topic…
    Sumac
    Have you used this technique (there are many different sumac designs) as an edge on any scarf, blanket, etc.?

    • Karen says:

      Louise, I do put warping slats on the cloth beam for the first turn of fabric around the beam. After that, if I didn’t have the unwoven warp, I would not have added more slats.

      I am not familiar with sumac being used in this way- as an edge on fabric. I only have a very small acquaintance with sumac as a tapestry technique, but I don’t know it well enough to use it very often. If you have more information about this topic, I’d love to see some resources to learn more.

      Thanks,
      Karen

      • Louise Yale says:

        First – I misspelled it. The correct spelling is
        soumak
        Have also used this technique in tapestry many decades ago.

        The book I am using as a reference for the various stitches is
        Jean Wilson’s Soumak Workbook
        Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing, NY were the original publishers.

        Apparently the title was purchased by Interweave Press, 1982.

        I am in the process of putting a narrow cotton scarf warp on the loom and doing Soumak in place of hemstitching. Will report later.

  • I shared your post to my FB page and said “One of my favorite blogs that I follow. Karen is a jewel that sparkles even on a dark cold winter day <3 "

Leave a Reply