What a Cellist Weaves

I approach weaving like a musician. The looms are instruments, and everything is practice. When I was twelve years old I fell in love with the ‘cello and began learning to play the instrument. Over time, I discovered the value of mindful practice, the need for which is ongoing. It’s not perfection I’m after, but intent to apply all I’ve learned.

Glimakra band loom.

Finished woven band. 12/6 cotton for warp and 16/1 linen for weft.

Band loom woven cord for cello endpin stop.

Small slider is added to make the cord’s length adjustable.

This once, my weaving and ‘cello playing overlap. My husband designed this cello endpin stop for me! I got to weave a cord on my band loom that connects the pieces together. (I showed you the beginning steps in Finer Weft for a Stronger Cord.)

Hand-crafted cello endpin stop, with handwoven band.

Hand-crafted ‘cello endpin stop.

Hand-crafted cello endpin stop.

‘Cello and me.

What if our interactions with people are opportunities to practice real love? It’s no big deal if I love those who love me. Or, do good when I know someone will return the favor. Or, lend to someone who will pay me back. Real love is loving those who don’t love you back. That takes practice. When we love, do good, and give, expecting nothing in return, we start to resemble God’s character. No, we won’t attain His perfection, but when we apply all He’s taught us, we begin to look like His children. For He loved us long before we loved Him back.

May you practice real love.

Love,
Karen

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Finer Weft for a Stronger Cord

I need a strong cord for a specific use. It needs to look nice, without drawing attention to itself. This cord will connect three small pieces of wood. I will reveal how they will be used after I finish weaving the cord.

Three wooden pieces for a special purpose...

Three wooden pieces to be connected for a purpose. What are they for? You are welcome to put your guess in the comments…

I chose 12/6 rug warp for the project, to make this a durable cord. With a band this narrow, the 12/6 cotton is too bulky for weft. I could not pull the selvedges tight. I need a finer weft that will draw the warp ends together and disappear at the selvedges. Black 16/1 linen works beautifully!

New woven narrow band. Need to change the weft.

Using 12/6 cotton rug warp for the weft proved to be unworkable for this narrow band. Light shows through the gaps at the selvedges.

Linen weft for this narrow band.

Black linen weft matches the black selvedge threads. The 16/1 linen enables tight and even selvedges for this 5/16″ (8 mm) band.

A change of heart changes everything. The condition of our heart is revealed in the way we behave toward others. Our thoughts and actions are a matter of the heart. To live in a manner that is unselfish, generous, kind, and content, we must do more than line up the right outward appearances. We must start with humility. Having the perfect warp means nothing if the weft interferes with a beautiful outcome. Humility, like the linen weft, is a posture of the heart that pulls everything else together.

May your heart be beautiful.

Warmly,
Karen

2 Comments

  • I can’t guess what the wooden pieces are for. They remind me of several times when I purchased a used loom from someone, and there were several wooden or metal pieces that came with it that neither they nor I knew what they were for. I am glad you know what these are for, and I am looking forward to finding out!

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Quiet Friday: PlattvÀv Towels and Thanksgiving Prayer

Start to finish, the plattvĂ€v towels have been a handweaver’s joy. Narrow stripes on the warp beam are strangely invigorating. Does it take extra effort to wind a warp with many stripes? Yes–cut off one color and tie on a new color, over and over. But when the loom is dressed and ready to go, the weaving is a breeze. Being cottolin, the warp is fully compliant; and with a little care, the linen weft becomes a weaver’s friend. PlattvĂ€v, the icing on the cake, gives me a simple pattern weft that dresses up these plain weave towels. (And, yes, I am in the process of developing a kit for these plattvĂ€v towels.)

Planning handwoven towels.

Cottolin warp with counting cord.

Striped warp for plattvÀv towels.

Threading the loom for plattvÀv towels.

Tying up treadles the easy way.

Weft auditions for plattvÀv towels.

PlattvÀv towels on the loom, with linen weft.

PlattvÀv towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Blue linen pattern weft.

Beautiful blue linen pattern weft.

PlattvÀv towels coming off the loom!

Off the loom and ready for trimming threads.

Band loom weaving.

PlattvÀv towels ready to roll!

PlattvÀv towels. Karen Isenhower

The joy of weaving is a blessing, as is the joy of friendships across the miles. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

Thanksgiving prayer: Thank you, Lord, for everything.

May you overflow with blessings and reasons for giving thanks.

Thankful for you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    These towels are just beautiful. Thank you for all the work you do to help us with our weaving. Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

  • Martha says:

    Love the photo of the towels rolled up- very interesting to view. Beautiful work as always.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, The linen is predominant in these towels, and linen begs to be rolled. I had fun playing around with them to take pictures.
      Thanks for your kind words!

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Anne says:

    I will definitely be interested win the kit! Beautiful!

  • Theresa says:

    The towels are lovely. I too will be watching out for kit information.
    I’m wondering if hemp would be worth a whirl in place of linen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Theresa, I’m excited about putting the kit together. It’s good to know you are keeping an eye on it.
      I have never woven with hemp. From what I’ve heard, it weaves much like linen. So I’m certain it would work for this.
      I love the Bockens and the Borgs Swedish linen, so I haven’t branched out much in that regard.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Almost Forgot the Hanging Tabs…Again

I was ready to hem the plattvĂ€v towels. But then, I thought of one more thing–I need a woven band for the hanging tabs! Since the towels have black borders, I decided to weave a simple band in black cottolin, with a single white dotted line down the center. I measured the little warp, put it on the band loom, and quickly wove it up.

Black woven band with dotted white line. Glimakra band loom.

Single white thread produces dotted white line in the woven band.

I love the classy black band with the white dotted line. However, I don’t love it with these towels… Too wide, and too… black. It’s going into my band stash box. Someday, when I least expect it, I’ll find this band in the box; and it will be exactly what I need at the time. So, I started over at the band loom this morning, and wove a new band.

White dotted line on handwoven band. GlimÄkra band loom.

Second chances are possible with a GlimĂ„kra two-treadle band loom. It doesn’t take long to weave a second band if the first one doesn’t work out.

Woven band, ready to be cut into hanging tabs for towels.

Ready to be cut into hanging tabs for the plattvÀv towels.

Ready to hem towels, with hanging tabs included. Karen Isenhower

Hem, turned twice to the back of the towel, is pressed and ready to be stitched. The ends of a coordinating hanging tab will be stitched in the seam. The black woven band is stashed away for future use. The narrower gray band fits the style of the towels.

Joy is ignited by giving thanks. Gratitude changes your outlook. Instead of seeing the black band as a setback, it’s a gift for the future. The gray band is a reminder to be thankful for second chances. To whom will we give our thanks? To our looms? No. To each other? Yes. And to our Maker who gave himself for us? A resounding, joyful yes.

May you continuously be thankful.

Thankful for you,
Karen

9 Comments

  • ellen santana says:

    beautiful towels. i recently read an article about antique handwovens that she found that towels that had a hanging tab on them were quite worn on the opposite end of the tab. maybe if you put tabs on both sides they would get won equally. es

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, I never would have thought of that! That’s very interesting and good to know. I’ve seen some towels with the tab on the side – maybe that would help with the wear, too.

      I will have to give this some more thought…

      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post. Quick question: do you finish your hems by hand or machine? Happy weaving, Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I like to hem my towels with the sewing machine. To me, that seems the most reliable way for the hems to stay in place through years and years of washings. I did hem the table square (not shown) by hand. I don’t expect it to go through many washings, and I wanted the hem stitches to be invisible.

      I love the look of hand-hemmed towels, and the craftsmanship it shows. And I have friends who always hand hem their handwoven towels. I admire them for it.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette Mosher says:

    Could you post a photo of your whole band loom, with heddles and maybe a warp with something to show its relative size? I have a couple of looms for bands, one very antique and the other an inkle, but neither seems as quick and easy as yours seems to be. I’m really impressed that you didn’t just “make do” with the black; certainly the grey is an improvement and perfect. Will be interested in your answers to the other questions also. N.

  • Sherri says:

    Curious about the bobbin/shuttle you’re using with the band loom. Where do you get them?

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Quiet Friday: Band Loom Warping and Weaving

My two-treadle GlimĂ„kra band loom is called into action. I don’t have to add hanging tabs for the towels that I am weaving on the Ideal loom. But I want to. A little band weaving here and there, and I will have this special detail ready for the towels when they come off the loom. (Watch me weave on the band loom in the video below.)

Glimakra two-treadle band loom. How to warp and weave.

How I Warp the Band Loom:

Band loom warp.

  • Put the end loop of the warp on the warp beam tie-on bar. Insert lease sticks in the cross. Tie the sticks together; or tape them together with masking tape.

Warping the band loom tutorial.

  • Remove tie around lease cross. Hold the warp taut with the left hand while winding on with the right hand. Insert warping slats around the beam the first time around, and then every other time around after that.

Band loom warping tutorial.

  • Wind on until the beginning of the warp is a few inches in front of the heddles.

Warping the Glimakra band loom.

  • Tie or tape the lease sticks to the back beam. Cut the loops at the front end of the warp.

Warping the band loom.

  • Thread the heddles, alternating between the heddles on the right and on the left.

How to thread a band loom.

Threading the Glimakra band loom.

Glimakra band loom, threaded. Steps and pics.

  • Hold the warp taut and depress each treadle to check for any crossed threads.

Warping the band loom.

  • Tie the warp onto the front tie-on bar.

Band loom ready for weaving.

  • Tighten the tension; wind your shuttle; and weave to your heart’s content! (A short cardboard quill can be used as a shuttle.)

Glimakra band loom weaving. Karen Isenhower

May you go the extra mile to add special little details.

Happy band weaving,
Karen

25 Comments

  • Alaa says:

    Thanks for posting this, Karen. It was really interesting and informative. I like the added little touches like a woven tab for hanging too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alaa, It makes me happy to know this was interesting and informative to you. Adding special touches is one of the great advantages of making things by hand!

      Karen

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Hi Karen! Your post and video came at the perfect time as we just finished Vavstuga Basics today. I have a band loom at home that I haven’t used yet, and 2 students purchased theirs today before leaving Vavstuga. Your wonderful blog was discussed several times around the dorm table this past week. Even Bettie said how timely today’s blog posting was! Thank you for sharing with us!!

    • Karen says:

      Wow, Geri, Are you serious?! What a wonderful co-incidence! I am delighted beyond measure that I could have some small part in bringing a helpful tidbit to Vavstuga Basics.

      Thank you for letting me know.You and your Vavstuga Basics friends have totally made me smile.

      Happy, Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Weaver Grace says:

    What a great loom! I can imagine advantages over the more traditional designs: standing, treadles, cloth and warp beams. How interesting that you weave on it what I would consider sideways.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Weaver Grace, Good observations. (I do weave on the band loom sitting down. You probably can’t tell that from the video.) The two primary reasons I prefer this band loom over my inkle loom is 1) I can weave much faster and 2) I can put on a longer warp (I’ve done up to 10 meters).

      Weaving sideways is quite awkward at first; but, with practice, your hands become fluent.

      Karen

  • Annie Galloway says:

    I always enjoy your blog posts. You are inspirational both in weaving and spirituality.

    I’m trying to convince myself that I do not need a band loom 🙂 If you have time, would you tell me some advantages over the inkle loom (which I have). It just looks so much cleaner on the band loom. I know you can weave longer warps on it. It looks faster than weaving on an inkle…

    Thank you so much for your posts.
    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie,

      I have a feeling we just cross posted. See my reply to Weaver Grace about weaving speed and length of warps. 🙂
      Far be it from me to convince you that you *need* something you want. I have a hunch you will be able to convince yourself.

      The advantage of an inkle loom is that you can travel with it, which I do. So, one for travel, and a stationary one for home. More weaving over all. That can’t be a bad thing!

      Thanks for your incredibly kind words. That really touches me!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Hugh S. Myers says:

    I see you have one of the “new” band looms GlimĂ„kra has changed the band loom slightly since I purchased mine…nothing of consequence excepting the heddles—mine are string not Texsolv. My question is where did you get the delightful shuttle?

    • Karen says:

      I bought my band loom second hand. I’m not sure what year it was made, but I know the newer GlimĂ„kra band looms have ratchets that are a little different than mine. String heddles? That’s interesting.

      My husband carved the shuttle for me. It’s modeled after an old Swedish band loom shuttle that we had seen.

      Karen

      • Anonymous says:

        Mine uses string because it predates Texsolv!! As do I 🙂 I also carve so I guess I guess I will go the same route. I really like the idea of one handed operation so that the ‘dance’ involves all four limbs.

        • Karen says:

          Hugh, it is a great “dance” for the hands and feet.

          I will send you an email with specs for the shuttle in case you decide to carve one for yourself.

          Karen

  • Kerry says:

    Like Geri, who commented earlier, I was at Vavstuga last week! I bought a band loom like yours and then, the next morning, we saw this post about how to use it! Such serendipity! Thanks for the clear instructions!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kerry, I couldn’t be more pleased that my instructions came at such an opportune time! You are going to enjoy that new band loom!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Wow – very fun! I haven’t seen a band loom used before. I guess it’s what the Shakers use/d to weave the bands for their chairs. That is a very lovely detail…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, if I remember correctly, the Shaker tape looms were a different design, but similar function. And they certainly produced miles and miles of bands!

      Karen

  • Anne Littlebird says:

    Thank you Karen! I want to use my band loom more but it was a little daunting. This post really helped. I think the only thing I need to work with is how tight to have the warp. I think I have it too tight. I will put on a warp this week and just sit and practice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anne, I am so happy that this post was helpful to you! You are right–practice is the best way to learn this. It takes a while before it’s comfortable. But once it takes off for you, it’s a lot of fun.

      Happy practice,
      Karen

  • Ann says:

    Hi Karen,
    I am the other Vavstuga student who purchased a band loom which coincided with your post! I can’t express how happy I am it happened that way. Directions with the loom were sooo… minimal! Yesterday I got together with the other band loom buyer from Vavstuga and we helped each other get started. We referred to your post as we warped and then began to weave. What fun! I don’t think we could have done it without you. Great directions, photos and video!
    My mind is stirring up other uses for the bands.
    Thanks again!
    Ann

    • Karen says:

      Wow, Ann, that’s fantastic! I couldn’t be more thrilled that things worked out this way! Thank you so much for telling me your story. It makes my heart sing.

      Happy band weaving,
      Karen

  • Chris says:

    Hi Karen

    Awesome little machine and great video, it was great to see some one using one of these looms.
    I just got into inkle looming and the thing that up sets me is the amount of yarn that goes to waste when it reaches the heddles is this loom any better in that respect?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris,

      Good question! I think I end up with about 10 inches/25 cm of loom waste at the end, which is probably not much better than the inkle loom. However, I can put on a much longer warp, so the percentage of loom waste overall is much less. I’ve done as long as 10 yards/9 meters. In that case, the loom waste didn’t count for much.

      Karen

  • […] too, and, together, we managed to figure them out. We were helped immeasurably by this blog post by Karen Isenhower, which, serendipitously, came out the very day we purchased the looms […]

  • Ruth says:

    Hi Karen,

    I want to thank you for this post. I was inspired to purchase a band loom after reading this post several months ago. Without your instructions and video I would have really struggled to figure out the easiest way to warp this loom. As Ann commented the instructions that come with the loom are very minimal to state it kindly. I looking forward to bands to use for straps and tabs! Bless you for sharing your knowledge!

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