Travel Blessings

My adventure to Germany and Austria with my sister was incredible! Many firsts and many blessings. First time to visit Europe. First castle, first currywurst, first German symphony, first hike in the Alps, first Austrian apfelstrudel, first close-up mountain waterfall. And many, many more wonders, delights, and amazements. Any weaving? We visited a handweaving museum in Germany. And I did some occasional tapestry weaving in the evenings. The best tapestry times happened while sitting out on the balcony at our room in Innsbruck.

Weberplatz of Babelsberg, Germany.
Weberplatz of Babelsberg. These were weavers quarters in days gone by.
We had a picnic lunch on the castle steps.
We had a picnic lunch on the castle steps.
Weaving an image from Big Bend State Park, Texas, while enjoying the balcony view in Innsbruck, Austria.
Weaving an image from Big Bend State Park, Texas, while enjoying the balcony view in Innsbruck, Austria.

Be open for blessings. Look for blessings. I don’t mean life should be easy, conflict free, or always comfortable. The blessings are often hidden in long hours, tired feet, and foreign words. Be ready for the best lessons the Creator has for you. The Lord’s faithfulness is stamped into the gardens, mountain peaks, and waterfalls. His glory is written on every face, voice, and pair of hands. His blessings are tucked into secret places, awaiting our delighted discoveries. Live blessed.

May you be surrounded with blessings.

Your Wandering Weaver,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey and I’m glad you had a special time/memories with your sister. Your tapestry is looking very good! Blessing to you! 🙂

  • laura says:

    Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures. So much inspiration that nature and the older buildings have to offer. Thanks again, enjoy the rest of your trip.
    I have one question, what type of loom are you weaving on? So cute and compact.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, You are right about the inspiration from nature and the older buildings. I was constantly thinking in design terms as I viewed the various patterns and colors. I hope some of that comes out in future weaving projects.

      The little frame loom is one that my husband Steve made for me. I also have the Glimakra Freja frame looms that I really like to use. This handmade one is a little more portable for traveling.

      It’s good to be home,
      Karen

  • Beth says:

    Sounds like a fabulous time! You’re so fortunate to have a sister who’s also a friend. Thank you for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I am blessed to have two sisters who are dear friends. And so grateful to have these adventures with one of them!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Thank you for sharing all of your firsts with us, Karen!

    The tapestry is looking amazing. Quite the counterpoint of wide open spaces of nature to the view of crowded man made buildings of Innsbruck.

    Safe travels!

    • Karen says:

      Hi dear Annie, What a wonderful way to express the juxtaposition of the small tapestry with the view over the balcony!

      “Quite the counterpoint of wide open spaces of nature to the view of crowded man made buildings of Innsbruck.”

      Perfect description. And sometimes it’s a blessing to leave the wide open spaces in nature for Nachittag (afternoon) Kaffe und Kuchen at a cafe in crowded Innsbruck.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Welcome back Karen,
    Weberplatz of Babelsberg is that where the you found those ancient looms in the video? I’d love to see more detail, if you have it.

    Your tapestry is coming along quickly. I look forward to it’s finish.

    May God be with you.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Nannette,

      The old looms were in the Handwebereimuseum in Geltow, Germany. They were fascinating. Most were 47-53 cm weaving width, and all with fly shuttles. The back beams were up high at the back of the looms, and they were all countermarch looms as far as I could tell. There were no English signs or explanations, so I just looked and enjoyed. I did not take a lot of pictures there.

      Here is a link of one of my Instagram posts with a video of a demonstration at the museum: Weaving demo.
      All the best,
      Karen

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Weaving Deadline

I had a deadline for weaving these towels. Eight days. I finished dressing the loom at our Texas hill country home on Monday afternoon, and wove in long and short increments throughout the week. Mostly short increments. After all, I had little grandchildren to enjoy at the same time. And sweet interactions with my daughter and her husband. I finished weaving the four towels on Saturday evening, and cut them off on Sunday morning, just in time to bring them back with me to Houston to do the finishing work.

Cloth beam fills up with double weave towels.

Cloth beam fills up with double weave towels.

Four double weave towels. Time for cutting off!

Four towels woven. Time for cutting off!

Cloth puddle of double weave towels. Cutting off!

Cloth puddle.

Double weave towels just off the loom.

Aqua is the main color on the front of the towels. The reverse side has Poppy as the main color.

Freshly woven towels, ready for finishing work.

Ready for finishing. This week I will be mending errors, wet finishing, hemming, and sewing on labels.

I was highly motivated. I knew this may be my only chance to finish these towels for Melody before she and her precious family move to Chile in the near future. Now, she will be able to take a woven piece of my love with her. Know your roots. Where are you rooted? When your life takes root in good soil it will grow. Rooted in love, your life will blossom to bless others. And those are roots you can plant anywhere in the world.

May you bloom where you are planted.

With love,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Very Beautiful, the towels and your advice. At times, I wonder, “Why am I doing this project?”, especially when I have been challenged with warping or broken threads…but when it comes off the loom and you think of the person you will share it with, love IS the answer! The Greatest of These is Love!

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They’re so pretty and the colors perfect for Chile! Melody is very lucky. You are very kind. Can’t wait to see them finished.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I had Chile in mind when I selected these colors. One of the towels will stay with me, so I’ll have a Chile towel in my home that will remind me of Melody. I’m excited to see how they are after wet finishing.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Laine says:

    More information on mending errors please.
    As a beginner I have many 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laine, Thank you for asking! Beginners aren’t the only ones with errors. I make my fair share of errors, too. Haha! I have quite a few skipped threads and floats to take care of on these towels.

      Here’s a link to a previous post to get you started: What to Do About Weaving Errors

      I hope that helps!
      Karen

  • Angela says:

    The towels are beautiful. What technique are you using? Is it double weave? You weave so many beautiful projects and you have such nice messages.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, That’s very kind of you to say such sweet things.

      These cottolin towels are woven in double weave. After washing they should be soft and absorbent.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Quickly becoming a decade ago I set up my almost forgotten 4 harness loom on the 3 season porch to provide something to occupy my time during the never ending treatment of DCIS. The result was a stack of small rag rugs the size used in front of a kitchen sink. They were gifted to sibs and nieces and nephews Christmas 2010.

    Faded from use but with years of wear left. The rugs are used in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, kitchens and the outside stoop of my daughters house. I am amazed at how the work of my hands is a part of the lives of so many people I love.

    May the people you love and those you do not know enjoy the work of your hands.

    Nannette

  • Lyna says:

    I was wondering…what do you do with your thrums/loom waste? The colors of this warp are so luscious it would be a shame to throw away any of it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lyna, You are asking someone who just had to downsize from a full-size house to a small transition apartment. After saving my thrums for a few years and not finding a use for most of the beautiful threads, I decided to discard them when the weaving is finished. With the exception of linen. I do have a project in mind for all my linen thrums.

      I use threads from the thrums to do my repair finishing work. I have used thrums for choke ties before, but I have enough re-usable choke ties that I prefer. I have used thrums tied into longer pieces to wrap gifts and packages.

      I don’t want to store things anymore. It doesn’t seem like a waste to me because I got the best part of all the beautiful threads in my handwoven towels.

      How would you use the thrums?

      All the best,
      Karen

      • Lyna says:

        I can see the point in tossing when finished, I come from an old German farmer background and must resist the “box of string too short to use,” black-hole-of-clutter tendency. I was wondering if thrums, sorted by fiber type, would make a good shaggy rug. What do you have planned for your linen?
        “What do you do with thrums?”could be a good question to ask your Facebook friends to discuss, collect and evaluate ideas for a future post. Just an idea for your oh-so-abundant (not!) free time!
        Thanks for posting even when life get busy! I especially appreciate your reflections on weaving as a metaphor for walking with God.
        Bless!

        • Karen says:

          Lyna, I’m a little too familiar with the old German farmer background. If you only knew… Haha! That’s in my heritage, which may be why I have to fight the tendency to think “someday I could use this for something…” Thrums could probably be used for some rya weaving. Until I have that planned I’m not keeping my thrums. (Don’t tell my mother.) 🙂

          I’d rather be weaving than checking FB, so I don’t do much of that.

          It’s so good to have you along on this journey!
          Karen

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Harmonized Weaving for the New Year

I have a grand idea for this new year! Put all three looms to work simultaneously to weave a coordinated set of textiles for the Texas hill country house. My Glimåkra Ideal loom and the little hand-built loom are bare and ready. Imagine the action! I’ll take you along as I wind warps, dress looms, and weave the harmonized threads. While I wait for ordered yarn, I am weaving the linen satin dräll towels that remain on the Glimåkra Standard loom. Soon, this loom will be bare and ready, too.

Linen towels in five-shaft satin dräll.

Beginning the third of six linen towels in five-shaft satin dräll. Two picks of red thread mark the cutting line between towels.

Before embarking on a new year of weaving adventures, though, I want to fully stop and count my blessings. And YOU are one of those amazing blessings. Thank you from my heart for being friends who share in this journey with me.

Take a look back with me through 2017!

Grateful for you,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Great slide show! I so admire your work. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.
    Happy New Year, Karen!

  • JAN says:

    Good morning Karen!

    On this blustery cold day in New England, your presentation of your 2017 weaving projects, in review, was most welcome and inspiring. Currently I weave on a 12 harness Öxabäck.

    One question, what make and model sewing machine do you use?

    Unfortunately my Husqvarna 6030 appears to have seen it’s last days, so would appreciate knowing what modern machine works best for you, especially on heavier wovens, e.g. with use of rags (not necessarily rugs).

    Happy New Year,

    JAN

    • Karen says:

      Hi JAN, You weave on the Cadillac of looms, then, as I’ve been told! Wonderful!

      My sewing machine is my trusty 40-year-old simple Bernina. It does almost everything I need it to do, and I hope it never dies. Someday, I might add some sort of commercial sewing machine that can handle thicker and heavier things. I have sewn relatively thick seams on this machine; however, I must confess that I have also broken many needles in the process. I’ve never had a fancy computerized machine. I’m not sure I would know what to do with it.

      Happy New Year to you,
      Karen

      And bundle up. Brrr…

  • Linda says:

    Thank you for the lovely slide show! Happy New Year!

  • Enjoyed your slide show. It has been fun watching your projects develop this year. Your have a good eye for color.

  • ellen says:

    i am excited to see what comes next. i just bought a towel kit of yours from lunatic fringe. i am going to show my friend how to do this, before we go to vavstuga next fall.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, Wow, so many exciting things on your horizon! Hooray to all of it, especially your upcoming experience at Vavstuga!

      Happy New Year,
      Karen

  • Nanette says:

    Beautiful slide show…and amazing productiveness. Do you have any “New Year’s resolutions” to suggest for those of us who seem to produce so little weaving despite good intentions and three looms? Do you weave all day every day? Do you not have other things you either want or must do? I really appreciate you taking the time to share all this weaving with others!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nanette, You are so sweet! My desire is to weave every day, but there are many days that other responsibilities keep me from the looms. It is rare that I spend more than one or two hours at the loom on any given day. The truth is, there are few things I would rather be doing than weaving.

      One thing that helps me is that I have a “revolving door” mindset with my looms. I don’t want to see my looms empty, so I keep a perpetual schedule of preparing for the next thing. When I have started the actual weaving on a loom, I sit down and plan the next project, and order the yarn. When the loom is empty, I wind the new warp. When I wind a warp, I take it immediately to the loom it is going to dress. And I can’t stop myself from weaving on a newly dressed loom!

      I’ve never had all three looms empty at one time, so my new grand idea of coordinating the three looms may also be my downfall. We shall see…

      Thanks so much for your gracious encouragement!
      Karen

  • Anonymous says:

    Karen, wow have you done a lot this past year, I am so happy that you have included us in your journey. Loved the video!
    Happy New Year my friend,
    Liberty

  • Carolyn Penny says:

    Amazing productivity and variety in your projects. The rotation of your looms and projects sounds like a wise method of coordinating the three. My best wishes in having three coordinating projects on three different looms. I am certain you can do it! — Carolyn Penny

  • Alison says:

    Thank you for sharing Karen. So inspiring to see your successes from the past year. I will take a hint from you (from one of your messages above) and try and keep my three looms warped at all times! This year I start a three year weaving course with Liz Calnan (in Australia) and I’m very excited to take my weaving to a much more professional and accomplished standard. I look forward to seeing what you get up to this year.
    Alison

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alison, What a great opportunity you have to take a three-year weaving course! That sounds fantastic. You’ll need to teach me some of the tips and skills that you learn.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    What an amazing variety of items you accomplished this past year! I was already in awe of the quality of your weaving and now I am floored at how much you accomplished in just a few hours a day!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am looking forward to the new year and your new projects.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I never feel like I’m weaving that much, but when I look back I’m a little surprised myself! I’m not particularly fast, but I’m pretty consistent. It makes me think of a recording of “The Tortoise and the Hare” that my sisters and I listened to when we were girls. I can still hear the deep voice of the tortoise, “I may be slo-o-o-o-w, but I’m su-u-u-u-u-re!” HaHa, that’s me.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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Making Hanging Tabs for Towels

It’s this kind of detail that takes a handcrafted item up a notch. A hanging tab made from a handwoven band is more than an accent for a handwoven hand towel. The small hanging tab, mostly unnoticed, adds a statement: This towel has a purpose. It is meant to be placed where it will be used.

How to Make Hanging Tabs for Towels from a Handwoven Band:

  • Mark cutting lines on the woven band. My lines are 4 1/4″ apart.
  • Zigzag forward and back on both sides of the marked lines, leaving room for cutting apart.

Zigzag between hanging tabs.

Making hanging tabs for towels.

  • Cut the band apart at the marked lines, between the zigzag rows.

Hanging tabs, cut apart for towels.

  • Decide where and how to place the hanging tab.

Trying different versions of hanging tabs.

One style of hanging tab for handwoven towel.

Handwoven band for hanging tab on towels.

Loop for hanging tab on towel. Handwoven band.

  • Position the tab, and push the zigzagged ends to the fold inside the pressed and folded towel hem. Pin or clip in place.

Adding handwoven band to hand towel.

  • Stitch the towel hem, securely catching the ends of the hanging tab.

Adding hanging tab to handwoven towel.

Finished handwoven linen-cotton towel with hanging tab.

  • Use the towel. Enjoy!

Handwoven towels being used!

Your prayers matter. Pray a blessing on your children and grandchildren. Your prayers add a detail to their lives that sets them apart. The blessing we ask is that they know the Lord. That they will call on the Lord. That they will say they belong to the Lord. Ultimately, our prayer is for the Lord to place them where they live out the purpose for which he has designed them.

May your prayers reach the heart of God.

With purpose,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Cate says:

    What are those very nifty clips you are using to hold your tabs/hem in place for sewing?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, They are fabric clips. I found these nifty clips in the quilting section at Hobby Lobby. They work better than pins in so many situations.

      Karen

  • Gabriela says:

    Beautiful photographic study of geometric forms. Lines, angles, shading, colors…

  • Shari says:

    You have such an amazing sense for design and color! And your weaving is out of this world! Funny expression! Plus, I recognize the towel rack in the bathroom! Lovely!
    Shari

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, I like the idea of being out of this world! haha Ah yes, that towel rack is one of my best finds from IKEA.

      Your friend,
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    I love your hanging tabs and have been inspired to put them on some of my towels in the future.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindie, That’s wonderful! To tell the truth, I didn’t start out putting hanging tabs on towels. After I figured out how useful they are in our home, I raided my inkle and band weaving stash and added tabs to all my handwoven towels that didn’t already have one. 🙂

      Karen

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you again for teaching us a new weaving tip & and leading us in wisdom.
    Psalm 90:12-17 “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom…..Let us, your servants, see you work again;
    let our children see your glory……” (NLT)

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    Well I guess now I need to get an inkle loom! Maybe my Bob can make me one! Something new!!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, I don’t think you would be sorry. I have enjoyed many years of weaving pleasure with my inkle loom. All those times when people asked what I was making… haha …nothing in particular.

      Have a great weekend,
      Karen

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Transparent Linen

Ten centimeters of plain weave are for the casing at the top of this transparency. My aim is five picks per centimeter. What a challenge! It’s not a good idea to be fussy about it, pulling out and repositioning the weft. Linen can’t take that. So, carefully I go, restraining the beater in my hands, to be as precise as possible. Packing in the weft for a few picks at the beginning and end of the section takes a stronger beat, …with much less effort.

Trying to weave linen at 5 picks per centimeter.

Close to five picks per centimeter! More practice needed.

Linen, at the top of a woven transparency.

Woven section at the top of the transparency will be folded over and sewn down to make a casing. A rod will be inserted in the casing for hanging the finished transparency. A few tighter-packed picks begin and end the casing section.

Restraint is not easy. The easy path is to do what’s popular, familiar, and people-approved. We falsely think our ease at the moment is the most important thing. Don’t entertain false notions. Walk in the right way, even when it takes restraint. Blessings come to those who avoid the temptation of easier paths. The warp and weft are aligned, imperfectly, as we learn how to restrain the beater.

Weft inlay with cotton chenille over 16/2 linen.

Cotton chenille yarn is wound into butterflies to use as weft inlay.

Transparency with linen background and cotton chenille pattern weft.

Linen background serves as a transparent backdrop for the inlay pattern.

The linen web becomes a successful backdrop for the chenille inlay. That’s when the purpose for the linen becomes evident. It’s an almost-invisible (transparent) framework for the visible inlay pattern. The hard work of restraint is at its best, like this, when it draws little attention to itself.

May you succeed in your practice of restraint.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • maggie says:

    question. when this is completed will the linen background be stable enough to support the inlay? seems like it would sag and distort some.
    maggie

    • Karen says:

      Maggie, That’s a great question. Since this is my first attempt at this type of inlay transparency, we shall see… I have seen other, more detailed transparency weavings that appear to be very stable, and hang beautifully. I’m hopeful this will not become distorted when off the loom. Linen is a good fiber for this since it has natural rigidity, and has very little elasticity.

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

  • Looks gorgeous Karen. I like the ’embracing restraint’ notion. With weaving one gets to learn so much more about self. Embrace the lessons!

  • Peg Cherre says:

    Can’t wait to see this finished piece. A transparency is something I must try one of these days.

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