Tips for Taming String Yarn Weft Tails

Those pesky string yarn weft tails! There is a lot of starting and stopping with these mug rugs. Normally, tucking a weft tail back into the shed adds a bit of extra thickness at the selvedge. So, what about this very thick weft? It has the potential to throw everything off balance. A few easy tips help minimize the distortion the thicker weft can cause.

Taming String Yarn Weft Tails

  • Begin the thick weft on alternating sides. This will prevent one selvedge from building up more than the other.
  • Taper the end of the string yarn, cutting it at a steep angle.
  • Starting about 1 3/4″ inside the selvedge, send the shuttle through the shed toward the selvedge, going over or under the outermost warp end. Pull through until almost all of the weft tail is caught.
What to do with string yarn weft tails.

Starting the shuttle from the inside, going outward, is an easy way to catch all the separate threads of the string yarn.

Taming string yarn weft tails.

  • In same shed, send the shuttle back through to the other side, aware of encircling the one warp end.

Tucking in string yarn weft tails. Tips.

  • Beat. (Beat on open shed. Beat again. Change sheds. Beat again.)

How to manage string yarn weft tails.

  • Continue weaving.

Rep weave mug rugs. String yarn weft tails - tips!

  • To end the thick weft, leave a 1 3/4″ tail, and taper the end of the string yarn, as before. Lay the tail back in the last shed, going around the outermost warp end. Beat.

Things happen that throw us off balance. From personal celebrations to unexpected losses. Don’t be afraid. Putting trust in the Lord minimizes the inner turmoil. The Lord is my light. He lights my way. What is there to be afraid of? Wholehearted trust in the Lord pushes fearfulness away.

May you walk in a lighted path.

Happy weaving,


  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hey Karen,
    Just wanted to say congratulations on another great project and article in the newest Handwoven Mag! I’m so proud of you! Thanks for all you hard work and help with our weaving!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, Thank you so much! It’s my joy to add my little two cents to the whole wide weaving world. My copy came in the mail yesterday! There are a lot of great projects in there.

      Thanks, friend,

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Quiet Friday: Plattväv Towels and Thanksgiving Prayer

Start to finish, the plattväv 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. Plattväv, 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 plattväv towels.)

Planning handwoven towels.

Cottolin warp with counting cord.

Striped warp for plattväv towels.

Threading the loom for plattväv towels.

Tying up treadles the easy way.

Weft auditions for plattväv towels.

Plattväv towels on the loom, with linen weft.

Plattväv towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Blue linen pattern weft.

Beautiful blue linen pattern weft.

Plattväv towels coming off the loom!

Off the loom and ready for trimming threads.

Band loom weaving.

Plattväv towels ready to roll!

Plattväv 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,


  • 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,

  • 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,

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Thankful for Plattväv

The brilliant blue linen, with its natural luster, is a lively option for the plattväv pattern floats. And blue linen weft for the hem makes a fitting border. These towels with blue accents have a different “character” than the towels with the black linen accents (as seen in Striped Warp Freedom). The accent color makes a big difference.

Plattväv towels with linen weft.

Golden bleached 16/1 linen for plain weave weft. Plattväv pattern weft is doubled royal blue 16/1 linen.

I planned stripes in the warp to simplify the weaving. The warp stripes enable me to weave patterned towels with a single weft color. Plattväv weft floats keep it interesting. As much as I like blue linen, I am uncertain about it here. I’m waiting to see the towels off the loom, washed and dried. In the meantime, the warp stripes make my heart sing. And I’m thankful to have options for the pattern weft.

Blue 16/1 linen is used to weave the hem. Karen Isenhower

Royal blue 16/1 linen is used to weave the hem. The antique Swedish shuttle seems appropriate for this Swedish weave.

We always have a reason to sing. ThanksGiving may be a holiday, but it’s also a way of life. It’s seeing the good, the benefits, the blessings, even in the midst of uncertainty. It’s knowing that carefully planned warp stripes are still there. My hope is in God. My soul is confident, firm, and steadfast in him. And thankful to the core.

May your heart find a song to sing.

With you,


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Striped Warp Freedom

Winding a warp like this is intricate work because of the frequent color changes. These narrow warp stripes provide the perfect canvas for plattväv accents. The simple weft float pattern, woven across the width every five centimeters, adds embroidered-like stitches to the cloth. Everything else is a breeze. It’s plain weave.

Plattväv towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Cottolin warp and 16/1 linen tabby weft, with doubled 16/1 linen pattern weft.

It’s good to have a plain weave project every now and then. It’s a reminder of how freeing it is to let the boat shuttle fly back and forth between your hands. Rag rug weaving isn’t like that. Soft alpaca scarf weaving isn’t like that. I’m zipping along, …only stopping to move the temple, advance the warp, and add the black linen accents. No worries here.

Plattväv towels on the loom. Narrow warp stripes advantage.

Two red picks are woven for the cutting line that separates the towels. First towel is seen wrapping around the cloth beam.

Consider all that has been prepared for us to have a meaningful life. Why should I worry? Who wound the intricate warp and put it on the loom? Doesn’t the Grand Weaver know what it takes to complete his design? We enter the Lord’s place of rest through the door of trust. True rest is worry free. Let the shuttle fly. Let the weft floats embellish the cloth. Come enter the place of rest.

May your worries slip away.

Plain weaving,


  • Stephanie says:

    This is a lovely pattern. Could I do it on my RHL using pickup stick for the weft floats? Do you have a writtten pattern?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stephanie, It’s been so many years since I’ve done pickup on a rigid heddle loom. I don’t have a good answer for you, except I think it would work. The pattern is published in Kalasfina Vävar. Basically, the weft float goes under the white stripes and over the colored stripes (with the reverse on the the back side). It seems like you could easily do that pattern with a pickup stick.

      If you try it, let me know how it works out!

  • Lynette says:

    Thanks for the pictures and words that inspire us. I have a question – I’ve started using a temple more in the last few years of weaving and enjoy it. But when I look at my weft-wise stripes in a rag rug woven at high tension with my temple, the stripes at the end of the rug are still slightly curved or “smiling” at me, while the first few stripes are straight across. Do you have some wisdom on how to keep the stripes straight all the time? I’m advancing the temple about every inch.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, The smiley face that comes about in the weft could be an indicator that you need to make the weft wrap more tightly around the selvedges. If you don’t keep the weft tight around the selvedges, the selvedge warp ends become looser than the rest of the warp ends. The temple actually helps with this because you can keep the selvedges tight without drawing in the whole weaving. Be sure to pull the weft very snugly around the outer warp ends to keep the selvedges from loosening up.

      I hope that helps.


  • Louise says:

    Can the plattvav accents be done as a loom controlled design feature on a 4 harness loom.
    Are diagrams with English instructions available?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louise, Yes, the plattväv accents are loom controlled. This uses 4 shafts and 3 treadles. All the white ends are threaded on shafts 1 & 2, and all the colored ends are on shafts 3 & 4. Two treadles are for plain weave. The third treadle is connected to shafts 3 & 4 for the floats.

      I have only found this in Swedish books, but the drafts are easy to understand. I use Google Translate to figure out words I need to know. 🙂

      I’m thinking about making this project into a kit… Maybe some people would be interested?


  • Louise says:

    Yes, I would be interested in a kit.

    Tried using the coputer translator and came up with a possible alternative name for this weave?
    munkabalte – swedish I think?

    Is this weave like Monk’s Belt?

    • Karen says:

      Louise, Yes, plattväv is similar to monksbelt (munkabalte). They both have the weft pattern floats. Monksbelt uses two blocks, and this plattväv has only one block.

      Sounds like I need to do some kit planning.


  • Louise Yale says:

    Please keep us posted on the kit. Do you have other kits?

  • Nancy Ryan says:

    I would love if you would produce a kit!!!

  • Pam says:

    Hi, Karen,
    It has been a while. I went to Penland School of Crafts this summer on a work study scholarship. Wow! the staff was wonderful and the students so very talented. Many different areas of art were available for study. I got to study weaving. During the early 20’s the school was established to teach women and men how to weave. This developed a market resulting in a rise in the economy of the folks in the Smoky Mountains. Now the school has many different concentrations including photography, iron smith, concrete, jewelry, letter press, and ceramics to just name a few.
    At PenlandI bought cotton-linen, 3/2 perle cotton and 100% bamboo fiber for warp. Most everyone said that it would not work and I should expect a waffle affect when finished. As we know every loom has its own personality. The loom I am using works best when the warp is very very tight. Which also worked well for the different weights of the warp I put on it. I separated the different colors and made stripes, and wove a left variation of a twill. A ribbon like design appeared where the smaller stripes occurred. I have yet to wash the piece, but no waffle shapes have appeared now that I have cut the 2 yards of fabric off the loom. How fortunate for me to see this article promoting stripes and your answer to Lynette question about the smiley sides of the salvages. I was trying to keep my salvages loose so as not to pull the warp in,but in doing so the salvages came up creating the weft higher at the edges. Now I know how and why that happened. Thanks for the insight.
    My next projects will be a crackle weave table runners for my sibling’s Victorian homes. They have as requested that one will have a tomato soup red palette and the other has a peanut butter palette. Sounds like lunch to me.
    Thank you Karen. In this crazy world we live in your words are both encouraging and soothing.

    • Karen says:

      Pam, It sounds like you had a fantastic experience at Penland School of Crafts! Weaving provides a constant learning experience. I’m glad you were able to identify what was happening at your selvedges.

      We all need encouragement from each other, don’t we?

      Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts!

  • Anne says:

    I definitely think a kit would be great!

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Now We See the Monksbelt

When you cut fabric from the loom, and see it, handle it, feel it… It takes your breath away. Every time. You, the weaver, know what went into it. All the effort, corrections, uncertainties, anticipations, and the many joyful hours of throwing shuttles, and designing at the loom to your heart’s content. You keep going, even when the going is long, because of the thrill of making something you can’t find anywhere in the world…except right here.

Monksbelt cutting off party!

Nothing matches the exhilaration of cutting handwoven fabric off the loom!

Monksbelt just off the loom! Karen Isenhower

Sense of wonder arises when you see what threads can make when they are interlaced in a purposeful way. Imagine that! It’s simply threads.

Wisdom points to truth. Truth is a picture of reality, like fabric just cut from the loom. When the fabric is unrolled from the cloth beam, you get a realistic view of what has been woven. You can see it. But wisdom leads you to that moment. That’s why you keep weaving, even when the going is longer than you thought it would be. The voice of wisdom compels you to reach the truth.

Classic Swedish monksbelt, with a colorful twist or two.

Fabric, in classic Swedish monksbelt, with a colorful twist or two.

May you make something that only you can make.

Yours truly,


  • Marilyn Cann says:

    Hi Karen, your work on this piece using has been inspiring. Since I have only joined your blog recently I am wondering if you discussed how you threaded for the selvedge edges. Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marilyn, I’m glad you asked! I don’t think I have discussed how the selvedges are threaded on this.
      I write it this way in my project notes: 2-2, 2 X each side
      That means 2 threads per heddle, 2 threads per dent, 2 times on each side.

      I hope that answers your question.
      Happy Weaving,

  • Tobie says:

    I have been enjoying your process for the monks belt.
    I have that great feeling also—when you cut your project off the loom!
    Such a wonderful feeling.

    How will you use this fabric?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tobie, It’s great to have you along!
      How will I use this fabric? I don’t know yet. This time, I decided to weave without having a specific use for the fabric. That freed me to constantly play with the pattern and color, exploring what monksbelt could do. It was a learning experience.
      Now that I can fully see it and feel it, I am considering some options: large throw pillows, tote bags or handbags of some sort, table squares, panels in a jacket…

      I’d love to hear suggestions on how to use this colorful cloth!


  • Charlotte says:

    Hello, my sweet Karen!
    I love your exploration into Monksbelt. Would you mind telling me the sett and yarns used for warp and weft? I’m wondering if you used Faro for patter. Your colors are stunning. You do have grand ideas for using your cloth.

    Love to you…Charlotte

    • Karen says:

      Hi, dear Charlotte,
      Yes, Faro is the pattern weft. The warp and the ground weft is 16/2 cotton, sett is 22 1/2 epi, weft density is 30 ppi with 2 tabby shots between each pattern shot. I love working with Faro – the colors are so rich. I chose nine colors of Faro for this project.


  • Charlotte says:

    I have doubled and tripled Faro, previously. I wonder if tripled, there might need to be only one shot of tabby. I’ve been mulling over a cloth in Monksbelt, using 3 strands and then, I saw your post.

    Any thoughts? Missing you terribly…love…Charlotte

    • Karen says:

      It seems like tripled Faro would cover one tabby shot, but I don’t have the experience to tell you how it would look… It couldn’t hurt to try. Anything you make will be beautiful!

      Would love to see you,

  • Judy says:

    What wonderful colors and cloth! Thanks for sharing this with us.

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