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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Quiet Friday: Woven Radiance

The first of my Christmas promise gifts is now complete. This large throw in vivid colors fills the request from my daughter-in-law Marie. How fitting for a mother of three exuberant little boys to wrap up on the couch in her own fabric hug of exuberant color! This colorful cotton double weave throw is Woven Radiance.

Radiance. Large cotton doubleweave throw. Karen Isenhower

Radiance. Large cotton throw with radiant blocks of color. The warp for the next Christmas promise gift is wound and waiting on the warp beam.

Double weave, with eight shafts and eight treadles, and 2,064 ends, is a challenge. But results like this make all the effort worthwhile. My heart sings as I see these brilliant threads intersect to make sensational cloth! I am filled with amazement and gratitude that I’ve been given the opportunity to play with colorful threads on a weaving loom.

I hope you enjoy the process photos in this little slideshow video I created for you.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

26 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    It’s just beautiful, Karen! What an heirloom.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning Beth, Hmm, I wonder if you’ve just stumbled onto the meaning of the word “heir”-“loom”?

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

  • Judy says:

    Lovely. What cottons were used in the warp and weft?

  • Barbara says:

    I like the name you chose. It will bring a radiant smile to everyone who sees it.

  • Barbara Evans says:

    Just stunning, Karen. I love your posts.
    P

  • Leigh Teichman says:

    This is beautiful. What a lovely gift.

  • Cynthia S Bills says:

    Wowza! What a beautiful throw!!!

  • Karen says:

    This is just lovely! And will be a hug from you each time it is used.

  • ellen santana says:

    what is it about a warped loom that elicits such joy? i just walk past it and it makes me happier. you are a genius. i probably won’t live long enough to weave as you do but i keep trying. es

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, I agree, there is something about a warped loom that elicits joy. We weavers just can’t help but be happy next to a loom.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Liberty says:

    Wow!!! Gorgeous!!!! Wish I was on your Christmas list, lol!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, You made me smmile. I’ll be doing good if I finish these three gifts in a year. I better not take on one more. 🙂

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    What a special gift – it’s incredible

  • Sheryl Beckman says:

    This is just amazing! As a new weaver, this is so inspiring and makes me feel so enthusiastic about weaving. My goal is to make blankets for each of my family members. A few years ago I gave each of my grandchildren soft blankets (NOT hand-woven) for Christmas and they literally call them ‘grammy hugs’, as in, ‘where’s my grammy hug’. It would be so much better if they were handmade! The video was fun to watch-no cello music?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sheryl, I am so happy you feel enthusiastic about weaving! There is so much to enjoy in this field. What a wonderful goal – to make blankets for your loved ones! You can do it!!!

      I think I detect an Instagram follower. Ah yes, I found you on IG… One of my goals is to write all my own background music for my videos…with cello! And then I won’t have to use the canned music. (I did write the music for one of my videos. So that’s a start, but no cello in it…yet.)

      I so appreciate your kind thoughts!
      Karen

  • Wonderful Karen..

    The entire package of textile artist, craftsman and teacher — fluent in electronic communication.

    It was nice to see your interns working on the blanket. Yet, where they wove and you wove were indistinguishable. They learned well.

    Please keep sharing.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It’s thrilling for me to see my young interns weave on the “real thing.” They enjoyed it, too.

      Your words of encouragement mean so much to me!
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    It’s beautiful, Karen! You do such exquisite work! Looking forward to seeing and touching it.

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Quiet Friday: Lucia Portrait Tapestry

A little here, a little there, and eventually I finish another small tapestry. This little woven portrait of my granddaughter Lucia was a huge challenge. I knew that from the beginning. In fact, I had about three beginnings with this intimidating project. My aim is not to make a masterpiece, but to keep making. And making, and making. Every time I go beyond what I think I can do, I learn more.

This Lucia Portrait Tapestry is best viewed from a distance. Up close, the details seem abrupt and harsh. But when I look at her from across the room, I see the picture of a child’s face.

I trimmed the weft tails on the back, steamed the piece, and made a half Damascus edging. The edging and the weft tails near the sides are stitched down. The hems are turned under and stitched. I plan to mount this on a linen-covered square, and hang the finished piece where it can be easily viewed from a few steps back.

Ending a small frame loom tapestry.

Small tapestry ends with a short hem, warp thread header, and a scrap header. I overestimated how far I could comfortably weave. This is a less-than-optimal distance from the end of the warp for weaving.

Trimming weft tails on the back of the little tapestry.

Most of my tapestry weaving is done in the evenings as part of my winding-down routine. In this session the back of the tapestry gets a haircut.

Finishing a small tapestry. Cute slideshow video.

Straggler weft tails are reigned in with a little sewing thread.

Small tapestry portrait. Slideshow video of the process!

Finished Lucia Portrait Tapestry is 4 1/4″ x 4 7/8″.

Enjoy this slideshow video. The ending is sure to make you smile!

May you keep making.

Love,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    This tapestry is AWESOME, Karen! A forever keepsake, but also a reminder of a special little one who holds a special place in your heart. With all you do and share, you still found time to do this artwork. God bless you, your granddaughter and your family! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Joyce, The time comes in snippets, but those snippets add up. Children grow up fast, so it will be nice to have a tapestry snapshot of this young age.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Well said, Joyce!
    Karen, This is just lovely! Such a special piece. Yes, the ending made me smile.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Beth, Thank you for your sweet encouragement. I’m glad you enjoyed the little clip at the end!

      Have a great day!
      Karen

  • Karen Simpson says:

    So sweet! Such a small piece, but the amount of work amazing..I hope you might do maybe a trilogy? As she is growing…beautiful memento for her to keep.
    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I like the idea of a trilogy. That gives me another thought – maybe I should start on a small portrait of one of my other six grandchildren…

      Thank you for recognizing the amount of work that went into this small piece.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • This slide show was just what I needed on a dreary rainy morning! Such a lovely small piece. I am so impressed with your color gradation/detail. May I ask what yarns you use for these small weavings? Many thanks! And yes the ending is so sweet!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pamela, I’m happy the slide show had an uplifting effect for you!

      I’m able to get some of the color gradation because I use three strands of Fårö wool. Using three strands enables me to make subtle changes in the color. The sett is 10 epi.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Little Lucia in tapestry is a wonderful moment in time, Karen. You did a fantastic job!

  • Libertyquilts@yahoo.com says:

    Oh Karen, she is so beautiful! You were so brave to take on such a difficult piece!! Love it and her
    Libby

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Great interpretation of the photo. It looks like she is watching you from every angle!
    And yes, I believe you should do a tapestry of each of the other grandchildren. Otherwise, what will they think?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Yes, surprisingly, her eyes do follow you across the room. I will give that some serious thought – each of the grandchildren…

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • The precision of decision needed with each color choice when weaving tapestry explains how Penolope was able to ward off suitors while Odysseus was away. What non weaving person would voice an opinion deciding if one or two strands of a pink was needed for the ear lobe’s center, more than once?

    It is a beautiful jewel with Mona Lisa eyes.

    Nannette

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Not the Easiest Way to Weave

I considered making a matching set, but at the loom I get an inclination to explore. Hence, no two placemats are alike. A change in the weft changes everything. New colors emerge! Slate and apple green on a coral warp become periwinkle and avocado. If you look closely, though, you can still see the underlying coral and camel stripes of the warp.

Cotton placemats on the loom with color and weave effects.

Second placemat uses red and orange in the weft. These colors work with the coral in the warp to bring out a distinctive color-and-weave effect in the design.

Three double-bobbin shuttles—this is not the easiest way to weave. I am carrying the colors up the selvedge, so it gets tricky when all three shuttles end up on the same side. Nevertheless, this is the joy of weaving a challenge. How and where to set the shuttles down, and which hand picks them up—ever aiming for efficiency. Newly-formed colors and technical pursuits—this is a handweaver’s thrill of discovery!

Three double bobbin shuttles for this color and weave placemat.

Beginning of the third placemat shows variation in pattern and color choices. Three double bobbin shuttles put my manual dexterity to the test.

Color and weave variations.

Coral and camel warp stripes form the base of the design. Pattern variations are produced by varying the number of picks per weft color.

Imagine the thrill of discovery that awaits us in heaven! Love permeates heaven. Like a narrow-striped warp, love is written into the fabric. The environment there is love, where pride and selfishness don’t exist. Blending of colorful personalities will be such as we’ve never seen. All to the glory of our Grand Weaver. And how marvelous that through Christ we’ve been given everything needed to practice that kind of love here and now. Double bobbin shuttles, and all.

May you rise to the challenge.

Love,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    Karen,
    Thanks so much for the color show this morning. It is snowing once again up north and I am so ready for spring and color. The close up of your placemat makes my heart sing! And the double bobbin shuttles with their color are beautiful. Blessings to you and yours.

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Beautiful colors Karen! Geez, I have problems with 2 shuttles, someday I’ll make it to 3!!!
    Libby

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, Three shuttles is a little crazy. I may make it easier on myself for the placemats after this. I’m enjoying the colors, too!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    I really like that they are all different but have the same warp (core). It’s almost llike human beings 🙂 They are all beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I see it the same way. I think it will make an interesting set. Yes, humans are all made in the image of God. What could be more beautiful?

      Thanks,
      Karen

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Tapestry Portrait Challenge

Lucia became a big sister this week! Her new baby brother, Ari Kyle, is healthy as can be. It won’t be long before Lucia showers affection on him, like she does her baby doll Annabella. I am filled with wonder and awe when I have a newborn grandchild in my arms. It always feels like a tangible miracle from God.

Big sister and new baby brother!

Lucia holding Annabella. Ari Kyle is held by his mommy Melody Faith.

Lucia has an innocent face that I am attempting to capture in yarn. I have completely started over a couple times, and have unwoven and re-woven sections multiple times. It’s a struggle. I timidly share it with you, because I suspect there are things that don’t come easy for you, either.

Small tapestry in progress. Travel weaving.

Weaving a small tapestry from the back. Lucia’s photograph and a detailed tracing are used for reference. A cartoon drawn on a piece of buckram is lined up under the weaving on the tapestry frame. A fold-up pouch holds my travel tapestry yarn and supplies.

Travel tapestry in progress. My granddaughter.

Frame loom is turned over for a view of the front.

Small tapestry in progress.

Lucia in progress.

Prayer. When we pray for the children in our lives, we start with an empty warp. Gradually, the tapestry grows. Will they become what we envision for them? Will they connect with the Lord Jesus? Sometimes we feel like starting from scratch, praying for things we never thought of when they were babies. The picture will always feel incomplete in this life. But that’s another good reason to pray. As they grow, you will see their identifying characteristics develop. And you’ll find yourself saying, “Thank you, Lord.”

New grandbaby, sweet moment.

Hello, Ari Kyle, what a pleasure it is to meet you! Welcome!

May you hold a newborn whenever you can.

Love,
Lola Karen

14 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Congratulations! Both children are adorable. Looking forward to seeing the finished tapestry. You are incredibly talented, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Thank you! Children have such interesting expressions.

      I appreciate your kind words. I’ll keep working on the tapestry; we’ll see how it turns out.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Bev Romans says:

    Karen,
    A new grandchild; what a precious blessing from God! And your tapestry of Lucia…a beautiful work in progress. It is amazing to see how God is using the gifts and talents He has given you in various ways.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Bev

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev, Each new child is a bundle of surprises! Someone new to love!

      It’s good to have some things in our hands that challenge us. Thank you for your encouraging words!

      Blessings to you and yours,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    I know what you mean about the challenge of weaving a face. Some years ago I wove a transparency of the 3 Angels flying giving a message to the world at the end of time (Revelation 14). I used an artists painting to go by (with his permission). When I got to the eyes, I prayed for wisdom to weave them because I knew it would ruin the whole thing if the eyes didn’t look right. Your tapestry of Lucia looks great so far, and there is a lot of expression I see in her eye. It’s so nice to have a God who cares about helping us in everything – even how to weave tapestries/transparencies.
    PS: There is a great Christian TV network called Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) that is based on those Angels and getting their messages to people.

  • Annie says:

    Congratulations, Karen! You have a beautiful family!

  • Cynthia says:

    Is this sam’s wife? Adorable grandchildren and the tapestry oh my word can’t wait to see it finished.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, Melody is our daughter—Sam’s sister. Grandchildren sure bring us smiles.

      I’ll be making more progress on the tapestry soon!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    What blessings! They for you and you for them.

  • Shari says:

    Mazel Tov!
    Shari

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