Quiet Friday: Cartoon House Cartoon

The fascinating thing about weaving a transparency is that it feels like color-by-number with yarn. There are similarities to tapestry weaving, for sure. But this seems ten times faster. I found it to be engaging and fun! I echo what my transparency-weaving friend says when it’s time to stop and do something else, “Just one more row…”

Linen warp chain awaits beaming.

Warp chain of 16/2 golden bleached linen, before beaming the warp.

Threading heddles in the Glimakra Standard. Coffee and notes at hand.

Threading heddles in my little playhouse, with project notes by my side, and a cup of coffee on the side cart.

Adding the leveling string to a linen warp.

Leveling string is added with extra care so that abrasion of the linen warp is kept to a minimum.

Butterflies are made from the hefty cotton chenille yarn.

Butterflies are made from the hefty cotton chenille yarn.

Weaving a transparency. Glimakra Standard loom.

Weaving without a cartoon. I am counting warp ends to keep the pattern angle consistent.

Transparency weaving on the loom, with buckram cartoon.

Cartoon has been added. The pattern weft follows the lines drawn on the buckram cartoon, which is pinned in place.

Cartoon removed at the end of the transparency weaving.

Cartoon is removed.

Ending a woven transparency.

Now, for the end of the warp…

New transparency, ready for hanging!

After the main transparency with the zigzags, I had room to play on the remaining warp. I made another cartoon–a “cartoon” house. This gave me a chance to use a few more yarn butterflies, without it being overwhelming. Home. Sweet. Home.

Cartoon for playtime at the end of the warp. Transparency weaving.

“Cartoon” house cartoon. Ready for playtime at the end of the warp.

Weaving a small transparency. Cartoon House.

With several butterflies going at once, the transparency weaving gets even more interesting!

Transparency weaving. Linen warp and weft. Cotton chenille pattern weft.

Now, the actual end of the warp is here.

Cartoon house just off the loom!

Cartoon house just off the loom.

Welcome home! Transparency weaving. Karen Isenhower

Welcome home! Home. Sweet. Home.

May you enjoy the fascination of learning something new.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I love these, Karen! You are truly one of the most inspiring weavers out there!

    • Karen says:

      Dear Beth, It fills me with joy to be able to share what I love to do with friends like you. I’m grateful that something I do can inspire others. Your work has certainly inspired me, as well!

      Best to you,
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing your new thing. My guild friends & I will be attending the Mid Atlantic Fiber Arts (MAFA) conference this summer, my friends are taking the workshop “Weaving aTransparency” with Bobbie Irwin. I’m so excited for them! I never heard of weaving transparencies before, you’ve given us a cool demonstration to build our anticipation of the MAFA workshops.
    Looking forward to learning something new in July at MAFA 2017

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, How exciting! I just looked at the MAFA workshop choices. Wow, you have some terrific options! It would be hard to choose. Bobbie Irwin’s class looks great. I think you and your friends are going to have a fabulous time!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    I haven’t done a transparency in years – these are wonderful. I’ve so enjoyed seeing your work in progress. You’re making me want to think about a transparency in the not too distant future.

    And for Sandy who commented above, many years ago my guild brought Bobbie Irwin to teach the transparency workshop – it was the most fun. I went home and tried it using fishing line – a challenge but neat end result.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Cindie, I know I’ll be doing this again in the near future. I hope you do, too. We can compare notes!
      Fishing line!? Now, that’s very interesting! I’d like to see that.

      Karen

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Almost Ruined Transparency

The cotton chenille looks as if it is magically suspended in space. But it’s the linen that suspends it. 16/2 unbleached linen weft crosses 16/2 golden bleached linen warp. The two shades blend into one as they are woven for the transparency background.

Weaving a transparency. Linen warp and weft. Cotton chenille pattern weft.

Weaving a transparency from the back. The front side of the pattern can be seen after it comes around the breast beam.

Unfortunately, I had 16/1 golden bleached linen (16/1 is half as thin as 16/2) on my winding table, for the plattväv towels on the other loom. I wound a quill with the 16/1 and wove the transparency with it. It’s the wrong thread size and color. For 8 1/2 inches! Too far to undo without irreparably damaging the linen warp. This is disappointing. How did I let that happen? Take a deep breath… Move forward, and finish out the weaving with the correct 16/2 linen.

Linen weft change is a mistake. Oops!

Two densities of linen. The 16/2 unbleached linen weft adds depth to the 16/2 golden bleached warp. The 16/1 golden bleached weft gives a lighter look to the web.

Just off the loom! Handwoven transparency.

Just off the loom! First transparency attempt, and a great learning experience.

We all fall short. We do the wrong thing. That’s a weight to carry. Jesus breaks the yoke of our burden, and lifts the weight. We have been set free! When we finish the weaving, the chenille pattern will be the main attraction, not the error. By amazing grace, the error is overcome by the light shining through the transparency.

May your burdens be lifted.

With you,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Elisabeth says:

    What about embroidering a word like “love” or a symbol representing love on the darker weft? And use the teal color to reflect the pattern that is winding through the entire weave…like love is present in our lives. A simple handwritten word to contrast the strong and bold zigzag 🙂

  • Elisabeth says:

    And what about weaving in (rows of running stitches) a very fine gold thread into the darker section to give it a slight shimmer and emphasize the importance of it? And then place something important to you in this section…or maybe just the gold is as subtle as it should be…

    Love,
    Elisabeth

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    Lovely, Karen! 16/1 is often used as weft with 16/2 as warp in transparency weaving. It makes the transparency more lacy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, That’s good to know that 16/1 is a good weft for this. I can see how the thinner thread makes it lighter in appearance. Maybe I should start with that next time, and use it all the way through.

      Thanks for letting me know!
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Karen the weft mistake was not a mistake it was a design element! Love the transparency.

  • Pam says:

    Hi, Karen, Your Blog is always inspiring.There are no mistakes, only designer enhancements. . . perfection-in-imperfection. I am told that the Navajo weavers intentionally weave a mistake into each rug.When we are weak HE is strong.
    From Pastor David Anderson -Finding Your Soul – “The Navajo say that is ‘“where the Spirit moves in and out of the rug.”’ God’s Spirit moves in and out of imperfection. . . a ‘“mistake?”’ We’ve spent our whole life trying to get rid of all imperfection. If we’re not there yet, surely God is! We may not have the spiritual courage to weave those mistakes deliberately, but at least we can accept them as a gift when the fabric of our lives is inevitably torn.”

  • Teresa says:

    Hi Karen
    I’m told the Amish also make a “mistake” in every quilt so as not to boast since perfection only belongs to a God. Good for you for making the best of what you had not planned.
    I got out of the habit of reading your blog for a while. I’m glad now for the reminder of what I’ve been missing. Your writings are beautiful and you are blessed with a wonderful mind and soul. Im sure you’ll never know how much you inspire people…..creatively and spiritually.
    Bless you,
    Teresa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Our mistakes do help keep us humble. That’s interesting that the Amish do that intentionally. Your kind words mean so much to me!

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Cheryl says:

    I would love to try something like this for a glass door panel. Do you have a reference for learning this technique? Looks like you sett the edges closer together and in a different post the casing as well. Would you recommend the 16/1 or 16/2 based on your design element?
    Thanks
    Cheryl

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cheryl, This would be perfect for a glass door panel.
      Resources I recommend: Sheer Delight – Handwoven Transparencies, by Doramay Keasbey; The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, pgs. 162-163; 166-167
      The Keasbey book is full of wonderful ideas and shows work of different artists, and has some good tips and procedures. The Lundell book has 2 transparency projects, and is a good place to get your feet wet with the technique.

      The selvedges for my transparency: 1 (heddle) – 2 (reed), 4 times each side. This is from The Big Book of Weaving. The other transparency in the book has 2 – 2, 3 times each side.

      I wanted to differentiate the start and end of the casing, to make is easier to sew, so I packed the weft in tighter in those areas.

      The warp is 16/2 linen, and I do prefer the 16/2 linen for background weft over the 16/1 that I used by accident. I think the 16/2 holds its place better in the woven mesh. The 16/1 is lacier, but it is also a little flimsier and wiggles around more than I want it to. But that could be my own inexperience.

      I hope that helps!
      Karen

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With or Without a Cartoon?

Weaving a transparency could become one of my favorite things to do. I had no idea that drawing a cartoon for this project would make such a difference. Now, I can see vast possibilities with this weaving technique.

Drawing a cartoon on buckram for weaving a transparency.

Buckram, a stiff cotton cloth, is in my sewing supplies, specifically for making bills on caps. It is being used here to make a cartoon for the transparency weaving. The center line will be lined up with the center warp end.

I started the transparency without a cartoon. I wanted to weave a few zigzags back and forth. How hard could that be? I counted warp ends, “under 12 to the right, and then, under 13 to the left.” When I tried to change the angle of the slant, though, it was confusing. I started getting jagged zigs and zags. This cartoon has made a world of difference.

Cartoon in pinned into place under the transparency weaving.

Cartoon is aligned and pinned into place.

Transparency weaving in progress. Cotton chenille over linen.

For each row of the pattern, the cotton chenille weft butterflies go under the raised warp ends that coincide with the lines drawn on the cartoon underneath. One pick of linen background weft follows each pattern row.

How often do we think it will be easier to go our own way? We want to make it up as we go. Wait. There’s a better way. The head designer has drawn out a path. It makes sense to follow those lines. It’s a picture that’s bigger than we are. God created. He did it in such a way that shows his loving attention to those he created. And we get to follow his design. No more striving. No more trying to find our way. His way makes perfect sense. It’s satisfying to place the weft in a thought-out design.

May you see the possibilities.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Hi Karen, What a wonderful comparison to our walk with God! Yes, it is very satisfying to me also to weave transparencies. The design emerges one row at a time, and when it’s time to stop and do something else, I say “just one more row”… Glad you are having the enjoyment of following a cartoon. The fabric you print yours on is a neat idea. I have also used stiff Pellon for mine, sometimes it is also thin enough that I can trace a design through it.
    All the best,
    Lynette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette,
      “Just one more row…” Yes, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying!
      Your behind-the-scenes encouragement and details have inspired me. I can’t thank you enough!
      When I need to trace a picture I will get some thinner pellon, like you do. Since I had some buckram on my shelf I thought I’d try it, and it’s working out great.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Phyllis says:

    Just found your blog! I am thankful, inspired and blessed! Newer weaver here.

  • Pam says:

    Hi, Karen,
    I am a student at a University. In the course of studying weaving, trying to place a cartoon under the warp has been a challenge to all who want to make a tapestry. We’ve tried various ideas and none too successful. I’ve used buckram to repair books, but never considered using it in weaving. Thanks for the great suggestion. I’m going to share this with my fellow class mates. Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam,
      How exciting to get to study weaving in a university setting! I am delighted that my serendipitous discovery gives you and your classmates something to try. Let me know how the buckram works for you!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Mirror Mirror

When the front side of the fabric is on the underside, it helps to have a mirror. This is one of those times. A transparency can be woven with the weft turns on the front or on the back. I’m weaving this transparency with the weft turns on the front. The underside, therefore, has the crisper lines, and will (probably) be the right side of the finished transparency.

Weaving cotton chenille inlay on linen for a simple transparency.

Weaving from the back, the inlay weft turns look like scallops along the edge of the pattern area. The pattern on the underneath side of the cloth has smoother edges.

You can think of other weaves, as well, that have a different appearance on the back than on the front. That’s when a little mirror comes in handy. You can use a larger hand mirror, of course; but these are two little mirrors that I keep in the cart by my loom.

Mirrors at hand beside the loom.

Top drawer in the cart beside the loom holds small tools that are used during weaving.

  • A little wooden mirror with mother-of-pearl inlay that I picked up on one of my international travels.
Small hand mirror is used to view the underside.

Small hand mirror is used for a quick glimpse of the underside pattern.

  • A lighted extended little mirror that I picked up on one of my wanderings at Home Depot while my husband was shopping for tools. A Husky Round Lighted Inspection Mirror, “…for inspection of hidden, unlit areas in applications ranging from industrial maintenance and automotive repair to general homeowner DIY applications.” They forgot to add, “…and for handweaver inspections of the reverse side of the cloth.”
Lighted mirror extends to inspect underneath the cloth.

Lighted mirror extends to inspect the underneath side of the woven cloth. The telescoping handle makes it possible to view underneath a wide warp.

May you find tools that serve you well.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Julia says:

    I recently heard this song being sung and I thought of you right away. You are a beautiful reflection of the Divine.

    Take my life, and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
    Take my hands, and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love.

    Take my feet, and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.
    Take my voice, and let me sing
    Always, only, for my King.
    Take my lips, and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.

    Take my every thought, to use
    In the way that Thou shalt choose.
    Take my love; O Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store.
    I am Thine, and I will be
    Ever, only, all for Thee.

    • Karen says:

      Sweet Julia,
      I learned that song as a child, and it remains deeply meaningful to me! It does describe a life that reflects Christ, and that is certainly the type of mirror I want to be.

      Thanks for sharing!
      Karen

  • Barbara says:

    I love the way that your willing to try new weave structures. I’ve never done a transparency,but it’s on my bucket list. Will have to have my husband pickup one of those mirrors at his next Home Depot forray.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, Weaving this transparency is so enjoyable. It’s almost like weaving tapestry, but easier. Now I’m eager to do one that’s more advanced, with lots of butterflies! 🙂
      It’s not the first time I’ve found weaving tools at Home Depot or Lowe’s… The lights on the mirror really help since there’s less natural light under there.

      Happy weaving!
      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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