My Best Weaving Stunt to Date!

Do you ever go out on a limb? I’ve been known to play it safe. But not today! My excitement for¬†weaving this kuvikas structure was severely dampened when I saw that the pattern in the cloth was not the pattern I intended. What happened? I had switched the threading for shafts 1 and 2! Consistently, too–all the way across the warp.

Start of kuvikas (summer and winter), and discovery of threading error.

While testing weft color options, I realize that this is NOT the pattern for which I thought I had threaded. Even though this pattern does reveal an “I” for “Isenhower,” I had my heart set on a square within a square.

I could leave the threading as is. No one would know. Oh, the arguments I had with myself at this point. “Take it out, and re-thread.” “You’d be crazy to take it out and re-thread.” The crazy self won. (I did find myself asking, “What solution would Becky Ashenden, the weaving solution genius, come up with?”) Here is the stupendous thing: I was able to correct the pattern by doing shaft-bar gymnastics. And no re-threading! What?! (I documented the process and will bring it to you in my Quiet Friday post at the end of the month.)

Kuvikas (summer and winter), cotton tabby and tencel pattern weft.

The sight of these little squares within squares makes me extraordinarily happy! 8/2 cotton tabby weft. Doubled 8/2 Tencel pattern weft. Kuvikas, as this weaver intended it to be.

There are times when we are called to go out on a limb. It’s the right thing to do. But the prospect is overwhelming. We ask, “Who? Me?” And “How, Lord?” Trust the Lord, one step at a time. He will be with you. Marvelous things will happen, catching even you by surprise.

May you know when to go out on a limb.

Happy,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Good for you! I bet you did debate long and hard but the square within a square looks wonderful! The other pattern is a bit awkward, as well and not being what you wanted.
    Whether to fix a mistake or something that doesn’t look right does come up often with all of us. I am usually in favor of changing it….
    Last night I was trying to do decreases in a knitting project and I kept having to rip it out as I wasn’t getting the pattern right…but it’s done now!
    What are you making?

    • Karen says:

      Debbie, Yes, this is a common dilemma for makers, because mistakes happen. Whether to ignore it and move on, or to find a fix. It depends on the degree of the error and the risk involved in the correction. This seemed like a big risk, but I thought it through long and hard before taking the leap. I needed to fix this to be able to enjoy the rest of the weaving.

      Right now, I am calling this “yardage,” which is code for “I don’t know what I will make from it.” Perhaps pillows, or a bag of some sort. I do need a bag for my laptop…

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Nanette Mosher says:

    But if you look at the sample, and imagine that you treadled each section the same length, wouldn’t you have a rather nice alternating square within a cress pattern? Considering the error, I’m surprised you got any good pattern! But yes, I always feel better taking out anything I’m not happy with! N.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nanette, You’re right, it would have been an alternating square within a cross pattern, and it would have been a pleasant pattern. My husband liked it and would have been happy if I had woven it as is. But I wasn’t going to be satisfied with it. I do feel better now. ūüôā

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Kuvikas and Taqueté

Kuvikas and taquet√©. There are always new things to try. I’m back to eight shafts. This Glim√•kra loom is highly adaptable. It is no problem to set up the loom for a new project. You may have guessed that I like to switch it up. Four shafts or eight shafts, two treadles or ten. And, change the tie-up, too. I don’t mind. With this project, I am going to change the treadle tie-up again at the midway point, switching¬†from kuvikas to taquet√©.

Threading eight shafts on my Glimakra Standard loom.

Threading eight shafts. Four pairs of shaft bars have been added to switch from a four-shaft project to an eight-shaft project. Four additional upper lamms and lower lamms have also been added to the loom.

If you know and practice the basics, it’s not frightening to try new weave structures. Every new experience builds on what I’ve learned before. I can trust the system of weaving that I’ve been taught, and that I practice with every project. It makes sense.

Aquamarine cotton. Threading my Glimakra Standard loom.

After the warp is beamed, the warp ends are tied with an overhand knot into groups, according to the threading pattern. In this case, 48 ends are in each group. Counting the ends into groups helps eliminate, or at least reduce, threading errors.

Threading eight shafts for kuvikas and taqueté.

Complex, but not complicated. Warp ends are inserted into specific heddles to set up the loom for a particular type of cloth. Very systematic.

Don’t be afraid. The Lord not only teaches us his ways–his system, but offers us his strength while we learn. I can trust him for that. Trust replaces fear. I don’t have to find my own way, or guess. The system works. It makes sense. I learn to weave, and live, one step at a time, with freedom to enjoy the process.

May you rise above your fears.

All the best,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Shirley says:

    Hi Karen, I just love the colour. Can`t wait to see what it becomes. Have fun with it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shirley, I had this color left from another project where I used it for narrow stripes. I wasn’t sure how I would like it all by itself. So far, I’m loving it. I can hardly wait to cross it with weft!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Hi Karen,
    My Glimakra has four shafts right now. I wonder how hard it would be to buy the wood pieces the right thickness and cut them to the right sizes to add four more. I have a drill press for making the holes. I just warped mine with linen for a transparency. It’s the first time I’ve done it on this loom with the trapeze. I did 10″ bouts (3) of linen, but discovered that was a bit wide for linen. With linen, I think I’ll make my bouts 4-5″ max. next time, and then the tension will be better. Just wondering if you have experienced that with linen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I’m going to send you an email to tell you specifics on how my husband made additional shafts for my Glimakra Ideal loom.

      I had that exact issue with my linen bouts when I warped for the transparency. It ended up not affecting the warp tension overall – at least, I never noticed a problem while weaving. But I thought about doing smaller bouts next time. My usual rule of thumb is to stay around or under 200 threads or 10″.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • JANET PELL says:

    Dear Karen, Thank you for your blogs, I am so in awe of your bravery for ‘going forth’, I love the color of your warp and cannot wait to see your project. How I wish I had your knowledge and experience. But your encouragement to everyone is a blessing for me. Maybe one day I will face the elements, be brave, and change from tabby to something as exciting as your projects.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, You are so sweet! Everything is a step at a time. You will be ready for a brave step in weaving before you know it. Practice and enjoy what you know! There’s nothing wrong with tabby. It’s the basis for everything else at the loom.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Cornelia says:

    Hi Karen,

    I would like to increase the size of the things i’m making. Therefor the question if it is possible to add 4 more additional shafts to my Glimakra counterbalance loom on which I currently have 4 shafts. Could it also be possible that you send the specifics on how to make additional shafts? I would really appreciate that!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cornelia, Probably the best way to add shafts is to get them from a Glimakra dealer. Besides shafts, you will also need additional lamms, and possibly more treadles. My husband has made all these things for my smaller loom, but it was a very ambitious project, and his advice for others is to purchase the parts from a dealer, if possible.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Now This Year

New year 2017 is beginning! It’s time again to take account of where we stand in our life’s dreams and goals. What can we check off the list? And, what is still in progress? And, maybe there’s something new to add. But first, let me count my blessings. I’m filled with gratitude, thankful for you! What a JOY¬†it is to have friends like you to walk through this weaving journey with me.

Here’s what you’ll find on my looms right now:

Striped cottolin warp for towels.

Glimåkra Ideal loom: Striped warp for the sample kit is all set! Winding quills is next. Then, weaving! If all goes well, a few pre-warped plattväv towel kits will show up in my Etsy shop.

Transparency with linen warp and background weft. Cotton chenille weft inlay.

Glimåkra Standard loom: Weaving a transparency. 16/2 linen warp and background weft. The weft pattern inlay is cotton chenille.

Practice piece on little Hokett loom.

Hokett loom has the start of a simple stripes tapestry practice piece. 12/6 cotton warp, 6/1 Fåro wool weft.

Thank you for joining me through 2016!

May you have joy in the journey.

Happy Weaving New Year,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I love the “Year in Review” and see so many favorites. Your work is simply beautiful and inspiring. You are brimming with talent!

    Happy New Year, Karen!

  • Jennifer says:

    A lovely and inspiring post! I enjoyed the video of your weaving year.

  • Truly Blessed, thanks for all you share.

  • Loyanne says:

    Thanks for sharing. Seeing the Faro piece bring to mind a question. I am working on a Whig Rose scarf. Trying to weave according to tradition and the warp is 8/2, weft is Faro and 16/2 for tabby. Just wondered if you had used cotton and wool and how you wet fingers she’d it ? Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, I’m sure your scarf is beautiful! The monksbelt does use 16/2 cotton for tabby, and Faro wool for pattern weft. I’m not sure of your question… I have a feeling that spellcheck gremlins took over. Could you try asking again?

      Karen

      • Loyanne says:

        Boy did the gremlins take over. I wondered how you wet finish a piece out of cotton and wool?
        Thanks.

        • Karen says:

          Ok, now that question makes sense. ūüôā That’s a great question! I did not wet finish my piece because I am going to use it for a hanging, so I wanted it to soften up or get distorted through washing. I did steam press it, though, which helped to tighten everything up and straighten it out.

          I think if I were going to wet finish this cotton and wool combination I would gently hand wash in cool water with mild soap, like Eucalan, with as little agitation as possible. And then hang or lay flat to dry. If I had a sample piece, I would try washing that first, before submerging the main article.

          I wish I could give you a better answer…

          Thanks for asking,
          Karen

  • Fran says:

    A year of accomplishing lots! You do black and white especially well. I enjoy your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, The black and white was a new experience for me. It was a surprise to me to find out how much I enjoyed working with it! Thanks for stopping by!

      Happy New Year,
      Karen

  • Cindy says:

    I just joined in on your posts! It’s part of my goals for 2017 to surround myself with others who love weaving, and to be inspired and motivated to continue learning from them. Thanks for having this blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, A big welcome to you! I do love weaving, and you will find many who comment here are the same way. I love it that we can all learn from each other.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Lynette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed seeing your transparency, because I have used the same 16/2 linen to weave pictorial transparencies for the last 10 years or so. Is your sett 12 epi? How many selvedge warps are doubled on each side? I have never tried using chenille for the inlay, but this gives me a new idea to try!
    Happy New Year, and God bless you and your family!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I’m excited to hear that you weave pictorial transparencies! This is my first attempt, and I’m enjoying it very much. I would love to see some of your work. Can you send me pictures?

      I am using a metric 50/10 reed, which is just a little more dense than 12 epi, but pretty close. I doubled 4 selvedge warps on each side, as instructed in The Big Book of Weaving.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen, Happy New Year! Thank you so much for all the work you do for us, your posts are always beautiful and informative. I have been sick for a bit but I can’t wait to get back to my loom soon.
    Happy weaving,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, It’s no fun to be under the weather. I hope you’re all better very soon!

      I always appreciate your sweet encouragement.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Tom Z says:

    The year in review is so Inspiring Karen!

    Sometimes we don’t look back to view where we’ve come from. We just keep plowing forward. The past gives us a much needed perspective on where we’re going. Your video reminded me of that simple face. And the music was perfect for that reflection.

    Thank you Karen. Keep up the ‘good’ work.
    Happy weaving new year!
    Tom Z in IL

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tom,
      I completely agree! Perspective can make a world of difference.
      I appreciate your thoughtful words so much!

      Happy weaving new year to you!
      Karen

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Tools Day: Measured Weaving

How far will you travel? How will you know when you have arrived? Do you wish you could know when you are halfway there? Applied to weaving, I like to have the answers to these questions before I begin the “journey.” A pre-measured tape gives me consistency, especially important for multiple pieces in a set. The tape also acts as my “trip odometer.” I can see how far I’ve gone, and exactly how much is left to weave. It satisfies my insatiable need to know how close I am to the end. Are you¬†like that, too?

How to Make and Use a Pre-Measured Tape

Supplies

  • Roll of 3/4″ or wider twill tape (or any cloth tape or ribbon that does not stretch, and that pins easily)
  • Tape measure¬†with inches and/or centimeters
  • Fine tip permanent marker
  • Flat head pins
  1. Use the permanent marker to place markings on the twill tape, as measured with the tape measure. Mark the start line 1/2″ from the end of the twill tape, so that the tape can be pinned in front of the mark.
  2. After drawing a line for the starting point and ending point, draw a line at the midway point, labeled MID.
  3. Include dotted lines for hem measurements, if applicable. Write the hem measurement on the twill tape; i.,e., 3/4″ or 2 cm.
  4. Write the weaving length measurement on the twill tape. Include calculation for takeup, if desired; i.,e., 25″ + 3″.
  5. Write the project or item description on the twill tape, if desired, for ease of repeat use; i.e., handtowel.
  6. Add other lines or marks, as needed, for borders, placement of weft colors, or other design elements.
  7. 1/2″ after the final marking, cut pre-measured twill tape from the roll of tape.

With the warp under tension, pin the pre-measured twill tape near the right or left selvedge with two flat-head pins. Match the start line of the tape with the beginning of the weaving.
Before each advancement of the warp, move the pin closest to the breast beam to a point near the fell line. In this way, have the pins leapfrog each other, moving only one pin each time. Always keep the warp under tension when moving the pins.

Red cutting lines between black and white towels.

Beginning hem, after red cutting lines between towels.

Ending hem is followed by two red picks that will become the cutting line between towels.

Ending hem is followed by two red picks that will become the cutting line between towels.

When the "MID" point hits right where it should!

When the “MID” point hits right where it should! Mid point marking helps to confirm that the halvdr√§ll pattern is centered and balanced in its length.

Pre-measured twill tape marks weft color placement on linen scarves.

Weft color placement is marked on the twill tape for these linen lace scarves.

Tricks with pre-measured tape for weaving.

Five centimeters, marked at the end of the twill tape, is a handy reference for spacing the weft pattern floats in these plattväv towels.

Alpaca scarf in an interesting 8-shaft twill.

I love seeing the “MID” point on a long piece, such as this 8-shaft twill alpaca scarf.

Pre-measured twill tape helps set the pace for the weaving project.

Breaking up the length into quarters helps to set a pace for the weaving project. This baby wrap was on a time crunch, so it was helpful to know when I was getting close to the end.

May you accurately measure your ways.

Truly yours,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    Love this idea for repeatable, standard sized projects like towels and scarves. Labeling it towels (4) or some such, makes so much sense. Thanks!

  • Angela says:

    Excellent, thanks for sharing.

  • Karen says:

    Your comments are so useful. I use a tape, but don’t mark it as you do and I don’t leapfrog pins. Such good ideas……I think a trip out to the fabric store is in order! Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I’m glad you find this useful! I look for sales. When the roles of ribbon are 50% off at Hobby Lobby, I buy several rolls of twill tape!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette says:

    Many thanks for all the detail. I will save all this for a warp that I’ve really planned out…wish that described MORE of mine! Nanette

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Thanks for the details on how you use the tape. I used it on my handtowels. (I’m going to Vavstuga in June!) I am interesetd that you measure under tension. I measure when the warp is loose. Do you add length to your project because it is under tension?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, I hope you enjoy your Vavstuga experience as much as I did! You will learn a treasure trove of new things.

      Measuring under tension may be the most consistent way of measuring, and is considered the standard way to measure. For Handwoven magazine, for instance, their projects give the “Woven length (measured under tension on the loom).” I do add a % amount to the length to account for take-up and shrinkage.

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    A very interesting post on measuring your weaving, and one that has the merit of being well photographed and detailed. I shall definitely print this out and keep it in my weaving file.

    Thank you!

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Quality Rug Warp

After a few weeks of having to refrain from weaving, I am thankful that there was warp to weave one more rug. The quality of warp thread matters because it is the core of the rug. Never underestimate the value of good, strong warp thread for weaving rag rugs.

Rosepath rag rug almost complete!

First hem is going around the cloth beam. Weaving is almost complete!

I like to use 12/6 cotton from Bockens. This rug warp is a six-strand thread with high twist. The smooth, nearly-unbreakable thread enables me to ratchet up the tension on the warp. That high tension helps produce sturdy, tightly packed rugs with tidy selvedges. Knowing you are making a rug that will last is a very satisfying and enjoyable weaving experience.

Cutting off never gets old!

Cutting off never gets old.

Rosepath rag rug just finished. Karen Isenhower

Ta da! Hems are folded under for the picture. As soon as the hems are stitched, this rosepath rag rug will have its Etsy photoshoot.

With finishing nearly complete, this rag rug will be enjoyed on the floor of someone’s home. Most people aren’t aware of the structural elements of a rag rug, but they do notice quality in the finished work. People, too, have an inner core–the heart. The heart matters. The strength of our inward framework determines our outward attitudes and actions. Since true¬†quality is found in a¬†life¬†that¬†serves others, most everything comes down to a matter of the heart.

May your quality of life be noticeable.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Barbara says:

    It’s amazing how a bunch of leftovers can be combined into something so beautiful. I’m so glad you are back to weaving again.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Barbara, it’s good to be back in the saddle. I’ve seen you turn leftovers from the refrigerator into a beautiful meal. Now, that’s amazing! ūüôā

      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Beautiful rug! Have you tried linen rug warp or poly/cotton rug warp in your work. Both of them are supposed to last far longer than cotton.

    Love your article in Handwoven magazine – lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, That’s a good discussion point. I have used linen rug warp for a wool rug. It’s great for that; and I think it would work well for rag rugs, but it raises the expense considerably. I’m not sure I’d find buyers for that.
      I haven’t tried poly/cotton rug warp. Some of the comparisons may be against the popular 8/4 cotton rug warp, which will certainly have a shorter life.
      It would take a lot to wear out the 12/6 cotton in a rug.

      I’m glad you saw the Handwoven article! Thanks for the compliment.

      Karen

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    Wonderful to hear you are back at the loom! Take care of yourself so you can weave on and on and on………….

  • Sandra says:

    I live in Calgary, Alberta. Our closest weaving supply shop just closed this past summer. Where would you suggest the best place would be to order 12/6 rug warp cotton? Would like to buy Canadian..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandra from Calgary, Welcome!
      It is disappointing to see weaving shops close…

      I’m sorry, I am not familiar with Canadian sources. I usually purchase Bockens 12/6 cotton from GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com, both in the USA.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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