Better than Black

The black and white towels I made last year were a big hit, and I wanted a repeat of that. So, when I started planning this unbleached cotton towel warp several weeks ago, I fully intended to make the border stripes black. It would be a stunning effect. I even ordered the black thread. But this week when I put my tubes of cotton thread on the table, I ended up saying no to the black. Even though that’s what I was sure I wanted. As a result, I don’t have the striking black accent; but I do have the soothing charm of beige and brass. (Thank you for your wonderful input on the color combinations in Pretty Fine Threads! I loved hearing your thoughts.)

Warping reel with 8-meter 24/2 cotton warp.

Choke ties are added about every meter, and the lease cross at the bottom is carefully tied for this eight-meter warp.

First of four bouts, 224 warp ends each.

First of four bouts, 224 warp ends each. Soft as a kitten.

Cotton warp ready for dressing the loom.

Beige and brass threads add understated elegance to the unbleached cotton warp.

I want to have what I want. I want to do what I’ve planned. I don’t like to tell myself no. But that’s exactly what Christ asks of those who want to follow Him. Say no to yourself. He’s not offering the easy way out. But when I let go of what I want, I come to find the gift of grace that has been prepared for me. And that’s when I realize that my loss was actually my gain.

May you know when to say no.

All the best,
Karen

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Pretty Fine Threads

This towel project has 896 warp ends! 24/2 cotton is pretty fine (as in thin) for towels. These lightweight towels will have textural character from the M’s and O’s weave structure. The warp is unbleached cotton, except for some color near the borders. The weft, 20/1 half-bleached linen, is also finer threads.

Pencil and paper, and Fiberworks to design some towels.

Pencil and paper, Fiberworks, and tubes of thread are used in the design process.

I don’t often use the computer to design weaving projects. But this time simply writing out the draft on paper wasn’t enough. Fiberworks enabled me to work out a design I’m excited to put on the loom! That still wasn’t enough, though. I needed to keep at it to settle on the colors. Examining color combinations through color wrapping was a tremendous help in finalizing my design.

Color wrapping for designing cotton towels.

Solid color stripe sits next to a stripe with alternating dark/light colors.

In things that matter, it makes sense to keep pressing for answers. Take the extra steps to make sure you are on track. Search for answers. What you look for, you find. Is it possible that God shows Himself to those who want to find Him? It’s an honest quest. God, if You are there, let me find You. It’s worth the extra push. The fine threads, the design, the colors. The pretty fine threads do fall into place.

Which color combination would you choose?

Variations on a theme. Do you have a favorite?

I’m curious–which color wrapping combo would you select? Share your thoughts in the comments. You will see my choice when I warp the loom!

May you find your heart’s desire.

Happy weaving,
Karen

~UPDATE~ Towel Kits ~

The response for the towel kits last week was amazing! The kits sold out in a few minutes. I’m sorry if you were disappointed and were not able to snatch a kit.

Five more towel kits are ready! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, will be listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop today, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, about 3:00 p.m. (CT).

If these kits sell out I will make some more!

If you are not already on the Towel Kit notification list, and would like to be notified when the next round of towel kits are ready, please send me a message HERE.

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

33 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    The black and white is a great classic but, I’m attracted to the reddish combination.

    Congratulations on the towel kit sales!

    • Karen says:

      Beth, I agree that the black and white is a classic look. The reddish set is red and orange, but the white threads between the orange soften it and make it compatible with the red.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Sara Jeanne says:

    Personal favorite #2. As always, your blog is inspiring!
    Thanks Karen

    • Karen says:

      Sara Jeanne, It’s great to hear from you!
      #2 works well because the 2 colors are close in hue, which I tested by looking at the pics in black and white.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts!
      Karen

  • Julia says:

    Hmmm? Each color combination has its own character – can’t say which is my favorite, just like the seasons and the weather and children. Do we have to choose? Can’t we weave, experience, have each one? They are all so lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, Haha good answer. Well, you can have and weave each one if you want, but I’m only going to put these threads (almost 900) on the loom one time. I have to choose. 🙂

      Karen

  • Sandy Huber says:

    I like them all, but my eye keeps going to #2 🙂

  • Betsy says:

    I like all of them, but I would lean toward #4.

  • Cuyler says:

    Like #2 very much.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think I like #2 the best, but would be tempted to combine the # 2and # 4 together ☺
    Carolee

  • Doris Walker says:

    I actually like #2 & #3. But I am sure any of them would work up well.

  • Peg Cherre says:

    Interesting responses. So much about color is personal. I like #3 & #4 best…seem to be alone in that.

    • Karen says:

      Peg, I agree, so much about color is personal. That could be an interesting study – what factors contribute to an individual’s “color sense?”

      Karen

  • Gerda Hoogenboom says:

    Number 2, definitely. And good to hear your towel kits are doing so well. Would be tempted, but postage to France would make them too expensive to ever use.!!

  • Nanette says:

    Since these are such light towels, I wonder what kind they are…too light for kitchen? Good for finger tip? I like #4 but it might be too subtle for many places….I’d consider where it will go. A warp stripe is a big commitment–what will the weft be? Can/will you vary that with colors?..

    • Karen says:

      Nanette, I don’t think they will be too light for kitchen use. With linen weft they will make very absorbent towels. I am considering weaving a long length for a dining table runner…

      The overall weft is half-bleached linen. I plan to make weft stripes that match the warp stripes. The stripes will form a border “frame” on the four sides of the towel. If I make a table runner I will probably leave off the weft stripes.

      You are right about warp stripes being a big commitment. Hmm… sounds like material for a blog post. 😉

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • maggie says:

    my vote is #4. living in where i do green is a neutral. but i’ve found blue towels sell first. unfortunately i don’t like blue.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Your comment makes me chuckle. I love blue – any shade of blue is my favorite color. So I purposely avoided blue because I wanted a challenge, and blue seemed too easy. 🙂

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    I love them all, but I like #4, the best, soft and beautiful!

  • Bev says:

    Number 3 is my personal favorite with #2 as second choice, but my favorite color has always been red (but not pink) but 1 or 4 would probably fit most peoples color themes better.

  • Anonymous says:

    #1 is my fav, but 4 intrigues me…

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m drawn to number 4 because it is evocative of the colors we often see in flax when it is first spun.

  • Cindy Bills says:

    #3 and #2 are tied for me. I’m looking forward to seeing the weaving on your loom.
    Almost thirty years ago I came to a point in my life where I prayed that very prayer. If you are there, God, let me find you! And He did! So thankful He draws us to Himself. Words can not express. But I think you understand. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Dear Cindy, I am eager to wind this warp and dress the loom. With so many color viewpoints it will be interesting to see how the final arrangement works out!

      I’m so pleased and touched to hear your story. I’m sincerely grateful, too, that God draws us to Himself.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Irene says:

    I like 2 and 3, but 2 is my favorite. Love warm colors.

    Received the river stripe kit it. Thank you for shipping to Sarasota.

    Irene

  • Kathy says:

    2 and 3 also tied for me. 2 might be better just because it is different from usual red and white.

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Linen Butterflies

This project has been on my mind for a long time. But I purposely waited to begin until I could weave it on my new sweet little loom with a view. Four Decorative Sample Strips, it’s called in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. It includes four-shaft tapestry, as well as weft inlay techniques. Each of the four strips will be a sampling of 8-12 different patterns or techniques. The weft is all linen, in various colors and sizes. Several strands are bundled together and made into butterflies. I have the sections mapped out, but the actual designing is happening at the loom.

Box of colorful linen for a tapestry project!

Box of linen! A variety of 16/2 line linen, 6/1 tow linen, and 8/1 tow linen.

Weft inlay with linen butterflies.

First sample strip starts with some weft inlay.

The box of vibrant shades of linen that sits by the loom makes me think of the wonderful colors in creation. The Grand Weaver puts an assortment of strands together, making something as only He can. The world belongs to its Maker. We are His. Sometimes we forget that it is not that He is in our universe, it is that we are in His. I love the way He puts an assortment of us together to put a splash of color on His tapestry.

May you enjoy the colors around you.

Happy weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Melissa Myers says:

    God must love color, there is so much of it!!! I am reminded of the verse:

    New American Standard Bible
    Job 26;14
    “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

    Can’t wait to see the tapestry He weaves!!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Karen,
    Beautiful colors, can’t wait to see what comes from them. I love you loom with a view!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Liberty, Colors always seem more alive to me in linen. I’m glad I get to take my time with them and enjoy the scenery, too!

      Karen

  • Marjorie says:

    I’m a new follower, with an unwarped, recently acquired, Glimakra Ideal. I love your site, and aspire to become a weaver, with the help of ALL my new weaving acquaintances. I have the Lundell book, although it may be water-marked by drooling before I’m able to weave anything from it. Watching with eagerness,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marjorie, Welcome to the wide wonderful world of weaving! And welcome here in this corner of the weaving world. That Lundell book will step you through everything you need to know to dress your loom and make something beautiful. I’m excited for you! Let me know if there is any way I can help you along the way.

      Happy weaving,
      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…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gabriela, What a nice compliment! Thank you! That gives this another level of interest – an artist’s view.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • 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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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. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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