Tapestry Reveals Lizard Toes

I fully intended to weave a floral image for my first four-shaft tapestry. Flowers have interesting and beautiful colors and shapes. However, while I am taking pictures for that very purpose at the garden center near our Texas hill country home, a bright green lizard catches my eye. Stunning in color and detail!

Bright green anole in Texas hill country.

Bright green lizard stops to pose for the camera at the garden center. He strikes a different pose for the image I am using for my tapestry.

Four-shaft tapestry lizard.

Foot of the lizard is seen on the cartoon under the warp near the right-hand side.

This cute little fellow, technically a green anole, is my tapestry subject! With every wool butterfly and placement of weft, I am hoping for a fruitful outcome—a 3’ x 4’ tapestry of a (recognizable) bright green lizard on a wooden post.

Four-shaft tapestry - lizard foot.

Five lizard toes to weave.

Tapestry of a green anole in Texas.

Tapestry woven from the side, meaning the selvedge seen here will be the upper edge of the tapestry when it is hung.

Four-shaft tapestry.

Nearing completion of the first twenty centimeters.

Fruitful. We want to know that the things we say and do have lasting value. We want to live in a way that bears the fruit of positive outcomes, don’t we? When results are slow in coming, or not readily seen, it can be discouraging. It’s time to trust the Lord. Don’t be disheartened. Instead, think of long-term cultivation. What looks uncertain now will be a distinct part of the image when you look back. Any mistakes woven in are proof of our humanness. And that proof reminds all of us that we need a Savior. Keep weaving.

May you see the good fruits from your labor.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Amen and Amen and Amen, Karen! 🙂

  • Alice Martin says:

    It looks like you have 2 colors in your warp. Which is a great idea to show you are always in the opposite shed.

    I love how you weave God’s word and inspiration in your posts!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alice, Good eye! Actually, there are three colors in the linen warp. The three colors are used together, and threaded as a single end.

      Thanks for the kind feedback!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Now that the secret is out and you are progressing I see the toes and the muscles of the leg drawn on the cartoon. Thank you for the reveal. Never, had I considered a lizard portrait.

    This last weekend a creature was sited trying to gain entry into the garage. It was later researched to be a skink. It is the ONLY native lizard in Wisconsin, and not the bright green of the Texas anole.

    When I think I have seen it all, God adds His ‘ALL’. This week that ALL included lizards. Such diversity providing the continual unexpected.

    Nannette

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    He is so cute, can’t wait to see more toes!
    Liberty

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Quiet Friday: Linen Chair Seats

This week I crossed something off my Weaving Bucket List: Use handwoven fabric to upholster chairs. Remember the color-and-weave linen fabric? It’s part of my collection of fabrics designed specifically for our Texas hill country home. I covered four barstool seats with this linen upholstery fabric!

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric.

Weaving the fabric is the easy part. But I’m a newbie at upholstering. As such, using my “precious” handwoven cloth is unnerving. But I was fortunate enough to receive terrific advice and encouragement from friends, including one who conferred on my behalf with professional upholsterers she knows. And another friend generously loaned her power staple gun to me. I also referred to a book (Matthew Haly’s Book of Upholstery, by Matthew Haly) that I picked up a few years ago in hopes that I might someday reach this item on my bucket list.

Testing handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Trying out handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Removing staples, to re-cover the seat.

Covering seats with batting and muslin.

Reupholstering chair seats. Muslin first.

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric. Covering chair seats.

Handwoven linen upholstery for chair seats.

Backing the upholstered chair seats. Handwoven upholstery.

Upholstery backing in place. Handwoven upholstery project.

Finished handwoven linen chair seat! Ta da!

Underside of re-covered chair seats.

Four newly upholstered chair seats. Handwoven Upholstery.

Handwoven linen upholstery. Newly covered chair seats.

Newly covered chair seats. Handwoven Linen!

I count this as practice and a first step of experience. Eventually, I may work up the courage to reupholster our eight dining room chairs. Hmm… the thought of getting to design the fabric makes that challenge rather appealing.

May you cross something off your bucket list.

Your amateur upholsterer,
Karen

32 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They look fantastic, Karen!

  • Shirley Haeny says:

    You did a great job. I`m sure your dining room chairs will turn out just as good.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Shirley, I appreciate the encouragement! The dining room chairs will have to get in line. I have a few other projects in mind before I tackle more chairs.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Awesome! Have you put a Scotch Guard on the fabric. I would be afraid to use the chairs. lol

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I hear you! As a matter of fact, we have Scotchguard on our list for errands this morning, to treat the seats before we install them on the chairs.

      And little children will sit on a towel until I get some child covers made for the seats.

      And when the chairs become too stained and worn, I’ll make some more fabric and recover the seats. 🙂

      Karen

  • From your photos, it looks like you were given good advice. It is nice that you had flat seat bottoms to work with first. If you ever work with curved bottoms, make sure you staple the front and back in the middle first and then work out toward the sides. Sides are next from the center towards the corners. Corners are last, just as you did with your seats.

    For a first timer, they turned out beautifully. Start planning fabric for those dining room chairs!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, Sounds like you are another person I can come to for advice! Thanks for the tip; that makes a lot of sense. I need all the help I can get.

      I’m going to start collecting fabric ideas for the dining room chairs. I already know the main colors I want to include.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    Beautifully done, Karen! Congratulations on your “new” stools!

  • Rachel says:

    You inspire me – thank you. I have upholstered chairs but planning fabric for a stool my husband stained for me years ago – I can do this through your inspiring blog. God bless your fingers and mind as you share your talent.

  • Nannette says:

    One bite of elephant, and before you know it…. The project is complete. Great job.

  • Karen says:

    Very “clean” and elegant. That fabric would fit with classic to contemporary style. They look lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, We’re trying to develop a hint of Arts and Crafts style in this home, with a contemporary touch. Hopefully, this works with that! I like hearing how you see it.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Michele says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of work. You did a fabulous job. They look perfect. Congratulations.

  • Joanna says:

    Oh wow! Perfect!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Karen
    They look wonderful. I just love them. I’m so proud of you!
    Liberty

  • D’Anne says:

    Wonderful job, Karen! You’re braver than I am. I wove the fabric and had the chairs covered professionally.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, That was a wise move to have your chairs covered professionally. This seemed like a “safe” project to see if I could do it myself. I’m sure your chairs are beautiful!

      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    Those turned out incredible. I’m going to need new seat cushions, just the kind you tie on, I might have to give thought to weaving the fabric for those.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindie, I hope you do weave your fabric for new seat cushions. That’s one of the perks of being a handweaver. We can make our own fabric! 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Mary says:

    What fun! The chairs look great! I encourage you to continue to create cloth for upholstery! Yay!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Thanks for the prompting. It makes a lot of sense to weave cloth for upholstery. I think I will do more of it!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Kay Larson says:

    They look Fantastic! Maybe one day I will have the courage to weave the fabric and then redo our barstools and dining chairs.

  • Ruth says:

    Nothing amature about this project! You are a professional and so talented. Lovely, lovely work. Blessings

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, You’re so sweet! I’m honored that you think so highly of my work. As the maker, I see loads of room for improvement, but I’ll take your kind compliment.

      I am blessed, indeed, to get to weave and to grow in these endeavors.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Keep Advancing the Warp

This is a series of learning experiences—some easy, and some quite challenging. I am near the end of the first panel of the tapestry/inlay sampler. All along the way, I encounter obstacles. Like a broken warp end. Again. That broken warp end is discouraging. Surely, I should be able to keep that from happening by now.

Tapestry/inlay sampler. All linen weft.

Broken warp end on the right selvedge required taking out several rows of weaving so I could splice the warp.

Meanwhile, a simple line of soumak makes a pleasing border for this curve. It defines the shape with a slightly raised line. Over three, around one…all the way across. This part is nice and easy.

Soumak border on tapestry sampler.

Soumak technique, Step 1.

Soumak border line on tapestry sampler.

Soumak technique, Step 2.

Peaceful setting for the weaving loom!

Despite another broken warp end, the warp is advanced and the weaving continues. It helps to weave in a peaceful setting.

Daily life is not always easy. Put your eyes on God, not on the obstacles you face. And don’t worry about your own inability to navigate the circumstances. Trust God to carry you. He has carried you this far, and will continue to show himself strong on your behalf. Those broken warp ends are spliced, and the weaving continues. The selvedge may show some evidence of having had trouble, but the soumak outlines and other woven features will draw the eye. There is victory in advancing the warp to continue the sampler to the end.

May you advance through the obstacles you face.

With you,
Karen

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Color Inspiration

The problem with having more than one loom is that you must divide your time between looms. Monksbelt has been on the big loom a little too long, since the baby loom has had most of my attention lately. That means little progress for this extra-slow weave.

Monksbelt on the Glimakra Standard loom.

Two shuttles take turns gliding across the warp.

Now that the baby loom is empty I am getting some good weaving time on the monksbelt. When I look at the loom, the whole task seems too big. But these colors are invigorating. When I pull out a few Fårö wool colors for the next treadling sequence, I forget my complaints about this taking too long. When I sit on the loom bench and start weaving with these colors I am inspired to keep going.

Colorful monksbelt. Karen Isenhower

Red ground weave gives a strong background for graded blues and violets.

Monksbelt on the loom. Progress!

Progress is seen as fabric rounds the cloth beam below.

Your words can be like these colors, giving someone the vitality they need to finish well. Your pleasant words are like honey to a weary soul. Pleasant words go deeper than you think. They bring needed inspiration when someone cannot see the end of a challenge. Your words may be the color palette that inspires your friend or loved one to keep going.

Monksbelt on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Many options for sets of color.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
– Solomon

May your pleasant words reach the weary.

With love,
Karen

4 Comments

  • linda says:

    Such Happy Colors. I can’t wait for a finished piece. linda

  • Pam says:

    Hi, Karen,
    What kind of fiber are you using and what is its size?. . . 3/2? My very first scarf had a pattern that advanced only 3/4″. That was slow going, but gave me a meditative mind set. I always felt rested after my time at the loom. I used the same warp and pattern sequence for a second scarf, but used a much larger weft in a different fiber and color. It went quicker of course, but I was most impressed how the pattern seemed to change with a different color. I appreciate how sharing these little things construct the design process. Thanks for the insight, and the inspiration to call my friend.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam,
      The warp and the ground weft is 16/2 cotton. The pattern weft is 6/1 Fårö wool. The 16/2 cotton weft is what makes this slow going. The ground weave on this is supposed to be weft rep, which should cover the warp almost completely. Mine probably isn’t quite weft rep, but it is definitely weft-faced. A coarser weft would certainly weave faster, as would a balanced weave, where the warp and weft are evenly interlaced. But it wouldn’t look or feel the same as this cloth. And, like you say, is a different weaving experience – not as meditative.

      I’m so pleased you were prompted to encourage a friend.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Time to Weave a Baby Wrap

Weaving a baby wrap is something I have been interested in doing. I am pleased, therefore, that my daughter wants to try babywearing. It’s the perfect excuse for me to put a colorful warp on the loom–a warp with wide stripes of blended colors. After research and careful planning, I am ready to start. Baby Lu will be here before we know it!

Thread for woven baby wrap.

New tubes of 8/2 cotton thread combine with colors I already had on my shelves.

It is exciting to weave something on purpose to give to someone you love. The whole process has meaning–from planning, to dressing the loom, to throwing the shuttle. You hope it turns out as you envision, or better. Making something to give is the best kind of making. The thought you put into it shows up as a gift of love.

Winding warp for a cheerful baby wrap.

Cheerful start to the warp with “Pumpkin” and “Sunshine” alternating threads.

Winding warp for colorful baby wrap.

Second bout adds in “Plum” and “Mulberry” threads.

Warp for woven baby wrap!

“Sapphire” and “Teal” threads make up most of the third bout.

Our words can be thoughtful gifts, as well. It takes thought to speak sentences and paragraphs, and conversations, that bless and enrich. Our considerate words give our recipient the means for wrapping someone else with love. Words can heal. These are the words to speak, words that give life. Weave comfort and encouragement into the things you say, touching others with kindness. Let the little ones be wrapped in their mother’s love. And let the rest of us practice sweet thoughtfulness day after day.

Three warp chains for a woven baby wrap!

Dividing the warp into three bouts helps distribute the threads for even tension during beaming.

May your words be thoughtful gifts from your heart.

With love,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Beachweaver says:

    Karen,

    Your colors are so beautiful! I can’t wait to see it take shape on your loom. Are you working from a draft in a book or magazine or have you created your own? I’ve wanted to make a baby wrap, but haven’t stepped up to it yet. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beachweaver, the colors are exhilarating to work with!
      I created my own draft for this after studying several others. I have the “Baby Wrap EBook” by Handwoven from Weaving Today. And the Väv magazine issue that covered baby wraps. Searching “woven wraps” in Google and on Pinterest gave even more ideas.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

      I’m new to this baby-wrap weaving, so maybe you can learn from my mistakes as we go along. Ha!

      • Beachweaver says:

        Hi Karen,

        I have the Handwoven ebook on Baby Wraps. I doubt you’ll make many mistakes (certainly not as many as I do!) but I will happily learn from watching your project develop. I can’t wait to see it take shape on the loom.

        Thanks for sharing!

  • Shari says:

    I love your colors! Any chance you would share the details of your colors for warping. Thanks for considering my request!

  • elements says:

    Hello Shari,

    This is the most lovely baby wrap I’ve seen! I would be interested in knowing more details of your draft too. It’s the way you made the colour changes that has me so inspired.

    I too will be making a work of love and art for my sister and her little one that is on the way.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for the compliment. The wrap is plain weave on four shafts. I’ll need to look at my draft to remember how I arranged the colors. I’m away from home for a few days, but I can send you an email with that information after I get home.

      Karen

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