Crabba or Not

Sometimes I really don’t know what I am doing! It’s uncomfortable. I make a guess and hope for the best. I almost skipped this section of the tapestry/inlay sampler because I don’t understand the instructions for crabba in The Big Book of Weaving. I’ve heard of crabba, and have seen pictures, but I have no experience with it.

Tapestry / inlay sampler. All linen.

First two attempts at weaving the diamond-shapes of crabba. 1) Too faint. 2) Too flat.

Consequently, I am attempting to weave something that resembles the crabba motif, with  “rhomboid pattern shapes and stairstep contours.” My first little diamond all but disappeared. Pattern weft needs to be thicker. My second attempt flattened into a flying saucer. Aha! I need at least two pattern picks of each row. Finally, I wove three more diamond motifs. Crabba, or not, they are now a part of this inlay sampler.

Color gradation in linen background, with inlay in diamond shapes.

Color gradation continues in the background under the inlay diamond shapes.

Tapestry / inlay sampler. All linen. Morning light!

Visiting the loom in morning light brings a reminder that much of weaving is learning by doing. And much of life is that way, too.

We can’t know everything. But we can keep learning, even when we don’t understand the instructions. Instead of quitting, step up and make an attempt. Raise your hopes. Stir up your faith to hope for the impossible. Your brave steps today set you up for greater progress next time you face a hurdle. Place your faith in the Lord, the instruction-giver. Sometimes He lets you learn by doing.

May you hope for the best.

~~Houston update: After diverting to Texas hill country because of the Hurricane Harvey flooding last week, Steve and I finally returned home to Houston this weekend. We are very thankful to come home to a dry house, untouched by the flooding that has devastated so many in our city. Relief efforts will continue in Houston for some time. Thank you for your prayers.~~

Hopefully,
Karen

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Wild Linen Rya

Rya knots and loops of threads look chaotic at first. These linen rya knots will never be tame, but that’s to be expected. Linen butterflies have created a swath of wild rya “flowers” planted in a smooth linen “lawn.”

Making rya knots with a bundle of linen threads.

Continuous weft bundle forms loops between rya knots.

Linen rya knots.

Loops are clipped. Green butterfly is for the background plain weave weft.

Each section of rya starts with a butterfly made of several strands of linen in assorted weights and colors. I tie each rya knot on a pair of warp ends, leaving a loop between knots. There are two to three passes of plain weave between each row of knots. When I finish a butterfly, I go back and clip all the loops. After the loops are cut, I trim the tops of the threads to even out the rya “flower garden.”

Linen rya knots on a linen weft-faced background.

Tops of the rya threads are trimmed. I intentionally leave a few shorter and longer threads, for interest.

Linen rya knots on a weft-faced linen background. Tapestry/inlay sampler.

Linen rya knots on a weft-faced linen background. Wild linen “flowers” growing out of a smooth linen “lawn.”

When things around us look a mess and don’t make sense, full of knots and loops, there is one thing we must do. Keep holding on to faith. Fight to keep your faith strong. Faith in Christ Jesus will carry you through uncertainty and will reveal the first ray of hope. The loops will be clipped, the threads will be trimmed. A garden of color will emerge. Faith waits for that.

May your faith be strong.

All the best,
Karen

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Keep Threading Those Heddles

It will be worth it. 896 threads through these heddles, and then two ends per dent in the reed. This is the necessary dressing of the loom. I do it nine minutes, thirty-five minutes, and twenty-two minutes at a time. I do not accomplish it in one sitting. After accumulating almost five hours of threading, I’m ready to sley the reed.

Threading heddles.

Colored threads are 16/2 cotton, thicker than the 24/2 unbleached cotton threads.

Threading Heddles

Checking for threading errors before tying the group of ends into a loose slip knot.

It is easy to lose concentration when there are so many ends. The M’s and O’s threading has just enough variation in it to make me wonder if I did keep it all in the correct sequence. We will find out. The threading, correct or not, is always revealed as the fabric is woven.

Texsolv heddles of four shafts. Glimåkra Ideal.

Texsolv heddles on four shafts, threaded. Glimåkra Ideal.

Sley the reed. Glimåkra Ideal.

Two ends per dent are sleyed in this 22.5-dent-per-inch reed.

What is faith? Faith is putting your trust in something you have good reason to think is true. Stand firm, immovable, in your trust in the Lord. You put threads in the heddles because you have good reason to think these threads will become fabric. Don’t quit. Keep coming back to it. Be strong in faith. And do it from a framework of love. Your framework is always revealed in the cloth of your life.

May you stay strong.

Happy threading,
Karen

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  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your encouragement on having faith. It was a very good start to my morning ☺️
    Anxious to see this project woven too. Your patience and fortitude for taking on difficult projects amazes me, a fellow weaver!
    Carolee

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Carolee,
      Patience and fortitude are virtues, so thank you for that compliment. One reason I enjoy weaving so much is there are continual opportunities to stretch my knowledge and experience.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Stripes on the Warp Beam

Why are stripes appealing? Stripes on the loom look good. I don’t usually wind warps in advance. I like to wind a warp and put it directly on the loom. But, recently, when I wasn’t able to weave, I was able wind warps. Now, one of those warps is beamed, and soon I’ll be weaving some striped plattväv towels.

Striped warp for cottolin and linen towels. Glimakra Ideal.

Narrow stripes wrap around the back beam. Next step is threading heddles. One step closer to weaving towels…

This draft is from one of my favorite Swedish weaving books, Kalasfina Vävar, by Ann-Kristin Hallgren. I changed the colors and modified the stripes, while attempting to keep the attractive appeal of the original stripe design. We will see the full effect when weaving begins. The warp is the first part of the picture. The weft always brings a transformation. The golden bleached linen, in this case, won’t change the warp, but it will create a fresh palette.

Black and white photo shows the color values.

Making a black and white photo is a good way to see the color values.

Faith and truth are partners. Truth becomes clear through faith. Warp and weft. Truth and faith. A fabric of convictions is woven to hand to the next generation. The good news of Jesus Christ is a message of faith and truth. The truth doesn’t change; but it comes alive when woven with faith.

May your convictions be securely woven.

Yours truly,
Karen

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Autumn Alpaca

Autumn is the perfect time of year to plan alpaca scarves. This three-ply alpaca yarn is dreamy. The thing I love about winding a warp like this is the feel of the soft yarn as it goes through my fingers. This warp is going on the big loom for an eight-shaft wavy twill.

Winding a warp of alpaca yarn for scarves.

Counting cord is used to keep track of the number of ends that are wound onto the warping reel. This warp was counted 40 ends at a time.

The first pass around the warping reel must be correct, which is why I measure the distance first with a guide string. After the first pass, I simply follow the correct path around until all 136 alpaca ends have been included. I am already starting to dream about the eventual soft and cozy scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn, preparing warp for weaving scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn.

Alpaca warp chain.

Following the path of the guide string is like having faith to follow Christ. Faith grows in good soil. And there is no better soil than Christ himself. I don’t yet see the scarves, but it’s not hard for me to imagine what they will be like. I have touched the yarn, and the completed warp chain is a sweet preview. When we see what Christ has completed, faith takes root and gives us reason to trust him for everything else.

May your roots grow down into good soil.

The Three Rosepath Rag Rugs For Now have been hemmed and are listed in my Etsy shop. Take a look!

Yours,
Karen

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  • Missie says:

    I hope to see your alpaca scarves in your Etsy shop!

  • Olivia Stewart says:

    Like you, I have some alpaca waiting to be used. But as a new weaver, I have hesitated. Could you share what your plans are for the sett and also the weft? The alpaca is so beautiful, I want to be sure I use it correctly. Thank you for the help.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Olivia, Alpaca is such a lovely fiber, it makes sense to hesitate and do your research before putting it on the loom. One thing that will make a difference for the sett is the size of the yarn. The weave structure also makes a difference.

      The yarn I am using here is Yarn & Soul Superfine 400 from WEBS, a 3-ply, about 1814 yd/lb. I am using a sett of about 16 epi (2 ends per dent in an 8-dent reed), 16 ppi. (same yarn for weft) structure – Twill

      Here are alpaca yarns in other weights I have used, and the setts for those:
      Berroco Ultra Alpaca 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool from Yarn Barn KS, about 983 yd/lb. Sett 10 epi, 10 ppi (same yarn for weft) structure – Goose-eye twill
      Knit One Crochet Too Cria Lace 65% Fine Alpaca, 35% Tencel from WEBS, about 2504 yd/lb. Sett 15 epi, 15 ppi (same yarn for weft) – plain weave and lace weave

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

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