End of Warp Drama

At the final inches of weavable warp, my regular boat shuttle will not fit through the shed. I wove the first half of this final rug thinking I had more than enough warp left to complete a symmetrical design.

Spaced rep rag rug. Last rug on the warp!

Final rug on this warp. I planned a symmetrical design that reverses at the center of the rug.

This warp is almost finished! Rag rugs.

As the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam I am concerned about whether I have enough warp to finish the second half of the rug.

Drama at the end. I still need to weave the ending warp thread header. Time to pull out my secret weapon—a low-profile shuttle. No worries or fretting. The slim shuttle deftly (with a little prodding) weaves the eight picks of the warp thread header that concludes this final rug. Whew.

Low-profile boat shuttle fits through at end of warp.

Low-profile shuttle saves the day. I’m so near the end of the warp that there is not enough room in the shed for my regular boat shuttle to fit through.

End of warp drama! But I made it! Whew.

Very end of the warp is seen right behind the shafts. After the eight picks of warp thread header, I wove as many picks of scrap weft as I could…by hand.

When we face adversity, and our usual coping methods are not working, we feel the pressure and anxiety. It’s time to activate our secret weapon—a gentle and quiet spirit. Gentleness and quietness are beautiful embellishments to the hidden person of the heart. This humble spirit enables you to glide through the tightest situations. Best of all, those last picks you carefully weave will keep the lovely rag rug you’ve been working on from unraveling.

May your heart glow with gratitude.

Happy Giving of Thanks!
Karen

16 Comments

  • Beautifully said. Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I just found you recently and I love reading your blog. Thank you again.

  • Annie says:

    Thanksgiving is always a time of reflection on all the wonderful blessings in my life. This year, your Christ centered blog has been added as they are always uplifting as well as informative. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and your work with us.

    May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving, Karen.

    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Annie, That means so much to me! It’s a great privilege for me to have friends like you that I can share with. I’m thankful for you.

      Happy Thanks-Giving,
      Karen

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I so enjoy reading your blogs and I always learn or am reminded of something important. Sometimes, it’s even about weaving. 🙂
    Blessings to you,
    Cindy

  • Joanna says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family, Karen. This time of year seems to me to be a bit like your end of warp: winding down but with one last stretch needing a little extra thought and care.

    I’ve got a question for you. I know that you use new cloth for yor rag strips, but do you wash and press it before cutting the strips? Your rugs are sooo beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, Yes, these few remaining weeks of the year are a testing ground for our gentle and quiet spirits.

      I do wash and dry the fabric before cutting into strips for weaving. I want to pre-shrink it and rinse out excess dye, so I wash it in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer. I do not press the fabric unless it is too wrinkled to be able to fold it flat for cutting. In that case, just ironing the selvedges is usually enough.

      I appreciate your kind compliment about my rugs. Weaving rag rugs is one of my greatest pleasures.

      Happy Thanks-Giving to you and yours,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Wow, that was close to the warp end, wasn’t it, Karen! May all your warps end so well. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, Yes, too close for comfort. When will I learn not to overestimate what I have left? I’ve done this too many times. When you get that far, though, you’re determined to make it work.

      Happy Thanksgiving you and your family, too!
      Karen

  • Patti Hawryluk says:

    Thank you for your insights! I live in Canada, so we have celebrated Thanksgiving about 5 weeks ago. But a reminded to be grateful is always welcome. May yours be full of both Thanks and Giving.

    Patti

    • Karen says:

      Hi Patti from Canada, We do need reminders to be grateful. It’s more important than the celebration of a holiday. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Beautiful post, Karen. Just received the two low profile Hockett shuttles I ordered after reading Handwoven’s article on Finnweave. Glad to have added them to my arsenal.
    Thank you for the beautiful words. I can always count on you for your words of wisdom.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurie, I’m sure your new shuttles are beautiful! Yes, it doesn’t hurt to have a low-profile shuttle or two just in case the end of the warp comes a little too soon. 🙂 Of course, these shuttles are also good for proper things like Finnweave and damask weaving.

      I appreciate your sweet sentiments.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you. Our family has been dealing with one adversity after another this year and I really needed to hear those words in particular today. I can’t tell you how many times standing at the loom has been what helps me make it through the next day.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa, It’s not easy to face continued difficulties. If I could be a small part of helping you through that, I’m glad. If only I could reach all the way through and give you a hug, I would. There’s always a new day. Hopefully, your trying times will transition to happier times soon. I’m glad you have your loom.

      Warmly,
      Karen

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No Slipping Knots

Kit development for the plattväv towels is in full swing. I’m in the first stage–making a sample kit. Winding a warp with narrow stripes is a stop-and-go procedure, cutting and tying ends. My process is well structured, as it needs to be, to avoid mistakes. Knowing how to tie a good square knot is essential, too. This is not the time for slipping knots!

Winding a warp on the Glimakra warping reel.

Winding the warp with five different colors (2 tubes each), and frequent color changes, is the most challenging part of the plattväv towels.

Warp with many color changes. Square knots.

Square knots will hold tight if tied properly.

As I write the instructions for this kit, the eventual towel-kit weaver is on my mind. Besides writing clear steps, I want to include special helps that put even an apprehensive weaver at ease. How can I help the weaver have a great experience? Weaving this sample kit will help me answer that question.

Winding a warp with narrow stripes. Plattväv towels.

Plattväv towels in the making! Again.

Having structure and precision in the process of winding this warp makes me think of the value of truth. Truth matters because it keeps things from slipping that shouldn’t slip. Love matters, too. Love puts gentleness and understanding in the instructions. Love cares about the experience another person will have. Love and truth flourish together. Like a precisely pre-wound warp, and instructions written with care, truth and love are inseparable. Both are needed for life to be a gratifying experience.

May you experience true love.

Blessings,
Karen

10 Comments

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Slow and Gentle Weaving

One soft alpaca scarf. Slow and gentle. This weaving does not let me hurry. I don’t beat the weft; I carefully place it with the beater. For a rag rug weaver like me, accustomed to boisterous weaving, this soft weaving requires my full attention.

Alpaca scarf on the loom. Eight-shaft undulating twill.

Long alpaca scarf is nearing completion. Twill tape for measuring keeps track of the woven length. Two flat-head pins leap frog ahead each time I advance the warp.

There is no variation in this scarf. It’s the same treadling sequence, over and over. After this much repetition, it seems like I should be able to do this without thinking. But, no, I have to pay attention. If I don’t, I lose my place. Glaring mistakes all happen by accident.

Long alpaca scarf on the loom. Slow and gentle weaving.

Long scarf wraps around the cloth beam before it is complete.

We can choose what to hear. Listen wisely. Most things do not go in one ear and out the other. They go in one ear and down into our souls. Listening to gossip, for instance, seems harmless. It might even taste sweet. But what we hear affects our hearts. Listening to gossip is swallowing poison. It’s like weaving a faulty treadling sequence while being distracted. We must pay attention, or the wrong pattern will be woven into the scarf. Instead, let’s enjoy the gentle process of placing the weft and paying attention as we repeat the sequence we know is right.

May you be lifted up by what you hear.

All the best,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    What a lovely analogy! Thank you for opening this pathway of thought for today.

  • Angie Roberts says:

    Enjoy the Beautiful Day
    Thank you

  • Lynn Scott says:

    Very well said. Thank you.

    Lynn

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    This is a beautiful scarf, I just love the design. I’m so happy you are feeling better and back at your loom!

  • PJ Doering says:

    Karen

    I happened to stumble onto your blog this AM and after reading your closing comment, I understand why. This comment is wonderful and eye opening. Thank you so much for saying it so perfectly.

    Enjoy
    PJ

    • Karen says:

      Dear PJ,
      I am happy you found your way here. And even more pleased that the words here touched a chord with you.

      Thank you for taking time to respond.
      Karen

  • Pam says:

    Karen, this is very clear analogy. We are to be gentle as lambs and wise as serpents. It is worth the while to be attentive to each pick as it is to what we are saying or hearing.There is scripture that says it is a sin to talk about the evil another does in secret. I asked FATHER GOD about that. I did not recognized prior, that was a reference to gossip. I should have recognized that. HE further let me understand that when we gossip that we are not giving praise to our LORD but giving place to the evil one. That then is telling how sin triumphed over righteousness. We must not do that. Unfortunately our communication is easily manipulated, so we must be use our words carefully and listen carefully, testing each thought to see if it be from GOD, and dismissing that which is not. My morning prayer is that the LORD put a guard across my mouth and that the words I do speak and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in HIS sight, oh LORD my Strength and Redeemer. Thank you for this wisdom.

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Perfect Warp Tension?

Two fingers gently test the resistance of the threads, from the center of the warp, moving outwards to the right, and to the left. This is how I evaluate the warp tension. I don’t rush; and I give the effort all my attention. Weft rep, where the ground weft almost completely covers the warp, is especially susceptible to hills and valleys from uneven warp tension. After I have made several tension adjustments, I tie on the leveling string. Next is tying up lamms and treadles, and winding quills. Then, the joy of weaving this monksbelt begins!

Cotton warp with leveling string, getting ready to weave monksbelt!

Leveling string is in place across the beginning of the warp. Lamms, which can be seen below the warp, are tied up next. And then, the treadles are tied up. After that, weaving begins!

The ability to feel unevenness in warp tension is a learned practice. Being attentive is half the battle; and patience is the other half. Taking time on the front end reduces correction time after weaving has begun.

Sampling at the beginning of monksbelt project. 16/2 cotton and 6/1 Fårö wool.

Classic Swedish weave, monksbelt, is woven here with 6/1 Fårö wool for the pattern weft, over 16/2 cotton for the weft rep ground weave. Sampling has begun!

Skilled listening is a learned practice, too. Listening is more than hearing, isn’t it? Pay attention to how you listen. It matters. It takes a gentle touch to listen with a heart of understanding. When we listen with an unbending heart, we only hear what we want to hear. Patience on the front end results in fewer corrections later.

May you hear and be heard.

Gently,
Karen

4 Comments

  • linda says:

    Hi Karen: My , at the time 6yo, daughter asked me one day to listen to her with my eyes. I was unpacking her backpack and really not listening to the telling of the days events. She was right. giving her my Full attention right then was most important. Weaving teaches patience and really seeing not just the over all finished product, but the tiny one thread flaws that must be corrected to make the whole right. Again your method is new to me and fascinating to see, thanks for doing this. linda

    • Karen says:

      What a sweet story with great insight. Children teach us so many things! I’m glad that weaving teaches patience, because for most of us, that doesn’t come naturally.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Ingie says:

    Between this post and the previous one, there is no information on how you tie on to the front apron rod. It doesn’t appear to be a method that I’ve seen before and am struggling to understand how you did it. Also, what is the “leveling string” and what is its purpose?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ingie, Thank you for asking. The method of tying on is closely linked to the leveling string. Here’s the link to a post that explains the leveling string, and also talks about how the knots are tied. —
      Tools Day: Leveling String

      The books I mention in the post also detail this method of tying on in more detail. The knot I use is one I specifically learned from Becky Ashenden at Vävstuga. It is covered thoroughly in Becky’s book.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Wool Blanket Gets Wet

The softer, the better. We all know that wool can be scratchy, but we like wool because of its warmth. And, as a fiber for weaving, wool is easy to work with because of its elasticity. Wet finishing reduces the scratchiness, making it possible to end up with a comfy wool blanket. A soft and gentle blanket.

Wool blanket is drip drying after wet finishing.

Wet wool blanket is dripping dry after just two minutes in the dryer. Towels on the floor collect the drips.

Gentleness is stronger than we think. A lullaby has the power to quiet a crying baby. My son once had a first grade teacher who could still a classroom of seven- and eight-year-olds with a whisper. And the gentle touch of a friend can speak louder than words.

We influence far more people through kindness, gentleness, and patience than we ever will with persuasive arguments. Like a soft and comfy wool blanket, gentleness is strong enough to warm someone in the cold.

~ It’s time for segment three in the Wool Blanket Finishing series. ~

You can learn about the previous video segments in Quiet Friday: Wool Blanket Finishing, or you can view them here:

1. Twisting Fringe on the Loom

2. Wool Blanket Before Wet Finishing

Please return next week for the fourth video segment, Wool Blanket Final Finishing, to find out what happens to the fringe!

May your gentle influence increase.

Warmly,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Marie says:

    Karen

    Your blanket is beautiful. I would have preferred to see you place the blanket
    on a flat surface such as the floor versus the counter top. Placing towels on the floor to help picking up the moisture. I would have spun out some of the water to assist in the drying process. About 2 minutes of spinning. The blanket is very manageable. I would be concerned with stretching the blanket on the counter top because of the water dripping off the edges.

    Just a few after thought.

    Marie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie,

      I appreciate your thoughts. I agree that a flat surface would be better for drying the blanket. The tile floor, with towels on it, is perfect for that if you have enough floor space. That is how I have dried smaller pieces. Fortunately, the finished blanket ended up nice and flat, and doesn’t appear to be stretched out of shape.
      I should try doing a short spin, as you suggest. I have had unhappy results of permanent creases from the spin cycle on some items, so I tend to avoid the spin cycle for the first wash on most handwovens.

      Thanks so much for your input!
      Karen

  • Nancy says:

    I am enjoying your video series, just found your website yesterday and this is very timely for me as my next project is going to be my first double weave blanket!

    • Karen says:

      Nancy, That’s wonderful that you are starting a double weave blanket! There are so many things to try with weaving, and it is always exciting to start something new!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Olga says:

    Karen
    I can’t see your Video. Is there any secret?

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