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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Quiet Friday: Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug

My introduction to rosepath rag rugs was on a room-size loom in Joanne Hall’s magical Montana studio. I was so happy at that moment that I actually cried. It’s no surprise, then, that I relish every opportunity to weave a rosepath rag rug. And even better, to share the joy with other handweavers who may not have tried it yet. Look what came in the mail this week! The March/April 2017 issue of Handwoven, with a project by yours truly–Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug!

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Not everyone loves weaving rag rugs. That’s fine. But if you’re a weaver, there is probably something that draws your interest and brings delight. A certain weave structure, silky fibers, fine threads, complex patterns, bold colors. Something. And if you’re not a weaver, there is something else that triggers your pursued interest. Find that spark that ignites joy in you!

Beginning a rag rug.

Besides using a pre-measured tape, taking a picture at the beginning of the rug, with the yellow tape measure in view, makes it easy to replicate the hem at the end of the rug.

Temple in place, weaving Swedish rosepath rag rug.

Temple is in place, keeping the rugs a consistent width. Metal rug temples are good, but I still prefer a regular wooden Glimåkra temple for weaving rag rugs.

Weaving rosepath rag rugs. Fun!

Many rosepath variations are possible. The rug on the cloth beam uses a similar design, with different colors.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug. Karen Isenhower

Making paths of roses. Rosepath.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug.

Progress!

Seeing the reverse side of the rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Reverse side of the rug has a subtly different pattern.

Swedish rosepath rag rug on the loom. Rug in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Cloth beam fills up with rag rugs. Pleasant sight for a rag rug weaver!

Ending the rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Ending the rug on the loom. Following the markings removes guesswork.

Keep a song in your heart. Sing. Sing for joy. Sing praise to the Grand Weaver who put the seed of searching in you. A seed that bursts open with joy when ignited with a spark, and flourishes into something distinguishable. Trust the Lord with all your heart. Your heart will find its melody.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Published in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

May your heart sing a joyful tune.

ATTENTION: The draft for the  Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug from Handwoven is written for a sinking shed loom. Therefore, for a jack loom, you must tie up the “white” empty squares instead of the numbered squares for the pattern to show right side up as you weave.

If you are interested in weaving rag rugs, take a look at Rag Rug Tips, a new tab at the top of the page.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Congratulations, Karen, on another beautiful article!

  • Maggie Ackerman says:

    I’ve just done my first rose path rug and I loved doing it. Used tee shirt yarn from my stash. Yours is gorgeous and I can’t wait to try it. You also have some great suggestions — I love the photo idea for the hem. Much better than my notes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Rosepath is so much fun. I’m glad to hear you have enjoyed it, too. Yes, the photo has saved me many times. My memory and my notes are not that great.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Fran says:

    I downloaded Handwoven yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised to see your rug! Congratulations !

  • Janet says:

    Congrats Karen!! I have always loved your rugs and will be trying this out shortly:)
    Janet

  • Sandy says:

    I’ve recently returned home from a trip, then going through several days of mail found my Mar/April issue of Handwoven. I was so excited to see your Rosepath Rug article, and was happily anticipating this blog post. Congratulations! Once again thank you for your weaving & life encouragements. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, Sounds like you have me figured out. 🙂 Isn’t it exciting to get a weaving magazine in a pile of mail? Everything else has to stand still while I flip through the pages. And then, later, I sit down with it and read every page.

      Thank you for your wonderful encouragement to me. It means so much!
      Karen

  • Mary Scott says:

    Don’t you just love her!! Beautiful job on your rug!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Mary

  • Carol says:

    BEAUTIFUL !!
    Congrats. Need to run out and get a copy of Handwoven.

    Carol

  • Sandy says:

    My issue of Handwoven arrived yesterday and I was thrilled to see your article! Beautiful rug and I’m so looking forward to trying this. And checking out your tab of tips – I’ve never woven a rag rug before (I’m a fairly new weaver), though I’ve dreamed about it. I can use all the help I can get!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, You’re in for a treat. Weaving a rag rug is different than other types of weaving. You get to use some muscle! 🙂 Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help you in any way.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette says:

    Congratulations on the article! Also, the photo reminded me I didn’t thank you after I tried your ribbon-measuring system. It works great and I really appreciated your detailed instructions. Nanette

    • Karen says:

      Nanette, I’m happy the measuring ribbon works for you! One of the places I learned about using a ribbon for measuring was at Vavstuga. So many little things can make a big difference.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Bonnie Wilker says:

    Karen, it was wonderful to see your work recognized in Handwoven! What a well deserved honor! Your work is beautifully striking and so is your testimony to our Lord. May He who is the master weaver continue to bless your endeavors as you continue to serve Him.
    Bonnie Wilker

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Tips for Taming String Yarn Weft Tails

Those pesky string yarn weft tails! There is a lot of starting and stopping with these mug rugs. Normally, tucking a weft tail back into the shed adds a bit of extra thickness at the selvedge. So, what about this very thick weft? It has the potential to throw everything off balance. A few easy tips help minimize the distortion the thicker weft can cause.

Taming String Yarn Weft Tails

  • Begin the thick weft on alternating sides. This will prevent one selvedge from building up more than the other.
  • Taper the end of the string yarn, cutting it at a steep angle.
  • Starting about 1 3/4″ inside the selvedge, send the shuttle through the shed toward the selvedge, going over or under the outermost warp end. Pull through until almost all of the weft tail is caught.
What to do with string yarn weft tails.

Starting the shuttle from the inside, going outward, is an easy way to catch all the separate threads of the string yarn.

Taming string yarn weft tails.

  • In same shed, send the shuttle back through to the other side, aware of encircling the one warp end.

Tucking in string yarn weft tails. Tips.

  • Beat. (Beat on open shed. Beat again. Change sheds. Beat again.)

How to manage string yarn weft tails.

  • Continue weaving.

Rep weave mug rugs. String yarn weft tails - tips!

  • To end the thick weft, leave a 1 3/4″ tail, and taper the end of the string yarn, as before. Lay the tail back in the last shed, going around the outermost warp end. Beat.

Things happen that throw us off balance. From personal celebrations to unexpected losses. Don’t be afraid. Putting trust in the Lord minimizes the inner turmoil. The Lord is my light. He lights my way. What is there to be afraid of? Wholehearted trust in the Lord pushes fearfulness away.

May you walk in a lighted path.

Happy weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hey Karen,
    Just wanted to say congratulations on another great project and article in the newest Handwoven Mag! I’m so proud of you! Thanks for all you hard work and help with our weaving!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, Thank you so much! It’s my joy to add my little two cents to the whole wide weaving world. My copy came in the mail yesterday! There are a lot of great projects in there.

      Thanks, friend,
      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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