Counting at the Cross

I am winding a lovely all-blue warp on my warping reel. When I pause, as I do regularly to count the ends, it is easy to put the winding on hold. I tuck the pair of warp ends under a section of wound warp at one of the vertical posts of the reel. That holds it, and keeps threads under tension until I’m ready to continue where I left off.

Winding a warp on a warping reel.

Pair of warp ends are held secure while I stop to count another section of ends.

I stop after winding each section. I do the counting at the cross, always counting twice. A long twisted cord (one of my choke ties) marks my place, section by section. The count needs to be an exact match, of course, with the number of ends in the pattern draft.

Counting warp ends as I wind a warp on the warping reel.

Long twisted cord helps keep track of how many ends have been counted.

Cotton warp just beamed.

After the warp is beamed, each section is counted again to prepare for threading the loom.

The Christmas season reminds us that Jesus brought grace to earth. From manger to cross. The grace of the Lord Jesus is perfectly complete. Like a planned warp, there is nothing more to add. All the threads have been counted. And they match the divine plan. Any threads of my own effort would be threads that don’t belong. The grace of forgiveness comes purely as a gift.

May your counted ends match the pattern.

Christmas blessings,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Martha says:

    Beautiful blue warp! Love your warping reel, how many yards does it hold?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, This is a Glimakra warping reel, 8′ in diameter. I’m not positive how many yards it will hold, but I’m guessing probably 14-15 yards. So far, my longest warps have been about 10-12 yards. The reel works great, and I really enjoy winding warps on it.

      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    What a lovely warp! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it!

  • S says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the time you take to write it. I have a question, too: I’ve read where you mention “counting the sections” several times for threading. What do you mean by that? What sections are you counting? Are they sections of the threading draft, and if so, how do I know what a section is on the draft?

    • Karen says:

      Hi S, That is a good clarifying question. Thanks for asking!

      What I mean by “section” is a pre-determined number of warp ends. In the case of this warp, there are regular color changes with a certain number of threads in each color, so I am counting sections of color. Many projects have all one color warp, or colors distributed in various ways. In those cases, I decide how many threads to count at a time–maybe 40, or 50–and that number of warp ends will make a “section” for counting purposes. The number of threads in a “section” doesn’t necessarily relate to the threading draft, except, of course, that the total number of warp ends must match up.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Bluebonnets Are Growing on My Loom

I promised a baby blanket to a dear friend whose first grandchild is coming soon. That’s why I am working on this transparency with extra focus. I need the loom. After being away from home longer than expected, I am now trying to make up for lost time.

Weaving a transparency. Flower stems so far.

Flower stems rise out of the “ground.”

Woven transparency in progress.

Weaving from the back. All weft turns are on the back, leaving little bumps and ridges, while the underneath front side stays smooth.

Some sections take an hour or more to weave an inch. But I am finding transparency weaving to be pure enjoyment. I don’t mind lingering. And, if it weren’t for that baby blanket I would slow down even more. This is handweaving at its best. This is good. All I do is select the threads and put them in place, and the woven image magically appears.

Woven transparency in progress. Mora wool pattern weft.

Four strands of 20/2 Mora wool for each butterfly, giving ample opportunity for color blending.

Weaving Texas bluebonnets in a transparency.

Even a simple design like this requires many little butterflies to complete the image (sixteen for this row).

Texas bluebonnets in a woven transparency...in progress!

Cartoon is held in place with three pins. The dotted line on the cartoon is aligned with the center warp end. I love the small spaces of linen between some of the flower petals.

In reality, good things don’t appear by magic, do they? Even with the loom, a plan is made, warp ends are lined up, and the handweaver puts many skills into action. When we experience good in life, it isn’t happenstance or magic. The Lord is good. He is the source of goodness. And it’s by His grace that we are able to see his goodness. Thank you, Lord.

May you be touched by goodness today.

Love,
Karen

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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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Weaving Rugs Under Mugs

I don’t mind slow weaving. The progress that is measured in hours, not minutes, is satisfying. I don’t mind fast weaving, either. It’s a chance to be productive. These mug rugs fall in the fast-weaving category. I can whip up a few of these in an afternoon.

Rep weave mug rugs. Cottolin and stringyarn.

Plain weave hems fill the space between rep weave mug rugs.

I hope to get 20 to 25 of these little mug rugs from this six-yard warp. I have to admit, it’s fun to weave something easy once in a while. Now, I can measure progress in minutes, instead of hours. We determine the value of things according to time and effort, don’t we? How long did it take, and how much effort? Some woven items are destined for elegance, and others are, simply, rugs under mugs.

Rep weave mug rugs on the loom.

Mug rugs begin to circle the cloth beam. Turquoise Cottolin weft thread alternates with black midi stringyarn. Block changes are made by weaving two thick picks in a row.

Grace doesn’t measure value that way. The Lord’s generous grace demonstrates true equality and fairness. His grace places equal value on people, not taking into account how “good” they are, or how much effort they extend to do “good” things. Grace is distributed equally. The Lord offers it to all, not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who he is, and what he has done. That’s good news. The mug rugs may end up on an elegant table, after all.

May you receive and extend grace.

Happy weaving,
Karen

PS Plattväv Towel Kit update: Still in progress! You will be the first to know when the kits are ready.

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Almost Ruined Transparency

The cotton chenille looks as if it is magically suspended in space. But it’s the linen that suspends it. 16/2 unbleached linen weft crosses 16/2 golden bleached linen warp. The two shades blend into one as they are woven for the transparency background.

Weaving a transparency. Linen warp and weft. Cotton chenille pattern weft.

Weaving a transparency from the back. The front side of the pattern can be seen after it comes around the breast beam.

Unfortunately, I had 16/1 golden bleached linen (16/1 is half as thin as 16/2) on my winding table, for the plattväv towels on the other loom. I wound a quill with the 16/1 and wove the transparency with it. It’s the wrong thread size and color. For 8 1/2 inches! Too far to undo without irreparably damaging the linen warp. This is disappointing. How did I let that happen? Take a deep breath… Move forward, and finish out the weaving with the correct 16/2 linen.

Linen weft change is a mistake. Oops!

Two densities of linen. The 16/2 unbleached linen weft adds depth to the 16/2 golden bleached warp. The 16/1 golden bleached weft gives a lighter look to the web.

Just off the loom! Handwoven transparency.

Just off the loom! First transparency attempt, and a great learning experience.

We all fall short. We do the wrong thing. That’s a weight to carry. Jesus breaks the yoke of our burden, and lifts the weight. We have been set free! When we finish the weaving, the chenille pattern will be the main attraction, not the error. By amazing grace, the error is overcome by the light shining through the transparency.

May your burdens be lifted.

With you,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Elisabeth says:

    What about embroidering a word like “love” or a symbol representing love on the darker weft? And use the teal color to reflect the pattern that is winding through the entire weave…like love is present in our lives. A simple handwritten word to contrast the strong and bold zigzag 🙂

  • Elisabeth says:

    And what about weaving in (rows of running stitches) a very fine gold thread into the darker section to give it a slight shimmer and emphasize the importance of it? And then place something important to you in this section…or maybe just the gold is as subtle as it should be…

    Love,
    Elisabeth

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    Lovely, Karen! 16/1 is often used as weft with 16/2 as warp in transparency weaving. It makes the transparency more lacy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, That’s good to know that 16/1 is a good weft for this. I can see how the thinner thread makes it lighter in appearance. Maybe I should start with that next time, and use it all the way through.

      Thanks for letting me know!
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Karen the weft mistake was not a mistake it was a design element! Love the transparency.

  • Pam says:

    Hi, Karen, Your Blog is always inspiring.There are no mistakes, only designer enhancements. . . perfection-in-imperfection. I am told that the Navajo weavers intentionally weave a mistake into each rug.When we are weak HE is strong.
    From Pastor David Anderson -Finding Your Soul – “The Navajo say that is ‘“where the Spirit moves in and out of the rug.”’ God’s Spirit moves in and out of imperfection. . . a ‘“mistake?”’ We’ve spent our whole life trying to get rid of all imperfection. If we’re not there yet, surely God is! We may not have the spiritual courage to weave those mistakes deliberately, but at least we can accept them as a gift when the fabric of our lives is inevitably torn.”

  • Teresa says:

    Hi Karen
    I’m told the Amish also make a “mistake” in every quilt so as not to boast since perfection only belongs to a God. Good for you for making the best of what you had not planned.
    I got out of the habit of reading your blog for a while. I’m glad now for the reminder of what I’ve been missing. Your writings are beautiful and you are blessed with a wonderful mind and soul. Im sure you’ll never know how much you inspire people…..creatively and spiritually.
    Bless you,
    Teresa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Our mistakes do help keep us humble. That’s interesting that the Amish do that intentionally. Your kind words mean so much to me!

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Cheryl says:

    I would love to try something like this for a glass door panel. Do you have a reference for learning this technique? Looks like you sett the edges closer together and in a different post the casing as well. Would you recommend the 16/1 or 16/2 based on your design element?
    Thanks
    Cheryl

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cheryl, This would be perfect for a glass door panel.
      Resources I recommend: Sheer Delight – Handwoven Transparencies, by Doramay Keasbey; The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, pgs. 162-163; 166-167
      The Keasbey book is full of wonderful ideas and shows work of different artists, and has some good tips and procedures. The Lundell book has 2 transparency projects, and is a good place to get your feet wet with the technique.

      The selvedges for my transparency: 1 (heddle) – 2 (reed), 4 times each side. This is from The Big Book of Weaving. The other transparency in the book has 2 – 2, 3 times each side.

      I wanted to differentiate the start and end of the casing, to make is easier to sew, so I packed the weft in tighter in those areas.

      The warp is 16/2 linen, and I do prefer the 16/2 linen for background weft over the 16/1 that I used by accident. I think the 16/2 holds its place better in the woven mesh. The 16/1 is lacier, but it is also a little flimsier and wiggles around more than I want it to. But that could be my own inexperience.

      I hope that helps!
      Karen

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