Heart of a Tiny Tapestry

Though small, this pocket-sized tapestry took a few months to complete. A car ride here, a coffee shop there, a move across town, and an imminent move across the state—this tiny tapestry has been in the background through it all.

Car-ride weaving.

Car-ride weaving.

Coffee-shop weaving.

Coffee-shop weaving.

The weft tails are neatly trimmed, but the back is completely exposed. I’m not weaving the tails in this time, nor covering them with a fabric backing. Just hold the tiny tapestry in your hand and feel it. Remember that all the pleasant color distinctions and pick-and-pick samples on the front side have a back side, too. True, the back doesn’t make as much sense. However, I want my friend who is receiving this to see and touch the heart of the weaving.

Finishing ends of small tapestry.

Using a needle to pull the warp ends back through the warp thread header. After pulling through, the warp ends are trimmed close to the surface. The weft tails are also trimmed to about 1/2″.

Steaming the tiny tapestry. 12/6 cotton warp pulls together nicely as the back of the tapestry is steamed.

Exposed back of the tiny tapestry weaving reveals trimmed weft tails.

Exposed back of the tapestry reveals trimmed weft tails.

Tiny tapestry. Visual and tactile satisfaction.

Visual and tactile satisfaction.

This is a picture of grace. Look at the heart of the matter. We so often rely on the rules. Break a rule, and you’re condemned. But Jesus is interested in the heart. A pure heart doesn’t stand condemned. This is why the gift of his forgiveness is so wonderful. God knows the exposed messy side of our tapestry. Yet, his grace sees us as perfectly covered by Christ Jesus himself.

May your hands keep making.

Simply yours,
Karen

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Final Batch of Butterflies

That last little bit of lizard toe? It’s long gone. This week I am making significant progress on the tapestry. My pace is picking up and the end is in view. What a joy ride this has been!

Last tip of a green lizard toe at the breast beam.

Last tip of a green lizard toe makes its way around the breast beam.

Coming to the end of this lizard tapestry!

End of the measure tape is in view.

I am closing in on the final ten centimeters. That means it’s time to evaluate the ten centimeters just passed. And to make a few more butterflies, enough to take me all the way to the end.

Four-shaft tapestry. Butterflies are prepared for each new section.

Butterflies are prepared in advance for each ten centimeters of weaving.

Forgiven people forgive. Think of forgiveness as the lavish supply of yarn that’s been given us through the name of Jesus. There is no shortage. And we make our butterflies from that supply. People fail us, disappoint, and even do damage. Being ready to forgive is like making butterflies in advance. Thankfully, our small wool butterflies are close at hand for us to weave grace in the moment it is needed.

May you have a lavish supply.

Love,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    I cannot wait to see this off the loom!

  • Marjorie Clay says:

    How many hours a week do you spend weaving, on average? I’m trying to weave more and think/read about weaving less! I need a role model!!

    Marjorie

    I’m really excited to see this piece off the loom. Though I’ve followed all of your posts, the image I have of the entire piece is very vague!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marjorie, I probably average about 1-2 hours at the loom a day. I always wish I had more hours to spend weaving. I try to do all my chores and other responsibilities first in the day, because once I sit down at the loom I don’t want to leave. And, any day without weaving feels incomplete.
      I do track my weaving time on an app–it says I spent right about 14 hours weaving this past week.

      I have the printed image by my loom as I weave, and I still have a hard time reconciling what I see on the loom to that complete image. I’m super eager to see it rolled out!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the finished tapestry. It will be wonderful, i’ Sure!

  • It is exciting anticipating the completion.

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No Hurry at the Little Loom

I hope you haven’t forgotten about this sweet little loom at our Texas hill country home. It is refreshing to be able to start right back up and weave another placemat. This is a breeze, even with two double-bobbin shuttles. Color and weave brings plenty of design play. Over the weekend I was able to squeeze in enough weaving time to finish one more placemat.

Color and weave cotton placemats.

New placemat begins. Two red picks will become the cutting line that separates placemats.

Peaceful setting for unhurried weaving.

Peaceful setting for unhurried weaving.

There is no hurry or urgency with this project. Other events, transitions, and necessities have taken precedence the last few months. It’s nice to have a ready loom that doesn’t hold a deadline. Simple two-treadle plain weave during a transitional season is a welcome respite.

Color and weave cotton placemats on the loom.

Two doubled-weft picks of dark coral make a line of contrast in the color-and-weave cotton placemat.

Faith is trust. It’s the simple framework we long for when life gets complicated. Trusting the Lord is like knowing what to expect when you throw the shuttles, yet still being pleasantly surprised as you see the fabric form in front of you. His grace removes the hurry and the worry. We find his grace through faith. And isn’t that exactly the respite we need?

May you have a break from hurry and worry.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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Lizard Tapestry Disruption

I started the Lizard tapestry right before our big disruption. Selling your house means that every in-process project instantly becomes vulnerable. Yikes! After a sleepless night, I contacted my friend Joanne Hall. Can this weaving be saved? Yes!, she assured me, as she gave me instructions for dismantling the loom.

Getting ready to dismantle loom for relocation.

Yarn supply is packed up, including all the wool butterflies.

Getting ready to dismantle loom for moving.

Cartoon is removed.

Everything is logical about the process. Undo things, tie parts together, take things apart. And I don’t have to cut off the weaving? No. Remove the beam cords from the cloth beam. It’s that simple.

Lamms and treadles removed for moving the loom.

Lamms and treadles have been taken off.

Moving a loom without ruining a tapestry in progress!

Beam cords are removed from the cloth beam.

Removing the warp beam. Relocating the loom.

Steve unscrews a bolster that holds one side of the warp beam so I can remove the warp beam.

Warp beam removed! Hope to put this back together.

Holding the precious bundle!

Taking the loom apart.

Taken apart. Tapestry, reed, and shafts are rolled and bundled up in the fish beach towel.

Now all I have to do is wait

Relocating my loom.

Everything fits in the car, ready for transport.

All the dust has settled, the house transaction is done, and the loom has been re-located and put back together. It’s the first thing you see when you enter our ground-floor apartment.

Getting ready to re-assemble loom.

New location for the loom is in the living room of our apartment.

Simple Swedish loom assembling.

Simple Swedish loom assembling.

Re-assembling my loom after relocating.

Re-attaching the bolster to hold the warp beam.

Re-assembling loom after relocating.

Tapestry in view.

Using a spare heddle as a cord threader.

Spare Texsolv heddle works as a cord threader (I forgot to pack the “real” cord threader) to re-attach the cords on the cloth beam.

What about the Lizard? Can I resume where I left off? Good news: IT WORKED!

Ready to weave after relocating the loom!

Everything is put back together. Beam cords are re-attached. Yarn is unpacked. Warp is tensioned.

Lizard four-shaft tapestry.

Lizard foot grips the breast beam as weaving resumes!

When have you had to wait? Something you dearly long for is unreachable for a while. Waiting for the Lord is always waiting with hope. I trusted my friend’s advice. So, my hope was strong while I waited to see this lizard take shape again. In a similar way, I can trust the Lord when there is a disruption. Wait with strong hope. Wait for the grace to begin again.

May you wait patiently.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Kay Larson says:

    It looks like your move went pretty smoothly. Your tapestry looks so fun. I look forward to seeing completed. I treasure your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, It didn’t feel smooth while we were in the midst of it all, but now that things are relatively quiet again, I guess you’re right— It did go pretty smoothly.

      This tapestry is fun indeed. I’m looking forward to long uninterrupted sessions to enjoy it!

      Thank you for your sweet words.
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    So glad this worked out for you!

  • Betsy says:

    Joanne is such a help! I took my Julia from TX to WI for a workshop last May and went through the same process using her instructions. At least I didn’t have to worry about a project, just the header had been woven. The Julia gables come apart, so everything fit in a box except the back uprights. So cool.

    I will be looking forward to seeing that lizard emerge further.

    • Karen says:

      Betsy, Sounds like the Julia is a perfect workshop loom! Joanne has a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s sweet that she is so willing to help.

      This lizard is going to get a lot of my attention in the next few weeks.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Good morning.
    I set up my new to me home made floor loom at a weekend house. There was 12″ of my first project on it when we decided to sell that house and look for our future retirement home. As it was dismantled each connection was marked with the same number using a sharpie. When it was put back back together 1 was matched up with 1… and so on. Now it is set up to dismantle and take anywhere.

    The people who designed looms were remarkable inspired.

    Blessings to all.

    Nannette

  • Annie says:

    I love the advice to “Wait with strong hope.” There are times when that advice is sorely needed.

    I, also, look forward to hearing about your adventures, Karen. And this one was a big one! It is a good thing that your apartment has a large living room!

    May you enjoy your temporary home.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annnie, I, too, often need a reminder to wait with strong hope. When things are difficult, hope can begin to waver.

      I don’t know if I would say this apartment has a large living room. The loom takes up a pretty good chunk of it. Fortunately, the room is large enough. 🙂

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Barb says:

    Thank you for for your posts, I have learned so much by reading them. And right now, just what I needed to deal with my own transitions. All the decisions and disruptions related to remodeling, selling a loom, and buying a new loom have been weighing me down. I have my eyes on a used Glimakra Standard, but it’s 1,800 miles away….. The pictures of moving your loom have been very helpful. Perfectly put, I can now wait with strong hope.

    I’m happy that your move has gone so well & you are temporarily settled.

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, I do understand the impact of life transitions. It can be stressful when you’re in the middle of it!

      I’m glad to hear that you are holding onto strong hope. Remember, just about everything is temporary.

      Hugs,
      Karen

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Weave Two Connected Layers

Two layers of cloth exchange places in this double weave structure. One layer of warp is solid deep plum. The other layer has stripes of bold colors. Clean lines occur where the layers switch places. So, with deep plum weft alternating with orange, blue, green, and red weft, we get a message written in clearly-defined blocks: Be invigorated with vibrant color!

Magic of double weave!

Dark plum weft alternates with the blue weft. The reverse side of the fabric has dark plum squares in long vertical color stripes.

Double weave throw. Karen Isenhower

Colors of the warp stripes are used as colors for the weft stripes. As a result, you can see the “pure” colors in a diagonal line–orange, blue, green, red–where the warp and weft colors are the same.

Double weave magic!

Variance in the blocks of colors gives the cloth a dynamic appearance. Not including the dark plum background, there are sixteen different colors of blocks as a result of the four colors being used as warp and weft.

Message. We have a message from heaven. When Jesus came to earth, he not only brought the message, he was the message. Not that we should try to be good like him. Nor that we are already good enough. But that he, the direct link to heaven, would suffer the consequences for all our misdeeds. And rise again. He willingly switched places with us—the great heaven and earth exchange. This good message brings hope and grace to all of us who live on this earthly layer. Thanks to our Grand Weaver’s faithful love, we are woven into a vibrant-color existence through faith, on this layer and the next.

May you see your surroundings in living color.

Joyful weaving,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Meg says:

    This is terribly interesting. The colors are so delicate.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg, The contrast between the deep plum and the other colors has a surprising effect. Working with colors never grows old!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Chris says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love doubleweave, so many interesting effects possible. This is a terrific project.:)
    I am so pleased I discovered your blog.
    Kind regards
    Chris

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris, Doubleweave is fascinating! This project stretches me—literally, side to side—making it a delightful challenge to weave.

      I’m delighted you found your way here!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Janet H says:

    This is just beautiful! And timely. I am currently trying to design a similar doubleweave windows draft for a throw and have come across 2 sources that explain the block design differently. I have been trying to work this out in my head, one vs the other, in my planning process and how to apply it. I confuse myself and have had to keep setting it aside and studying it again later. Seeing this post of yours, I just now realized that you have been posting about this same block design all along and your pictures are now helping me work through it. I am planning a gray background with 10-11 shades of blues, greens, purples in the “windows” for the front. I may vary the heights and widths of the windows throughout the throw…haven’t progressed to that decision yet.
    My first source for this project is in the book Loom Controlled Double Weave by Paul R. O’Connor, on pp. 42-43.
    The second source I found online: https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/opr_8s.pdf pp. 2-4
    The two may actually be the same thing, just explained differently, so I was having a little difficulty figuring it out in my head. In the second, they are using Dark/Light instead of color letters. If I use gray for both the D and L in Block A, I’m thinking it would be the same as O’Connor’s threading. If I used the second threading, and used gray as D and my colors as L throughout, I think it would only change the appearance of the back. Am I right? If I want gray to predominate on both sides, I think I just follow O’Connor’s threading, but I think the second source (using D/L) shows the tie-up in conjunction with the treadling and would be more helpful in setting up my loom.
    I went back through your previous posts about your throw and it appears you used the second approach, the D/L threading in both blocks A and B. I would really like to know what the back of yours looks like, but I still think I want to follow the O’Connor threading. It has been incredibly helpful looking back at your posts at this point in my design process! I feel like a light went on and suddenly it is making sense to me.
    Thank you so much!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, I haven’t studied doubleweave like you have. The draft I’m using is similar to the one in the arizona.edu file. I don’t have the O’Connor book to reference. The draft I am using is from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, p. 176, if you want to compare it. I wound the warp with 2 ends–plum, plum; and plum, other color. The threading alternates the plum with the other color in the blocks with squares.
      I’ll post a picture of the back in a little bit.

      It’s great when a light comes on like that! Hooray!
      Karen

    • Karen says:

      Janet, Here’s a picture of the back side of the fabric!
      Back side of double weave.

      Karen

  • Janet H says:

    Karen, thank you for the view of the back! I think I understand the difference in the 2 threadings now. I also pulled out another book I have (and forgot to look at–head slap), Doubleweave by Jennifer Moore), and found an example done using the O’Connor threading that also showed how the back looks in that case.
    When I first started my comment above, it was going to be asking you a lot of questions to help me make sense of it all. As I typed, that light kept getting brighter, and I answered most of my own questions before they even got typed, so I ended up with a completely different comment than when I started. So, without even knowing it, you enlightened me! Sorry, I do tend to run on when I get wound up….
    Don’t mistake me for someone that knows what I’m doing. I think I am more of a technician (& perfectionist) than a creative artist, so I have to understand how things work (and then modify them). I do it when I sew also. Unfortunately, it means I spend more time planning (or “studying”) my projects than actually doing them. I would probably learn more if I just dove in and made things, but I guess I’m not made that way.
    I have put a request in to the library for the Lundell book, and I imagine I will end up buying it. As a technician, I am also a collector of resources and tools.
    Love your blog! You are an inspiration.

    • Karen says:

      Janet, There are many different learning styles. It’s great that you understand how you are wired! I think I’m also a technician to some degree. I enjoy systems and knowing how something works, and being able to alter that, too. But I’m also finding that I learn a lot by doing, even when I don’t understand. My mistakes — like the several I’ve made with this project — take me to greater understanding and experience. Learning is a lifelong pursuit. I’m glad about that!

      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Love those colors, Karen! The purple becomes a neutral background.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I never would have thought of purple being a neutral, but you’re right. It’s almost like a deeply colored black that sets off the other colors.

      Thanks,
      Karen

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