Finer Weft for a Stronger Cord

I need a strong cord for a specific use. It needs to look nice, without drawing attention to itself. This cord will connect three small pieces of wood. I will reveal how they will be used after I finish weaving the cord.

Three wooden pieces for a special purpose...

Three wooden pieces to be connected for a purpose. What are they for? You are welcome to put your guess in the comments…

I chose 12/6 rug warp for the project, to make this a durable cord. With a band this narrow, the 12/6 cotton is too bulky for weft. I could not pull the selvedges tight. I need a finer weft that will draw the warp ends together and disappear at the selvedges. Black 16/1 linen works beautifully!

New woven narrow band. Need to change the weft.

Using 12/6 cotton rug warp for the weft proved to be unworkable for this narrow band. Light shows through the gaps at the selvedges.

Linen weft for this narrow band.

Black linen weft matches the black selvedge threads. The 16/1 linen enables tight and even selvedges for this 5/16″ (8 mm) band.

A change of heart changes everything. The condition of our heart is revealed in the way we behave toward others. Our thoughts and actions are a matter of the heart. To live in a manner that is unselfish, generous, kind, and content, we must do more than line up the right outward appearances. We must start with humility. Having the perfect warp means nothing if the weft interferes with a beautiful outcome. Humility, like the linen weft, is a posture of the heart that pulls everything else together.

May your heart be beautiful.

Warmly,
Karen

2 Comments

  • I can’t guess what the wooden pieces are for. They remind me of several times when I purchased a used loom from someone, and there were several wooden or metal pieces that came with it that neither they nor I knew what they were for. I am glad you know what these are for, and I am looking forward to finding out!

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Linen Is Never Boring

Simplicity, purity, new. It’s invigorating to start something fresh. Weaving this delicate cloth in neutral colors is calming, but not boring. The linen sheen makes it spectacular. This is the delightful texture of M’s and O’s on a cotton warp, with linen weft. Peer across the cloth at a lower angle and you will see the linen’s pearlescent glory embedded in the woven texture.

Weaving M's and O's with linen weft.

Structure of M’s and O’s puts interesting texture in the fabric. The texture will be intensified after the fabric is cut from the loom and wet finished.

Even though weaving seems like magic at this stage, it has been preceded by a lot of planning, precision, and patient work. This new creation is refreshing because it’s everything I had imagined it would be. And the linen is doing as expected–making the fabric “glow.”

Handwoven towel in M's and O's with linen weft.

One-shuttle weaving for most of the towel makes this a relaxing weave. You can see that the treadling pattern alternates between two blocks. (The camera doesn’t catch the linen’s sheen like the human eye does. Wish you were here to see it!)

Handwoven towel in M's and O's.

Towel has reached the midway point.

The best creation is what happens inside of you. There is hope for all those who long for a fresh start. The dusty and worn threads are replaced with a new warp. Cut my selfish ways off the loom, Lord. All the preparations have been done by the Grand Weaver that enable weaving to begin. Create a clean heart in me, Lord. Let my life glow with the linen of your Spirit woven through my soul.

May you be refreshed.

Love,
Karen

~They’re back~ Towel Kits ~

By request, I have put the towel kits back in my shop! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, is now listed again in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop. Happy weaving!

10 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Beautiful, Karen! I’ve never worked with linen. When used as weft, does it have to be kept damp? Seems that I once read this was necessary when linen is used as warp but, I could be dreaming.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I like to keep linen weft a little damp because it behaves better for me that way. It doesn’t take a lot of moisture. Just holding a damp cloth around the wound quill for a few seconds is enough. The moisture makes the linen relax, and it lays more straight and flat in the shed. Without some moisture, the linen has a tendency to get little kinks and curls when you beat it in.

      When used as warp, some moisture can be helpful. Houston is pretty humid, but in drier climates some people run a humidifier when warping with linen.

      Linen is wonderful to work with. You should try it. Using it as weft is a good way to start.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Beautiful work as always!

    • Karen says:

      That means a lot to me, Martha! Thank you so much. I feel like the threads are really the stars, I just got to put them on the loom. 🙂

      Karen

  • Bev says:

    Beautiful weaving! I have a special place in my heart for linen, since it is what I learned to spin first. And I having linsey/woolsey on my future to-do list!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bev, I admire anyone who can spin! Spinning linen seems like such an interesting process. Is linsey/woolsey linen and wool combined?

      Karen

  • Gorgeous Karen,
    Thank you for your time and wisdom, as well as weaving knowledge. You’ve encourage me to have a go with linen. There is so much brouhaha in much of the weaving talk here in Australia about using linen. How difficult it is, how fickle, how tetchy (all unfounded, no doubt). So most of us have backed away from such a ‘difficult’ fibre. Your example here shows us the very opposite. With careful planning and consideration for linen’s ‘needs’ why should we miss such weaving pleasure.

    I really admire the way you have crafted the Christian message into your daily work and passion. And, I must admit, after reading your blog posts I have really thought how I can apply the same ‘message’ into the writing work that I do for children. I write children’s books for my ‘day’ job (when not weaving!) and I endeavour to give a ‘heart’ message in all my books. One where my readers are touched by a subtle message from more than what I am. So, thank you for sharing with us.
    Regards,
    Alison

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alison, If I’ve encouraged you to try linen, I’m happy! I don’t think linen is anything to be afraid of. Yes, it has its own special characteristics, but with some knowledge and careful planning you’ll have success. Like I mentioned to Beth, starting with linen weft is a great way to get your toes in the water…

      And if I’ve encouraged you to live out your faith with a little more intention, then you are an answer to prayer.

      It doesn’t surprise me that you are a writer, as I see how beautifully you’ve chosen your words.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • SM says:

    I’m a new weaver and really enjoy your blog. I was wondering if you worry at all about different shrinkage rates for the cotton and the linen? I keep hearing people say that different fibres react differently. Or do cotton and linen both shrink the same?

    • Karen says:

      Hi SM, Great question! You raise a valid point. Yes, different shrinkage rates are an issue, and it can make a difference in the outcome of a fabric after wet finishing. Cotton and linen won’t necessarily shrink at the same rate. Cotton usually shrinks a little more than linen. In this instance, I’m hopeful that some differential shrinkage will work to my advantage in making a beautifully, softly puckered M’s and O’s textured fabric. But until I wash and dry the fabric, it’s only a guess. 🙂

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

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Weave Heirloom Fabric

Fine threads. This warp may be the finest yet for me–24/2 cotton. 896 ends are lined up in a row. And, oh, they are soft. This is another fascinating experience for someone who enjoys seeing threads do remarkable things.

Lease sticks keep warp ends in order.

Lease sticks keep the ends in order.

Ordered threads on the back tie-on bar.

Ordered threads on the back tie-on bar.

The weft for this will be fine, too–20/1 linen. Linen is strong thread in the right conditions. Can you imagine the fabric that will come from these fine cotton and linen threads?! Something lovely will be produced from many hours of winding the warp, dressing the loom, and weaving. When I throw the shuttle back and forth, heirloom-quality fabric will appear! Soft like cotton, and strong like linen.

Beaming eight-meter warp.

Beaming eight meters of warp.

Cotton warp ends.

Brown paper is on the warp beam after running out of warping slats. Warp ends have been counted and loosely tied into threading groups.

We often define love by what someone says, knows, or does. I love you. I know how you feel. I will help you. It is possible, though, to say, know, and do nice things, but not have love. At its core, love is unselfishness and humility. Pure love comes from a pure heart. A pure heart that is unselfish and humble extends love as fluently as a weaver’s shuttle going back and forth. An honorable legacy is woven, soft and strong, through a heart of love.

May you weave a legacy of love.

Love,
Karen

~UPDATE~ Towel Kits ~

I have been delighted by the response for the towel kits, and have enjoyed putting the kits together! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, is listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop until they are sold out. This is the final release of this kit. There are a few left.

(I may be persuaded to do another limited run of a kit in the future.)

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

4 Comments

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Not Just Any Old Weft

The weft makes or breaks a weaving project. 16/1 linen weft requires careful weaving, but the quality of Swedish Bockens linen won’t disappoint. If you use superior quality warp thread, like this Swedish Bockens Nialin (cottolin), it makes perfect sense to choose a weft that equals that degree of excellence.

Platväv table runner. Linen weft.

Plattväv table runner. Black 16/1 linen is doubled for the pattern weft in this plattväv design. The background tabby weft is golden bleached 16/1 linen.

When I weave useful items on my loom, I want them to stand the test of time. I want these plattväv towels and table runner to outlive me. So, no skimping on quality. Time and patience are woven into the cloth, with artisan details and carefully applied skills. Perfection? No, not this side of heaven. But making the most of what I’ve been given is one way I show gratitude to my Maker.

Plattväv table runner. Linen weft.

End of towel kit sample warp has enough room to weave a companion short table runner with plattväv squares. All weft tails will be trimmed after the fabric has been wet finished.

End of warp closes in.

Weaving as far as feasible. End of warp closes in.

We have much to be grateful for. The Lord’s enduring love is of measureless worth and quality. It’s the basis for our unwavering hope, which sustains us through every adversity. This isn’t a knowledge of the love of God. This is the actual love of God, poured into willing hearts. Love changes everything. This love is the weft that makes perfect sense for the completion of something as valued as you or me. What if every fiber of our being reflected the love of God? How beautiful!

May your finest qualities be seen and cherished.

Love,
Karen

PS Plattväv towel kit is in development. The kit includes a pre-wound warp and sufficient weft to weave four hand towels, and one companion short table runner/table square. PLUS, special access to one or two short instructional videos.

10 Comments

  • When your kit is complete, where might one purchase it?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, When the kits are ready, I will announce it here on my blog, and on my Instagram feed (@celloweaver). They will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

  • Judy says:

    I agree with you that Bockens offers the best linen weaving yarns on the market. The end product lasts a lifetime. I have some handwoven articles (placemats) that have been in constant use for over 40 years.

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    I can’t wait for a kit!

  • Ruth says:

    Oh my are those beautiful!!! I hope the kit is ready by May as I’m getting a new to me Fireside loom then. I would love for this project to be the christening of my new loom. Wonderful work again and thank you so much for your inspiration.

    • Karen says:

      Ruth, How exciting for you to be getting a new loom! The kits should be ready before May for sure. What an honor to be considered for a christening project!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Maria says:

    Karen, your blog posts are beautiful! I love how you “weave” your faith into each entry! You have a gift for writing as well as weaving!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, I appreciate your kind words so much! It makes me happy to hear that you enjoy reading these posts from my heart.

      All the best,
      Karen

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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!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Liberty, It’s great to be back in the swing of weaving. 8-Shaft twill has so many interesting possibilities!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • 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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