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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Quiet Friday: Lease Sticks in Place

What is the first thing I do when I have a new warp to put on the loom? Insert lease sticks. When I wind a warp on my warping reel, the ends follow an alternating over/under pattern between two pegs. This forms an “X” in the wound warp, and keeps the warp ends in sequential order. This “X” is called the lease cross, and I use lease sticks to secure it before proceeding. Hence, the lease sticks take first priority as I begin to dress the loom. Essentially, they hold the warp together.

Dressing the loom with a linen warp.

New linen warp. As viewed from the front of the loom, two long sticks support the reed and lease sticks for pre-sleying the reed. The lease sticks are in front of the reed.

Lease sticks behind the beater. Linen warp.

As viewed from the back of the loom, the warp is under tension (from the warping trapeze). Lease sticks have been moved to position behind the beater.

Dressing Glimakra Standard loom.

Warp ends are straightened and evened out behind the lease sticks.

Beginning to beam a linen warp.

Reed is placed in the beater and centered.

Ready to begin beaming this linen warp.

Lease sticks are moved forward, to just behind the beater. Ready to begin beaming the warp!

This Christmas, remember to keep Jesus first. Jesus, the humble king, was born to die on a cross that we may live. In Him all things hold together. Joy to the world!

May your threads stay in order.

Have a Good Christmas,
Karen

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Delight of a New Warp

Warp wound onto the back beam, as seen through the beater, only adds to the expectant delight. The new warp is tied on and the treadles are tied up. The next step is to wind a quill with linen thread to put in the ready boat shuttle! This is joyous anticipation for a handweaver.

New warp on the back beam, seen through the beater.

Immanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ. He came to live among us. The one who came to save us lives among us. He delights in us, loves us, and rejoices over us. Imagine that! The Lord rejoices over you. The Grand Weaver delights in his creations. Why are we surprised?

May you be delighted and be a delight.

Merry Christmas to you,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Lynette says:

    I can identify with your joy of starting to weave a new warp! And I love your application to Jesus’ joy over us. Merry Christmas to you, too! Hope your back is feeling better.
    I’m just getting used to a “new-to-me” used Glimakra loom. I was wondering if you find that you can step on your treadles with shoes on? I need to be able to wear my shoes when I weave and am having trouble stepping on more than one treadle at a time with my shoes on. But this is only a problem when weaving a pattern requiring the middle treadles. I can step on the outer two treadles just fine for plain weave wearing shoes. Just wondering if you had this happen, and if you have a solution. Because I like a lot of things about this loom, but am seriously considering selling it because of this. It weaves 52″ wide. I’m in SW Arkansas in case you know someone who might be looking for one.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette,
      You bring up an interesting dilemma. I usually have socks on to weave, and never wear shoes for weaving. Is it possible for you to try a different type of shoe? That might be easier than switching looms. A ballet-type slipper, or a moccasin of some sort would work. Another solution would be to tie up every other treadle, or tie no more than two treadles in a row, if you don’t need all the treadles.
      I’d be interested in hearing input from others who have possible solutions…

      I love the Glimakra loom, so, in my perspective, it would be worth finding a solution to make this loom work.

      Merry Christmas,
      Karen

  • Lynette says:

    Thanks so much, Karen, for your wisdom. I will try some of these options for sure. There a lot of things I like about this loom – it’s quiet, and easy to treadle even with a very tight warp. I’ve even set up some small stick “levers” at the front top of the loom that I can raise up to act as a fulcrum to move my heavy beater back on the three notches from a sitting position very easily. If anyone wants to see what they look like and how they work you can email me at meglass@gmail.com.

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Linen Coming Next

Linen warp and linen weft is a recipe for elegance. The warp chain is a pleasant sight. It’s a signal that something is going to happen, that action is in the air, that a loom is about to be dressed!

Linen warp chain.

176 ends of 16/2 Golden Bleached linen.

When I see a linen warp chain, I anticipate an exciting project. It’s a picture of work to be done–beaming, threading, sleyingtying on, and tying up. And it’s a picture of fabric to be woven. Linen brings its own challenges, I know. Careful technique and mindful practices are a must. But I’m eager get started!

Preparing to beam a linen warp.

Linen warp is placed with the lease cross just on the other side of the beater.

Advent. The word means “coming.” It’s the season we are in right now, leading up to Christmas. It signifies the world waiting for the coming of Christ. As a warp chain is a picture of anticipation and hope, so is Advent. And the coming of Jesus answers that hope. The story of Christmas is the story of God with us. Jesus, God with us still. A line from “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” an old carol written by Phillips Brooks, says it well, “O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”

May your anticipation and hope be satisfied.

Blessed Christmas,
Karen

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Unrolling New Towels

The length of woven cloth unrolls and unrolls until you get all the way back to the front tie-on bar. The towels are 70% linen. Oh, how I wish you could touch this fabric! You would feel the crispness of a linen tea towel, with a little bit of cotton softness.

Cutting off! Plattväv linen towels.

Plattväv towels and one table square are unrolled from the loom. Last to come through are the warp end knots securely hugging the front tie-on bar.

It all comes back to the front tie-on bar. This is where the weaving begins. The warp ends must be secure at the beginning. No one wants the tie-on knots to slip as the woven fabric rounds the cloth beam. You want warp ends to be securely fastened, with no chance of losing their grip. Your cloth depends on it.

Plattväv towels waiting to be hemmed.

Plattväv towels, with 22/2 cottolin warp, and 16/1 linen weft. The towels have been washed, dried, and pressed. They are ready to be hemmed.

Think of yourself gripping onto hope. Think of the knots that hold tightly to the front tie-on bar. Hold tightly to hope, and don’t let go while the weaving progresses. Our hope is not some vague wish. Our hope is based on the redeeming work of Jesus Christ–God’s promise to be with us. God can be trusted to keep his promise. Don’t waver in your tight grip on this true hope. The fabric of your life depends on it.

May you be known for hope.

Hopeful,
Karen

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