Drawlooms in Montana

Montana is beautiful, with snow-capped mountains and big-sky sunrises! It’s there that I took Joanne Hall’s fantastic drawloom class last week. My confidence level about setting up and weaving on my drawloom shot up 100 per cent! (And Steve got to experience fishing on the ice with Joanne’s husband Ed!) Please continue all the way to the end of this post to read about submitting a question for Joanne to answer.

Gorgeous Montana mountains by Joanne's weaving studio.
View from Hall Lane, in front of Joanne and Ed’s home.

Cathleen and Deborah and I wove on the shaft drawloom, the single unit drawloom, and the Julia loom set up with half-heddle sticks to weave opphämta. What joy! …even in the challenges of learning new things.

Single unit drawloom weaving.
Single unit drawloom has the capability of weaving imagery, and even words, like “Lost Valley,” the name of our Texas hill country home.
Single unit drawloom in Joanne Hall's weaving studio.
Single unit drawloom in Joanne Hall’s weaving studio.
Half-heddle sticks for weaving opphämta.
Joanne demonstrates how to use half-heddle sticks and shows us some opphämta samples.
Shaft drawloom weaving. 6/2 tuna wool warp and weft.
Pattern has Xs that show where to pull the shaft draw handles. The red dot of a straight pin keeps my place as I follow the rows from bottom to top.
Shaft drawloom in Joanne Hall's studio.
Pulled pattern shaft handles are secured in the hook bar.
Weights hang on the pattern units in the drawloom.
Normally, one two-ounce U-shaped weight hangs on each pattern unit. In this case, with 6/2 Tuna wool, two weights hang on each pattern unit.
Drawloom samplers unrolled! 6/2 tuna wool warp and weft.
Wool yardage and samplers are unrolled and cut off the 120cm Glimåkra Standard loom. Oh, the colors and patterns!

Joanne taught us how to understand patterns and drafts, and how to make our own patterns. And we dressed the drawloom—we threaded pattern heddles and ground heddles, and distributed pattern shafts. Boy, did we students make mistakes! But with quiet Joanne, there is always a way to fix anything that matters. She is a picture of grace.

Distributing pattern heddles on the drawloom.
Deb separates pattern heddles that will be placed on the next pattern shaft.
Pointed threading of pattern heddles on the drawloom.
After undoing some beginner errors, we finally have all the pattern heddles in order (pointed threading) on the eleven pattern shafts.
Weights under the drawloom.
One weight hangs on the long heddles of each six-thread pattern unit.
In the loom together! Karen (me), Cathleen, and Deborah enjoy the expertise and kindness of Joanne.
Eight-pointed star on the shaft drawloom at Joanne Hall's drawloom class.
New 16/2 cotton warp on the shaft drawloom. I emptied a few quills to weave the traditional eight-pointed star pattern. Meanwhile, Joanne watched treadles, lamms, and shafts to fine tune the sheds. Everything is just right!

Striving to look good to other people, we face unwelcome judgment. Striving to please ourselves, we face demands of perfection. But when our heart strives to please the Lord, we receive grace. Our failures fade in importance as our confidence in his faithfulness grows. Know who you are working for. The imperfect images we weave in the cloth are a humble gift of gratitude back our Grand Weaver.

Wool shaft drawloom sampler.
Wool shaft drawloom sampler, at home now in my drawloom studio.
Shaft drawloom sampler from Joanne Hall's drawloom class.
Reverse side of wool sampler was face up on the loom.
Single unit drawloom sampler.
Single unit drawloom sampler. Our Lost Valley home, with details that remind us of our 2018 transition year.
Draw cords and handles are in place on the new drawloom.
Draw cords and handles are in place. Forty more will be added soon.
Shaft drawloom is just about ready for first project!
Shaft drawloom is ready. Single unit drawloom parts will be added later.
Please excuse me now while I go wind a warp!

May your imperfections be greeted with grace.

Love and grace,
Karen

~What are your questions? Joanne has answers~

Are you curious about drawlooms? Are you considering a drawloom for yourself? Do you have a drawloom and wish you could ask an expert for help? Please put your question about drawlooms and/or drawloom weaving in the comments below, or send your question to me through Get in Touch. Joanne Hall’s answers to two selected questions will be included in next week’s post. Please submit your question by this Friday, February 8.

16 Comments

  • Nancy Malcolm says:

    Oh, how lucky you are! I am searching for the loom, then take her class. It seems to be taking forever!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, I know what you mean. I searched for quite a while, too, to find a loom. And then, all of a sudden, at just the right time, there it was! You have a lot to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Marilyn Cann says:

    Karen, my brain tingles at all the learning you did last week! The picture of Montana way lovely too, but I added to that my knowledge that it was bitterly cold in that part of the country! Have fun playing with your drawloom when you get set.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marilyn, So much learning! Hopefully, the important parts will stick with me.

      It was cold, but we didn’t get the bitter Artic cold that some places were getting last week. I think they got some of that right after we Texans left. Whew!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen,

    The draw down loom is something I did not know existed. At first glance, confusing. As I continued reading, exciting.

    I look forward to your adventures.

    Blessings,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It has taken me a while to peel off the confusion about drawlooms. I think I’m beginning to understand how they work. I’m super excited to get the whole thing set up!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    Amazing! The complexity and beauty and feeling so empowered to make beautiful textiles.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shari, It seems complex until you start to understand it. It’s really pretty simple—just sticks and strings that do specific things. It opens up a world of beautiful weaving!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    I am so happy you got your drawloom, and that you were able to take Joanne’s class this soon.
    Your weaving journey har been amazing, and it is such a pleasure to be invited into your weaving world through your blog!

    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I feel very fortunate that the timing of everything has worked out so smoothly.

      It’s wonderful to get to share my weaving journey with friends like you!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading your commentary, Karen. Is that your drawloom in the last photos? Have a wonderful time learning and weaving, and thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Janet says:

    I’m so excited to hear about your recent trip, Debbie and I are headed there in April and I can’t wait!!
    Janet

  • Thank you for sharing your experience and photos. Beautiful work. I am heading out there mid April and so looking forward to it. For some unexplainable reason I am so drawn to the big Swedish looms and the drawloom. I have an older Glimakra standard in storage and getting time with kind Joanne and the class I will know if it’s something for me or not. I will likely be less experienced than the other participants and your last paragraph is a reminder to not compare myself or lack of expertise but to enjoy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise, Since you are drawn to the big Swedish looms, I am confident that it will be a great joy for you to weave on them. I’m excited for you! Your class with Joanne will be just what you need! No need to worry about lack of expertise. Just go with an attitude willing to learn. Enjoy!

      (And I know two others in the April class. You’ll be in GREAT company!)

      All the best,
      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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Last of the Lizard Toes

Every time I advance the warp, more of the lizard disappears. After I finish the tips of these toes, the rest of the weaving will be background—the log on which the green anole is perched. The lizard is more interesting to weave than the log. But without the background, the lizard itself would be incomplete. It’s all part of the journey. Every bit of the picture is needed to tell the full story.

Lizard tapestry. Only the tips of the toes are left.

More than half of the tapestry is complete. Most of the lizard image is under the breast beam out of view.

Lizard tapestry. Four-shaft tapestry on a Glimakra Ideal.

More of the lizard disappears every time I advance the warp.

Four-shaft tapestry Lizard. Glimakra Ideal.

Only the tips of the lizard’s toes remain. After this, it is all background.

Tapestry detail. Texture and shading.

Log detail. I am enjoying the many opportunities for color blending and shading in the background portion of the picture.

Journey. We are on a journey. We see the scenery changing as we move from one point to another in our seasons of life. There’s the main focus, plus the background. All of which tells our story. Knowing that we never see the whole tapestry while it’s on the loom, let’s ask God to watch over our journey. As a request, not a demand. And then, express gratitude with joy as we see that we’ve indeed been granted safe passage.

May your journey be joyful.

Happy weaving,
Karen

13 Comments

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Ten Centimeters of Tapestry

Slow weaving is even slower when a full week goes by since you last touched the loom. If only I could sit here and do this every day, hours at a time. But other responsibilities…and other looms call for my attention.

Four-shaft tapestry in progress on the loom.

First ten centimeters of the tapestry is complete. Plastic baskets hold the wool yarn beside the loom, sorted by color and value.

Color blending by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.

Color blending is achieved by combining various colors and weights of wool yarn.

We don’t see much of the main subject yet. I am intensely eager to see a distinguishable image. I suspect you may be eager to see it, as well. But I know it’s coming, so I gladly pursue this adventure, one row at a time.

Four-shaft tapestry beginning.

Elements of shading and texture in the beginning background of the four-shaft tapestry.

Tapestry, woven from the side.

Tapestry is being woven from the side. So, this is the direction the tapestry will hang.

Gladly. We need strength beyond ourselves to endure and be patient—with gladness. Endurance and patience with a glad attitude is an indicator of maturity. Strength for endurance is one of the treasures that God supplies when we ask. And he reminds us that he sees the completed picture. And that it’s worth the pursuit. Aren’t you glad?

May you find patience for waiting.

Gladly weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Rachel Lohman says:

    Karen, totally understand. Working on a plaid that takes changes often. As a newbie on the loom it is a test of patience to see the finished piece – like an expectant parent – excited and wanting the child to be born. Can’t wait to see your progress. Love the rich wools!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, That’s a great comparison – the patience of expectant parents!

      These wools are fun to work with. I like the feel of them in my hands.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Good morning,
    My rosepath rag rug waits while the social events of May filled my days. Now it is the garden running rampant with the leap from spring to summer. … Patience. God certainly filled May with wonderful things…. baby shower, high school and college graduations, preparing for Memorial Day….
    My loom is very patient.
    Visually what you are sharing looks like a warm rug to be placed with honor in front of a fireplace…. I want to reach out and stroke the colors…. I look forward to your next posting of this mystery project.
    Nannette

  • Joanne Hall says:

    Hi Karen,
    It is truly beautiful already.
    Joanne

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Guest Weavers

We finished another placemat over the weekend. We, meaning a few guest weavers – and me. I had a small tribe of eager weavers, aged eleven to seventeen. I didn’t give beginner work to these beginners. We did what was required for this color-and-weave project on the loom—double-bobbin shuttles, two (and sometimes three) shuttles at a time, two-pick stripes, advancing the warp, placing the temple, and more. Another placemat completed, with only one broken warp end along the way. I call that a win!

Guest weaver. First time, but not the last!

Quietly watching me, and taking in the details, this young weaver grasped the essentials, and began weaving in a graceful manner. After just a few minutes, Madison told me she could do this all day. That sounds like a budding weaver to me!

New weaver, with great attention to detail!

Sean is an attentive listener, closely following every instruction. He happily donned the weaving apron. And the Gingher snips on a woven band were hanging around his neck, ever ready to be used.

Young weavers at the loom.

Jenson joins in to lend his observation skills while his brother does the weaving.

New young weaver.

Ashley is someone who takes initiative. She enjoyed the challenge of learning something new, and quickly was weaving with very little assistance.

Cotton placemats on the loom.

Broken warp end repaired. Placemat complete. Eight more placemats to go!

Isn’t it delightful to share what you enjoy, and then see the spark of delight and accomplishment on a young person’s face? This is another good reason to make and keep family friends.

May you share your delights.

Love,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Julia says:

    It is always fun to see the eyes of new weavers light up when experiencing for the first time the magic of making cloth! I’m curious about the weaving apron – can you speak about it some more?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, Yes, It is fun to see the expressions when they see magic happen at their fingertips.

      The apron? You’ve given me a great idea! I will write about the weaving apron on my next Tools Day post. For now, suffice it to say that the apron protects my clothes and protects the cloth on the breast beam.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    You’re making such a positive impact in their young lives. I’m also curious about the weaving apron. Does it hold magic? 😉

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I like the idea of making a positive impact on the next generation. At the same time, I find that they are making a positive impact on me, as well.

      Thanks to you and Julia, I know what my next Tools Day post will be—the magical weaving apron. 😉

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    I volunteered to demonstrate moderately hands-on weaving on an antique rug loom at a local history museum to school classes a couple of years ago. We get kiddoes from kindergarten through fifth grade. Before the first group I had some doubts about how it was going to go. Wow! Fantastic! I think more budding weavers are on their way and I’m excited for school to start in the autumn.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, It’s always great to see young people become interested in handweaving and other handwork crafts. That sounds like a fun loom to weave on, too!

      Karen

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