My Four-Shaft Tapestry – Will it Work?

Is this going to work? Yes, I think so. I am testing things out. So far, so good. Can I follow the cartoon? Yes. Do I have a good way to hold the cartoon in place? Yes. And to put the color and value key where I can see it? Yes. Do I have enough yarn in each of the colors, values, and thicknesses that I need? No. I see some gaps, especially in the mid-to-dark value range. I am ordering more yarn today. Is four-shaft tapestry going to be as delightful an experience as I’ve long hoped? Most probably, yes! Word of the day: Yes!

Wool yarns for four-shaft tapestry.

Testing, testing. Blending of yarns, blending of colors, checking value contrasts.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses for tapestry.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses gives interesting results. This is practice for some of the background area of the tapestry.

Testing new approach to tapestry weaving.

Finding out if I can follow details on the cartoon. Experimenting with adding floats in places as texture to enhance the design.

Trying out four-shaft tapestry.

Will I be able to handle multiple yarn butterflies? I think so.

Practicing technique for a new tapestry on the Glimakra Ideal loom.

Testing some of the green hues for part of the main subject of the tapestry. Also keeping an eye on selvedges, so they don’t draw in.

Testing various elements before starting the *actual* tapestry.

Plenty of warp is available for practice. I want to test all the critical elements before I start the *actual* tapestry. This tapestry will be woven horizontally.

Words. I am affected by words—spoken by others, and spoken from my own mouth. Grace in our words can be an invitation of kindness and relief to someone who is testing our framework. When Christ’s words dwell in us, the richness of his words affect our being. And then, our words of yes and no are grace-filled bearers of hope.

May you see hope on your horizon.

With hope,
Karen

6 Comments

  • The practice weaving is lovely. Timeless….

    May the fourth be with you– 🙂

    Nannette

  • Joanne Hall says:

    You have a great start on this project. Keep sending us updates. Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I’m looking forward to working on this! I will show my progress as it grows!

      Thanks for the encouragement!
      Karen

  • Michele Dixon says:

    I’m interested in how you attached your cartoon to the loom. I’ve never done it on a horizontal loom so I’m not sure what I’ll do when the time comes.

    Love your practice piece. I can’t wait to see what you actually weave.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michele, Thanks for the idea! I think I’ll do a post in the near future on how I attach the cartoon.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Weaving a Gift

For Christmas, I gave my daughter and two daughters-in-law a piece of paper with options for a custom handwoven article from me. This new project is the start of fulfilling those promises. Marie, my youngest son’s wife, chose a throw in vivid colors.

Christmas gifts to family members this year.

Each recipient gets to customize her gift. As maker, I retain design decisions and final color selections.

Opening a package with new tubes of thread is like Christmas all over again! This shipment brings the 8/2 cotton thread for Marie’s double weave throw, adding to what I already have on hand. From promise to conception of an idea, to collecting threads and dressing the loom, to weaving a gift—it goes from intangible to tangible. Threads turn into cloth!

New yarn shipment excitement!

My apprentice happens to be here when the package arrives! She shares the excitement with me of opening the package to see the new thread colors.

Vibrant colors for a new project on the loom!

Vibrant colors for Marie’s throw.

Love holds us together. Threads of love create a sustainable cloth of connected people. Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, as an imitator of God. Not an imposter, who pretends to be god. But an imitator, like a loved child becomes an imitator of their dad. Consciously and subconsciously. Let the character of God become your character. And let the threads of love that he has woven in your life reach into lives he’s given you to touch. Let his promise to you become tangible cloth to others.

May you be wrapped in love today.

With love,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Lise says:

    I love your ideas for Xmas gifts. Can you share what the choices were and what you wove for the ladies?
    I make tote bags with groceries bags, it is one of my contributions to help save the planet.
    Baglady, Lise

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lise, I’m glad you asked! This current project is the first one of the gifts. I haven’t completed any of them yet. I will be sharing about each gift as I come to it through the course of this year.

      For this first one, the request is a throw, large, in vibrant colors. I’m excited to get it on the loom!

      I’m glad you have a meaningful way to use your weaving skills!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Angela says:

    What a wonderful idea!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela, Thanks! It’s something I had been thinking about for a couple years. And now, it helps with the question, “what shall I weave next?”

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Maggie Ackerman says:

    I love this idea of letting the recipient choose what they’d like. Ok if I borrow your form idea?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, I think it makes it fun for the gift giver and the recipient. You are very welcome to use any part of this that serves your needs. Have at it!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Cherie Kessler says:

    Just want to say how very much I enjoy your blog, and how often I’ve used your “helps”….like the red thread between towels, the suggestions for ways to repair weavings that aren’t perfect. And the newest, unfortunately, a shorter way to remove weaving down to the fault by cutting…rather than unweaving! These, plus all your inspiration…I’m so happy when I open my emails and see an update! Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Oh Cherie, I wish I could give you a great big hug right now! Of all the reasons I have for writing in this space, one of my biggest hopes is that I can share something that will be of value to someone else. You have really touched me with your kind encouragement. Bless you!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • I may borrow your idea. I make dish towels every year for my girls, and one year i did something similar. I chose a darker teal warp and had each of them choose three of my yarn colors they each liked that would look nice with the warp. I did a monks belt threading and each towel turned out so different. It was a fun project. If you are interested, you can see the final photo of them in my blog here:
    http://jennybellairs.blogspot.com/2013/12/annual-christmas-towels.html

    I enjoy your blog posts and am glad I subscribe so I don’t miss any. Keep them coming!
    Jenny B

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, I like your idea, too, to let them choose the weft colors. Your monksbelt towels are stunning! It’s amazing what a range of effects are possible on one threading!

      Your word of encouragement means so much to me. Thank you, thank you!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Anticipation Is Looming!

Everything starts on paper and in my mind. And then the action begins! Warps are ready now to dress two more looms. One in linen, and one in cotton. Linen for chair-seat upholstery, and cotton for kitchen towels.

Counting linen warp ends on the warping reel.

Counting thread goes over and under groups of warp ends (in this case, 40 ends) to help me keep track of the number of ends being wound on the warping reel. 8/2 linen, unbleached.

Cotton thread is measured out on the warping reel.

Solid color cotton is wound (measured out) on the warping reel.

These are part of the coordinating textiles I’ve been designing for our Texas hill country home. (See Awaken the Empty Looms)  I am looking forward to the moment these fabrics become visible! The anticipation is electric! I will know the success of my plans when I can see and feel the fabric. Every step, including getting these threads ready for the loom, gives me a preview glimpse of the actual fabric to come.

Two linen warp chains, ready for dressing the loom.

Two warp chains are prepared. This is a striped warp, and the chains will be spread separately, each with its own set of lease sticks.

Three warp chains of 8/2 cotton, ready to dress the loom!

Nothing like big, soft warp chains of 8/2 cotton!

Visible. Actual love is visible. It’s much more than kind thoughts and intentions. It is threads of kind thoughts that become touchable fabric in someone else’s life. Jesus Christ is the love of God made visible, in that God sent His Son so that we could fully live. How appropriate for us to make such a fabric visible for each other.

May you get a glimpse of the fabric to come.

Love,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    Good morning, Karen. I can see that you have been quite busy!. The work you do to make a beautiful Handwoven home for your family is definitely love in action. Generations will treasure your creations.

    I didn’t realize that linen was a good upholstery thread. I have only used cottolin and that has been for towels. I am waiting until I purchase a multi shaft loom before trying linen as I have been told the rigid Heddle loom will not keep enough tension. I rather like the natural colors.

    I hope you have a blessed day, Karen.

    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Annie, Linen is such a pleasure to work with, and the natural colors are so restful. You could use linen for weft on your rigid heddle loom. Many times I’ve done a cotton or cottolin warp and linen weft.

      I don’t actually know if linen makes a good upholstery fabric, but thought I would try it. This is a heavier thread – 8/2 line linen. I have a small piece from a couple years ago that I wove in 8/2 linen and I like the weight of it.

      Your friend,
      Karen

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Stay Ahead of Empty Quills

What a delight to weave with just one shuttle for a change! It is relaxing to weave this Swedish lace wrap. Even moving the temple and getting up to advance the warp becomes part of the natural rhythm of weaving.

Exchanging empty quill for a filled one.

Empty quill is replaced with a filled quill from the loom bench basket. Smooth operation. My foot needn’t even leave the treadle.

There is one thing that breaks my stride. An empty quill. If I have to stop in the middle of a sequence to wind more quills, I lose momentum and sometimes I even lose my place. Solution? Stop ahead of time at a sensible place in the sequence and wind quills to put in my loom basket. Then, while weaving, it’s a seamless motion to change quills and keep going. It’s a pause instead of a dead stop.

Hemstitching at the end of this wrap.

Hemstitching at the end brings the weaving stage of this piece to a close.

We need to prepare for those times when people seem harder to love. It helps to think ahead, and fill our heart basket with the thoughts of kindness and humility that are essential to keep going. We have a good reason to love each other. We have been loved first. God so loved us that he gave his son. This is the Christmas news. God sent his son to be born here on this earth to be with us hard-to-love people and to save us. That’s good news worth celebrating!

May your heart basket be filled with love.

Christmas Blessings,
Karen

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Small Tapestry Revived

This little tapestry has been almost finished for a very long time. I stopped short of completion months ago. I’ve missed my small tapestry weaving, so I’m back at it. Only a few steps remain with this one. Soon this little color gradation sweetheart will be on the wall, to be enjoyed.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Last few picks of this small tapestry are woven in one sitting. Warp thread header and waste yarn are added.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Small tapestry frame makes an interesting artwork frame. But this tapestry must be removed so another tapestry can begin.

The finishing steps are not difficult. (Rebecca Mezoff gives excellent instructions in Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms.) After the piece is removed from the loom, it is steamed. Then, weft tails are sewn in and/or trimmed on the back. Half Damascus knots secure the warp ends. The hems will be folded under and stitched down. Then, this little masterpiece will be ready for mounting and display.

Weft tails that will be sewn in and/or trimmed.

Tapestry was woven from the front, so all the weft tails are on the back.

Sewing in and trimming weft tails.

Weft tails have been sewn in and/or trimmed on the back of the weaving.

Finishing ends on a small tapestry.

Warp ends are secured with half damascus knots. Two-pound walking weight helps hold the little tapestry in place.

Here is an ancient description of an interesting woman, as told by another woman.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
—from Solomon’s book of Proverbs

Small tapestry is ready to be hemmed.

Small tapestry with color gradation is ready to be hemmed. Ends will be folded under at the soumak lines, and stitched into place.

This is the type of woman I admire. Wear the best clothes that money can’t buy—strength and dignity. She has optimism. No anger. She speaks with wisdom and kindness. These are finishing touches I ask my Maker to work in me. To be a woman ready for what she was made for.

May you be finished.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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