Tools Day: Measured Weaving

How far will you travel? How will you know when you have arrived? Do you wish you could know when you are halfway there? Applied to weaving, I like to have the answers to these questions before I begin the “journey.” A pre-measured tape gives me consistency, especially important for multiple pieces in a set. The tape also acts as my “trip odometer.” I can see how far I’ve gone, and exactly how much is left to weave. It satisfies my insatiable need to know how close I am to the end. Are you like that, too?

How to Make and Use a Pre-Measured Tape

Supplies

  • Roll of 3/4″ or wider twill tape (or any cloth tape or ribbon that does not stretch, and that pins easily)
  • Tape measure with inches and/or centimeters
  • Fine tip permanent marker
  • Flat head pins
  1. Use the permanent marker to place markings on the twill tape, as measured with the tape measure. Mark the start line 1/2″ from the end of the twill tape, so that the tape can be pinned in front of the mark.
  2. After drawing a line for the starting point and ending point, draw a line at the midway point, labeled MID.
  3. Include dotted lines for hem measurements, if applicable. Write the hem measurement on the twill tape; i.,e., 3/4″ or 2 cm.
  4. Write the weaving length measurement on the twill tape. Include calculation for takeup, if desired; i.,e., 25″ + 3″.
  5. Write the project or item description on the twill tape, if desired, for ease of repeat use; i.e., handtowel.
  6. Add other lines or marks, as needed, for borders, placement of weft colors, or other design elements.
  7. 1/2″ after the final marking, cut pre-measured twill tape from the roll of tape.

With the warp under tension, pin the pre-measured twill tape near the right or left selvedge with two flat-head pins. Match the start line of the tape with the beginning of the weaving.
Before each advancement of the warp, move the pin closest to the breast beam to a point near the fell line. In this way, have the pins leapfrog each other, moving only one pin each time. Always keep the warp under tension when moving the pins.

Red cutting lines between black and white towels.

Beginning hem, after red cutting lines between towels.

Ending hem is followed by two red picks that will become the cutting line between towels.

Ending hem is followed by two red picks that will become the cutting line between towels.

When the "MID" point hits right where it should!

When the “MID” point hits right where it should! Mid point marking helps to confirm that the halvdräll pattern is centered and balanced in its length.

Pre-measured twill tape marks weft color placement on linen scarves.

Weft color placement is marked on the twill tape for these linen lace scarves.

Tricks with pre-measured tape for weaving.

Five centimeters, marked at the end of the twill tape, is a handy reference for spacing the weft pattern floats in these plattväv towels.

Alpaca scarf in an interesting 8-shaft twill.

I love seeing the “MID” point on a long piece, such as this 8-shaft twill alpaca scarf.

Pre-measured twill tape helps set the pace for the weaving project.

Breaking up the length into quarters helps to set a pace for the weaving project. This baby wrap was on a time crunch, so it was helpful to know when I was getting close to the end.

May you accurately measure your ways.

Truly yours,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    Love this idea for repeatable, standard sized projects like towels and scarves. Labeling it towels (4) or some such, makes so much sense. Thanks!

  • Angela says:

    Excellent, thanks for sharing.

  • Karen says:

    Your comments are so useful. I use a tape, but don’t mark it as you do and I don’t leapfrog pins. Such good ideas……I think a trip out to the fabric store is in order! Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I’m glad you find this useful! I look for sales. When the roles of ribbon are 50% off at Hobby Lobby, I buy several rolls of twill tape!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette says:

    Many thanks for all the detail. I will save all this for a warp that I’ve really planned out…wish that described MORE of mine! Nanette

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Thanks for the details on how you use the tape. I used it on my handtowels. (I’m going to Vavstuga in June!) I am interesetd that you measure under tension. I measure when the warp is loose. Do you add length to your project because it is under tension?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie, I hope you enjoy your Vavstuga experience as much as I did! You will learn a treasure trove of new things.

      Measuring under tension may be the most consistent way of measuring, and is considered the standard way to measure. For Handwoven magazine, for instance, their projects give the “Woven length (measured under tension on the loom).” I do add a % amount to the length to account for take-up and shrinkage.

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    A very interesting post on measuring your weaving, and one that has the merit of being well photographed and detailed. I shall definitely print this out and keep it in my weaving file.

    Thank you!

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Linen Air Scarves

This linen scarf is for embellishment, not for warmth. Wear it as a summer shawl, and it will make you feel pretty without adding any weight to your shoulders. Making this scarf was like weaving air, and wearing it is like wearing air.

Linen lace weave scarves just off the loom.

Lace weave scarves, woven with 16/1 linen, just off the loom.

Twisting fringe on linen scarves.

Fringe is trimmed, knotted, twisted, and knotted again. Then, after washing by hand in hot water with mild soap, the scarves are hung to dry.

The wrinkly nature of linen gives character to this netting-like lace weave. In The Big Book of Weaving, this draft is written for a project using paper yarn to make room dividers. I didn’t know if it would work to substitute linen for paper yarn… Or, if the fabric off the loom would work as scarves… Result? Two fabulously light linen scarves, wearable even in Houston.

Linen lace weave scarves. Karen Isenhower

Long and lightweight, the airy fabric is suitable to serve as a scarf, shawl, or even a long sash. Being linen, it embellishes a nice dress, or adds style to comfortable blue jeans.

Fringe detail on linen scarves.

Long fringe, twisted in small sections, accentuates the linen character of the scarves.

Concerns that turn into burdens are like scarves that are too heavy for the present season. We keep wearing the scarf, even though it makes us miserable. Our Heavenly Father is a burden lifter who knows our concerns. He bears our burdens. Though he is great and glorious, he lifts the burdens that are on our shoulders and carries them for us. In place of the burdens, we get to wear peace instead. Light and airy, and wearable with everything… peace.

May your burdens become light as air.

With grace,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    Wow, they came out beautiful!! Wish I could touch them!
    I’ll have to add linen to my list of thing to try soon!
    Thank you,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Liberty, if you’re ever near Houston, stop by and you can touch the scarves all you want! Lol
      Linen can be finicky, but the results make it worth learning how to manage it. My suggestion is to start with a short and narrow warp, and try a two-ply, like Bockens 16/2 linen, for a first time out. Let me know how it goes when you decide to give it a whirl!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Dee Dee Woodbury says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just finished winding a singles linen warp for summer scarves. I hope mine weave up as lovely as yours.

  • Charline says:

    Can you give me any hints about how to weave these, such as how do you get the spacing? (I would understand the spacing of a warp, but the weft is what I need help with) thanks!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charline,

      Yes, I’ll tell you what worked for me. The warp spacing actually helped weave the loosely-placed weft. The warp was “crammed and spaced,” and I could feel a point of slight resistance as I placed the weft. I really had to pay attention and “feel” the weft going into place, and try to be consistent. I wove a sample first, and tried weaving it a couple different ways so I could compare, and then I cut it off to see how it came out when it was washed. That helped me know how lightly to place the weft to get the look I wanted.

      Spacing the weft this loose certainly takes practice, so I recommend adding a little extra length to the warp to sample and play around with. And have fun!

      Thanks for the great question!
      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Johanna McDonald says:

    Hi Karen,
    These are lovely and look as though Australia where I live, would also be ideal for these in summer. Thank you for sharing.

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Understanding Linen

What is your experience with linen? I know weavers who love it, and others who completely avoid it. Linen has remarkable qualities. Strength, durability, natural beauty. It took me several attempts, though, to become comfortable using linen as warp. Linen has indeed given me more than my share of broken warp ends! But truly, those struggles have been part of the learning process. The more I weave with linen, the more I love this natural fiber. I am beginning to understand how to work with it, instead of against it. In fact, weaving these lace-weave scarves with single-ply linen warp and weft has been a joy. And only two broken selvedge ends this time!

Linen lace weave scarves as they wind onto the cloth beam.

Linen lace-weave scarves as seen on the cloth beam. Fringe between the scarves is left unwoven. The separated stripes are caused by the hemstitching at the end of one scarf and at the beginning of the next one.

It takes effort and experience to understand some things. The love of Christ is like that. The love of Christ is extraordinary. It takes inner determination to discover the beauty of this unconditional love. Some things are simply worth the effort.

May your understanding increase.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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Quiet Friday: Weaving Linen Air

Linen lace weaving. It’s like weaving air. 16/1 linen warp and weft, with uneven sleying and careful weaving. Beating is not the right word this time; let’s call it “placing the weft.” Gentle, gentle, gentle, easy does it. No temple needed. Indeed, what would you hook the temple into? There is almost nothing there.

Linen on the warping reel.

Winding the 16/1 linen warp on the warping reel.

Linen warp chain, ready to dress the loom.

Wound warp is chained and placed over the breast beam and through the beater in preparation for dressing the loom.

Dressing the loom with linen singles.

Ends are counted and grouped before threading.

Uneven sleying of the reed with linen singles.

Reed is sleyed unevenly, sometimes called “crammed and spaced.”

I did weave a sample, trying out different colors and sizes of weft. The weave is so airy; honestly, I was not sure if the fabric would hold its shape off the loom. To wet finish, I first soaked the sample for 20 minutes in hot water with mild soap. Then, I washed it by hand, lifting and lowering the net-like cloth repeatedly in the water. I rolled it in a towel and gently squeezed to remove moisture. Lastly, I laid it out flat to dry.

Half bow keeps linen from slipping, while allowing adjustments.

Half bow-tie makes sure the linen will not slip. Adjustments are easy, if necessary, after weaving a few inches.

Tying up treadles in the "playhouse" under the warp.

Treadle tie-up happens in the “playhouse” under the warp in the back. Sunlight through the linen reveals “invisible” hairy fibers.

Linen sample, not yet wet finished.

Sample, not yet wet finished.

Linen sample in black and white.

Black and white view shows cloth structure.

Result? It came through beautifully, with the lace weave intact. Linen, there is something about you that is exquisite and delightful, yet a bit mischievous and sly. I like you.

Linen sample after wet finishing. Karen Isenhower

After wet finishing and drying, the linen sample shows a glimpse of scarves to come.

Weaving linen air. Karen Isenhower

Weaving linen air.

May all your concerns be as light as air.

Happy Linen Weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Charlene says:

    Your linen is beautiful. What weight is the linen? Now that it is summer it has great appeal.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Charlene,
      I agree, the airy linen practically feels like summer. I am using Bockens 16/1 line linen. Bockens has glorious colors in their line linen.

      Karen

  • Diane says:

    Wow, I just picked up some estate sale linen – I don’t think I’ll make mine *quite* that airy, but yours is lovely! I’m thinking summer scarves, too.

    • Karen says:

      Diane,

      Lucky you for finding some estate sale linen!

      Yay! for summer scarves. Here in Houston, scarves in the summer need to be practically invisible. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Klaasje says:

    That is beautiful <3 As Diane I just found me some sale (16/2) linen and thought of such an airy weave right away. I just love these as an art piece.

    • Karen says:

      Klaasje, It makes me happy to think that you might try an airy weave like this! I hope you have as much fun with it as I have had with these scarves.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Dressed with Colors in Linen

Are you wondering which color arrangement I chose for the linen lace scarves? It wasn’t an easy decision. After weighing all the opinions and advice, color-wrapped card #7 won. I added a neutral stripe on both sides to frame the color sequence, and I varied the width of the stripes, thanks to Fibonacci. The result is that you can hardly distinguish where each stripe begins and ends. The stripes blend into each other, with the magenta stripes grabbing the most attention. (Visit Tools Day: Color Wrapping and Color Wrapping Take Two to follow the discussion about choosing the color arrangement for this warp.)

Dressing the loom with linen.

Linen on the warp beam. The colors blend from one end to the other, framed by bands of unbleached and golden bleached threads on each side. Lease sticks, tied to the back beam, maintain the order of the threads.

It makes sense to think things through before committing a linen warp to the loom. My excitement builds as the loom is dressed. We will soon see the woven results when I experiment with weft options. I am secretly hoping for iridescence. I can imagine it, but I won’t see it until the weaving happens, and the light catches the airy interlaced threads.

Threading the loom with linen.

Each thread is inserted through the eye of a heddle.

Color choices are inconsequential compared to other choices we make, but commitment is something many decisions have in common. We are invited into a personal walk with Jesus Christ. It is no small thing to consider an agreement with the Master. Like dressing a loom, it is a commitment. The excitement comes when you realize that iridescence and other mysteries may come true before your very eyes.

May you have a life filled with the glow of iridescence.

For good,
Karen

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