Linen Butterflies

This project has been on my mind for a long time. But I purposely waited to begin until I could weave it on my new sweet little loom with a view. Four Decorative Sample Strips, it’s called in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. It includes four-shaft tapestry, as well as weft inlay techniques. Each of the four strips will be a sampling of 8-12 different patterns or techniques. The weft is all linen, in various colors and sizes. Several strands are bundled together and made into butterflies. I have the sections mapped out, but the actual designing is happening at the loom.

Box of colorful linen for a tapestry project!

Box of linen! A variety of 16/2 line linen, 6/1 tow linen, and 8/1 tow linen.

Weft inlay with linen butterflies.

First sample strip starts with some weft inlay.

The box of vibrant shades of linen that sits by the loom makes me think of the wonderful colors in creation. The Grand Weaver puts an assortment of strands together, making something as only He can. The world belongs to its Maker. We are His. Sometimes we forget that it is not that He is in our universe, it is that we are in His. I love the way He puts an assortment of us together to put a splash of color on His tapestry.

May you enjoy the colors around you.

Happy weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Melissa Myers says:

    God must love color, there is so much of it!!! I am reminded of the verse:

    New American Standard Bible
    Job 26;14
    “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

    Can’t wait to see the tapestry He weaves!!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Karen,
    Beautiful colors, can’t wait to see what comes from them. I love you loom with a view!
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Liberty, Colors always seem more alive to me in linen. I’m glad I get to take my time with them and enjoy the scenery, too!

      Karen

  • Marjorie says:

    I’m a new follower, with an unwarped, recently acquired, Glimakra Ideal. I love your site, and aspire to become a weaver, with the help of ALL my new weaving acquaintances. I have the Lundell book, although it may be water-marked by drooling before I’m able to weave anything from it. Watching with eagerness,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marjorie, Welcome to the wide wonderful world of weaving! And welcome here in this corner of the weaving world. That Lundell book will step you through everything you need to know to dress your loom and make something beautiful. I’m excited for you! Let me know if there is any way I can help you along the way.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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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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Fringe Benefits

Did you notice I didn’t hemstitch these alpaca scarves on the loom? Instead, small overhand knots secure the weft. The knots provide a base for lattice fringe on one scarf, and for twisted fringe on another.

Finishing ends on a long handwoven alpaca scarf.

Purple mohair thread marks the right side of the fabric. The thread is added before the fabric is cut from the loom. Six warp ends at a time are formed into overhand knots that cinch up to the edge of the scarf.

Making lattice fringe.

Three offset rows of overhand knots form the lattice fringe.

Fringe is finished. Ready for washing and drying.

Knots at the tips of the fringe will be trimmed off after washing and drying.

Tying knots for lattice fringe is meticulous. And twisting the fringe is not much faster. But it’s not about how long it takes. I’m not a production weaver. I’m a one-of-a-kind weaver who enjoys the process of turning threads into unique cloth, no matter how long it takes. After the fringes are done, I will hand wash the scarves and let them hang to dry. Slow and steady, the scarves take shape. From the very beginning, I work with the end in mind–handcrafted artisan designer scarves.

Twisting fringe on a handwoven scarf.

By inserting a long straight pin through the center of each knot as it is formed, I can pierce the foam board at the spot where I want the knot to end up–right at the woven edge of the scarf.

Twisted Fringe

Twisted fringe dangles from the edge of the soft scarf.

Time is a gift. Time to make things. Time to finish what we make. And time to undergo our own finishing. Look up. The one who made us takes the time to do the finishing we need. Our Maker doesn’t rush or hurry. He has a beautiful end in mind. We look up to heaven as we pray, acknowledging that our Grand Weaver is on his throne. We can be thankful that our times are in his hands.

May your finishing bring beautiful results.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Linda Sloan says:

    Wonderful message…love your blog and work. What an inspiration you are!! Linda

  • Kris says:

    This message brought tears to my eyes, Karen. I don’t remember how I found you, but I am so grateful that I did!! Advent Blessings to you! You are such a Blessing to us, your readers!

  • Katie says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m curios about one of your photo captions about using the purple mohair to mark the right side of your fabric. Is this simply to make it easy to know which side is up or is there another reason for it having to do with tying the knots?

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Katie, It makes me smile to know someone reads the captions. 🙂

      I mark the right side of the fabric with a thread when it comes off the loom because sometimes it’s not easy to tell the right side from the reverse side. If it’s that close, it doesn’t usually matter, but I still like to know. By marking it right away, I don’t have to guess about it or hold it up to the light to try to tell the difference, etc.

      Secondly, if I am tying knots for fringe, like this time, I want the right side of the fabric up. My overhand knots have a front and a back to them, and I want the consistency of having the front of the knots on the right side of the fabric. These are details that most won’t notice. But that’s what sets handcrafted goods apart, isn’t it?

      I hope that makes sense.

      Thanks so much for asking!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Pam says:

    You’re right. It is HIS perfect timing that makes us who we are. HE is the author and the finisher of out faith.
    I always say that every thing we do has a little secret to tell us. The trick with the pin in the center of the knot, as it is made to insure its proper place, is just such a secret. I wondered how to do that. Now my work will be better. Thank you,Karen.
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam,

      Yes, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. I’m thankful that the Lord planned in the little things that make us who we are.
      So glad you found a helpful tip here!

      Karen

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Almost Forgot the Hanging Tabs…Again

I was ready to hem the plattväv towels. But then, I thought of one more thing–I need a woven band for the hanging tabs! Since the towels have black borders, I decided to weave a simple band in black cottolin, with a single white dotted line down the center. I measured the little warp, put it on the band loom, and quickly wove it up.

Black woven band with dotted white line. Glimakra band loom.

Single white thread produces dotted white line in the woven band.

I love the classy black band with the white dotted line. However, I don’t love it with these towels… Too wide, and too… black. It’s going into my band stash box. Someday, when I least expect it, I’ll find this band in the box; and it will be exactly what I need at the time. So, I started over at the band loom this morning, and wove a new band.

White dotted line on handwoven band. Glimåkra band loom.

Second chances are possible with a Glimåkra two-treadle band loom. It doesn’t take long to weave a second band if the first one doesn’t work out.

Woven band, ready to be cut into hanging tabs for towels.

Ready to be cut into hanging tabs for the plattväv towels.

Ready to hem towels, with hanging tabs included. Karen Isenhower

Hem, turned twice to the back of the towel, is pressed and ready to be stitched. The ends of a coordinating hanging tab will be stitched in the seam. The black woven band is stashed away for future use. The narrower gray band fits the style of the towels.

Joy is ignited by giving thanks. Gratitude changes your outlook. Instead of seeing the black band as a setback, it’s a gift for the future. The gray band is a reminder to be thankful for second chances. To whom will we give our thanks? To our looms? No. To each other? Yes. And to our Maker who gave himself for us? A resounding, joyful yes.

May you continuously be thankful.

Thankful for you,
Karen

9 Comments

  • ellen santana says:

    beautiful towels. i recently read an article about antique handwovens that she found that towels that had a hanging tab on them were quite worn on the opposite end of the tab. maybe if you put tabs on both sides they would get won equally. es

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, I never would have thought of that! That’s very interesting and good to know. I’ve seen some towels with the tab on the side – maybe that would help with the wear, too.

      I will have to give this some more thought…

      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post. Quick question: do you finish your hems by hand or machine? Happy weaving, Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I like to hem my towels with the sewing machine. To me, that seems the most reliable way for the hems to stay in place through years and years of washings. I did hem the table square (not shown) by hand. I don’t expect it to go through many washings, and I wanted the hem stitches to be invisible.

      I love the look of hand-hemmed towels, and the craftsmanship it shows. And I have friends who always hand hem their handwoven towels. I admire them for it.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette Mosher says:

    Could you post a photo of your whole band loom, with heddles and maybe a warp with something to show its relative size? I have a couple of looms for bands, one very antique and the other an inkle, but neither seems as quick and easy as yours seems to be. I’m really impressed that you didn’t just “make do” with the black; certainly the grey is an improvement and perfect. Will be interested in your answers to the other questions also. N.

  • Sherri says:

    Curious about the bobbin/shuttle you’re using with the band loom. Where do you get them?

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Two Types of Weaving

My attention has been on the other loom for a couple weeks, but I have managed to sneak in to the big loom and add a little bit to this monksbelt project. I would like to have more to show, but this is it. What a contrast between the fast plain weave baby wrap (see Quiet Friday: Woven Baby Wrap) and this very slow two-shuttle monksbelt. I enjoy weaving both. There’s a time for fast; and there’s a time for slow.

Monksbelt on the loom.

White on white puts dramatic space between sections of color.

Each type of weaving produces a specific type of cloth. Very different textures. Very different purposes. Each beautiful in its own way. This reminds me of people, fashioned by the Lord. Individuals suited to specific tasks with purpose and meaning. This is our life discovery, to live the way our maker had in mind when he fashioned us with his hands.

May your life be rich with meaning.

Happy weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Pam C. says:

    I’m always so blessed by the words you have not only of weaving but of the LORD. The LORD first and then weaving and pottery are my passion. I miss human contact and go for days without companionship so when I receive e-mail from you it is truly a blessing. Tha nk you for being there, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, Your sweet words brought tears to my eyes. I thank YOU for being there, right where you are supposed to be.

      Love,
      Karen

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