Melody Towels

I am stepping out of the box with this combination, trusting that what is seen only in my mind’s eye will have an extraordinary impact. This warp will become towels for my daughter Melody. I chose cottolin threads in colors that remind me of the colorfully painted homes we saw on our visit to Chile a few years ago when Melody was living there. Aqua, light poppy, marigold, and orchid.

New warp on the warping reel.

Mix of colors that remind me of Chile.

Warping reel. Winding a new colorful warp!

First of three bouts on the warping reel.

Beaming the warp with a warping trapeze.

Beaming the warp with the help of the warping trapeze.

Cottolin towel warp being beamed.

Warp beam with new cottolin warp for towels.

We trust what we can see—a chair to hold us, and an airplane to fly us. But unseen things are also part of our trust—the chair maker’s glue, and the air that aerodynamic engineers depend on. Earth and heaven, seen and unseen. Jesus, seen on earth, made the unseen God visible. Trust the unseen.

May you step out of the box.

Trusting,
Karen

10 Comments

  • ellen b santana says:

    every week you remind me to trust God. and i can’t wait to see these towels. thank you. ellen

  • Nannette says:

    Beautiful colors. They remind me of summer..

  • Lynette says:

    I look forward to seeing the woven cloth, with the pattern you have chosen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, It’s nice to hear from you. I think this will be very interesting to weave. I’m glad you are following along.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    Oh my! What a beautiful color scheme you have chosen for these towels. What color(s) will you weave with? Are you using plain weave, twill, basket ….? Will there be bands of color or will the warp do the “talking”? Thank you taking me on your journey. Your work is always inspiring as are your words.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I’m glad you like this color scheme! I’m really fond of it, too. I will make decisions about about the weft when I do some sampling with different colors. I’d like to try out several options to see what I like the best. This will be another doubleweave with two plain weave layers, but this time I’m using 12 shafts–my first time to use 12 shafts.

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Wow! I like the color combination! I am also excited to be on this journey with you, Karen.

    And I frequently need to be reminded to trust in God. Your message is appreciated.

Leave a Reply


Quiet Friday: Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug

My introduction to rosepath rag rugs was on a room-size loom in Joanne Hall’s magical Montana studio. I was so happy at that moment that I actually cried. It’s no surprise, then, that I relish every opportunity to weave a rosepath rag rug. And even better, to share the joy with other handweavers who may not have tried it yet. Look what came in the mail this week! The March/April 2017 issue of Handwoven, with a project by yours truly–Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug!

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug, as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Not everyone loves weaving rag rugs. That’s fine. But if you’re a weaver, there is probably something that draws your interest and brings delight. A certain weave structure, silky fibers, fine threads, complex patterns, bold colors. Something. And if you’re not a weaver, there is something else that triggers your pursued interest. Find that spark that ignites joy in you!

Beginning a rag rug.

Besides using a pre-measured tape, taking a picture at the beginning of the rug, with the yellow tape measure in view, makes it easy to replicate the hem at the end of the rug.

Temple in place, weaving Swedish rosepath rag rug.

Temple is in place, keeping the rugs a consistent width. Metal rug temples are good, but I still prefer a regular wooden Glimåkra temple for weaving rag rugs.

Weaving rosepath rag rugs. Fun!

Many rosepath variations are possible. The rug on the cloth beam uses a similar design, with different colors.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug. Karen Isenhower

Making paths of roses. Rosepath.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug.

Progress!

Seeing the reverse side of the rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Reverse side of the rug has a subtly different pattern.

Swedish rosepath rag rug on the loom. Rug in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Cloth beam fills up with rag rugs. Pleasant sight for a rag rug weaver!

Ending the rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Ending the rug on the loom. Following the markings removes guesswork.

Keep a song in your heart. Sing. Sing for joy. Sing praise to the Grand Weaver who put the seed of searching in you. A seed that bursts open with joy when ignited with a spark, and flourishes into something distinguishable. Trust the Lord with all your heart. Your heart will find its melody.

Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug as seen in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

Published in March/April 2017 Handwoven.

May your heart sing a joyful tune.

ATTENTION: The draft for the  Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug from Handwoven is written for a sinking shed loom. Therefore, for a jack loom, you must tie up the “white” empty squares instead of the numbered squares for the pattern to show right side up as you weave.

If you are interested in weaving rag rugs, take a look at Rag Rug Tips, a new tab at the top of the page.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Congratulations, Karen, on another beautiful article!

  • Maggie Ackerman says:

    I’ve just done my first rose path rug and I loved doing it. Used tee shirt yarn from my stash. Yours is gorgeous and I can’t wait to try it. You also have some great suggestions — I love the photo idea for the hem. Much better than my notes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Rosepath is so much fun. I’m glad to hear you have enjoyed it, too. Yes, the photo has saved me many times. My memory and my notes are not that great.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Fran says:

    I downloaded Handwoven yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised to see your rug! Congratulations !

  • Janet says:

    Congrats Karen!! I have always loved your rugs and will be trying this out shortly:)
    Janet

  • Sandy says:

    I’ve recently returned home from a trip, then going through several days of mail found my Mar/April issue of Handwoven. I was so excited to see your Rosepath Rug article, and was happily anticipating this blog post. Congratulations! Once again thank you for your weaving & life encouragements. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, Sounds like you have me figured out. 🙂 Isn’t it exciting to get a weaving magazine in a pile of mail? Everything else has to stand still while I flip through the pages. And then, later, I sit down with it and read every page.

      Thank you for your wonderful encouragement to me. It means so much!
      Karen

  • Mary Scott says:

    Don’t you just love her!! Beautiful job on your rug!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Mary

  • Carol says:

    BEAUTIFUL !!
    Congrats. Need to run out and get a copy of Handwoven.

    Carol

  • Sandy says:

    My issue of Handwoven arrived yesterday and I was thrilled to see your article! Beautiful rug and I’m so looking forward to trying this. And checking out your tab of tips – I’ve never woven a rag rug before (I’m a fairly new weaver), though I’ve dreamed about it. I can use all the help I can get!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, You’re in for a treat. Weaving a rag rug is different than other types of weaving. You get to use some muscle! 🙂 Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help you in any way.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nanette says:

    Congratulations on the article! Also, the photo reminded me I didn’t thank you after I tried your ribbon-measuring system. It works great and I really appreciated your detailed instructions. Nanette

    • Karen says:

      Nanette, I’m happy the measuring ribbon works for you! One of the places I learned about using a ribbon for measuring was at Vavstuga. So many little things can make a big difference.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Bonnie Wilker says:

    Karen, it was wonderful to see your work recognized in Handwoven! What a well deserved honor! Your work is beautifully striking and so is your testimony to our Lord. May He who is the master weaver continue to bless your endeavors as you continue to serve Him.
    Bonnie Wilker

  • sewTreefrog says:

    Karen, thanks for submitting your article to Handwoven. I fell in love with your rug when I first saw it and it totally changed my mind about rag rugs. Just finished my first rag rug using your instructions and can’t be happier. Thanks heaps!

    • Karen says:

      sewTreefrog, I am thrilled to no end that you had a great experience weaving this rag rug! Thanks so much for letting me know.

      I see on your blog that your rug came out beautifully, with lovely contrast in the colors.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Choosing Rag Rug Fabric is Like Song Writing

Choosing fabric for a rag rug reminds me of song writing. I like to start with a pretty melody. Add some harmony. Write a good accompaniment to finish the song. Be sure to include a good balance of harmony and dissonance to make the music exciting. That’s a good description of my thought process for selecting fabric for a rag rug design.

  1. Start with a melody–a fabric in the color(s) that you want to use in your design.
  2. Add harmony–one other fabric that compliments the first one.
  3. Write the accompaniment–with the chosen pair of fabrics on the table (or in the shopping cart at the fabric store), lay other fabrics beside them, one at a time. Select compatible colors that enhance the “melody” and “harmony.” Eliminate fabrics that “sing a different tune;” but don’t be afraid of unusual combinations. Some dissonance can work in your favor to add interest and excitement to the mix.

Here are a few examples of fabric combinations I am playing around with as I plan my next double binding rag rug design.

Fabric combinations for rag rug planning. Simple tutorial.

Starting with the blue fabric at the top, I added the bold multi-color print as harmony. The black acts as contrast. The two remaining pieces could be used as accents.

Choosing fabric for double binding rag rug.

Bold multicolor print takes the melody line, and the red batik adds harmony. Two more selections bring out the yellow-green and the reds and oranges in the melody piece.

How to select fabrics for weaving rag rugs.

Dark print with green as the base color is complemented with the reddish brown. Other fabrics are included to add contrast and interest.

Process for choosing rag rug fabrics. Short tutorial.

Summer print is enhanced with the harmonizing light pink. Dark pink in small portions makes a good contrast. White serves as a unifying backdrop. Two more prints, used sparingly, could be added for interest.

You can view my double binding rag rugs on Etsy to examine some of the fabric choices I have made for previous rugs.

Classic Check; Autumn Clouds; Improvisation; Woodland Walk; Black and Red SquaresForest at Dawn; Opportunity in Disguise; Painting Sunsets.

May you find a good balance of harmony and dissonance.

With a song in my heart,
Karen

4 Comments

Leave a Reply


Best Kind of Music You Have Ever Seen

Do you have a melody? Being a musician at heart, it’s fun to think of my weaving loom as a musical instrument. This is an instrument that produces fabric instead of harmonies. Throwing a shuttle takes practiced precision, as does gliding my bow across the strings of my ‘cello. When I step on treadles to change sheds on the loom, I imagine myself on the bench of a majestic pipe organ, playing the low notes with my feet. Every pass of the shuttle brings the formation of a melody in color and pattern. Rosepath is the prettiest melody of all. And rhythm, of course, is felt and heard as I play the loom instrument.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Rosepath rag rugs on the loom. Doing my favorite thing again.

I make textural melodies on my weaving loom. I am certain my maker takes note of the music I make here. Whatever you do with a thankful heart becomes a song. And that song is your gift to your maker. When you turn what you do into an instrument of praise you experience the smile of God.

I have a melody, and I have a Melody, whose birthday is today, and whose wedding is eleven days away. Maybe she needs a new rug as a housewarming gift…

May you sing your melody out loud.

With a thankful heart,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Suzie C says:

    How ironic!! Someone just posted a picture of their new loom on one of the Facebook weaving pages last week, and I commented that it looked like an organ! I said that instead of making music with the pedals, we make art with the treadles!

  • Maddie H says:

    Hi Karen, I love the rose path in this rug! I’m trying to figure this out myself so I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a beginner rose path gal. Any patterns or books that would help? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Maddie, How exciting for you to start weaving a rosepath rug! My first rosepath rag rug (and still my favorite) was from “Favorite Rag Rugs 45 Inspiring Weave Designs” by Tina Ignell. It has beautiful designs, with clear instructions in English. The rug in this post is based on one of the drafts in this book.
      Let me know if you have any questions as you go along.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Weaving a Song

This three-treadle weave was not complicated to thread; and with only three treadles and one shuttle, it is simple to weave. The beads certainly give a festive look, but most of the fabric is woven without the added sparkle. This weave creates an interesting striped pattern, giving physical and visual texture to the fabric, even without beads. Singing adds that kind of interest and pleasant consistency to life, even during times that don’t *sparkle* with happiness.

16/1 linen three-treadle weave, with beads.

A zig-zag treadling pattern, using three treadles, results in fabric with a striped look. Woven-in beads embellish this linen fabric.

Singing is a sign of a joyful heart, and the only instrument you need is a voice. My dad was a great example of this. He couldn’t carry a tune in a basket, but that did not keep him from singing. The thread of joy was woven in him from the beginning to the end of his life–through good times and hard times.

An inner melody of joy gives strength and consistency to make it beyond the happy sparkle times in life. Singing is a natural response to the grand weaver’s personal attention. So, go ahead and sing! Don’t be embarrassed–your voice is the grand weaver’s delight!

May you sing through your day.

Joyfully,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    “…couldn’t carry a tune in a basket…” what a fun way of expressing that someone may not be a very strong singer. We don’t have a charming expression like that in my language.

    I was always told I cannot sing…and therefore, I shouldn’t. I still did sing for the kids, and I do sing for the grandkids. But never if my my parents or sisters were around.

    I am so glad to hear that not having the ability to carry a tune doesn’t mean I shouldn’t sing 🙂 What a joy!

    I love the beads in this fabric, it is such a playful way to create texture! It is like musical notes dancing across your fabric. Beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      The thought of you singing, Elizabeth, makes me smile. What a delight for your dear grandchildren to hear your melodic expressions! You’re giving them a lasting gift.

      “musical notes dancing across the fabric” – What a fun way to look at it. I’m going to remember that!

  • Barbara Crockett says:

    It always made me smile to know Dad was singing from his heart and not for show. That is true worship.

    • Karen says:

      He sure did sing from his heart! And not just worship songs. Whenever I hear “Zippity Do Dah” I think of Dad singing that song to us girls. He had fun with life! “…plenty of sunshine headed my way…”

  • Kayleigh says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, please keep up the good work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Kayleigh,
      It’s always good to hear from someone in this family of blog readers. I am delighted you dropped in to say, “Hi!”
      Happy Weaving (and knitting),
      Karen

Leave a Reply