Anticipation in the Final Stretch!

I can see the end of the warp! Finishing is in sight. And then, my daughter phones, “Mom! I’m headed to the hospital. This baby is ready!” Weaving suddenly becomes far less important… That was two weeks ago, and little Ari was born. Now, back at the loom, I’ll cross the finish line on this linen upholstery fabric before the day is over.

End of warp is near.

End of warp is seen on the back tie-on bar as it makes its final round on the warp beam.

Cotton double weave baby blanket covers newborn grandson.

Double weave cotton baby blanket covers baby Ari as he peacefully sleeps.

When the back tie-on bar becomes visible, it’s the beginning of the end. And then, the moment the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam I celebrate. It’s the final stretch!

Linen color-and-weave upholstery fabric.

Linen color-and-weave upholstery fabric.

Over the back beam, and lease sticks are removed.

Lease sticks are untied and removed after the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. Two pairs of lease sticks were used with this striped warp.

We are participants in a great mystery! Christ in us. For those unfamiliar with the tools and methods of handweaving, it’s a mystery how threads can become cloth. But the handweaver knows. The great mystery of God is that Christ may dwell in us. For those who receive him, the peace of Christ rules within. His presence is woven in.

Short distance left to weave this linen fabric!

Short distance left to finish weaving this linen fabric.

The anticipation of finished cloth is nothing in relation to the anticipation of a new baby in the family. Imagine the anticipation of our holy Father to see the glorious threads of Christ woven in us.

May you participate in the mystery.

Happy weaving,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Beautiful weaving, beautiful baby, beautiful Savior!

    Congratulations!

    God bless you and your family.

    Linda Cornell

  • Kay Larson says:

    Thank you for your blog. I love reading it each day with my breakfast. What a beautiful baby. Congratulations. You double weave blanket is lovely. What yarn did you use if I may ask? Many blessings to you and your family. God’s peace.
    Kay

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, It’s an honor to think of sharing breakfast time with you!
      The double weave blanket is 8/2 cotton, warp and weft. The sett was 5 ends per cm (about 12 epi), each layer, which is a loose sett, almost gauzy.

      All the best blessings,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Congrats on the beautiful grandson! Enjoy your blog.
    Linda

  • Annie says:

    Congratulations to you and your family on Ari’s arrival! Babies bring their own welcome.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, how can you think about anything else but Ari!!! What a beautiful boy! What a blessing for you and your family!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, I don’t live in the same city as Ari, otherwise I would be cooing over him instead of sitting at the loom. 🙂 He is a good-lookin’ baby boy, that’s for sure. I’m pretty biased, as I should be.

      Thanks for sharing your sentiments!
      Karen

  • Betty A Van Horn says:

    WOW too cute Karen, what a joy! Congratulations. Love that God sees each new Christian with the same joy. I love the blanket around Ari.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betty, Yes, what a wonderful thought… that God welcomes each trust-er in Jesus as a new family member.
      The blanket suits Ari pretty well.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Cynthi says:

    I love all your pics including that cute baby. Makes you want to kiss those cheeks off.

  • tsw says:

    Congratulations to your family on the new arrival!
    I noticed the double lease sticks and was wondering why you used them double. I’ve never seen that before. Is there an advantage? Special circumstance that benefits from them? Thanks in advance.

    Theo

    • Karen says:

      Hi Theo, Thanks! Good eye to notice the double lease sticks. I mention the subject in this post: Simpler Warp Stripes. Basically, I had two separate warp chains, each with their own lease sticks, in order to put narrow stripes on the loom without having to cut and tie all the color changes while winding the warp.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Beauty in Cutting Off

There is beauty in cut threads. They signify completion. Look what has become of these linen threads! Order and sequence, timing and continuity, perseverance and pursuit. Through a weaver’s hands it all adds up to fabric made for a purpose.

Cutting off! Linen threads flow through the reed like a waterfall.

Cutting off! Linen warp ends flow through the reed like a waterfall after the cloth is cut off.

Linen 5-shaft damask. Cutting off!

Cut threads appear as tidy fringe on the stately linen satin damask weave. The warp beam holds the cloth until it is ceremoniously unrolled.

Linen damask weaving, just cut from the loom.

Fabric and warping slats fall to the ground.

Linen fabric just off the loom, ready for finishing.

On the sewing room work table, the completed fabric awaits the finishing process. I will look for and repair errors, secure cut ends with serger stitching, and wet finish the fabric. Then, I will hem them so they can be used as the towels I envisioned from the start.

Father. With God as our Father, we are on the receiving end of the process. Grace and peace, granted from the Father’s hand, shape our lives. And, like a good weaver, our Father makes something beautiful from the threads we offer him. Imagine the day when it may be said of us, “Look what became of the linen threads in the Grand Weaver’s hands!”

May your threads turn into something beautiful.

With joy,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Beautiful tribute to Our Father who IS the Masterweaver! I just finished the second project on my Baby Wolf and it was a major learning experience, so it is a miracle that, as I cut it off, it really became the towels I intended to do! Lessons: (1) Make sure that the warp goes OVER the back beam (2) count the heddles more carefully to avoid need to make repair heddles…which sometimes come loose! (3) Use the right equipment, e.g. raddle that spreads the threads so they are straight. But, they will come off the loom this a.m. I intend to continue doing the back to front warping until I learn it better…and I will do something in plain cloth, with at least some stripes. Thanks to many resources, I have choices! Thank you, Karen, for this timely message! God Bless!

    • Karen says:

      Good Morning, Joyce, I think that you will find that every new warp on the loom is a new learning experience. Congratulations on finding solutions along the way! Neglecting to go over the back beam is a common one-time error. Call it “weaving initiation.” It’s the kind of error you only make one time. 😉
      I don’t use a raddle. Instead, I pre-sley the reed, which is another easy way to spread the warp.

      You are right, you have choices!

      Grace to you, and peace from God our Father.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Goodness! They’re going to be luxurious towels.

    • Karen says:

      Good Morning, Beth! Linen fabric captivates me because of the way it hides and reveals pattern depending on the light. I think that’s why linen works so well for satin damask, with it’s pattern of warp and weft floats. Yes, I guess handwoven linen satin damask is luxury. I feel very fortunate. :-j

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Shari says:

    Yourr weaving is lovely as are your words and writing!

  • Kay Larson says:

    Hi Karen!
    I love your blog. I am just getting back to weaving after a 20 year hiatus. Your words of wisdom have been a great help. Your talking about cutting off the cloth brought to mind a question. What do you do with your loom waste?

    Peaceful Weaving,
    Kay

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, Welcome back to the world of weaving! I’m so glad you wandered over here. Great question!!

      Most of the time I discard the thrums (loom waste). However, I cannot get myself to throw away linen. So, I have several short chains of linen thrums hanging in my weaving studio. I have a few other chains of thrums of yarn that was too pretty or too long to justify throwing away. I have used cotton thrums as choke ties, using a few threads bundled together. But I have other choke ties that I prefer to use. There “should” be a good use of thrums, and I’ve heard of a few; but life (and space) is too short to keep everything that “could” be used someday. I did find a draft for linen washcloths that uses linen thrums in the weft. I have that on my list for this year’s weaving, so you’ll see with me how that works out. Who knows, that may open a whole new door for thrums!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kathryn says:

    Hello Karen,

    These are so beautiful! Are they going to be dish towels?

    You have inspired me to try this type of weave on my new loom (loom number three and counting)! Do you have a resource for learning how to weave satin damask? Also, what is the weight of the linen you are using and the set?

    I hope you don’t mind me picking you brain:)
    Thank you so much,
    Kathryn

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn, These will be dish towels and/or hand towels.

      Thanks for asking questions! It’s a pleasure to correspond about weaving.

      The warp is 16/2 linen. The weft on two of the towels is 16/1 linen, which makes a nice elegant towel. My husband requested that I make some towels that are not as “sweet and sissy,” that are thicker and more hefty. So the remaining towels have 16/2 linen weft. I will know more after wet finishing, but I think these heftier towels will be very nice. If they end up being too stiff I may not cut them apart, and leave it as a long table runner.

      Weaving this satin damask has been so enjoyable that I have already wound a warp to do it again, with a slightly different pattern. And, I’m doing it in 8/2 cotton this time (with a 65/10 metric reed, 13 epc).

      You need ten shafts and ten treadles for this five-shaft satin in two blocks. I followed the draft and instructions for this from my favorite weaving book, “The Big Book of Weaving,” by Laila Lundell. I am using a 70/10 metric reed, and the sett is 14 ends per cm. With an Imperial reed, comparable would be an 18-dent reed, with 36 ends per inch.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Maggie ackerman says:

    Karen, I love these towels. You mentioned that one of the things you do post look is correct mistakes. How do you do this and which mistakes can be corrected off loom. I’m always dismayed upon finding a mistake but have learned that nothing is perfect. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to it.
    Maggie Ackerman

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, You ask a really good question. And you are so right that nothing is perfect. Thankfully, many weaving errors can be corrected off the loom. I think I shall do a blog post when I start fixing the errors on these towels. Thanks for the idea!

      The main kind of errors I’m looking for are skipped threads or floats. These can usually be corrected, but it must be done BEFORE the fabric is washed. I use a blunt needle and needle-weave the matching thread, warp or weft, in the correct path of the weave, starting about an inch before, and going about an inch beyond the errant float. On a tight weave like these towels, I may need to use a magnifier to see what I’m doing.

      The other kind of error that I want to take care of is a loop at the selvedge. Depending on the size of the loop, there are a couple ways I handle this. Either, cut the loop and sew it back into the fabric, or needle-weave in a new thread entirely. …or, just leave it and hope it will shrink in enough in the wash.

      I hope this helps! Look for a blog post on the subject in the next couple weeks.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Such lovely towels, I adore the colors and the draft.

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Simply Weave Back and Forth

Am I seeing the hint of a ‘cello? No complicated pattern this time, just a relaxed back and forth, meet and separate, with yarn butterflies. The only planned pattern is a curved outline at the start and end of this section, with some simple hatching in between.

Linen tapestry/inlay sampler.

Section seven of the linen tapestry/inlay sampler. Hatching is used to visually blend the two color bundles.

All-linen tapestry/inlay sampler.

Curved line is inked on the warp as an outline to follow for the red and gold section.

The relaxed back-and-forth questions and ponderings that we all have are an indication that we want to know the truth. Search to find answers. The Lord is always calling us to seek him, to search him out, to find out what he’s about. Seeking the Lord means having a heart that wants and yearns to know God and his ways. Having questions is a part of what it means to be human. Peace comes, not in finding all the answers, but in finding the one who holds the answers. He knows what he is weaving.

May you ask good questions.

All the best,
Karen

2 Comments

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Cloth Beam Matters

Does it matter what happens at the cloth beam? Why not let the woven fabric go around the beam as is and forget about it? You have worked diligently at every stage to ensure an even warp. Now, preparing the cloth beam for cloth will ensure the warp remains even.

Warping slats are placed on the cloth beam.

Warping slats cover the cords and knots on the cloth beam so the handwoven fabric has a flat surface to lay against.

Warping slat over the tie-on bar prevents the tie-on threads from putting bulges in the fabric. Bulges can distort the fabric and put uneven tension on warp ends.

Warping slats around the cloth beam for a smooth start.

When the warping slats have covered one full revolution of the cloth beam, no more slats are needed. The twill pre-measured tape on the floor gives a clue to the extended length of this table runner on the loom.

The cloth beam holds obstacles that threaten the evenness of your warp. Any raised surface on the beam, like beam cords and tie-on knots, will distort the warp tension as the woven fabric wraps around it. Warping slats solve the problem. I lay in the slats around the beam, one by one, as I advance the warp. This forms a flat surface around which my freshly-woven fabric can hug as the cloth beam turns.

M's and O's long table runner. Linen weft.

Long M’s and O’s table runner on the loom. The sample piece and towel that preceded the table runner have already reached the cloth beam.

Fear makes obstacles for our path that disturb our peace and threaten our well-being. Trust in the Lord. Trust pushes fear aside. The day you are afraid–the moment you are afraid–put your trust in God. Know that the Lord is for you. Your trust in Him forms a firm layer to build your life on. Like the warping slats that are in place for your handwoven cloth, your trust in God is a foundation on which to roll the fabric of your life.

May you walk without fear.

Peace,
Karen

6 Comments

  • ellen santana says:

    whoa, never thought of that. i have been using paper on the warp beam and when i tried the slats they fell out of place when i loosened the warp at the end of a session. do you keep it taut always?es

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, I do keep the warp under tension. I don’t see a need to completely loosen the warp at the end of a session. If I know I may not get back to it for a few days, I may loosen the warp a little, but there is always adequate tension on the warp for slats to stay in place. I have also left a warp under tight tension for days or weeks, and have never noticed an adverse effect.

      Also, when winding the warp, unless it is linen, I only put in slats every fourth round. So that means if some slats slip, it’s only a few on the outer layer.

      (I love my warping slats. I have found various uses for them, besides how they are “supposed” to be used.)

      Thanks for asking!
      Karen

  • Ruth says:

    Hi Karen,
    A couple of questions:
    Do you add slats on the cloth beam as your fabric is woven or just on the initial “round” to cover knots and such?
    Did your husband make your slats and what is the thickness of the slats you use?
    I love your sharing of knowledge! So many “little” things that make weaving more of a joy.
    Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, Great questions!
      I add the slats just on the initial round. After that, the fabric just rolls onto itself.
      My husband did make some of my slats, but most of my slats were purchased from a Glimakra dealer. I think the slats are about 1/8″ thick.

      Yes, it is the little things that make a difference in the enjoyment and the quality of weaving.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Linda Sloan says:

    What a wonderful message. Love your website.

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Planning Swedish Towels

After spreading out a few Swedish weaving books and other resources, I am ready to develop my own version of towels in plattväv, a classic Swedish weave. I have double-checked my calculations, so I’m ready to wind the warp. This set of towels has a cottolin warp and linen weft.

Planning new handwoven Swedish-style towels.

Planning sheet holds all the details for a weaving project. I use digital devises for planning most things, but for my weaving plans I still like paper and pencil the best.

Winding a striped warp for cottolin towels.

White, black, silver, ash gray, and pale blue gray. The pale blue gray seems to turn the other grays into brownish hues.

As always, I started with more than enough thread. Unfortunately, I made a major error while winding the warp. By the time I noticed the error, I had already wound 264 meters (289 yards) of warp. I chained off the mistake, putting it aside for another use. I started over, correctly this time, but I had a nagging worry that I might run out of white thread…

Warp winding for cottolin towels is complete.

Warp winding is complete. Smallest tube of white thread is close to empty. Spool crate is elevated to reduce the distance needed to bend down.

Warp chains for striped towels.

Smaller warp chain on the left was wound incorrectly. The threads will be divided up and used for weaving bands on the band loom. The two warp chains on the right will become striped handtowels with plattväv (platt weave) patterning.

Worry doesn’t make anything better, and big worries can lead us into a downward spiral in our thoughts. Prayer pushes worry away. When we pray about the things we are tempted to worry about, God’s peace acts as a guard over our hearts and minds. His peace frees us from the weight of worry. And we often learn later that our worry had been unfounded. Like my worry about the white thread, which, despite my blunder, did not run out.

May you forget your worries.

All the best,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Julia says:

    Oh, your towels will be so lovely! These colors together are some of my favorites. I certainly know that feeling of concern that one color will run out and it has happened to me on a number of occasions. That “mistake” warp chain will no doubt become something beautiful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Julia, I’m excited about working with these colors. It will be interesting to see how they mesh together with the golden bleached linen weft.

      I’m glad this “mistake” is still usable. I don’t want to waste that much thread.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Angie Roberts says:

    Can’t wait to see these beautiful towels, love the color blend.
    Just another example, everything and everyone, is needed and has
    a purpose in this life.
    Enjoy the Wonderful Day

  • Ruth says:

    It makes my heart sing to see chained warp threads ready for the loom. Looking forward to watching your warp turn into towels and curious about the pattern you will use with the mistake threads. Blessings.

  • Lovely colors, I have returned to weaving after about 15 years and I can’t get enough now. I am having to rehone skills, but I am loving to see what others are doing after my long hiatus. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Annie,
      I’m sure you’ll have a pleasant re-entry to weaving. Isn’t it like riding a bike? Those skills never really go away. I enjoy seeing other people’s projects and progress, too.

      Karen

  • Lynette says:

    Karen, I see in the photo your yarn crate. Do you somehow thread the yarns through holes in the crate instead of the screw eyes? Also I have had a trouble getting my Swedish 12/6 warp to unwind SMOOTHLY from the tubes. I place a tube or two on my yarn rack and thread the ends through their individual screw eyes, and very often the yarn catches on the bottom of the tube and yanks the yarn in my hand, sometimes so hard that the tube is pulled right off the dowel. Have you experienced that, and do you have tips to help with this problem?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette,

      I know what you’re talking about. The 12/6 cotton has such high twist that it can cause problems when winding a warp. I do not put it through screw eyes. This yarn just wants to twist around at the screw eyes; and if it won’t come through smoothly, your warp isn’t getting wound evenly.

      My husband inserted dowels that stand up in a flat board that fits in the bottom of a plastic crate. If it is yarn that will twist with its neighbor, I turn the crate on its side and send the yarn through separate holes above the tubes. This keeps them separate enough to eliminate most problems. When the spool is close to empty and starts jumping around (it does that even without screw eyes), I just lay the tube in the bottom of the crate or a separate small tub and let it unroll that way.

      Another trick that I don’t use very often, but does work well is to thread the tubes horizontally on dowels and put the ends of the dowels through the sides of the crates. There is almost no resistance and the tube unrolls freely.

      I hope that helps!
      Karen

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