Quiet Friday: Plattväv Towels and Thanksgiving Prayer

Start to finish, the plattväv towels have been a handweaver’s joy. Narrow stripes on the warp beam are strangely invigorating. Does it take extra effort to wind a warp with many stripes? Yes–cut off one color and tie on a new color, over and over. But when the loom is dressed and ready to go, the weaving is a breeze. Being cottolin, the warp is fully compliant; and with a little care, the linen weft becomes a weaver’s friend. Plattväv, the icing on the cake, gives me a simple pattern weft that dresses up these plain weave towels. (And, yes, I am in the process of developing a kit for these plattväv towels.)

Planning handwoven towels.

Cottolin warp with counting cord.

Striped warp for plattväv towels.

Threading the loom for plattväv towels.

Tying up treadles the easy way.

Weft auditions for plattväv towels.

Plattväv towels on the loom, with linen weft.

Plattväv towels on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Blue linen pattern weft.

Beautiful blue linen pattern weft.

Plattväv towels coming off the loom!

Off the loom and ready for trimming threads.

Band loom weaving.

Plattväv towels ready to roll!

Plattväv towels. Karen Isenhower

The joy of weaving is a blessing, as is the joy of friendships across the miles. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

Thanksgiving prayer: Thank you, Lord, for everything.

May you overflow with blessings and reasons for giving thanks.

Thankful for you,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    These towels are just beautiful. Thank you for all the work you do to help us with our weaving. Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

  • Martha says:

    Love the photo of the towels rolled up- very interesting to view. Beautiful work as always.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, The linen is predominant in these towels, and linen begs to be rolled. I had fun playing around with them to take pictures.
      Thanks for your kind words!

      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Karen

  • Anne says:

    I will definitely be interested win the kit! Beautiful!

  • Theresa says:

    The towels are lovely. I too will be watching out for kit information.
    I’m wondering if hemp would be worth a whirl in place of linen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Theresa, I’m excited about putting the kit together. It’s good to know you are keeping an eye on it.
      I have never woven with hemp. From what I’ve heard, it weaves much like linen. So I’m certain it would work for this.
      I love the Bockens and the Borgs Swedish linen, so I haven’t branched out much in that regard.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christine, Thank you so much!

      If you’re interested, there are a couple of these towels in my Etsy shop, as well as “Workshop in a Box” kits, where you can weave these towels for yourself.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Thankful for Plattväv

The brilliant blue linen, with its natural luster, is a lively option for the plattväv pattern floats. And blue linen weft for the hem makes a fitting border. These towels with blue accents have a different “character” than the towels with the black linen accents (as seen in Striped Warp Freedom). The accent color makes a big difference.

Plattväv towels with linen weft.

Golden bleached 16/1 linen for plain weave weft. Plattväv pattern weft is doubled royal blue 16/1 linen.

I planned stripes in the warp to simplify the weaving. The warp stripes enable me to weave patterned towels with a single weft color. Plattväv weft floats keep it interesting. As much as I like blue linen, I am uncertain about it here. I’m waiting to see the towels off the loom, washed and dried. In the meantime, the warp stripes make my heart sing. And I’m thankful to have options for the pattern weft.

Blue 16/1 linen is used to weave the hem. Karen Isenhower

Royal blue 16/1 linen is used to weave the hem. The antique Swedish shuttle seems appropriate for this Swedish weave.

We always have a reason to sing. ThanksGiving may be a holiday, but it’s also a way of life. It’s seeing the good, the benefits, the blessings, even in the midst of uncertainty. It’s knowing that carefully planned warp stripes are still there. My hope is in God. My soul is confident, firm, and steadfast in him. And thankful to the core.

May your heart find a song to sing.

With you,
Karen

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Plain Rosepath

This is a stash-busting rug, using leftover cut strips from previous rugs. Like my other rag rugs, I start with a plan. Then, I get out my fabric and make my color selections. It’s plain rosepath, without tabby picks in between, perfect for a stash buster. Snip, snip, snip. Fabric snippets are taped to my idea sheet. These are my blueprints–weaving draft, treadling order, and idea sheet with fabric snippets. I am weaving!

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Without tabby picks the rosepath pattern takes on a compressed form.

I can, and do, make adjustments at the loom. But I keep one question in mind. Will my choices along the way fit with the overall design of the rug? My idea sheet serves as a guiding compass. It’s a reminder of the big picture that forms a cohesive design.

Idea sheet for rag rug design.

Idea sheet hangs from the beater clip on the Glimakra Ideal loom. The treadling pattern, penciled on graph paper, and fabric snippets provide a quick reference while weaving.

Guiding principles shape our lives and enable us to make wise decisions. A compass sets the course. Use a true compass. Live in a way that pleases God. This is a valid compass for all choices and decisions. The Grand Weaver has the comprehensive design. Amazingly, He weaves our leftover fabric strips into his design, and uses them to make something useful and beautiful.

May you see your part in the overall design.

Happy weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Linda de Roy Landry says:

    Karen,
    I do enjoy and look forward to reading all of you postings. Though we have not met in person, I think of you as a kindred spirit as we seem to think alike in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing and blending your faith and knowledge of weaving. It always adds a ray of light to my day and some inspiration to my weaving.
    Kind and warm regards, Linda

  • JANET PELL says:

    Dear Linda, I want to thank you for your blog, I dont make many comments but I wanted you to know that I am brightened and inspired so much by you.
    Im English and live in Italy, in the 11 years I have lived here I have only met one other weaver, I am a self taught weaver and love it, but its a lonely trek, so wanted you know how your encouragement lifts my days.

    • Karen says:

      Janet, It blesses me tremendously to know that my words and pictures reach someone like you. Good for you for pressing on, even without the camaraderie of other weavers. I’m so glad you are coming here. Make yourself at home. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    Yes, I agree with Janet. Like her, I am pretty much a self-taught weaver who travels a lonely path. Blogs like these remind me of something that I think CS Lewis said: “We read to know we are not alone”. I am English, living in South Africa.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, You make me so happy! I love the thought of connecting weavers to a community. And it’s great to hear someone quote one of my favorite authors!

      Thank you for encouraging me today.

      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    I really like the idea of “connecting weavers to a community”, Karen, and this blog certainly helps to do that.

    In fact, you’ve got me thinking!

  • Sandra says:

    Karen, your words and connections to weaving ( and weavers! ) is indeed inspiring. Also a self taught beginner weaver living in Alberta Canada, though I too travelled far as my husband and I moved when the military needed us to. I have found many ways to learn this artform, but I would much rather read your words and follow your journey by reading old and new posts, than join groups on Ravelry.com for inspiration. You are a great teacher and I will try to be a better “listener” … so much thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandra,
      You have encouraged me more than you know. It’s exactly for you, and others like you, that I write. I truly cherish the connection we have as weavers and long-distance friends.

      Your friend,
      Karen

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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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How Is Your Stash?

My rag rugs start with leftovers. It is a great place to begin. By leftovers, I mean fabric strips that are left from previous projects. Unlike many traditional rag rugs that are made from recycled fabrics, I use all new cotton yardage for my rag rugs. I only buy more fabric when my supply starts to run low, or when I need a specific color that I don’t have in my supply. That’s the difference between a stash and a supply. A stash is for keeping and admiring. A supply is for using up with a purpose. A stash grows without limits. A supply is replenished in relation to the need.

Planning a rosepath rag rug.

Planning session for a new rosepath rag rug. After gathering a selection of fabrics, I snip fragments to tape to my working chart.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

After several plain weave stripes, the rosepath pattern is taking shape on the loom.

I have to be careful about treating my things, my time, and my ideas as my stash. For me to keep and admire. It’s better to be a giver. The generous have an endless supply. They never wonder about having “enough.” Generosity is a virtue. Those who are enriched by God can always be generous, since he is faithful to replenish the supply.

May you always have enough.

For you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Fawn Carlsen says:

    Thank you very much for explaining stash and supply. I have too much stash which never gets used. I am afraid that I will run out. But I have made a big change. I no longer have a stash, only a supply. I will allow myself to use what I have and love doing it. Then if I need more, I will get more. But not until I need to. Your post entirely changed my attitude. I am happier now.

    • Karen says:

      Dear Fawn, It is so sweet for you to take the time to tell me these words made a difference for you! I think we all struggle with stash vs. supply mindset. Making a decision, though, like you did, is a powerful thing in turning the corner! Way to go!

      Love,
      Karen

  • I hope you don’t mind that I shared your wise words today on Facebook, along with a link to this post. We truly are blessed when we share our abundance.
    Jenny B

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