Thankfully No Cartoon

My small tapestry isn’t following a cartoon. This time, I am making it up as I go. It’s an exercise in spontaneity, which is good for someone who is most comfortable when she knows exactly what comes next.

I know enough of the fundamentals of tapestry weaving that I can “wing it.” It also helps that I have enough past mistakes in my experience to have learned a few things. Think of this improvisation as another dimension of practice. A challenge that turns into a learning experience. I have much to learn, so I’m thankful for the experience.

Small frame-loom tapestry. Travel weaving!

Small frame-loom tapestry. Fåro wool weft, 12/6 cotton warp.

Sometimes life’s turns give us some weaving to do without a comfortable cartoon to follow. We make it up as we go. An exercise in spontaneity? Yes. Even in this, though, we see the improvised design emerge. Give thanks. The Grand Weaver who taught you how to get this far has your learning experience in mind when He brings you to another challenge. Knowing we have much to learn, let’s give Him thanks!

May you learn enough to enjoy “winging it.”

Happy Thanks-Giving,
Karen

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Only Five Centimeters!

Five centimeters is not very far! That’s all that‘s left of this Lizard tapestry. I expect to cut it off in a day or two. What a delight this first attempt at four-shaft tapestry has been!

Nearing completion of Lizard tapestry on four shafts!

Close to cutting off! The Lizard will soon appear in the completed woven image.

Nobody makes a masterpiece on their first try. It takes practice—lots of it. And that’s something I’m eager to do. The experience has been richly satisfying as a weaver. I am invigorated by the challenge of paying attention to a cartoon, and then watching the image grow on the loom. It’s like painting by number, only better. I get to “make” the paint with multiple strands of yarn.

Afternoon sun on the wool tapestry image.

Afternoon sun gives an added dimension to the wool tapestry image.

Coming to the end of this four-shaft tapestry.

Many weft color changes are in the last few centimeters, which keeps it interesting. And I don’t mind the slow pace because I don’t really want the experience to end.

We need something to guide us. We need to align our lives with a sure standard of truth, like matching up the image being woven with the center warp end, so we won’t drift off course. Pay attention to the truth. There are persuasive arguments and countless opinions, but isn’t it truth that helps makes sense of reality? God opens our eyes and hearts to see truth. And as we pay attention to truth, and align with it, we get to experience the amazing view of his tapestry being woven all around us.

May you know when to pay attention.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • susie weitzel says:

    I have been following this tapestry closely. So very anxious to see the finished work of art.

  • Margaret says:

    Thank you for your weaving words. May your day be blessed.

  • Marjorie Clay says:

    Can you explain briefly how the multiple shafts work in creating this tapestry? When I think of tapestry, I think of Navajo weaving, which is essentially plain weave. How do the different sheds available on a 4-shaft loom work on a tapestry?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marjorie, Most tapestry is woven on two shafts. With four shafts I can thread the loom for plain weave and a rosepath or twill threading, and then I have plain weave and a patterned weave for the tapestry. This Lizard tapestry has a rosepath threading. I became interested in this type of tapestry after seeing some of Joanne Hall’s tapestries, and pictures of Helena Hernmarck’s tapestries. This is a new endeavor for me, so I’m still learning how it all works (or should work).

      Karen

  • Liberty says:

    I’m so excited to see it!!
    Liberty

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Quiet Friday: Linen Chair Seats

This week I crossed something off my Weaving Bucket List: Use handwoven fabric to upholster chairs. Remember the color-and-weave linen fabric? It’s part of my collection of fabrics designed specifically for our Texas hill country home. I covered four barstool seats with this linen upholstery fabric!

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric.

Weaving the fabric is the easy part. But I’m a newbie at upholstering. As such, using my “precious” handwoven cloth is unnerving. But I was fortunate enough to receive terrific advice and encouragement from friends, including one who conferred on my behalf with professional upholsterers she knows. And another friend generously loaned her power staple gun to me. I also referred to a book (Matthew Haly’s Book of Upholstery, by Matthew Haly) that I picked up a few years ago in hopes that I might someday reach this item on my bucket list.

Testing handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Trying out handwoven fabric for chair seats.

Removing staples, to re-cover the seat.

Covering seats with batting and muslin.

Reupholstering chair seats. Muslin first.

Handwoven linen upholstery fabric. Covering chair seats.

Handwoven linen upholstery for chair seats.

Backing the upholstered chair seats. Handwoven upholstery.

Upholstery backing in place. Handwoven upholstery project.

Finished handwoven linen chair seat! Ta da!

Underside of re-covered chair seats.

Four newly upholstered chair seats. Handwoven Upholstery.

Handwoven linen upholstery. Newly covered chair seats.

Newly covered chair seats. Handwoven Linen!

I count this as practice and a first step of experience. Eventually, I may work up the courage to reupholster our eight dining room chairs. Hmm… the thought of getting to design the fabric makes that challenge rather appealing.

May you cross something off your bucket list.

Your amateur upholsterer,
Karen

32 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They look fantastic, Karen!

  • Shirley Haeny says:

    You did a great job. I`m sure your dining room chairs will turn out just as good.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Shirley, I appreciate the encouragement! The dining room chairs will have to get in line. I have a few other projects in mind before I tackle more chairs.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    Awesome! Have you put a Scotch Guard on the fabric. I would be afraid to use the chairs. lol

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I hear you! As a matter of fact, we have Scotchguard on our list for errands this morning, to treat the seats before we install them on the chairs.

      And little children will sit on a towel until I get some child covers made for the seats.

      And when the chairs become too stained and worn, I’ll make some more fabric and recover the seats. 🙂

      Karen

  • From your photos, it looks like you were given good advice. It is nice that you had flat seat bottoms to work with first. If you ever work with curved bottoms, make sure you staple the front and back in the middle first and then work out toward the sides. Sides are next from the center towards the corners. Corners are last, just as you did with your seats.

    For a first timer, they turned out beautifully. Start planning fabric for those dining room chairs!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, Sounds like you are another person I can come to for advice! Thanks for the tip; that makes a lot of sense. I need all the help I can get.

      I’m going to start collecting fabric ideas for the dining room chairs. I already know the main colors I want to include.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    Beautifully done, Karen! Congratulations on your “new” stools!

  • Rachel says:

    You inspire me – thank you. I have upholstered chairs but planning fabric for a stool my husband stained for me years ago – I can do this through your inspiring blog. God bless your fingers and mind as you share your talent.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, What a worthy project you have in mind! That will make your stool all that much more special.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    One bite of elephant, and before you know it…. The project is complete. Great job.

  • Karen says:

    Very “clean” and elegant. That fabric would fit with classic to contemporary style. They look lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, We’re trying to develop a hint of Arts and Crafts style in this home, with a contemporary touch. Hopefully, this works with that! I like hearing how you see it.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Michele says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of work. You did a fabulous job. They look perfect. Congratulations.

  • Joanna says:

    Oh wow! Perfect!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Karen
    They look wonderful. I just love them. I’m so proud of you!
    Liberty

  • D’Anne says:

    Wonderful job, Karen! You’re braver than I am. I wove the fabric and had the chairs covered professionally.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, That was a wise move to have your chairs covered professionally. This seemed like a “safe” project to see if I could do it myself. I’m sure your chairs are beautiful!

      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    Those turned out incredible. I’m going to need new seat cushions, just the kind you tie on, I might have to give thought to weaving the fabric for those.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindie, I hope you do weave your fabric for new seat cushions. That’s one of the perks of being a handweaver. We can make our own fabric! 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Mary says:

    What fun! The chairs look great! I encourage you to continue to create cloth for upholstery! Yay!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Thanks for the prompting. It makes a lot of sense to weave cloth for upholstery. I think I will do more of it!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Kay Larson says:

    They look Fantastic! Maybe one day I will have the courage to weave the fabric and then redo our barstools and dining chairs.

  • Ruth says:

    Nothing amature about this project! You are a professional and so talented. Lovely, lovely work. Blessings

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, You’re so sweet! I’m honored that you think so highly of my work. As the maker, I see loads of room for improvement, but I’ll take your kind compliment.

      I am blessed, indeed, to get to weave and to grow in these endeavors.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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My Four-Shaft Tapestry – Will it Work?

Is this going to work? Yes, I think so. I am testing things out. So far, so good. Can I follow the cartoon? Yes. Do I have a good way to hold the cartoon in place? Yes. And to put the color and value key where I can see it? Yes. Do I have enough yarn in each of the colors, values, and thicknesses that I need? No. I see some gaps, especially in the mid-to-dark value range. I am ordering more yarn today. Is four-shaft tapestry going to be as delightful an experience as I’ve long hoped? Most probably, yes! Word of the day: Yes!

Wool yarns for four-shaft tapestry.

Testing, testing. Blending of yarns, blending of colors, checking value contrasts.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses for tapestry.

Blending yarn colors and thicknesses gives interesting results. This is practice for some of the background area of the tapestry.

Testing new approach to tapestry weaving.

Finding out if I can follow details on the cartoon. Experimenting with adding floats in places as texture to enhance the design.

Trying out four-shaft tapestry.

Will I be able to handle multiple yarn butterflies? I think so.

Practicing technique for a new tapestry on the Glimakra Ideal loom.

Testing some of the green hues for part of the main subject of the tapestry. Also keeping an eye on selvedges, so they don’t draw in.

Testing various elements before starting the *actual* tapestry.

Plenty of warp is available for practice. I want to test all the critical elements before I start the *actual* tapestry. This tapestry will be woven horizontally.

Words. I am affected by words—spoken by others, and spoken from my own mouth. Grace in our words can be an invitation of kindness and relief to someone who is testing our framework. When Christ’s words dwell in us, the richness of his words affect our being. And then, our words of yes and no are grace-filled bearers of hope.

May you see hope on your horizon.

With hope,
Karen

6 Comments

  • The practice weaving is lovely. Timeless….

    May the fourth be with you– 🙂

    Nannette

  • Joanne Hall says:

    You have a great start on this project. Keep sending us updates. Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I’m looking forward to working on this! I will show my progress as it grows!

      Thanks for the encouragement!
      Karen

  • Michele Dixon says:

    I’m interested in how you attached your cartoon to the loom. I’ve never done it on a horizontal loom so I’m not sure what I’ll do when the time comes.

    Love your practice piece. I can’t wait to see what you actually weave.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michele, Thanks for the idea! I think I’ll do a post in the near future on how I attach the cartoon.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Building Blocks in Double Weave

Troubles. What troubles? All is forgotten now that the shuttle is ready to soar. After my threading misadventure and correction, I’m ready to weave! But first… The treadle tie-ups need adjustments. And then, after weaving a couple inches, a few more adjustments. Now the shed is nearly perfect on every treadle. Ready, set, wait a minute… Sample. Which shuttle goes where to lock in the weft? How many picks make a square? Is my beat consistent?

Waterfall of colorful threads over the back beam!

Like a spectacular waterfall, warp ends splash with color over the back beam. First adjustments have been made to treadle tie-ups. Ready to start weaving the sample.

Sample first. Double weave throw about to begin.

Sample gives opportunity to practice and experiment. Checking shed clearances, weft color tryouts, synchronizing two shuttles, consistent beating–a few of the reasons why it makes sense to sample first.

After completing the sample, I am now weaving the wide dark plum beginning border of the double weave throw. In a few inches I will be enjoying the colorful blocks that we have all been waiting for. Building blocks. Success, setbacks, adjustments, and practice, all build a foundation of weaving experience.

Beginning dark plum border of a double weave throw.

Here it is. The real thing. The beginning border of the actual double weave throw.

Build. If I’m not careful, my attention goes to the building up of myself. Yet, love focuses on others to build them up. It’s through a process of success, setbacks, adjustments, and practice that love flourishes. When your strong desire is to see the colorful blocks of the weave, you press through until you see it. Love is even stronger than that. Our example is Christ. His love makes the pattern of love possible in us.

May you build on what you learn.

Happy weaving,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Joann says:

    What a beautiful blanket that is going to be.
    Joann

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Gorgeous! Love the dark plum background and border and the beautiful squares of many colors! Reminds me of Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors! Bravo, Karen! 🙂

  • Beth says:

    You are resilient! It’s going to be beautiful. Kudos!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Well, I guess I would say I’m determined. I’m not going to let a problem, or two, or three, stop me. Haha!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Rachel says:

    Thank you for sharing your gift and love! It is an encouragement for all of us! Not only are the fibers woven but your words of love from God. As a beginner Weaver I have felt the love of God every time I sit at my loom. May He continue to bless you, your works and your blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, It is interesting that you say you feel the love of God when you sit at the loom. I can relate to that. I have often sensed that the Lord’s grace has placed me at the loom, where I find such satisfaction and joy.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Cindy Bills says:

    You did it! And it is made more special by the love you have shown as you refused to give up on this project, meant as a gift to that one you love. It reminds me of how important our struggles to love are, in light of Christ’s love for us.
    Blessings!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, We know the struggle is worth it—with weaving and with love—when we consider the glorious outcome.

      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Good morning Karen,
    There is so much to learn between the first pot holder and using plum to make the colors sing.
    I’ve got to re-read your earlier postings to see how to adjust the shed to even out the tension. It is forgivable in a rag rug. But, now I now there are new skill to explore.
    Thank you for sharing your journey so others can follow in your trail.
    Nannette.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, One thing that delights me about weaving is that there is no end of things to learn. If you enjoy learning, the weaving loom is the place to be!

      Thanks for coming along,
      Karen

  • Pamela Graham says:

    Hi Karen,
    I can’t begin to express how much your blog has meant to me since I discovered it a few months ago. I have read all your posts and learned, among other things, how important it is to be brave as a hand weaver. You take bravery to new heights!
    I have questions about this beautiful throw: is it double width with double weave blocks? How wide will the finished throw be?
    P.S. I’m heading to Vavstuga in a little over a week for the basics class and can’t wait. Thanks to your posts I think I will be able to keep up.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Pam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, Your thoughtful words make my heart sing! I’m so happy that you have learned useful things here. I’m humbled that someone has read all my posts! Whew, I call that brave. 🙂
      I’m sure your time at Vavstuga will be rewarding. I’d love to hear how it goes for you, if you would drop me a line after you get back!

      This throw is double weave, meaning two layers of fabric are woven at the same time, but it is not double width. For this double weave, the two layers change places where the blocks change, so the upper and lower layer are interlocked, and the weft at the sides interlock, too. For something double width, it’s the same two-layer concept, but the layers interlock only on one selvedge, so it can unfold when off the loom. This throw is 103cm (about 41”) weaving width.

      Very happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Michelle says:

    It’s lovely–and so is your perseverance and generosity in sharing! You are an inspiration!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle, You are so kind! I’m very fortunate that I get to share what I enjoy with interested friends like you.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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