Weaving Some Simple Borders

I need to free up this little loom in order to put on a different warp that has a deadline. So, now that I have returned from my travels, my attention is going to these towels. My friend is letting me weave this lovely cottolin warp that she got at Vavstuga.

Simple border stripe in first towel of the Vavstuga towel kit.
Simple border stripe in first towel. Straight twill.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Cottolin warp and 8/1 tow linen weft.
Point twill on four shafts.
Point twill on four shafts. Three horizontal stripes made with half-bleached tow linen weft.

Straight twill, point twill, broken twill, and now “rick-rack.” And after that, a couple towels in plain weave. Everyone who weaves this Vavstuga towel kit and follows the instructions will end up with the same six towels. True? Not necessarily. I like to step off the expected path. That is why I vary the weft and include some type of simple border design on each towel.

Loom with a view. Texas Hill Country.
Three colors of 8/1 tow linen sit on the little blue table as choices for weft. Half-bleached, Unbleached, and Bronze.
Broken twill for a cottolin towel.
Changed the tie-up to broken twill, which allows me to keep a simple straight treadling pattern. Dashed weft pattern for the border stripe is produced by alternating the bronze linen weft with the half-bleached linen weft.
Color-blocked towel uses three neutral weft colors.
Long wavy vertical lines give the appearance of rick-rack. Again, I changed the tie-up to keep the simple straight treadling pattern. I use all three weft colors in this color-blocked towel.
Cottolin towels with 8/1 tow linen weft.
Plain weave, with four shafts and two treadles. The main body of the towel uses the unbleached linen weft. Two picks of half-bleached linen are sandwiched between several rows of bronze linen weft.

There is a wide path that is crowded with many people. It’s the common and expected way of life. It’s where you stay if you want to fit in with everyone else. But if you search for it, you’ll find an uncommon path. It’s narrow; and few find it. It’s the path of life that is found in Jesus Christ. Stand in the narrow path. That is where your unique features will show up as border designs that set you apart as a cherished child of God.

May you be set apart.

Happy weaving,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Joanna says:

    What a timely post this is! I have a long striped towel warp on that I was getting seriously bored with after only two towels. Right now it’s 4S/2T in a straight draw, but I was mulling over putting more treadles on and fiddling with the tie-up. Thanks for helping me decide (I’m prone to dithering). Bless you, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I tend to thrive on variety. Maybe you’re like me in that regard? I have changed the tie-up three times on this warp so far. With only four shafts, it’s an easy way to change things up. The instructions that came with the Vavstuga towel kit gave different tie-up options, so I thought – why not do them all? 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kristin Martzall says:

    Your posts are so inspiring! How do you use the grosgrain ribbon? as a measuring device? Like a cash register tape bit not as bulky and fragile.?
    Thanks ,in advance ,for your help in explaining that process!

    Kris

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Welcome!
      The marked grosgrain ribbon came with the Vavstuga towel kit. I normally use twill tape for the same purpose – to pre-measure the desired length of what I am weaving. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it: Tools Day: Measured Weaving

      Happy weaving!
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Welcome home, Karen! I am sure that you missed your looms! Were you able to finish the tapestry from Big Bend?
    I also like to try different tie ups or striping when I make towels. I like the combination of striping and pattern you have with those colors.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I made some good progress on my Big Bend tapestry while away. But my floor looms have a louder voice in calling me than the portable frame loom does. I guess I better set aside some quiet evening time to finish the tapestry.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Five sentences, so precious, choose the narrow path!

    Thank you and Blessings.

    Linda

  • Pam Cauchon says:

    Thank you, Karen, for such wise words. I had been questioning my decision to simplify my life. While simplification is good for contemplation it can be a bit lonely. Weaving provides those moments for contemplation and it is encouraging to hear from someone who is like-minded. To know Christ’s narrow path is well worth it. Then I realize I’m not so lonely after all. Indeed, thank you for the encouraging words.

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Hint of Shadows

I hope this isn’t cheating, but I added a teeny bit of embroidery to the finished bluebonnets. One thing I learned with this transparency is that an image that looks flat can be improved with a hint of shadows.

Woven transparency just off the loom.

Wide casing at the top and bottom of the bluebonnet transparency make it easy to hang for display. I envision it hanging from a stripped and polished cedar rod, harvested from our Texas hill country property.

I’m thankful for my husband’s artful eye. He helped me identify the “off-screen sunlight” that would produce natural shadows. I am adding a few darker stitches to the right-hand side of some of the lighter areas, and a touch at the sides and lower end of the flower stems. My hope is to give the picture a bit more depth.

Embroidery added to finished woven transparency.

A single strand of mora wool in a darker shade is used to embroider some outline stitches on the right side of some of the bluebonnet petals.

Shadows tell us something: There is a light source. Find out where the light is coming from. That is what it’s like for those seeking God. There are shadows everywhere you look. We see the shadows–the effects of a shining light. And we want to find the source.

Texas Bluebonnets transparency. Karen Isenhower

Hint of shadows helps give shape to the otherwise flat transparency.

Go on a search and exploration expedition. Start with small shadows that you see, the circumstances and blessings that hint at an outside light source. Such seekers may discover that God is just off-screen, waiting to be found.

May you follow where the shadows lead.

With joy,
Karen

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Pretty Fine Threads

This towel project has 896 warp ends! 24/2 cotton is pretty fine (as in thin) for towels. These lightweight towels will have textural character from the M’s and O’s weave structure. The warp is unbleached cotton, except for some color near the borders. The weft, 20/1 half-bleached linen, is also finer threads.

Pencil and paper, and Fiberworks to design some towels.

Pencil and paper, Fiberworks, and tubes of thread are used in the design process.

I don’t often use the computer to design weaving projects. But this time simply writing out the draft on paper wasn’t enough. Fiberworks enabled me to work out a design I’m excited to put on the loom! That still wasn’t enough, though. I needed to keep at it to settle on the colors. Examining color combinations through color wrapping was a tremendous help in finalizing my design.

Color wrapping for designing cotton towels.

Solid color stripe sits next to a stripe with alternating dark/light colors.

In things that matter, it makes sense to keep pressing for answers. Take the extra steps to make sure you are on track. Search for answers. What you look for, you find. Is it possible that God shows Himself to those who want to find Him? It’s an honest quest. God, if You are there, let me find You. It’s worth the extra push. The fine threads, the design, the colors. The pretty fine threads do fall into place.

Which color combination would you choose?

Variations on a theme. Do you have a favorite?

I’m curious–which color wrapping combo would you select? Share your thoughts in the comments. You will see my choice when I warp the loom!

May you find your heart’s desire.

Happy weaving,
Karen

~UPDATE~ Towel Kits ~

The response for the towel kits last week was amazing! The kits sold out in a few minutes. I’m sorry if you were disappointed and were not able to snatch a kit.

Five more towel kits are ready! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, will be listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop today, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, about 3:00 p.m. (CT).

If these kits sell out I will make some more!

If you are not already on the Towel Kit notification list, and would like to be notified when the next round of towel kits are ready, please send me a message HERE.

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

35 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    The black and white is a great classic but, I’m attracted to the reddish combination.

    Congratulations on the towel kit sales!

    • Karen says:

      Beth, I agree that the black and white is a classic look. The reddish set is red and orange, but the white threads between the orange soften it and make it compatible with the red.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Sara Jeanne says:

    Personal favorite #2. As always, your blog is inspiring!
    Thanks Karen

    • Karen says:

      Sara Jeanne, It’s great to hear from you!
      #2 works well because the 2 colors are close in hue, which I tested by looking at the pics in black and white.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts!
      Karen

  • Julia says:

    Hmmm? Each color combination has its own character – can’t say which is my favorite, just like the seasons and the weather and children. Do we have to choose? Can’t we weave, experience, have each one? They are all so lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia, Haha good answer. Well, you can have and weave each one if you want, but I’m only going to put these threads (almost 900) on the loom one time. I have to choose. 🙂

      Karen

  • Sandy Huber says:

    I like them all, but my eye keeps going to #2 🙂

  • Betsy says:

    I like all of them, but I would lean toward #4.

  • Cuyler says:

    Like #2 very much.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think I like #2 the best, but would be tempted to combine the # 2and # 4 together ☺
    Carolee

  • Doris Walker says:

    I actually like #2 & #3. But I am sure any of them would work up well.

  • Peg Cherre says:

    Interesting responses. So much about color is personal. I like #3 & #4 best…seem to be alone in that.

    • Karen says:

      Peg, I agree, so much about color is personal. That could be an interesting study – what factors contribute to an individual’s “color sense?”

      Karen

  • Gerda Hoogenboom says:

    Number 2, definitely. And good to hear your towel kits are doing so well. Would be tempted, but postage to France would make them too expensive to ever use.!!

  • Nanette says:

    Since these are such light towels, I wonder what kind they are…too light for kitchen? Good for finger tip? I like #4 but it might be too subtle for many places….I’d consider where it will go. A warp stripe is a big commitment–what will the weft be? Can/will you vary that with colors?..

    • Karen says:

      Nanette, I don’t think they will be too light for kitchen use. With linen weft they will make very absorbent towels. I am considering weaving a long length for a dining table runner…

      The overall weft is half-bleached linen. I plan to make weft stripes that match the warp stripes. The stripes will form a border “frame” on the four sides of the towel. If I make a table runner I will probably leave off the weft stripes.

      You are right about warp stripes being a big commitment. Hmm… sounds like material for a blog post. 😉

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • maggie says:

    my vote is #4. living in where i do green is a neutral. but i’ve found blue towels sell first. unfortunately i don’t like blue.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Your comment makes me chuckle. I love blue – any shade of blue is my favorite color. So I purposely avoided blue because I wanted a challenge, and blue seemed too easy. 🙂

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    I love them all, but I like #4, the best, soft and beautiful!

  • Bev says:

    Number 3 is my personal favorite with #2 as second choice, but my favorite color has always been red (but not pink) but 1 or 4 would probably fit most peoples color themes better.

  • Anonymous says:

    #1 is my fav, but 4 intrigues me…

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m drawn to number 4 because it is evocative of the colors we often see in flax when it is first spun.

  • Cindy Bills says:

    #3 and #2 are tied for me. I’m looking forward to seeing the weaving on your loom.
    Almost thirty years ago I came to a point in my life where I prayed that very prayer. If you are there, God, let me find you! And He did! So thankful He draws us to Himself. Words can not express. But I think you understand. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Dear Cindy, I am eager to wind this warp and dress the loom. With so many color viewpoints it will be interesting to see how the final arrangement works out!

      I’m so pleased and touched to hear your story. I’m sincerely grateful, too, that God draws us to Himself.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Irene says:

    I like 2 and 3, but 2 is my favorite. Love warm colors.

    Received the river stripe kit it. Thank you for shipping to Sarasota.

    Irene

  • Kathy says:

    2 and 3 also tied for me. 2 might be better just because it is different from usual red and white.

  • Pam Cauchon says:

    Hi, Karen, You have shown some beautiful combinations. I love the natural colors of #4.

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Empty Quills

No matter how much thread is on the quill, if you keep weaving, you will eventually come to a bare quill. Three at once, this time. Two with tencel in the double-bobbin shuttle and one with 8/2 cotton. A quill is a small item with an essential role. This mostly-hidden cardboard cylinder holds the threads that weave.

Kuvikas on eight shafts.

Kuvikas on eight shafts with 8/2 cotton warp, 8/2 cotton ground weave, and doubled 8/2 tencel pattern weft.

An empty quill is a stopping place. You have to stop. Wind another quill, or three, before you weave some more. Or, use quills from your loom bench basket that you had already wound. It’s the cycle of weaving. Weave. Stop. New quill. Weave. Stop. And so on.

The quill is mostly hidden until the thread runs out. Likewise, truth seems like a secret until it comes to light. And then you realize it holds the fibers of life. Truth is worth searching for. It is central to understanding our existence. Examine a thread of reality, keep pulling that thread, and unroll it. It always ends up at truth. Truth is that core, that weaver’s quill, around which reality is wound. For our Grand Weaver, truth always holds the threads that weave.

May truth be at your core.

Yours,
Karen

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Second Half of the Rug

I have five yards of the blue fabric, and no more. I’m in a pickle if the blue runs out. The pile of blue is dwindling fast. No worries. Two simple habits resolve the issue. I don’t have to wonder if I will have enough blue to finish the rug.

Double binding rag rug on Glimakra Standard loom.

Almost out of blue fabric for the first half of the rug.

My secret?
1. Mark the halfway point on the measuring ribbon. This gives a point of reference.
2. When cutting fabric strips, divide the strips into two piles. Put one pile aside, reserving it for the second half of the rug.

Fabric strips ready for second half of rag rug.

Bottom drawer of the Elfa cart next to the loom holds the fabric strips that have been set aside.

This practice enables me to adjust the rug design, if needed, before it’s too late. On the current rug, the wide stripe across the middle just became a little wider.

Double binding rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Two shuttles carry the same fabric. This puts continuous weft color across the width of the warp.

Double binding rag rug in the making.

Marked measuring ribbon shows I have passed the halfway point of the weaving. The rest is all downhill!

What point of reference is there for leading a fulfilling life? Can we know if we have what’s needed to finish well? Our hearts search for truth. We know we need a reliable point of reference. Search for the Lord; seek him. He is the reference point of truth that brings coherence to our existence. We can trust our Grand Weaver to put aside for us everything we need to live a fulfilled life, all the way to the end.

May you have what you need when you need it.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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