Weave Past the Mid Mark

“Mid” marks the halfway point on every pre-measured tape I make. I like to know when I’m starting the second half of something. It’s a target before I reach it, and a passing milestone after I cross that line.

Middle line marks the halfway point in the weaving.

Pre-measured twill tape has a line at the halfway point, marked “Mid.” Tail from a spliced warp end will be trimmed in the finishing process.

As I’m weaving this throw, my thoughts jump ahead. I will have a few skipped threads to fix, and spliced warp ends to clip. I think about how I will hem the piece, and wash and dry it. In what special manner shall I present the finished throw to my beloved daughter-in-law? And, my mind goes to the twelve-shaft double weave towels for my daughter that are up next, with the flowery threads beckoning me from the shelves.

Cotton double weave on the loom.

Double weave with eight shafts. 8/2 cotton.

Shelves of weaving thread!

Do you see the aqua, poppy, marigold, and orchid cottolin threads that are ready to jump off the shelves and be woven into hand towels?

I’d like to know where I am in the span of my life. There is no “Mid” mark, though, is there? I’m not in charge of that measured tape. Faith in Christ, love, and perseverance—these form a foundation. A solid foundation is security for life. In this security, I think about what I need to repair and resolve and finish. And how to leave intangible gifts that outlive me. And I think about the glory that awaits. Imagine fabric of unbridled creativity in colors only heaven knows!

May your second half be better than your first.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Meg says:

    What a awesome, beautiful, fantastic piece. And congrats to midway.

  • Written like the creative soul God created you as.

    Midway is hard to place with life on Earth. It is not as ‘tangible’ as your weaving. I often wonder why some people have a very short midpoint and others…. much longer… What have they left behind to continue on through others?

    Even so, having been gifted hand woven fabric from another generation, I cannot help but look at your sparkling colors and see the colors they will fade to be with time. Is the softness that time brings to dyes also a softness God gives to our memories left behind.

    Blessings,

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, The items I have of my grandmother’s handwork is faded, as you say. Her memory lives on in me, and is softly faded to the point I only remember the good things about her.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen. At my age, I have no doubt that I have long since passed my mid point although I didn’t really wake up to that fact until I hit fifty. The first half of my life, I believed the tangible was so important; but in the second half, I believe that it is the intangible we leave behind that will be the longest lasting.
    After seeing so many beautiful handcrafted items in second hand stores, I realized that what I valued as family heirlooms to be handed down through the generations with stories may not be valued as such by the recipient of my work.
    So I just try to concentrate on the enjoyment of creating whatever I make, make what I like and hope that someone else might value it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I agree with you that the intangible seems more important now. The values we pass on will outlast the things we hand down.

      Blessings,
      Karen

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Thank you all for your reflections, uncannily, similar to my own recently… the Holy Spirit weaving through our lives. Can you recommend 4 shaft double weave patterns for baby blankets? Though the blankets will probably not last, hopefully the love that weaves them will cover those new little lives.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, The only 4-shaft double weave I’ve done was a double-width throw. The double weave baby blankets I’ve woven were on 8-shafts. Both the double-width and the 8-shaft double weave projects were from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Your love will definitely have the longest-lasting impact.

      All the best,
      Karen

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How Many Square Knots?

Would you like to tie 1,890 knots? These rag rugs have more warp ends than usual. Every four warp ends are tied into a square knot, and pulled tight. With 756 ends and five rugs, the knots add up! But it’s the best way I know to make the rug permanently secure. Hand-stitched hems will finalize the process. Three of the five spaced rep rugs are finished and hemmed. Two to go.

Rag rug finishing. Tying square knots.

Four warp ends are tied into a square knot. Plastic quilters clip keeps tied ends out of the way.

Tying knots on rag rug warp ends.

Sacking needles are used for easing the warp ends out of the scrap weft, and for wrapping the thread around to tie tight knots, as shown in this short video: Quick Tip: Square Knots Without Blisters.

Finishing work for rag rugs.

Progress.

Christmas is about a heavenly promise. Jesus is the promise of God. Jesus—the word of God in person. The promise of God is as near as our own mouths and our own hearts—we say it and believe it. The promise is brought to us by grace, which means all the knots have been tied for us, and the hem is stitched. It is finished. And we enjoy the permanent security of the Savior’s redemptive love. This is no magic carpet, but a handwoven rug with rags that have been made beautiful.

May you enjoy a promise fulfilled.

Have a grace-filled Christmas,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    That’s a lot of knots! Wondering, since the hems will be turned under could the ends be secured with machine zig zag stitching?

    Merry Christmas, Karen! Thank you for bringing me joy with your posts. I look forward to seeing them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I have tried machine zig-zag stitching on some smaller pieces. It’s tricky to get the zig-zag stitches to catch every warp end. But you have a good point. That would certainly shorten the finishing time! I should do some experiments with that.

      It’s such a treat for me to know that you enjoy these posts!
      Merry Christmas to you,
      Karen

      • Karen, if you are worrying about catching every thread with the zig-zag, a row or two of close straight stitch would work. Personally, I use my serger, set with a closer than usual stitch, but not every weaver has one. It is much faster with either method.

        The only time I tied knots like you are doing was when I was binding the ends with a cloth binding. That many knots does give sore fingers!

        I enjoy your posts and your witness messages.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jenny, Thanks for the pointer about using straight stitches or a serger. The Swedish weaving books that I have instruct to tie knots, so I’ve been following those guidelines. I always appreciate hearing other efficient ways to do things!

          Have a good Christmas!
          Karen

  • Annie Lancaster says:

    I learn so much from you, Karen, both weaving wisdom and spiritual wisdom.

    I am planning to attempt my first rag rug in January. I have already warped my Rigid Heddle loom but I am waiting for January when Ashford will have a Freedom roller available for me to roll the bulky cloth onto the front beam. I am both excited and apprehensive about the new challenge.

    Thank you for sharing your rag rug tips.
    Merry Christmas, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I knew I wanted to weave rag rugs long before I had a floor loom on which to weave them. So, my first rag weaving was on my 32” Beka rigid heddle loom. I didn’t exactly make a rug, but some rag-woven fabric that I turned into little pocketbooks and things.

      I predict you are really going to enjoy the experience!

      Your kind words mean so much to me.
      Merry Christmas,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    I just employed an earlier tip, the treadle adjustment cheat sheet, and it’s exceptionally helpful in keeping me on the right treadle. Like so many others, I eagerly look forward to your posts and not just for the weaving tips. Due to a health issue I must avoid large groups so your loving words about our Lord are a major source of spiritual comfort. Thanks for everything!

    May He who gave Light to the world bring you joy this Christmastide.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I’m touched by your kind thoughts. It is very satisfying to hear that my weaving tips and spiritual insights fall into welcoming hearts.

      Joy to you,
      Karen

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Where the Weft Is Vulnerable

The outside rows of a rag rug are vulnerable. Twining secures the weft, making it a good way to begin and end a rag rug. I cut a length of rug warp thread two and a half times the width of the rug. Starting on the left side, with the length of thread folded in half, the top half goes under, and the lower half goes over each successive warp end.

Twining at the end of a rag rug on the loom.

Twining separates the warp ends evenly and secures the weft. At the end of the row I weave in the ends, and then, beat twice with the beater to push the row of twining firmly into place.

Is it really necessary to secure the weft? When the rug is under tension on the loom it seems like everything is holding together just fine. It is tightly woven, with the weft firmly packed in. Yes. It is necessary. The rug will start falling apart the minute it is cut from the loom. Twining keeps the most vulnerable place of the weaving intact.

Faith is the vulnerable spot where you allow yourself to be loved by God. Wrapped in his mercy and his grace, our weakest point is no longer our entry into failure, but where we are kept in his security. Your faith is the point of access, the opening, for your maker to show his strength to make you complete.

May you rest secure.

Etsy Announcement!
My new Etsy WarpedforGood Shop  is open! I would love for you to come and browse. As my tried and true blog friends, your feedback means a lot to me. Please let me know what you think!

You may remember seeing the progress on some of the items in the shop, like the Warp Rep Rug, the Rosepath Rugs, and the Cutest Little Loom Rugs. The rugs you see on the loom now will be posted in my Etsy shop when they are finished!

Your Friend,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Karen –
    Bravo! Your shop looks terrific. Great pieces. Makes me proud to be a weaver, and I want to weave like you when I grow up! I bet they’ll get swiped up quickly!
    Laurie

  • BARB MUELLER says:

    GREETINGS KAREN
    I JUST STARTED DOING A LITTLE SELF TAUGHT WEAVING. I THOUGHT RATHER THAN SPEND $$ ON A LOOM, I WOULD TRY IT WITH THE HOOLA HOOP. I’M HOOKED. I FOUND IT FILLS THOSE TIMES WHEN I AM ALONE. I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING TO FIND A PLAN ON MAKING A SIMPLE LOOM. AS I GET TO WHERE I CAN MASTER THE LOOM, I WILL WORK MYSELF UP. I HAVE MS AND IT HELPS TO FOCUS ON COGENT THINKING AND EYE HAND COORDINATION. PLUS HELPS THE ARTHRITIS. I PRAY I WILL STILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE MAKING CRAFTS. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS.
    GOD BLESS
    BARB

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Secure with Hemstitching

Easter brings fun things to mind. Spring colors, decorated eggs, pretty dresses. Speaking of pretty dresses, in just one month I will wear my mother-of-the-bride dress, with this handwoven shawl on my shoulders. I am finishing the edge of the shawl with hemstitching on the loom. The hemstitching is decorative, but also has a practical purpose–it secures the warp ends and keeps the cloth from unraveling. If all goes as planned, twisted fringe will hang from the hem-stitched edge.

Hemstitching at the loom. Bamboo shawl.

Using a tapestry needle, every four warp ends are cinched together and connected with the two weft threads nearest the fell line.

Forgiveness, the truest demonstration of love, is the ultimate security. Do you see how forgiveness serves as a finishing edge that gives beauty and definition to real life? When you know you are forgiven, you are secure in knowing you are loved. To be forgiven–that’s the gift, the meaning, the wonder of Easter. This is love. God so loved the world that he offered forgiveness.

May your edges be beautifully finished.

Good Easter to you,
Karen

5 Comments

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When Things Are Unraveling

I love weaving rag rugs, especially Swedish-style rugs. Even though I have a design in mind when I start, I often work out details at the loom. Each rug needs a header–a few inches of weaving that secures the wefts so the rug will stay together when it comes off the loom. The header is woven right before and after the rug, and is removed during rug finishing. It was in the header for this rug that I worked out the treadling and color sequence for the rosepath (rosengång).

Rosepath Rug edge finishing. Ends tied, then trimmed, then hem is folded and stitched.

Ends are pulled from the header and tied, two and two, into square knots to secure the end of the two-inch (5 cm) hem. After all the ends are tied into knots, the threads will be trimmed to 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm), and the hem will be folded under and stitched.

What do you do when life unravels? Hold what you have and try to fix what is failing? If we could see the whole picture, we might see that the part we want to hold onto is the header before the rug. That header may be where the design of the weaver is formed in us, to be repeated in another setting. The header was necessary, but now it is time to let it go.

When things are falling apart, we must look to the master weaver. Yes, the trouble is immense and we don’t know how to fix it. So, we speak to the one who holds the design. We do not know what to do; but, master weaver, our eyes are on you.

May your eyes see hope on the horizon.

Being woven,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Jana Hanus says:

    Hello, Karen, I have an old Union floor loom and the cloth beam threads are bad. Do you know of any place that still makes or sells these types of parts?

    Thank you,
    Jana

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