My Best Weaving Stunt to Date!

Do you ever go out on a limb? I’ve been known to play it safe. But not today! My excitement for weaving this kuvikas structure was severely dampened when I saw that the pattern in the cloth was not the pattern I intended. What happened? I had switched the threading for shafts 1 and 2! Consistently, too–all the way across the warp.

Start of kuvikas (summer and winter), and discovery of threading error.

While testing weft color options, I realize that this is NOT the pattern for which I thought I had threaded. Even though this pattern does reveal an “I” for “Isenhower,” I had my heart set on a square within a square.

I could leave the threading as is. No one would know. Oh, the arguments I had with myself at this point. “Take it out, and re-thread.” “You’d be crazy to take it out and re-thread.” The crazy self won. (I did find myself asking, “What solution would Becky Ashenden, the weaving solution genius, come up with?”) Here is the stupendous thing: I was able to correct the pattern by doing shaft-bar gymnastics. And no re-threading! What?! (I documented the process and will bring it to you in my Quiet Friday post at the end of the month.)

Kuvikas (summer and winter), cotton tabby and tencel pattern weft.

The sight of these little squares within squares makes me extraordinarily happy! 8/2 cotton tabby weft. Doubled 8/2 Tencel pattern weft. Kuvikas, as this weaver intended it to be.

There are times when we are called to go out on a limb. It’s the right thing to do. But the prospect is overwhelming. We ask, “Who? Me?” And “How, Lord?” Trust the Lord, one step at a time. He will be with you. Marvelous things will happen, catching even you by surprise.

May you know when to go out on a limb.



  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Good for you! I bet you did debate long and hard but the square within a square looks wonderful! The other pattern is a bit awkward, as well and not being what you wanted.
    Whether to fix a mistake or something that doesn’t look right does come up often with all of us. I am usually in favor of changing it….
    Last night I was trying to do decreases in a knitting project and I kept having to rip it out as I wasn’t getting the pattern right…but it’s done now!
    What are you making?

    • Karen says:

      Debbie, Yes, this is a common dilemma for makers, because mistakes happen. Whether to ignore it and move on, or to find a fix. It depends on the degree of the error and the risk involved in the correction. This seemed like a big risk, but I thought it through long and hard before taking the leap. I needed to fix this to be able to enjoy the rest of the weaving.

      Right now, I am calling this “yardage,” which is code for “I don’t know what I will make from it.” Perhaps pillows, or a bag of some sort. I do need a bag for my laptop…

      All the best,

  • Nanette Mosher says:

    But if you look at the sample, and imagine that you treadled each section the same length, wouldn’t you have a rather nice alternating square within a cress pattern? Considering the error, I’m surprised you got any good pattern! But yes, I always feel better taking out anything I’m not happy with! N.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nanette, You’re right, it would have been an alternating square within a cross pattern, and it would have been a pleasant pattern. My husband liked it and would have been happy if I had woven it as is. But I wasn’t going to be satisfied with it. I do feel better now. 🙂

      Happy weaving,

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End of Warp Surprise

The end of the warp is a fantastic way to try out ideas for future weaving projects. I have some kid mohair/silk yarn on my shelf in blue, lavender, and tan. I wove some pretty shawls with this angelic yarn a few years ago on my rigid heddle loom. Hmm… would kid mohair/silk work as weft on the alpaca warp? This is a good way to learn. If it works, I know I can do it again, but on a larger scale. If it doesn’t work, I know what to avoid. The point is to learn.

Kid mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Lavender mohair/silk weft on alpaca warp.

Alpaca warp and kid mohair/silk weft for a dreamy scarf.

As handweavers, we learn by doing. And in daily life, we learn by doing–walking in this manner or that. We do not walk alone. The Lord stands ready to teach every inquiring soul. My prayer is, “Lord, teach me; help me understand; help me walk.” Sometimes what we learn surprises us. The trial weft may be even better than the one we originally planned.

May you enjoy lifelong learning.



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Handwoven Thick and Thin Towels

Do you remember the black and white towels? I love the fascinating results of weaving with thick and thin warp ends, and thick and thin weft threads. That’s why I submitted a project to Handwoven for their November/December 2016 Thick & Thin issue. I gave you only a brief glimpse of the thick and thin towels I wove on an Aquamarine, Teal, and Moss warp, from the palette given me for that issue. (See Tools Day: Loom Cart and This Time in Color.)

Thick and thin towels on the loom.

Double bobbin shuttle carries the doubled weft.

Thick and thin towels at the front beam. Karen Isenhower

Breast beam with thick and thin towels.

Thick and thin towels just off the loom!

Cut from the loom, new colorful thick and thin towels.

Thick and thin towels just off the loom. Karen Isenhower

Towels just off the loom.

Guess what!? My project was accepted for publication. Not only that, these towels that I enjoyed designing and weaving have been placed on the cover! What an unexpected privilege!

Excited to see my Thick and Thin towels on the cover of Handwoven!

Credit: Photograph by Joe Coca from Handwoven November/December 2016 magazine. Copyright © F+W Media 2016.

As great as it is to have your handiwork appear on the cover of a national publication, there is something even greater–being loved. Being on the receiving end of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Love is like that. Love is to be demonstrated. That’s how Christ demonstrated his love to me–kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. His love is printed on the cover of my heart, with instructions written within so that I can learn to love like I’ve been loved. That’s the cover story I like to tell.

May your heart be covered with love.

With love,

PS I am recovering from back surgery better than anyone expected. I’m not weaving yet, of course, but I have no shortage of things to share with you while I regain my strength! Thanks for your wonderful encouraging words and prayers for my full recovery.

PPS My draft and instructions for the thick and thin towels are in this Handwoven November/December 2016 issue. This is the same draft I used for the black and white towels.
For purchase of the Handwoven November/December 2016 print edition:
For purchase of the digital edition:
For weavingtoday:


  • Debbie Davis says:

    Congratulations, Karen! You’re a wonderful example of creativity and craft I the weaving world!

  • Shearling says:

    I thought that these towels were stunning in black and white. Nice in color, too. Congratulations on being the “Cover Girl!”

  • Ruth says:

    I can’t wait for my copy of Handwoven to arrive in my mail box! Congratulations and wishing you a continued speedy recovery.

  • Janet says:

    Congratulations Karen!! I’m excited to get my copy and definitely will weave these!!

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    Congratulations! Looking for to my copy of Handwoven. What an honor.

  • Laurice Johnson says:

    How thrilling for you and well deserved. I loved the black and white posting so much that I took on the challenge on my RH. It stretched my brain to get the threading right but at the end I was thrilled with them and plan on weaving more. Now I will have visuals in a multi colored combination. Thanks for all you do.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurice, I remember you asking about the black and white towels for your rigid heddle. Congratulations on making it work! I would be so delighted to see what you’ve done. Would you mind sending me a picture? You can email it to me karen at WarpedforGood dot com. You make what I do worthwhile. 🙂


  • Sandy says:

    Congratulations! What an honour to have your project selected for the cover!

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    Gratulations! To me, this exemplifies your sincere willingness to share your knowledge, how joyfully you give of yourself…your readiness to serve. I am really thankful that you in everything you do demonstrate such love.


  • Julia says:

    You are healing more quickly than anyone thought because your True Divine nature is shinning through! How fun and exciting for that and for your beautiful expression of Divine creativity to be shared front and center with our weaving community.

  • Cindie says:

    Congratulations!!! And that cover pic is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve seen in a while.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Cindie! I am extremely pleased with the photography for this issue — on the cover and on the article page (which I did not reveal). They did a great job!


  • Marcia Cooke says:

    Karen, that is FANTASTIC! Congratulations….I’m looking forward to this issue!

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    WOW! Congratulations, Karen! Your work is always beautiful! So glad you are recovering nicely from the back surgery.

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Oh I’m so happy for you Karen! Both the cover and the surgery. You deserve it!

  • Martha says:

    Whoot! Whoot! Huzzah for the cover girl! Karen, your project looks fantastic on the HW cover. Looking forward to seeing the magazine when it hits my mailbox. Congratulations.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much, Martha! I am pretty excited about it! I think they did an excellent job with the staging, photography, and type print color for the cover. I’m glad my towels get to be a part of that!


  • Pam says:

    Hi Karen, we have mutual friends from the Mustard Seed days and I saw one of them like your FB post so I came to check you out. While art was not my major in college at KU I took two weaving classes and LOVED them. I am so jealous. Years ago my dad wanted to buy me a loom but we had a small house at that time. These towels are so beautiful. Congratulations on the recognition.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pam, I certainly have seen your name pop up on FB every now and then on Mendo’s posts and others. 🙂 I’m so glad you were drawn over here! I know now that KU had, and still has I’m told, a good weaving program. It’s probably good I didn’t know that at the time, or I might have missed out on pursuing my ‘cello studies and getting a music degree. I’m a late bloomer with weaving. It’s never too late to start…

      Thank you for the gracious compliments!
      All the best,

  • doree porter says:

    WOW! Praise God! I love your towels and your story. The LORD has led me into watercolor painting. I pray thatHe can work through me and what He has given to me to share His story like He has done through you. 🙂 (We were together in leadership in MITI)

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Doree, It’s wonderful to hear from you! Art is a gift from the Father’s hand. I know He has a beautiful path for you with your watercolor painting. I have seen some of your work on FB– it’s outstanding! How exciting!


  • Leigh says:

    Congratulations on getting the cover! I am so excited for you. I’m excited for the rest of us too, to be getting the draft for your wonderful towels. I’ll be keeping my eyes open, waiting for Handwoven to arrive.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much, Leigh! I’m keeping my eyes open, too, waiting for that magazine to arrive!! Please let me know if you try the draft. I’d love to hear how it goes, and see pics of what you do with it!


  • Kris Stark says:

    The colored towels are as stunning as the black, white and red! Thank you so much for sharing your skills and insight with us. Congratulations on the HW article and cover!! Your blending your talents with your faith is a Blessing to those of us who follow you. Continue to heal in God’s care.

    • Karen says:

      Kris, The black and white towels were out of my color zone, so I was surprised that I enjoyed weaving them so much. These colored towels are in my color zone. I’m always happy working with color!
      It’s a blessing to have your encouragement.


  • Bev says:


    The towels are beautiful! What an honor you have been given to be on a magazine cover and as always, your words of honor to the Lord are best of all.

    May Jehovah-Rapha, our Healer, continue His healing work each day.

    In His love,


  • Tobie says:

    Mazel Tov and may you heal quickly!

  • Carolyn says:

    Congratulations on your published project and recovery. I love the colors you used. Can hardly wait to get the magazine. Keep up the good work on your recovery and don’t overdo. I had neck surgery a few years back and I remember feeling so much better without the pain. It was very tempting to become more active. Resist it. Enjoy this time for quiet reflection and planning other projects.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Carolyn! I’m eager to see that magazine in my mailbox, too.

      I’m taking your advice to heart. It is a good time for doing some finishing work and planning new projects. I appreciate the good word.


  • Karen Reff says:

    Congratulations! That’s AWESOME!!!

  • […] who weave dish towels. Kerry at Love Those Hands at Home has made a lot of them. And Karen at Warped for Good makes some beauties as […]

  • Louise Yale says:

    Wishing you the best on your recovery !!

    Re: the Handwoven article – first congratulations on the article and getting on the cover.
    I am unclear on the Grass yarn. On page 26, it is referred to as 16/2.
    On page 28, the Grass yarn is referred to as 30/2.
    Typo? Error? Am I missing something?
    Thanks in advance.
    Louise Yale

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louise, Yes, it is a typo. It should read 30/2 cotton in both places. I’m sorry for the confusion.

      However, 16/2 or 20/2 would also work in place of 30/2. The main thing is to have a contrast between the sizes of yarn. The greater the contrast, the more dramatic the pattern.

      Thank you for your kind words!

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Caught by Surprise – in a Good Way

I’ve been published! The new issue of Handwoven magazine (January/February 2016) is out. Have you seen it? Sarah Jackson, the weaving editor, had noticed my blue dice weave pillows on Pinterest. When she contacted me to ask if I would consider submitting a project for the linen issue, I was caught by surprise. Who, me?! I simply enjoy weaving. I never thought about having something published. But here we are! The dice weave linen pillows project is in print. This is a milestone in my weaving journey; and an opportunity for which I am immensely grateful! (See the blue dice weave pillows in Invisible Zipper.)

Linen dice weave pillows. Karen Isenhower

Finished linen dice weave pillows are shipped off to Fort Collins, Colorado to meet the Handwoven editorial team.

Linen dice weave pillow project.

Linen issue of Handwoven has good information and interesting projects, including instructions for linen dice weave pillows.

Project in print!

In print!

We think everything is going according to our plans, and then we run into surprises. Even a good surprise involves challenges, stretching us out of our comfort zones. God is completely faithful. He has certainly been faithful to me. I find relief in knowing the Grand Weaver is overseeing the fabric of my life. What seems like a surprise to me is actually part of his carefully designed plan.

May you be caught in the act of making something good.

With gratitude,


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