Travel Blessings

My adventure to Germany and Austria with my sister was incredible! Many firsts and many blessings. First time to visit Europe. First castle, first currywurst, first German symphony, first hike in the Alps, first Austrian apfelstrudel, first close-up mountain waterfall. And many, many more wonders, delights, and amazements. Any weaving? We visited a handweaving museum in Germany. And I did some occasional tapestry weaving in the evenings. The best tapestry times happened while sitting out on the balcony at our room in Innsbruck.

Weberplatz of Babelsberg, Germany.
Weberplatz of Babelsberg. These were weavers quarters in days gone by.
We had a picnic lunch on the castle steps.
We had a picnic lunch on the castle steps.
Weaving an image from Big Bend State Park, Texas, while enjoying the balcony view in Innsbruck, Austria.
Weaving an image from Big Bend State Park, Texas, while enjoying the balcony view in Innsbruck, Austria.

Be open for blessings. Look for blessings. I don’t mean life should be easy, conflict free, or always comfortable. The blessings are often hidden in long hours, tired feet, and foreign words. Be ready for the best lessons the Creator has for you. The Lord’s faithfulness is stamped into the gardens, mountain peaks, and waterfalls. His glory is written on every face, voice, and pair of hands. His blessings are tucked into secret places, awaiting our delighted discoveries. Live blessed.

May you be surrounded with blessings.

Your Wandering Weaver,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey and I’m glad you had a special time/memories with your sister. Your tapestry is looking very good! Blessing to you! 🙂

  • laura says:

    Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures. So much inspiration that nature and the older buildings have to offer. Thanks again, enjoy the rest of your trip.
    I have one question, what type of loom are you weaving on? So cute and compact.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, You are right about the inspiration from nature and the older buildings. I was constantly thinking in design terms as I viewed the various patterns and colors. I hope some of that comes out in future weaving projects.

      The little frame loom is one that my husband Steve made for me. I also have the Glimakra Freja frame looms that I really like to use. This handmade one is a little more portable for traveling.

      It’s good to be home,
      Karen

  • Beth says:

    Sounds like a fabulous time! You’re so fortunate to have a sister who’s also a friend. Thank you for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I am blessed to have two sisters who are dear friends. And so grateful to have these adventures with one of them!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Thank you for sharing all of your firsts with us, Karen!

    The tapestry is looking amazing. Quite the counterpoint of wide open spaces of nature to the view of crowded man made buildings of Innsbruck.

    Safe travels!

    • Karen says:

      Hi dear Annie, What a wonderful way to express the juxtaposition of the small tapestry with the view over the balcony!

      “Quite the counterpoint of wide open spaces of nature to the view of crowded man made buildings of Innsbruck.”

      Perfect description. And sometimes it’s a blessing to leave the wide open spaces in nature for Nachittag (afternoon) Kaffe und Kuchen at a cafe in crowded Innsbruck.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Welcome back Karen,
    Weberplatz of Babelsberg is that where the you found those ancient looms in the video? I’d love to see more detail, if you have it.

    Your tapestry is coming along quickly. I look forward to it’s finish.

    May God be with you.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Nannette,

      The old looms were in the Handwebereimuseum in Geltow, Germany. They were fascinating. Most were 47-53 cm weaving width, and all with fly shuttles. The back beams were up high at the back of the looms, and they were all countermarch looms as far as I could tell. There were no English signs or explanations, so I just looked and enjoyed. I did not take a lot of pictures there.

      Here is a link of one of my Instagram posts with a video of a demonstration at the museum: Weaving demo.
      All the best,
      Karen

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Travel Weaving to Germany

I am turning right around to head out on another travel adventure. This time it’s Potsdam, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria with my sister Barbara. You know what that means—prepare my smallest tapestry frame for travel weaving. Besides the loom, I need necessary tools, warp thread, weft yarn, a cartoon, extra paper and pencil, book light and extra batteries, and a small bag in which to carry it all.

Fresno Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park is breathtaking. Steve captured the awe last week with his Canon Rebel T3i Digital SLR camera. My dream now is to capture the view in yarn. I am making a cartoon directly from a black-and-white print of the photograph.
Choosing Fårö wool yarn for a tapestry.
My Fårö yarn is housed in three baskets of an Elfa cart. I look at a photo image of Fresno Canyon on my iPhone to select colors to use for the tapestry.
Preparing for some travel tapestry weaving.
Selected colors of yarn are wrapped on labelled embroidery floss bobbins to put in the travel tapestry bag.
Preparing for some travel tapestry weaving.
Weft colors are sorted and placed in the plastic pockets of this craft holder I found at Hobby Lobby.
Travel tapestry supplies.
Everything needed for a little 3 1/2″ x 6″ desert vista tapestry is being tucked away in travel bags.

After that, I can pack my clothes, etc. First things first.

(By the time you read this Barbara and I will be in Germany enjoying the food, listening to fine music, and scouting out fiber-y treasures whenever we get a chance.)

May your adventures be memorable.

Glückliches Weben,
Karen

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En Plein Air Weaving

It is delightful to weave in scenic surroundings! After two full days of hiking and exploring remote vistas in Big Bend Ranch State Park we had a leisurely do-nothing day. Time to take the loom outdoors. En plein air weaving!

Casita in Maverick Ranch RV Park at the base of Lajitas Mesa.
Our campsite is at the base of Lajitas Mesa.
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas.
Hiking the Fresno Divide Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park in west Texas.
Mountainous view in the desert of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas.
Mountainous views in the desert.
Fresno Canyon in Big Bend State Park, Texas.
Fresno Canyon vista, with the mountains of Mexico in the distance.
En plein air tapestry weaving by the Casita travel trailer.
En plein air tapestry weaving during a leisurely morning. Camera tripod cover doubles as a loom topper that prevents the loom from scratching the Casita.
Casita Travel Trailer - tapestry in progress!
Wool yarn for the Casita tapestry is wound on labeled cards and kept in spare Tupperware Modular Mate containers.

We also went exploring in Big Bend National Park.

Hiking the Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park.
Hiking in Santa Elena Canyon, with Mexico to my left and USA on my right. And the Rio Grande River in between.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park.
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, the least visited National Park in the United States.

And then, I like to wind down the day with some quiet evening tapestry weaving in the Casita. And Steve pulls out his travel pouch for some leisurely woodcarving. Ah…all is well.

Tapestry weaving of our Casita Travel Trailer.
Ending the day with some quiet tapestry weaving.

May you find delight in your surroundings.

Happy adventuring,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Just when I think God’s world cannot possibly be more beautiful, surprise! Wow, oh wow!

    Nannette

  • Beth says:

    What a treat for you! Thank you for sharing photos of this part of our country. It’s breathtaking!

  • Lynn says:

    Love the photos and seeing what you are doing – thanks for sharing!

  • Annette says:

    Big Bend National Park has been on my bucket list for years. I am so glad that you are adventuring there, Karen. At least I get to enjoy it vicariously.

    You have a definite talent for tapestry weaving! I have yet to try that, also. Although I purchased a tapestry weaving book about a year thinking that I would like to try that,too, someday. For now I will just enjoy my bucket list vicariously with you. Keep posting, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I hope you do make it out to Big Bend! It’s definitely worth the drive.

      Thank you for your encouraging words about my tapestry weaving. I don’t feel very confident in that area. I like doing it, though, so I keep trying.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Hi Karen,

    What a great way to retire! Exploring more of Texas is on my list. We made a trip to the hill country a couple of years ago and I thought I could surely give up my die-hard Yankee status.

    May I ask what your warp and weft are, and approximate sett? Your tapestries are wonderful, don’t sell yourself short. The emotion and character of the subject/setting come through quite powerfully.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, When you make it back to the hill country, be sure to come by for a visit!

      The warp is 12/6 cotton rug warp; the sett is about 10 epi. I have 16/1 linen weft that alternates with the wool pattern weft. Most of the weft is 2 or 3 strands of wool – 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö wool, but there are a few other odds and ends mixed in.

      I appreciate your kind thoughts so much! My intent is to present expressive tapestry weaving, and it sounds like that is what comes across to you.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Thanks for your reply. My hubby gave me a Mirrix Big Sister and I want to be sensible about the sett.
    Your portrait of your granddaughter was so loving and the funny little gecko made me laugh every time I got a glimpse.

    Thanks for the invitation. Same goes for you if you’re up in Colorado.

  • Linda says:

    Seeing your frame loom reminds me of days gone by.

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Handwoven Treasured Leftovers

In my bin of handwoven fabric, most of the pieces are leftovers, like a short section from the end of a towel warp, or a colorful sampling of weft from the beginning of a warp. But a few of these woven treasures are good-sized pieces that can be used to make something. So, since I want to make a bag for my large Freja tapestry frame, I look through my selection of handwoven fabric pieces.

Piecing handwoven fabric to make a large bag.
Piecing handwoven fabric to get the large side panels needed for the bag.
Making bag from handwoven fabric.
Lightweight fusible interfacing is applied to the back of the fabric. I adapted and enlarged McCall’s pattern 3894, and used the pattern instructions for the sequence of steps to make the bag.
Patterned band woven on the band loom.
Patterned band woven on the band loom, used for straps on the bag.
Sewing a bag from handwoven fabric.
Topstitching with red thread.

I find just what I need! Coming across these two significant lengths of fabric is like getting reacquainted with old friends. The meter of red and black cotton eight-shaft twill is something I wove in a Vavstuga class. And the blue cotton warp-printed yardage is fabric I wove to make a tiered skirt, a favorite garment that hangs in my closet. (See Quiet Friday: Handwoven Skirt.)

Bag with Freja loom is ready for a travel excursion in the Casita.
Bag with Freja loom is ready for a travel excursion in the Casita.
In the Casita - handwoven articles.
In the Casita.
Bag from handwoven fabric for Freja tapestry loom.
Casita tapestry to work on in the Casita.
Casita tapestry for quiet evenings in Big Bend state park in Texas. I may be able to finish it on this trip.
Bag for tapestry frame - made from handwoven cloth.
Blue cotton warp-printed fabric, red eight-shaft twill, and patterned band from the band loom. Treasures from the past, assembled together for a joyful today.

Treasures from the past come into today to bring value and meaning. Put treasures in your today that will add value to tomorrow. Everything can change in a day, so we can’t put our confidence in tomorrow. But every new day is from the Lord, who holds the future in his hands. Today is a gift. Live it fully. Who knows? Your joy today may be tomorrow’s treasure.

Casita, ready to roll!
Ready to roll!

May you find treasures from the past.

Love,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Great idea! Have a wonderful time!

  • Anonymous says:

    Very nice and inspiring!

  • Nannette says:

    No moss is growing under your feet. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the memories. All are a gift from God.

    Nannette

    PS.. The snow is leaving us and the leaves of the spring flowers are pushing through, and the squirrels ate the kale seeds I planted.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It is always interesting to observe the changing of seasons. Here, where we are this week, we see cactus in bloom, desert bluebonnets (they will die off as soon as the temps reach 95 degrees), and red-tipped ocotillo everywhere. Dots of brilliant color on a backdrop of desert brown. The rugged and massive mountains declare the glory of God!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Linda says:

    I have so many scraps of my handwoven fabrics that I try to find uses for. In the process of moving now, I find there are far too many and I’ve bagged many to throw away. Sad! Enjoy Big Bend. It’s one of my favorite places.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, It is sad to say goodbye to scraps of handwoven fabric. But the good thing is, you still get to enjoy the memories of all that time at the loom.

      Big Bend is such a unique and remote place. At times, the terrain is such that it seems like it could be another planet. There is beauty all around, but it’s different. I’m glad to know you enjoy this place, too.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Conversation with Joanne Hall

Drive up to this storybook cottage, and you can tell there is something special about it. It’s the home of Ed and Joanne Hall. When I arrive, Joanne greets me and takes me down the hand-crafted pine stairs to her delightful weaving studio dotted with floor looms.

Storybook cottage in Montana mountains.
Driving up to the Hall’s home and Joanne’s weaving studio in Montana.
Welcome!
Välkommen = Welcome

I recently had the joy of learning the ins and outs of drawloom weaving in this storybook studio in Montana. After the class ended, Joanne and I sat at her kitchen table to share some thoughts about weaving.

Joanne Hall
Joanne Hall
Photo credit: Ed Hall

Come join us, and sit in on our conversation…

If you could keep only one loom, what would it be?

The 59” Glimåkra Standard. That would be my loom, with a drawloom. A big loom is easier to set up, easier to warp because I can step inside it, and easier to weave on than a little loom. As you get older you need every advantage you can get.

Butterflies, woven by Joanne Hall on a single unit drawloom.
Butterfly piece was woven on the very first warp Joanne put on her drawloom. The warp is 20/2 cotton, unbleached; and the weft is 16/1 linen.
Being a tapestry weaver, I had to add more colors, so I laid in some colors and then I put a little gold leaf here and there. I did not want to add anything that looked like embroidery. I wanted my new work on the drawloom to have all the elements woven in.
– Joanne Hall

What would you weave on that loom?

I would mostly make narrow warps. I could weave some blankets or larger things, as well, because it’s easy on that loom. It is easy to beat and so easy to treadle. I could also weave tapestry on it.

Describe the drawloom you would use.

With the Myrehed combination, I would have both the shaft drawloom and the single unit drawloom. I do like images, like tapestry weaving, so I would enjoy weaving with the single unit drawloom.

Story of the Immigrants, woven by Joanne Hall on single unit drawloom.
Story of the immigrants.
Three of my grandparents immigrated from Sweden to America. This tells the story of their journey–walking, riding, then endless days on the boat, then walking again, all the way to Minnesota.
– Joanne Hall

Are there any weaving secrets you’d like to share?

One important thing to know is to wind a warp with more than one thread, especially a long warp. It is easier to beam and you will prevent problems when you wind with two or more threads. And doing so may also have a positive effect on weaving that warp.

Another thing to consider is that once you start weaving, plan to invest in good equipment. Some weavers start out buying the smallest, least expensive equipment. That’s okay for getting started, but don’t spend too much time with inferior equipment. Once you start warping looms, get a big vertical warping reel that is more than two yards around. You can wind a warp in half an hour, an hour at the most. And the warp will be more even and accurate than one wound on smaller equipment.

If someone wants to learn more about weaving, what is a good way to start?

Go someplace where you can take a class weaving on floor looms, even if you have never woven before. Keep in mind that researching online can be more confusing than helpful. In a class you will learn much faster and you will probably get better information.

Church Door by Joanne Hall.
Front door of Joanne’s father’s father’s (grandfather’s) church in the small town of Ör, in Dalsland, Sweden. The “6” near the door was part of the date on the church, 1661.
Woven on single unit drawloom by Joanne Hall.
Wooden Shoes, woven by Joanne Hall.
From a photo Joanne took in a small red house in an outdoor museum in the place where her mother’s family lived. These wooden shoes were on a rag rug in front of the fireplace.
Woven on single unit drawloom by Joanne Hall.
Fence in Sweden, woven by Joanne Hall.
Fence that is typical of fences all over Sweden. This came from a photo of the fence around an outdoor museum in Falköping Sweden, Joanne’s mother’s grandparent’s home.
Single unit drawloom, woven by Joanne Hall.

Any final thoughts?

In Sweden, weavers guilds are different than they are here in the US. Most everyone in Sweden can join a guild, called a vävstuga, which in Sweden is a place with looms—floor looms, big floor looms. You meet there as often as you want, and you can weave on floor looms in the company of other weavers, who are very helpful. If we had that, it would be wonderful.

That would be wonderful, indeed! I think I got a little taste of that, right here in your Montana studio. Thank you!

Happy Weaving,
Karen and Joanne

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