Keep Threading Those Heddles

It will be worth it. 896 threads through these heddles, and then two ends per dent in the reed. This is the necessary dressing of the loom. I do it nine minutes, thirty-five minutes, and twenty-two minutes at a time. I do not accomplish it in one sitting. After accumulating almost five hours of threading, I’m ready to sley the reed.

Threading heddles.

Colored threads are 16/2 cotton, thicker than the 24/2 unbleached cotton threads.

Threading Heddles

Checking for threading errors before tying the group of ends into a loose slip knot.

It is easy to lose concentration when there are so many ends. The M’s and O’s threading has just enough variation in it to make me wonder if I did keep it all in the correct sequence. We will find out. The threading, correct or not, is always revealed as the fabric is woven.

Texsolv heddles of four shafts. Glimåkra Ideal.

Texsolv heddles on four shafts, threaded. Glimåkra Ideal.

Sley the reed. Glimåkra Ideal.

Two ends per dent are sleyed in this 22.5-dent-per-inch reed.

What is faith? Faith is putting your trust in something you have good reason to think is true. Stand firm, immovable, in your trust in the Lord. You put threads in the heddles because you have good reason to think these threads will become fabric. Don’t quit. Keep coming back to it. Be strong in faith. And do it from a framework of love. Your framework is always revealed in the cloth of your life.

May you stay strong.

Happy threading,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your encouragement on having faith. It was a very good start to my morning ☺️
    Anxious to see this project woven too. Your patience and fortitude for taking on difficult projects amazes me, a fellow weaver!
    Carolee

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Carolee,
      Patience and fortitude are virtues, so thank you for that compliment. One reason I enjoy weaving so much is there are continual opportunities to stretch my knowledge and experience.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Pattern in the Kuvikas

Each time I remove the temple I step back to review the progress. What does it look like now? It still looks like stripes. Four picks complete one row. The stripes lengthen, pick by pick. I hadn’t originally planned stripes, but seeing the results makes me hopeful.

Kuvikas stripes.

Lengthwise stripes on a solid-color warp are possible with a block weave, such as this kuvikas (summer and winter).

Every fabric has a structure–the particular way that warp and weft threads crisscross each other. This eight-shaft kuvikas structure sets the stage for weaving block patterns, like the square-within-a-square pattern or these stripes. It’s how the loom is set up. This loom is set up to weave kuvikas.

Love my double-bobbin shuttle!

Tencel pattern weft is in the double-bobbin shuttle. The regular boat shuttle carries 8/2 cotton for the tabby weft.

Truth is a constant. It doesn’t change with the wind. It isn’t subject to our whims. It’s how things are. Truth is the structure of creation’s fabric through good times and bad. Imagine the despair of Jesus’ closest followers as they watch him, their friend and Teacher, die in agony on a cross. Where is truth in this despair?

Kuvikas - Weaving lengthwise stripes on a solid-color warp.

Each complete row of pattern is made with four picks–tabby, pattern, tabby, pattern.

And then the unimaginable happens. Jesus comes back to them alive! This is the truth of God’s redemptive love–He died for us. Truth awakens hope. Speak truth to your soul. Wait in hope, for glorious fabric is being woven on His loom.

May you never lose hope.

With joy,
Karen

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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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Twenty-Seven Mug Rugs

Twenty-seven coffee mugs sitting in a row… on these new mug rugs! Wouldn’t that be a lovely sight?! Twenty-four of the mug rugs are identical. The last three, however, are different. I ran out of string yarn near the end of the warp, so I switched to fabric strips for the weft. There is just enough spacing between warp ends that some of the fabric print shows through. I love the results! These last three mug rugs are set apart. Brought about by a shortage of string yarn.

Making rep weave mug rugs.

Fabric strip from a past rag rug project is used for the thick weft in this rep weave mug rug. The cotton fabric strip is 3/4″ wide.

Rep weave mug rugs with fabric strips.

Beautiful batik fabric with crimson and purple deepens the color of the red cottolin warp ends.

Six yards of rep weave mug rugs!

Cutting Off! Six yards of mug rugs.

Rep Weave mug rugs with cute short fringe.

Finished with machine zigzag stitches and a short fringe. 25 mug rugs with black string yarn weft. 1 mug rug with fabric strip weft. (Not shown: 2 mug rugs from the set-apart pile that have already been dispersed as gifts.)

Realizing our personal shortages is the beginning of humility. It’s not easy to acknowledge shortcomings. But humility begins with honesty. And it’s the answer for those who want to find the path to God. It’s our honesty about our shortcomings that catches His attention. God hears a humble prayer. The God of the universe gives one-on-one attention to the person who comes to Him in humility. Amazing! We come to the end of our personal supply, and He supplies the needed weft that sets us apart.

May your humility make you different from the norm.

With you,
Karen

~ATTENTION~ Towel Kits ~

Thank you for your fantastic response regarding the towel kits I am offering! Many of you have expressed an interest in knowing when the kits will be available for purchase.

A small number of 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 tomorrow, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, around 10:00 am CT.

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

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

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Skeleton Tie-Up on a Countermarch?

I’ve been told that you cannot do a skeleton tie-up on a countermarch loom. That would require pressing two treadles at the same time, which is not feasible on a countermarch. Guess what? I have a skeleton tie-up, and I’m pressing two treadles at a time for the pattern blocks in this kuvikas structure. On my countermarch!

Kukivas (summer and winter) on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Trying to establish a consistent beat so that the squares are all the same size. Making the squares a little taller than they are wide will, hopefully, produce actual squares in the end. The fabric is expected to shrink more in length than in width when it is cut from the loom, and washed and dried.

It works because the tie-up is carefully planned to avoid conflicting treadle movements. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the square-within-a-square results. Isn’t it fascinating that a design such as this can be fashioned by hand, using a simple wooden loom and a bunch of strings, with a few simple tools? And a non-standard tie-up?

Skeleton tie-up on a countermarch loom for kukivas.

Pressing two treadles at the same time is surprisingly less cumbersome than I had imagined it would be. The whole series of motions feels like a slow majestic dance.

Have you seen the sky on a moonless night? Who made that starlit fabric? Who wove the pattern of the heavens? Who put the sun in place, and set the earth on its axis? How grand and glorious are these constant features of our existence! Our human hands can create no such thing. The heavens reveal the glorious nature of God. They shout the unmistakable truth that God is our Creator. Surely, the fabric we make with our hands serves to confirm that we belong in the hands of our Maker.

May the work of your hands be a reflection of you.

In awe,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Betsy Greene says:

    Hi Karen
    This square pattern is really nice. Am I correct in thinking that kuvikas is similar to summer and winter? I have a countermarch loom also and would love to hear more details about your skeleton tie up.
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, You are correct, kuvikas is a Finnish term for what we commonly call summer and winter.
      The double treadling is possible because of the tie-up. The pattern threads are on shafts 1 – 4, and the tie-down threads are on shafts 5 – 8. The trick is where to NOT tie up the treadles. You need two free-standing groups of shafts, so only the pattern shafts and only the tie-down shafts are tied to the treadles, besides the tabby shafts.
      And then, the first 2 treadles produce the tabby for the background. Treadles 3 & 4 bind the pattern floats. Treadles 5 – 8 control the pattern’s various blocks.

      I’m afraid I did a poor job of explaining. You can find the draft in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, p. 164. She does a better job of describing how it works.:)

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Marcia Cooke says:

    That is gorgeous, Karen! Thanks for sharing the source of the draft, too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marcia, I’m glad you like it. I like it a lot, too! I’m already thinking of using this draft to make some upholstery fabric for some chairs I want to cover.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • So us how you tied up your loom please, with a diagram or photos.
    Jenny

    • Karen says:

      Great idea, Jenny, Here’s a picture taken from the back of the loom.

      Skeleton tie-up on countermarch

      From left to right, 2 treadles for tabby, 2 treadles for tie-down threads, 4 treadles for pattern. You can see that the tie-down and pattern shafts are independent of each other, which make double treadling possible.

      Does that help?

      Karen

  • Carol says:

    Hi Karen,
    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.
    I also have a countermarch loom and am wondering how you get away with not tying up all eight shafts on every treadle. Do you know of a book that really explains countermarch ti-ups. I think I am missing something here. I must confess I am a new countermarch loom owner.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, You ask some good questions!
      How do I get away with not tying up all 8 shafts on every treadle? I don’t know. I’m learning as I go. Honestly, I have not found a lot of information about weaving with this type of tie-up on a countermarch loom. I have seen it mentioned a few places, but not explained. I tell myself that it is like weaving on two four-shaft looms that work together. 🙂 That may be way off!

      The thing to remember is that this is NOT a typical tie-up for a countermarch loom. I’ll have to say, it was a little finicky to get clean sheds, so I wouldn’t recommend this for someone until they have some serious weaving on eight shafts (with a “normal” tie-up) under their belt.

      One helpful book that explains everything about a countermarch tie-up is Tying Up the Countermarch Loom, by Joanne Hall. But it doesn’t mention skeleton tie-ups. I guess I like to try things outside the norm…

      I hope you enjoy your countermarch loom as much as I enjoy mine!
      Karen

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