Woven Transparency Cactus

I found a subject for my next transparency. It’s a prickly pear cactus in Texas hill country. Weaving this cactus is a fantastic experience! I started with a photograph, from which I made a cartoon. And I have an outline that shows where to place each color. It’s all based on the timeless beauty of colors in nature. I’m hopeful that when light shines through the final woven transparency we will see a likeness of the original cactus.

Prickly Pear Cactus in Texas hill country.

Prickly Pear Cactus in the front yard of our Texas hill country home.

Make a Cartoon

  • Crop and enlarge the photo. (I use Acrobat Reader to enlarge and print in multiple pages, and then tape the pages together.)

Prickly Pear Cactus in Texas hill country.

  • Outline the main lines of the picture.
  • Turn the enlarged picture over and draw the traced lines on the back to have the reverse image. (This transparency is woven from the back.)

Photo to sketch to cartoon for woven transparency.

  • Trace the line drawing onto a piece of buckram to use as the cartoon.
  • Draw a vertical dashed line down the center of the buckram cartoon.
  • Pin the cartoon under the weaving, lining up the center line on the cartoon with the center warp end. Move the pins, one at a time, before advancing the warp each time.

Buckram used for transparency cartoon.

Color Selection

  • Use the photograph to select yarn colors for the transparency. (I used the iPad to view the photo, and selected sixteen shades of 20/2 Mora wool.)
  • Sort the yarn by hues. (I used my iPhone camera black-and-white setting to help in the sorting.) Sorting by hues helps me blend similar-hued colors, and shows me the contrasts that will help define the picture.

Color selection for woven transparency. Sorting by hues.

 

Sorting colors by hues for woven transparency.

  • Assign a number to each yarn color.
  • Make the enlarged outline into a color-by-number sheet by designating a color or blend of colors for each section. (I taped this sheet to the wall beside my loom, to use as a color guide. The iPad photo also serves as a reference.)

Butterflies of Mora wool for woven transparency.

Virtues are timeless. Virtues are like colors that blend together to weave a masterpiece. When we let the Grand Weaver lay in the weft, these are the colors that appear as light shines through His woven transparency: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And when this occurs, it shows that we are made in His image.

Making a transparency cartoon. Tutorial.

 

Woven transparency from a photo. How to.

May the next leg of your journey be a fantastic experience.

I’ll meet you back here on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017.
In the meantime, I hope you investigate claims of Jesus. Take time with people. Keep weaving. And the same for me.

Head over to Instagram to stay in touch with my daily journey.

Love,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    This is going to be fabulous!

  • So exciting to see your transparency! That is my absolute favorite thing to weave, and yours is inspiring me to do another one too. What size linen and sett are you using?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, You are responsible for inspiring me! I couldn’t stop thinking about your beautiful transparencies, and knew I wanted to make another attempt. It’s not hard for me to understand why this is your very favorite thing to weave. I may be following you in that! I can’t thank you enough for answering my questions behind the scenes!

      This is 16/2 linen, 12 epi.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    You’ve put lots of planning time into this piece. Can’t wait to see the finished work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, The planning for this has been a lot of fun. I was getting discouraged trying to find a good subject to weave, but when I found this pic that I took on our own property I got pretty excited about the whole thing! I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s finished!

      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    This is so exciting Karen, I can’t wait to see it!! Have a wonderful vacation, I will be looking forward to august and this finished piece!
    Liberty

  • Wende says:

    Love this!

  • Maria says:

    Karen,
    Where in the hill country do you live? I so enjoy your blog- I like how you “weave” your faith in your posts!! Gifted weaver and writer?

    • Karen says:

      Maria, We are a little north of Kerrville. We currently live in the Houston area, but this special place in Kerrville will become our permanent home when my husband retires. Your sweet thoughts are very touching. Let me know when you will be in Houston again, or in hill country. I’d love to meet up.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Carol Ashworth says:

    I am so glad I found your site! I love everything and have a lot to learn!
    I love how you try to do every so nice and neat!
    Carol

  • Patricia Tiemann says:

    Great blog! Thanks for posting so much info.

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How Is Your Stash?

My rag rugs start with leftovers. It is a great place to begin. By leftovers, I mean fabric strips that are left from previous projects. Unlike many traditional rag rugs that are made from recycled fabrics, I use all new cotton yardage for my rag rugs. I only buy more fabric when my supply starts to run low, or when I need a specific color that I don’t have in my supply. That’s the difference between a stash and a supply. A stash is for keeping and admiring. A supply is for using up with a purpose. A stash grows without limits. A supply is replenished in relation to the need.

Planning a rosepath rag rug.

Planning session for a new rosepath rag rug. After gathering a selection of fabrics, I snip fragments to tape to my working chart.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

After several plain weave stripes, the rosepath pattern is taking shape on the loom.

I have to be careful about treating my things, my time, and my ideas as my stash. For me to keep and admire. It’s better to be a giver. The generous have an endless supply. They never wonder about having “enough.” Generosity is a virtue. Those who are enriched by God can always be generous, since he is faithful to replenish the supply.

May you always have enough.

For you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Fawn Carlsen says:

    Thank you very much for explaining stash and supply. I have too much stash which never gets used. I am afraid that I will run out. But I have made a big change. I no longer have a stash, only a supply. I will allow myself to use what I have and love doing it. Then if I need more, I will get more. But not until I need to. Your post entirely changed my attitude. I am happier now.

    • Karen says:

      Dear Fawn, It is so sweet for you to take the time to tell me these words made a difference for you! I think we all struggle with stash vs. supply mindset. Making a decision, though, like you did, is a powerful thing in turning the corner! Way to go!

      Love,
      Karen

  • I hope you don’t mind that I shared your wise words today on Facebook, along with a link to this post. We truly are blessed when we share our abundance.
    Jenny B

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Two Looms at Once

I am happily dressing my two looms at the same time. First, wind one warp, and then the other. Beam a warp on the big loom (Glimåkra Standard); and then, on the baby loom (Glimåkra Ideal). Thread the big loom; thread the baby loom. Back and forth. Soon, two looms will be ready!

Threading the loom for an eight-shaft double binding rag rug.

Four shaft pairs are added to the four already on the loom. You can tell the shafts that have been used the most by the golden tone of the wood. 12/6 cotton is doubled in the heddles. Pumpkin and cinnamon colors combine to make a rich red warp.

Both looms are being dressed for rag rugs. Rag rug heaven! The big loom is threaded for double binding, using eight shafts. The baby loom has four-shaft rosepath threading. I am eager to get everything tied up so I can weave!

Glimakra Ideal is threaded for rosepath rag rugs.

Glimakra Ideal has rosepath, threaded on four shafts, for a series of rag rugs.

There’s an order to things in the universe, like there’s an order to dressing the looms. It matters how we live. It makes sense to live according to the way the Grand Weaver set things up. God knows who we are and what we need. And he provides the threads, like integrity, and other virtues, that are spun by his own hand. The individual pattern comes to life when the threads he has woven in our inner being become our outward expression. And we know the Weaver enjoys the work of his hands.

May threads of virtue be woven in your cloth.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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Almost Forgot the Hanging Tabs

My band loom has been sitting idle for months with a partially-woven warp. As soon as I cut the black and white towels from the loom it occurred to me that I had not yet woven their hanging tabs. I am eager to put on a new black and white band warp to weave these towel loops; but first, I must weave off the existing band. (You originally saw this band in Weave the Portable Way.)

Glimakra two-treadle band loom.

Two treadles are used for changing the shed on this Glimåkra Band Loom. It takes practice to coordinate the actions of both hands and feet. What was awkward to learn becomes second nature through repetition.

Glimakra band loom with completed band.

This band is complete. It will go in the box I call my “band stash.” When I need a strap, ribbon, or trim for anything, I look in my band stash box to see what I can find.

What had been sitting for months is finished in a day. And the black and white warp is on the loom before day’s end. What made the difference? Why is it suddenly easy to finish something that had been lagging for months? One word. Decision. (Some of the towels on which these hanging tabs will adorn are in Quiet Friday: Thick and Thin and in Even Better After.)

Starting black and white band on band loom.

Starting the black and white band.

Simple narrow band for hanging tabs on handwoven towels.

Simple narrow band is made to coordinate with black and white handwoven towels. As with the towels, this is cottolin warp and weft.

Woven band for hanging tabs on handwoven black and white towels. Karen Isenhower

With enough woven to make hanging tabs for ten handtowels, the warp is cut and secured. The remainder of the warp will be woven off and added to the “band stash” box.

All our important actions derive from purposeful decisions. And my best decisions shape the course of my life in a positive way. You can choose the direction you travel. When you choose to walk the path of virtue, the path before you becomes more and more clear. Finding the motivation to do the right thing often comes down to making a firm decision. As a result, we are able to remove the old, and move on to weaving today’s important task.

May you make great decisions.

Motivated,
Karen

2 Comments

  • linda says:

    Karen: Bands,! what a way to dress up a fleece vest, 1/2 zip, or jacket. especially since you have such a varied width and pattern stash. I really must get to work. LP&J linda

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Plain Weave Can Get Complicated

This pattern is not as complicated as it looks. Remember, this is plain weave with only two treadles. How can plain weave look so intricate? Using two sizes of threads does the trick. Really, it’s that simple.

Thick and thin is not as complicated as it looks.

Pattern blocks have alternating thick and thin threads. Two thin thread picks in a row change the blocks.

The treadling is the easiest it can be. The shuttles, on the other hand, are more complicated. With two shuttles, you must interlock wefts around the outer warp ends. When the order of the shuttles is reversed every few centimeters, as it is here, it keeps you on your toes. And then there is the double bobbin shuttle. Are you able to wind two quills that have nearly equal amounts of thread? Not to mention catching a shuttle that has two quills unwinding.

We look at the detail and busyness around us and see our lives as intricately complicated. But zoom out and take the view from heaven. From that perspective, a thousand years goes by in one day. Humans come and go, generation after generation. My seemingly complex life is simple plain weave with the grand weaver skillfully throwing the shuttles to make meaningful patterns. Let this breath of time that we call life leave a mark of virtue that lasts for generations.

May you leave a lasting impact for the good of others.

Happily Weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • linda says:

    Can’t wait to see it off the loom. I’m having a hard time wraping my head around how fast you thread a loom. I’m so slow about 30 threads then the joints make me move or I’ll be on the stool forever. Keep going, old joints creep up faster than you can imagine. LP&J, linda

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Linda,
      I don’t think of myself as particularly fast. But I do like to keep my looms dressed, that’s for sure! The weaving will take a while on this. I’m almost finished with the second towel; eight to go after that.

      All the best,
      Karen

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