Better than Black

The black and white towels I made last year were a big hit, and I wanted a repeat of that. So, when I started planning this unbleached cotton towel warp several weeks ago, I fully intended to make the border stripes black. It would be a stunning effect. I even ordered the black thread. But this week when I put my tubes of cotton thread on the table, I ended up saying no to the black. Even though that’s what I was sure I wanted. As a result, I don’t have the striking black accent; but I do have the soothing charm of beige and brass. (Thank you for your wonderful input on the color combinations in Pretty Fine Threads! I loved hearing your thoughts.)

Warping reel with 8-meter 24/2 cotton warp.

Choke ties are added about every meter, and the lease cross at the bottom is carefully tied for this eight-meter warp.

First of four bouts, 224 warp ends each.

First of four bouts, 224 warp ends each. Soft as a kitten.

Cotton warp ready for dressing the loom.

Beige and brass threads add understated elegance to the unbleached cotton warp.

I want to have what I want. I want to do what I’ve planned. I don’t like to tell myself no. But that’s exactly what Christ asks of those who want to follow Him. Say no to yourself. He’s not offering the easy way out. But when I let go of what I want, I come to find the gift of grace that has been prepared for me. And that’s when I realize that my loss was actually my gain.

May you know when to say no.

All the best,
Karen

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Weaving Adventure

An idea is merely a collection of thoughts until it begins to take shape. Plans, thinking things through, trial and error, sampling, writing, formatting. That’s what it has been for this Plattväv towel kit. The idea to develop a towel kit is taking shape. Finally. River Stripe Towel Set, a Pre-Wound Warp Instructional Kit! I am winding the warps now. I have written the instructions. There are still a few loose ends (obviously a weaver’s term) to take care of, but we’re closer to turning this idea into a real thing. Made especially for adventurous weavers.

Winding warps for a towel kit.

Winding one of two bouts for a towel kit.

Warp chain in hand, for towel kits.

Warp chain in hand!

If these kits can inspire a few people to weave their own exceptional adventure, I will call this idea a success!

(If you would like to be notified when the kits are ready, no obligation, please send me an email or let me know in the comments below.)

May your best ideas take shape.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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New Warp Comes Alive

Put on a new warp as soon as possible. That’s my philosophy. A weaving loom should not stay bare. I am ready to begin a stack of rep weave mug rugs (my local weaving group is making them for an upcoming conference).

Cottolin warp on the warping reel.

Cottolin warp seems to light up on the warping reel. The colors become more vibrant when lined up together.

A new warp comes alive as I wind the threads on the warping reel. It is a picture of possibility! Every warp has a beginning and an end. Beginning a new warp on the loom is always exciting. And when I come near the end, I often wish I could weave a little longer.

Cottolin warp chain with vibrant colors!

Warp chain is ready for dressing the Glimåkra Ideal loom.

Pre-sleying the reed for rep weave mug rugs.

Lease sticks are in place under the reed, held up by two support sticks, and the warp has been pre-sleyed. Next step is to set up the warping trapeze.

Have you considered the warp as a metaphor for a life’s span? It is measured out in advance, with a certain type of fabric in mind. The setts, patterns, and structures vary. But they are all meant to be woven. Weft passes are like days and years. For a time, it seems like it will never end. And then, you see the tie-on bar coming over the back beam. You’re reminded that this warp is temporary. We all have this in common: We are mortal. Time is a precious gift. Every pass of the weft is a reminder of our Grand Weaver’s loving attentiveness to complete the weaving he began.

May you enjoy the gift of time.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Deb Hazen says:

    Love the image of being a weaving in progress. As weavers, we take such care to bring projects along…we spend extra and loving energy sorting out the snarled sections. Most importantly, we are persistently present. How delightful it will be to sit at my loom tonight and reflect on my life as a weaving in perfect confidence that my Creator always has the shuttle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Deb,

      in perfect confidence that my Creator always has the shuttle

      What a lovely way to say it! In that confidence lies true rest and peace.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Karen

  • Kate Chitwood says:

    I hope those mug rugs are going to the CHT conference ! I’ll be there – hope to see you.

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Hi, Karen,
    I’m a weaver in Michigan, new to your site. I am loving your posts! Thank you for your reminders of how all things can be seen through the eyes of our faith, and our lives made richer because we do. And we learn so much from our Lord!
    I also strive to always have something on each of my looms. Right now that is a rayon scarf in peacock colors on my 8 shaft Schacht Standard, a baby blanket in James C Brett Marble chunky on my 48 inch Ashford rigid heddle loom, and placemats on my 15 inch Cricket travel loom. My 30 inch Flip loom just became bare after finishing another smaller baby blanket in soft washable acrylics.
    Aren’t we blessed to be able to weave this life and give of our weaving skills to others?!
    Thanks in advance for the blessing of your thoughts as you continue to post them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, Looms all active! What a treat to hear about what you have on your looms. Who would’ve thought we could gain and give so much by weaving fabric?

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Debi says:

    Beautiful…both the weaving and the analogy! God bless!

  • Bruce Mullin says:

    Nice comforting thoughts!

  • Missie says:

    I’m always drawn to photos of rolls of yarn, thread, and wool. There is something about the colors and chaotic tangles that give beautiful patterns making for great composition. Also there is a nice representation of something in transition… taken something raw from nature and turning it into a transitional product full of possibilities. The colors of this warp chain are beautiful together.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Missie, I agree, a collection of (somewhat organized) yarn or thread is a good representation of transition… with all the uncertainty and unknown, yet it holds a promise of something good or useful that will come out of it. Great thoughts!

      All the best,
      Karen

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No Slipping Knots

Kit development for the plattväv towels is in full swing. I’m in the first stage–making a sample kit. Winding a warp with narrow stripes is a stop-and-go procedure, cutting and tying ends. My process is well structured, as it needs to be, to avoid mistakes. Knowing how to tie a good square knot is essential, too. This is not the time for slipping knots!

Winding a warp on the Glimakra warping reel.

Winding the warp with five different colors (2 tubes each), and frequent color changes, is the most challenging part of the plattväv towels.

Warp with many color changes. Square knots.

Square knots will hold tight if tied properly.

As I write the instructions for this kit, the eventual towel-kit weaver is on my mind. Besides writing clear steps, I want to include special helps that put even an apprehensive weaver at ease. How can I help the weaver have a great experience? Weaving this sample kit will help me answer that question.

Winding a warp with narrow stripes. Plattväv towels.

Plattväv towels in the making! Again.

Having structure and precision in the process of winding this warp makes me think of the value of truth. Truth matters because it keeps things from slipping that shouldn’t slip. Love matters, too. Love puts gentleness and understanding in the instructions. Love cares about the experience another person will have. Love and truth flourish together. Like a precisely pre-wound warp, and instructions written with care, truth and love are inseparable. Both are needed for life to be a gratifying experience.

May you experience true love.

Blessings,
Karen

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Autumn Alpaca

Autumn is the perfect time of year to plan alpaca scarves. This three-ply alpaca yarn is dreamy. The thing I love about winding a warp like this is the feel of the soft yarn as it goes through my fingers. This warp is going on the big loom for an eight-shaft wavy twill.

Winding a warp of alpaca yarn for scarves.

Counting cord is used to keep track of the number of ends that are wound onto the warping reel. This warp was counted 40 ends at a time.

The first pass around the warping reel must be correct, which is why I measure the distance first with a guide string. After the first pass, I simply follow the correct path around until all 136 alpaca ends have been included. I am already starting to dream about the eventual soft and cozy scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn, preparing warp for weaving scarves.

100% alpaca in a 3-ply yarn.

Alpaca warp chain.

Following the path of the guide string is like having faith to follow Christ. Faith grows in good soil. And there is no better soil than Christ himself. I don’t yet see the scarves, but it’s not hard for me to imagine what they will be like. I have touched the yarn, and the completed warp chain is a sweet preview. When we see what Christ has completed, faith takes root and gives us reason to trust him for everything else.

May your roots grow down into good soil.

The Three Rosepath Rag Rugs For Now have been hemmed and are listed in my Etsy shop. Take a look!

Yours,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Missie says:

    I hope to see your alpaca scarves in your Etsy shop!

  • Olivia Stewart says:

    Like you, I have some alpaca waiting to be used. But as a new weaver, I have hesitated. Could you share what your plans are for the sett and also the weft? The alpaca is so beautiful, I want to be sure I use it correctly. Thank you for the help.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Olivia, Alpaca is such a lovely fiber, it makes sense to hesitate and do your research before putting it on the loom. One thing that will make a difference for the sett is the size of the yarn. The weave structure also makes a difference.

      The yarn I am using here is Yarn & Soul Superfine 400 from WEBS, a 3-ply, about 1814 yd/lb. I am using a sett of about 16 epi (2 ends per dent in an 8-dent reed), 16 ppi. (same yarn for weft) structure – Twill

      Here are alpaca yarns in other weights I have used, and the setts for those:
      Berroco Ultra Alpaca 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool from Yarn Barn KS, about 983 yd/lb. Sett 10 epi, 10 ppi (same yarn for weft) structure – Goose-eye twill
      Knit One Crochet Too Cria Lace 65% Fine Alpaca, 35% Tencel from WEBS, about 2504 yd/lb. Sett 15 epi, 15 ppi (same yarn for weft) – plain weave and lace weave

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

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