Romance and Whimsy

Our Melody was princess of the day. You could see the white chairs from a distance that told the world, “Wedding!” It was a romantic outdoor setting, under a canopy of majestic old oak trees, appropriate for wedding vows spoken with lifetime integrity. Lights in the trees, mason jars with flowers, and popsicles brought whimsy and laughter to the celebration. (There was an evening breeze that made the air surprisingly cool. I was thankful for the warmth of my handwoven huck lace bamboo shawl.) Everything beckoned guests to come closer. And if you were close enough, you could smell the fragrance of the purple larkspur in Melody’s bridal bouquet!

Bride's wedding dress and bouquet is displayed on bound rosepath by her mother and hope chest built by her father.

Melody’s bridal bouquet in her grandmother’s Fostoria vase, rests on my handwoven bound rosepath piece that is laying on the hope chest built by her father. Melody’s memorable wedding dress completes the scene.

Our heavenly Father is like that, beckoning us to come take a closer look. Close enough to enjoy warmth in the breeze, smell the flowers, and wonder at the mystery of true love.

Bride and Mom just before the wedding.

Bride and Mom sharing laughter and smiles just before the wedding!

May you come close enough to enjoy the details prepared for you.

With Romance in the Air,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    Congratulations! I have been thinking about you a lot this last week. Especially on Saturday, which came up with the perfect weather for an outdoor wedding ceremony. The two of you are so beautiful! A wedding day is a very special day, not just for the bride, but for the mom, too.

    I am very happy to have realized that being a mom doesn’t stop on our child’s wedding day 🙂 To have learned that there will be many more very special days to share — where we are brought closer together in “good times and in bad”. Which is something that has made me, if not enjoy, so at least appreciate the value of bad times as much as the joy of good times.

    From one mom to another!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your wisdom, Elisabeth. I’m always learning from you!

      The weather couldn’t have been better. We were so very thankful for a beautiful sun-shiney (but not too hot) day!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Wende says:

    Lovely!

Leave a Reply


Give and Receive

When you give what you value most, the value of your gift increases. Exceptional giving communicates worth to the person on the receiving end. It was a joy to give these special towels to Melody. She was noticeably pleased with the gift, which was a delight for me to see! (You can see these towels just off the loom HERE.)

Handwoven towels - bridal gift to daughter!

Melody smiles when she sees the handwoven towels. She knows her mother’s love is woven into them.

“Who gives this woman?” Steve has been practicing his four-word speech for tomorrow, “Her mother and I.” What a privilege that we get to be the ones to give such a cherished gift. And what a thrill to know that we will be on the receiving end, too, as we are given another son.
God gives good gifts. He always sends good things and perfect gifts.

May you be on the receiving end today.

Happily ever after,
Karen

Leave a Reply


Tools Day: Fringe Twister

A hemstitched edge deserves twisted fringe. You have to overlook the amount of time it takes to put this finishing touch on your handwoven articles (often as much, or more, time than it took to weave the cloth in the first place). You do it because you care about the end result. The hemstitching and fringe are the mat and frame for your work of art. Begin well and finish well.

Tools for twisting fringe.

Step 1: (First, with fabric not yet washed and dried, cut all fringe strands on both ends of article to an equal and even length.) A pair of two-pound walking weights holds the fabric in place for tying knots. This fringe twister tool has a long handle and four little alligator clips.

Steps for making twisted fringe.

Step 2: Tie an overhand knot a fingertip-length away from the end, securing four ends together. (Other projects may have more than four ends grouped together.) This extra step holds the secret to clean cut fringe ends (see step 7).

Fringe twister at work.

Step 3: Let each little alligator grab a knot in it’s teeth, four in a row. Crank the handle around until the twisted threads begin to kink back on themselves. Count the number of turns of the handle and repeat that same number of turns for each grouping.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step.

Step 4: Grab the strands from the first two alligators’ mouths, being careful not to let the strands unwind. Combine the two thread groups and tie an overhand knot a fingertip-width away from the first knots.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step pics.

Step 5: After the knot is tied, let the strands unwind in your hand, keeping them from tangling with neighboring threads. Snug the knot by holding the knot and pulling on the two smaller knots, one at a time.

Bamboo Shawl, ready to trim edges of fringe. Explanation about twisting fringe.

Step 6: Wet finish the fabric by a method suitable for the type of thread or yarn being used. Air dry completely, or other suitable method for drying. While still damp, separate and straighten each twisted fringe.

Secret for clean cut fringe ends.

Step 7: First set of knots are cut off, removing the frayed ends, and leaving clean cut ends.

Finished Bamboo Huck Lace Shawl. Karen Isenhower

Step 8: Wear your lovingly handmade creation to a very special occasion, such as to your daughter’s wedding.

This is a lesson for raising children and letting them go, too. You weave for years, give time-consuming attention to the finishing touches while they are in your hands, and then you let them go. Wedding in four days!

May you take the time to finish well.

Love,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    You do such beautiful work! I love the subtlety of the pattern and that the finishing touches are so clean and simple. Isn’t it interesting how what appears subtle and simple can sometimes be the most time consuming and challenging to make?

    And what a perfect way to prepare for your daughter’s wedding — to take the time to do something relaxing and peaceful in what is typically a very stressful period of a mother’s life.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Love,
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Elisabeth, you are right about handwork being relaxing and peaceful. It’s like sitting in an oasis that is hidden somewhere in the center of a bustling city. With your hands busy, you are not in a rush, and you have time to sit and reflect and enjoy the quiet. I think there are very few people that “get” that.

      Thank you for the blessing dear friend.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Donde venden ese aparato para torcer los hilos?, quizas algun conocido me lo puedan comprar y traer, gracias

    Where they sell this device to twist the wires ?, maybe one known me what to buy and bring Thanks

  • Ashlee says:

    I recently wove a blanket for my little girl and wondered how to get around ending up with those frayed ends so this is exactly what I was needing! Thank you so much for posting! When you use the item and then wash it again does it fray at that point? Thank you again!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashlee, I’m happy that you found this information useful! How special to weave a blanket for your little girl!

      I think you can expect the ends of the fringe to come out more fuzzy after washing, but they should stay pretty even, especially after it is dry. It will depend on what fibers you used and the washing method.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Count the Last Time Around

Counting down the days. Trying to reign in emotions as memories flood my mind of my little girl growing up. And resisting mild panic as I see loose ends dangling in wedding preparations. When I measure a warp, it is essential to accurately measure how many threads have accumulated around the warping reel. I keep track with a simple counting string. Measuring days is not that straightforward. Days pass by too quickly and too slowly at the same time.

Looking down at the counting string, measuring warp on the warping reel.

Looking down at the counting string that sections off every twenty threads. The counting string makes it easy to double-check the number of warp ends that are wound on the warping reel. This is the 12/6 cotton warp for the new rosepath rag rugs.

May your days be lengthened and/or shortened, as needed.

With sweet anticipation,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Eileen Crawford says:

    Thanks for the interesting view of counting time, like we count strings on the warping reel.

    Your reflections on time past and future, as you live in the now, come through your words.

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    I feel that you must be sending her into this new phase of her life with many wise words and loving, firm guidance. She is a very lucky young woman, I am sure, and as bittersweet as this time must be, I say, well done, mom – well done.

Leave a Reply


Best Kind of Music You Have Ever Seen

Do you have a melody? Being a musician at heart, it’s fun to think of my weaving loom as a musical instrument. This is an instrument that produces fabric instead of harmonies. Throwing a shuttle takes practiced precision, as does gliding my bow across the strings of my ‘cello. When I step on treadles to change sheds on the loom, I imagine myself on the bench of a majestic pipe organ, playing the low notes with my feet. Every pass of the shuttle brings the formation of a melody in color and pattern. Rosepath is the prettiest melody of all. And rhythm, of course, is felt and heard as I play the loom instrument.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Rosepath rag rugs on the loom. Doing my favorite thing again.

I make textural melodies on my weaving loom. I am certain my maker takes note of the music I make here. Whatever you do with a thankful heart becomes a song. And that song is your gift to your maker. When you turn what you do into an instrument of praise you experience the smile of God.

I have a melody, and I have a Melody, whose birthday is today, and whose wedding is eleven days away. Maybe she needs a new rug as a housewarming gift…

May you sing your melody out loud.

With a thankful heart,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Suzie C says:

    How ironic!! Someone just posted a picture of their new loom on one of the Facebook weaving pages last week, and I commented that it looked like an organ! I said that instead of making music with the pedals, we make art with the treadles!

  • Maddie H says:

    Hi Karen, I love the rose path in this rug! I’m trying to figure this out myself so I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a beginner rose path gal. Any patterns or books that would help? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Maddie, How exciting for you to start weaving a rosepath rug! My first rosepath rag rug (and still my favorite) was from “Favorite Rag Rugs 45 Inspiring Weave Designs” by Tina Ignell. It has beautiful designs, with clear instructions in English. The rug in this post is based on one of the drafts in this book.
      Let me know if you have any questions as you go along.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

Leave a Reply