When the Tapestry Gets Confusing

I work across the tapestry a row at a time, starting and stopping many wool butterflies. It gets confusing. It’s not always easy to see how the particular colors in my butterflies relate to the details of this lizard. I closely follow the cartoon and the pattern key by my loom. I have to trust the cartoon more than what I see at the moment.

Lizard tapestry on four shafts. Eye detail.

Lizard eye detail. There are many color changes in the rows that go right through the center of the eye.

Every now and then, I climb up on a step stool as far as I dare. The view from this distance gives me a realistic perspective of the weaving. And raises my hopes that the lizard in this tapestry will indeed resemble the green anole that had posed for my camera. I am unable to see that same progress when I’m sitting at the loom with the lizard’s face right in front of me.

Four-shaft Lizard tapestry. Karen Isenhower

Pattern key at the left of the loom provides constant direction for weaving the details in the tapestry. View from standing on the top step of the step stool.

Lizard tapestry in progress. Glimakra Ideal loom.

Enlarged photograph of the original green anole hangs on the cart next to the loom.

When life gets confusing, it’s time to step up. Treasures are hidden in plain sight. Wisdom and knowledge are hidden like that. The treasure storehouse is in Christ. In him we have a heavenly view that gives us a realistic perspective of what we see in front of us. Trust his pattern key, and proceed with confidence. It’s not so confusing, after all.

May you see hidden treasures.

With heart,
Karen

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Short-Lived Weft Idea

Now is my chance. I’d like to try one more weft idea on this double weave warp. I ended the colorful throw, and have about fifty centimeters left for a lap blanket. After the red cutting line, I am testing some black cottolin weft. It isn’t in my original plan, nor in my sample, but I want to see how it looks.

Small test sample between double weave pieces.

Deep plum alternates with black weft in a small test sample. Pairs of red picks mark the cutting lines between pieces.

The black weft does brighten the warp colors. But that’s not the look I’m after. I would miss the mixed shades that occur as the warp stripe colors are repeated in the weft. So I am weaving the smaller piece with the same weft sequence as the larger throw. When I see the weft choices clearly, it’s not hard for me to decide which weft option to use.

Double weave throw wrapping around the cloth beam.

Following the fabric under the breast beam, behind the knee beam, and around the cloth beam. The four warp stripe colors are repeated in the weft, making slight variations of color in the squares.

Wisdom is a treasure. It comes from seeing things through heaven’s perspective. Beware of human ideas masquerading as wisdom, leading us in the wrong direction. The treasure of wisdom that is found in Christ leads to understanding. Looking through heaven’s wisdom, my choices become clear. And it’s not hard for me to decide to stay true to the Grand Weaver’s design.

May you walk in wisdom.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Beautiful, Karen! Both sides are so eye-catching.

  • Annie says:

    Wow! Love the look of both sides!

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could do a little sampling of our life choices before we jumped in and made them? Fortunately, our Heavenly Father did leave us a guide.

    I hope you bring this to our WOW meeting this fall.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, That would be great if we could sample life choices that way. You’re right, we have a trustworthy guide!

      I may not have the throw in my possession this fall since it’s a gift, but I’ll at least have the smaller piece.

      Thanks for weighing in,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Love that fabric, Karen! Hope to get to see it at a WOW meeting. It’s lovely!

  • Beautiful. Wonderful craftsmanship.

    I spent Sunday afternoon cutting out tote bags to be included in shoe box mission gifts at the Crivitz Presbyterian church. New friends were made near the weekend house. Someone donated heavy nylon advertisement banners to use. The layout of the bag produced unbelievable results not considered when looking at the original cast off banner.

    While cutting out these bags, prayer. I pray to put the same craftsmanship into the gifts to people I do not know as I do to those near and dear to me.

    The loom still sits while the summer explodes around me. Should I stay home this weekend and weave or transplant the volunteer raspberries in the lawn to the weekend house?

    Keep doing God’s work.

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Small Tapestry Revived

This little tapestry has been almost finished for a very long time. I stopped short of completion months ago. I’ve missed my small tapestry weaving, so I’m back at it. Only a few steps remain with this one. Soon this little color gradation sweetheart will be on the wall, to be enjoyed.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Last few picks of this small tapestry are woven in one sitting. Warp thread header and waste yarn are added.

Small tapestry with color gradation.

Small tapestry frame makes an interesting artwork frame. But this tapestry must be removed so another tapestry can begin.

The finishing steps are not difficult. (Rebecca Mezoff gives excellent instructions in Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms.) After the piece is removed from the loom, it is steamed. Then, weft tails are sewn in and/or trimmed on the back. Half Damascus knots secure the warp ends. The hems will be folded under and stitched down. Then, this little masterpiece will be ready for mounting and display.

Weft tails that will be sewn in and/or trimmed.

Tapestry was woven from the front, so all the weft tails are on the back.

Sewing in and trimming weft tails.

Weft tails have been sewn in and/or trimmed on the back of the weaving.

Finishing ends on a small tapestry.

Warp ends are secured with half damascus knots. Two-pound walking weight helps hold the little tapestry in place.

Here is an ancient description of an interesting woman, as told by another woman.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
—from Solomon’s book of Proverbs

Small tapestry is ready to be hemmed.

Small tapestry with color gradation is ready to be hemmed. Ends will be folded under at the soumak lines, and stitched into place.

This is the type of woman I admire. Wear the best clothes that money can’t buy—strength and dignity. She has optimism. No anger. She speaks with wisdom and kindness. These are finishing touches I ask my Maker to work in me. To be a woman ready for what she was made for.

May you be finished.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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One Thing on My Weaving Bucket List

I have a weaving “bucket list.” Making a handwoven jacket is on that list. I took a step toward that dream with Michele Belson’s (of Lunatic Fringe Yarns) workshop on pattern drafting last week. This Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Conference workshop was exactly what I needed.

Michele Belson's workshop. Body block pattern drafting.

Taking precise body measurements is the first step in making a body block pattern draft. The measurements are then transferred to the pattern paper in a systematic way. My handwoven “Mary Poppins” bag on the floor holds all my supplies for the day.

Making body block pattern draft in Michele Belson's workshop.

Front and back bodice patterns in progress.

Making a muslin in Michele Belson's workshop.

Making a muslin by transferring pattern markings and adding seam allowances.

I can weave fabric for a jacket. And I have sewing skills to sew a jacket. But the fitting! That’s been the missing link for me. And who wants to cut into handwoven fabric when the fit is not a sure thing?

Making a muslin from a body block pattern draft in Michele Belson's workshop.

Muslin pieces are sewn together so the bodice can be fitted.

Fitting a muslin in Michele Belson's workshop.

Michele Belson checks the fit of the muslin. After some small adjustments, she pronounces it a perfect fit! Ease will be added, suitable to the garment being made, when the time comes to make a garment pattern.

Adjusting a commercial sewing pattern in Michele Belson's workshop.

Michele demonstrates how to use the finished body block pattern draft to adjust the fit of a commercial pattern.

Mindful attention to details. Processing information to apply it to the work in your hands. Learning a glossary of terms. Combining new skills with old ones. Listening, with an intent to understand. These are elements of wisdom. Think of the created world around us. Look at the detail, complexity, and beauty in it. Is it any surprise that our Creator is the source of wisdom? Wisdom is the key to skillful work. And, as always, it must be applied and practiced. I will certainly practice fitting and sewing. And then, when it’s time, I’ll weave jacket fabric, and let wisdom guide me in cutting it.

I’m curious, do you have a weaving bucket list, too?

May you cross something off your bucket list.

Happy sewing,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Joanne Hall says:

    Back in the old days when I was teaching sewing pattern making, we called it a sloper. Did you hear that word being used? After careful fitting, we made the sloper out of cardboard. Then, you could use it to make any type of garment. My usual problem was not adding enough ease.
    Joanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, I am familiar with the term sloper, but I didn’t hear Michele mention that. She did say to make the pattern on poster board, so that’s exactly what I did when I came home. I’m not ready to draw my own jacket pattern, but I’ve started an attempt to adjust a commercial pattern. We’ll see how it goes.

      Thanks for chiming in!
      Karen

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    What a great class! I am looking forward to seeing your creations, Karen. So glad you took Michele’s class.

  • Sandy says:

    Good for you! So many people are afraid of taking this step. As a former patternmaker in the fashion industry, I can’t wait until my weaving skills are up to the task of making yardage for a garment for myself. I’m sure it will be a rewarding experience, as I’m sure that making your jacket will be.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy, I’m impressed that you have experience as a patternmaker! Weaving yardage for a garment will be wonderful accomplishment. I can’t wait to see what you make!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Peg Cherre says:

    Sounds like a great workshop, and one that I need! I’ve got 2 lengths of handwoven fabric now that I’m afraid to cut into. I’m going to suggest this as a local workshop.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Peg, Maybe you can start with making something small with your handwoven fabric. I’ve had fun making bags and things, and even a hat from smaller pieces, as well as a skirt that didn’t take much fitting. That has helped build my confidence for cutting into the fabric. If you get a chance to take Michele Belson’s workshop, though, I would recommend it!

      Karen

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Slow and Gentle Weaving

One soft alpaca scarf. Slow and gentle. This weaving does not let me hurry. I don’t beat the weft; I carefully place it with the beater. For a rag rug weaver like me, accustomed to boisterous weaving, this soft weaving requires my full attention.

Alpaca scarf on the loom. Eight-shaft undulating twill.

Long alpaca scarf is nearing completion. Twill tape for measuring keeps track of the woven length. Two flat-head pins leap frog ahead each time I advance the warp.

There is no variation in this scarf. It’s the same treadling sequence, over and over. After this much repetition, it seems like I should be able to do this without thinking. But, no, I have to pay attention. If I don’t, I lose my place. Glaring mistakes all happen by accident.

Long alpaca scarf on the loom. Slow and gentle weaving.

Long scarf wraps around the cloth beam before it is complete.

We can choose what to hear. Listen wisely. Most things do not go in one ear and out the other. They go in one ear and down into our souls. Listening to gossip, for instance, seems harmless. It might even taste sweet. But what we hear affects our hearts. Listening to gossip is swallowing poison. It’s like weaving a faulty treadling sequence while being distracted. We must pay attention, or the wrong pattern will be woven into the scarf. Instead, let’s enjoy the gentle process of placing the weft and paying attention as we repeat the sequence we know is right.

May you be lifted up by what you hear.

All the best,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Ruth says:

    What a lovely analogy! Thank you for opening this pathway of thought for today.

  • Angie Roberts says:

    Enjoy the Beautiful Day
    Thank you

  • Lynn Scott says:

    Very well said. Thank you.

    Lynn

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    This is a beautiful scarf, I just love the design. I’m so happy you are feeling better and back at your loom!

  • PJ Doering says:

    Karen

    I happened to stumble onto your blog this AM and after reading your closing comment, I understand why. This comment is wonderful and eye opening. Thank you so much for saying it so perfectly.

    Enjoy
    PJ

    • Karen says:

      Dear PJ,
      I am happy you found your way here. And even more pleased that the words here touched a chord with you.

      Thank you for taking time to respond.
      Karen

  • Pam says:

    Karen, this is very clear analogy. We are to be gentle as lambs and wise as serpents. It is worth the while to be attentive to each pick as it is to what we are saying or hearing.There is scripture that says it is a sin to talk about the evil another does in secret. I asked FATHER GOD about that. I did not recognized prior, that was a reference to gossip. I should have recognized that. HE further let me understand that when we gossip that we are not giving praise to our LORD but giving place to the evil one. That then is telling how sin triumphed over righteousness. We must not do that. Unfortunately our communication is easily manipulated, so we must be use our words carefully and listen carefully, testing each thought to see if it be from GOD, and dismissing that which is not. My morning prayer is that the LORD put a guard across my mouth and that the words I do speak and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in HIS sight, oh LORD my Strength and Redeemer. Thank you for this wisdom.

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