Travel Weaving to Germany

I am turning right around to head out on another travel adventure. This time it’s Potsdam, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria with my sister Barbara. You know what that means—prepare my smallest tapestry frame for travel weaving. Besides the loom, I need necessary tools, warp thread, weft yarn, a cartoon, extra paper and pencil, book light and extra batteries, and a small bag in which to carry it all.

Fresno Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park is breathtaking. Steve captured the awe last week with his Canon Rebel T3i Digital SLR camera. My dream now is to capture the view in yarn. I am making a cartoon directly from a black-and-white print of the photograph.
Choosing Fårö wool yarn for a tapestry.
My Fårö yarn is housed in three baskets of an Elfa cart. I look at a photo image of Fresno Canyon on my iPhone to select colors to use for the tapestry.
Preparing for some travel tapestry weaving.
Selected colors of yarn are wrapped on labelled embroidery floss bobbins to put in the travel tapestry bag.
Preparing for some travel tapestry weaving.
Weft colors are sorted and placed in the plastic pockets of this craft holder I found at Hobby Lobby.
Travel tapestry supplies.
Everything needed for a little 3 1/2″ x 6″ desert vista tapestry is being tucked away in travel bags.

After that, I can pack my clothes, etc. First things first.

(By the time you read this Barbara and I will be in Germany enjoying the food, listening to fine music, and scouting out fiber-y treasures whenever we get a chance.)

May your adventures be memorable.

Glückliches Weben,
Karen

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Lizard Tapestry Disruption

I started the Lizard tapestry right before our big disruption. Selling your house means that every in-process project instantly becomes vulnerable. Yikes! After a sleepless night, I contacted my friend Joanne Hall. Can this weaving be saved? Yes!, she assured me, as she gave me instructions for dismantling the loom.

Getting ready to dismantle loom for relocation.

Yarn supply is packed up, including all the wool butterflies.

Getting ready to dismantle loom for moving.

Cartoon is removed.

Everything is logical about the process. Undo things, tie parts together, take things apart. And I don’t have to cut off the weaving? No. Remove the beam cords from the cloth beam. It’s that simple.

Lamms and treadles removed for moving the loom.

Lamms and treadles have been taken off.

Moving a loom without ruining a tapestry in progress!

Beam cords are removed from the cloth beam.

Removing the warp beam. Relocating the loom.

Steve unscrews a bolster that holds one side of the warp beam so I can remove the warp beam.

Warp beam removed! Hope to put this back together.

Holding the precious bundle!

Taking the loom apart.

Taken apart. Tapestry, reed, and shafts are rolled and bundled up in the fish beach towel.

Now all I have to do is wait

Relocating my loom.

Everything fits in the car, ready for transport.

All the dust has settled, the house transaction is done, and the loom has been re-located and put back together. It’s the first thing you see when you enter our ground-floor apartment.

Getting ready to re-assemble loom.

New location for the loom is in the living room of our apartment.

Simple Swedish loom assembling.

Simple Swedish loom assembling.

Re-assembling my loom after relocating.

Re-attaching the bolster to hold the warp beam.

Re-assembling loom after relocating.

Tapestry in view.

Using a spare heddle as a cord threader.

Spare Texsolv heddle works as a cord threader (I forgot to pack the “real” cord threader) to re-attach the cords on the cloth beam.

What about the Lizard? Can I resume where I left off? Good news: IT WORKED!

Ready to weave after relocating the loom!

Everything is put back together. Beam cords are re-attached. Yarn is unpacked. Warp is tensioned.

Lizard four-shaft tapestry.

Lizard foot grips the breast beam as weaving resumes!

When have you had to wait? Something you dearly long for is unreachable for a while. Waiting for the Lord is always waiting with hope. I trusted my friend’s advice. So, my hope was strong while I waited to see this lizard take shape again. In a similar way, I can trust the Lord when there is a disruption. Wait with strong hope. Wait for the grace to begin again.

May you wait patiently.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Kay Larson says:

    It looks like your move went pretty smoothly. Your tapestry looks so fun. I look forward to seeing completed. I treasure your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, It didn’t feel smooth while we were in the midst of it all, but now that things are relatively quiet again, I guess you’re right— It did go pretty smoothly.

      This tapestry is fun indeed. I’m looking forward to long uninterrupted sessions to enjoy it!

      Thank you for your sweet words.
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    So glad this worked out for you!

  • Betsy says:

    Joanne is such a help! I took my Julia from TX to WI for a workshop last May and went through the same process using her instructions. At least I didn’t have to worry about a project, just the header had been woven. The Julia gables come apart, so everything fit in a box except the back uprights. So cool.

    I will be looking forward to seeing that lizard emerge further.

    • Karen says:

      Betsy, Sounds like the Julia is a perfect workshop loom! Joanne has a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s sweet that she is so willing to help.

      This lizard is going to get a lot of my attention in the next few weeks.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Good morning.
    I set up my new to me home made floor loom at a weekend house. There was 12″ of my first project on it when we decided to sell that house and look for our future retirement home. As it was dismantled each connection was marked with the same number using a sharpie. When it was put back back together 1 was matched up with 1… and so on. Now it is set up to dismantle and take anywhere.

    The people who designed looms were remarkable inspired.

    Blessings to all.

    Nannette

  • Annie says:

    I love the advice to “Wait with strong hope.” There are times when that advice is sorely needed.

    I, also, look forward to hearing about your adventures, Karen. And this one was a big one! It is a good thing that your apartment has a large living room!

    May you enjoy your temporary home.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annnie, I, too, often need a reminder to wait with strong hope. When things are difficult, hope can begin to waver.

      I don’t know if I would say this apartment has a large living room. The loom takes up a pretty good chunk of it. Fortunately, the room is large enough. 🙂

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Barb says:

    Thank you for for your posts, I have learned so much by reading them. And right now, just what I needed to deal with my own transitions. All the decisions and disruptions related to remodeling, selling a loom, and buying a new loom have been weighing me down. I have my eyes on a used Glimakra Standard, but it’s 1,800 miles away….. The pictures of moving your loom have been very helpful. Perfectly put, I can now wait with strong hope.

    I’m happy that your move has gone so well & you are temporarily settled.

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, I do understand the impact of life transitions. It can be stressful when you’re in the middle of it!

      I’m glad to hear that you are holding onto strong hope. Remember, just about everything is temporary.

      Hugs,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Umbrella Swift

The umbrella swift earns the “Cool Tool” award! I have sixteen skeins of 20/2 Mora wool (as seen in Skeins of Colors). Before making them into little butterflies of color for a woven transparency, I am winding the skeins into balls. This means I get to use one of my favorite tools–the umbrella swift. My Glimåkra swift is simple to use and gives flawless results every time.

How to Use an Umbrella Swift

  • Attach the clamp of the umbrella swift to the side of the loom, or other secure structure, like a table. The swift functions vertically or horizontally. I prefer to position the swift horizontally so the yarn rolls off vertically. Also, I find it easier to hang the yarn on a horizontal swift than to place the yarn on a vertical swift, holding the yarn while expanding the umbrella.

How to use an umbrella swift. Tutorial.

  • Position the yarn ball winder so that it is in line with the umbrella swift, a short distance away. I clamp the yarn ball winder to my loom bench, and sit on a small stool behind the bench.

Yarn ball winder in use with umbrella swift.

  • Remove the yarn skein’s label and put it aside. Carefully unfold and untwist the skein of yarn and open it out to a big circle. Place both arms through the center of the circle of yarn and snap your arms outward. Repeat the snapping action one or two more times, with the yarn repositioned about a quarter turn each time. This helps straighten out the yarn for placing it on the swift.
  • Lower the “umbrella” of the swift by loosing the screw and pulling the bottom screw-piece toward the clamp. Place the opened and prepared skein of yarn around the swift.

Placing the skein on an umbrella swift. How to.

  • Push open the “umbrella.” Spread it open just far enough to hold the yarn taut. Tighten the screw to keep the swift in that position.

How to use an umbrella swift for weaving yarn.

  • Find the place(s) on the skein where the skein has been tied, and untie the knot(s). Identify the end of the yarn that is on the outer side of the skein and connect that end to the yarn ball winder. For consistency among multiple skeins of yarn, I have the umbrella swift turn in the same direction for each one, with the yarn unwinding from the top of the swift.

Putting skein of yarn on umbrella swift.

  • Turn the yarn ball winder until all the yarn has been unwound from the swift.

Set up for using umbrella swift. Tips.

Winding ball of yarn from umbrella swift.

Winding ball of yarn from umbrella swift.

  • Remove the yarn ball from the yarn ball winder and wrap the skein’s label on the new yarn ball.

New ball of yarn thanks to umbrella swift.

  • Collect the new balls of yarn and play with the colors in your imagination.

Mora wool. Getting ready for woven transparency!

May you take pleasure in your work of preparation.

All the best,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Dear Karen,
    Good morning, I just had the luck of stumbling onto your lovely blog and I see you have accomplished what I am struggling with. I too have a glimakra and I recently “upgraded” it to 8 shafts. Very long story short, I don’t have any documentation and I suspect the reason I’m getting terrible sheds is because of cord lengths. Is there any chance we could talk for a few minutes?
    On a pretty morning by the Bay,
    Astrig

  • Betsy says:

    Well, duh! I’ve never thought to use my swift horizontally! I’ll have to give it a try. It’s a little smaller than yours, but hopefully it will fit on the Standard upright.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I hope it works for you! Horizontal seems logical to me, but I suppose if you think of it as an actual umbrella, it naturally would go in the vertical direction. The good thing is, it works either way!

      Karen

  • Thank you Karen for the explanation of use and excellent photos to accompany. I’d be lost without my swift. As we all know, skeins can bite you if you don’t treat them with respect!
    Alison

  • Ruth says:

    Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU. Love the KU foot stool(?)!
    Wonderful horizontal use of your skein winder. Never looked at using mine horizontally – must remember to keep an open mind and look at all possibilities in life.
    Happy weekend.

    • Ruth says:

      Guess I’m tired this morning. I intended to refer to the swift as a swift. LOL

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, You took the bait. I was hoping to draw out any KU alumns with that little stool. 😉
      Good point about seeing possibilities. We can do surprising things if we are not set in our ways.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • tsw says:

    Karen, your photos and step by step instructions are clear and wonderful. As a former private investigator, I give you high marks for your ” evidentiary photography.” I am a wannabe weaver, awaiting retirement to spread my wings, attend Vavstuga, and weave away my retirement. In the meantime, I study, and gain inspiration and food for thought from your blog and the online weaving forums.
    If you only knew how much you nurture other people’s hearts and minds…
    You are a blessing to all of us!

    • Karen says:

      Dear tsw, I am touched by your thoughtful remarks. Your encouragement means so much to me!

      What a wonderful way to prepare for retirement! Keep dreaming, and seeing those dreams come to life. You have nurtured me today with your kindness.

      Happy weaving dreams,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Yarn Record Book

Would you like to keep track of every type of thread and yarn you use? You need something you can refer back to for fiber content, color numbers, sett information, and where you purchased the yarn. I have a simple yarn record system that accomplishes that. Because it is easy to do, I update the records every time I start a new tube of thread or skein of yarn that is not already represented. I call it my Yarn Record Book.

How to Create a Yarn Record Book

1. Gather supplies:

  • Three-ring binder
  • 8 1/2 x 11″ white cardstock
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Three-ring hole punch or single-hole punch
  • Small color wheel and other color tools
  • Black fine point Sharpee
  • Pocket pages
  • New spectacular yarn and thread in colors and sizes you have never tried before!

Make a Yarn Record Book Tutorial

2. Cut cardstock. Cut a sheet of white cardstock lengthwise in half.

Making pages for yarn record book.

3. Punch holes. Punch three holes on one long side of the cut cardstock to coincide with three-ring binder, and punch five holes on the opposite side.

Preparing pages for yarn record book. Tutorial.

4. Insert color tools. Place color wheel and other color tools in front inside pocket.

Yarn Record Book Tutorial

Color tools in yarn record book.

5. Add yarn label information. Write information on front of prepared card:

  • Fiber type and size/plies; e.g., Cotton 8/2
  • Brand name
  • Fiber content
  • Where purchased
  • Length and weight

Making Yarn Record Book. How to.

6. Add yarn sample. Cut one meter of the new thread or yarn. (My loom bench, conveniently a meter in width, is my quick measuring guide.) Fold the length in half, in half again, and in half one more time. Push the loop at the fold of the yarn through a hole on the five-hole side of the card and pull the other end of the yarn through. Write the color number above the hole.

Adding yarn to yarn record book.

7. Insert yarn card into notebook. On the back of the card write the date the yarn is added. Include information about how the yarn is to be used, and the intended sett. (Later, if your plans change, or you determine the sett needs adjusting, come back and make notes here to reflect that.) Insert the card in the Yarn Record Book. I arrange fibers in alphabetical order, e.g., alpaca, cotton, linen, wool; and, within each fiber, by size of yarn from finest to coarsest.

Adding project info to yarn record book.

8. Add color cards. Put purchased yarn sample color cards in pocket pages at the end of the notebook.

Yarn samples in yarn record book.

9. Expand. When you accumulate so many types and colors of threads and yarns that your notebook is overflowing, get a bigger notebook!

Yarn Record Book. Karen Isenhower

May you make progress in putting things in order.

Happy Organizing,
Karen

3 Comments

  • linda says:

    You might consider adding Tredeling and threadingto the card and any changes you made from the origional. I’m surprised Becky didn’t incorporate this into one of her classes. It was the norm at school; that way 30 years later I can find the projec, what I’d change,and how to accompolish false damask on X# of harnesses without going back to texts or how did the last coverlet using 20/2 compare to the previous one using 10/2. L,P,&J, linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Linda, I’m glad you brought that up. Becky Ashenden indeed incorporates impeccable record keeping in her classes at Vavstuga, including keeping records of the yarn. I started my yarn record book before I went to Vavstuga for the first time, but it’s very similar to the way Becky showed us to keep yarn records. Her instruction was a great help for me to tweak and enhance the system I had been using.

      I keep additional detail records of every project from start to finish, and add notes as I go so I can refer back as needed. Those drafts and notes go in other notebooks on my shelf. I try to keep a swatch with each record, though sometimes I fall behind on that part.

      I originally started my yarn record book because I wasn’t able to get sample cards of all the yarns I use. It was a way to make my own color cards as I go.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • linda says:

    PS if I have enough left over from a project I also add a swatch to the card and possibly a picture. linda

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Home Is Where the Weaving Is

I arranged, added, and swapped until I had eleven different colors to blend into a courageous wool warp. I had more fun pulling out skeins of yarn in Vävstuga’s shop than a kid in a candy store! The yarn is for a double weave blanket that has been on my mind for a few weeks. Yesterday, I finally had a chance to wind this wild warp! Dressing the loom is next!

Winding wool warp on warping reel.

Yellow will be the center color of the double weave wool blanket. The symmetrical way the warp is wound on this warping reel might fool you, though. These are only a few of the eleven colors that will be blended across the warp.

Winding Tuna wool for weaving a blanket.

Second bout wound on the reel. I check and double-check my written notes to make sure I get the correct color order and numbers of ends.

Away from home, I can only think about weaving on my looms. As much as I enjoyed the experiences of Vävstuga (Vävstuga Autum, Vävstuga Autumn II) and New Mexico (Pointers for Exploring New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails), I have been eager to put my hands to the tasks of weaving here in my own little studio. Winding the warp, feeling and smelling the soft Tuna wool, getting over-excited about the blending colors on the warping reel, handling the fat warp chains… Ah, I am where I’m supposed to be!

I love fat warp chains of wool!

One layer of colors for the double weave blanket.

Warp chains for wool blanket, and what's left of eleven skeins.

Basket holds what is left of the eleven skeins of Tuna wool. These two warp chains will be the other layer of the double weave blanket.

Come home. Do you ever hear that? …as if you have been away too long? The nudge is to return to your faith roots. Enjoy the refreshing that comes in the presence of the Lord. It’s good to be where you know you belong.

May you be where you flourish.

In living color,
Karen

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