Quiet Friday: Five Rosepath Rag Rugs

My mother taught me to notice and enjoy beauty. I think that is why I find so much enjoyment at the weaving loom. The interplay of colors and materials never ceases to amaze me. I am often delighted as I see the woven material forming under my shuttle, feeling more like an observer than a performer. So, it was with great pleasure that I got to show my mom my weaving looms when she came to Texas for Melody’s wedding. I put this rug warp on the loom with that special visit in mind. Thanks for everything, Mom!

Rosepath rag rugs just off the loom. Karen Isenhower
Seeing the underneath side of the rugs first, just after the rugs are cut from the loom.
Winding rug warp on warping reel.
First step is winding the warp on the warping reel. 219 warp ends in two similar shades of grey, 8.5 yards / 7.75 meters long.
Weaving narrow strips for rag rug hem.
After weaving some waste fabric strips, I weave the hem, using 1/4 inch- / 1/2 cm- wide strips. I mark the green ribbon to show the weaving length of the hem, and the overall length of the rug. I also mark the midway point on the ribbon.
Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 1 of 5. ki
This is the rug my mother got to see on the loom. She liked it!
Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 2 of 5. ki
Turquoise paisley fabric pairs with a solid blue to outline the brown rosepath design.
Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 3 of 5. ki
Three ski shuttles create gradient color changes in the blue and teal (out of view) background, while maintaining the white rosepath pattern. It was a little insane to manage three ski shuttles! But I have to admit I enjoyed it.
Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 4 of 5. ki
This is my version of Radiant Orchid, the Pantone Color of the Year 2014.
Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 5 of 5. Karen Isenhower
Two-toned rosepath, with dotted outlines. Subtle turquoise waves almost hide in the dark earth tones at each end of the rug.
End of the rag rug warp. Too close for comfort.
This is not how to plan a rug. The end of the warp is right behind the shafts. Or, maybe this shows how well I planned the warp, right down to the very last inch…
Five New Rosepath Rugs. Karen Isenhower
Not yet cut apart, ready for finishing the ends and hemming.

May you make fond memories with those you love.

(While I’m busy hemming these rugs, please visit my Etsy Shop to see more rosepath rag rugs.)

Happy Weaving,

Rag Rug Selvedges Made Easy

The goal is to weave a firm selvedge on a rag rug. This is especially challenging when the weave changes, like it does with this rug. Plain weave in a single color, a lone weft in a contrasting color, rosepath with tabby in between, and plain weave with alternating colors. It helps to have a few guiding principles.

A few guidelines for weaving firm rag rug selvedges:
1. Make sure the weft going into the shed catches the outermost warp end. If needed, manipulate the outermost warp end up or down to make this happen.
2. When using two shuttles, start the second shuttle going in the same direction as the first shuttle.
3. When using two shuttles, be sure to catch the “idle” weft at the selvedge by crossing over or under it with the “working” weft.
4. Turn the fabric strip under twice at the selvedge.
5. Pull the weft snug at the selvedge. (A tight warp tension helps with this.)

Tips for firm rag rug selvedges.
Coming to the end of the last rag rug on this warp. Weaving plain weave with two alternating wefts gives the tidiest selvedge because of the way the wefts interlock as they cross at the edge.

I can handle any rag rug selvedge if I pay attention to these guidelines. Similarly, are there guiding principles that help us maneuver the daily challenges of life?

Following God’s ways gives needed structure to our days on this earth. His faithful guidance is that of a loving father. By practicing his principles we can be mentally prepared for action, emotionally stable, and spiritually focused. And we find we are well able to handle all of life’s twists and turns.

May you meet your challenges with success.

On purpose,

Made to Be Noticed

Each rug is unique. Knowing what the possibilities are with a rosepath threading, I sketch a plan on graph paper. I pull colors from my stash of fabrics, adding, mixing, and removing, until the compilation is just right. My intention is to create a rag rug that will be noticed.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom
Plain weave sections in solid colors separate bands of rosepath patterning.

I start with a confident plan, but I will not see the results until the rug finally comes off the loom and is flat on the floor. I am hopeful, but there is still uncertainty. Do you ever feel that way about talking to God? It should be easy to pray, but how can we know if we are really getting through?

The Lord hears prayers. His willingness to hear is greater than my ability to express myself. When I take the fabric scraps of my life and arrange them in a pattern that pleases him, he notices. And he hears my inadequate sentences. As each woven rug rolls onto the cloth beam, what I do see gives me hope for the end results. Though my view is incomplete, every glimpse of answered prayer gives assurance that the Lord notices this weaving I call life.

May you get a glimpse of what you hope to see.

(One more rug to go on this warp! Soon you will see these rag rugs in my Etsy Shop!)

As always,

Tools Day: Rubber Bands

At the risk of telling you something you already know, I am going to show two ways I use rubber bands in my weaving studio. Yes, rubber bands. Simple, to the point of being simplistic. But I sheepishly admit, I didn’t know to do these things until I saw someone else do them; and then I expanded (pun intended) their practices to suit the way I like to work.

1. While it is common to put a rubber band on one treadle to act as a marker for your feet, I find it helpful to put rubber bands on two treadles for even greater efficiency. I put one rubber band on the first pattern treadle, and a second rubber band on the third pattern treadle. My feet never have to guess where to step. (With the rosepath tie-up for the rag rugs on the Glimakra Ideal loom, there are two plain weave treadles on the right, and then four pattern treadles. The rya weaving on the Glimakra Standard loom has one treadle on the right that lifts the warp ends for the rya knots, and four pattern treadles.)

Treadles marked with rubber bands for efficiency.
Plain weave, like the solid blue section, and the band of brown, uses the two treadles on the right on this Glimakra Ideal loom. The rosepath pattern, in orchid, and the dots and dashes, in dark pink and blue/black, uses the remaining four treadles.
Treadles with rubber bands for easy treadling.
Five treadles are used for this rya weaving on the Glimakra Standard loom. The treadle on the right lifts the warp ends on the second shaft, onto which the rya strands are tied. The remaining four treadles are used to weave a rosepath pattern in the cloth.

2. Rubber band the thread label around the tube of thread. This is the simplest way to keep track of fiber information–fiber content, weight, color number, brand. I also cut a short length of the thread and stick it to the sticky side of the label. This helps me get the labels back on the correct tubes, especially when using several threads of different colors.

One way to keep thread labels from getting mixed up.
With similar colors, like these two tubes of 12/6 cotton rug warp, it helps to keep an identifying strand attached to the label. I always try to put the label back on its tube as soon as possible to prevent mix-ups.

May you find simple solutions to do what you do better.

(Have you checked out my new Etsy shop yet?)

Happy Weaving,

Creative Expression at its Best

Many variables are possible on this rosepath threading, but I find creative freedom by imposing certain limitations for the design of the rag rugs. The overall design concept gives me direction for arranging colors and setting a treadling pattern for each rug.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower
Overall rosepath is featured on this rag rug, appearing as a diagonal white grid on the top side, with subtle color changes in the background weft. Previous rug is seen wrapping around the cloth beam below.

How many times have I gone off track, only to realize that I didn’t really get on a track in the first place? When I start without clear intentions, I set myself up for inconsistent results (HERE is one example). This is true for weaving rugs and for dealing with people. If I determine to live by a standard of kindness, those clear intentions will shape how I speak and act.

We can protect relationships with kindness, which is at the heart of love. The greatest enemies to love are biting words, a sharp wit at someone else’s expense, and shading of the truth. Who wants to be on the receiving end of that? Self-imposed limitations on our words open up creative expressions of kindness. The beauty that is formed by these sincere expressions is a beauty that stands out, being different from the norm; and it’s a beauty that endures.

May you experience someone else’s kindness today.

Come check out my new Etsy! Just click on the Etsy Shop page above. Let me know what you think.

With you,