Quiet Friday: Rag Rug Bag

Think of this as an experiment. A first try. A specimen with which to work out procedures and details. I like the bag, and I will certainly use it; however, there are a few things that I will do differently when I make the next one. And I do intend to make another one, or two, or three. Experiments are like that. One idea leads to another. This warp was all about double binding rag rugs. As always, though, it is delightful to have some warp left at the end for play.

Weaving bag handles into the rag rug bag.
Length of 1-inch/2.5 cm black cotton webbing is woven in. The webbing that extends beyond both selvedges will form the bag handle. Rag weaving continues for a few inches before placing the webbing ends back into the shed.
Placing bag strap ends in the shed.
Both ends of the webbing strap are tapered, and then overlapped in the shed before beating them in.
Temple maintains the weaving width.
Temple maintains the weaving width as the rag weave continues past the woven-in handle straps.
Securing warp ends of rag rug.
Warp ends are secured, as usual. First, square knots, and then cut off to 1/2 inch/1 cm.
Stitching up a rag rug bag.
Sewing the sides of the bag, right sides together. I am using the four rows of woven rug warp at the beginning of the woven hem as my stitching line.
Creating lining for rag rug bag.
After turning the bag right-side out, and pressing the seams open, I created a simple flat lining, with added pocket, to fit inside the bag.
Pinning lining into the rag rug bag.
Lining is pinned into the bag, matching seams and mid-points at front and back.
Lining is inserted into the rag rug bag.
Lining is stitched into place with narrow topstitching.
Rag rug bag, with handle woven in. Karen Isenhower
Finished rag rug tote bag! Karen Isenhower
Fun tote bag to carry to and fro.

Next time… Find a strap that is not as stiff, so it will beat in better. Weave in a strap that is the same color as the warp. Make the strap longer. Find a way to secure the cut ends of the strap (this is the biggest issue). Possibly use a band woven on my inkle or band loom for the strap.

What would you use for the strap? Can you think of a good way to secure the ends of the strap together? What other suggestions or thoughts do you have to improve a bag like this? I would love to hear your ideas.

May your experiments lead to fresh ideas.

Always trying new things,

15 thoughts on “Quiet Friday: Rag Rug Bag

  1. Tape used to bind hooked rugs is softer and can be dyed. Your weaving is inspiring. My loom has been empty too long.

  2. Love the idea of weaving the band directly into the warp! Instead of sewing a band on your woven product afterwards.

    Each time I am excited to receive a post from you!
    Kind regards,
    The Netherlands

    1. It is very nice to hear from you, Tjitske! Yes, if we can make it work to weave the band into the warp, it will be fun to make more bags!

      Your alpaca weaving in your Etsy shop is beautiful!
      Happy Weaving,

  3. I’ve been enjoying your weaving blog since we met at Vavstuga.
    Some things that I’ve observed when making ‘rug’ bags:
    Use the overlay technique for the strap rather than a single weft shot.
    Use a 1/2″ webbing for the strap.
    When laying in the returning strap, pull the ends up through the warp and hand stitch down the ends with carpet thread.
    Weave a wide heading at each end of the piece to allow for hemming, and to assist in making a box bottom on the bag.
    Really like your colors and the introspection your weaving brings to the process.

    1. Sara, what a great help you are! I’m taking notes…

      – I am not sure what you mean “Use the overlay technique for the strap rather than a single weft shot.” Could you explain that a little more?

      – I have not found 1/2″ webbing. Do you know a source for that?

      – Hand-stitching the ends together is a good idea. I had considered that, but was too lazy to actually do it. It wouldn’t be hard, though.

      – The wide hem is a great idea, too. I had thought about a box bottom, too, but decided to make this one quick and simple. (Lazy again.) In the future, I’ll probably do a box bottom. That’s not hard, either.

      I really appreciate you chiming in! It’s great to get your perspective and a piece of your expertise.

      Happy Weaving,

      1. Hi Karen,
        Glad to offer some tips!
        For overlay, throw your rag shot, and with the same shed open, lay your strap on top of the rag shot. You may have to add another strip of rag to that particular shot so that the strap and rag shot are the same size. The strap lays better with equal sizes.
        As for the 1/2″ strapping, try The Shaker Workshops. They have a web site. I’ve been lucky enough to find quite a bit of 1/2″ cotton strap at my local Goodwill store.
        Hope this helps.
        Sara Jeanne
        PS you are many things Karen and lazy is certainly not one of them!

  4. Ooh, a bandwoven strap, for sure. How about a strap with tubular weaving sections for where the hand would grip? How about a bandwoven strap with narrower ‘bits’ woven by cramming warp ends? You could use those sections where they act as war, rather than strap.

    1. Hi, Joanna,

      Great ideas!! I can see what you’re talking about… Yes, that would make a wonderful handle for a handwoven bag.
      This gives me another idea! What if… Instead of cramming warp ends (since there is no reed on the band loom, the best I can do is pull the weft tighter), what if I bandweave the tubular handle, and flat sides of the handle, and leave a length of unwoven warp before and after? The unwoven band warp could be the weft in the rag weave. And the band-warp weft could be woven in two consecutive sheds, making a very secure connection for the handle. I’m getting excited about this idea!

      Thank you!

  5. Opinion: a hand woven band would really make a statement, especially if the bag is a suttle tone on tone. The stitching of the strap ends is a great idea….
    Question: is everyone a Quilter too? I noticed the symbols next to each name is a quilting square. love, eace,joy, linda

    1. Linda, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like the idea of a subtle tone on tone bag. A handwoven band would certainly be the best choice for that!

      (The little quilt icons are generated by the website. I had just a few options for what type of icon to use. Quilt blocks seemed the most appropriate for this space. Better than little aliens or something like that. :))

  6. I love how your mind works, Karen. I think you’re on to something here. As always, I certainly reading your posts. Be well.

  7. I have been weaving “raggedy bags”…basically rag rugs that I turn into tote bags. I weave the bags horizontally and extend 2-5 rags on both sides for the first handle. I will weave more of the bag and when I get to the handle on the other side I braid the rags I left extended and weave in the ends. Weaving width-wise also allows the carpet headers to be the seams of the bag. It is much easier to sew the carpet warp headers than the rags.

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