Plain Weave in a Fancy Mess

Plain weave has never been this interesting! I am painting and stamping the warp on the loom. Imagine applying colors onto the warp between the shafts and the beater! Weaving on the printed warp produces lovely subdued woven images. And, I had forgotten how fast two treadles and one shuttle can be. After having slowly woven many rag rugs, plain weave feels like a speedboat ride now.

Stamped warp between shafts and beater.

Stamped warp between shafts and the beater, waiting to dry.

The only problem is, I don’t like the mess. Paint is messy, and I am not fond of getting my hands dirty. Yes, I wear gloves when painting, but there’s the sink, the carpet, and the loom to think about, too. No, I don’t like the mess.

Painting and stamping warp on the loom.

Tarps and drop cloths cover the carpet and some of the loom in case of paint spills. Paper towels stand ready for emergencies.

Stamped warp being woven.

When dry, the printed area comes through the beater as the warp is advanced.

Weaving a warp that is painted on the loom.

Stamped shapes become subdued as the weft goes across.

Have you ever been in a mess in life? I have. Others see the pretty fabric you produce, but never see the mess behind the scenes. Appeal to the one who can help. There is one who sees the mess, but loves us anyway. When we appeal to God as Shepherd, we acknowledge our need, and that we want him to lead us–even through the mess. Then, the fabric that is produced has beauty that is truly woven in.

May you enjoy creating beauty, despite the mess.

In process,


  • Loyanne says:

    Such a beautiful message is so many ways. Thank you.

  • It sounded like you painted the warp after it was on the loom? Is that correct? I have always painted the warp before it was put on the loom. You can control the mess a little bit.

    Happy Weaving,


    • Karen says:

      You’re right, Kate. Painting the warp before it is on the loom is probably more practical, and certainly more common. I wanted to stamp the warp, though, and stamping has to be done after the warp is on the loom.


  • Lori says:

    Beautiful! I want to try it. What type of paint do you use? How is the fabric finished or washed?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori,
      I’m glad you like it! I used Tulip fabric paints that I bought at Hobby Lobby. They were easy to work with, but I did have to thin them a little with water, which weakened the color. I machine washed the fabric in hot water and dried it in a hot dryer. I wanted the fabric to soften up as much as possible, which it did. Unfortunately, some color was lost in the hot water. If I were to do this again, I would research other yarn and fabric dyes that would probably have better staying power. On the other hand, I think those fancy dyes would mean more of a mess… ­čÖé


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Weaving Double Binding Rag Rugs in the Ozarks

Come with me to the quaint little town of Eureka Springs, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. First, we need to prepare and pack up. Then, enjoy the day-long drive. Put rug warp on six looms (five of them Glim├ąkras!) with Debbie Davis and me. And then, greet each eager weaver the next day and enjoy the process of creating special patterned rag rugs together.

Sit on the porch swing with me at the serene cabin secluded in the woods, and do some small frame tapestry while Steve whittles out more little men.

Then, greet the second round of weavers, and be sure to congratulate each one on their fabulous work.┬áDrive home to Texas with me and let’s recount all the blessings–the kind and interesting people we met and all the fun we had!

Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains.

Beaver Lake

Double binding workshop, designing rag rugs.

Designing double binding rugs.

Double binding rag rug workshop at Red Scottie Fibers.

Debbie Davis, of Red Scottie Fibers, enjoys the end result of her design. She let me share in the fun of weaving some of the rug.

Double Binding Rag Rug Workshop 2015 from Warped for Good on Vimeo.

May you enjoy the results of your efforts.

Happy Weaving,


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Rug for a Happy Dance

Three days is almost too short for threading looms, sleying reeds, tying on, and tying up. And designing and weaving a real double binding rag rug. But with this fantastic group of weavers, we did it! It is satisfying to hear a roomful of looms at work. Beaters banging, treadles clacking, and exclamations of “Oh, look at this!,” and “Karen, Help!” The highlights for me are seeing the amazing designs created by each individual, and watching the delight in each weaver’s face as she rolls out her own rug on the floor.

Sunlight in the morning at Arkansas cabin.

Morning sunlight at the cabin in the woods where we are staying.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs - weaving supplies and classes.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is hosting the workshop.

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Six looms with weavers setting up for weaving double binding rag rugs.

Double binding rag rug workshop.

Janet’s was one of the first rugs off the loom.

Happy dance on new double binding rug!

Gayle’s reaction to seeing her new rug on the floor was a spontaneous happy dance!

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Double binding rag rugs and four of the rug designers.

May you make something beautiful and do your own happy dance.

Happy Weaving,


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