Tried and True: Rag Rug Block Party!

I am happy to say that with only four shafts we have exactly what we need for a checkerboard rag rug. Thank you to Megan for asking about it. ”I am searching for a 4-shaft draft for a checkboard pattern. I am limited to only 4 shafts.” Double binding opens up a world of opportunity!

Checkered rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Let’s talk about blocks. A block is a specific sequence of warp ends or weft picks. Double binding on four shafts has two blocks for the warp and two blocks for the weft.

One of several possible threading and tie-up plans for double binding. Add two plain weave treadles if you want to weave plain weave hems.
Plain weave hem starts a new double-binding rag rug.

Have a Block Party!

→ Use graph paper to plan the configuration of your blocks.

For the threading blocks, use two rows of squares. One row is for Block A and one row is for Block B. Each square on the paper represents one threading unit. You can make a checkerboard pattern by uniformly alternating the A blocks and B blocks. Or, you can make a wildly different geometric pattern by varying the size of alternating blocks. Your two-row graph becomes a profile draft to use as your threading key.

For the weft blocks, use the same arrangement of blocks as for the threading, and turn them vertically for the treadling draft. Or, use your creativity to make a unique configuration of weft blocks. The sky is the limit!

Three possible block configurations for the threading. The bottom example is a part of the sequence for the rug currently on my loom.
Weaving with two ski shuttles. Glimåkra Ideal. 4 shafts, 6 treadles.
Printout shows me where the blocks change in the weft.

Check out these resources for more double-binding rag rug ideas: Alla Tiders Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Så Fint med Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Älskade Trasmattor att väva som för, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs, by VävMagasinet; Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet.

May you discover a world of opportunity.

Happy Weaving,

12 thoughts on “Tried and True: Rag Rug Block Party!

  1. Thank you so much!
    I think my Glimakra Ideal will soon be dressed up for a checked rug…
    I’ve just finished two baby blankets as my first warp.After long hours under the loom to perfect the tie-on and thanks to all the knowledge you share here : I’m happy !
    Thanks from France 🙂

    1. Hi Magali, I have woven many rag rugs on my Glimakra Ideal. I think you will have a very good experience with your first rag rugs on that loom. Congrats on finishing baby blankets! You’re off to a great start.

      Happy weaving,

  2. Thank you so much for your information on Double Binding. Is there more information somewhere that I can get the history and more information on this weave structure? Thank you Patty

    1. Hi Patty, I have not found a lot of information (at least in English) about double binding. The Swedish weaving books are my best resources.


    1. Hi Bonnie, That’s fantastic! Happy warping! There’s nothing quite as exciting as a new warp on the loom. ESPECIALLY a rag rug warp.


    1. Hi Bonnie, The treadling blocks for double binding have more to do with the weft colors than the sequence of treadles.

      The treadling for Block A is 1 (color a); 2 (color b); 3 (color a); 4 (color b). The treadling for Block B is 1 (color b); 2 (color a); 3 (color b); 4 (color a).

      So, both blocks are treadling 1-2-3-4, but the weft order is a – b for Block A, and b – a for Block B.

      I hope that helps.

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