Every year my weaving journey is peppered with notable highlights. Here are seven such highlights from 2020: 1. Siblings Tapestry, complete and hanging in our living room. 2. Joanne Hall (my weaving mentor and friend) visited our home in February (while in Texas for her Swedish Art Weaves workshop). 3. New 8-shaft Glimakra Juliacountermarch loom. 4. My favorite fabric of the year, Jämtlandsdräll in 6/2 Tuna, woven on the brand-new Julia. 5. Rag rugs woven on the drawloom. 6. Studio tour on Zoom for the San Antonio Handweaver’s Guild In November. 7. Handwoven Christmas tree skirt with Nativity appliqué from handwoven remnants.
2021 is beginning with the start of a new pictorial tapestry, an empty loom waiting for a new warp, and a drawloom warp that is near its finish line. Plus, two other looms that are mid-project. I am not expecting any dull moments around here. Thank you for joining me in this ongoing adventure.
Unroll the cloth beam with me and go back through time to recall the Warped for Good projects of 2020:
God completes what he begins. My prayer for you is that his finishing work will secure any loose ends.
I found a way to practically eliminatedraw cord errors on the single-unit drawloom. After making one too many mistakes while weaving this rag rug, I resolved to find a solution. True, I will still make mistakes, but now I expect them to be few and far between. (To view the first rag rug on this warp, see Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug.)
My most frequent error is having a draw cord out of place, either pulled where it shouldn’t be, or not pulled where it should be. And then, I fail to see the mistake in the cloth until I have woven several rows beyond it. I determined to find a way to eliminate this kind of error. (For an example of this kind of error, see Handweaving Dilemma.)
Test 1. Double check my work. Pull all the needed draw cords for one row and then double check all the pulled cords. Results: This bogs me down. And I still fail to catch errors.
Test 2. Double check my work little by little.Treat every twenty draw cords as a section—ten white cords and ten black cords. Pull the cords in the first section. Double check. Pull the cords in the next section. Double check. And so on all the way across… Results:Easy to do. I quickly catch and correct errors.
Now, I am implementing this incremental method of double checking my work on the little bit of warp that remains. With a Happily-Ever-After ending, the short Lost Valley piece is completed with NO draw cord errors! (Lost Valley is the name we’ve given our Texas Hill Country home.)
Woven Rag Rug and Lost Valley process in pictures:
I am making great progress on my drawloom rag rug, closing in on the final segment. And then, I take a picture and the camera reveals something I had failed to see. A mistake! Here is the dilemma that I’m sure other weavers face, too. It’s an internal dialogue. I can live with the error. Or, can I? No one will notice. Well, I certainly will notice. But I am sooo close to the end. I really don’t want to undo the last forty minutes of weaving. What would you do?
Back it up. Using the chart that I follow for pulling draw cords, unit by unit, I work my way back until I get to the error. On reflection, doing the task is easier than thinking about doing it.
My feelings can fool me. I don’t feel like going back and correcting my mistake. This is the time to pause and listen. Wisdom is at the door. Wisdom requires thinking, and listening, and time. Time is my friend, if I refrain from hurry. Wisdom is much like the skill of an experienced craftsman—one who understands precision and artistic expression and do-overs. Wisdom knows that patience is powerful. The easiest way to do something often forfeits the greatest rewards.
The chart that hangs at the left side of the beater gives a glimpse of the overall design of this rag rug. It’s the second page of a three-page chart. It’s not easy to make sense of the design on the loom, seeing only a small slice of the big picture. I am eager to see the whole project woven, to see how it aligns with the design I’ve imagined.
I drew the design in MacStitch, a cross-stitch design program. Then, I imported the gridded image into Photo Affinity to add vertical shaded stripes to match the 10 white-/10 black-cord arrangement of single-unitdraw cords on the loom. Lastly, I printed the enlarged chart to use as my guide at the loom.
How does our present slice of life fit into the overall plan? Only God knows. But one thing is certain. The Grand Weaver has a purpose for your life. It’s a purpose that he will fulfill. You and I are the work of his hands, work that he will not abandon. Yes, we make our plans. The truth is, our best plan is that which aligns with the design he has imagined.
I have woven umpteen rag rugs. But never one like this! Eight-shaft satin on the single-unit drawloom brings its own challenges, from managing draw cords to getting a decent shed. Add rag weaving to the mix and we have a whole new experience!
Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warpends is unwieldy in this instance because the threads are extremely dense. By quietly doing some detail studies on a sample, I find a way to finish this unusual rug: Secure the ends with the serger. Then, sew two rows of straight stitches on the sewing machine for added security. Sew a narrow bound hem using some of the fabric that was used as weft in the rug. Steam press to finish.
I have another rag rug to weave on this warp. It will still be a challenge. With what I’ve learned, though, I’m anticipating a satisfying weaving and finishing experience.
We know what to do in normal circumstances. It’s in unusual times that we fall into dismay. Private time with Jesus turns confidential fears to confident faith. He treats our challenges like personal detail studies, showing us the way forward. His grace enables us to conquer the next challenge with confident faith.