Rag Weaving with a Boat Shuttle

This is a simple way to make a rag weave table runner. The M’s and O’s weave structure provides a great framework. What I like about narrow fabric strips is that you can wind them on quills, just like yarn, and weave with a boat shuttle. It is fast weaving that breezes right along.

Rag weave table runner on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Boat shuttle holds quill with narrow fabric strips to weave table runner. In view below the table runner are pot holders that were woven using unbleached cotton multi-strand yarn.

I could use a small ski shuttle for this, as if I were weaving rag rugs. Or, I could even place the weft across by hand on this narrow-width warp. The most efficient way is the boat shuttle, and the main thing is to get the weft across so weaving can happen. In life and relationships, it is love that needs to get across.

Patience and kindness are universal expressions of love. Love never fails. It started with the patience and kindness of God. As we draw toward Christmas, consider the meaning of the holiday–that God so loved the world. His patience and kindness toward humanity meant sending His son to our world. And that baby, named Jesus, became God’s way of taking love across the gap between heaven and earth.

May you be known for patience and kindness.

Good Christmas to you,


  • linda says:

    That’s the best use of M and O’s I’ve ever seen. I’ve never liked the weave structure. I’ve even tried it in warp weight linen on a finer background. happy Chris-Quan-Hansika to all. love, peace, and Joy, linda

    • Karen says:

      Linda, I feel very honored by your gracious comment, especially considering your vast experience. I’m glad you like this M’s and O’s version. Thank you!

  • Darlene says:

    Your fabric strips look so neat and even…can you describe how you cut the fabric strips?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for asking, Darlene!
      Most of my fabric is in five yard lengths. I fold the fabric on my cutting table, so I am cutting through several layers, to cut along the lengthwise grain. I use a large-blade rotary cutter and a cutting mat, and an acrylic cutting guide ruler, to cut the fabric into 3/4″ strips. I taper the ends of the strips for overlapping in the shed.

      I hope that helps!

      Happy Weaving,

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Change the Texture

This nine-inch-wide (23 cm) warp looks pretty on the loom, but just wait until you see it finished off the loom! With M’s and O’s weave structure, the character of the fabric will change from flat and linear to puckered and textured. The cottolin warp and the cottolin plain weave hems are ordinary, but wet finishing will cause the unbleached cotton mini string yarn (stränggarn) to showcase the interesting structure as threads shrink into place. The finished textured square should be just right for a handy pot holder or hot pad. I will add a woven hanging loop on the corner, as a useful embellishment. A few pot holders will be given as Christmas gifts, and the rest will go on Etsy. (The draft for a project similar to this is found on the 2014 Väv Calendar.)

Pot Holder in M's and O's.

Weave structure is M’s and O’s. When off the loom and wet finished, everything will draw in, creating textural prominence.

Once this fabric texture changes through the wet finishing process, there is nothing that can make this cloth revert back to its original state. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. When we receive his love, it makes irreversible changes in us. God’s love is inseparable from those who find it. It’s forever a part of who we are.

May you love and be loved.


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