Process Review: Drawloom Weaving without Errors

I found a way to practically eliminate draw 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:

May you learn from experience.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

16 Comments

  • Geri says:

    Wow, more beautiful weaving and I love your new pieces!

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    Your work as always is stunning. Forgive me if you have mentioned your weft material before. The materials look shiny. Could you share what you use for weft. Thank you
    Loyanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne,

      The weft is 100% cotton fabric cut in 1 cm strips. It has some variance to it because of the way the strips turn in the shed, and because I alternated 2 different fabrics for each color block area.

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Well worth all the suspense! The pieces are amazing.

  • Nannette says:

    Hurray!!

    I hate rework almost as much as I hate looking at the mistakes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I don’t think any of us enjoy doing the rework. There’s usually a solution to a recurring problem if we take the time to think it through.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Barbara Mitchell says:

    Oh, Karen, after seeing only a little bit at a time, how exciting to see your rugs off the loom and finished. Beautiful work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barbara, I’m with you. Even being the one at the loom, I have to wait to see the whole thing. It’s always an exciting moment to unroll it!

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Karen Reff says:

    I found that I made less errors by outlining the pattern areas with a dark black, thin marker. That line made all the difference for me.
    Your rug is Gorgeous!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, Thank you for that helpful tip. I will try it. I definitely found that my chart must be clearly in focus and have adequate contrast for the pattern areas. I reprinted my chart a couple times to make improvements. You have my wheels turning now. I may be able to add that outline on the computer in Affinity Photo where I make the chart. I will test that out!

      Many thanks!
      Karen

  • Marie says:

    Hi Karen
    Love your work. I have woven and owned both a Glimarka Single and an Oxaback combination drawlooms. They both have overhead draw systems. When I designed repeat patterns for the single unit, I always wove a sample of the design first. At the same time, I would add leashes to the cords for pattern selection. If design was a complete repeat, I would just push the leashes back and start over. If the design was on a point, I would weave to the point then return reverse pulling the leashes. I don’t know if this is possible on a Myrehed draw system?
    I also use a highlighter every ten squares on my design paper to correspond to the 10 dark thread in the draw warp.

    Have lots of fun

    Marie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie, The overhead draw system sounds very useful. I have seen pictures of them. I don’t think the Myrehed system has the capability to save leashes, at least I am unaware of it.

      That’s a great suggestion to use a highlighter to mark the design paper. Anything that makes the chart more readable is a great idea! Thanks so much.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful result, as always, it is so intriguing what you are able to create on your drawloom! And what a great idea for the short warp you had left.
    Double checking your work little by little is a great idea! It is far from comparable to this, but I divide into “twenties” when casting on for knitting, placing markers as dividers. Like you said, it is so much easier to catch errors. I never thought about it for weaving, but now I know 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, We use this concept of double checking many times in the weaving process–in winding the warp, threading, sleying, and even in making calculations for planning a warp. It only makes sense to use the same concept in other processes.

      Thank you,
      Karen

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Handweaving Dilemma

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?

Drawloom rag rug.
Error in the rug escapes my notice.
Mistake in the weaving, exposed by taking a photo.
Photo reveals my mistake.

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.

Removing weft to fix an error.
Backing up.
Single-unit drawloom.
One single unit draw cord makes all the difference. This cord should have been drawn in the affected rows.
Rag weft is taken out to correct an error.
Undone. Weft is removed. The mistake has been taken out.
Drawloom rag rug. Correcting an error.
Ready to start fresh from here.

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.

May you keep your ear at wisdom’s door.

Peace,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Such a wonderfully wise decision and if anyone can do it – make that small mistake go away and result in a perfect weave – you can and DID! I am always so inspired by your work, and follow along with great joy! Thanks for sharing – inspiring as always!
    Will you tell me what the blue cloth is? So beautifully bold and it looks like a hand dye or print. I am a fairly new weaver and love experimenting and making rag rugs.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bethany, One of the best things about making rag rugs is getting to play with beautiful fabrics. There are two different blue fabrics here. They alternate. One is a solid blue with some variance in color, and the other is a small bright floral print. Both are 100% cotton quilting fabrics that I have left over from other rag rug weaving projects. Combining the two fabrics makes the blue very rich.

      Thanks for your kind words!
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    Wisdom and patience and un-weaving prevailed. 40 minutes of weaving taken out. Wise! You would have spent the lifetime of the rug with your eye going to the mistake. Wisdom…a wonderful gift to us! He perfects us only a daily basis, if we allow. Always, I seek His wisdom and ask that He bless the work of my hands. This oftentimes means…un-weaving due to my mistake. I began weaving my sheep, late yesterday. When I removed the temple, I realized one had only 3 legs. You know the rest of my story….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, Yes, if I had kept going (and I came so close to doing that), I would always have seen that one spot on the rug.

      Oh, yes, I know the rest of your story. Another lesson learned.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Donns says:

    I just faced the same dilemma. Something didn’t look right after several inches of weaving a project from Handwoven. So I stopped and googled “Handwoven corrections 2019” and sure enough there was a correction to the draft. I had to walk away and let it all sink in before I could unweave and then decide how to proceed. As I always tell myself, it’s only time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donns, Wise words – “it’s only time.” Time is something we all have. I’m glad you caught the mistake while you could still do something about it.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Wisdom…. A blessing to take another look before proceeding. I’ve learned so much from walking away to clear my head… Then when I return, the mistake is obvious.

    Is wisdom what happens between finishing and enjoying the journey?

    Blessings upon your journey.

  • Betsy says:

    Isn’t that always the way? It’s soooo difficult in our minds, but easy once we actually do it. Happens over and over to me.

    Can’t wait to see this off the loom!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I don’t know why I have to learn the same lesson over and over. Oh, for wisdom and patience to sink in.

      It will be a few more days, now, but I’m near the end of the rug.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Allison says:

    You are right, taking it out actually takes less time than thinking about taking it out!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison, Next time, maybe I will just do it instead of thinking about not wanting to do it. It sounds like you’ve been there, too.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Yvonne Taylor says:

    Well I would just take a large darning needle anf go over the mistake and hide the ends. You will be more careful from now on Im sure. Ha ha. Who hasn’t done something like this?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Yvonne, Trust me, I considered doing just that. And I will probably need to darn other mistakes that I’ve missed. But I’m glad I went back to fix the error now. Easier, really, than covering it up later.

      I think we’ll all done something like this, haven’t we?

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Charted Territory on the Drawloom

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.

Drawloom rag rug on the loom.
First color block of the rug was brown. The second color block is red. Two different red fabrics alternate.
Following a chart for the single-unit drawloom.
Chart hangs at the left side of the loom. A transparent ruler is clipped to the chart. I move the ruler up, row by row, to keep my place on the chart. Single-unit draw cords that are pulled are held in place along the hook bar just above the beater.

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-unit draw cords on the loom. Lastly, I printed the enlarged chart to use as my guide at the loom.

Drawloom rag rug in the making.
Drawloom rag rug in the making.

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.

May you get a glimpse of your life’s design.

On purpose,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Oh my goodness!!!

    Just when I think I’ve seen it all, there is more. God is great!

    How are you getting such even widths on your rag warps?

    Kind regards,
    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I like the way you notice detail.

      I’m not sure if you’re asking about the rag wefts, or about the width of the warp overall…

      For the rag wefts –
      I fold the fabric yardage and put it on my cutting mat. I use a clear quilting ruler to measure off 1 cm (3/8”), and slice it off with my large-blade rotary cutter. It takes a lot of cutting for a rug this size with strips this thin. I usually cut 40 strips, then weave them, then cut 40 more, then weave them, and so on.

      For the width of the warp –
      I use a temple, and I bubble the weft. Both factors help keep the warp width uniform size.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

      • Linda Adamson says:

        Curious about the 3/8″ strips. It appears you are using only one strip at a time so the front and back will be different colors. Is that correct?
        What set are you using? Wondering how thick it will be when finished.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Linda, I am using only one fabric strip at a time. The back is the reverse of the front. In other words, where you see the red on front, you will see the predominant warp threads on the back, and vice versa.

          The sett is 7 doubled ends per centimeter (I think that’s about 18 doubled ends per inch), which makes the warp very dense. The first rug from this warp is about the same thickness as my “regular” rag rugs, but I would say the rug is stiffer and feels more densely packed.

          Thanks for asking,
          Karen

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I look forward to seeing the completed rug. This is a very interesting desigtn.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, It will be gratifying to see the whole rug at once. I tried to come up with a design that is simple enough to work with the scale of this rug.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Fascinated by the drawloom. Could I contact you to talk more about it?

  • Elisabeth says:

    That’s impressive, and the design is quite dramatic. Now I am curious to see it finished 🙂
    I like the possibilities a draw loom offers, but I am afraid it would be too complex for me.
    It is a challenge to be content with only seeing today, but to be able to focus on the present day and the task at hand, that’s where I find the beauty of life

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, It helps to know one’s purpose. The drawloom isn’t for everyone. But when you come out to see me, I’d like to give you a swing at mine. 🙂

      I agree with you, that it is so important to focus on the present day we have–a gift that’s been given to us.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Anna Zinsmeister says:

    It looks really interesting. It’s so good to see a rug being woven using the drawloom. It shows that it can be a very versatile loom. I like your work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anna, I am touched by your words of affirmation. Thank you!

      I have always been interested in rag rug weaving, so when I got a drawloom, I knew this was something I wanted to try. Yes, indeed, this is a very versatile loom. I will never run out of things to learn and try on it.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Beautiful work. I’m really new to draw loom and have a question from the photo. Are you using a shaft and individual draw on your loom. The shafts being pulled and on the pegs below the draw attachment. In the photo, right now, there are no individual warp ends selected. Am I interpreting the photo correctly. Thank you, looking forward to seeing the finished rug.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, You are asking pertinent questions. I do have the Myrehed combination draw frame; however, this project is not using the shaft draw system at all. This is completely woven with the single unit draw. In the second picture you can see the shaft draw handles near the top of the draw frame. They are not being used on this project. The single unit draw cords are the black cords and white cords that you see, some of which are pulled and held in place by the pegs on the hook bar. In other words, these draw cords that are pulled are lifting individual units of threads. Whereas, if any of the shaft draw handles were pulled, they would be lifting pattern shafts holding certain units of threads.

      Does that clarify?

      My next “death-defying feat” will be to use the combination–both shaft draw and single-unit draw on the same project. I’m still wrapping my mind about how that will work. Coming soon…!

      Thank you!
      Karen

      • LJ Arndt says:

        It does. I have a shaft draw system that I’ve only used a couple of times and so interested in learning it’s possibilities. Thank you for the great explanation.

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    Super neat!

  • Martha says:

    Karen, this rug is so pretty. I can hardly wait to see it when it is finished.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, I’m glad you like it! It’s a fascinating project to work on. Like you, I am eager to see it rolled out.

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

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Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug

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!

Cutting off drawloom rag rug.
Cutting off in 1-inch sections to make it easy to tie back on for the second rug on the warp.

Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warp ends 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.

Drawloom rag rug finishing details.
Serger cuts off the ends as it overlocks the edge. I pull out the scrap header little by little just ahead of the serger needles and blade.
Finishing drawloom rag rug - steps.
Two rows of straight stitching.
Bound hem on a drawloom rag rug.
Lightweight woven fusible interfacing backs the fabric used for the narrow bound hem.
My Grandma's thimble.
My Grandma’s thimble helps me hand stitch the back side of the bound hems.
Drawloom rag rug finished!
Finished and pressed.
Stony Creek Rag Rug woven on single-unit drawloom! (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)
Dream come true! Stony Creek Rag Rug (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)

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.

May your confidence grow.

With faith,
Karen

31 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Thank you for the beautiful description of a beautiful rug finish.

    Hem finishes is something I’ve struggled with. My sister works in a medical rehab facility and asked for personal medical masks to be given to staff and residents.. Finished with.my least favorite finish….. binding. And God provided a beautifully done technique for my next rugs..

    Now, onto the orchard in transit. The first nursery let me know fruit and nut trees/bushes are on their way to turn the retirement property into a perma-forest.

    Will I reap the fruits of the all the trees? Only God knows. But God will make sure a hungry soul will find them. Your posting this morning fed my soul. .

    Blessings to all.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Rugs can be finished in so many ways. I’m glad you have a use for this option of bound hems.

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Oh Karen, what a wonderful rug! It looked perfect in your lovely home!

  • Kay says:

    Absolutely lovely. You have inspired me to do a rag rug in the near future.

  • Beth Mullins says:

    It’s beautiful, Karen! I really like the bound finishing. Bravo!

  • Linda Miller says:

    Love reading your posts. Thank you for reminding me to find God in everything.

  • Betsy says:

    It’s just gorgeous, Karen! Wonderful job!!

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Such a beautiful rug. It makes me realize I need to start using the draw attachment on my loom and get to know it better. Your posts are so inspiring.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Oh I hope you do get familiar with your draw attachment! The possibilities are endless, and it is so much fun.

      Thank you, thank you,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Very beautiful rug, you worked hard on this one and it shows. Stunning! Job well done.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Karen!
    What a nice rug!The colors, the neat finish…
    I just admire the way you work.
    Best regards
    Eirini

  • D'Anne says:

    Beautiful rug! You do exquisite work, Karen!

  • Gail Bird says:

    Beautiful rug.
    Enduring thoughts concerning confident faith.
    Thank you.

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful rug! I’m impressed you could secure the warp threads like that, I really like how it opened up for that beautiful finish.
    Do you think the warp ends could be secured like that when making a wowen hem for a regular rag rug, too? I struggled to secure warp ends without tying knots, I tried but wasn’t able to “catch” the warp threads with the sewing machine needle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, Thank you!

      I have had the same experience on other rugs with trying to secure warp ends with the sewing machine. The needle doesn’t catch all the ends. What made the difference with this one is that there are so many threads close together. The serger was able to catch most of the ends. I set a short stitch length on the sewing machine, too, to make even more certain that every warp end would be stitched, with two rows of stitching.

      I will still tie knots on a usual rag rug, with the normal 3 epc sett. The sett on this one is 7 doubled ends per centimeter. A big difference.

      Also, I’ve learned some things. For the next rug on this drawloom warp I will weave a longer header, instead of the 8-pick header I did on this one. Then, I will be able to secure the ends AND fold it under, which will help to secure them even more.

      Long answer. 🙂 Thanks for asking.
      Karen

      • Elisabeth says:

        Thank you! This explains the difference. I have a problem with a few warp ends on one of my door mats which has a wowen hem. I have been able secure them on the back (not very pretty) and it has endured several rounds in the washer since 🙂

  • Tercia says:

    Beautiful and a great piece…saving that and need to give it a try!

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Having seen a small section of this rug up close and personal when it was on your draw loom, all I can say is WOW when I see the finished piece.
    Fabulous job

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Drawloom Rag Rug Color Transition

This is a huge project. Four shades of blue from dark to light span the nearly one-and-a-half-meter-long rug. I have reached the final color-transition section. I am eagerly awaiting the day this rug will be rolled out!

Rag rug on the drawloom. Color transition.
Transitioning from one color to the next.

My measuring ribbon shows me where to make the color changes. I alternate two weft colors (C and D) through the transition area to blend the hues. All the while, I stop after every half-unit of four picks to manage the draw cords. A graphed chart tells me exactly which of the 164 draw cords to pull or release. In this way the graphic designs are woven into the rug, row by row. I weave in quiet, allowing me to put full attention on each move.

Drawloom rag rug.
View of the underside of the rug as it goes from the breast beam to the knee beam.
Single unit drawloom rag rug.
Draw cords are arranged by tens, alternating black cords and white cords. I pull the cords as they correspond to the prepared chart hanging at the left side of the loom.

We need hope in these unsettling times. Jesus invites us to admit our fears and failures, and put our trust in him, and follow him. And this is the message Jesus gives his followers: I am always with you. The Lord gives strength and courage. As our Grand Weaver, he has his full attention on us. So be strong and take courage.

May you have hope that lasts.

Love,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Linda Cornell says:

    Thank you for the words of encouragement today.

    God bless you.

  • Linda Adamson says:

    Please send a photo when the rug is finished. Happy Easter! He is risen!

  • Nannette says:

    Pretty colors. I noticed the pattern is reversed on the back. Or, is there an actual back once it is cut from the loom?

    We now have a Palm Sunday grandson. He came quickly. 15 minutes from leaving the house.

    In their hospital, dads were allowed in with admission, but have to stay the entire time. They are not allowed in if they leave. This is where modern technology comes to play. 31 seconds of video played over and over by the toddler who is fascinated by his baby brother.

    We are watching the toddler and entertaining him with driveway chalk art. The neighbors are enjoying this as much are he is.

    The stories to be told at future Thanksgiving tables…. none of which are relevant to your beautiful weaving. Except… the enjoyment of God’s gifts.

    And of course. This is Wisconsin. The game playing with this year’s election. It makes my head hurt.

    This is a remarkable Holy Week.

    Thank you for making the world a better place.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, You are correct, the pattern is reversed on the back. Who knows, maybe I’ll use the back as the main side. Or, probably flip it over from time to time.

      I’m glad your new grandson had a healthy entrance. Congratulations!

      With resurrection in mind,
      Karen

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