Tried and True: Cutting Off for a Fresh Start

I have good reasons for cutting off this first double-binding rag rug before proceeding with the rest of the warp. This pause and reset ensures happy weaving to the end. Cutting off gives me a fresh start for the next rug.

Rug is wrapping around the cloth beam.

Reasons for cutting off rag rug before end of warp

  1. Uneven warp tension. I can improve the warp by tying back on.
  2. Large rag rag. I can get a tighter warp tension by removing the rug’s bulk from the cloth beam.
  3. New design. It helps me to see the completed rug before starting the next one, since this is a brand-new design.
Rug comes to an end with a red border/hem. A warp-thread header follows, and then a few rows of scrap header to help secure the weft until finishing knots are tied.

Steps for cutting off rag rug before end of warp (countermarch loom)

Secure everything before cutting off. Shaft bars are in shaft holders and shaft pins are put back in place.
Countermarch locking pins on this Glimåkra Ideal are wooden dowels that go through the all the holes in the countermarch jacks.
Tension on the warp is released at the back ratchet and front ratchet.
  • Mark a cutting line across the warp with a black marker. Allow at least 10 centimeters (4 inches) beyond the rug’s warp-thread header for tying knots later that will secure the weft.
Mark a cutting line across the warp. Leave enough warp at the end of the rug to tie overhand knots to secure the weft.
  • With tying back on in mind, cut one group of ends and skip the next group of ends. Continue across the warp, alternating cut and uncut groups of ends. Tie groups of cut ends in slipknots as you go.
By spacing out the cut ends, the weight of the rug is evenly distributed. There is less pulling and distortion while cutting off. At the same time I am preparing groups of ends for tying back on.
  • Make a second pass, cutting the remaining groups of ends, and tying them in slipknots.
Continue cutting off groups of ends.
  • Unroll the rug from the cloth beam. Take a photograph.
First look at the back of the rug.
  • Lay the rug out on the floor. Ooh and aah.
Double-binding rag rug, ready for finishing and hemming! I let the rug rest on the floor for a couple days to let the warp and weft relax. Next step is to tie ends into overhand knots.

May you get a fresh start whenever you need it.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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,
Karen

Process Review: Threading Preparation and Two Pairs of Lease Sticks

Dressing the loom with two sets of lease sticks keeps me on my toes. It means I am thinking carefully as I transfer lease sticks from in front of the reed to behind the reed. And, after beaming the warp(s), it means I am counting carefully as I put ends into threading groups of 48 threads each—32 ends of 20/2 cotton, and 16 ends of 22/2 cottolin.

Two set of lease sticks have been carefully moved from in front of the reed to behind the reed. After straightening all the warp ends, I will beam the warp.

I group ends together before threading. Then, when threading, if there is a discrepancy in the number of ends, it alerts me to find a threading error. Counting out these delicate unbleached cotton threads is challenge enough. Having the layer of cream cottolin threads underneath presents additional complexity. With all these ends, this part of the process is tedious. Still, it’s worth it if it lessens my chance of making threading errors with these 1,472 ends.

Preparation for threading. Ends are gathered into threading groups and tied together with a loose slip knot.
Each set of lease sticks is tied to the back beam separately, so they can hang at different heights. The lower set is tied around the side frame and over the back beam.
If I stand behind the loom, my back is in a leaning-forward position and not comfortable for long. I placed a child’s chair and cushion behind the loom. Kneeling behind the loom at this height gives me good visibility and access to the threads.
View from the back of the loom. Ends are counted at the center of a pair of lease sticks. These counted ends are tied together in a loose slip knot.
View from behind the loom. Loop of unbleached ends just counted lay on top to clear the view. Ends on lower pair of lease sticks are counted and tied separately. I tied the cotton threads and the cottolin threads separately to make it easier to find an error if I miscounted along the way (which, fortunately, didn’t happen).
Counted ends are dropped into hanging position before moving on to the next grouping. (After taking this picture, I re-tied the lease sticks closer together, making counting easier.)
Threads remain in the reed. I pull threads out of the reed when they are counted.
Pretty sight of counted ends. Ready for threading!

One step at a time.

May you enjoy the process you are in.

Happy Loom Dressing,
Karen

Tried and True: Measurement Tape

You can measure what you are weaving. A set of towels will all be the same length. A table runner will fit the table as planned. A rug will be the right size for the designated floor space. All it takes is a dependable way to measure. (Thanks to Elisabeth S. for writing me, “I’d love to have a better way to measure my work as I’m weaving it.”)

Dependable way to measure on the loom!

Measurement Tape (accompanying video below)

Supplies:

  • Calculator
  • Project notes
  • 5/8” polyester twill tape
  • Fine point indelible marker
  • Tape measure
  • 2 flat-head straight pins

Make Calculations

  • Determine the finished length.
    • Consider the Golden Ratio, 1:6.
    • Consider where the finished textile will be placed.
  • Estimate take-up and shrinkage.
  • Include these measurements in your project notes.

Prepare a Measurement Tape

  • Draw the beginning line about 2 cm from the end of the tape. If there is a hem, draw a second line to mark the hem’s length.
  • Write the item description on the tape.
  • Write ” ___ (finished length) + ___ (take-up and shrinkage) = ___ (total length)” on the tape.
  • Measure the total length from the first line (or from the hem) on the tape. Draw a line at the end (add hem, if needed).
  • Cut the tape about 2 cm after the ending line.
  • Find the middle of the tape. Draw a line and write “MID”.
How to measure your weaving on the loom.
Place the first line of the measurement tape directly over the beginning picks of the woven article.

Prepare a Half Measurement Tape

  • Do the same as for a full-length measurement tape, except divide the total length measurement in half. Draw a line on the tape at the halfway point. Write “MID” before the line.
  • Cut the tape about 2 cm after the MID line.

Weave and Measure (Always with the warp under tension)

  • Use two straight pins to pin the measurement tape to the weaving near one selvedge. Place the beginning line of the tape directly over the beginning of the woven article.
  • As weaving progresses, remove the pin closest to the breast beam. Leapfrog over the remaining pin. Reinsert the removed pin through the tape near the fell line.
Using a measurement tape for weaving consistent lengths.
Move one pin at a time. I usually move the pin right before I advance the warp.
  • If using a half measurement tape, weave past the MID line. Mark the spot with a pin. Remove the measurement tape. Turn the tape and pin into place to weave the second half.
How to make a half measurement tape.
When you reach the MID line on a half measurement tape, keep the measurement tape in place until you have woven a few more centimeters.
How to make and use a Measurement Tape for weaving accurate lengths.
Place one pin through the cloth, pointing to the MID line. Then, it’s safe to remove the measurement tape and turn it around. Go your merry way, weaving the second half of the Monksbelt runner, or whatever you have on your loom.

Here’s a demonstration of making and using a measurement tape:

(For a previous discussion of this topic, see Tools Day: Measured Weaving.)

Since you can measure what you are weaving, do relax and enjoy the ride.

May you reach the mid point at just the right time.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Shuttle Shuffle

Some of the monksbelt flowers have a different color for the three center picks. The new color is only temporary, so I simply carry the first weft color up the side for that short distance.

How to shuffle shuttles.
Monksbelt with six colors of 6/1 Fårö pattern weft and three colors of 16/2 cotton ground weft.

More than one shuttle doesn’t necessarily mean more difficult. Everything runs a little smoother when there is an efficient exchange of shuttles between your hands.

Monksbelt flower garden.
Monksbelt flower garden.

How to Handle the Exchange of Shuttles

  1. For this example, the temporary weft starts from the left and goes to the right. Weave the first pick of the temporary weft, catching the shuttle with your right hand. (If the first pick of the temporary weft goes from right to left, reverse the right hand/left hand instructions, here and following.)
  2. Transfer the shuttle with the temporary weft (active weft) to your left hand.
  3. With your right hand pick up the shuttle that has the weft that will be carried up the side (inactive weft). Bring the shuttle all the way around the active weft and then lay the shuttle down again.
  4. Transfer the shuttle with active weft back to your right hand and continue weaving.
  5. Follow steps 2 – 4 until the section with temporary weft is finished.
  6. Tuck in the tail of the temporary weft and continue weaving with the weft that has been carried up the side.

Here’s a short demo:

May your shuttle exchanges go smoothly.

Happy Weaving,
Karen