Five of my favorite handwoven works are on display in a local exhibit. The Southwest Gourd and Fiber Fine Art Show is the current exhibit (through July 1) at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center in Kerrville, Texas. This is a competitive show featuring artists from across the US. Steve made beautiful wooden hanging and mounting devices for my pieces. Winter Window is a double-binding rag rug that is displayed as a wall hanging. I thoroughly enjoyed the design process for this rag rug, so I am happy that Winter Window received a Judge’s Special Award.
If you hang a rag rug on the wall it becomes fine art. And I’m ok with that.
I made this rug longer than I had planned. Midway, I decided to increase the number of repeats in the design. This means I don’t know exactly how long this rug will be, so there is a bit of suspense as I wait to see the outcome.
I have a bit of warp left. It’s a good way to use up some of my cut fabric strips. This is my chance to play around, designing on the fly. That’s an exciting way to end a satisfying set of spaced rep rag rugs. Leave room for unencumbered play. And when you can go no further, end the suspense and see what you’ve got!
I have an ample stash of handwoven bands. Still, I am making a new handwoven band that is “just right” for the strap on a simple shoulder bag I am making from a rag rug remnant. I pull several near-empty tubes of 12/6 cotton rug warp from the shelves to wind a five-meter warp. I enjoy finding bits of rug warp that can work together—all left over from various rag rug projects.
I warp the band loom and start weaving. Ah, what a pleasure to make a specific strap for a specific bag! And all of it from what I have on hand. It’s a picture of the way love takes odds and ends like you and me, and finds a way to make us fit together.
It’s like preparing a simple meal for family. You figure out what you have, you scrape together what you can, and you spend time in the kitchen to put it all together. It’s not fancy, nor is it perfect. But it’s good. Love, after all, is the primary ingredient for a good family meal. Love is the primary ingredient for a lot of good things, isn’t it?
When guests come through our front door, this stately 120cm Glimåkra Standard Countermarch loom is the first thing they see. Many folks have never seen a weaving loom. “That looks so complicated,” they say.
The appeal of a Swedish countermarch loom is its simplicity. Pieces of wood, held together with a few wedges, form the frame for an efficient system of synchronized moving parts. “Step on a treadle and see what happens,” I tell them. When you move one part, something else moves, which then causes other parts to move. Now you can send a shuttle through an opening in the threads and weave cloth. “Wow! That’s amazing,” they say. I smile and think, “Yes, it is.” It may be complex, but it’s not complicated.
The world looks complicated. What does God in heaven see when he looks on us? Does he see a complicated mess? God sees us through his eyes of love. We’ve all gone our own messy ways. He loved us anyway and gave his son Jesus to save us from our selfish ways. He appeals to us with this simplicity: say yes to Jesus and no to self. This one move sets things in motion and changes everything! God’s world may be complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
All the rugs in the set are woven, and there is a little bit of warp left on the loom. Not enough for another rug. Now what? This is where the fun begins! I have some ideas to play out on the loom. End-of-Warp experiments yield fantastic results.
I arrange remaining weft fabric strips into piles of blue, green, red, and yellow/white. Double binding uses a sequence of dark and light wefts. So, I work through the color piles in order, starting with the blues for one pick, and then, going in reverse order, the yellows/whites for the next pick. The result is vertical columns of adjacent blocks that have the color order going in opposite directions, with the reds converging in the middle.
Cushion cover: Off the loom, I fold this attractive rag weave rectangle in half, short sides together, and machine-stitch the two long sides closed. The remaining open end has handwoven bands, from my ever-ready band stash, for tie closures. Voila! With a cushion inserted, I have a new seat cushion for driving the truck. It’s perfect!