What a Little Yellow Can Do

It’s an ordinary double-binding rag rag in many ways. Standard draft, normal 12/6 cotton rug warp, weaving with two shuttles. Honestly, though, I’m thinking of it as art for the floor. With that in mind, I have a yellow stripe going across the rug. It’s a line of contrast to draw the eye. As the brief glimpse of yellow weaves under the intermittent blocks of red I am satisfied. My plans on paper have revealed themselves on the loom. Something unexpected draws the eye. And I get excited all over again!

Design element at the 1/3 mark.
Yellow stripe makes its way across the rug “under” the red blocks.
Double binding lets me play with design. By changing the color of weft on the shuttles at strategic times, I can create an eye-catching element in the rug. Art for the floor.

Expect the unexpected.

May you find satisfying ways to express creativity.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Snowflakes Made of Thread

This is the fourth and final towel in my Snowflake series. Right now in Texas hill country it is extremely hot and dry, so these few gentle snowflakes are a welcome sight, even if only made of thread. We look forward to cooler days and moisture from the heavens.

Concluding the lower border of the towel. Warp is 16/2 cotton. Weft is half-bleached 16/1 line linen, except for the wide blue border, which is 16/2 line linen, and narrow 16/1 linen red stripe.

This Myrehed combination drawloom attachment functions as a thread lifter. When I pull a draw handle for a pattern shaft, a series of thread units are raised. When I pull a draw cord for a single unit, one unit of threads is raised. I am using 45 pattern shafts for the repeated snowflake border designs on these towels. The center area of each towel has small and large snowflake designs at varying intervals. These irregular designs are created using 148 single units. It’s because of all those lifted warp ends that we can create woven snowflakes.

Temple in position. Three pulled draw handles lift thread units at the side borders. Several pulled single-unit draw cords (black cords and white cords) lift single units for an off-center large snowflake design.
Lifted warp ends.

We expect to have worries in this life. Daily needs come as repeated patterns. Other disturbances come at irregular intervals. Worry is eliminated in God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom has a worry lifter–Jesus. He invites us to give him our worries and trust him to care for us. Imagine the one-of-a-kind design that emerges when worries are lifted!

May your worries fade away.

In living hope,
Karen,

Rag Rug in Spaced Rep Splendor

Spaced rep rag rugs have a graphic vibrancy that grabs my attention. Like regular rep weave, spaced rep is warp dominant. Unlike regular rep weave, the warp in spaced rep doesn’t completely cover the weft. That’s where rag weaving comes in, because the fabric-strip weft shows between the warps. The rag weft provides just enough color variation to satisfy a rag rug weaver like me.

Warp (12/6 cotton) is beamed and threaded. Ready to tie on.
Oh, the exhilaration of a new warp on the loom!

The pattern for this rug comes from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, p. 87. The threading has dark and light ends that alternate, with four distinct blocks (five, if you count the plain weave block). And thick weft (fabric strips) alternates with thin weft (12/6 cotton rug warp), with four different treadling sequences. All of these factors work together to make the geometric pattern in the rug. It sounds complicated. Truly, though, it is merely a collection of simple systems that all work together. And the possibilities are endless.

Spaced rep rag rug. Pattern from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, is modified for the floor space I have in mind.
Geometric pattern is primarily seen in the warp threads. The dark fabric strips for weft highlight the pattern even more.
Cherry wood ski shuttle by Steve for the fabric weft, and an open-bottom boat shuttle for the warp thread weft.

You are intricately and wonderfully made. To people who know you, no doubt, you look complicated. Your maker, however, knows your simple systems that all work together. The Lord knows you by name. His plan for you follows a masterful design. In the grand weaver’s hands, the possibilities are endless!

May the pattern of your life set you apart.

Happy Weaving, and welcome back to my studio,
Karen

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

Drawloom – Snow Falling

Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.

Nordic star pattern used for Christmas Snowflake towels. Towel begins with a broad brush of red along the lower border.

Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.

Single unit draw cords, held in place on the hook bar, form the snow crystals in the body of the towel. The three large snowflakes at the bottom border are made using pattern shafts. The simple side borders also use pattern shafts.
In Affinity Designer I am able to separate, copy, and move elements of the large snowflake design. These individual elements become the scattered snowflakes and little snow crystals that are “drifting down” the body of the towel.
Snowfall in Texas Hill Country.

We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.

May you see how far you’ve come.

Many blessings,
Karen