UPDATE: I no longer use the cheater bar, as it could put too much force on the loom parts. Instead, I loosen the front ratchet first, and then I am able to loosen the back ratchet.
I have a tool that makes me stronger than I naturally am. Warp tension is extremely tight on my loom when I am weaving rugs. After advancing the warp, and locking the pawl on the cloth beam, I tighten the ratchet on the warp beam as much as I can. Then, I put all my weight into tightening the cloth beam. And then, with a bit of oomph, I lean into the handles on that cloth beam wheel to turn it one more notch on the ratchet. I pat myself on the back for exhibiting such strength. But wait, I have just created a problem. The next time I need to advance the warp, I’m not nearly strong enough to release those front and back pawls.
Meet my simplest tool: The Cheater Bar.
With this amazing helper, I can safely release even the most extremely tight warp tension. (But NEVER use the Cheater Bar to tighten the warp.)
I never knew I could be this strong. Celebrate the moment! (A play on words. Steve tells me “moment” is a physics term that has to do with a force’s tendency to cause something to rotate about a specific point or axis.)
I can make an ordinary rug. But it’s more exciting to weave something extraordinary. That’s what I like about making rag rugs. I can infuse them with beautiful patterns and colors. Double binding, in particular, gives me a useful framework for my “floor art.”
The thing I like about double binding is the way two consecutive wefts overlap and interchange in the shed. As the blocks change, the weft on top and the weft underneath change places. Most double-binding rugs, including the ones I have made previously, are simple checkerboard designs. The threading pattern you see here has significantly more block changes than usual. What began as a “what if?” has opened up a new dimension of rag-rug weaving for me! This opens the door to extraordinary.
God made you for purpose. It’s no accident that you are endowed with certain skills. When our skills and desires merge in meaningful ways, we enjoy a sense of purpose. Whether it’s weaving, singing, or growing seeds, do what you were made to do. And let all you do point to the glory of your Maker. When he made you, he had extraordinary in mind!
May you live out the purpose for which you were made.
This colorful double-binding rag rug is going to make a big splash. At least, it will catch a big splash. It’s a bath mat, after all.
I am not fiddling with the weft fabric strips. Instead of making the right side of the fabric always show on top, I am letting the fabric strips fall as they may. The resulting variance in the weft gives the rug a vintage-like appearance. Also, I am using print fabric for some of the the light color of the double binding that purposely obscures the contrast of dark and light in some places. This is to give the rug a softer, more playful appearance.
Home is where we make our true expression. The textiles from our hands speak without saying a word.
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.
Reasons for cutting off rag rug before end of warp
This rag rug could be a coverlet if woven in different materials. The distinctive block design from a Landes Block Drawdowns collection gives me an exciting approach for weaving a double-binding rag rug.
Double binding is a double-layer fabric in a simple two-block structure. In each block, one of two wefts appears on the face, and the other appears on the back. I switch weft blocks by reversing the order of the two wefts. It’s that simple. For example, one pick of dark weft is followed by a pick of light weft. This sequence is repeated for a few rows. To change to the next block, with the opposite arrangement of dark and light, start with one pick of light weft and follow that with a pick of dark weft, repeating for the remainder of that block.
A small change repositions everything. Simply reversing the weft order puts a different face on the cloth. What direction am I taking my life? Reverse course to make way for a new life pattern. When we are left alone in the dark, God comes and offers a better way. Give up my way, reverse course, and go his way. Everything changes in such an encounter. Darkness to light.