I know how to write music. I am experienced in playing improvisational music on my cello. And I don’t have a problem making up a tune to sing on the spot. But nothing touches the richness of music’s beauty like getting out the Beethoven Sonatas at the piano, or Bach’s Six Suites for the cello, or singing from an old-fashioned hymnal. Likewise, I do know how to write a weaving draft from scratch, but I usually find my starting point in one of my favored weaving books. There are countless designs and dreamy pictures. From simple to extraordinary. Sometimes I follow the instructions precisely. But most often, the improviser in me examines the elements and finds a new version to “play.”
Here are just a few of my favorite weaving books, and a sampling of what they have produced.
After a few weeks of having to refrain from weaving, I am thankful that there was warp to weave one more rug. The quality of warp thread matters because it is the core of the rug. Never underestimate the value of good, strong warp thread for weaving rag rugs.
I like to use 12/6 cotton from Bockens. This rug warp is a six-strand thread with high twist. The smooth, nearly-unbreakable thread enables me to ratchet up the tension on the warp. That high tension helps produce sturdy, tightly packed rugs with tidy selvedges. Knowing you are making a rug that will last is a very satisfying and enjoyable weaving experience.
With finishing nearly complete, this rag rug will be enjoyed on the floor of someone’s home. Most people aren’t aware of the structural elements of a rag rug, but they do notice quality in the finished work. People, too, have an inner core–the heart. The heart matters. The strength of our inward framework determines our outward attitudes and actions. Since true quality is found in a life that serves others, most everything comes down to a matter of the heart.
There are three completed rosepath rag rugs on the loom, with warp remaining for at least one more rug. Since I don’t know how soon I will be able to weave the remainder, cutting off the completed rugs makes sense. After hemming, I will have three new rugs for Etsy. (Don’t miss the new Quick Tip video at the end of this post!)
I look forward to full weaving days again, with both looms dressed, and shuttles zooming. That rag rug warp still on the loom will be a reward worth waiting for.
Last week, when I awoke from surgery, the relentless pain I had been experiencing in my left leg and lower back was gone. Completely gone! It made me think of heaven. Ancient writings tell us that the lame will leap like a deer, and that sorrow and sighing will flee away. There’s no place for pain in heaven. All the people there have been healed and restored. That’s a reward worth waiting for. And I won’t be surprised if there are at least a few in heaven who are weaving away to their heart’s content.
What can compare to the thrill of unrolling freshly-woven cloth? Pulling, and pulling, and pulling until you get to the very beginning of the warp. As every towel unwinds, I do a micro evaluation, knowing that complete scrutiny comes later. I could not be happier with these towels! They are every bit as sensational off the loom as they were to weave. What a joy to be a weaver!
It wasn’t that long ago that I was winding lopsided quills, dropping the shuttle more than occasionally, and struggling to understand weaving drafts. Desire and a willingness to learn have pushed me through these and other barriers.
Willingness is more important than capability. Being willing sets the stage for learning. We all start incapable. God doesn’t expect us to be capable. He does expect us to be willing. God weaves His purposes on earth, not through the capable people, but through the willing. In weaving, and in life overall, I want to embrace and preserve the willingness factor that keeps me learning.
And as we yield our will to our Creator, what joy is ours as we learn how to truly live!
Some things are black and white. Piano keys, penguins, old movies, and this new cottolin warp. Other things are not black and white. Petunias, peacocks, sunsets, and most of my weaving. Black and white is uncomfortable for someone like me who prefers to engage with color. Ten-and-a-half meters is a loooong time to be weaving without a colorful palette.
I need to add more towels to my Etsy shop, so I did some Google “research” to find popular kitchen colors. Black and white is one of the current trends. I decided to go for it. Using color for some of the weft should be enough to remind me that the black and white is temporary, and that a colorful warp will eventually be on the loom again.
When we need reminders that everything will be okay, the Lord brings something or someone into our lives to show us that he cares. God is good. Even a small sign of his goodness is enough to help and comfort us. A touch of color on a long black and white warp may, in fact, be color at its greatest impact.